October 2012 Archives

Kiss the Fourth Amendment goodbye. From Ars Technica:
Police allowed to install cameras on private property without warrant
A federal judge has ruled that police officers in Wisconsin did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they secretly installed cameras on private property without judicial approval.

The officers installed the cameras in an open field where they suspected the defendants, Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana, were growing marijuana. The police eventually obtained a search warrant, but not until after some potentially incriminating images were captured by the cameras. The defendants have asked the judge to suppress all images collected prior to the issuance of the search warrant.

But in a Monday decision first reported by CNET, Judge William Griesbach rejected the request. Instead, he approved the ruling of a magistrate judge that the Fourth Amendment only protected the home and land directly outside of it (known as "curtilage"), not open fields far from any residence.

The Fourth Amendment protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." The court ruled that under applicable Supreme Court precedents, "open fields, as distinguished from curtilage, are not 'effects' within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment."

The property in question was heavily wooded, with a locked gate and "no trespassing" signs to notify strangers that they were unwelcome. But the judges found that this did not establish the "reasonable expectation of privacy" required for Fourth Amendment protection. In their view, such a rule would mean that (in the words of a key 1984 Supreme Court precedent) "police officers would have to guess before every search whether landowners had erected fences sufficiently high, posted a sufficient number of warning signs, or located contraband in an area sufficiently secluded to establish a right of privacy."

"The Supreme Court has upheld the use of technology as a substitute for ordinary police surveillance," the judges held. Because it would be legal for the police to enter a private field to collect evidence, they concluded it must also be legal to install cameras there.
Going to start looking at my trees a bit more closely -- might be able to harvest some cool tech. This will probably go to the Supreme Court -- the decision will be interesting.

About those electric cars we all own

We as taxpayers own a good chunk of the Fisker Karma automobile company. There was a bunch of them sitting on the dock after being imported from Finland (yes, our tax money went to bail out a foreign car company). Sandy came along and there was a bit of damage. From Jalopnik:
More Than A Dozen Fisker Karma Hybrids Caught Fire And Exploded In New Jersey Port After Sandy
Approximately 16 of the $100,000+ Fisker Karma extended-range luxury hybrids were parked in Port Newark, New Jersey last night when water from Hurricane Sandy's storm surge apparently breached the port and submerged the vehicles. As Jalopnik has exclusively learned, the cars then caught fire and burned to the ground.

Our source tells us they were "first submerged in a storm surge and then caught fire, exploded." This wouldn't be the first time the vehicles, which use a small gasoline engine to charge batteries that provide energy to two electric motors, had an issue with sudden combustion.

The vehicle, despite only being in limited production, has already experienced numerous fires due to equipment failures and electrical shorts. How, exactly, they caught fire after being submerged in sea water is unclear. It's possible the salt water caused a short that led to a fire.

Calls to Fisker and the Port Newark Container Terminal have not been returned as of publication time.
The photos at the site show a complete meltdown.

Life in the People's Republic

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Great book review of a history of China during Mao's Great Leap Forward. From the Wall Street Journal:
A Most Secret Tragedy
It is difficult to look dispassionately at some 45 million dead. It was not war that produced this shocking number, nor natural disaster. It was a man. It was politics and one man's vanity. The cause was famine and violence across rural China, a result of Mao Zedong's unchecked drive to turn his country rapidly into a communist utopia and a leading industrial nation.
What's a hundred million dead people when it's all about ideology. Ideas so fantastic they have to be mandatory. And to think that Marx is still taught in school -- the guy was a failed businessman, one of the original trust-fund babies and not that bright. It would be as though Lysenkoism was still being taught in college biology departments. For an example of what life is really like under communism, check out the story of Anthony Maglica (audio interview). He now makes a product that most everyone has either seen or they own one...

Culture in five easy pictures

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From Zombie writing at PJ Media:
The Decline and Fall of Western Culture in One Photo
The other day I visited The Oakland Museum, and while I wandered through one of its rooms this scene presented itself to me.

Immediately a thought struck me: This is it � the decline and fall of Western culture is encapsulated perfectly in this one scene.

Let me explain.
Visit the site, look at the pictures and draw your own conclusions. Most of what passes for art these days is crap. The 90+ comments are a fun read. Zombie brings this to light -- the first statue was done in 1895:
Yes, I point out that 1895 was just about at the turning point in art history � the beginning of �modern art,� with impressionism, cubism, pointillism, etc.

The difference between then and now is that people like Van Gogh and Picasso and Seurat had true skill and were outstanding �traditional� artists before they decided to expand their artistic horizons, using their mastery to take them to new places. Whereas now, people who have no skill whatsoever ape whatever those pioneers did, but blindly.

A century later, the early cubist and abtractionist paintings have stood the test of time. Pink Lady has not.

The ultimate defense of talentless modern art is to say �all opinions are subjective.� Screw that. Some crap is just that � crap.
From Mark Hachman at Slashdot:
NYC Data Centers Struggle to Recover After Sandy
Problems in New York�s data centers persisted through Wednesday morning, with hosting companies and other facilities racing against time to keep generators humming as water was pumped out of their facility basements.

The outages had taken several sites off line, most notably the Gawker network, whose hosting service, Datagram, suffered outages.

At about 7 PM on Oct. 29, local power utility ConEd began proactively shutting off power to parts of lower Manhattan, in an attempt to remove the load from the energy grid. Many data centers shifted to backup power as a result. Unfortunately, the storm�s storm surge was higher than expected, and the basements housing the generators flooded, rendering them inoperable. For the most part, these data centers then turned to alternate sources of power, typically generators that they hauled in themselves. (ConEd has provided a map of outages and the expected times when service is restored; Telx, one company affected by the outage with a facility at 60 Hudson St., said ConEd would restore power within 2 to 4 days.)

The fight now is to keep those generators fueled while pumps clear the basement areas, allowing the standard backup generators to begin operating. It�s also unclear whether the critical elements of infrastructure (power and communications) will both be up and running in time to restore services.
From host SquareSpace:
Update [5pm ET]
Terrific progress this afternoon.

We have a few hundred gallons of spare fuel on the roof along with a full tank, which will take us well into the night. On top of teams from Peer1, Fog Creek, and Squarespace, we were able to hire additional help from Brooklyn and Queens. Special thanks to Mike Mazzei and his team at Peer1 NYC for unprecedented dedication these past days.

We have a big crew teaming up tonight for a midnight bucket brigade, and another in the morning. Traffic is terrible with gridlock everywhere and no public transport, so we are scheduling carefully.

We are cautiously optimistic that fuel will be running to the roof by end of day tomorrow or the day after. Water is being successfully pumped from the basement at a rate of one foot per hour. Fifteen feet of water remain. We have increasing confidence that we may avoid downtime. Of course, there are no guarantees and we are working hour-by-hour.
From Fog Creek Software:
Outlook promising for all Fog Creek services
Trello is running happily on AWS and all other Fog Creek services continue to run in the data center without problems.

The fuel supply at ground level is sufficient for the foreseeable future. Additional labor has been added to the bucket brigade and the building is making progress on securing a fuel pump to replace the brigade. This all suggests the generator is at little to no risk of running out of fuel.

In a pleasant development, after previous ineffective efforts at pumping water from the basement, we are now removing one foot an hour, with about 15 feet left.
Too many damn politicians angling for the media these days. When will he hear an interview from a lineman or any of those intreppid sysadmins at these data centers.

Cool news - BevMo comes to Bellingham

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It was rumored back in September Now it is confirmed -- from The Bellingham Herald:
California liquor chain BevMo to open Bellingham store
A California liquor store chain has officially announced it is coming to Bellingham.

BevMo said Tuesday, Oct. 30, that it is opening four more stores in Washington, including one in Bellingham.

The other store openings are slated for Bellevue, the Northgate area of Seattle and the Ballard area of Seattle. According to The Associated Press, BevMo plans to open the Bellingham and Ballard stores in February.

In a liquor license application submitted to the Washington State Liquor Control Board last month, BevMo stated it wanted to move into 114 W. Stuart Road, in the shopping center near Meridian Street that's home to United Furniture and Big 5 Sporting Goods.
And a bit more:
BevMo said in a press release that it plans to have the Bellevue and Northgate area stores open in November. The chain has also opened stores in Tacoma, Silverdale and Tukwila since the state's liquor privatization rules took effect in June.

The new stores will include tasting rooms and thousands of wines, spirits and beers. It will also offer specialty snacks, cheeses and party products. For details about BevMo, visit bevmo.com.
Very good news -- I have been to their stores in California. Great selection and good prices.

Quote of the month

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From the oh so hip and progressive Grist Magazine:
This is a Sophie�s Choice: If we respond to the moral imperative to raise public awareness and alarm about climate, we have to be deceptive. If we are committed to truth and scientific accuracy, we have to talk in hedged, caveat-filled, probabilistic language that is utterly ineffectual in reaching and activating a tuned-out public.

Dishonest or ineffectual. Alarmist or concern troll. Those are our choices?
In other news, from The Washington Times:
Al Gore blames Hurricane Sandy on 'global warming'
While it did not take long it was expected. Former vice president Al Gore put out a statement on his blog on Tuesday and blamed the intensity of Hurricane Sandy on "global warming pollution." :
The images of Sandy�s flooding brought back memories of a similar--albeit smaller scale-- event in Nashville just two years ago. There, unprecedented rainfall caused widespread flooding, wreaking havoc and submerging sections of my hometown. For me, the Nashville flood was a milestone. For many, Hurricane Sandy may prove to be a similar event: a time when the climate crisis�which is often sequestered to the far reaches of our everyday awareness became a reality.

While the storm that drenched Nashville was not a tropical cyclone like Hurricane Sandy, both storms were strengthened by the climate crisis. Scientists tell us that by continually dumping 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere every single day, we are altering the environment in which all storms develop. As the oceans and atmosphere continue to warm, storms are becoming more energetic and powerful. Hurricane Sandy, and the Nashville flood, were reminders of just that. Other climate-related catastrophes around the world have carried the same message to hundreds of millions.
Gore concluded at the end of his blog that "dirty energy makes dirty weather.":
Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come. We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather.
New York and New England were hit with powerful hurricanes in 1821 and 1938. In 1821, the hurricane was called, The Great September Gale. In 1938, the hurricane, aptly named the Long Island Express, slammed New York and New England with winds of up to 120 MPH. The Berkshire Eagle lists other hurricanes and tropical storms dating back to 1635 that have hit the east coast.

Is Mr. Gore saying that these massive hurricanes were caused by some form of man-made global warming...really? Please.
Hat tip to Anthony for the link to Grist.

Over the transom - the new meme

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From an email -- what with Sandy taking the needed attention away from the Libya Benghazi scandal there is this observation:
Obama called SEALS and THEY got bin Laden.
When the SEALS called Obama, THEY GOT DENIED
I know that we will not have the majority of the facts until well after the election -- this is Chicago Politics after all. That being said, President James Earl Carter was a bad President but he was just being a self-important nebbish. Obama is a focused ideologue and needs to go now. Let him enjoy his new life in Hawaii out of harms way.
Check out this SNOPES post -- the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the sharks, the SCUBA diver in the subway, the flooded McD's? None had anything to do with Sandy.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
Disney to Buy Lucasfilm for $4.05 Billion; New 'Star Wars' Movie Set for 2015
The Walt Disney Co. has acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in cash and stock and announced a new Star Wars movie to be released in 2015.

Kathleen Kennedy, current co-chair of Lucasfilm, will become its president, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chair Alan Horn. Disney is paying about half the purchase price in cash and will issue 40 million shares of stock, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars features, with the franchise's creator and Lucasfilm founder George Lucas, 68, serving as creative consultant. There are plans to release a new Star Wars film every two or three years.

�For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,� said Lucas, chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm, in a statement. �It�s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I�ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I�m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney�s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment and consumer products.�

The deal comes on the heels of Disney's 2009 acquisition of Marvel Entertainment and its 2006 purchase of Pixar Animation Studios, two potent entertainment brands that appeal to families. The Disney board has approved the Lucasfilm acquisition, but it is subject to antitrust scrutiny by the U.S. government.
Hey Kathleen -- major congratulations but could I make a tiny suggestion? Jar-Jar... Carbonite... And then, maybe an outtake of this panel being forklifted into the same Federal Storage and Records Facility that is now housing the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Just a thought

Back from town

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Long day in town -- lots of stuff to take care of for three large irons in the fire. CERT class was a lot of fun - again. Tonight we did disaster psychology and a second unit on CERT organization and its fluid nature during an event. Forming ad-hoc teams to do search and triage and then when all the victims are located, those teams start doing medical transport and assisting in the medical staging area. There are also logistic, administrative and operational teams. The director of the county CERT program was a professional meteorologist in his 'real life' so it was a lot of fun talking with him before the class and during the break. Surf for a bit and then a (for me) early morning tomorrow. Lulu is at the Lake House for the next few days -- she will be out this weekend. This has got to be the easiest relationship I have ever been in - lots of fun together and zero drama.
Paul, Dammit! posted today:
flood, fire: low tide
With the waters receding, all the cars and heavy equipment densely parked behind the warehouse in the last photo were uncovered. My guess is that an electrical spark, coupled perhaps with some liberated gasoline from a submerged fuel tank vent, led to a small fire. Which led to a big fire. And some explosions. We are upwind and have a decent-sized concrete dock between us and the cars, so we stayed put while our tug called 911. The fire department took forever to find the place. I saw them 10 minutes before they got in the neighborhood, and then another 15 minutes to dig up a masonry saw to cut through the fences in their way. Eventually they got to the fire and about 30 minutes later they put it out. My camera was overwhelmed between the lights, backscatter from the fire monitors on the tugs being turned on (monitors are the super-sized water cannon that you see on fire boats; many tugs have one just in case. ).

Next high tide is in a few hours. Not supposed to be as high as the last one, but still might be rotten.
One of Paul, Dammit!'s commenters posted the link to this story from ABC/Yahoo:
Tanker Run Aground by Superstorm
Powerful storm surges from Superstorm Sandy caused a nearly 170-foot water tanker to run aground in Staten Island, N.Y., on Monday night.

The front third of the tanker is grounded into Front Street. The city's waterfront was largely destroyed, which includes a number of businesses on the water.

The 168-foot tanker was moored about a mile away when Sandy's powerful force propelled it toward land.

No one was on the tanker and no one was hurt as a result of it running aground.
And there is this tragic story - from gCaptain:
Tall Ship Bounty Abandoned, Sinks in Heavy Seas off Hatteras, 1 Body Recovered, 1 Still Missing [UPDATE 3]
Coast Guard Sector North Carolina initially received a call from the owner of the Bounty saying she had lost communication with the vessel�s crew late Sunday evening.

The Coast Guard 5th District command center in Portsmouth subsequently received a signal from the emergency position indicating radio beacon registered to the Bounty, confirming the distress and position.

An air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City launched aboard an HC-130 Hercules aircraft, which later arrived on scene and reestablished communications with the Bounty�s crew.

The vessel was reportedly taking on water and was without propulsion. On scene weather is reported to be 40 mph winds and 18-foot seas.
It is easy to armchair quarterback but they ignored the initial forecasts. They were trying to run out of harms way but they didn't have the speed to outrun a 500-mile wide storm. They would have been better off running to shore and heading as fa upriver as possible and ground themselves. They would have been damaged but that is what insurance is for -- they would not have lost to souls. As for our little neck of the woods, Flood Watch.

Oh Crap - infrastructure

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I am involved in our community Water Co-op. Our system delivers fantastic water to about 200 households and about 30 businesses in our community. It pumps from a well up to storage on the hillside above. The storage is large enough to provide gravity-fed water for a couple of days. The power goes out a couple times/year here so this is by design. We also have a backup generator -- a nice one. It stays on standby but it also tests itself -- firing up once/month and running for ten minutes under load, logs the data and shuts down again. We had a windstorm a month ago that brought a tree limb over the electrical feed to our wellhouse. Everything was fine but when we later tested the generator, it would run for about 20 minutes and then die. Tried this again, same failure. Again. Again. Turned out to be a bad circuit board -- under warranty so we just had to pay for the service person to come out and swap. It seems that this is not unique -- from New York City's CBS affiliate:
NYU Hospital Evacuated After Backup Generator Goes Down
Over 200 patients at New York University Langone Medical Center-Tisch Hospital were being evacuated Monday night, after power went out as a result of Superstorm Sandy and generators subsequently began to go down.

As CBS 2�s Dick Brennan reported, power went down across Manhattan from 39th Street south to the southern tip of the island � a region that includes the hospital. Backup generators were in operation, but started to fail in the 11 p.m. hour, and an evacuation began.

An army of 50 to 70 ambulances lined up along 30th Street at First Avenue, where the hospital is located. They lined up all the way up First Avenue around the corner to 30th Street, and backed up.

Robert Grossman, Dean Of NYU Medical Center, told CBS 2′s Brennan that �We�ve had a number of power failures of primary and secondary backup systems.�
CRAP! We are just a rural county water system with a couple days reserve capacity -- this is a large urban Hospital. Another bad design element:
Making things more complicated is the fact there are no elevators in the building and many patients are being carried down stairs.
Don't know if the reporter means no functioning elevators but either way, this is not good. Implementing a ramp system between floors would not take that much space (a 20' by 20' structure outside the building's walls at the most generous) No -- our generator will be running it's usual test every month but every fourth test will be manual and we will let it drive the pumps for a couple hours. A bit more fuel expensive when we are trying to save money (do not want to raise the water rates) but reliability is the element here. That Hospital should have been running manual backup tests under full load once every other week at least...

From Network World comes a perfect example of why traditional centralized management simply does not work:

Want a security pro? For starters, get politically incorrect and understand geek culture
While complaints can be heard far and wide that it's hard to find the right IT security experts to defend the nation's cyberspace, the real problem in hiring security professionals is the roadblocks put up by lawyers and human resources personnel and a complete lack of understanding of geek culture, says security consultant Winn Schwartau.

Take Janet Napolitano, U.S. secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, who has said the country can't find the right people for network defense. The real problem is a misunderstanding of computer geeks, their personalities, habits and their backgrounds, said Schwartau today during his talk at the Hacker Halted information security conference here.

According to Schwartau, there's a gauntlet of hiring obstacles today that actually work to discriminate against computer geeks who have the expertise to do the job of protecting government networks. Demands for college degrees and IT certifications and the ability to get IT security clearances should not be a priority in hiring, said Schwartau. "Forget education," he said, adding, "We need to re-design clearances -- they're a Cold War relic designed for nuclear secrets and 1950s crypto." The era of 9-to-5 is also over, he added.

He said what's holding up hiring IT security professionals can be found in the thinking of human resources departments that frown on conditions such as attention deficit disorder and autism, or obsessive-compulsive personalities which are typical of computer geeks willing to focus on an issue through the night. And although hiring rules in place tend to go the extra mile to accept alcoholism, the slightest type of illegal drug infraction makes it tough for job applicants. "We've got to start getting politically incorrect if we want to get the job done," said Schwartau.

An excellent analysis of the problem and its sources -- lawyers and human resources personnel should be the absolute last people involved in the decision-making process for hiring geeks. I would loathe working for Napolitano -- she is not smart, she was a competent bureaucrat who has now been promoted to her level of incompetency (The Peter Principle). The word "Hacker" has suffered a downward shift in its meaning. It used to (and still does in some circles) mean someone who likes to push boundaries but for the good -- someone who will hack into a system and then leave a small text file with their contact information in case the owner of the server wanted that particular security breach fixed... Not that I have ever done anything like that -- just sayin'

Damn near spewed a mouthful of nice Zin over my keyboard. Two articles. First -- from Daniel Halper writing at The Weekly Standard:
Clinton: Obama's Feelings Most Hurt Over Jeep Ad
"I saw the reports of Governor Romney's latest ad saying that the president had allowed Jeep to move to China," said Clinton. "And so this morning, before he left Florida and went back to Washington, he said, 'You know, of all the things Governor Romney has said that probably hurts my feelings the most.' He said, 'You know, I never had any money when I was a kid. and the first new car I ever owned I was 30 years old it was a Jeep.'"

As an aside, it's Interesting that, according an old USA Today report, Obama's first (used) car was a Ford Granada.
Like many men, President Obama has fond memories of his first car -- even if it was a Ford Granada.

"I have to confess; my first car was my grandfather's car," Obama told AAA in an interview. "Which was a Ford Granada."
Then, it appears, Obama owned a red Fiat. �Before returning to Hawaii, Stan bought his grandson a present: a beat-up old red Fiat that they found at a Los Angeles used car lot,� writes David Maraniss in Barack Obama: The Story.

Then, Maraniss details Obama had a Honda Civic. �Before leaving New York, Obama spent two thousand dollars on a blue Honda Civic that he would drive into the heartland to start his new life.�

And then a Nissan Datsun. �The old blue Honda Civic was gone; he had sold it before departing for Europe and Africa. Now he had another car, a used yellow Datsun that cost five hundred dollars.�

Obama's first new car was a Jeep Grand Cherokee, but was 39 years old when he bought the 2000 model, not 30, as Clinton stated earlier today.
Second -- from Tommaso Ebhardt writing at Bloomberg\Businessweek:
Marchionne Seen Missing Fiat Sales Target by $19 Billion
Fiat SpA (F) Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne set a target two and a half years ago to sell 6 million cars annually by 2014, a goal that analysts and industry observers at the time deemed impossible to achieve. They were right.

Marchionne, who runs both the Italian automaker and Chrysler Group LLC, has said he will revise his forecasts when the two companies announce third-quarter results tomorrow. Analysts estimate his sales target will need to come down by 15 billion euros ($19 billion).

�Marchionne was too optimistic in 2010,� said Giuseppe Berta, a professor at Bocconi University in Milan who has written several books on Fiat and has worked as a company historian. �Fiat and Chrysler can�t grow by self-propulsion to the famous 6 million-car target.�
And the money quote:
To counter the severe slump in European sales, Marchionne is considering building Chrysler models in Italy, including Jeeps, for export to North America. The Italian government is evaluating tax rebates on export goods to help Fiat. Marchionne may announce details of his plan as soon as Oct. 30, the people said.
OK - Romney's advertisement: "suggesting Jeep might move some of its production facilities overseas" The reality: "Fiat is considering moving Jeep production to Italy" Romney called him on it had he is denying it. UPDATE: More information coming out. Romney's stump speech and advertisement was absolutely correct. Fiat is talking with people in Guangzhou, China to build a manufacturing plant and one of the marques discussed is Jeep. More in a day or two.

Paul, Dammit! - an hour ago

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Paul, Dammit! is riding out the beast in its heart. His last update was an hour ago:
2200 Update (now with photos!)
We're still here! We're moored to a dock that is completely submerged. Our mooring lines are stretched tight to moorings that are 4 feet or more underwater. The surge is about 14 feet above normal high tide. Gusts are over 115mph, seems to be holding steady winds around 75mph.

My truck is gone. I loved that truck. I shall mourn it.
My employer's office presumably is a total loss.
So far, no one has been hurt or killed within my company's ranks.
This is a major success.
I don't think we'll be moving tomorrow. It's nasty.

If you can see from the pic, the water is receding now. It's currently about the height of the doorknob at the warehouse, so, figure about 3 1/2 feet above the dock. Quite a misery.
He also significantly updated his earlier post from today -- go and read.

Prudent move from Con Edison

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From Reuters:
Con Edison shuts off power to part of Lower Manhattan due to Sandy
New York power company Consolidated Edison Inc said on Monday that it had shut off power to part of Lower Manhattan to protect company equipment and customers and to allow for quicker restoration after Hurricane Sandy passes.
A major hassle for their customers but a very smart and prudent move -- there is enough salt water sloshing around lower Manhattan and the majority of their switchgear and distribution transformers are in vaults under the pavement. Getting them wet is bad enough, electrolysis would be way waaay worse...

And it is just starting in NY City

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From Associated Press:
Mammoth storm Sandy plunges NYC into darkness
Much of New York was plunged into darkness Monday by a superstorm that overflowed the city's historic waterfront, flooded the financial district and subway tunnels and cut power to nearly a million people.

The city had shut its mass transit system, schools, the stock exchange and Broadway and ordered hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to leave home to get out of the way of the superstorm Sandy as it zeroed in on the nation's largest city.

Residents spent much of the day trying to salvage normal routines, jogging and snapping pictures of the water while officials warned the worst of the storm had not hit.

By evening, a record 13-foot storm surge was threatening Manhattan's southern tip, howling winds had sent a crane hanging from a high-rise, and utilities deliberately darkened part of downtown Manhattan to avoid storm damage.

Water lapped over the seawall in Battery Park City, flooding rail yards, subway tracks, tunnels and roads. Rescue workers floated bright orange rafts down flooded downtown streets, while police officers rolled slowly down the street with loudspeakers telling people to go home.

"Now it's really turning into something," said Brian Damianakes, taking shelter in an ATM vestibule and watching a trash can blow down the street in Battery Park.
And of course, NYC has superior leadership:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday night that the surge was expected to recede by midnight, after exceeding an original expectation of 11 feet.

"The worst of the weather has come," he said. He said New Yorkers were inundating the 911 system and getting stranded in cars, and urged people to stay put until the storm passed.

"You have to stay wherever you are. Let me repeat that. You have to stay wherever you are," he said.
First of all, Bloomberg downplayed the danger of the storm and only at the last moment issued evacuation orders for just one section of lower Manhattan. Now, this idiot is saying that it is going to start to get better after midnight. No, mayor, it is just starting. As for: "New Yorkers were inundating the 911 system and getting stranded in cars", they are there because you were so late to tell people to evacuate. This storm is about 900 miles in diameter. Maybe Mayor Bloomberg is more comfortable deciding the size of soft drinks that people can by than actually gathering knowledgeable people around him, actually listening to them and leading...
Visited eleven vendors for the grocery store today and brought back a truckload full of stuff that will need to be restocked by Friday's buying run. And this is the slow season -- all the campers and vacationers have gone home for the season and Mt. Baker has yet to open for skiing. The report from Baker is cautious but optimistic. See what is happening with Sandy -- when I am driving, I listen to satellite talk radio and two of my favorite people (Wilkow and Levin) were right it its path and had substitutes from California on the air.

Update from the Pacific Northwest

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No relationship to Sandy but it is pouring down buckets here -- 1.7" in the last 24 hours with even heavier rain forecast for Tuesday. The NWS has issued a Hydrologic Outlook warning of river and localized flooding (storm drains clogged with leaves, etc.) The joy of living in interesting times...

Update from Paul, Dammit!

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Paul, Dammit! is a Merchant Marine Captain currently hunkered down on his ship in Pt. Elizabeth NJ -- staring right down the path of the cone... Today he writes:
Not much of a calm before the storm
Winds are getting a little more lusty and a lot more gusty while I was off watch. I slept like a baby, though (And what does that mean? You woke up wet and crying a few times, and at some point you shit yourself?).

Storm surge for this high tide seems to be about the same as the last one. So far so good. The news is too repetitive to watch. A bunch of folks on a bunch of beaches asking each other what the weather is. Here's the weather: It's wet, it's windy. Back to you at the studio, Linda.

Maybe they're false memories at this point, but I remember the hurricanes when I was a kid as coming with an eerie yellow sky the day of, before the wind started, and all the neighborhood dogs getting weird. No dogs out here- but the damn tide is high, for sure, and it's been blowing hard for about 24 hours now, so I guess this is the weather we'll be having until the wind starts to moan and whistle through the antennas up on the overhead.

Edit: it's about 0900 now. In the last 30 minutes the wind has seriously ramped up, and the damn tide is still rising. 6 inches more and the dock we're moored alongside will be under water.

Sandy update - Monday morning

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Heading into town to do the store buying run and checking the reports on Sandy first. The Jet stream looks to be pushing landfall further south. From AccuWeather: It's speed has increased to 20MPH and it is getting stronger with landfall expected around New Jersey around 9PM Monday evening. Flooding has already started. From AccuWeater: Lots of photos of flooding in NYC and Atlantic City with large sections of the boardwalk floating free. Waves crashing into the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Brooklyn. From NOAA: The Cone As bad as the flooding in NYC would be if it was a direct hit, now that it's heading to New Jersey, I am thinking about the refineries, the industrial chemical plants, the port facilities. This is going to put a serious crimp into our energy and our economy especially with an unseasonably cold winter coming on for the East Coast -- remember, a lot of Sandy's precipitation is going to come down as snow in the New England states...
I had posted about Paul, Dammit! before -- a Sea Captain currently working in the New York City area and was hunkering down. Today he writes:
hunkered down
So we're in a hurricane berth, wedged between a couple of Army Corps of Engineers dredge ships, and there are 20 (!) dock lines out securing us to a dock that will probably be underwater in about 6 hours, but even so, we're in a nice protected spot up in Pt. Elizabeth NJ, which is good, because that bitch storm Sandy is about to rain on us directly overhead tomorrow.

With a 6-11 foot storm surge predicted and 2 days of sustained storm-force or better winds, my psychic alter-ego, Nostradumbass, predicts a busy time tending lines and trying to keep us in the water and not on top of the dock or floating into the warehouses across the quay.

Also, it occurs to me that my truck is sitting in Red Hook NY, which has been evacuated for fear of extensive flooding. My truck is in a lovely parking lot with a water view, only 6 feet or so above the high tide line.
His crew is in for a busy day or two -- 20 lines is a lot. Most ships will do six or eight under average weather. This is not average. Busier than a sailor with two fids...

One thing "nice" about Sandy

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It sure is keeping the mainstream media's focus off the scandal of Benghazi. From Breitbart:
Media Blackout: Aside from FOX, Sunday News Hosts Fail to Raise Benghazi
The mainstream media's silence on the Benghazi disaster reached deafening levels on Sunday, as hosts of four out of the five major news shows--with the exception of Fox News Sunday--failed to raise the issue. Only Bob Schieffer of CBS gave it serious consideration, and only after it was raised by Sen. John McCain.

When the Benghazi issue did surface, other than on Fox, it was invariably brought up by Republican guests, and then deflected by the hosts, who largely ignored new stories this week that implicated the White House in the decision not to intervene to save the life of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and other American staff.

Here is how the Sunday shows covered the issue:

NBC: Meet the Press with David Gregory
The Benghazi issue was not raised at all, save by panelist Carly Fiorina, who was interrupted by Gregory. He promised, "We'll get to that a little bit later," but did not return to the issue before the show's end. (The show was interrupted in some markets, in the final minute, with breaking news about Hurricane Sandy.)

ABC: This Week with George Stephanopoulos
The Benghazi issue was raised by Newt Gingrich, in response to a question about the Romney campaign's prospects in Ohio. Stephanopoulos failed to ask a follow-up and steered the conversation back to polls.

CNN: State of the Union with Candy Crowley
The Benghazi issue was raised twice, once by Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus in response to a question about U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's views on abortion, and once by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in response to a question about whether Romney would win the state in November. Crowley did not raise the issue independently in a show largely focused on polls and voting.
More at the site -- there was also CBS: Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer and FOX: Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. We let those poor people hang and the decision to do so came from the top. What happened, when and why? We deserve an answer especially when the Spectre airship could have put a stop to this -- the mortar position was being illuminated by a targeting laser and the airship was nearby. They were told to stand down. The 420+ comments are a fun mix...

Ho Li Crap - Sandy

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Anthony at Watts Up With That has a stunning image from the GOES-14 satellite as well as a plain-spoken report from the NWS:
Stunning super high res image of Hurricane Sandy � plus forecast of a large storm surge
UPDATE: The NWS in Mt. Holly NJ has put out an extraordinary statement, dropping the typical �gov speak� and pleading to people in direct language. See below.

GOES-14 has been brought into service again on October 25th, 2012 for SRSOR imaging of Hurricane Sandy. (h/t to Al Lipton) Here�s a super high resolution visible light image of Sandy from today at 19:41UTC.

While there is no well defined eye, there is evidence of increased cyclonic vorticity and organization.
The NWS report:
241 PM EDT SUN OCT 28 2012













Cannot say it any more than that. This storm is a monster.

A fun day

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Lulu and I spent some time in the garden planting garlic -- she is doing most of the work while I am in here doing paperwork and paying bills. Nice day today -- temps around 62 and bright sun but cloudy. A couple days of persistent rain are due to start this evening. I had listed for sale two items on the Bellingham Craigslist last evening and I got some 'fun' replies. First was this mailing machine Second was this audio mixer Got an email this morning:
Re: Mailing Machine - $500 (Maple Falls) Date: 2012-10-27, 8:48PM PDT Reply to this post Reply to: dwj9h-3369865096@sale.craigslist.org
Thanks you for the response according to the description, am okay with the price and the condition pasted on cl. I am ready to make instant purchase. My mode of payment would be in CERTIFIED CHECK and i will arrange for a local pick up as soon as you get the check, because that is the only convenient means for me and due to my work frame i can not be able to get there and i promise everything will go smoothly.I really wish to be there to check out the item but i don't have chance cause am very busy person (US MARINE). And am already back to camp but i will get home very soon Concerning the pick up, i will arrange for it after you receive the payment and it clears... Pls get back to me with below info so that i can proceed with the payment immediately if you are selling to me.

Name to be written on check..
Address: Not P.O.BOX...
City...State...Postal Code...
Phone Number that i can send text...

And as soon as this is provided, the payment will be made and i will let you know when its mailed out. Thanks and i hope we handle this in good faith while waiting to hear from you. i will add an additional $30 so that you can hold it for me till the check reaches you.
I then got this one:
OK: 24*8 studio mixer - Mackie - $800 (Maple Falls)
Sounds Good,

I am ready to purchase it asap.I anticipate that I'll have a Certified Check issued out to you from my bank.I'm in no rush with you till fund's are cleared in your bank which takes only a day. You do not have to bother yourself about the shipping. I'll instruct a Shipping Co Agent to come for pick up at your door,when you must have gotten your cash at hand. Kindly e-mail me back with your physical address such as :

Address (NOT P.o.box)
City, State, Zip-code,
Phone Number.

I will be sending the payment via Overnight FedEx Express Mail Delivery .You can delete the advert asap

Do you see a trend here? Hmmmmm??? Here is what I replied to one of them (the other reply was really similar):
Hi Nnnnnnnnn
How about this -- even simpler.

Since you already have an agent in place to pick the unit up, how about sending __them__ the cashiers check, have them cash it and bring me the cash.

I don't get into town that often and this would eliminate a step on my part.

This scam has been around since God made Dirt. A personal check is processed just like a debit transfer. They send me a personal check, I deposit it, the bank processes it that evening and the funds are transfered out of the senders account at that moment. A cashiers check is not processed this way -- if I deposit a cashiers check, the bank will 'honor' it and credit my account those funds. The 'shipping agent' then picks up the item and a week later, my bank calls me to let me know that the check was counterfeit and they are debiting my account those funds. I am out my $800 and my mixer. I left the wording of my replies very open -- it will be fun to see if I get a response to them... UPDATE: 8:15PM -- I went back and edited both advertisements adding the following line:
If you are going to attempt to run that fifteen year old scam: "I will pay with a Cashiers Check and my agent will pick it up when it clears", you are a total retard. A fscking moron. Go back to your mommies basement and keep on jerking off to her old copies of Reader's Digest. That scam was old when eBay first started. Get a life...
See if that clears things up at all. I might just boilerplate this and put it in all of my other Craigslist ads. Two points of note; fsck is a Linux system tool: File System ChecK It makes a nice proxy when I want to emphasize a bit. The Reader's Digest line is paraphrased from a Harlan Ellison essay in his 1970 collection The Glass Teat -- well worth tracking down and reading.

Just in time for Sandy

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From the New York Post:
Statue of Liberty reopens today after $30 million interior renovation
Her beauty isn�t only skin deep.

After a yearlong, $30 million interior makeover, Lady Liberty is ready for her closeup as she reopens to the public today.

The mostly federally funded renovation to the 126-year-old Statue of Liberty includes fire-safety and ventilation improvements, better bathrooms, a third elevator and a remodeled staircase with 39 extra steps to make it easier to climb from pedestal to crown.

And, for the first time ever, there is wheelchair access to the top of the pedestal.
A bit more:
The statue will open today, said superintendent David Luchsinger, but officials say it and Ellis Island could be closed tomorrow and Tuesday because of Hurricane Sandy.

�She�s been here for 126 years. She�ll be here after this one,� Luchsinger said.
Shouldn't be any problem -- Irene last year had higher wind velocity. The concern with Sandy is her overall size (over 500 miles in diameter) which will push a surge ahead of her path. Couple that increased surge with the full-moon higher tide and the main problem will be flooding.

Interesting but slow

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Here is the link to the Atlantic City, NJ surfers webcam. The site is running pretty slow as it's probably dealing with a lot of traffic. Atlantic City, NJ Beach Cam Looks dark, gray and nasty there...

Liberals see the light in Canada

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From the Vancouver, BC The Tyee:
BC Liberals consider ditching carbon tax
The political party that introduced the carbon tax to British Columbia is considering calling for its elimination.

A resolution to be debated at the BC Liberal Party convention in Whistler says, "The elimination of the carbon tax would benefit the economy of British Columbia by facilitating [an] equal economic playing field with other adjoining Provinces and States."

Doing so would reduce the cost of all products that require fossil fuels, as well as transportation and heating, but would lift the incentive to cut fossil fuel use, it said.

Eliminating the tax, which former premier Gordon Campbell's BC Liberal government introduced in 2008 and which the government is reviewing, emerged as a theme in a "free enterprise Friday" session with Finance Minister Mike de Jong.

"We need to take a hard look at the carbon tax because of the impact on low income families and the fact it's not working," Mike Klassen told the session. Klassen supported the carbon tax when it was introduced and believes reducing greenhouse gasses is a good idea, but said it makes sense to scrap it since there's no evidence it has reduced emissions.

John Kettle, from Nelson, said rural people will vote against the Liberals if the government keeps the carbon tax. "They see us as the reason they can't continue their lifestyles."
Makes a lot of sense -- greenhouse gasses have minimal influence on ground temperatures and there is a good case to be made for higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. This would give drastically increased crop yields as CO2 is an essential component in Photosyntheses and without Photosyntheses, we would have no plant life at all...
From Brendan Loy over at The Weather Nerd:
Get The Hell Out
Being up in Wyoming with my older girls, away from my computer, I have limited information about Sandy right now. But from what I�m seeing on Twitter, it appears: 1) the computer models indicate that the threat of a catastrophic storm surge in New York City has increased, and is a VERY real (though, of course, not certain) threat; and 2) Mayor Bloomberg has affirmatively decided NOT to evacuate even the most low-lying areas of his vulnerable city, nor even to close the city government or schools Monday.

If I have all of that right, it makes no damn sense at all.

Bloomberg�s error here could be even worse than that of Ray Nagin, who merely delayed too long, but who at least did ultimately give the obviously necessary evacuation order. It�s also hard to square Bloomberg�s inaction with his proactive � and correct � actions in advance of Irene. Perhaps he�s now gun-shy because of ignorant hindsight 20/20 criticisms of that �unnecessary� evacuation. If so, he�s a damn fool, along with those who criticized him then for an evacuation that was fully justified by contemporaneous information.

In any case, if I lived in a �Zone A� or �Zone B� area of NYC, I�d get the hell out, tonight. (Or tomorrow, if I could easily travel by foot to my non-flood-prone destination.) It�s not even a close call. Same goes for any other location in the cone of uncertainty that�s vulnerable to a potential (not certain�it�s never certain�but realistic potential) storm surge of 6-10 feet, plus very high surf on top of that, at astronomical high tide.
Unreal -- fortunately, somebody seems to have gotten to Bloomberg as he is now advising that Zone A be evacuated. From the NYC CBS affiliate:
Mayor Bloomberg: Zone A Ordered Evacuated, Public Schools Closed Monday
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced he signed an executive order mandating the evacuation of Zone A by 7 p.m.
Bloomberg warned residents who live in Zone A that all elevators in the zone will be shut down at 7 p.m. and urged residents to get to higher ground quickly, before subway and bus service is shut down.

�If you don�t evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you,� he said at a news conference Sunday. �This is a serious and dangerous storm.�
And lastly:
In addition, Mayor Bloomberg announced all city schools have been closed for Monday. Alternate side of the street parking has also been suspended for Monday.
126 miles away from the city of Prince Rupert. Shallow so this is going to be felt for some distance. More from the U.S. Geological Survey And of course, this is right where that moron Russ George of Planktos Inc. dumped 100 tons of Iron Sulphate in order to claim carbon credits from the resultant plankton bloom and die-off. So dumping FeSO4 causes large earthquakes. Just like dumping CO2 causes global warming. We need a new Kyoto Protocol to limit FeSO4 in our oceans!!!!!!!!11eleventy!!!!!! UPDATE: From Prince Rupert's The Northern View:
UPDATE: 8 foot wave reported at Sandspit after 7.7 magnitude earthquake hits Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert feels shaking
The earth on the north coast was moving on Saturday night as a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck 139 km south of Masset.

"We're going around and checking now, waiting to see if there was any damage. I do know that it felt like there was a train going through, it was enough for me to move away from the windows," Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha said.

The earthquake occurred at 8:04 p.m. at the epicenter on Oct. 27.

Although the earthquake happened 202 km away from Prince Rupert, many felt or noticed signs of it. The quake was felt as far inland as Chetwynd through the Pine Pass and as far south as Vancouver.

The earthquake happened 17.5 kilometres below the surface. There is now a tsunami warning in effect for the coastal areas of British Columbia and Alaska. However the chances of Prince Rupert flooding from tsunami waves are unlikely considering the city's harbour is surrounded by islands.

"All coastal and all low lying areas within the area are being issued an evacuation notice and are being asked to go to higher grounds. That includes all of our local marinas both in the villages and Prince Rupert," Prince Rupert Constable Matt Ericson said.

Port operations have been evacuated according to Prince Rupert Port Authority spokesperson Michael Gurney.

"This is a precaution because only an 8 ft rise in water level was observed in Sandspit, so by the time a wave, if any reaches Prince Rupert it will be negligible," he told the Prince Rupert Northern View.
Great to hear that people are safe. Traveled through there about ten years ago on a friend's fishing boat. Some gorgeous country...

A long strange trip

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Nine years ago today, I posted this
Hello world!
says it all...

Posted by DaveH at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)
Now, 14,544 posts later (and 1,591 comments), I am still having a lot of fun. I ran a computer bulletin board (The Signpost) for ten years prior to this so my roots run deep.

Heh - check out 11foot8

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There is a railroad bridge in Durham, NC with an eleven foot and eight inch clearance. Needless to say, a lot of Penske and Ryder truck drivers do not heed the warning signs or watch out for the blinkey lights. Check out the videos at 11foot8 DOH!

Fun at the New York Times

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What was once our Nation's Newspaper of Record is a pale shadow of itself and the stock prices reflect that. From the New York Post:
NY Times Co. shares tumble 22% on dismal ad sales
It was an ugly day for the New York Times Co.

Shares of the newspaper publisher finished down $2.38, or nearly 22 percent, to $8.31 � the biggest one-day drop in nearly three decades, according to Bloomberg data.

The Times reported a worse-than-expected drop in ad sales for the third quarter, dragging down overall results.
Not only today's losses -- the NY Times has been in steady decline for at least ten years. The link shows the NY Times stock closing around $45/share in 2003 which is about $56 in today's dollarettes. The photo accompanying the article shows Publisher Arthur �Pinch� Sulzberger sporting quite the black eye. Must be brutal out there...

$100 Million Dollars

Wince! From Network World:
Cisco network really was $100 million more
It really was apples-to-apples.

The $100 million price differential between the Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco proposals to refresh California State University's 23-campus network that we wrote about earlier this week was based on an identical number of switches and routers in various configurations.

CSU allowed Network World to review spreadsheets calculating the eight-year total cost of ownership of each of the five bidders for the project.

The price discrepancy between Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent sparked a Add a comment on the Network World site that the bids did not represent a fair, apples-to-apples comparison. When asked if the number of network elements Cisco proposed drastically outnumbered those of the other bidders, Michel Davidoff, director of cyberinfrastructure at CSU, replied "Absolutely not."

"Everybody had to comply with this spreadsheet," he said. "Every campus had two border routers, two cores, and two server farm switches. All the vendors had to propose exactly the same solution" based on the average number of servers deployed at each CSU campus. "All of this is based on exactly the same data to all of the vendors. It's exactly the same formula for all of the vendors."
Cisco is sort of the Rolls-Royce of networking equipment -- bulletproof and priced accordingly. They are also very proactive when dealing with any issues on their hardware. That being said, I have worked with a bunch of Lucent (this was before they merged with Alcatel) equipment and they are also very very good -- no real discernible performance differences between them and Cisco and the lab I was working in was very focused on high-performance computing. For them to blow the bid by $100 Million Dollars (raising my little pinkie to the edge of my mouth) is nuts. Brocade came in for $2M higher -- I might have gone with them as they are truly the cutting edge.

Preparedness in New York City

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Chilling article (from September 10th, 2012) at the New York Times on how NYC is lagging in upgrading its infrastructure:
New York Is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise, Critics Warn
With a 520-mile-long coast lined largely by teeming roads and fragile infrastructure, New York City is gingerly facing up to the intertwined threats posed by rising seas and ever-more-severe storm flooding.

So far, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has commissioned exhaustive research on the challenge of climate change. His administration is expanding wetlands to accommodate surging tides, installing green roofs to absorb rainwater and prodding property owners to move boilers out of flood-prone basements.

But even as city officials earn high marks for environmental awareness, critics say New York is moving too slowly to address the potential for flooding that could paralyze transportation, cripple the low-lying financial district and temporarily drive hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

Only a year ago, they point out, the city shut down the subway system and ordered the evacuation of 370,000 people as Hurricane Irene barreled up the Atlantic coast. Ultimately, the hurricane weakened to a tropical storm and spared the city, but it exposed how New York is years away from � and billions of dollars short of � armoring itself.

�They lack a sense of urgency about this,� said Douglas Hill, an engineer with the Storm Surge Research Group at Stony Brook University, on Long Island.
Much more at the site -- the author, Mireya Navarro, talks about the susceptibility of the subway tunnels to surge:
Klaus H. Jacob, a research scientist at Columbia University�s Earth Institute, said the storm surge from Irene came, on average, just one foot short of paralyzing transportation into and out of Manhattan.

If the surge had been just that much higher, subway tunnels would have flooded, segments of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive and roads along the Hudson River would have turned into rivers, and sections of the commuter rail system would have been impassable or bereft of power, he said.

The most vulnerable systems, like the subway tunnels under the Harlem and East Rivers, would have been unusable for nearly a month, or longer, at an economic loss of about $55 billion, said Dr. Jacob, an adviser to the city on climate change and an author of the 2011 state study that laid out the flooding prospects.
The article's author is very much in the tank for Anthropogenic Global Warming but once you filter out that crap, what is left is a very sobering read...

Sandy update from Dr. Jeff Masters

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Jeff Masters? Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. From his blog: Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog:
Sandy likely to be a multi-billion dollar disaster for the U.S.
Hurricane Sandy is holding its own against high wind shear of 30 - 40 knots, and has regained its Category 1 strength after falling to tropical storm strength early this morning. Sandy is a massive storm, with tropical storm-force winds that span a 660-mile diameter area of ocean from a point even with central Florida northwards to a point off the central North Carolina coast. Twelve-foot high seas cover a diameter of ocean 1,000 miles across.
Dr. Masters talks about the contributing factors to the storm surge -- the full moon means that tides will be larger:
If Sandy hits near New York City, as the GFS model predicts, the storm surge will be capable of overtopping the flood walls in Manhattan, which are only five feet above mean sea level. On August 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene brought a storm surge of 4.13' to Battery Park on the south side of Manhattan. The waters poured over the flood walls into Lower Manhattan, but came 8 - 12" shy of being able to flood the New York City subway system.
A bit more:
New York was not as lucky on December 12, 1992, when a 990 mb Nor'easter drove an 8-foot storm surge into Battery Park, flooding the NYC subway and the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH) train systems in Hoboken New Jersey. FDR Drive in lower Manhattan was flooded with 4 feet of water, which stranded more than 50 cars and required scuba divers to rescue some of the drivers. Mass transit between New Jersey and New York was down for ten days, and the storm did hundreds of millions in damage to the city. The highest water level recorded at the Battery in the past century came in September 1960 during Hurricane Donna, which brought a storm surge of 8.36 feet to the Battery and flooded lower Manhattan to West and Cortland Streets. According to the latest storm surge forecast for NYC from the experimental Extratropical Storm Surge model, run by NOAA"s Meteorological Development Laboratory, Sandy's storm surge may be higher than Irene's, and has the potential to flood New York City's subway system. The amount of water will depend critically upon whether or not the peak storm surge arrives at high tide or not. If the peak surge arrives near Monday evening's high tide near 9 pm EDT, a portion of New York City's subway system could flood, resulting in billions of dollars in damage. I give a 30% chance that Sandy's storm surge will end up flooding a portion of the New York City subway system.
The predicted storm tide for Sandy is 10.5 feet according to the NOAA's Meteorological Development Laboratory. I am so glad to not be living on the East Coast -- I do miss a good thunderstorm but I am happy to do without all of the other attendant weather worries...

Sandy update from Geoff Fox

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Meteorologist Geoff Fox lives in Connecticut -- right in Sandy's path. He has this to say:
Sandy Remains An Impressive Threat
Saturday afternoon. Pajamas. Kitchen table. Laptop. Worried look.

I�m scared I�m right. I�m scared I�m wrong. The meteorologist�s conundrum.

Each and every aspect of Sandy�s impact on Connecticut looks worse than anything I�ve seen before and I�ve been forecasting here 28 years.

With the time frame for Sandy�s arrival getting shorter there�s more guidance to look at. Some projections only go out 72 hours. I didn�t need them until now.

A huge concern is the shoreline. Water will pile up in the Sound before Sandy gets here. As the storm approaches windblown waves will form on top of that temporarily elevated sea level. At the same time the full moon will bring higher than normal tides!

The high tide at New London Monday evening is now forecast five feet above what�s on the tide tables. In Bridgeport the high tide will be seven feet above. In both cases the high tide will be broader and longer than usual as storm surge builds.

If tides come as now projected, Bridgeport breaks the record high tide measured during the Hurricane of �38!
From Breitbart:
'Stand Down': U.S. Had Two Drones, AC-130 Gunship, and Targets Painted in Benghazi
Reports indicate two drones and an AC-130 gunship were in the area when Benghazi was attacked, yet their resources were not used.

This runs completely against the current explanation coming out of the White House, which is that Obama did everything he could once he learned of the attack.

You'll remember that in the second presidential debate, Obama said that as "soon as I was aware the Benghazi consulate was being overrun, I was on the phone with my national security team." The not-so-subtle intimation is that Obama was stepping up to the protect the U.S. personnel who were in Libya. And in the wakes of their deaths, which weren't "optimal," we have been assured that stronger action wasn't taken stronger because those options weren't available.

Sec. of State Leon Panetta gave us another version this same excuse, saying: "The U.S. military did not get involved during the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi last month because officials did not have enough information about what was going on before the attack was over."

There are three huge problems with the excuses Obama and Panetta are making.

1. It is now known that the U.S. had two drones in the area -- both of which were filming the attacks, sending back feeds in real time, and at least one of the drone may have been armed.

2. Reports also indicate a Specter gunship, probably an AC-130, was in the area for backup. The gunship could have swooped in and not only leveled the playing field in the match between 50 attackers vs a handful of security personnel, it could have thrown the attack decisively in favor of the security personnel.

3. The security personnel in Benghazi had painted a laser mark on the attackers outside the consulate. This mark would have made possible a response by the drones or the AC-130 routine had they been allowed to zero in on it. The member of the security team who was on the roof of the consulate, spraying machine gun fire down on the attackers, continually asked for backup from the AC-130. It never came.

Obama says he was doing everything he could, and Panetta says we didn't react more strongly because we weren't sure what was going on. Yet we now know two drones were sending back video of the attack in real time, and at least one of those drones may have been armed. We also know a massive AC-130 gunship could have been used for backup as well, but it was not. And we know that security was begging for backup and even marking targets with lasers for the drones and/or gunship so they could make quick work of the attackers.

Yet Obama chose not to respond, and that's the bottom line.
Words fail...

Another source for plants

I'll have to check these people out -- they are about an hour's south of here. From the Bellingham Herald:

Tribal nursery focuses on native Wash. plants
Banksavers Nursery is the state's only tribal-owned native plant nursery, and one of the few around that focuses solely on plants native to Western Washington.

Operated by the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, Banksavers evolved from educational and social efforts to engage tribal members in learning about native plants and their traditional uses. Then it became a program in which the tribe grew native plants for its own salmon habitat projects, establishing wetlands and forests to mitigate for the tribe's development in the county.

After other jurisdictions began contracting for Banksaver plants and landscaping services, the tribe decided to step out as a wholesale and retail operation.

A few years ago, the tribe bought a former alpaca farm north of Arlington and moved its greenhouses up from the tribe's property along the Stillaguamish River. The business is located at 25525 Dahl Road, which runs along the eastside of I-5 just south of the Stanwood exit.

The 135-acre farm overlooks the Pilchuck Creek canyon on one side. Banksavers has four large greenhouses, potting sheds, landscaping materials and equipment and acres of 63 species of native plants potted up in neat rows. At full capacity, the pesticide-free, organic nursery has space for a half million plants. The operation, which gives preference to tribal members, employs 14 people.

Stillaguamish tribal member Martin Allen has worked at the nursery for about four years.

"It's great to work for the tribe and great that the tribe owns this nursery," Allen said. "And sometimes the work is more than just work. It's heartfelt when we plant cedar trees."

Western red cedars are one of the most important plants to Coast Salish tribes, who depended on the trees for canoes, clothing, homes and spiritual uses.

Very cool -- they have a website here: Bank Savers Lulu and I spent the last summer redoing a lot of the landscaping around here as well as putting in a vegetable garden for the first time in five years. Now I know where to get native vegetation.

From the Denver Colorado CBS affiliate:
Jeffco �Democrat Of The Year� Convicted Of Felony Theft
The woman named �Democrat of The Year� this year by the Jefferson County Democratic Party has been convicted of felony theft by a Jefferson County jury for stealing from a developmentally disabled 71-year-old woman.

�The jury did right,� said Cindy Maxwell, an advocate for the victim.

On Thursday, a jury convicted 66-year-old Estelle Carson of felony identify theft and felony theft from an at risk adult for stealing checks from the woman and using them to pay her own cable, cell phone and internet bills.

The victim is partially blind, developmentally disabled, has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. She is on a fixed income of $596 per month according to the Jefferson County District Attorney�s Office.
Talk about pathetic -- a bit more:
According to documents obtained by CBS4, in November of 2011, the Jeffco Democratic Party announced it planned to honor Carson for her activism on behalf of Democratic causes and her efforts to register voters.

But three days before the January 8 gala, advocates for the victim contacted the party via email and phone informing them of the criminal investigation.

One wrote �I am completely appalled,� to learn of the planned honor. The woman suggested the Democratic Party should �un-invite Estelle and not follow through with this honor.�

Cindy Maxwell told CBS4 she informed Democratic Party officials that Carson had already confessed to the theft as part of the investigation.

But Chris Kennedy, chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic party, dismissed the concerns saying there was not a conviction and bestowed the �Democrat Of The Year� honor on Carson.
Well it didn't fit the narrative so we will just go ahead regardless. What is up with these people? So willfully blind.

Beginning to prepare - Hurricane Sandy

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From Reuters:
U.S. power companies brace for Hurricane Sandy
U.S. electric companies from Maine to Florida were bracing for heavy wind, rain and flooding that could take down power lines and threaten to close some East Coast nuclear plants early next week when Hurricane Sandy comes ashore.

More than a dozen nuclear plants are located near Hurricane Sandy's path in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut, providing power to millions of customers in the region.
Sending my prayers out to these people -- Sandy has the potential to be a big one, really big.

Sandy - update

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Looks like a big one -- from the NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center:
226 PM EDT FRI OCT 26 2012

VALID 12Z MON OCT 29 2012 - 12Z FRI NOV 02 2012



Those on the East Coast have a couple days but do be proactive. This may well be a 100-year storm -- numbers are looking that way...

Sucks to be you - Al Gore

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From CainTV:
Al Gore's Current TV putting itself up for sale
Founded in 2005 by Al Gore, Current TV quickly made a name for itself as a go-to source for environmental incoherence, Democrat lunacy, and far-left diatribes. If providing an outlet for liberal kooks was the goal, it succeeded admirably. However, if it was trying to attract viewers, well, it's had some difficulty. Now, it's up for sale.

CEO Joel Hyatt recently told the New York Post that �Current has been approached many times by media companies interested in acquiring our company. This year alone, we have had three inquiries. As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to engage expertise to help us evaluate our strategic options.�

That's big-time TV exec speak that roughly translates as "We're getting ready to dump this turkey."

The network began its life by focusing on young, high school and college age, liberals. Predictably, its early crusade against global warming failed to attract eyeballs, so it began to reinvent itself as a standard, left-wing, talking head channel - packed with a host of zany pundits that even MSNBC had rejected.

Chief among these was Keith Olbermann who, after being fired from MSNBC due to his horrible personality, took his show "Countdown" to Current in 2011. There, he experienced the same kind of ego-driven controversies that have plagued him at every network in his career. The acquisition of Countdown was supposed to save the struggling net but, a few months after he started, Olbermann started to implode. He began insulting his bosses, famously referring to the station as "amateur hour," and was fired seven months ago.

Since then, Current has played host to a wide range of progressive nut jobs, with its most notable shows including such outstanding fare as �Joy Behar: Say Anything!,� �Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,� and of course, "The War Room with Jennifer Granholm."

All of these programs boast ratings which are regularly dwarfed by those earned by Dukes of Hazzard reruns.
Heh -- I could probably find enough spare change in the sofa but I would not want to put up with the Karma of dealing with these morons. So sad, too bad...


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Urban Exploration -- breaking into derelict buildings with a camera. There are a lot of sites out there but these images are just flat-out gorgeous. From Love These Pics:
Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned Europe: Meet Urbex Master Andre Govia
Urbex guru Andre Govia has an uncanny ability to take the most amazingly beautiful photos of creepy abandoned places. If you like abandoned, creepy, spooky, scary or haunted, then you could disappear for hours into Andre�s photostream. He�s a master of capturing hauntingly beautiful shots of abandoned mansions, hospitals, asylums, industrial complexes, hotels and about anything else you can imagine that might be abandoned across Europe. Andre Govia is on an urbex European madness tour; the fear factor is off the charts and some of the photos could scare the snot out of you. He�s been urbexing all over the globe and in 22 different countries. He and his adrenaline junkie buddies have Fright Night down to a fine art, exploring places caught in a time-warp, locations where history is frozen in time, and capturing ghosts of the past. Interesting at any time, it�s downright spooky to view his artistic photos around Halloween. Be ready to take a trip through some of the creepy, haunted locations. Andre granted Love These Pics an interview and offers tips for urban explorers and secrets to get the killer shots. His photos offer something for everyone, from elegant and hauntingly beautiful, to a scare factor that is the stuff of nightmares. Meet Andre Govia. We love these pics!
Some gorgeous work -- when I used to live in Boston in the 1970's, there were a lot of old factories to explore, all gone now and Bellingham is new enough that there aren't any real sites here. I want to sit down at #16 and rip out the Toccata and Fugue in D minor -- I can hear it now...

Three on the Benghazi scandal

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Turning out to be quite the story -- first from Jennifer Griffin at FOX News:
EXCLUSIVE: CIA operators were denied request for help during Benghazi attack, sources say
Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command -- who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down."
And the operatives did everything right -- had they gotten the requested support, this could have been nipped in the bud with minimal losses:
At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.
The laser 'paints' the target and a smart-bomb homes in on the laser -- perfect aiming from several miles up. Lots more at the site. Second -- from ABC News:
President Obama Begs Off Answering Whether Americans in Benghazi Were Denied Requests for Help
In an interview with a Denver TV reporter Friday, President Obama twice refused to answer questions as to whether the Americans under siege in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, were denied requests for help, saying he�s waiting for the results of investigations before making any conclusions about what went wrong.
And finally, David Petraeus is pissed -- from The Weekly Standard:
Petraeus Throws Obama Under the Bus
Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.�

So who in the government did tell �anybody� not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.

It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why�and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations�did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?
We saw yesterday that there were emails to the White House Situation Room -- Obama knew and did not act.

Welfare spending

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An interesting study that looks at the total cost of welfare -- the administrative overhead -- as well as the entitlements. From The Weekly Standard:
Over $60,000 in Welfare Spent Per Household in Poverty
New data compiled by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee shows that, last year, the United States spent over $60,000 to support welfare programs per each household that is in poverty. The calculations are based on data from the Census, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congressional Research Services.

"According to the Census�s American Community Survey, the number of households with incomes below the poverty line in 2011 was 16,807,795," the Senate Budget Committee notes. "If you divide total federal and state spending by the number of households with incomes below the poverty line, the average spending per household in poverty was $61,194 in 2011."
More at the site -- I'll say it again, we do not have a taxation problem, we have a spending problem. It is out of control...

And another one bites the dust

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From the Denver Post:
Weld County details investigation of Abound Solar
Abound Solar, the defunct solar-panel manufacturer, is under criminal investigation for possible securities fraud, consumer fraud and financial misrepresentation, the Weld County district attorney's office said Thursday.

Loveland-based Abound closed its Colorado plant in July and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in a move that left 125 workers without jobs and taxpayers holding the bag for up to $60 million in defaulted loans.
A bit more:
The securities-fraud investigation stems from allegations that "officials at Abound Solar knew products the company was selling were defective, and then asked investors to invest in the company without telling them about the defective products," the DA's office said in a news release.

Similarly, the consumer-fraud allegation is that Abound knowingly sold defective panels to customers.

The third subject of investigation is that Abound allegedly misled financial institutions when the company was seeking loans.
Sheesh... Selling known defective panels -- sounds like a bit of jail-time for some of the executives.

In which I feel like a perfect idiot...

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The court date was today at 1:15PM. I got there around 12:30, courtroom was locked so I sat and waited outside. I noticed some people coming and going so I went in and sat down. The judge came out and proceeded to work through his list of cases. This went on for two hours and at the end, he asked if there was any further business. I announced myself and was told that I had missed the 1:15 session -- that was a different process from the court decisions I had just sat through. Missed it by about five minutes... Drrrrrrrrrrrrr... Jen (my ex) is pressing for settlement and I cannot do it without her filling out some needed documentation. She knows this but is still pressing with her lawyer who garnished my bank accounts for over $17K and is now demanding all sorts of documentation. A clause in our mediation agreement says that Jen will do nothing to impede my ability to cash her out. She is violating that clause.

My day in court

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Posted back on the 10th that my ex had me served with papers. Court day is today at 1:15PM -- still pissed as hell...

Bailing for China

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Another Obama success -- from the Washington Examiner:
Jeep, an Obama favorite, looks to shift production to China
In another potential blow for the president's Ohio reelection campaign, Jeep, the rugged brand President Obama once said symbolized American freedom, is considering giving up on the United States and shifting production to China.

Such a move would crash the economy in towns like Toledo, Ohio, where Jeeps are made and supplied, and rob the community of the economic security they thought Obama's auto bailout assured them.

Obama is such a fan of Jeep that he included a picture of himself speaking at the Toledo plant in his newly released second term agenda binder. In his address to the plant in 2011, Obama said, "I just took a short tour of the plant and watched some of you putting the finishing touches on the Wrangler. Now, as somebody reminded, I need to call it the 'iconic' Wrangler. And that's appropriate because when you think about what Wrangler has always symbolized. It symbolized freedom, adventure, hitting the open road, never looking back."

Well it appears that the taxpayer bailed-out Chrysler is looking back and now considering cutting costs by shifting production of all Jeeps to China, which has a strong desire for Jeeps.
Hope? Change?

And the unraveling begins

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From Commentary Magazine:
Dems Begin the Post-Obama Blame Game
Some Democrats are apparently not waiting for Barack Obama to lose the presidential election before starting the inevitable recriminations about whose fault it was. Whether writing strictly on his own hook or as a result of conversations with campaign officials, New York Times political writer Matt Bai has fired the first shot in what may turn out to be a very nasty battle over who deserves the lion�s share of the blame for what may turn out to be a November disaster for the Democrats. That the Times would publish a piece on October 24 that takes as its starting point the very real possibility that the president will lose, and that blame for that loss needs to be allocated, is astonishing enough. But that their nominee for scapegoat is the man who is almost certainly the most popular living Democrat is the sort of thing that is not only shocking, but might be regarded as a foretaste of the coming battle to control the party in 2016.

Bai�s choice for the person who steered the president wrong this year is none other than former President Bill Clinton, who has widely been credited for having helped produce a post-convention boost for the Democrats. Clinton�s speech on behalf of Obama was viewed, with good reason, as being far more effective than anything the president or anyone else said on his behalf this year. But Bai points to Clinton as the primary advocate within high Democratic circles for changing the party�s strategy from one of bashing Mitt Romney as an inauthentic flip-flopper to one that centered on trying to assert that he was a conservative monster. Given that Romney demolished that false image in one smashing debate performance in Denver that seems to have changed the arc of the election, Clinton�s advice seems ripe for second-guessing right now. But we have to ask why Bai thinks Clinton was the one who single-handedly forced the change, and what is motivating those feeding the reporter this information?
Landslide? I sure hope so -- time to send a message to both sides and whomever wins, hold their feet to the fire on everything.

Hurricane Sandy

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Looks like it will be hitting the mid-atlantic states sometime in a few days. Paul, Dammit! is a Sea Captain and writes at Hawsepiper:
Looks like we might get some saucy weather early next week. The National Weather Service is already blaming global warming, president Bush and the 1%.

But, no, seriously, it looks like the weather might be shitty after the weekend. The NWS, having seen the writing on the wall after Italy threw their seismologists under the bus last week for not predicting an earthquake, have predicted a 70% chance or rain, snow, wind, Kansas-to-Neverland wormholes, frogs, locusts and death of the firstborn son of the pharoh for New York. In between the chicken little screaming and running in circles, there is an ominous, slightly more worth-taking-time-to- ponder pressure gradient forming in the upper atmosphere, which, when coupled with the predicted tracks of said systems, could be quite shittay.

I'll keep my eye on it. I might have an unwanted day off next week, spent getting sandblasted by flying dust while trying to keep secured to a lay berth somewhere.
Storm track looks to be hitting the New Jersey area with landfall sometime around Tuesday the 30th.


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From the B.C. Canadian The Province comes this little story:
$430,000 car not insured and driver says fine too high
The young driver of a $430,000 Lamborghini was scandalized when he was handed a $568 ticket.

The hard-done-by West Vancouver 22-year-old apparently couldn't find the dough to pay his car insurance - and then hotly disputed the fine for not having his affairs in order.

"When the police officer stopped the driver, he soon realized that the car was not insured," said Cpl. Robert McDonald, spokesman for the RCMP's Lower Mainland District Traffic Services.

"When the officer gave the driver a $568 fine for not having insurance, the driver actually complained the fine was too much money."

The top-of-the-line 2012 Lamborghini Aventador was pulled over initially in Richmond for what is often a vanity infraction � high-end drivers don't want to mess up their vehicle's pretty noses with an ugly licence plate.

Since it wasn't insured, the Lamborghini was towed away, and the driver will have to decide whether he can find enough cash to pay the ticket.
Oh yeah -- his mommy or daddy will pay the fine and the little snowflake will go on living his entitled life with zero hint of what the real world is like. How people like that can survive is beyond me -- must be nice...

Stupid spammers

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Came home to find over 120 spam comments from an ISP in China. Number of posts that went into moderation? Over 120 Number of posts that were successful? ZERO fscking moron... UPDATE - twenty minutes later and they are still trickling in. Netblock time -- goes bye-bye

Ho Li Crap - follow the links

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Looks like this current administration might be in for a bit of a scandal. Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man puts two and two together and comes up with something that makes the Iran/Contra affair look like a tempest in a teapot:
Did Ambassador Stevens die in another 'Iran-Contra scandal'?
An article in the Washington Times suggests that clandestine, US-supported and -approved arms smuggling between Libyan and Syrian militants may have been behind the attack on the US consulate and the murder of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi last month. Here's an excerpt.
The evidence suggests that the Obama administration has not simply been engaging, legitimating, enriching and emboldening Islamists who have taken over or are ascendant in much of the Middle East ... the Obama administration has been arming them, including jihadists like Abdelhakim Belhadj, leader of the al Qaeda franchise known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

. . .

It now appears that Stevens was [in Benghazi] � on a particularly risky day, with no security to speak of and despite now copiously documented concerns about his own safety and that of his subordinates � for another priority mission: sending arms recovered from the former regime�s stocks to the �opposition� in Syria. As in Libya, the insurgents are known to include al Qaeda and other Shariah-supremacist groups, including none other than Abdelhakim Belhadj.

Fox News has chronicled how the Al Entisar, a Libyan-flagged vessel carrying 400 tons of cargo, docked on Sept. 6 in the Turkish port of Iskenderun. It reportedly supplied both humanitarian assistance and arms � including deadly SA-7 man-portable surface-to-air missiles � apparently destined for Islamists, again including al Qaeda elements, in Syria.

What cries out for further investigation � and debate in the remaining days of this presidential election � is whether this shipment was part of a larger covert Obama effort to transfer weapons to our enemies that could make the Iran-Contra scandal, to say nothing of Operation Fast and Furious, pale by comparison.

. . .

It gets worse. Last week, Center for Security Policy senior fellow and former career CIA officer Clare Lopez observed that there were two large warehouse-type buildings associated with the so-called �consulate� whose purpose has yet to be disclosed. As their contents were raided in the course of the attack, we may never know for sure whether they housed � and were known by the local jihadis to house � arms, perhaps administered by the two former Navy SEALs killed along with Stevens.
There's more at the link. (Libyan shipments of missiles to Syrian rebels have been confirmed in other news reports.)

To make matters even more interesting, Russia has claimed that Syrian rebels are using US-made Stinger missiles. The BBC reports:
Gen Nikolai Makarov was quoted by the Interfax news service as saying the origin of the surface-to-air missiles should be "cleared up".

. . .

"We have reliable information that Syrian militants have foreign portable anti-aircraft missile systems, including those made in the USA... it should be cleared up who delivered them," Gen Makarov told journalists in Russia.

. . .

Recent footage has emerged of Syrian opposition fighters using old Soviet SA-7 heat-seeking missiles, which can destroy a plane flying at up to 14,000ft.
Again, more at the link. (SA-7's were among the weapons 'liberated' by Libyan militants during the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi.) The US Defense Secretary has just denied any knowledge of Stinger missiles being supplied to Syrian militants - but if the program was clandestine, he might not have been aware of it.

If these claims are true, it's no wonder the Administration has been desperately trying to point fingers in every possible direction except the correct one. This would mean that Ambassador Stevens died in the equivalent of another Iran-Contra scandal. Imagine what that might do to President Obama's chances of re-election in November . . .

I hope the truth comes out, and that (if the allegations in the Washington Times article prove to be true) the guilty parties are punished to the fullest possible extent of the law. The four Americans who died in Benghazi - perhaps as tools of a dishonest and perverse US policy? - deserve at least that.
Why am I not surprised...

Hang on to your hats - storm on the way

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Hurricane Sandy looks to give the mid-Atlantic shore a real pasting. I'll post more this weekend as it gets closer to landfall. Also, weather in the Pacific Northwest will be "normal" this winter. -- Ruh-Ro From Cliff Mass:
A Faltering El Nino
The difference between a strong El Nino winter and a neutral winter (neither El Nino nor La Nina) can be a large one.

Strong El Nino winters are generally warmer and drier than normal. Less big storms. Considerably less snowpack in the Cascades and little, if any, snow in the lowlands.

Neutral winters bring "normal" weather and have a bit of a twist: the biggest storms--the greatest floods, windstorms, snowstorms--when they happen (which is rare), tend to occur in neutral years. Years that Seattle mayors need to worry about, as should the keepers of the 520 bridge. Buckle your meteorological seatbelts--its looks like a neutral winter is coming our way.

As many of you know, the signs late last summer were for an El Nino, albeit a modest one. But after a period of intensification, this El Nino has run out of steam and the current model forecasts (which are more accurate now because we are so close in time) suggest a neutral year.
Got my generators ready to roll and got the correct power plug on my big one. Oops...

Heh - watch out for the hidden camera

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From Project Veritas:
Rep. Jim Moran�s Son: "Forge" Utility Bills to Commit Voter Fraud
Project Veritas has released a new investigation that exposes Representative Jim Moran�s Field Director, Patrick Moran, conspiring to commit election fraud.

When approached by an undercover investigator for advice on how to steal the votes of more than 100 people, Moran advised falsifying documents to satisfy Virginia�s new voter ID law. He said, �Bank statement obviously would be tough, but they can fake a utility bill with ease.�

Moran went on to clarify that, �You�d have to forge it.�

Announcing the release, James O�Keefe said, �This is the most damning evidence to date of the scope of voter fraud in this country. Patrick Moran is not only the son of an 11-term Congressman, but is also the Field Director on his father�s re-election campaign.

�If anyone should be opposed to voter fraud it�s him. Yet he actively encouraged our investigator to forge documents and pose as a pollster to disenfranchise registered voters in Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland.�

For much of 2012, Project Veritas has been conducting an ongoing series of investigations in more than a dozen states demonstrating the ease with which election fraud can be committed and legitimate voters can be disenfranchised. And they�ve shown that no one is immune. In April, a Project Veritas investigator was even offered the ballot of Attorney General Eric Holder himself.
And is it any wonder that this is Representative Jim Moran -- Democrat... Fortunately, from Talking Points Memo:
Late update: Moran's campaign issued this statement:
Patrick is well liked and was a well-respected member of the campaign team. This incident, however, was clearly an error in judgment. The campaign has accepted Patrick�s resignation, effective immediately.
Don't let the door hit 'ya where the good Lord split 'ya

Always classy - Obama's first campaign

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From the Springfield, Il State Journal-Register:
City of Springfield out of options on Obama/Biden bill
Springfield�s budget director says the city is out of options to be reimbursed for expenses associated with hosting then-Sen. Barack Obama�s presidential campaign stop in the fall of 2008.

�Short of suing the campaign, which isn�t really going to do anything � it would drag on forever � there�s really nothing we can do,� said Bill McCarty. �We�ve tried.�

Obama introduced his running mate, Joe Biden, at the Old State Capitol in August 2008. About 160 police officers and nine civilians helped provide protection for Obama�s visit, according to an invoice from the city.

Obama�s presidential campaign was sent a bill for $68,139, but still owes $55,457.

The city has tried for years to collect.
Deadbeat. Does not surprise me.

As the wheels come off - Benghazi

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The White House knew that it was a terrorist attack two hours after it happened. Why did Obama lie for the next two weeks? From Reuters:
White House told of militant claim two hours after Libya attack: emails
Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.

The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.

The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a "terrorist" attack carried out by militants with suspected links to al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers.

Administration spokesmen, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, citing an unclassified assessment prepared by the CIA, maintained for days that the attacks likely were a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film.

While officials did mention the possible involvement of "extremists," they did not lay blame on any specific militant groups or possible links to al Qaeda or its affiliates until intelligence officials publicly alleged that on September 28.

There were indications that extremists with possible al Qaeda connections were involved, but also evidence that the attacks could have erupted spontaneously, they said, adding that government experts wanted to be cautious about pointing fingers prematurely.

U.S. intelligence officials have emphasized since shortly after the attack that early intelligence reporting about the attack was mixed.

Spokesmen for the White House and State Department had no immediate response to requests for comments on the emails.
Pants on fire. From CBS News:
Emails detail unfolding Benghazi attack on Sept. 11
It was six weeks ago on Tuesday that terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Now, CBS News has obtained email alerts that were put out by the State Department as the attack unfolded. Four Americans were killed in the attack, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

These emails contain the earliest description so far of what happened at Benghazi the night of the attack.
CBS has the emails available here: Read the emails (PDF) Heads gonna roll -- hopefully this will sway a lot of the still undecided voters...

Figured as much...

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I ran into this story a couple days ago and didn't bother posting it because I had an idea of the outcome and here it is. From the Huston, TX CBS affiliate:
Police: Black Woman Lied About KKK Setting Her On Fire
Forensic evidence indicates that a 20-year woman suffering from extensive burns set herself on fire then invented a story about being doused in flammable liquid by three men who she said also wrote the initials KKK and a racial slur on her car, state police said Tuesday.

On Sunday at 8 p.m., Sharmeka Moffitt called 911 from a walking trail in Winnsboro and told authorities she had been doused in flammable liquid by three men wearing white hoodies. She suffered extensive burns on more than half her body and was taken to LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport for treatment.

After two days of investigating the case, authorities said Tuesday that the forensic evidence indicates Moffitt set herself on fire.

�The evidence does not support the statement that she was attacked by three males,� said Louisiana State Police spokeswoman Lt. Julie Lewis.

Lewis said Moffitt�s fingerprints were found on a lighter and lighter fluid recovered from the scene. Investigators also believe Moffitt used toothpaste to draw the KKK initials and racial slur on her vehicle. DNA evidence also points to Moffitt, she said.

Investigators have not been able to interview Moffitt because she remains in critical condition. Without speaking to her, it remains unclear why she might set herself on fire, Lewis said.
I feel sorry for her -- having psychological daemons like this must be horrible. Still, to invent a race issue where none exists is in itself, a racist act.

The Donald

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I love Donald Trump. He has been successful to the point that he can do whatever he wants. Today, he offered five million dollars to a Charity(s) of his choice for pResident Obama to release his College records and his Passport information. How about it Barry???

Fire on the mountain

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Woke up this morning to see seven different fires on Black Mountain. Called it in to the local Fire Department -- with all the dry weather, a logging company was sitting on some slash-piles and today is their day to play catch-up.

Back home again

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Ran some errands in town and reported to a local fire station for live fire training for the CERT class -- we missed this two weeks ago. They used a very cool propane burner -- it was a stainless steel pan filled with a couple inches of water. There was some stainless steel pipe below the surface of the water with small holes drilled every couple of inches. An igniter and burner was at one end of the pan a few inches above the water surface. When we were ready, the fireman operating the device would push a button, a valve clicked and in a few seconds, there was a yard-square inferno with dense flames reaching up a couple feet. A team of two would go in, fight the fire, back out and be done. A lot of fun! Tonight's class dealt with setting up treatment areas for the triaged victims and some rudimentary diagnosis, first aid, splinting, controlling bleeding, treating hypothermia and heat shock as well as records keeping. Planning to get a first aid certification in a few months so this will dovetail nicely. For the ten years that I have lived here, there have been a few large vehicle accidents, a major landslide cutting off the main highway for a week and the Nooksack River shifted course and badly damaged the road to the next town toward Mt. Baker -- there are about 3,000 people that live past where the damage was. I am already pretty anal about stockpiling and rotating through a couple weeks worth of food and medical supplies. This just adds to my level of training and benefits the community at large. There are a couple other CERT qualified people out here (a couple Doctors and First Aiders too) and the Water Board is now in the old Town Hall so we have a rendezvous point whenever the SHTF. Actually have to head into town again tomorrow morning and then a Friday court date. Fun week. I'll be taking the next week off and take care of some projects at home...

Heading off to town

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Have a long CERT class today and need to pick up some stuff for the store and for some projects at home. Back around 10PM...

Some curious endorsements

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From Investors Business Daily:
Obama: The Dictator's Choice For U.S. President
From Moscow to Caracas to Havana, something disturbing is happening: Dictators with long records of enmity toward the U.S. are endorsing Obama for president. What does that say about the Obama presidency?

Fresh from abusing Venezuela's opposition after his own rigged re-election, Chavez declared, "If I were American, I would vote for Obama. He is my candidate." It was his second direct endorsement of Obama in a week. After that, he spooled off his plans to impose socialism on his country.

Around the same time, Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuba's ruling communist capo Raul Castro, Fidel's brother, told CNN: "As a citizen of the world, I would like for (Obama) to win."

She added: "Obama deserves a second chance and he needs greater support to move forward with his projects which I believe come from the heart."

There was more of that appreciation of Obama's heartwarmingness from Russia's stoat-faced autocrat Vladimir Putin: "Obama is a genuine person who really wants to change much for the better," he said, in what The Moscow Times said was "widely viewed as his most direct endorsement of Obama."

That has since been followed by more of the same from that bastion of dictatorships in club form � the United Nations. Monday, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights warned Americans that a vote for Mitt Romney was "a vote for torture," an indirect endorsement of Obama � or else.

There've been other indirect endorsements, too.
When our own enemies endorse Obama, this really shows just how anti-American he really is.

Progressives - always classy

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From Madison, WI station WMTV:
Son of State Senator Neal Kedzie Attacked
State Senator Neal Kedzie says his son was attacked while trying to stop someone from stealing his Romney/Ryan yard sign.

Whitewater Police tell NBC15 News this is an active investigation.

Here is the statement released by Senator Neal Kedzie:
Early on Friday morning, October 19th, my son Sean was awakened by noises outside his residence in Whitewater. As he went to see what the commotion was about, he noticed an individual removing a Romney/Ryan yard sign from his property. He yelled to the person that they were taking something not theirs and to return it immediately.

The individual returned the sign, however, a second person confronted and attacked Sean without warning.

Sean was wrestled to the ground by both persons, held down by a constricting chokehold, and struck repeatedly about the face and head.

He nearly passed out from the chokehold and suffered contusions to his face and eyes.

Fortunately, an alert neighbor heard the commotion, scared the individuals away, and called the police.

My wife and I were awakened by a telephone call from Sean�s roommate that Sean had been taken by ambulance to Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital.

Sean was treated for his injuries and released from the hospital the same day.

As this was a private family matter, we chose not to remark publicly about it and allow law enforcement to do their job. But we understand these types of incidents will eventually become public and questions will arise, particularly in my position as a state legislator.

Sean is still recovering from the injuries he sustained as a result of this beating, and we are confident he will make a full recovery.

But obviously, as parents, we are shaken by this event and very troubled it was apparently initiated and motivated for political reasons.
This is what passes for civil discourse in this Nation these days?
This is beyond imbecilic -- from Washington D.C.s CBS affiliate:
Jimmy Carter Claims Israel Creating �Catastrophic� Situation With Palestinians
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Monday during a visit to Jerusalem that the prospect of an Israel-Palestinian peace accord is �vanishing,� blaming Israeli settlement of the West Bank.

Carter, a longtime critic of Israeli policies, called the current situation �catastrophic� and blamed Israel for the growing isolation of east Jerusalem from the West Bank. He said a Palestinian state has become �unviable.�

�We�ve reached a crisis stage,� said Carter, 88. �The two-state solution is the only realistic path to peace and security for Israel and the Palestinians.�

Carter is currently on a two-day visit leading a delegation known as the �The Elders,� which includes the former prime minister of Norway and the former president of Ireland. The group met with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

But they didn�t meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Carter said that the delegation didn�t request a meeting because they haven�t been granted meetings on previous visits.
The Elders -- yeah, people like Carter, Kofi Annan (Oil for Food scandal with his son Kojo), Communist Nelson Mandela. At least Desmond Tutu is a decent human being -- wonder why he has gotten involved with this gaggle of morons.

A minor nit on the debate

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Hey Barry -- when you use the word Decimate several times in 90 minutes, it would help if you knew what it actually meant.

Oh hell no - the IMF has a plan

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From the UK Telegraph:
IMF's epic plan to conjure away debt and dethrone bankers
One could slash private debt by 100pc of GDP, boost growth, stabilize prices, and dethrone bankers all at the same time. It could be done cleanly and painlessly, by legislative command, far more quickly than anybody imagined.

The conjuring trick is to replace our system of private bank-created money -- roughly 97pc of the money supply -- with state-created money. We return to the historical norm, before Charles II placed control of the money supply in private hands with the English Free Coinage Act of 1666.

Specifically, it means an assault on "fractional reserve banking". If lenders are forced to put up 100pc reserve backing for deposits, they lose the exorbitant privilege of creating money out of thin air.

The nation regains sovereign control over the money supply. There are no more banks runs, and fewer boom-bust credit cycles. Accounting legerdemain will do the rest. That at least is the argument.
Looks good as presented but this is taking control away from the Banksters and giving it to an even larger Bankster. A bit more:
Entitled "The Chicago Plan Revisited", it revives the scheme first put forward by professors Henry Simons and Irving Fisher in 1936 during the ferment of creative thinking in the late Depression.
Chicago Plan -- that is all we need to know. Dreamed up by two academics with zero real-world experience. Henry Calvert Simons and Irving Fisher. Straight through academia and then right back as a Professor. Fisher is at least the more interesting of the two -- spent time studying in Europe in the 1890's and developed the Kardex indexing system. I remember using this in high-school for filing the results of a biology project I was working on. There was an array of holes along the top and sides. You had a special punch that changed the hole to a Vee shaped opening. You would assign one variable to one hole. A couple knitting needles would be threaded through the variables that you wanted to sort for and you would lift and shake the deck. The cards that fell out were the ones that matched all of your variables. On the down side, Fisher was into Prohibition, and eugenics. Academics do not see the incredible efficiency of free-market capitalism. They feel compelled to meddle even though it fails time and time again...

In town - debate

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Did the store buying run, got home around 5PM and Lulu had some shrimp cocktail waiting. Had some leftover stew and watched the Romney and Obama debate. They were well matched but you could see Barry O get really angry when Romney called him on lies -- the apology tour after his inauguration, the economy, the military cuts. Obama kept pulling facts and figures out of his head -- the fact checkers will have a field day tomorrow. Having an early night -- surf for a bit and then another long day tomorrow. The second CERT class was supposed to deal with putting out fires but the people at the fire-station didn't have a firepit ready for us. Rescheduled it for tomorrow afternoon before the regular class.

That's it for the day

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Doing a batch of beef stew in my pressure cooker, working on the Thunderbolt and general puttering around the garage and ham shack. Lulu is reading the latest Ann Coulter book. Have a water board meeting tonight so early dinner. Long day tomorrow what with the store buying run.
And just how does he expect to pay it back? From the Washington Free Beacon:
Obama Campaign Borrows $15M from Bank of America
Obama For America took out a $15 million loan from Bank of America last month, according to the campaign�s October monthly FEC report. The loan was incurred on September 4 and is due November 14, eight days after the election. OFA received an interest rate of 2.5% plus the current Libor rate.
Not exactly chump change -- last reported Libor monthly rate is 0.97300% so the campaign is getting a sweet deal.

I want my free stuff

Idiots -- can they not see that there is just no more money for them?

From France24/AFP:

Tens of thousands rally in London against austerity
Tens of thousands of people marched through London and other British cities on Saturday in protest against spending cuts by Prime Minister David Cameron's struggling coalition government.

Marchers carried signs reading "No cuts" and "Cameron has butchered Britain," condemning the austerity measures introduced by Cameron's Conservative-led coalition in a bid to reduce Britain's huge deficit.

Police said the main march was peaceful, but two people were arrested as breakaway anarchist groups protested outside major companies including McDonald's and Starbucks in the Oxford Street shopping hub.

Scotland Yard did not provide an estimate for the turnout on the three-mile (4.8-kilometre) march route but organisers said police had told them that around 100,000 people attended.

"This is not a crisis that is going to sort itself out through cuts," 19-year-old protester Jonathan told AFP. "We've had a double-dip recession now, and we are here today to show we are not going to stand it any longer."

In Scotland's biggest city Glasgow around 5,000 people took part in a separate protest while there was also a march in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Britain climbed out of a deep economic downturn in late 2009 but fell back into recession at the end of 2011.

Tip of Iceberg and England is a lot better off than Spain or Greece. We are just a couple years away from this if Obungler gets another term in office...

A clever tactic against wind turbines

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Wind turbines are hideously expensive and for every megawatt of energy you install, you have to have another megawatt from a gas turbine running on hot standby ready to spool up when the wind dies down. Wind turbines are not baseload generation. Add to the environmental aspects and there is no reason to install them. Fortunately, some people are pushing back. From Michigan's Traverse City Record-Eagle:
Unusual tactic in wind turbine battle
Some Benzie County residents launched a new weapon in their efforts to block rural wind turbine development: helicopters.

Turbines can't be built near heliports � lift-off and landing pads for helicopters � and experts believe turbine opponents' tactic could reverberate statewide, just as Michigan's alternative energy debate intensifies.

Benzie's Joyfield Township � once considered part of a four-township site for an industrial wind farm � could soon have up to eight licensed, stand-alone public heliports. It would give the rural farming township of 800 souls south of Benzonia more heliports than the rest of Michigan combined.
I love it! A bit more:
State officials acknowledge the heliports could prevent construction of wind turbines or any structure taller than 200 feet within almost a one-mile radius of the landing pads.
One mile radius -- a pretty big sweep!
Obtaining a public heliport permit is neither complicated nor expensive. It involves a one-time $25 application fee, a flat piece of grass and a drawing based on an official, U.S. geographical survey. The owner also has to provide a phone for public use; parking area, sanitary facility, and sign on the road. The sanitary facility could be an outhouse or portable toilet.

The state also won't check to see if anyone utilizes the heliport, said Rick Carlson, manager of the transport and safety section for the commission. Once the remaining seven pass inspection the permits will be granted.
Pure genius! Hat tip to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

A celebrity

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Hope you enjoyed your fifteen minutes Sandra -- from the Reno Gazette Journal:
Fluke pushes early voting in Reno
Sandra Fluke, the woman at the center of a media firestorm earlier this year after Rush Limbaugh called her a �slut,� spoke Saturday in front of about 10 people at the Sak �N Save in north Reno.
Heh -- Linda Serrato was there and tweeted a photo -- calling this ten people is bordering on generous.

The EPA's war on us

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Excellent editorial from Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) at The Hill:
EPA's war on consumers, affordable electricity and jobs
Over the past year, we�ve heard a lot about the Obama Administration�s �War on Coal�. The White House has been quick to dismiss the notion, pointing to their �all-of-the-above� energy policy. They�ve attributed the demise of coal-fired power in part to the record-low prices of natural gas. While most agree that the coal industry has faced challenges, especially under current economic conditions, the argument that people are shutting down coal power plants because gas is cheaper just doesn�t hold water.

Why? Coal is by far the cheapest source of electricity. So if cost isn�t the reason, what is?

Since 2009, President Obama�s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has advanced a series of major environmental regulations, totaling billions in new operating costs and compliance requirements, which are making it increasingly harder for coal to compete. To be fair, several of EPA�s regulations have been under consideration for more than a decade, while others have been compelled by court order. Regardless of origin, the majority of the regulations are unprecedented in scope and cost.

Nationally, 175 coal-fired power plants are scheduled to be shut down from 2012 to 2016, according to an analysis by the non-partisan U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Industry experts predict that over a similar time frame these closures could threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs. According to a 2011 study by the National Economic Research Associates, two of the proposed EPA regulations could lead to a net employment loss of almost 60,000 jobs in Pennsylvania between now and 2020. The same report showed that Pennsylvania could witness average electricity prices increase by as much as 17%.
As I have said before, this is one agency that needs an immediate cut in their funding. Next year, their budget needs to be cut by 30% with another 10% for the next year and 5% each year for five years after that. Get them back to their core competency and get rid of the bloat and special interest groups. Yes, they do have a legitimate function but they have grown way past those boundaries. Tip 'o the hat to Maggie's Farm -- a daily read here at my farm.
Website of the Archaeological Institute of America I dig it.

The recent release of all of the Boy Scout "perversion files" caught the eye of the Czar of Muscovy and he delivered a smack-down of epic proportion. From The Gormogons (a daily read for me):

Still Prepared
In case you did not know this, the Boy Scouts of America prefer that atheists and homosexuals find a different organization to join. The first makes sense because the BSA is fundamentally a faith-based group, and atheists would not strictly be able to complete the religious requirements. The latter is understandable because scouting is meant to be a parent-child partnership; while an 11-year-old probably will not have a defined sexuality that would exclude him from participation, a gay adult theoretically has no child of his own and therefore has no role to play. There are exceptions, such as legal guardians, and generally those exceptions are made.

Because a small number of atheists and a small number of gays tried to join Scouts for the sole purpose of making trouble and then suing for damages, the BSA had to adopt a strict policy prohibiting both. The intent of both groups was to bankrupt the BSA through legal fees, and the Czar thinks it is fundamentally criminal to attempt to destroy an organization because they have strict preferences over membership.

As such, liberal culture hates the BSA. Loathes them. Cannot abide them. After all, the BSA determined a perfectly legal way to defend themselves that the Supreme Court backed. And because popular liberal culture loves to find enemies, what better than a simple enemy that basically embarrassed the hell out of them in public. These liberals decided that the BSA has got to go.

And because atheists and gays failed to make a dent, the libs have been going for the whole Catholic Church argument: attack the BSA as a group that knowingly hid child molesters in its ranks. Recently, the BSA released its records to the public regarding the extent of claims.

Basically, the MSM wants you to know, there have been thousands of cases going back to the 1970s in which child predators molested scouts, and the BSA did very little to stop the predators, and even let them rejoin when thrown out.

Or, to put it more accurately, out of millions of scouts, less than 1% were ever at risk... which is substantially lower than the risks to non-scouts among the general population. This is because the BSA tried to do rudimentary screening of adults long before there were standard procedures, background checks available to the public, or computerized records. And when the BSA was alerted to a predator, in most cases the BSA notified the police but was told not much could be done since these types of laws were not well developed and these types of criminals not well understood by law enforcement. And when the BSA threw the monsters out, they could easily go to another state and start over because the BSA had a paper file in a paper record in a filing cabinet miles away. That's right, moron journalists: the BSA did not have a SQL database set up in the cloud accessible through an XML front end because it was freaking 1973.

The BSA responded gradually as they could: over time, training and prevention programs became developed and tested, and the numerous tricks and scams used by the predators were identified. But this took considerable time, and indeed by the 1990s -- when the problem was better understood by numerous organizations -- the BSA was using the latest tools and methods to prevent predators from getting into scouts.

This is not to say that children were never harmed by adults in scouting. Nor is this to say the BSA acted properly in all cases. Indeed, in too many cases, individuals within the BSA attempted to sweep problems away. And yes, the motivation in many of these cases was to protect the reputation of the BSA scouting program, and little concern was given to the boys involved.

But once again, these occurred in extremely small numbers compared to the success of scouting overall. Even at their least effective, the BSA still did better than teachers's unions do at weeding out their predators even today.

More importantly, the MSM's salivating and hand-rubbing over the horrors revealed in these reports suffers from a simple logical fallacy: you cannot judge the actions of the BSA by today's standards. In these stories, as we read them, we find not-too-subtle accusations implicit in the reporting: files were lost, police were never notified, kids were put back in harm's way, and so on. Yes, by the standards of 2012, these would be terrible actions today.

In 1981, or 1975, or 1989, or 1970, the reality is that paper files tucked in random file cabinets were lost. Police were not notified because the nature of the criminal procedure was unclear. Kids were put back in harm's way because -- get this -- there was no way to tell if the kid was lying back then.

This last one is a doozy if you were born after 1980. But it is true. In 2012, if a twelve-year-old's parents claimed a scoutmaster molested him, police would be called for documentation, the child questioned by trained medical personnel, lawyers would review protocols for verification, and law enforcement would doublecheck the background of the accused.

In 1981, if a twelve-year-old's parents claimed a scoutmaster molested him, the local scouting council would realize that Chuck has been with them for 15 years now without any problem, that the parents were probably going for a cheap money grab, and the Chuck's reputation would be ruined by these greedy bastards. Heck, the Methodist church elders might even shut down the whole program if this crap gets out. If the story seemed convincing, well, hell -- maybe the kid misunderstood what Chuck was doing. We had no other complaints -- let's quietly find something else for Chuck to do within the organization and hope the whole thing dies down. If the story was particularly serious, and you know, rumors say Chuck might have done something similar before, the local council might call the chief of police and ask what to do. Back then, the chief would say "Unless someone saw Chuck in flagrante, there isn't much you can do. Better not risk it: kick him out before he does something worse." Done.

This sounds like a whole lot of excuses, but blaming the BSA for not following 2012 protocol four decades ago is like accusing the Utah state police of incompetence because they didn't use DNA evidence to nab Gary Gilmore earlier.

And it must be said again: the percentage of kids who were even remotely at risk during that period is about one-eighth the size of kids not in scouting. Scouting is inherently safe, and by God the BSA has been on the vanguard of prevention, training, reaction, and identification. The MSM can celebrate this evidence as proof that the BSA should accept atheists and gays, but they fail to realize that the safety program protecting kids in thousands of modern children's organizations across the country were very likely developed by the BSA.

PS: MSM, you should probably know that scouts are trained to be patriots. Yeah, they even learn how to hoist, fly, and fold the American flag. You might want to add that to the list of things to bitch about.

Swiped in full -- too good to excerpt.

Heh... I do not follow the world of couture but some of the designers have a personality that stands on its own two feet.

Karl Lagerfeld is one of these people -- he has been around for a long time and is not afraid to speak his mind. From France 24/AFP:

Lagerfeld draws flak for calling French president an 'idiot'
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld was in hot water on Friday after calling French President Francois Hollande an "idiot" over his plans to impose huge taxes on the rich.

Hollande's former companion and a one-time presidential contender Segolene Royal led the charge, saying the Paris-based German designer must apologise immediately.

"There is no place for insults, especially from a designer who benefits from the image and prestige of France," Royal said on RTL radio.

"When one is working in the French luxury sector, one enjoys the collective backing of the entire nation and these insults are absolutely misplaced," she said.

"I hope he will apologise."

Lagerfeld in an interview to the Spanish edition of Marie-Claire called Hollande -- who famously said he does not like the rich -- an idiot for imposing a 75 percent tax on incomes exceeding one million euros ($1.3 million) annually.

"This idiot will be as disastrous as Zapatero," Lagerfeld said, referring to Spanish former prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero whose term witnessed the country's economic bust.

"Hollande hates the rich. That is disastrous. He wants to punish them and obviously they will flee and no one will invest."

Lagerfeld, the quirky creative director of French fashion house Chanel, also took a swipe at French products, saying they were not marketable.

"Apart from fashion, jewellery, perfumes and wine France is not competitive," he said.

"The other products do not sell. Who buys French cars? Not me," he added.

You tell 'em!!! Take your nuance and shove it where the sun doesn't shine...

Interesting -- from today's (October 20, 2012) New York Times:
U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks
The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran�s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.

Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election, a senior administration official said, telling their American counterparts that they want to know with whom they would be negotiating.

News of the agreement � a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama�s term � comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and the weekend before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.

It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world�s major powers to curb Tehran�s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.

It is also far from clear that Mr. Obama�s opponent, Mitt Romney, would go through with the negotiation should he win election. Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.
Emphasis mine. About 30 years ago, on President Jimmy Carter's watch, 52 Americans were taken hostage in Iran and held for 444 days only to be freed when Ronald Reagan was elected President. Carter oversaw such delicate negotiations -- delicate and thoughtful negotiations. He was nuanced, an intellectual. He met them at the table. President Ronald Reagan swept into office and a few minutes after Reagan's inauguration, all 52 hostages were released. This is not diplomacy, this is a bunch of theocrats filling their Depends(r) in fear because we could very well have some adults in the White House next year.

Silent Circle

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Very high geekdom... What do you get when you take public encryption code master Phil Zimmermann and about 40 other top-flight software nerds and business types? The go-to place for data, voice, VoIP, email, texting and video encryption. Home Page: Silent Circle Their about page: Our Unique Story
Silent Circle�s team: a unique and eclectic mix of world-renowned cryptographers, Silicon Valley software engineers, German VoIP engineers, Latvian system analysts and former SEALs Team & British Special Air Service (SAS) security experts.

Yup, that�s us. We are Silent Circle � a melting pot of talent founded upon a shared vision of bringing private and secure communications to the individual citizens of the world. An off-shore, international company with the goal of building the world�s first commercial custom-built encrypted communications network. A goal that includes building our own security software suite, our own e-commerce platform, plus the creation of databases, security measures and internal software programs from the ground up � all with one fundamental principle in mind � SECURITY. We are putting a stake in the ground for your right to have private conversations and to conduct business without fear of compromise.

The average age of our company is 42 years old � it was 46 but we hired some young 31-year-old engineers recently that lowered it. We built this team with a mantra of �Friends & Family� � relationships and work histories that span over 20 years on just about every level. Combined, we are made up of an astrophysicist, an Internet Hall of Fame Inductee, a Silver Star Winner, Privacy Advocates, 3 British Special Forces Communicators, a Best Selling Author, Celebrated Software Engineers, Mathematicians, VoIP Network inventors, a former SEALs Sniper and one seeing-eye-dog named Sully.

We want to fight for your right to privacy. We are pushing back against the tide of surveillance. We don�t like oppressive regimes, indiscriminate wiretapping, big brother, data criminals, intellectual property theft, identity thieves or governments that persecute their citizens for saying or writing their opinions.

We understand the importance of �backing up our words with actions�, of an �awesome customer experience� and of your right - as a paying customer � to transparency. We are up front about who we are, what we have built and why it will change the way you communicate. We take these ideas seriously. We believe in open source, honest transparency and protecting individual and business privacy. We will post the request we get from Government, Law Enforcement and worldwide legal entities for users data. We feel strongly about telling you what we can and cannot protect you from upfront. We are a unique company made up of unique and passionate people. We know that we�ll have a target painted on us from day one � just ask Phil Zimmermann what that feels like. Finally, we promise to continually improve our products, our proprietary network and your experience of our service. You are our paying customer and our allegiance is to you. Period. Get in the Circle!
That high-pitched noise you are hearing in the background is the keening from thousands of Government workers in the cubefarms of the TLA* agencies quietly clutching their desktops, crying "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo" under their breaths. *TLA = Three Letter Acronym eg: NSA (National Security Agency), FBI, DHS, CIA, etc...

Only in America

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From John Hawkins at Townhall - ten more at the site:
1) Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000 a plate campaign fund raising event.
2) Only in America could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when we have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is black.
3) Only in America could we have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury Department and Charles Rangel who once ran the Ways and Means Committee, BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.
4) Only in America will you find people who burn the American flag and call America an "imperialist nation," but who get offended if you say they're not patriotic.
5) Only in America can we have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.
6) Only in America could someone drinking a $5 latte and texting to his friends on an iPhone 4 complain that the government allows some people to make too much money.
7) Only in America would people take rappers who brag about shooting people and selling drugs seriously when they complain the police are targeting them unfairly.
8) Only in America would we make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege while we discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just become American citizens.
9) Only in America could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as "extremists."
10) Only in America could the most vicious foes of successful conservative women be self-proclaimed feminists and the National Organization for Women.

A look at what Big Bird represents

Excellent essay from Stephen Rittenberg, MD at American Thinker:

Big Bird, Liberalism, and Perversion
Fifty years of clinical observation have taught me the unwillingness of many to relinquish childhood dreams of perfect bliss. Utopia seems to be the goal for many from their first frustrated cries following ejection from the womb.

The outraged reaction by liberalism's defenders to Gov. Romney's jocular threat to take away Big Bird's government subsidy shows that he touched a nerve. The screaming and caterwauling, the marches announced to defend the puppet, reveal some important truths about contemporary liberalism and its adherents. Gov. Romney in one witty comment suggested that it is time to grow up, to relinquish the utopian fantasy of a blissful androgynous childhood free of conflict. In one comment, he leveled a blast at the feminized metrosexual culture of contemporary liberalism. He went on to link his opponent to childhood, by likening him to his own boys when they were young, a time when wishes often prevail over reality.

No wonder liberals reacted with rage. No wonder the president mentioned his defense of Big Bird thirteen times in the week following the debate. Liberals long for what Big Bird represents: that utopian childish dream world where differences of gender, talent, fortune, looks, race, color, intelligence, etc. do not exist. Big Bird, the perfect symbol of liberal fantasies, is neither handsome nor ugly, has no discernible sexuality, is neither smart nor stupid. He is never threatened by the need to work hard to accomplish things, because he has no discernible ambition. He never demands anything and never has to deal with aggressive wishes. Anger is not a problem for Big Bird. Competition is not for him. Unlike the creatures of classic fairy tales, he is just a bland, unthreatening being purveying the liberal fantasy that in utopia, we are all equally lovable and all think good thoughts. No doubt there are graduate students at our elite universities composing theses on the postmodern significance of Sesame Street.

Read the whole thing -- Dr. Rittenberg absolutely nails it.

Great news for George Zimmerman

From the New York Times:
Judge Rules Trayvon Martin Files Can Be Used by Defense
A judge in the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman, the Sanford, Fla., man who said he shot an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin, in self-defense, ruled on Friday that Mr. Martin�s school and social media records should be provided to the defense.

The judge, Debra S. Nelson of Seminole County Circuit Court, said Mr. Martin�s Twitter, Facebook and school records were relevant in the self-defense case.

In those instances, showing whether a victim �had an alleged propensity to violence� or aggression is germane, the judge said.

Mr. Zimmerman, 29, who attended the hearing, told the police that he shot Mr. Martin on the night of Feb. 26 only after the teenager attacked him, breaking his nose and hurting his head.

Mr. Martin, 17, was walking in the rain back to a house where he was a guest when he was spotted by Mr. Zimmerman, the neighborhood�s crime watch leader, who found him suspicious. The trial is scheduled to begin June 10.

Hoping to create a fuller portrait of Mr. Martin, Mark M. O�Mara, Mr. Zimmerman�s lawyer, argued that the teenager�s postings on Facebook and Twitter could reveal relevant details about his interests and attitudes.

Mr. Martin had posted, among other things, videos and pictures that suggested he was somehow involved in mixed martial arts, Mr. O�Mara said after the hearing.

The school records are important because Mr. Martin had been suspended from his Miami high school for 10 days for possessing a baggie with traces of marijuana; the teenager had been suspended twice before.

�The issue in this case is, who did what during those couple of minutes that we don�t know what happened,� Mr. O�Mara said. �Was the victim the aggressor?�
An interesting possibility can be found at The Last Refuge. From Part #1):
With a following of over 121,000 subscribers, the AMilonakis channel is a daily video log of a guy, looks like a kid, but he is officially 92 years old according to his u-tube profile. Anyway, this �Kid� is living a life of drug use, specifically (purple lean/sippin sippin), a very popular type of drug use in urban teen circles.

Trayvon began following this subscription in July of 2011 according to his U-Tube account.
Purple Lean (Drank) is an intoxicating beverage also known by the names lean, sizzurp, and liquid codeine. It is commonly abused by southern rappers and wannabe suburban teenagers. It is a mixture of Promethazine/Codeine cough syrup and sprite, with a few jolly ranchers and/or skittles thrown in.

Promethazine with codeine, consumed in such large amounts as is popular with such southern rappers as lil wayne, slim thug, and Big Moe, produces an opiate-like high that is potentiated by the Promethazine.

Promethazine by itself will not produce a high. The beverage must be sipped slowly, and not guzzled, in order to avoid unconsciousness and/or life threatening overdose.
Some of you right about now are saying HOLY SMOKE�.. Well I promise you, this ain�t nothing yet. Consider this post just a precursor, or warm-up for something that is going to explain a lot about the events surrounding the night of February 26th.

We are finishing up some exhaustive research, that will shed a new light into the �state of mind� for Trayvon Martin on that Sunday night, and will most certainly raise the demand for the release of the so far withheld toxicology report.
There is a good bit of information about Dextromethorphan cough syrup in Part #2):
According to Erowid�s �DXM Home Page�:
DXM is a widely available over-the-counter cough suppressant. When taken far above its standard medical dosage, it is a strong dissociative used primarily by teens.
Their �DXM Basics� page further makes clear that it is:
��a semisynthetic opiate derivative which is legally available over-the-counter in the United States. It is most commonly found in cough suppressants, especially those with �DM� or �Tuss� in their names. It is almost always used orally, although pure DXM powder is occasionally snorted��
At this point you�re probably thinking � as I did at first � �how bad can this stuff be if it�s available over the counter!� However, as we�ll see, it�s actually startlingly dangerous stuff!

Erowid begins to hint at DXM�s seriousness in their �DXM Basics� discussion:
��High doses � are sometimes compared to the effects of other dissociatives such as PCP or ketamine��
Much more at the site. Any death is tragic but Martin stopped at the local 7-11 and purchased two of the three ingredients of 'lean' before he attacked George Zimmerman. Let's hope for a speedy trial and a complete acquittal.

Quiet day today

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Got the bins filled up with firewood -- first snow of the season resting lightly on the hills. Spending today building a power supply for a Trimble Thunderbolt GPS and getting it running with Lady Heather. Picked it up for $40 on eBay. The Thunderbolt was originally used at a cell phone tower to synchronize it with neighboring towers. Very clever idea actually, GPS satellites have very accurate clocks on them (timing is the way that we derive position) but you don't always see enough satellites to get a precise time. The Thunderbolt has a very accurate quartz clock inside a temperature-controlled oven so it has a very stable frequency. When the Thunderbolt is able to get an accurate time, it "disciplines" the local oscillator -- adjusting it to match the correct frequency. Lady Heather is the software that handles the discipline (the logo is the silhouette of a woman holding a whip). The upshot is that my little ham shack will have cesium-clock accurate timekeeping for well under $100 Fun stuff...

Bill McKibben�s roadshow

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That's really all it is -- a roadshow. Get the rubes worked into a lather so they open their pocketbooks and also try to gather other useful idiots into the fold. From Grist:
Cue the math: McKibben�s roadshow takes aim at Big Oil
It was game time. The Saturday night crowd on the Vermont campus was festive, boisterous, pumped. People cheered and whooped when told that one of their heroes, climate activist Tim DeChristopher � serving a two-year federal sentence for his civil disobedience opposing new oil and gas drilling in Utah � would soon be back on the field.

When the man on the stage, 350.org�s Bill McKibben, said it was time to march not just on Washington but on the headquarters of fossil fuel companies � �it�s time to march on Dallas� � and asked those to stand who�d be willing to join in the fight, seemingly every person filling the University of Vermont�s cavernous Ira Allen Chapel, some 800 souls, rose to their feet.

McKibben and 350, the folks who brought us the Keystone XL pipeline protests, are now calling for a nationwide divestment campaign aimed at fossil fuel companies� bottom line. Beginning with student-led campaigns on college campuses, modeled on the anti-apartheid campaigns of the 1980s, they�ll pressure institutions to withdraw all investments from big oil and coal and gas. Their larger goal is to ignite a morally charged movement to strip the industry of its legitimacy.
A couple of inconvenient truths: From the Discover the Networks entry for McKibben:
In addition to his duties with 350.org, McKibben is also a board member of Grist magazine.
No wonder the loving tongue bath. From the Discover the Networks entry for 350.org:
350.org is the international reinvention of Mckibben�s 2007 "Step-It-Up" campaign, an initiative aimed at generating support for environmental regulation in the United States. Both 350.org and Step-It-Up cite the Sustainable Markets Foundation (SMF) -- a grantee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller Family Fund -- as their fiscal sponsor.
Yeah -- those Rockefeller's -- Standard Oil &c. -- the same ones that were working behind the scenes to derail the Keystone XL oil pipeline. From the Discover the Networks entry for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund:
RBF Pushes to Derail the Keystone Pipeline Project:
In February 2012, the Canadian news channel Sun News uncovered a 2008 PowerPoint presentation by RBF that laid bare its strategy of funding a host of environmental groups to thwart the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline -- a project for which President Obama had recently denied a permit -- as well as other development initiatives that the Fund considered to be �globally significant threat[s].� According to investigative reporter Lachlan Markay, the 2008 presentation �describes the allocation of $7 million to environmental non-profits for tactics that include the use of the legislative and legal systems to delay or derail energy production in the United States and Canada, and to �raise the costs� of energy in both nations.� The Daily Caller reported that RBF program officer Michael Northrop had also pushed for thwarting the Keystone project, as had the representatives of several environmental groups, among them Corporate Ethics International, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Pembina Institute (a Canadian activist group). Together, these groups would emerge at the forefront of an alarmist scare-campaign that ultimately led to Keystone�s cancellation.
Time to wake up and smell the cappuccino. Your little 'green revolution' is funded by THE MAN and most of these people are sociopaths and really do not give a shit about you at all, you are just a useful idiot available to advance their power.
I loved his movie 2016: Obama's America. Other people did too -- it is second highest grossing political documentary of all time. Seems he is having some domestic problems. Interesting to see the bias in reporting. From Yahoo/Associated Press:
Conservative "Obama" filmmaker resigns from evangelical college over relationship with woman
The conservative scholar behind a high-grossing film that condemns President Barack Obama has resigned as head of an evangelical college.

The King's College in New York announced Dinesh D'Souza's resignation Thursday. Its board had been meeting about the school president and his relationship with a woman who is not his wife.

The evangelical magazine WORLD reported that the long-married D'Souza was also engaged to the woman. WORLD reported that he brought the woman to a Christian values event last month and introduced her as his fianc�e. D'Souza filed for divorce in California a few days after the conference.

D'Souza has denied any wrongdoing. He said he and his wife separated two years ago. He could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday.

D'Souza directed the anti-Obama documentary "2016: Obama's America'.'
The wonky punctuation at the end is from their website. First of all, no links to the WORLD article in question. Want to read the original? Here. You are welcome. Also, 2016 was not an anti-Obama film. It was impeccably honest in its documentation. I challenge whomever wrote the AP article to quote any inaccurate statement. And finally, Dinesh D'Souza replies: I did not have sex with that woman -- Sorry, wrong public figure... From FOX News:
'2016: Obama's America' filmmaker -- I am not having an affair
A recent article in World magazine gives the false impression that I, a married man, had an affair with a woman Denise Joseph at a Christian conference in Spartanburg, S.C. The article alleges that I shared a hotel room with her and introduced her as my fianc�. Finally it states that I filed for divorce only on the day I was confronted about my conduct by intrepid reporter Warren Smith. Here are the facts:
1. My wife Dixie and I have been separated for two years. Dixie approached me and demanded this [a separation] before I came to King�s College to become its president in late August 2010. I informed the chairman of the college about this at the time. I also informed the reporter who wrote the World article, Warren Smith, but he deliberately left it out of his piece, even though it is entirely relevant to the context.

2. I met Denise three months ago. We are not and have not been having an affair. Nor did we share a hotel room in Charlotte. Smith did not even ask me about this. Instead, Smith apparently deployed conference organizer Alex McFarland to call and raise the issue with me.

I clearly told McFarland that Denise and I stayed in separate rooms. McFarland knew he didn�t have what he wanted, because he subsequently called me back and asked me again. I realized McFarland may be fronting for Smith, so I told him I didn�t have any further comment. I�m not sure whether McFarland is lying or Smith is lying, but one of them made up the quotation attributed to me that we stayed in the same room but �nothing happened.� This is pure libel.

3.I sought out advice about whether it is legal to be engaged prior to being divorced and I was informed that it is. Denise and I were trying to do the right thing. I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced, even though in a state of separation and in divorce proceedings. Obviously I would not have introduced Denise as my fianc� at a Christian apologetics conference if I had thought or known I was doing something wrong. But as a result of all this, and to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, Denise and I have decided to suspend our engagement.

4. While World notes that my divorce filing was registered with the court on October 4�giving the impression that I moved quickly on the day their reporter spoke to me�in reality I had been working with a San Diego law firm on this for the previous two weeks.

5. So why would World write such a misleading, sensational story that we would normally expect from the tabloids? Actually there is a back story here which was noted by Amy Sullivan at the New Republic, as well as numerous other sources. Marvin Olasky, the editor of World, is the former provost of the King�s College. Olasky was on the search committee when I interviewed to be president, and he vehemently opposed my candidacy. Olasky publicly admitted that he was resigning his position as a consequence of my appointment. The reporter who wrote this story, Warren Smith, also used to work as a consultant for King�s until I decided not to renew his contract. And what was Olasky�s gripe against me? As he put it, I was seeking to make King�s a non-denominational �mere Christianity college� in the image of C.S. Lewis. This for Olasky was simply intolerable. Having nursed his grievance for two years, now apparently Olasky is using World to continue his vendetta.

6. Ultimately this is not just about Olasky or even World magazine. It is also about how we Christians are supposed to behave with one another. And the secular world is watching. Is this how we love and treat fellow believers? If my conduct was improper, wouldn�t it be the decent and charitable thing to approach me about it? Instead, here is a clear attempt to destroy my career and my ministry. This is viciousness masquerading as righteousness. And this is the behavior that is truly worthy of Christian condemnation.
Messrs Olasky and Smith, Olasky and Smith to the Fact Checking booth please? The problem is that the first smear is the one that gets repeated and repeated. The following fact checking and retraction are never reported on if it doesn't suit the agenda. My money is on D'Souza -- he would never write something like this if he did not already have all of his ducks lined up in a row. There are some Christians that would deny divorce but these are a small minority in the practical world.
You know when someone says that, they mean exactly the opposite. From Jeffrey H. Anderson writing at The Weekly Standard:
Ahead of Election, Obama Stops Releasing �Stimulus� Reports
The $831,000,000,000 economic �stimulus� that President Obama spearheaded and signed into law requires his administration to release quarterly reports on its effects. But �the most transparent administration in the history of our country� is now four reports behind schedule and has so far not released any reports whatsoever in 2012. Its most recent quarterly report is for the quarter than ended on June 30, 2011.

One wonders how the administration would treat a private citizen who acted like such a scofflaw in response to one of Obama�s principal legislative initiatives. It certainly appears that this administration, which is so very fond of regulating Americans� lives � witness the 13,000 pages of Obamacare regulations it has already penned � doesn�t hold itself accountable to the same set of rules that it�s so eager to compel the American people to obey.

Section 1513 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the �stimulus�) explicitly states, �In consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers shall submit quarterly reports to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives that detail the impact of programs funded through covered funds on employment, estimated economic growth, and other key economic indicators.� (The head of the Council of Economic Advisors, currently Alan Krueger, is appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate, and works within the Executive Office of the President. He is the president�s chief economic adviser.)
There may be a reason -- the "jobs created" numbers:
In January 2010, Obama�s Council of Economic Advisors reported that, using �mainstream estimates of economic multipliers for the effects of fiscal stimulus� (which it described as a �natural way to estimate the effects of� the legislation), the �stimulus� had at that point cost $263.3 billion and had added or saved about 1.8 million jobs, whether private or public. In other words, for every $148,000 in taxpayer money that had gone out the door, only one job had been added or saved � according to an estimate from Obama�s own economists.
It gets worse:
By the April 2010 report, according to that same method of estimating the stimulus�s effects, the tally was up to $167,000 spent for each job added or saved. By the July 2010 report, the tally was up to $190,000. By November 2010, it was up to $206,000. By March 2011, it was up to $242,000. By July 2011, it was up to $278,000 (at which point the White House objected to my highlighting its own numbers, and I responded). And by the December 2011 report (which covered the stimulus�s effects through the second quarter of 2011), it was up to $317,000 � $317,000 of taxpayers� money that was borrowed and spent for each job that was added or saved.
No budget from the Senate, no reporting. I really do not blame them as the numbers just plain suck -- their great plan didn't work just as it is failing in Europe and as it has failed everywhere it was tried. Marx was a moron, a failed businessman and one of the original trust-fund babies. His ideas sound good to a cloistered academic with zero real-world experience but try them out on real people and real world situations and they will fail. Always. Spectacularly. People will die and the society will become divided into two classes with the poor being held down by the wealthy.

Public Schools in Seattle

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Got to protect our widdle snowflakes - from Seattle CBS affiliate KSTW:
Seattle Elementary School Bans Halloween Costumes
A Seattle school has banned students from celebrating a new holiday this year: Halloween.

Lafayette Elementary School has decided to not allow students to dress up in costume for Halloween this year. And there is still some discrepancy between parents and the administration as to why the ban has been implemented this fall.

The decision was first reported by the district (Seattle Public Schools) as being a preventative measure in the event that Halloween costumes could offend and upset students who come from other cultures. Dozens of parents complained to the school over the measure demanding a detailed explanation.
Get over yourselves -- this Nation is a melting pot and School is the place where they should be taught this. Once you start "respecting" everyone's culture, you start dividing people into us and them and the Nation becomes weaker as a result. So what are they doing?
�I was just really sad and I had to fight back tears,� fourth-grader Leilani Nitkey told KCPQ-TV.

CBS affiliate KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reports the school announced it will be hosting a �Harvest Party� in lieu of a costume party.
Where are the adults in this world? Every person in a position of power over someone else has gone from the academic world right into their line of work. They have zero real-world experience. Reminds me of something I wrote in a post from March 13, 2009:
The writer Robert Anson Heinlein once said the following:

�A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects�

I have personally done sixteen of the twenty one, not just know how to do it but I have done it. How about you?
And I am now up to seventeen out of that list.
Talk about hamstringing a nascent industry -- from Tech - the future:
Patent Could Cripple The 3D Printing Revolution
3D printers allow users to print 3D objects from a digital design. Once the technology hits the mainstream it will likely be as disruptive to manufacturing as sharable digital files are to the music, movie and publishing industry. Once technology enabled decentralized, low- or no-cost (re)production, these industries saw their control over their products and the market rapidly evaporate.

It will probably be no different for manufacturers of goods. Instead of buying a coffee mug that was designed in Paris, manufactured in Shenzhen and shipped to your place of residence, 3D printing will allow you to download the design of a mug and have your printer produce it for you.

DRM for 3D printers
If digital file sharing is any indication of how the 3D printing revolution will unfold stakeholders will divide into two camps: there�ll be those who embrace the shift to an economy of abundance and build new businesses on it, like Spotify and Bittorrent. And there�ll be those who�ll try to maintain the scarcity model. Either by litigation, policy making or modifying the technology.

A patent issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to Intellectual Ventures on October 9th, squarely falls into the latter category. Patent 8,286,236 is basically a Digital Rights Management technology for 3D printers and other manufacturing methods. DRM restricts the use and distribution of copyrighted content by utilizing techniques like encryption or watermarking.

Intellectual Ventures patented what they call a Manufacturing Control System. For it to work the system has to be built into the printer where it is assigned a policing function. When a digital design or CAD-file is uploaded to the printer, the system checks the file against an online database for authorization codes. If the printer has no authorization to print the file, the system prevents it from executing it.
Intellectual Ventures is a company that is very much ill-liked in the tech world. They produce nothing, they just file for and buy patents and then shake down manufacturers for licensing fees. From the article:
Patents patented by a patent troll
There is some irony in Intellectual Ventures being issued the patent to protect patents. The company doesn�t actually make anything. All it does is filing for and buying up patents in order to exact licensing fees from other companies who do invest in research and development. Its business model makes other tech companies see red and has earned it the title �biggest patent troll on the planet�. The company is considered by many to represent everything that is wrong with the patent system.
Nathan Myhrvold is a pure genius but his business ethics need serious examination. I am all for making money but this should be done the old fashioned way -- you earn it. Come up with a product that people want and sell it to them for an honest price -- it worked for you when you were starting Microsoft. Have you forgotten your hacker roots?

Conspicuous consumption

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Look at the kitchens of serious foodies and of restaurants and they are crowded with stuff everywhere.

Compare these to the kitchens you see in designer magazines with sleek stainless steel appliances, spacious countertops, etc... Guess which ones get used?

From Smithsonian:

Designer Kitchens and the People Who Don't Cook in Them
Search "kitchens" on Pinterest and you'll find rows of pictures of gleaming marble, rustic country tables and the smooth, taut surfaces of various fruits. Actually, don't do this - seriously, it's a trap, you'll never leave. Worse yet, you'll fall victim to "designer kitchens fever" and start demanding upgrades for everything that isn't stainless steel. Reporting on the epidemic, NPR cited the picky consumer on shows like HGTV's House Hunters who insists that dated cabinets mean the house is not "move-in ready." State-of-the-art ovens are de rigueur for young couples looking to set the stage for grown up life.

But actually using that oven? Well, that's another story. Despite the proliferation of cooking shows and foodie films, Americans aren't so hot on actually cooking. Across income, there is a steady trend away from the kitchen as wealth rises. According to the Energy Information Administration's 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey, which uses a sample of more than 12,000 households, 27.5 million Americans enjoy two hot, home-cooked meals every day. Break it down by income, however, and only 2.4 percent of those with a household income of $120,000 or greater report the same. Meanwhile, 6.6 percent of households making less than $20,000 partake in cooking two hot meals every day.

When author Tracie McMillan began researching her book, The American Way of Eating, she wanted to answer the question: if cooking with raw ingredients is supposed to be so cheap and good, why don't more people do it, particularly low income families? Writing for Slate, McMillan concluded:
We tend to think that low-income Americans are flooding McDonald's, while more affluent citizens dutifully eat better meals prepared at home. In reality, it is the middle class that patronizes the Golden Arches and its competitors. (That's because fast food may be cheap, but it's still more expensive than cooking at home.) Indeed, beneficiaries of the Agriculture Department's food-stamp program (officially known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) typically spend far more time than other Americans preparing their meals. (This trend may shift in the future, as some states have begun allowing some subsets of SNAP recipients to redeem their food stamps for fast-food meals.)
Indeed, going out for meals has become more popular over the years. NPR reports, "48 percent of the money spent on food in the U.S. today goes to a restaurant, while in 1955, only a quarter of every food dollar was spent in restaurants."

The 48% number is unreal.

I mean yes, there are a lot of expenses and overhead and profit that make up the price of an entrée but still, I would think that more people would prepare their own meals. I lie at the other end of the spectrum. I do love eating out but I also love to cook -- doing Ahi tonight. Costco sells really nice fresh Ahi and I buy three pieces for $30, freeze two of them and Lulu and I share one piece. $10 for the fish, 20¢ for the rice, a buck or two for the condiments and a veggie and salad and we have something that would sell for $30 each at a Bellingham fish restaurant. Split a $10 bottle of wine ($30 in the restaurant) and there is dinner. Don't always live this high on the hog -- last night's dinner was the fourth dinner for two out of a batch of spaghetti sauce which cost about $6 to make. I upgraded my electric cook-top to Propane and got a new oven two years ago but everything else is original. Same cabinets, lighting, countertops, etc...

From Human Events:
Lee Iacocca endorses Romney for president
After a lifetime of voting for and supporting Democrats � and even declining appointment to the U.S. Senate from a Democratic governor � Lee Iacocca Thursday endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president.

The blessings of the onetime Chrysler chairman are expected to help Romney in two highly competitive states: Pennsylvania, where the 88-year-old Iacocca was born and raised and is still widely respected, and in Michigan, where Iacocca rose to become a major figure in the auto industry and won international praise for cobbling together the government-backed loans that saved Chrysler in 1980.

Iacocca, who now lives in California, issued a statement saying he backed Romney because of his �dozens of years of experiences in the public and private sectors� and because the GOP nominee has a plan that �will enable a stronger America.�

What makes Iacocca�s endorsement of Romney particularly newsworthy is that, although he has long insisted he is an independent, the onetime auto titan has a history of supporting more Democrats than Republicans. He backed George W. Bush for president in 2000, but then backed John Kerry in 2004. Four years ago, he endorsed then-Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico for the Democratic nomination for president. In 1991, following the death of Sen. John Heinz (R-Ill.), Pennsylvania�s then-Democratic Gov. Bob Casey Sr. publicly voiced a desire to appoint Keystone State son Iacocca to fill the vacancy in the Senate. But Iacocca declined, and the appointment went to Democrat Harris Wofford.
Very cool! One more bit:
In his 2009 book Leadership, Iacocca was highly critical of President Obama and his administration, and in his statement endorsing Romney, he said �hope and speeches won�t get our people back to work.�
Emphasis mine -- like I said, that's going to leave a mark.

Now this is going to go over well - EU banking

From The Washington Post:
European leaders agree to have a single banking regulator
European leaders agreed Friday to institute a single regulator with broad oversight over banks in the 17-nation euro zone, a step toward binding the countries' economies more tightly together and eventually throwing a lifeline to Spain's troubled banking sector.

The banking supervisor would have power over the behavior of the roughly 6,000 banks in the euro zone. But the plan would probably take full effect by the beginning of 2014, later than had been anticipated just weeks ago and on a time frame that may not be quick enough to allay market fears that Europe's banks and its governments could drag one another down if any of them gets in trouble.
Well, we all know that if an industry is in trouble, the best thing for it is to have the government step in and take it over. Look at the US Postal Service, look at Amtrak, look at Public Education, look at Fanny and Freddie. Oh. Wait. More:
Until a new regulator is up and running, leaders said, banks would not be able to receive aid directly from Europe's bailout fund, likely leaving the Spanish government with the bill for its faltering financial sector. Leaders said that they did not discuss a broader bailout for Spain during the meeting, though diplomats said Thursday that the Spanish government appeared poised to ask for help within weeks.

The new banking regulator would delegate supervision of smaller banks to national oversight, a concession to German desires to shield their politically powerful regional banks in an election year and also a concession to the reality that it may be difficult to set up an entirely new regulatory operation over the course of just a few months.
One more:
France and Germany clashed during Thursday's meetings, which stretched more than nine hours. Ahead of the summit, Merkel endorsed creating a powerful European official who would have veto power over national budgets, a major giveaway of sovereignty. French President Francois Hollande accused her of paying more attention to her own domestic politics than to what is best for the 17-nation euro zone. But after the meeting, the leaders said they were happy with the results.

"The worst is behind us," Hollande told reporters. "But everything is not over yet because we have to restore confidence and growth."
Emphasis mine -- the European Nations just gave away their sovereign rights to a single bankster? Meanwhile, Hollande is implementing a massive tax increase for businesses which will cripple the French economy -- he has the gall to talk about restoring confidence and growth. It will be nice at some point in the future if they could get some adults to run things instead of the infants now in control.

Word of the month - Ataraxia

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From the Wiki entry:
Ataraxia (Ἀταραξία "tranquility") is a Greek term used by Pyrrho and Epicurus for a lucid state of robust tranquility, characterized by ongoing freedom from distress and worry.
We all need to cultivate a state of ataraxia in our lives.

Our government at work

From Town Hall:

Moroccan Pottery, Obamaphones, and Gaydar: How the Government Wasted Your Money This Year
Senator Tom Coburn released the Wastebook 2012 today detailing the 100 most egregious wastes of taxpayer money. The two hundred page report details waste in all manner of federal spending - from multi-billion dollar programs all the way down to a $300 grant to a small-town library for a Star Wars-themed event. It's emblematic of the waste found everywhere in the federal budget.

Coburn details a $27 million U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program for pottery classes in Morocco. The program, which has a questionable premise in the first place, was doomed due to incompetence and mismanagement. Translators with a questionable grasp of English were hired and used materials unavailable to Moroccans. The Inspector General concluded that the program was "ineffective and poorly implemented."

No sacred cow is spared in the report. Coburn notes that producing pennies has become too expensive for the government to justify. "The cost to produce a penny in 2012 is more than two times its actual value." Noting that other developed countries have discontinued their smallest forms of currency, he writes, "the United States should follow suit and stop producing it."

While the viral video of an Obama supporter claiming to have received a free phone may stretch credibility, the truth is more real than you think. There is in fact a federal program aimed at providing "free or reduced-price cell phone service," as detailed in Wastebook. The federal government is empowered to provide universal telecommunications service to Americans, and have started using cell phones rather than landlines as a means of accomplishing that.

And of course, the people on the receiving end of this largess will remember to vote for the Senator or Representative who got them that pork. A self-perpetuating cycle of abuse.

The report is a 9mb PDF download -- 202 pages of which 66 are filled with 1081 source references complete with links. Available here: Waste Book 2012.

As for free Obamaphones? I got an application for one myself a couple weeks ago. Keeping it for grins...

From The Bellingham Herald:
Myanmar find could flood vintage Spitfire market
As many as 140 World War II Spitfire fighter planes - three to four times the number of airworthy models known to exist - are believed to be buried in near-pristine condition in Myanmar. A British-Myanmar partnership says it will begin digging them up by the end of the month.

The go-ahead for excavation came earlier this week when the Myanmar government signed an agreement with British aviation enthusiast David J. Cundall and his local partner. Cundall, a farmer and businessman, earlier this year announced he had located 20 of the planes, best known for helping the Royal Air Force win mastery of the skies during the Battle of Britain.

On Thursday, however, a retired Myanmar geology professor who has assisted in the recovery operation since 1999 said there are about 140 Spitfires buried in various places around the Southeast Asian country, which until 1948 was a British colony called Burma. He did not explain the discrepancy in estimates.

Soe Thein said the British brought crates of Spitfires to Myanmar in the closing stages of the war, but never used them when the Japanese gave up the fight in 1945. The single-seat version of the fighter plane was 9.14 meters (30 feet) long with an 11.3 meter (37 foot) wingspan.

The U.S. Army was in charge of burying the planes after British forces decided to dispose of them that way, he said, adding Cundall interviewed at least 1,000 war veterans, mostly American, to gather information about the aircraft's fate.
Just wow -- these airplanes are iconic and fairly rare. It will be fun seeing the pictures and reading more of the story...

Carbon Dioxide buffoonery

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Was going to post this but Anthony beat me to it. This item caught my eye earlier today -- from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory:
Elevated Indoor Carbon Dioxide Impairs Decision-Making Performance
Overturning decades of conventional wisdom, researchers at the Department of Energy�s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found that moderately high indoor concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) can significantly impair people�s decision-making performance. The results were unexpected and may have particular implications for schools and other spaces with high occupant density.

�In our field we have always had a dogma that CO2 itself, at the levels we find in buildings, is just not important and doesn�t have any direct impacts on people,� said Berkeley Lab scientist William Fisk, a co-author of the study, which was published in Environmental Health Perspectives online last month. �So these results, which were quite unambiguous, were surprising.� The study was conducted with researchers from State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University.

On nine scales of decision-making performance, test subjects showed significant reductions on six of the scales at CO2 levels of 1,000 parts per million (ppm) and large reductions on seven of the scales at 2,500 ppm. The most dramatic declines in performance, in which subjects were rated as �dysfunctional,� were for taking initiative and thinking strategically. �Previous studies have looked at 10,000 ppm, 20,000 ppm; that�s the level at which scientists thought effects started,� said Berkeley Lab scientist Mark Mendell, also a co-author of the study. �That�s why these findings are so startling.�
A bit more:
Fisk, Mendell, and their colleagues, including Usha Satish at SUNY Upstate Medical University, assessed CO2 exposure at three concentrations: 600, 1,000 and 2,500 ppm. They recruited 24 participants, mostly college students, who were studied in groups of four in a small office-like chamber for 2.5 hours for each of the three conditions. Ultrapure CO2 was injected into the air supply and mixing was ensured, while all other factors, such as temperature, humidity, and ventilation rate, were kept constant. The sessions for each person took place on a single day, with one-hour breaks between sessions.

Although the sample size was small, the results were unmistakable. �The stronger the effect you have, the fewer subjects you need to see it,� Fisk said. �Our effect was so big, even with a small number of people, it was a very clear effect.�
Sample size of twenty four? No control group? Stunningly bad lab practice and science... I remembered something about CO2 in Navy Submarines and Anthony found two citations. From Watts Up With That:
Claim: CO2 makes you stupid? Ask a submariner that question
Posted on October 17, 2012 by Anthony Watts

From Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, something that might finally explain Al Gore�s behavior � too much time spent indoors and in auditoriums giving pitches about the dangers of CO2. One wonders though what the Navy submarine service has to say about this new research:
We try to keep CO2 levels in our U.S. Navy submarines no higher than 8,000 parts per million, about 20 time current atmospheric levels. Few adverse effects are observed at even higher levels. � Senate testimony of Dr. William Happer, here
This is backed up by the publication from the National Academies of Science Emergency and Continuous Exposure Guidance Levels for Selected Submarine Contaminants which documents effects of CO2 at much much higher levels than the medical study, and shows regular safe exposure at these levels�
Data collected on nine nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 3,500 ppm with a range of 0-10,600 ppm, and data collected on 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 4,100 ppm with a range of 300-11,300 ppm (Hagar 2003). � page 46
�but shows no concern at the values of 600-2500 ppm of this medical study from LBNL. I figure if the Navy thinks it is safe for men who have their finger on the nuclear weapons keys, then that is good enough for me.
So busted on so many counts... It's that eeeeeevil Carbon Dioxide. Right up there with Dihydrogen Monoxide

Felix Baumgartner and Joe Kittinger

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I watched Baumgartner's amazing 24 mile fall and safe landing a few days after it happened. What passes for an internet connection here precludes streaming or fast downloads. Velociman has the wonderful inside story:
The Dive
Looking at the last post it seems apparent I haven't posted in a week. Well, that will change tonight. Besides, I've been busy leaving worrisome, troubling comments on peoples' Facebook accounts, and tweeting hit-and-run attacks on the unsuspecting.

I held off on commenting about Felix Baumgartner's successful spacedive because I wanted to see some confirmation of the sound barrier breakage. It appears he made it. 800 mph plus.

Old time readers know I have been wanting to see Joe Kittinger's record broken for a long time. Felix not only put the 84-year-old Kittinger on his team, he made him the Capcom, the one guy in communication with Baumgartner during his ascent and descent. This, to me, was an incredible example of homage and humility. No one else ever attempting to break this record ever thought to bring Joe into the mix. And Joe is a hoss. After setting his spacedive altitude record he shot down an enemy plane in Vietnam, was himself shot down, and was a POW for 11 months. Another of those heroes we seldom hear about.

Here's the other thing: Baumgartner broke the records for highest balloon ascent, highest altitude dive, fastest dive, and being the first human to break the speed of sound with body alone. The one record he did not break? Kittinger's record for longest freefall, 4 minutes and 36 seconds. Felix pulled the cord at 4 minutes and 20 seconds. I'm not sure he was cognizant of the minutes and seconds involved before deploying his chute, having just survived a flat spin, but I like to think he pulled the cord a few seconds early. He left Joe a record. That's how guys in that rarefied world of achievement act. If so, it was an even more decent gesture than having Kittinger actively participate.

That's class. That's a winner. Ten years I've waited for this moment, and I was able to watch it livestreaming. What a marvelous, modern world we live in.
Marvelous indeed. Colonel Kittinger has lived quite the life.

TARP and the automotive bailout

An interesting report from The Fiscal Times:

Obama's Auto Bailout Was Really a Hefty Union Payoff
In the second presidential debate, Mr. Obama attacked early on, saying, "Governor Romney said we should let Detroit go bankrupt."

Note to Obama fans: GM did go bankrupt - filing for Chapter 11 protection against its creditors on June 1, 2009. It's what happened next that the president can take credit for - a handout of $49.5 billion in taxpayer money to GM, some $27 billion of which remains outstanding, and another $17 billion to its financial arm Ally Financial, which still owes $14.7 billion.

In other words, Obama didn't save General Motors; American taxpayers did, with an assist from the Federal Reserve. While liberals rant about the bailouts of Wall Street, it is worthwhile noting that of the $417 billion in TARP funds spent to stabilize the economy, only $65 billion has yet to be repaid - and more than half of that is owed by GM and Chrysler. The latest TARP report from the Congressional Budget Office says that the government invested nearly $80 billion in those two auto giants and that taxpayers are still on the hook for roughly $37 billion.

In the same report, the CBO projects that handouts to Wall Street firms will ultimately net the government a cool $11 billion profit. They say the auto industry, on the other hand, will never pay back taxpayers. According to the congressional bean counters, $20 billion is gone for good.

Where did that money go? Mainly, it went to paying off debts owed by GM and Chrysler, and - in an historic distortion of our bankruptcy proceedings - to securing the pensions and livelihoods of UAW workers. It turns out the real debt was that of Mr. Obama to organized labor, which had ponied up some $400 million to help him defeat John McCain.

The Obama administration strong-armed the auto companies' creditors into accepting undeniably unfair terms - terms that saw pensions obliterated for non-union workers but saved for those carrying a UAW card. Terms that saw non-UAW shops close but UAW factories stay open. Terms that doled out ownership in GM with political favoritism as a guiding principle.

These charges are not at issue. In the government-managed reorganization of GM, bond holders (secured bond holders, who normally are at the top of the pay-out chart) were given equity in the carmaker at a price of $2.7 billion per one percent ownership. The government ended up paying $834 million for every one percent it claimed; the UAW paid only $629 million.

Why did the UAW receive such favorable treatment? The government at the time argued that the UAW was already making sufficient sacrifices. While true that union members gave up cost-of-living increases and agreed to a no-strike rule, they were protected against the kind of pay cuts that would have made GM truly competitive.

Months earlier, Congress refused an emergency loan to the auto makers because the UAW would not lower pay to compete with foreign car makers operating in non-union U.S. factories. The reality is that the UAW could have been harder pressed. If GM and Chrysler had stopped turning out cars, the union was toast.

A lot more at the site. The progressives reward failure if there are enough campaign contributions and support. I voted with my dollars -- have driven Dodge trucks for the last 30 years. It was time to retire my old Dakota so I bought a Ford E-350 and love it.

Good news on the environmental front

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From The Washington Post:
EU considers limiting percentage of biofuels made from food that count toward renewable target
Europe is considering limiting the amount of food-based biofuels that can count toward its renewable fuel targets while a drought in the U.S. has pushed up food prices worldwide and millions around the world go hungry.

As part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the European Union had previously decided that 10 percent of the fuel used for transport in the 27-country bloc must come from renewable sources by 2020.

But environmentalists argue that biofuels made from food, like corn and soybeans, may add as much or even more to greenhouse gas emissions as fossil fuels they replace because trees are often felled to grow them. Others have criticized the burning of food while there are still millions who can�t afford to eat.

In response, the European Commission, the EU�s executive arm, proposed Wednesday that food-based fuels only be allowed to contribute to half of the 10 percent target. The rest should come from more advanced biofuels that don�t take up valuable farming land � like algae or waste.
One half of a great plan -- only problem is that by continuing the mandate and shifting to algae or waste is only going to drive up energy prices even more. Corn ethanol is low hanging fruit -- easy to make and cheap. If the USA becomes energy independent, this will drive down the global fuel costs. This will allow the EU to start developing Thorium reactors.

And so it begins anew

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From the National Weather Service:
336 PM PDT THU OCT 18 2012

336 PM PDT THU OCT 18 2012




The road to Artist's Point was closed a few days ago. Winter is coming...

Security in Libya

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Funny -- it looked great last May... From The Washington Times:
State Department report praised diplomatic security before Benghazi attack
A State Department report earlier this year lauded security at the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, just a few months before it was overrun by heavily armed Islamic extremists in an attack that killed four Americans.

The report, a 2011 review by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, states that while the rebellion against Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi was still raging last year, diplomatic security staff went to Benghazi, the birthplace and center of the revolution, to find secure facilities there for U.S. diplomats.

�Due to existing and emerging threats,� State Department personnel in Benghazi were moved �to [a] more secure location, a large villa compound that significantly enhanced the security of all U.S. personnel� in the city, states the report, which was published in May.
The report (PDF) can be downloaded from the State Department. From page nine of the report:
The DS team made an ongoing evaluation of the temporary location�s security, implemented upgrades, and proceeded to identify an even more secure location. Due to existing and emerging threats, Department personnel were moved by DS to the more secure location, a large villa compound that significantly enhanced the security of all U.S. personnel in Benghazi.
On page ten, there is a photo with this chilling caption:
A DS agent (standing) offers pointers in marksmanship and weapons handling to four of the national transitional council's local guards at Benghazi, Libya. a local guard force was assembled to provide early warning and a first line of defense for the U.S. mission staff traveling in Benghazi.
Page fifteen had this:
DS also protected the U.S. Special Representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council, John Christopher Stevens, during the height of the crisis. That mission required DS special agents to operate for five months in rebel-held Benghazi, in the midst of the civil war, evolving from a small mission of limited duration into an extensive mission focused on critical political reporting and humanitarian assistance.
Our Government let these people down and they paid the ultimate price.

The government teat - a two-fer

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From The Daily Caller:
Report: Welfare government�s single largest budget item in FY 2011 at approx. $1.03 trillion
The government spent approximately $1.03 trillion on 83 means-tested federal welfare programs in fiscal year 2011 alone � a price tag that makes welfare that year the government�s largest expenditure, according to new data released by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.
A bit more:
The data excludes spending on Social Security, Medicare, means-tested health care for veterans without service-connected disabilities, and the means-tested veterans pension program.
And more -- the Foodstamp President:
CRS reports that food assistance programs � the third largest welfare category behind health and cash assistance � experienced the greatest increase in spending, with 71 percent more spending in 2011 than in 2008. The agency explained that this spending increase was largely due to the growth in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps.
Emphases mine. The report can be read here: Spending for Federal Benefits and Services for People With Low Income, FY08-FY11 But at least we have a recovery in the jobs market - don't we? From CNBC:
Weekly Jobless Claims Drop Proves to Be Short-Lived
Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped 46,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the highest in four months. The increase represents a rebound from the previous week's sharp drop. Both swings were largely due to technical factors.

The Labor Department says the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell slightly to 365,500, a level consistent with modest hiring.

Last week, California reported a large drop in applications, pushing down the overall figure to the lowest since February 2008.

This week, it reported a significant increase as it processed applications delayed from the previous week.

A department spokesman says the seasonally adjusted numbers "are being distorted ... by an issue of timing."
Cloward-Piven writ large - want to know the cause of most of our urban domestic problems? These two people: Cloward-Piven Strategy (CPS) Two fscking academics with no real-world experience and the Democratic Party lapped it up like it was ice cream.

RIP - Stanford R. Ovshinsky

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From Wikipedia:
Stanford R. Ovshinsky
Stanford R. Ovshinsky (born November 24, 1922, in Akron, Ohio and died October 17, 2012) was an American inventor and scientist who had been granted well over 400 patents over the last fifty years, mostly in the areas of energy or information. Many of his inventions have had wide ranging applications. Among the most prominent are: an environmentally friendly nickel-metal hydride battery, which has been widely used in laptop computers, digital cameras, cell phones, and electric and hybrid cars; continuous web multi-junction flexible thin-film solar energy laminates and panels; flat screen liquid crystal displays; rewritable CD and DVD computer memories; hydrogen fuel cells; and nonvolatile phase-change electronic memories. Ovshinsky opened the scientific field of amorphous and disordered materials in the course of his research in the 1940s and 50s in neurophysiology, neural disease, the nature of intelligence in mammals and machines, and cybernetics. Amorphous silicon semiconductors have become the basis of many technologies and industries. Ovshinsky is also distinguished in being self-taught, without formal college or graduate training. Throughout his life, his love for science and his social convictions were the primary engines for his inventive work.
Someone who's work was everywhere but you never heard of him. An American genius.

From cNet News:

Apple ordered by U.S. court to reveal iPhone profit margins
Apple won its recent U.S. patent case against Samsung, but the company may have to pay a price by revealing key profit details about the iPhone.

Judge Lucy Koh has ordered Apple to go public with information about its sales, earnings, and profit margins on the iPhone. As a corporation, Apple does report unit sales on its various products each quarter. But it stops short of divulging how much profit it makes on each iPhone.

Apple has maintained that revealing such information would benefit its competitors. But apparently Koh didn't buy that argument.

Heh - discovery is a bitch! Of course, this will be appealed but...

It's coming

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There have been rumblings on the web that there will be urban riots on election day regardless of who wins. I agree but haven't found anything concrete to post from a reliable source. This caught my eye though -- from USA Today:
Report: Violent crime rises sharply, reversing trend
The violent crime rate went up 17% last year, ending a general decline in violence that began nearly 20 years ago, according to a new federal survey of crime victims.

The Justice Department's National Crime Victimization Survey also found an 11% increase in the rate of property crimes, including household burglaries and car theft.

The survey represents a sharp departure from recent years and a preliminary report produced earlier this year by the FBI, which found that violent crime had declined by 4% during the first six months of 2011.
And of course, zero mention that black-on-black crime accounts for over 90% of this new violence (source material: here, here, here and here).

Got another one - the NY Fed

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From New York City television station WABC:
Plot foiled to attack Federal Reserve in Manhattan
One man was arrested in a federal terrorism sting targeting the Federal Reserve in lower Manhattan.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis , 21, was arrested this morning in downtown Manhattan after he allegedly attempted to detonate what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb at the New York Federal Reserve Bank on Liberty Street in lower Manhattan's financial district.

The suspect was arraigned in federal court in Downtown Brooklyn and remanded without bail.

Agents set up a sting and he was caught and taken into custody according to officials.

Authorities say the suspect parked a van that he thought was filled with explosives.

He then tried to set them off with a cell phone call made from the Millennium Hotel, across from the World Trade Center, officials said.
The stupidity -- it burns!!! A bit more:
A joint FBI/NYPD operation flagged the suspect on the internet three months ago.

The defendant faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda.

According to the criminal complaint filed today in the Eastern District of New York, defendant Nafis, a Bangladeshi national, traveled to the United States in January 2012 for the purpose of conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
He was probably Mirandized and will get a free liberal lawyer. This moke tried to prosecute War against the United States. He needs to be brought before a Military Tribunal, sentenced and shot that next morning with a gun lubricated with Silver Bullet Gun Oil. Do that ten or fifteen times (and publicise it) and and incidences of domestic terrorism will suddenly drop off the charts...

Germany heads in the right direction

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I wonder how many French speakers are learning German. From CNBC:
Merkel Urges Tax Cuts to Boost German Economy
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday Germany needs to stimulate domestic economic demand and urged opposition parties to stop blocking proposed tax cuts in the upper house of Parliament.

Merkel told business leaders Germany should end the automatic progression of workers into ever higher tax brackets due to inflation, which siphons more than 20 billion euros ($26 billion) out of the economy each year. She also renewed her calls for cuts in pension contributions as another way to boost purchasing power.

"Growth in Germany can at the moment be stimulated by an increase in domestic demand more than anything else," she said.
And she is dialing back the alt.energy scams too:
She said the Renewable Energy Act that has helped make Germany a world leader in renewable energy � getting 25 percent of its electricity from wind, solar, and biomass � needed to be reformed because of the sharply rising surcharge costs.

"I see an urgent need to reform the Renewable Energy Act," she said.
Good. If she gets the corporate tax rate lowered too, Germany will come back with a roar. Let's hope that the rest of EU takes notice...

Talk about bulletproof - The Pirate Bay

Torrent site The Pirate Bay has gone through quite the overhaul. From TorrentFreak:
Pirate Bay Moves to The Cloud, Becomes Raid-Proof
The Pirate Bay has made an important change to its infrastructure. The world�s most famous BitTorrent site has switched its entire operation to the cloud. From now on The Pirate Bay will serve its users from several cloud hosting providers scattered around the world. The move will cut costs, ensure better uptime, and make the site virtually invulnerable to police raids � all while keeping user data secure.

The Pirate Bay is loved by millions of file-sharers but is also a thorn in the side of the entertainment industries.

The latter group continues to push authorities to take action against the site. The Pirate Bay was raided back in 2006 and there are rumors that the police might try again in the near future.
And a bit more:
The Pirate Bay is currently hosted at cloud hosting companies in two countries where they run several Virtual Machine (VM) instances.
And more:
The load balancer and transit-routers are still owned and operated by The Pirate Bay, which allows the site to hide the location of the cloud provider. It also helps to secure the privacy of the site�s users.

The hosting providers have no idea that they�re hosting The Pirate Bay, and even in the event they found out it would be impossible for them to gather data on the users.

�All communication with users goes through TPB�s load balancer, which is a disk-less server with all the configuration in RAM. The load balancer is not in the same country as the transit-router or the cloud servers,� The Pirate Bay told us.

�The communication between the load balancer and the virtual servers is encrypted. So even if a cloud provider found out they�re running TPB, they can�t look at the content of user traffic or user�s IP-addresses.�

In addition The Pirate Bay now believes it�s more raid proof.

The worst case scenario is that The Pirate Bay loses both its transit router and its load balancer. All the important data is backed up externally on VMs that can be re-installed at cloud hosting providers anywhere in the world.

�If the police decide to raid us again there are no servers to take, just a transit router. If they follow the trail to the next country and find the load balancer, there is just a disk-less server there. In case they find out where the cloud provider is, all they can get are encrypted disk-images,� The Pirate Bay says.

�They have to be quick about it too, if the servers have been out of communication with the load balancer for 8 hours they automatically shut down. When the servers are booted up, access is only granted to those who have the encryption password,� they add.
Heh -- I love it. After all, the TCP/IP protocol was written at its heart to be able to survive damage to the network and route around downed nodes. This will be fun to see them try to take it down.

Fun in France

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From the UK Telegraph:
French business erupts in fury against "disastrous" Fran�ois Hollande
�The situation is very serious. Some business leaders are in a state of quasi-panic,� said Laurence Parisot, head of employers� group MEDEF.

�The pace of bankruptcies has accelerated over the summer. We are seeing a general loss of confidence by investors. Large foreign investors are shunning France altogether. It�s becoming really dramatic.�
A bit more:
The immediate bone of contention is Article 6 of the new tax law, which raises the top rate of capital gains tax from 34.5pc to 62.2pc. This compares with 21pc in Spain, 26.4pc in Germany and 28pc in Britain.
62.2 percent is a business and jobs killer. Not sustainable. More:
Mr Hollande is tightening fiscal policy by 2pc of GDP next year to meet EU deficit targets, with two-thirds coming from higher taxes. The budget does little to shrink the French state. Spending has risen to 55pc of GDP, similar to Sweden but without Nordic labour flexibility.

French economic growth has been near zero for the past five quarters. It may have tipped into recession over the summer as the malaise spread from Italy and Spain, according to Banque de France.

New car registrations were down 7.7pc in the third quarter from a year earlier. Unemployment has been creeping up, reaching a post-euro high of 10.6pc.
When will these people ever learn -- big government is not the solution, it is the problem.

CERT class tonight

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Had another CERT class tonight -- practiced search and rescue, more triage, and cribbing (for lifting and supporting heavy things (wall segments) and rescuing the person underneath). The class would split up into teams and half would play 'victim' and the other half would practice. I DVRed the debate tonight and Lulu and I will watch it tomorrow. Going to be interesting to watch.

The Jobs Numbers

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Back on the 10th, Jack Welch (21 year CEO of GE) was suspicious about the recent jump in good jobs numbers and I posted about it here. On the 11th, there was some more information and I speculated a little bit:
Fine tuning the jobs numbers
The administration released the new unemployment numbers and they were down significantly.

The other economic indicators did not reflect this down-tick so people are asking why.

Ex-GE CEO Jack Welsh wrote about this yesterday.

Now, from CNBC we see a possible explanation:
And a bit more from that post:
More information at the site � wonder which state it is? CA? IL?
Turns out it's CA -- from Matt Vespa writing at Hot Air:
About That Jobs Report�Updated: Jobless claims dropped because BLS omitted California
Last Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released another report detailing that jobless claims have dropped to a four year low. According to The Associated Press, �the Labor Department said weekly applications fell by 30,000 to the lowest level since February 2008. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped by 11,500 to 364,000, a six-month low.Applications are a proxy for layoffs. When they consistently drop below 375,000, it suggests that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate. A Labor Department spokesman cautioned that the weekly applications can be volatile, particularly at the start of a quarter. And the spokesman said one large state accounted for much of the decline. The spokesman did not name the state.�

Besides the fact that most of the net new jobs created last month were part-time jobs, which isn�t a realistic gauge in measuring our recovery, the reason for the massive drop in jobless claims is because the BLS forgot to include California in their report. Henry Blodget at Business Insider reported that he �spoke to an analyst at the Labor Department. According to this analyst, here�s what happened: ALL STATES WERE INCLUDED in this week�s jobless claims. Assertions that �a large state� was excluded from the report are patently false.�
Go to Matt's post - there are a lot more links and details. A very simple fact -- if this was G.W. or G.H.W. Bush, the media would be having a field day. This is coming from a media-friendly source so it is treated with kid gloves if mentioned at all. After all, it advances the narrative and that is what progressives are all about. Ideas that are so good, they must be mandatory.

William A. Jacobson on Elizabeth Warren

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Dr. Jacobson has been focusing on Elizabeth Warren who is running for Senate in Massachusetts. Here is his latest -- she is avoiding some fees that the "little" lawyers have to pay:
Elizabeth Warren obtained federal fee waivers despite high 6-figure income and 8-figure net worth
Elizabeth Warren has built her progressive rock star image and her campaign by attacking the wealthy factory owners and others who supposedly do not pay their �fair share� and take advantage of loopholes to live off of infrastructure paid for by others.

Yet Warren appears to be one of those people who takes advantage.

Warren falsely and without any legitimate legal basis claimed to be Cherokee for employment purposes. Warren also chintzed by failing to register for the Massachusetts Bar despite an active practice of law in Cambridge since the mid-1990s, thereby evading Bar registration dues. Howie Carr has a great column today about Warren�s class warfare phoniness.

Add another example to the long list: Warren obtained fee waivers from at least 50 federal bankruptcy courts so she would not have to pay for access to the federal PACER system, even in years when she had a high 6-figure income and an 8-figure net worth.
Hope she loses and loses bigtime.
About that Bailout -- from CNS News:
Obama: �We Got Back Every Dime� of Bailout;
CBO: Bailout Will Lose $24 Billion

President Barack Obama said on Thursday that �we got back every dime we used to rescue the financial system."

According to the Congressional Budget Office, however, the government will lose about $24 billion on the bailout.

�We got back every dime we used to rescue the financial system, but we also passed a historic law to end taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts for good,� Obama said in Miami Thursday.

The Congressional Budget Office (PDF file) -- based on figures from Obama�s own Office of Management and Budget -- gives a different assessment.

�The cost to the federal government of the TARP�s transactions (also referred to as the subsidy cost), including grants for mortgage programs that have not yet been made, will amount to $24 billion,� said the CBO report, which was released on the same day Obama spoke.
They are just down to lying through their teeth -- nothing to run on so lie lie lie... Here is more of the same -- from another CNS News story:
Michelle Obama: �We Are in the Midst of a Huge Recovery�
First Lady Michelle Obama said in a radio interview on Friday that the United States is in the �midst of a huge recovery� because of what �this president has done.�

Pablo Sato, co-host of Pablo & Free on WPGC 95.5, a Washington, D.C.-area hip-hop radio station, asked the first lady: �Mrs. Obama, you know what, in your words, tell us what you think the state of the union is in right now?�

Mrs. Obama said, �I mean, we are seeing right now that we are in the midst of a huge recovery. Right? Because of what this president has done.�

Free: �Yes.�

Obama: �Pulled this economy from the brink of collapse when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. Now were gaining every -- throughout most of his presidency, we�ve been adding jobs to this economy because of what he�s been doing. The stock market has doubled. Housing prices are rising. Foreclosure rates are lowering. But in the face of that, you still have people trying to convince us that things aren�t better.�
Living in Cloud cuckoo land in the purest sense -- deranged.

Romney on Detroit

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A very insightful op-ed from 2008 at The New York Times:
Let Detroit Go Bankrupt
If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won�t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course � the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

I love cars, American cars. I was born in Detroit, the son of an auto chief executive. In 1954, my dad, George Romney, was tapped to run American Motors when its president suddenly died. The company itself was on life support � banks were threatening to deal it a death blow. The stock collapsed. I watched Dad work to turn the company around � and years later at business school, they were still talking about it. From the lessons of that turnaround, and from my own experiences, I have several prescriptions for Detroit�s automakers.
His prescription will be painful for the unions but must be done to become competitive again. This is leadership. Detroit is a few inches away from needing another massive bailout, the next few months will be interesting...

The Nobel Peace Prize

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Claudia Rosett has some wonderful thoughts on the current Peace Prize winner:
Portents of the EU Nobel Peace Prize�
Commentators have been struggling to make sense of this year�s Nobel Peace Prize, which went to the quarreling, rioting, and crisis-ridden multilateral morass that is the European Union. The Nobel commendation praised the EU �for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.�

Among the saner responses to this was a column by former State Department adviser Christian Whiton, who asked �Is this a joke?� And, with a degree of lucidity that routinely eludes the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, speaking on Fox News (about 5 minutes into this clip), noted that if Europe has had peace �It�s not because of the European Union. It�s because of American power,� which, he pointed out, has sheltered Europeans for decades, and given them a chance to work out their differences.
She then lists a couple of the more egregious Peace Prize winners. Why do they even bother. The "thinking" Nobel's are really worth something -- they choose good people. They are awarded by Sweden. The Peace Prize is awarded by Norway -- they could stop and nobody would really notice...

Things that go bump in the night

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From Norfolk, Va station WTKR:
Norfolk-based sub and Aegis cruiser collide at sea
A Navy submarine and an Aegis cruiser collided off the east coast Saturday afternoon. Both are based in Norfolk.

The collision between the Los Angeles-class submarine USS Montpelier and the USS San Jacinto occurred at approximately 3:30 p.m. according to U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

No personnel aboard either vessel were injured.

Overall damage to both ships is being evaluated. The Navy says the propulsion plant of the submarine was unaffected by this collision.

Both ships are currently operating under their own power.

The incident is currently under investigation by the Navy.

Both the submarine and the ship were conducting routine training at the time of the accident.
Ouch -- even if it was a simple accident, both Captains are going to be going through a very lengthy and detailed inquisition and depending on the outcome, my be dropped down a rank or two.

Governments gone wild

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Talk about going off half cocked -- from the New Zealand Herald:
'Plant Nazis' hunt for outlawed trees
Biosecurity officers have raided the Auckland Botanic Gardens, apparently looking for an exotic relation to the kauri tree that may have been illegally introduced to the country.

The homes of the gardens' curator, Jack Hobbs, and veteran Albany ecologist Graeme Platt were also targeted by Ministry of Primary Industries staff in simultaneous raids just after dawn on Thursday.

Officers were believed to be looking for evidence of agathis silbae, an exotic member of the kauri tree family native to several Pacific islands.

Hobbs said he had been told by an Auckland Council lawyer not to speak to the media. A council spokeswoman also refused to comment.

Platt said those behind the raids were "plant Nazis" influenced by an "idiot New Yorker".

The raids were so extreme he first thought a family member had been in an accident, said Platt, who runs the New Zealand Botanical Research Institute on his property.

"I was sitting at my computer in my undies and the next thing a police car came roaring down the driveway, followed by five more cars.
And the idiot New Yorker?
Officers would not tell him what they were looking for, but Platt, 71, believed it was evidence of agathis silbae. The tree cannot be brought into New Zealand because it was not in the country before a 1997 law banned new plant imports.

But Platt said the tree was here before 1997 under a different name, agathis macrophylla.

It had two names because New York botanist John Silba mistakenly thought he had discovered a new species and named it after himself.

"This clown has named it after himself, but it's the same as the agathis macrophylla. (The ministry) have even called the raids Operation Silbae, for a non-existent tree due to one idiot in New York."

The tree was no threat and fears it could cross with native kauri were wrong because a hybrid could never wipe out the original, Platt said.
What an inexact scientist. Not only to mis-classify a plant but to have the gall to name it after yourself. The only reference to Mr. Silba I can find on the web is that he is with the State University of New York at their Farmingdale campus but neither the Farmingdale nor the SUNY faculty search engines pulled up his name. There is a reference to him at that institution in the Jan-Mar 2001 issue of the Long Island Botanical Society newsletter. Let us hope that he is in a place where he cannot do more damage...


I love to cook and my favorite food magazine is Cooks Illustrated. The New York Times did a really nice profile of its Publisher -- Christopher Kimball:
Cooking Isn�t Creative, and It Isn�t Easy
Inside the renovated Le Bernardin in Midtown Manhattan, the pink flowers are as tall as dogwoods and the latticework walls give off a coppery, sci-fi sheen, and Christopher Kimball, the most influential home cook in America, prods a fork into an appetizer of Wagyu beef, langoustine and osetra caviar from China. He pulls apart the cylinder and glances skeptically inside. �I�m happier eating at Di Fara,� he claims, meaning the slice parlor in an Orthodox Jewish section of Midwood, Brooklyn, that has been occasionally hounded by the city�s Health Department. �Just real pizza,� Kimball enthuses. �No duck sausage and crap.� It�s true that he appears out of place amid the restaurant�s boardroom-in-space d�cor; with his bow tie, suspenders and severely parted hair, Kimball looks like someone who might�ve sold homeowners� insurance to Calvin Coolidge.
A bit more:
At the core of C.I.�s M.O. are two intrepid observations Kimball has made about the innermost psychology of home cooks. Namely that they 1) are haunted by a fear of humiliation, and 2) will not follow a recipe to the letter, believing that slavishly following directions is an implicit admission that you cannot cook. (When Kimball laid this out for me, I shuddered with recognition.) What the magazine essentially offers its readers is a bargain: if they agree to follow the recipes as written, their cooking will succeed and they will be recognized by family and friends as competent or even expert in the kitchen. To this end, every 32-page issue of the magazine presents a handful of recipes that have been made �bulletproof,� to use a Kimballism, i.e., worried into technical infallibility after weeks of testing so exacting as to bring an average home cook to the brink of neurasthenia. The bargain further holds that the peppercorn-crusted filet of beef or butterscotch-cream pie will turn out not only in C.I.�s professional kitchen, with its All-Clad pans and DCS ranges, but also on a lowly electric four-top, using a dull knife and a $20 nonstick skillet.
What I like is that the explain why they use a certain methodology and I can adapt that while changing the recipe to my tastes. Good stuff!

Taking a break from the rain

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But had wind gusts up to 30MPH this morning. More rain forecast for the next couple of days. Fall is here with a vengence...

Our new bum

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Every summer, we get about five grifters come through our town looking to hunker down for the winter. One or two people will explain the facts to them -- no services for the homeless in the county, no food banks and although we all support a very high level of charity, this charity is directed to our neighbors and friends and not toward a grifter coming into town with a mouth full of gimme, a hand full of much obliged (reference here). This year, we got a couple that moved on after a talking to and then we got Bill. Bill showed up two months ago, hung out for a few days and then one of our people gave him a lift to a town near the Canadian border (15 miles away). He came back two weeks later. This time, he was looking for an address about six miles north of town -- I know most of those people and there are #1) - no bum camps there and #2) - no household likely to take Bill in for the winter. The location in question is very close to the Canadian border so I was thinking he might be trying to sneak across. Rotsa Ruck if that is the case -- this is a major smuggling corridor and the border is very well monitored and patrolled. A couple years ago, they nabbed a guy on a kayak six miles offshore, at night with no moon, trying to bring a load in -- their night-vision cameras must be incredible. A couple weeks went by and he's back. This time, we trespassed him from my store and called the Sheriff -- turns out that Bill is very well known to them with misdemeanor run-ins in many of the communities surrounding Bellingham and they will be more than happy to haul him off if he shows up here again. He has been getting more and more belligerent as he gets kicked out of more and more places. This weekend the long Indian Summer broke -- it is 50�F out and raining (0.7 inch in the last 24) with heavy wind and rain expected for the next few days. I do feel sorry for the man -- this is gorgeous country and I love it out here. That being said, to come out and expect all of the urban services is just plain stupid. No, the world does not owe you a living and charity is given to the truly needy in our community, not to grifters from outside...
From Judicial Watch:
$5.8 Mil �Text Against Terror� Fails To Provide Any Tips
The U.S. government has blown nearly $6 million on an experimental �anti-terrorism� program in New Jersey that encourages the public to send tips via text message from their cellular phones.

Since it was launched in mid-2011, the federally-funded �Text Against Terror� project has produced no credible tips, according to a local newspaper report that reveals the feds have poured $5.8 million into the initiative. Police in New Jersey claim 307 tips have been texted so far and that includes people �testing the system.�

Of the 307 text messages, 71 �referred to something regarding homeland security,� according to the New Jersey police chief quoted in the story. The majority of the 71 texts were investigated, the chief says, and �eliminated as a cause for concern.� In other words, the costly program, funded with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) public awareness grant, is a cash cow that�s accomplished nothing.

The taxpayer dollars have paid for advertising time on local radio and television as well as fliers and ads on buses and trains. Other expenses include reserving a domain for unlimited texting capability. In a �rare instance� when a tip has required a follow-up, the New Jersey police chief says a state Joint Terrorism Task Force is available to get the job done. It includes state police, New Jersey�s transit and port authority police and the FBI.

News of this disturbing waste of public funds for an ineffective homeland security program comes on the heels of a U.S. Senate report blasting a huge post-9/11 counterterrorism program that�s received north of $300 million but hasn�t provided any useful intelligence. Even scarier is that DHS has covered up the mess from both Congress and the public, according to the bi-partisan investigators who conducted the lengthy probe.

The inept domestic counterterrorism program features fusion centers that are supposed to share terrorism-related information between state, local and federal officials. But nine years and more than $300 million later, the national centers have failed to provide any valuable information, according to Senate investigators.
I had posted here about the Fusion Center scandal ten days ago. This regime is clueless, inept, hoovering through our tax dollars at an ever increasing speed and generally ruining this great Nation.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Reporter Lara Logan brings ominous news from Middle East
This was no ordinary rubber chicken affair. That was my reaction to the extraordinary keynoter at Tuesday�s Better Government Association annual luncheon.

Lara Logan, a correspondent for CBS� �60 Minutes,� delivered a provocative speech to about 1,100 influentials from government, politics, media, and the legal and corporate arenas. Such downtown gatherings are a regular on Chicago�s networking circuit. (I am a member of the BGA�s Civic Leadership Committee, and the Chicago Sun-Times was a sponsor).

Her ominous and frightening message was gleaned from years of covering our wars in the Middle East. She arrived in Chicago on the heels of her Sept. 30 report, �The Longest War.� It examined the Afghanistan conflict and exposed the perils that still confront America, 11 years after 9/11.

Eleven years later, �they� still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They�re coming back.

�I chose this subject because, one, I can�t stand, that there is a major lie being propagated . . .� Logan declared in her native South African accent.

The lie is that America�s military might has tamed the Taliban.

�There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years,� Logan said. It is driven in part by �Taliban apologists,� who claim �they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban,� she added sarcastically. �It�s such nonsense!�
Time to cut our ties to middle-eastern oil, beef up aid and security for Israel and pull out of Afghanistan and that region in general. Make serious cuts in foreign aid to these nations unless they show a marked increase in stamping out terrorists. A strong defense of our borders would not be out of line either -- we routinely find prayer mats and Korans on the Mexican border.

Heh - a little upset in Lebanon

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From Al Arabiya News:
Hezbollah�s CFO flees to Israel carrying stolen money, classified documents
Hezbollah�s CFO has fled to Israel taking with him large sum of stolen money, classified documents and maps, local news media reported on Friday.

The news website, Now Lebanon, cited Hezbollah officials saying that the 29-year old telecommunication engineer, Hussein Fahs, has crossed to Israel carrying with him $5 million in embezzled money from the group. Fahs is also head of Hezbollah�s operational communications network.
I would be curious as to what the documents are. I bet sales of toilet paper to Lebanon's government offices has spiked...

Hamming it up

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To speed communications when using Morse Code, there evolved a series of three-letter Q Codes (first adopted in 1912). Examples are QRL -- Are you busy, QSL -- Can you acknowledge receipt, and QTH -- What is your position in latitude and longitude (or according to any other indication)? There are some humorous ones too. QLF -- try sending with your LEFT foot, QSC -- send cigarettes and my favorite:
In the question form, QNB?, is supposed to mean "How many buttons does your radio have?" A reply of the form QNB 45/15 means "45, and I know what 15 of them do."

Where am I? CN88xw

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Been setting up my "ham shack" and evaluating some logging software. Turns out that a station's location is determined by their spot on the Maidenhead Locator System. (not that Maidenhead, this one) By looking up my QTH (location), I can see that I am at CN88xw. I can establish my location on the surface of this planet (within a "square" approximately three by four miles in size) with just six characters. Fun stuff... There is a lot of great software out there!!!
From The Hill:
Interior to fast-track solar projects on public lands
The Obama administration finalized a program Friday to fast-track solar energy projects on public lands in six Western states.

The Interior Department set aside about 285,000 acres for commercial-scale solar in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. The federal government will offer incentives for development, help facilitate access to existing or planned electric infrastructure and ease the permitting process in the 17 zones.

�Energy from sources like wind and solar have doubled since the president took office, and with today�s milestone, we are laying a sustainable foundation to keep expanding our nation�s domestic energy resources,� Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

If fully utilized, Interior predicts the zones could produce 23,700 megawatts of solar energy, enough to power 7 million homes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) joined Salazar in finalizing the plan in Las Vegas.
So they are spending all kinds of money to build this array that generates electricity at around 30� per kW/Hour when they could be planning a natural gas or nuclear plant for 4� per kW/Hour. And how is that making us energy independent?

They did it! They built a goddamn Tesla Museum

Last August, I had posted (here and here) about a fundraising effort to purchase Nikola Tesla's final laboratory and establish a museum. The group behind this needed to raise $850,000 and the State of New York would match funds. They blew past this mark in a few days and managed to raise $1,370,511 over the course of the fundraising session (45 days). There is a nice article over at EDN Magazine:
Tesla museum is a go!
Score one for smart science and engineering-loving people.

Over the summer, we shared that a not-for-profit group was trying to scrape together enough funding through crowd sourcing to buy the land Tesla�s last lab sits on in Shoreham, NY.

The land was up for sale, priced at $1.6 million, and had a bid on it by a developer looking to build a retail establishment. But if, by chance, the group was able to get the cash and secure the land, they planned to build a Tesla museum.

Since then the group, now calling themselves Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, raised about $1.4 million made up of corporate and individual donations, as well as government funding.

The group reported earlier this month that it has purchased the land. Plans to build a museum honoring Tesla and his work are moving ahead.

Now, keeping any museum alive is in a resource challenge in itself. Finding people to manage the day to day operations, working with local and state governments -- Just keeping the lights on can be a financial challenge (hey, someone should figure out a way to transmit energy wirelessly and inexpensively or something �).

But here�s more good news: In the short six weeks that the group did fundraising, hundreds of people volunteered their time and professional expertise to get the project started and to transform the 100-plus year-old brick building into a world-renowned museum and interactive science education center. Contact the group here if you�d like to contribute resources, experience, financial or otherwise.

No word yet from the group on when the museum will be open for visitors, but we�ll be watching and you can count on EDN taking a trip out to Shoreham to check it out. Let us know if you plan to visit or offer support in the comments field below.
The group can be found here: Tesla Science Center. Time to knock Edison and Marconi off their pedestals and put them in their proper place in the history books...

Having trouble remembering things Joe?

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From The Washington Free Beacon:
Biden Claims He Voted Against Afghanistan, Iraq Wars
Vice President Joe Biden accused Rep. Paul Ryan of putting two wars on the �credit card,� and then suggested he voted against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

�By the way, they talk about this great recession like it fell out of the sky�like, �Oh my goodness, where did it come from?�� Biden said. �It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, at the same time, put a prescription drug plan on the credit card, a trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy.�

�I was there, I voted against them,� Biden continued. �I said, no, we can�t afford that.�

Then Sen. Biden voted for the Afghanistan resolution on Sept. 14, 2001 which authorized �the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.�

And on Oct. 11, 2002, Biden voted for a resolution authorizing unilateral military action in Iraq, according to the Washington Post.

Well Crap!!!

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Lulu and I saw the 11th Annual Unclad show this morning and was told by one of the curators that this year was the last for the show. Popular but too expensive to run as there was no permanent gallery space and the display stands had to be rented every year. Some really nice work there -- a shame to see it go.

The Peace Prize

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Norway announced their award of the Peace prize. The winner? The European Union. From the New York Times:
Nobel Peace Prize for European Union, Mired in Crisis
The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded its 2012 peace prize on Friday to the 27-nation European Union, lauding its role over six decades in building peace and reconciliation among enemies who fought Europe�s bloodiest wars, even as the Continent wrestles with economic strife that threatens its cohesion and future.

The award also seemed to illuminate competing visions of Europe as both historical unifier and meddlesome overlord, recalling deep strains within the bloc, primarily between Germany and other European nations over Berlin�s insistence on austerity to resolve the euro crisis, measures that have brought pain to Greece and Spain in particular.
As soon as Spain and Greece were tied to the same currency as France and Germany, they started spending profusely with no regard for their own future -- they knew that the rest of the E.U. would have to bail them out if the E.U. was not itself to crash. This is a management issue and not something that just happened. But wait, it gets better:
At a news conference, Mr. Jagland said the committee had �no ambitions� that the $1.2 million prize would solve the multibillion-euro crisis, and suggested that the origin of Europe�s current economic uncertainty was the United States.

�There are many things to say about the economic crisis � where it originated, for instance,� he said. �It started in the United States, and we had to deal with it.�

He added, �It started with Lehman Brothers.�
Excuse me but hell no -- the economies of the E.U. are not that closely linked to the USA that our own problems would trigger your own problems. You got yourself into this and you need to get yourself out. As long as you pass the buck and do not own up to your own stupid policies, you will continue to flounder.

An art weekend

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Lulu and I are heading down to this show in a few minutes: Unclad This is also the second weekend for the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour so we will be doing that tomorrow and Sunday. Planning to include our blacksmith and glass studio for next year.

Politically correct

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Meet our new overlord -- Diana Moon Glampers. A short story from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.:
THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren't quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron's fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel's cheeks, but she'd forgotten for the moment what they were about.

On the television screen were ballerinas.

A buzzer sounded in George's head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.

"That was a real pretty dance, that dance they just did," said Hazel.

"Huh" said George.

"That dance-it was nice," said Hazel.

"Yup," said George. He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren't really very good-no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in. George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn't be handicapped. But he didn't get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts.

George winced. So did two out of the eight ballerinas.

Hazel saw him wince. Having no mental handicap herself, she had to ask George what the latest sound had been.

"Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer," said George.

"I'd think it would be real interesting, hearing all the different sounds," said Hazel a little envious. "All the things they think up."

"Um," said George.

"Only, if I was Handicapper General, you know what I would do?" said Hazel. Hazel, as a matter of fact, bore a strong resemblance to the Handicapper General, a woman named Diana Moon Glampers. "If I was Diana Moon Glampers," said Hazel, "I'd have chimes on Sunday-just chimes. Kind of in honor of religion."

"I could think, if it was just chimes," said George.

"Well-maybe make 'em real loud," said Hazel. "I think I'd make a good Handicapper General."

"Good as anybody else," said George.
Read the whole thing. First published in 1961 -- coming soon to a government near you.

Art forgery

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A great story about art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi. It is a crime to forge another artists work but I consider it more of a soft crime -- the people who buy paintings for $120,000 have money to spend and the forgeries take on a certain notoriety and value themselves. From Joshua Hammer writing at Vanity Fair:
The Greatest Fake-Art Scam in History?
Nobody in Freiburg could remember a party quite like it. The date was September 22, 2007, and Wolfgang and Helene Beltracchi, affluent newcomers to this lively university town near Germany�s Black Forest, had invited friends and neighbors to celebrate a milestone. Workers had just put the finishing touches on their $7 million villa, after 19 months of extensive renovations. Lanterns lit up the cobblestone walkway to the hillside house, a five-level minimalist structure with a glass and Siberian-larch-wood fa�ade, steel beams, pastel-colored tile floors, and contemporary paintings and sculptures filling every room. The staff of Freiburg�s luxurious Colombi Hotel�where the Beltracchis had lodged in a $700-a-night penthouse suite when they were in town during the remodeling�had prepared the ample food and drink, including magnums of fine champagne. The Beltracchis had even flown in a celebrated four-member flamenco band from Granada to dance and sing for their 100 guests.
A long article but a delightful read. Great story and the Beltracchis sound like they would be great people to hang out with (as long as you aren't into art collecting).

A good debate

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Joey Plugs is a scrapper and he came off strong but the numbers that he cited were frequently wrong. Ryan caught him on that a number of times. Biden also frequently interrupted when Ryan was speaking and the moderator (Martha Raddatz from ABC news so no wonder) was letting him do this. The level of fact checking and education of the viewer will determine what they think who won.

Quite the endorsement - Chicago politics

A game changer -- from Anne Sorock writing at Legal Insurrection:

Chicago Tribune pulls endorsement of radical leftist Schakowsky
The Chicago Tribune announced this morning they are endorsing fiscal conservative Tim Wolfe over Cong. Jan Schakowsky in the 9th District congressional race in Illinois. This is huge.

Schakowsky, endorsed by the Trib in 2010, has been shut out by her former endorser. They are saying her dogged partisanship and liberalism isn't what the country needs and are breaking with the past to endorse Wolfe. From the Tribune:
We have in the past gone hot and cold on Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of the 9th District. She's always up for a good debate and it's a pleasure to spar with her. But she's also one of the most partisan, liberal members of the House.

When the Democrats finished drawing the new congressional maps, Republican Tim Wolfe awoke to find himself living in the 9th. The district is considered safely blue. Wolfe lives in Arlington Heights, a pocket of red voters who were tossed into the 9th by mapmakers to protect the Democratic tilt of other districts. Wolfe decided he had to run against Schakowsky. "You know what Jan is going to offer," he says. "More government, more taxes, more debt, more government intrusion. - She stands for the exact opposite of what I stand for in most cases."

Schakowsky has a strong record of constituent service. We would like to hear her acknowledge that a solution to Washington paralysis is going to require fierce partisans to accept that the other side has something valid to contribute. Washington could use a strong dose of what Wolfe has to offer: in a word, fiscal restraint. Wolfe is endorsed.
If ever there was a David-and-Goliath race, Illinois' Ninth Congressional district is it. In 2010, Breitbart.com's Joel Pollak ran against her and has been the closest to unseating her thus far. The Tribune endorsed Schakowsky in 2010, but it seems even they are wising up to her extremism.

Cong. Jan Schakowsky, a member of the Progressive Caucus, marches with Occupy and cavorts with radicals. She's had a dinner held in her honor at by the Democratic Socialists of America. The Huffington Post included her in a list of politicians who started their careers as community organizers. Oh, and her convicted felon husband Robert Creamer wrote the first drafts of Obamacare from his jail cell while serving time for check-kiting.

Tim Wolfe is a private citizen, an accountant who has not dabbled in community organizing or professional politicanhood. He believes in the American dream and has his own American story. I've met him over the course of the campaign and have been impressed by his commitment to fiscal responsibility, tireless campaigning, and humility. He's not seeking the spotlight or a cushy career like his opponent but to serve his constituents.

Tim Wolfe's platform is simple. He doesn't have a ton of money, but he has volunteers pounding the pavement day and night for his campaign. He talks about growing the economy, cutting taxes, paying down the debt, and getting the federal government out of local affairs.

Meanwhile, Schakowsky must be fuming that her obfuscation and extremist activities are finally being given the scrutiny they deserve. Schakowsky is supported by a national network of extreme progressives, and she certainly is the goliath to Wolfe's David.

It's not just Obama, we need to maintain the Republican majority in the House and take the Senate.

Looking forward to the debate tonight

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Should be fun to see if 'Plugs' Biden strays from the script. Paul Ryan is smart and articulate.

Solyndra in the news again

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From Reuters/AlertNet:
Solyndra investor sought tax breaks as bankruptcy loomed-filing
Eight months before solar panel maker Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, the company's politically connected backer sought to hold on to lucrative tax breaks in the event the company went out of business, according to court documents.

The new information was revealed on Wednesday by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, which filed an official objection to Solyndra's bankruptcy reorganization plan.
In its court filing on Wednesday, the IRS opposed Solyndra's plan. If approved by creditors, a holding company would emerge from bankruptcy with no employees or business operations - but as much as $350 million in tax breaks that could be used by Solyndra's investors, including Argonaut Ventures.

Argonaut is the investment arm of a foundation tied to the Democratic fundraiser, Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser. Most of the tax breaks would come in the form of Net Operating Losses (NOLs) which could be used to offset future taxable income.

Meanwhile, under the bankruptcy plan Solyndra's creditors would receive pennies on the dollar, the IRS said, adding that the principal purpose of the plan is "tax avoidance."
Just wonderful. They were incompetent in business but managed to save the tax credits. Makes me wonder if that was what they were planning after all...

RIP - Roy Bates

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Roy Bates? Prince Roy of Sealand? Sealand? Sealand's website: The Principality of Sealand Roy's obituary:
Prince Roy of Sealand aka Roy Bates (passed away 9th October 2012) Obituary
Born 1921 to Harry and Lilyan Bates, Roy was born to be an adventurer. The only surviving child of five siblings who all died as baby's or in early childhood. At the age of 15 he made his way to the Spanish civil war to join the international brigade seeking adventure, eventually returning to the UK via Gibraltar. He then took up an apprenticeship at Smithfield meat market with Lord Vesty intending to go to Argentina and run cattle ranches for him.
A wonderful life lived well. From Sealand's About page:
About Sealand
Sealand was founded as a sovereign Principality in 1967 in international waters, six miles off the eastern shores of Britain. The history of Sealand is a story of a struggle for liberty. Sealand was founded on the principle that any group of people dissatisfied with the oppressive laws and restrictions of existing nation states may declare independence in any place not claimed to be under the jurisdiction of another sovereign entity. The location chosen was Roughs Tower, an island fortress created in World War II by Britain and subsequently abandoned to the jurisdiction of the High Seas.

The independence of Sealand was upheld in a 1968 British court decision where the judge held that Roughs Tower stood in international waters and did not fall under the legal jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. This gave birth to Sealand's national motto of E Mare Libertas, or "From the Sea, Freedom".

Our State Department "at work"

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From Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) writing at The Washington Times:
Libya security cut while Vienna embassy gained Chevy Volts
In a May 3, 2012, email, the State Department denied a request by a group of Special Forces assigned to protect the U.S. embassy in Libya to continue their use of a DC- 3 airplane for security operations throughout the country.

The subject line of the email, on which slain Ambassador Chris Stevens was copied, read: �Termination of Tripoli DC-3 Support.�

Four days later, on May 7, the State Department authorized the U.S. embassy in Vienna to purchase a $108,000 electric vehicle charging station for the embassy motor pool�s new Chevrolet Volts. The purchase was a part of the State Department�s �Energy Efficiency Sweep of Europe� initiative, which included hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on green program expenditures at various U.S. Embassies.

In fact, at a May 10 gala held at the U.S. embassy in Vienna, the ambassador showcased his new Volts and other green investments as part of the U.S. government�s commitment to �climate change solutions.�
And the 9-11 attack was not an isolated incident:
Before the terrorist attack that took the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, there were more than 230 security incidents in Libya between June 2011 and July 2012.

Of those attacks, 48 took place in Benghazi, two at the U.S. diplomatic compound and scene of the September 11, 2012, terrorist attacks.

This first attack on the Benghazi compound occurred on April 6, 2012, when two Libyans threw a crude improvised explosive device over the compound wall. Two months later, another IED exploded at the compound, wounding one person and leaving a hole in the perimeter wall large enough for 40 people to run through.

The second attack was linked to the �Brigades of the Imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman,� a jihadist, pro-al Qaeda group named after the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The same group was responsible for subsequent attacks on the British ambassador to Libya and the International Committee of the Red Cross, both of which took place in Benghazi just months before the September attack.

While these steady and increasingly violent attacks on western interests mounted, the U.S. State Department repeatedly rejected requests for additional protection measures for our security teams in Libya.
Real Estate agents in D.C. are going to make a load of money this January when the current regime gets booted out of office. The 240+ comments are a fun read-- people are starting to wake up.

About that Global Warming

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From the UK Telegraph:
English winemaker scraps entire grape harvest due to poor weather
Nyetimber, which is based in West Sussex and produces around 400,000 bottles of sparkling wine a year, said that the quality and volume of this year�s grape harvest is not up to its usual standard.

The winemaker said that it had taken the �exceedingly difficult� decision to skip this year�s harvest as part of its commitment �to put quality above all else�.

This summer�s wet and cold summer meant that grapes did not mature as they should. Yields across many British vineyards are expected to be down by around 25 per cent and 75 per cent this year.
And this is not some fly-by-night operation:
Two years ago Nyetimber�s Classic Cuvee 2003 won first prize in an international competition, beating leading French Champagne producers including Bollinger and Louis Roederer.

The first Nyetimber vineyards were planted in Sussex in 1988. The aim was to make premium sparkling wine that would rival Champagne.

The south of England shares similar geology and soils to the Champagne region.
Solar output continus to be lower than normal. Another little ice age?

Heh - what a bunch of maroons

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From the London Daily Mail:
Moment BBC film crew was held at gunpoint after trying to sneak into Nevada's Area 51 military base with UFO conspiracy theorists
This is the moment a BBC film crew were held by security teams at the notoriously secretive Area 51 - where conspiracy theorists believe the American government is hiding a flying saucer.

Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell and UFO expert Darren Perks sneaked past the border at the site - and were forced to lie on the ground at gunpoint for three hours while the FBI checked their credentials.

It is the same 'documentary' team that caused outrage in Britain last week when they suggested that the 7/7 London bombings were part of a government conspiracy to boost support for the Iraq war.
Some more:
'We stopped the tour bus approx 50 metres from the restricted area barriers and started to film.

'There was no one around, no guards, no vehicles - nothing.

'We filmed for approximately 30 minutes and tried to call the guards but there was no one there and no sign of them.

'So we all decided to walk past the barriers onto the restricted area past the security huts and basically onto Area 51. Nothing happened....'

He continued: 'We filmed again for another 30 minutes and even messed around doing a silly dance, but still no guards.

'Then one of the other stars of the trip pointed out that on looking through one of the security hut windows, she could see the guards all sitting down eating dinner and watching the basketball game on TV. They did nothing.

'So after a few more minutes and a few more picture taking and filming, one of the crew decided to speak to the guards and knocked on their hut door. All hell broke loose.'

'The guards rushed out with their weapons and forced us all to lay face down at gunpoint in the tarmac.

'We were all searched, had our phones, wallets and IDs taken and the film equipment taken. This was at approx 6:15pm.

'For three hours we lay face down until the Lincoln County Sheriffs arrived on scene.

'Things then eased off a bit and we were all then taken one by one off the restricted area to the sheriffs who issued us with a ticket and grilled us about what we were doing. We all got fined �375 each.

'We were told that this incident was so serious that Washington had to call London to advise that 12 'Brits' had just breached security at America's most top-secret military base and that we all were at one point going to jail for six months.

'Luckily whoever it was in Washington was kind enough to just fine us.'
Bunch of idiots -- the entrance is very well posted showing that it is a U.S. Air Force installation and that Photography is prohibited. Of course, they will leach a little frisson of notoriety from their stupid act and be the toast of the glitterati for the next fifteen minutes. I have to ask -- how much does it hurt to be that stupid?

Fine tuning the jobs numbers

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The administration released the new unemployment numbers and they were down significantly. The other economic indicators did not reflect this down-tick so people are asking why. Ex-GE CEO Jack Welsh wrote about this yesterday. Now, from CNBC we see a possible explanation:
Why Jobless Claims May Not Be as Good as Market Thinks
For the second time in a week, a government unemployment report is sowing confusion�and may not be as positive as the markets think.

First it was last Friday's August payrolls report, which showed an unexpectedly large drop in the unemployment rate, that spurred confusion (and conspiracy theories). Now, a sharp drop in the pace of new jobless claims has also left people scratching their heads.

The Labor Department on Thursday said the number of people filing jobless claims last week dropped by a seasonally adjusted 30,000�a pretty sharp decline, and one that left the total number of filings at a four-year low of 339,000.
And there is this little tid-bit:
While the government didn�t note any unusual factors in the release itself, a Labor Department official did tell news agencies covering the release about a quirk which partly accounted for the larger-than-expected drop.

As Dow Jones reported: �A Labor Department economist said one large state didn't report additional quarterly figures as expected, accounting for a substantial part of the decrease.�
And more:
In other words, the drop of 30,000 last week had more to do with the lack of expected re-filings at the start of the fourth quarter than with any particular improvement in labor market conditions.
More information at the site -- wonder which state it is? CA? IL?

Benghazi - it's all Romney's fault

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Just how delusional can these people be and still function in society? From the Washington Free Beacon:
Cutter: Benghazi Is Only an Issue �Because of Romney and Ryan�
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said Thursday that the �entire reason� the terrorist attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans has �become the political topic it is� is because Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan talk about the attack.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: In terms of the politicization of this � you know, we are here at a debate, and I hope we get to talk about the debate � but the entire reason this has become the political topic it is, is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. It�s a big part of their stump speech. And it�s reckless and irresponsible what they�re doing.

BROOKE BALDWIN: But, Stephanie, this is national security. As we witnessed this revolution last year, we covered it�

CUTTER: It is absolutely national security�

BALDWIN: �it is absolutely pertinent. People in the American public absolutely have a right to get answers.
Cutter�s remarks drew immediate criticism from across the political spectrum. But the Obama spox quickly doubled down on Twitter, replying to a Buzzfeed researcher, �Romney has politicized Libya w/no plans of his own. POTUS� priorities are getting facts & bringing terrorists to justice.�
Excuse me -- the Dems dropped the ball on this bigtime and now they are getting pissy that someone is noticing the coverup?
My ex-Wife's lawyer had me served with papers this evening (second time). She has yet to fulfill her part of the arrangement in order for her to get cashed out -- she and I had discussed this several times before she left last March and this is an issue that I communicated to her lawyer several times on the phone. I will be at the Court date with Council and a butt-load of documentation. Pissed as hell but grinning...

Rain heading our way

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It has been a very dry summer (almost broke the record of 51 days without rain) and then a glorious Indian Summer. We are expecting some rain and boy howdy -- from the National Weather Service:
406 PM PDT WED OCT 10 2012




Fun times -- I hope there is a dry period after this as there are a few projects I would really like to get finished before the winter sets in... God knows we need the water.

This just in over the transom:

This is too true to be funny.

The next time you hear a politician use the Word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.

A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
D. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.
E. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans...
It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.

Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D) was asking Congress for $250 Billion Dollars to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number... What does it mean?

A. Well, if you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman and child) You each get $516,528
B. Or... If you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans, your home gets $1,329,787
C. Or... If you are a family of four, your family gets $2,066,012

Washington, D.C. -- HELLO!

My only gripe is that the population of New Orleans has dropped from 484,674 down to 343,829 as of the 2010 Census and still further to 360,740 (from the July 2011 Census Bureau) so that means that the individuals in example A. will get $693,019 of free gubbinment cheese instead of the $516,528 cited.

An interesting read

From Well Regulated American Militias:

Can it all be Coincidence?
As I noted in the introduction to my book, The Obama Timeline, a jury at a murder trial will often find the accumulated circumstantial evidence so overwhelming that a guilty verdict is obvious - even though there may be no witness to the crime. "The jurors in the Scott Peterson trial believed the collection of evidence more than they believed Scott Peterson. Among other things, the jury thought that being arrested with $15,000 in cash, recently-dyed hair, a newly-grown goatee, four cell phones, camping equipment, a map to a new girlfriend's house, a gun, and his brother's driver's license certainly did not paint a picture of a grieving husband who had nothing to do with his pregnant wife's disappearance and murder."

In the four years I have been gathering information about - and evidence against - Barack Hussein Obama, I have encountered hundreds of coincidences that strike me as amazing. None of those coincidences, by themselves, may mean much. But taken as a whole it is almost impossible to believe they were all the result of chance. Consider the Obama-related coincidences:
Obama just happened to know 60s far-left radical revolutionary William Ayers, whose father just happened to be Thomas Ayers, who just happened to be a close friend of Obama's communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis, who just happened to work at the communist-sympathizing Chicago Defender with Vernon Jarrett, who just happened to later become the father-in-law of Iranian-born leftist Valerie Jarrett, who Obama just happened to choose as his closest White House advisor, and who just happened to have been CEO of Habitat Company, which just happened to manage public housing in Chicago, which just happened to get millions of dollars from the Illinois state legislature, and which just happened not to properly maintain the housing - which eventually just happened to require demolition.

Valerie Jarrett also just happened to work for the city of Chicago, and just happened to hire Michelle LaVaughan Robinson (later Obama), who just happened to have worked at the Sidley Austin law firm, where former fugitive from the FBI Bernardine Dohrn also just happened to work, and where Barack Obama just happened to get a summer job.

Bernardine Dohrn just happened to be married to William Ayers, with whom she just happened to have hidden from the FBI at a San Francisco marina, along with Donald Warden, who just happened to change his name to Khalid al-Mansour, and Warden/al-Mansour just happened to be a mentor of Black Panther Party founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale and a close associate of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and al-Mansour just happened to be financial adviser to a Saudi Prince, who just happened to donate cash to Harvard, for which Obama just happened to get a critical letter of recommendation from Percy Sutton, who just happened to have been the attorney for Malcolm X, who just happened to know Kenyan politician Tom Mboya, who just happened to be a close friend of Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., who just happened to meet Malcolm X when he traveled to Kenya.

Obama, Sr. just happened to have his education at the University of Hawaii paid for by the Laubach Literacy Institute, which just happened to have been supported by Elizabeth Mooney Kirk, who just happened to be a friend of Malcolm X, who just happened to have been associated with the Nation of Islam, which was later headed by Louis Farrakhan, who just happens to live very close to Obama's Chicago mansion, which also just happens to be located very close to the residence of William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who just happen to have been occasional baby-sitters for Malia and Natasha Obama, whose parents just happen not to mind exposing their daughters to bomb-making communists.

After attending Occidental College and Columbia University, where he just happened to have foreign Muslim roommates, Obama moved to Chicago to work for the Industrial Areas Foundation, an organization that just happened to have been founded by Marxist and radical agitator Saul "the Red" Alinsky, author of Rules for Radicals, who just happened to be the topic of Hillary Rodham Clinton's thesis at Wellesley College, and Obama's $25,000 salary at IAF just happened to be funded by a grant from the Woods Fund, which was founded by the Woods family, whose Sahara Coal company just happened to provide coal to Commonwealth Edison, whose CEO just happened to be Thomas Ayers, whose son William Ayers just happened to serve on the board of the Woods Fund, along with Obama.

Obama also worked on voter registration drives in Chicago in the 1980s and just happened to work with leftist political groups like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and Socialist International (SI), through which Obama met Carl Davidson, who just happened to travel to Cuba during the Vietnam War to sabotage the U.S. war effort, and who just happened to be a former member of the SDS and a member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, which just happened to sponsor a 2002 anti-war rally at which Obama spoke, and which just happened to have been organized by Marilyn Katz, a former SDS activist and later public relations consultant who just happened to be a long-time friend of Obama's political hatchet man, David Axelrod.

And this is just about half of what was posted. I knew that the rot and corruption was deep but I didn't realize just how deep and interlinked... Tip 'o the hat to Kakistocracy Report for the link.

The new Jobs numbers

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From The Wall Street Journal:
Jack Welch: I Was Right About That Strange Jobs Report
Imagine a country where challenging the ruling authorities�questioning, say, a piece of data released by central headquarters�would result in mobs of administration sympathizers claiming you should feel "embarrassed" and labeling you a fool, or worse.

Soviet Russia perhaps? Communist China? Nope, that would be the United States right now, when a person (like me, for instance) suggests that a certain government datum (like the September unemployment rate of 7.8%) doesn't make sense.

Unfortunately for those who would like me to pipe down, the 7.8% unemployment figure released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last week is downright implausible. And that's why I made a stink about it.

Before I explain why the number is questionable, though, a few words about where I'm coming from. Contrary to some of the sound-and-fury last week, I do not work for the Mitt Romney campaign. I am definitely not a surrogate. My wife, Suzy, is not associated with the campaign, either. She worked at Bain Consulting (not Bain Capital) right after business school, in 1988 and 1989, and had no contact with Mr. Romney.

The Obama campaign and its supporters, including bigwigs like David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs, along with several cable TV anchors, would like you to believe that BLS data are handled like the gold in Fort Knox, with gun-carrying guards watching their every move, and highly trained, white-gloved super-agents counting and recounting hourly.

Let's get real. The unemployment data reported each month are gathered over a one-week period by census workers, by phone in 70% of the cases, and the rest through home visits. In sum, they try to contact 60,000 households, asking a list of questions and recording the responses.

Some questions allow for unambiguous answers, but others less so. For instance, the range for part-time work falls between one hour and 34 hours a week. So, if an out-of-work accountant tells a census worker, "I got one baby-sitting job this week just to cover my kid's bus fare, but I haven't been able to find anything else," that could be recorded as being employed part-time.

The possibility of subjectivity creeping into the process is so pervasive that the BLS's own "Handbook of Methods" has a full page explaining the limitations of its data, including how non-sampling errors get made, from "misinterpretation of the questions" to "errors made in the estimations of missing data."

Bottom line: To suggest that the input to the BLS data-collection system is precise and bias-free is�well, let's just say, overstated.
A bit more:
In August, the labor-force participation rate in the U.S. dropped to 63.5%, the lowest since September 1981. By definition, fewer people in the workforce leads to better unemployment numbers. That's why the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1% in August from 8.3% in July.

Meanwhile, we're told in the BLS report that in the months of August and September, federal, state and local governments added 602,000 workers to their payrolls, the largest two-month increase in more than 20 years. And the BLS tells us that, overall, 873,000 workers were added in September, the largest one-month increase since 1983, during the booming Reagan recovery.

These three statistics�the labor-force participation rate, the growth in government workers, and overall job growth, all multidecade records achieved over the past two months�have to raise some eyebrows. There were no economists, liberal or conservative, predicting that unemployment in September would drop below 8%.
A long editorial but well worth reading. Jack Welch was the CEO of General Electric for 21 years -- the same GE who now doesn't pay any Corporate Income taxes and whose current CEO, Jeffrey Immelt is now Obama's BFF, visiting the White House on a regular basis.

Steve Wynn on Obama

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From Real Clear Politics:
Wynn On Obama: "I'll Be Damned If I Want To Have Him Lecture Me"
On the Tuesday broadcast of the nightly Nevada political program "Ralston Reports," Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts sat down with host Jon Ralston to discuss the presidential election.

Wynn, an outspoken critic of President Obama, didn't hold back in his latest criticism of the incumbent president seeking a second term.

"I'll be damned if I want to have him lecture me about small business and jobs. I'm a job creator. Guys like me are job creators and we don't like having a bulls-eye painted on our back," Wynn said about Obama to Ralston. An excerpt of the interview is below.
WYNN: I've created about 250,000 direct and indirect jobs according to the state of Nevada's measurement. If the number is 250,000, that's exactly 250,000 more than this president, who I'll be damned if I want to have him lecture me about small business and jobs. I'm a job creator. Guys like me are job creators and we don't like having a bulls-eye painted on our back.

The president is trying to put himself between me and my employees. By class warfare, by deprecating and calling a group that makes money 'billionaires and millionaires who don't pay their share.' I gave 120% of my salary and bonus away last year to charities, as I do most years. I can't stand the idea of being demagogued, that is put down by a president who has never created any jobs and who doesn't even understand how the economy works.
Wynn on a scrapped business plan: "I'm afraid of the president. I have no idea what goofy idea, what crazy, anti-business program this administration will come up. I have no idea. And I have to tell you Jon that every business guy I know in the country is frightened of Barack Obama and the way he thinks."
It's not just Wynn -- it is every busines owner out there big or small.
From Reuters:
Venezuela's Chavez hails 'perfect' democracy, mocks tyrant image
An ebullient President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday hailed his comfortable re-election as evidence of Venezuela's "perfect" democracy and mocked his foes' depiction of him as a dictator.

The long-serving socialist leader won Sunday's poll with 55 percent of the votes on record turnout of 81 percent. The result was quickly accepted by losing opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.
Emphasis mine -- to do otherwise would be a death warrant. Capriles served as a foil for Chavez' dirty election -- hey, I have an opponent, this is a democracy. A bit more:
Chavez won in 22 of Venezuela's 24 states, thanks to his personal chemistry with the poor, together with heavy government spending on welfare projects in the slums.
This is the bald face of tyranny. If Chavez was a good leader, there would be no slums. He is spending Venezuela's wealth for the purpose of keeping the poor poor and handing them bread and circuses instead of allowing them to build their own wealth and get rid of the slums. He needs this dependent voting bloc. This is exactly what Obama is trying to expand. There are already 47% of the people in the USA whose income is so low that they do not pay any federal income taxes. The growing move towards urbanization is flat out slum-building.

Nobel Prizes

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The Science prizes have been announced. I wonder who the Peace Prize winner will be -- we have such a target rich environment so many worthy contenders. Do not forget that it is the Swedes that choose all of the Prizes except for the Peace Prize. That is chosen by the Norwegians. Also, if someone claims to be a Nobel Nominee, they are out-and-out lying to your face. The names of the Nominees are sealed for fifty years.
Put in a couple hours at the store -- for tax reasons, a number of the cash register departments needed to be reprogrammed. Having programmed registers before using the keyboard and register display I am incredibly grateful that Sharp stuck a USB port on their registers and developed an application that allows programming through Windows. get stuff the way you want it onscreen, upload it to the register and go from there. Ran into town for two meetings, grabbed a bite and headed out to Class #3 of my CERT training. Tonight we covered Triage. There is a method called START (Simple triage and rapid treatment) developed in 1983 and now used by fire departments and EMT groups throughout the USA. My community is miles from any services -- there is a volunteer fire station about five miles away but in a large disaster setting, they will be spread really thin. Forest fires, earthquakes, landslides and volcanic eruptions are not unknown here. Pays to be prepared. We had an issue with Zombies two years ago but after I got my Zombie Killah, they are all gone -- still keeping ready though -- could be another outbreak...

If not you? Who. If not now? When.

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Just watch:

Nothing for tonight

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Did the shopping run into town today -- I visit ten vendors and pick up things that we cannot get delivered to the store. Tomorrow, I am working at the store doing some cash register programming and then into town for a visit with the lawyer, a visit to the bank, some dinner and then CERT training. Lulu is coming out Wednesday and we are planning to visit the Whatcom County Artists Studio tour as well as this show: Unclad -- a busy weekend!

Unreal -- the Poop Snake

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The nation of Dubai has no in-ground sewage system. They rely on trucks to haul the waste to processing plants.
Language has a lot of poop jokes. NSFW :-) Talk about priorities. This is the nation that paid for some contractors to come in and build the worlds tallest building as well as a bunch of artificial islands and they still do not have a decent plumbing system? I would hate to know what their water system is like... Tip of the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.
Almost too late to the party but found out that the invention of the barcode was October 7th, 1952, From the Beeb:
Barcode birthday: 60 years since patent
Sunday, 7 October is the 60th anniversary of the barcode patent, filed in the US in 1952.

However the distinctive black-and-white stripes did not make their first appearance in an American shop until 1974 - because the laser technology used to read them did not exist.
The first item to be scanned by a barcode was a packet of chewing gum in an Ohio supermarket in 1974.

But the black-and-white stripes did not get a universal welcome, with some wine manufacturers refusing to incorporate barcodes onto their labels for aesthetic reasons.
A game changer.

Like rats - France

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The exodus is proceeding as predicted -- from France24/AFP:
Rich businessmen pulling out of France as tax-hit looms
A flood of top-end properties are hitting the market as businessmen seek to leave France before stiff tax hikes hit, real estate agents and financial advisors say.

"It's nearly a general panic. Some 400 to 500 residences worth more than one million euros ($1.3 million) have come onto the Paris market," said managers at Daniel Feau, a real-estate broker that specialises in high-end property.
A bit more:
While the Socialists' plan to raise the tax rate to 75 percent on income above 1.0 million euros per year has generated the most headlines, a sharp increase in taxes on capital gains from the sales of stock and company stakes is pushing most people to leave, according Didier Bugeon, head of the wealth manager Equance.

French entrepreneurs have complained vociferously against a proposal in the Socialist's 2013 budget to increase the capital gains tax on sales of company stakes, which they argue will kill the market for innovative start-up companies in France.

Entrepreneurs in the high-tech sector in particular often invest their own money and take low salaries in the hope they can later sell the company for a large sum.

They say a stiff increase in capital gains tax would remove incentives to do this in France. They also argue that capital has already been taxed several times in the making.
The real estate agents don't expect a collapse, however, as the offers to sell still remain low and interest by foreign buyers firm.
Of course; people are retaining their homes as secondary residences and establishing primary residences in Nations that are more business friendly. Foreign buyers are looking to cherry-pick primo French properties while not actually moving there full time. Regimes change. Unintended consequences of stupid governmental policy decisions...
How's that 5� bottle deposit working out for you? Better than it should be -- from the Los Angeles Times:
Rampant recycling fraud is draining California cash
Just over 8.5 billion recyclable cans were sold in California last year. The number redeemed for a nickel under California's recycling law: 8.3 billion.

That's a return rate of nearly 100%.

That kind of success isn't just impressive, it's unbelievable. But the recycling rate for certain plastic containers was even higher: 104%.

California's generous recycling redemption program has led to rampant fraud. Crafty entrepreneurs are driving semi-trailers full of cans from Nevada or Arizona, which don't have deposit laws, across the border and transforming their cargo into truckfuls of nickels. In addition, recyclers inside the state are claiming redemptions for the same containers several times over, or for containers that never existed.

The illicit trade is draining the state's $1.1-billion recycling fund. Government officials recently estimated the fraud at $40 million a year, and an industry expert said it could exceed $200 million. It's one reason the strapped fund paid out $100 million more in expenses last year than it took in from deposits and other sources.
Another perfect example of a program devised by some "Council" whose members never worked a day in their lives. Out of college and into the soft machine.
I really feel sorry for the poor people of Venezuela -- from the Associated Press:
Chavez wins re-election, electoral council says
Venezuela's electoral council says President Hugo Chavez has won re-election, defeating challenger Henrique Capriles.

National Electoral Council president Tibisay Lucena says that with most votes counted, Chavez had about 54 percent of the vote.

It was Chavez's third re-election victory in nearly 14 years in office. The victory gives Chavez another six-year term to cement his legacy and press more forcefully for a transition to socialism in the country with the world's largest proven oil reserves.
Fscking moron riding on the back of the nations riches bringing everyone down when they should be prosperous. Blackouts? Food shortages? Ideas so utterly fantastic they have to be mandatory?
Heh - some folks in Norway are looking at the true impact of manufacturing and owning an electric car. From Phys.Org:
When green turns toxic: Norwegians study Electric Vehicle life cycle
Questioning thoughts arise from a bracing study from Norway. The electric car might be a trade-in of an old set of pollution problems for a new set. Thanks but no thanks to a misguided cadre selling on the green revolution. Electric cars will eventually be one more pollutant source to campaign over. The study, "Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Conventional and Electric Vehicles," appears in the Journal of Industrial Ecology. Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology declared in the study that "EVs exhibit the potential for significant increases in human toxicity, freshwater eco-toxicity, freshwater eutrophication, and metal depletion impacts, largely emanating from the vehicle supply chain."

The "supply chain" part of the statement is key to the focus of their research. The electric car has been promoted heavily as a car for the future but quick takes on EVs as environmental vehicles of choice should be replaced with longer and careful looks, even oversight, at what occurs during the entire cradle-to-gate life cycle of a car's production, use, and dismantling.

Light-duty vehicles account for approximately 10 percent of global energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and policy makers have braced themselves for what that means in climate change and air quality. In the Norwegian study, the authors looked at conventional and electric vehicles to see how all phases, from production to use to dismantling, affect the environment. They concluded that, "Although EVs are an important technological breakthrough with substantial potential environmental benefits, these cannot be harnessed everywhere and in every condition. Our results clearly indicate that it is counterproductive to promote EVs in areas where electricity is primarily produced from lignite, coal, or even heavy oil combustion."

The authors warned that the "elimination of tailpipe emissions at the expense of increased emissions in the vehicle and electricity production chains" carries risks for policy makers and stakeholders. The authors support serious attention to "life cycle" thinking. Their research was partly funded by the Norwegian Research Council under the E-Car Project.
It is good that they are realizing that most electric cars on the road are coal burning cars -- in the Pacific Northwest, they are waterfall burning cars (57% hydro) and a few of the lil' buggers run on nuculear energy (misspelling intentional). The chemicals in the batteries, the relatively short battery life and the limited range are deal-breakers for me. I have fantasized about building a small (Suzuki Samurai) electric runabout for use in town (20 mile range tops needed) but still looking for a suitable donor car (blown engine+tranny) at the right price (haul it away). Deep cycle golf-cart batteries for power.

I love me my email lists - David Blaine

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I love magic. Especially fond of close-up work but large illusions are fun too. David Blaine is really good at what he does -- body control for large illusions although he got his start doing some amazing closeup work on the street. His current project is spending 72 hours in a wearable Faraday Cage while being bombarded with Tesla Coil arcs at up to 1,000,000 volts. David's website is pure Flash crap so I cannot link to this specific event but you should be able to navigate to it. Here is his Wikipedia entry: David Blaine Anyway, I am on a Tesla email list and the builder of David's setup is a list member and posted this earlier tonight:
Well we are 23 hours in and no coil failures yet.

Unfortunately ozone and nitrogen dioxide levels have been limiting us from really hammering david with the full capacity of the system.

And Steve is getting paid for this -- the dirty rotten scoundrel...

Nothing much today

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Unpacking the glass stuff and reorganizing a small room off the garage to be my ham radio 'shack' -- having a lot of fun with this new hobby and planning to upgrade my license in November to be able to use a wider range of frequencies.


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Getting set up to do the fused glass -- built a rolling stand for the kiln and need to order new elements for it. Was reading the local classified newspaper and saw someone selling some stained glass and tools for $250. Just got back from picking up two grinders, a whole load of hand tools, ten yards of glass (just guessing -- it's a lot) and cane, copper foil, etc... Some of the glass is not what I like (opalescent, pale colors) but some is really nice and I can always list the stuff I don't use on craigslist.

More Faster Please - Omega-3 and aging

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From The Atlantic:
Study: Omega-3 Supplements May Actually Affect Aging
PROBLEM: It's an eternal and irreversible certainty that as we get older, our telomeres shorten. Every time a cell divides, a bit of the chromosomal end-piece is clipped off, our DNA diminishing in length; aging, cancer, and our ultimate demise following closely behind. If we can't preserve our fleeting youth, can we at least save our telomeres? And -- let's be honest, here -- can we do so without making any major lifestyle changes?

METHODOLOGY: Researchers at Ohio State University put adults (over one hundred of them, middle-aged and older, mostly overweight but otherwise healthy) on a four month regimen of already-known-to-be-good-for-us omega-3 supplements. The pills, derived from cold-water fish like salmon and cod, were administered in two different doses, while a control group received placebos.

RESULTS: Members of both groups given the real stuff had longer telomeres than the sugar pill group -- a promising sign. But differences in telomere length reached statistical significance when looked at as a function of the lowered ratios of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 in the experimental groups' blood.

The fish pill groups also had a 15 percent reduction in oxidative stress, the disease-causing condition behind science's much-enthused over endorsement of red wine and dark chocolate.

CONCLUSION: Getting enough omega-3 fatty acid to change the balance of oils in your system may help preserve the length of your telomeres, with the potential to reduce the risk of age-related diseases.
Already a big fish-oil fan. Interesting about the telomeres. The Mediterranean Diet is about the best one out there. I follow it in spirit but still eat too much red meat.

Ten for the AFDB crowd

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An interesting list -- ten observations on the Presidential Debate. Here is the intro and three from Kevin DuJan at HillBuzz:
DAILY DOOM ANTIDOTE: Ten Things to Know About Denver Debate Last Night � 10/4/2012
I want to hear all about what YOU thought of the debate in comments below, especially anything your coworkers or friends and family say about Barack Obama�s performance today. In short, Mitt Romney did what he needed to do�which was to stand there and look presidential and show people that, yes, watching him for the next four years would be a good thing and would push aside all of the weirdness and malaise we�ve experienced lately. It was very much a Reagan-Carter moment for a lot of people and I know of a few Obama supporters here in Chicago who went on TV and said that after last night�s performance there is no way they are voting for �The One�.

Here are my Top Ten Things to Know About the Denver Debate Last Night:
10. Obama was injected with amphetamines or something before the debate and they wore off about 20 minutes in. Here in Chicago, word on the street for the last month has been that Valerie Jarrett was specifically tasked with getting Obama off coke and other drugs before the debates so that he would not embarrass himself on stage for an hour and a half. So, word is that Obama�s been detoxing since at least September. This explains how haggard he�s looked and how prickly he�s acted for a while now�it�s what addicts look and act like when they�re cut off from their drugs. Remember that a President can have whatever drugs he wants. The Secret Service are not there to keep the president from breaking the law, they are just there to keep him alive. Obama�s main drug suppliers are the junior staffers who work in the White House who go to Lafayette Park and buy him whatever he wants�and he also gets special deliveries from his friend Bobby Titcombe in Hawaii, who brings him �fish and poi� to the White House (that�s Hawaiian slang for �weed and coke�). To get through the almost two hours of being on TV, Obama looks like he needed a big injection of beta-blockers and/or amphetamines. If you noticed at the beginning of the debate he was talking fast, acting erratic, and blinking like CRAZY he was still jazzed up by whatever they gave him. About twenty minutes later, it seems like the adrenaline in his system from being in front of the crowd might have caused the uppers to wear off�and his energy levels collapsed after that. By the end of the debate, Obama looked like he was aching for a new fix. This could be the reason Michelle Obama rushed him off stage and skipped the traditional �let�s waive to the crowd for a while� schtick. She could tell he needed to get out of sight because he totally lost it out there.

9. Obama was rumpled and sloppy and looked like he slept in a halfway house last night. Remember when Chris Matthews used to wax on almost pornographically about Obama�s creased pants and how sharp he looked? That was a long time ago, sister. The man who was out there on stage last night looked like he got his clothes from a consignment shop or the lost and found bin of a discount dry cleaners. He was rumpled and honestly looked like he might smell a little of urine. What on Earth was he doing immediately prior to arriving for the debate? Mitt Romney looked crisp, prepared, and responsible. Barack Obama was a walking mess. It was almost disrespectful to the audience that he showed up looking so disheveled.

8. Obama smirked a lot, behaved like a bratty child at times, and when he wasn�t speaking stared down at the floor like he was thinking �What the heck am I even doing here?�. This was just weird. When he wasn�t talking, Obama would droop his head down like he was napping for a while. Sometimes he would giggle or smirk. When Romney would say something criticizing the bizarre and destructive things that Obama has done as president, he�d smirk or grimace. I didn�t see a president up there as much as I saw a bratty child who was making faces while being scolded by the teacher.
Heh -- seven more at the site. The 200+ comments are fun to read. The fish and poi has already been brought up here: Whither goest thou, Barack, in thy shiny car in the night? AFDB? Here: Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie
Professor William A. Jacobson is doing some wonderful posting on Elizabeth Warren at Legal Insurrection. Today he looks into her Indian claims and her maternal Great Grandfather:
Elizabeth Warren�s white great grandfather shot an Indian
Elizabeth Warren still is not Cherokee. She never was.

Her family lore is grossly exaggerated, in all likelihood by Warren herself not her parents. Yet whenever anyone questions this family lore, Warren acts like it is an attack on her family, thereby shutting down challenges to the stories.

Warren relies on family lore because it�s hard to disprove what she claims she was told. It�s why Warren digs in deeper with her family lore stories as the campaign goes on. She thinks she has found a safe place.

Yet there is plenty of evidence that the story about her parents eloping because her mother was Native American is not true, Warren didn�t self-identify as Native American until she was 38 and climbing the law professor ladder, and even her own adult nephew who researched family genealogy called the Native American claim just rumor. The Boston Globe�s attempt to back up this family lore actually ended up calling it into serious question.

But, while Warren thinks she has found a safe place in her family lore, it�s still worth pointing out that she is not Cherokee. The Cherokee line supposedly was through her maternal grandparents, the Crawfords.

But just to put another piece of evidence on the table, real Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes has come up a newspaper clipping from the Muskogee Times Democrat on August 17, 1906.

The newspaper clipping relates to a story about how Warren�s great grandfather, John H. Crawford, shot a real Indian and was identified in the newspaper as white, via Twila Barnes:
Elizabeth Warren is the granddaughter of Hannie Crawford, daughter of John H. Crawford. Warren says the Crawfords were Cherokee.

According to the Boston Globe:
�Rosco Crawford, Hannie Crawford�s brother, told (his granddaughter) that as a young boy living in the Creek Nation of Indian Territory, the Indians were �pretty mean.� Once, when a Creek was hitting Crawford�s younger brother, their father shot and wounded the Indian, according to her biography, on file at California State University at Fullerton.�
I did not know that there was a tribe called "Fraud". Even in blue-state Massachusetts, it will be interesting to see how many votes she gets for her run at the Senate.

Energy development in Kazakhstan

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From Eurasianet.org:
Kazakhstan Says "No Thanks" to Renewable Energy
The movers and shakers of the global oil and gas industry, currently in Astana for a trade conference, now have no reason to fear Kazakhstan might go green on them.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev�s son-in-law, Timur Kulibayev, has pointed out that he�s prioritizing short-term profit over long-term environmental concerns. Speaking at a press conference at the Kazenergy Eurasian Forum on October 2, Kulibayev announced that Kazakhstan will continue to exploit its vast hydrocarbon resources rather than develop alternative energy supplies.
Emphasis mine -- why should they spend ten times more per watt when they are sitting on a metric buttload (I just love scientific terminology) of oil. More:
This is bad news for the green brigade, of course, but not all is lost. Kulibayev, who is an influential figure in the country's energy sector, didn�t say he�d never consider renewable energy. He added that Kazakhstan would wait for the cost of alternatives like wind and solar power to become more affordable before getting too committed.
If the green brigade had real-world solutions, they would be in business without needing huge government subsidies. It is wise for Kazakhstan to wait -- not like they are running short of energy (lucky them!). More:
Some might find the announcement confusing, since the trade body Kulibayev heads -- the Kazenergy Association -- promises, on its website, that it is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to the �realization of the Kyoto Protocol and post-Kyoto agreements.�

With its vast windswept steppe and gorges that act as natural wind tunnels, Kazakhstan has great potential to be a major producer of wind power. It also receives a lot of sunshine -- the southeast of the country gets around 300 sunny days per year. But despite Astana�s promises to be a global leader in every possible way, for now at least, it's business as usual in the world�s nineteenth largest oil producer.
Sure, they promise that they will look into it -- to explore the possibilities. It's called Public Relations -- the website is a sop to the greenies. Why should they pay 30� per kW/Hour for wind generated electricity when they can pay just 6� kW/Hr. for conventional. Solar, when you take away the government subsidies is even more expensive. Wind power is not baseline generation. For every kW/Hour of baseline that you need, you have to have the equivalent amount of conventional generation capacity running on hot standby for when the wind fails. There is no viable alternative energy. Looking at the site, we see that the Eurasia.net website is:
� 2012 The Open Society Institute
The Open Society? The sociopath George Soros. Here, here, here and here. Sociopath? Here: Steve Kroft's interview of George Soros:
KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.
SOROS: Yes. Yes.
KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.
SOROS: Yes. That�s right. Yes.
KROFT: I mean, that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?
SOROS: Not, not at all. Not at all.
KROFT: No feeling of guilt?
The sooner he exits this planet the better. He is just dead wrong in his ideas and shouldn't be allowed to meddle in global politics. His dad was a royal nutcase and George is suffering from his own "Dreams of my Father" ingrained stupidity and blindness.
From Bloomberg:
California Gas Stations Shut as Oil Refiners Ration Supplies
Gasoline station owners in the Los Angeles area including Costco Wholesale Corp. are beginning to shut pumps as the state�s oil refiners started rationing supplies and spot prices surged to a record.

Valero Energy Corp. stopped selling gasoline on the spot, or wholesale, market in Southern California and is allocating deliveries to customers. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is also rationing fuel to U.S. West Coast terminal customers. Costco�s outlet in Simi Valley, 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles, ran out of regular gasoline yesterday and was selling premium fuel at the price of regular.
And the reasons?
�Product supply in California has tightened, especially in Southern California, due to refinery outages,� Bill Day, a Valero spokesman at the company�s headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail.

Exxon�s Torrance refinery is restoring operations after losing power Oct. 1. Phillips 66 is scheduled to perform work on gasoline-making units at its two California refineries this month, two people with knowledge of the schedules said. A Chevron Corp. pipeline that delivers crude to Northern California refineries was also shut last month due to elevated levels of chloride in the oil.
We certainly have upgraded refining facilities but we have not built a new refinery in about 30 years. This little chicken is coming home to roost. Every action (halting construction of refineries) has unintended consequences and California is seeing this right now. We will see it as CA's buying at higher prices will drive up Washington's gas prices. Diesel is about $4.20 these days.

Fifty five years ago today

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From Clara Moskowitz writing at Space.com:
How Sputnik Changed the World 55 Years Ago Today
Fifty-five years ago today, the Space Race was kicked into gear by a silver basketball flying through the sky.

Sputnik 1, the Soviet probe that became the first manmade object to reach space, launched Oct. 4, 1957. The feat proved the Soviet Union's technological bonafides and spurred the United States into stepping up its game in space.

The anniversary is being marked by the 13th annual World Space Week, which includes hundreds of space-themed events in dozens of countries from Oct. 4 through Oct. 10.
I was six at the time and still remember the shock over the event -- that the 'backward Ruskies' could do something of this magnitude.

Money for Education

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One of the things that Obama stressed last night was that he wanted to hand more money to the schools to improve our children's education. I remembered this graph -- puts things into perspective:
More funding to education merely feeds the teachers union leviathan and does nothing to improve the quality of teachers. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule but these are 10% or less. Hat tip to The Cato Institute by way of Maggie's Farm

Oh Joy - Mexican cartels in Chicago

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Talk about the benefits of a strong immigration policy -- from CBS News:
Mexican drug cartels fight turf battles in Chicago
Gun violence is out of control in Chicago. Just last night, there were eight shootings, two of them deadly.

That pushes the total so far in 2012 to 351 shooting deaths -- up 30 percent from last year. Drug gangs are a big reason.
More (Jack Riley is special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Office in Chicago):
"One of the hardest jobs I've had in the past couple of years is to convince our law enforcement partners that we need an enforcement mentality as if we're on the border," Riley said.
And more:
As it stands now, at least three major Mexican cartels are battling over control of billions of dollars of marijuana, cocaine and -- increasingly -- heroin in this city. That includes the ultra-violent Zetas and the powerful Sinaloa cartel, run by its shadowy leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

"The most dangerous criminal across all crime in the world is Chapo Guzman and this is one of his hubs," Riley said.
More than ever, Chicago's problem is turning into a Midwest problem. Cartel operations are also spreading to Milwaukee, St. Louis and Detroit.
Our Nation is in the best of hands...

The lost Steve Jobs tape

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Very cool - from Life, Liberty and Technology:
The �Lost� Steve Jobs Speech from 1983; Foreshadowing Wireless Networking, the iPad, and the App Store
In 1983, Steve Jobs gave a speech to a relatively small audience at a somewhat obscure event called the International Design Conference in Aspen (IDCA). The theme of that year�s conference was �The Future Isn�t What It Used To Be�, which looking back seems all too fitting. Circumstances being what they are, very little is available on the Internet regarding this Steve Jobs speech. In my extensive research, I could find only one recording of this talk, which itself was just posted in June of this year. This talk received a fair amount of attention at the end of August, after it was mentioned in a Smithsonian Magazine article written by Walter Issacson, Jobs� biographer. However, the recording currently available is not complete. It ends after about 20 minutes, which corresponds with the end of Jobs� prepared speech. Left out is almost 40 minutes of a follow-up question and answer session where Jobs offered incredible insight into his vision of future technology. I now present this recording to the world so that it may be preserved indefinitely.

First, I�d like to thank one of my oldest clients, John Celuch of Inland Design. He personally attended this speech almost 30 years ago and was the one who gave me the recording I now share. Attendees of the speech received a cassette tape copy and he held on to it all these years. He found the tape sometime last year and thought I might like it. He was absolutely right, but because I was in the middle of a move (and also due to a lack cassette tape players available to me!) I set the tape aside and put off listening to it until this summer. Had I known what was in this recording, I would not have waited so long! Incidentally, John met Steve Jobs at this conference. During their interaction Steve Jobs gave him something to put in a time capsule that was buried at the conference. To our knowledge this time capsule has yet to be dug up. I�ll share more on this in a future article.
A bit more - a few bullet points:
  • He mentions that computers are so fast they are like magic. I don�t think it is a coincidence that he called the iPad �magical�.
  • He states that in a few years people will be spending more time interacting with personal computers than with cars. It seems so obvious now, but hardly a given back then.
  • He equates society�s level of technology familiarity to being on a �first date� with personal computers. He recognized that technology would continue to evolve in the near future as would people�s comfort level with it. In hindsight, once it became dominant the PC industry stood relatively still while Jobs was busy planning �the next big thing�.
  • He confidently talks about the personal computer being a new medium of communication. Again, this is before networking was commonplace or there was any inkling of the Internet going mainstream. Yet he specifically talks about early e-mail systems and how it is re-shaping communication. He matter-of-factly states that when we have portable computers with radio links, people could be walking around anywhere and pick up their e-mail. Again, this is 1983, at least 20 years before the era of mobile computing.
  • He mentions an experiment done by MIT that sounds very much like a Google Street View application.
  • He discusses early networking and the mess of different protocols that existed at the time. He predicts that we were about 5 years away from �solving� networking in the office and 10-15 years from solving networking in the home. I�d say he was pretty much dead-on.
Much more at the site. Remember, this is in 1983. The MITS Altair made its magazine debut eight years earlier -- this was a machine with no operating system, no programming language and that relied on a teletype for input and output.

Meeting today

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With someone who is making a serious offer on the store and building. Should be interesting...

Ann Barnhardt on tonight's debate

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I really like the way she thinks -- been following her website for a a few years. From this evening (she doesn't do links to specific posts -- scroll down to October 3rd):
Truly Scary
I didn't watch the debate. I went over to a Friend's house and talked, read some Aquinas, and then talked some more. Then I went to Chick-Fil-A.

I find myself with an intense feeling of dread after reading the wrap-up comments.

Obama got his ass kicked, or to be more precise, kicked his own ass. From what people are saying, it seems clear that Obama did not prepare in any way, shape or form. More on point, Valerie Jarrett, Michelle Obama and David Axelrod did not force Obama to prepare. At all.

This implies two things. First, the "less-bad" implication:

No preparation was done because they know that the elections will be fixed and none of them care, least of all Barry who is a drug-addled imbecile and doesn't care about much beyond his next gram of coke and male fellation.

What really, really is bothering me and has me genuinely scared (yes, I do feel fear) is the fact that it can now no longer be denied that Barack Obama is worth more to his neo-Stalinist handlers dead than alive.

Someone has to say it. It might as well be me.

There has been buzz of a false-flag assassination attempt contingency plan among the Valerie Jarrett gang, but after this, I am genuinely scared that the false-flag assassination may no longer be a mere attempt, but a full-on JFK scenario.

Obama the man is now a liability to the putsch. These people are evil on a scale that most people cannot fathom, and Barry has only ever been a puppet and a tool to them.

Join me in praying for the safety of Barack Obama or whatever the hell his name is. He needs to be removed, arrested, tried and convicted for what he has done in the calmest, most orderly way possible. If his own handlers false-flag assassinate him, the entire world will fall into tyranny almost overnight, and my fear is that is exactly what they want, and they may be audacious and desperate enough to do it - especially after tonight.

Stay frosty. Pray hard.

Ho Li Crap -- they were right (almost)

Ultimate Geekdom.

First of all, Deuterium is one of the two stable isotopes of Hydrogen. They both have a single Electron orbiting the nucleus but the nucleus of Deuterium is one Proton and one Neutron (by itself called a Deuteron) while the nucleus of Hydrogen (or Proteum) has just the one Proton. It is not a common isotope but it is out there -- for every 6,420 atoms of H in seawater, there is one atom of 2H or Deuterium. Deuterium was named because of this dual nature. As a personal anecdote, I was once at a cocktail party ( late 1970's in Boston) where heavy water ice cubes were used for the drinks. They sink to the bottom of the glass -- very odd... You can buy 100 grams (about a cup) of Deuterium Oxide from here for $75 -- I remember it being a lot cheaper but that's inflation for you...

Back to the story -- from CNet News:

'Star Trek' fusion impulse engine in the works
There's a hierarchy of "Star Trek" inventions we would like to see become reality. We already have voice-controlled computers and communicators in the form of smartphones. A working Holodeck is under development. Now, how about we get some impulse engines for our starships?

The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Aerophysics Research Center, NASA, Boeing, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are collaborating on a project to produce nuclear fusion impulse rocket engines. It's no warp drive, but it would get us around the galaxy a lot quicker than current technologies.

According to Txchnologist, the scientists are hoping to make impulse drive a reality by 2030. It would be capable of taking a spacecraft from Earth to Mars in as little as six weeks:
"The fusion fuel we're focusing on is deuterium [a stable isotope of hydrogen] and Li6 [a stable isotope of the metal lithium] in a crystal structure," Txchnologist quotes team member and aerospace engineering Ph.D. candidate Ross Cortez saying. "That's basically dilithium crystals we're using." Let's pause and savor that for a moment. Dilithium crystals. Awesome.
Plenty of obstacles will need to be overcome during the development process. The issue of harnessing fusion is prominent, but there is also the question of turning the power generated by fusion into thrust for an engine. The craft using the impulse drive would also need to be assembled in space, much like the International Space Station.

"Imagine using a 1-ton TNT equivalent explosive and putting it out the back end of a rocket. That's what we're doing here," Cortez says in a press release about the project. Now we can all practice saying "full impulse power" to our imaginary starship navigators.

Needless to say, the links cited are meting down -- I can get scrambled text from time to time. I was able to connect enough to verify. A very big tip of the hat to The Silicon Graybeard for the link. I know Art imitates Life but it is not common for Life to imitate Art.

I really like Rahm Emanuel. From the Chicago Tribune:
Emanuel revamps City Hall ethics board
Mayor Rahm Emanuel today dumped the entire board that oversees enforcement of ethics and campaign finance rules at City Hall, calling it �a new day for ethics and accountability in Chicago.�

During the quarter-century it has existed, the ethics board has been criticized as lax on enforcement. The panel hasn't found a single case of wrongdoing by aldermen, even though more than 20 were convicted of felonies in that period.

Four of the ethics board members were serving terms that had expired or were about to and the the other three members have been asked to resign, said Sarah Hamilton, Emanuel spokeswoman.

Fun bits of information - electric load bank

I subscribe to a couple of odd geek email lists and one of them had a thread on how to dissipate Five Kilowatts of electricity as heat. A reply:

My day job is large industrial power supplies. The test racks have large resistive loads with big fans exhausting to the outside. Cheap & simple. Safety is by several strings of temperature cutouts wired in series. We usually get work experience students in to wire them up.

What was fascinating:

I met an engineer who made a battery charger for one of our submarines. This was tested by putting the load bank in a dumpster, and keeping it filled up with water using a firehose!

Now that is a lot of heat!

Romney / Obama debate

Lulu and I just watched the first debate on CSPAN Romney mopped the floor with Obama -- it will be interesting to see the spin from the progressives tomorrow. Looking forward to the VP debates on Thursday the 11th. Full schedule here: Commission on Presidential Debates
From Eastern Washington state's Tri-Cities Herald:
Mid-Columbia group forms to fight higher electric bills from unneeded power
A new campaign to change the state Energy Independence Act was launched Thursday in the Mid-Columbia to prevent rising electricity rates to pay for unneeded renewable energy.

Mid-Columbia state legislators, chambers of commerce, ports, business organizations, cities and public utility districts are backing the effort to prevent or delay increased electricity rates.

The group Citizens for Protecting Our Washington Energy Rates, or POWER, wants to change the Energy Independence Act, which was created by Initiative 937.

It requires utilities with at least 25,000 customers to buy at least 3 percent of their power this year from eligible renewable resources, such as wind and solar, and increase that to 9 percent in 2016 and 15 percent in 2020.

However, utilities, such as the Benton Public Utility District, already have ample power under contract and would have to buy additional power that it doesn't need or renewable energy credits.

To meet the 2016 requirement, Benton PUD will need to spend $1.5 million to $3 million a year for credits for renewable energy produced elsewhere, said Jim Sanders, general manager of the Benton PUD. Buying credits is expected to cost less than buying the unneeded power.

"I imagine taking $1 million and putting it into the trash barrel and burning it," because customers will see no benefit from it, he said.
Here is the website for Citizens for Protecting Our Washington Energy Rates From their background page:
The Challenge
The EIA (Energy Independence Act) requires an electric utility with 25,000 or more customers to use �eligible� renewable resources to meet a portion of load (3% in 2012, 9% in 2016, and 15% in 2020) and to acquire all cost-effective conservation starting in 2010. This is similar to other state requirements. In Washington, the initiative narrowly defines qualifying renewables and excludes the most cost-effective resource: hydropower.

Recommendations for change
The EIA is not living up to its goals. But with changes it can. Legislation is needed to clarify that if a utility has enough power to serve its customers, it can choose not to buy more renewable resources or renewable energy credits. The amendment assures that if a utility needs more resources, new acquisitions must meet EIA requirements. This legislation does not change the intent of the EIA. It protects utilities from unnecessary additional costs that are passed on to customers in the form of rate increases. And it eases the negative impacts higher energy costs pose on a weak economy.

We support a clean environment, increased conservation, and cost-effective renewable resources. We are committed to real energy independence. Washington State can remain one of the nation�s leaders in renewable energy and a low-carbon power system by amending and strengthening I-937.
Emphasis mine: excludes the most cost-effective resource: hydropower Washington state gets 64% of its energy from Hydro which is a perfect example of a renewable resource. To not count this shows that this initiative was driven by ideology and not facts. Political agenda and not Science.
The British Film Institute has committed itself to digitizing 10,000 films from its archive and putting them online ---but--- in a proprietary format and you must use their player to stream them. From the UK Guardian:
BFI to launch online player with 10,000 films from its archives
An internet "player", which will give unprecedented access to Britain's film heritage online, whether that's the innovations of the early pioneer RW Paul or the Mass Observation documentaries of Humphrey Jennings, was announced on Tuesday as part of a five-year plan for British film.

The British Film Institute, which has taken on a lead role for all aspects of film since the abolition of the UK Film Council outlined how it plans to spend over �500m over the next five years.

The organisation's chairman Greg Dyke said that included spending �50m a year of lottery money, which was "not as much as you might think". He promised a less London-centric approach and said the BFI's three priorities would be: education and audiences; film and film-making, and film heritage.

On that last priority Dyke said: "It's all very well having the greatest film library in the world but if you can't actually get to see it, it's of limited value. I keep on making jokes that I don't believe it's there, but they tell me it is."

In fact, more than 450,000 cans of the nation's film are stored at a secret location in Warwickshire and the BFI said it was committed to digitising 10,000 films by 2017, with experts and a public vote helping to decide which films should be included. The BFIPlayer, scheduled for the end of next year, would allow viewers to watch films on-demand.
A bit more:
Using new technologies will be a key element of the BFI's strategy, its chief executive Amanda Nevill said, and five different apps are being developed to help show content.

"Eventually this will lead to a BFIPlayer," planned for the end of 2013, added Nevill.
OK -- so they spent a couple months doing a thorough investigation and discovered that there was no available software to stream videos through the internet. Because of this stunning lack of video streaming software, they are now forced to write such an app themselves. Oh Nooeeessss!!!!111!!!ELEVENTY Fear not, as soon as BFIPlayer is released, a hack will be written allowing the films to be ripped into an MP4 video file. Estimated time - less than a week.
From the New York FOX affiliate:
Design for Titanic II to be unveiled in NYC
The plans for a ship that has been dubbed Titanic II will be unveiled in New York, according to Australian billionaire Clive Palmer said.

Palmer, one of Australia's richest men, announced plans in April to construct the replica Titanic with exactly the same dimensions as the original.

He will release the design on the Intrepid Museum on Manhattan's West Side during a gala on Dec. 4, according to AFP. The dinner menu will reportedly be the same menu as Titanic passengers were served on the day it say on April 15, 1912.

He plans on having the ship built in China before an initial passenger trip from Southampton in England to New York.
Being built in China is a bit of a concern. Inaugural voyage is going to be quite the party...
Talk about piss-poor management. From The Washington Post:
DHS �fusion centers� portrayed as pools of ineptitude, civil liberties intrusions
An initiative aimed at improving intelligence sharing has done little to make the country more secure, despite as much as $1.4 billion in federal spending, according to a two-year examination by Senate investigators.

The nationwide network of offices known as �fusion centers� was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to address concerns that local, state and federal authorities were not sharing information effectively about potential terrorist threats.

But after nine years � and regular praise from officials at the Department of Homeland Security � the 77 fusion centers have become pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions, according to a scathing 141-page report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations.
But the report documents spending on items that did little to help share intelligence, including gadgets such as �shirt button� cameras, $6,000 laptops and big-screen televisions. One fusion center spent $45,000 on a decked-out SUV that a city official used for commuting.

�In reality, the Subcommittee investigation found that the fusion centers often produced irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence reporting to DHS, and many produced no intelligence reporting whatsoever,� the report said.

The bipartisan report, released by subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking minority member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), portrays the fusion center system as ineffective and criticizes the Department of Homeland Security for poor supervision.
And one last little bit:
Investigators found instances in which the analysts used intelligence about U.S. citizens that may have been gathered illegally.
What? DHS acted illegally? Napolitano was barely competent as Governor and is way above her pay grade at DHS. The organization is rotten at the top.

Heh -- that's gratitude for you

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Fauxcahontas Lizzy Warren just can't get no respect. From The Daily Caller:
Elizabeth Warren hat-tips Richard Lugar, who promptly endorses Scott Brown
During a debate Monday, Democratic Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren cited Republican Sen. Richard Lugar as an example of a someone she could work with on a bipartisan basis.

On Tuesday, Lugar � who will no longer be in office next year when a victorious Warren could take office, endorsed Warren�s opponent Sen. Scott Brown.

In the endorsement, Lugar praised Brown as a senator committed to reaching out to Democrats.

�My friend, Scott Brown, since becoming a United States Senator has worked hard to reach across the aisle, Lugar said. �In just two and a half years, he has established himself as a Senate leader who can be counted upon to rise above partisanship and do the right thing.�

�As an example, in order to confirm the START nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, Scott approached the issue with an open mind and announced his support for the Treaty at a critical moment, leading the way toward bipartisan ratification,� Lugar added.

�We need Senators like Scott Brown in the U.S. Senate, and I wholeheartedly endorse him.�
Heh -- she is an out of touch moron and even your average Senator can see this...

Well Dang!

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No live fire tonight. There was a mis-communication with the firefighters and the requisite equipment was not at the station. One of the firefighters offered to let us use his buddy's brand new car but the teacher -- after some thought -- said that a vehicle fire was outside the scope of what we are training for. Thanked him though. In the end, we used a chunk of cinderblock as a 'simulated fire' Still a lot of fun -- it is a great class and I am learning a lot.

CERT Training

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Heading off to CERT training in a few minutes. Tonight, we get to play with Fire! My community is remote enough that having a few trained first-responders makes a huge difference. There are already a couple CERT trained people out here, adding my name to the list.

Spending at the top

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Maybe they will like us more if we give them more money. From CNS News:
Obama Increased Foreign Aid 80%; Spent 76% More on Foreign Aid Than Border Security
From fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2011, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government increased spending on foreign aid by 80 percent and, in fiscal 2011, spent 76 percent more on foreign aid than it did securing the borders of the United States.

In fiscal 2008, the government spent a total of $11.427 billion in international assistance programs, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement. In fiscal 2011, according to the statement, it spent $20.599 billion�an increase of $9.172 billion, or 80 percent, from 2008.

Prior to President Obama taking office, international assistance spending had been trending down for three years, according to the Treasury. In fiscal 2005, it was $14.787 billion. In fiscal 2006, it dropped to $13.914 billion. In fiscal 2007, it dropped again to $12.764 billion. And, in fiscal 2008, it dropped yet again to $11.427 billion.

Since 2008, international assistance spending has increased each year. In fiscal 2009, it climbed to $14.827 billion. In fiscal 2010, it jumped to $20.038 billion. And, in fiscal 2011, it climbed again to $20.599 billion.
Time to scale back our forces in Iraq, get the hell out of Afghanistan, bomb the crap out of Iran, recognize that Israel is our staunch ally and start rebuilding our nation.

Barry takes a break

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Barry is getting tired of all the Debate preperation. From The Hill:
Obama calls debate prep 'a drag'
President Obama played some hookey from his intense debate preparation early this week in Las Vegas, visiting a campaign field office in nearby Henderson and chatting with volunteers for his re-election effort.

"It's very nice. Although basically they're keeping me indoors all the time. It's a drag. They're making me do my homework."

The Debate tomorrow

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Looking forward to it -- Obama does not speak well extemporaneously. Obama's handlers express their concern as follows -- from Town Hall:
Obama Spokeswoman Worries Regular People Too Stupid to Understand Barack's Debate Answers
President Obama is smarter than you, don't you know? According to Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki, President Obama gives such thoughtful, extended answers to debate questions that is makes it difficult for regular people to understand. From the Washington Examiner:
President Obama�s campaign spokeswoman said she�s concerned Obama will sound too �professorial� to resonate with the low-information voters tuning into the presidential campaign for the first time during this week�s debate.

�[W]hat the American [people] are looking for is not just a professorial list of facts or accomplishments or even goals,� Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said yesterday as part of her ongoing, almost-comical attempt to lower expectations going into the debates. She then lamented that Obama �has a tendency to give longer, substantive answers.�

Psaki�s concern that Professor Obama will appear during the debates is understandable given that �he was the third-lowest-ranked lecturer� at the University of Chicago Law School in 1999.
What Psaki is trying to get ahead of before Wednesday's debate in Denver is this: when candidates give long convoluted answers during debates it's not because they're smarter than everyone else, it's because they have nothing to say and are running out the clock. Filibustering doesn't count as being too "professorial."
Got a couple pounds of popcorn in the pantry -- gonna be an interesting silly season...

Fast and Furious update

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More from Univision - the Spanish news service that is doing some excellent reporting on stuff that the main-stream media is not touching. From The Daily Caller:
Univision: Juarez drug cartel leader �El Diego� was captured with Fast and Furious weapons
When Mexican authorities took Juarez drug cartel carnage king Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez � better known as �El Diego� � into custody, he had weapons from Operation Fast and Furious on his person, the English-language transcript of the Spanish-language television network Univision�s special investigation into the scandal shows.

�According to investigations, �El Diego� forms the link between this massacre and Fast and Furious,� an anchor read on air in Spanish Sunday evening, referring to two different mass killings drug cartel operatives used Fast and Furious weapons to conduct as Univision reported.
And of course:
Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Eric Holder, has not responded to a request for comment in response to this revelation.
Rope. Tree. Some assembly required. The 200+ comments are a good read -- this one from attentionmorons is spot on:
If this occurred under Bush there would be non-stop coverage with the MSM screeching like little girls. Since it happened under the Obama, we hear crickets...
Univision's home page is here: Univision Google translate page is here: Univision It is there that we can read of yet another shooting:
A border policeman was killed in a shootout in Arizona
A border patrol agent of the United States died and another was wounded during a clash with strangers near the border town of Naco, Arizona, reported CNN.

Both officers were assigned to the station in Tucson Brian Terry.

The injured officer was airlifted to a hospital and the authorities have refused to disclose the names of the agents until families are notified about the situation.
And meanwhile, Obama does nothing but campaign and build his base.

Goats in the news

From Portland's The Oregonian:

Belligerent mountain goats learn lesson; Olympic trail re-opens
The Forest Service has reopened a popular trail in the Olympic National Forest in Washington after a wildlife biologist spent much of the summer teaching aggressive mountain goats that people are to be avoided.

The trail up Mount Ellinor was closed in early July after several groups of hikers reported encountering very assertive goats. Forest Service officials said hikers who fed goats in the past or let them lick hands or backpacks for salt helped cause the behavior.

Those goats are not tame, they have just lost their fear of people. There is a big difference. A bit more:

During much of the summer, KING-TV says Forest Service employee Kurt Aluzas shot paintballs, sprayed repellant and used his voice to clear the trails of goats. He suggests that hikers yell and stand their ground if they run into a mountain goat.

The trail reopened Monday.

A 63-year-old Port Angeles man was fatally gored in October 2010 by a 370-pound mountain goat on a trail in Olympic National Park.

We have lots of bears around here and an employee noticed some bobcat scat near the store a few days ago. I love living in proximity to these creatures.

From a local photography email list:
3rd Annual zombie photoshoot, Oct 20th, 6:00pm,
South End Auto Wrecking yard, Renton, WA.

It is time folks for our annual Zombie Photoshoot!
Not your normal product shoot (zombies want to eat your brains)
Not your normal fashion shoot (too much fake blood)
Not your normal Location shoot (in a junk yard!)

BUT...it is tons of fun! Bring your camera and have fun "shooting" our zombie horde!
This event started out as a teaching/learning time for local photographers to help them learn about location lighting and photography and has turned into a annual event! We still learn a lot and have fun along the way...and it has grown every year!

You can either come as a photographer, a zombie, a hero, make-up or hair sytlist... or just come for fun and help out.

This is a great learning experience for photographers who have never shoot a large scale photoshoot, or with location lighting gear. We have professional make up artists, lights, location, and lots of zombies. Plus heroes to save the day!

Tickets for photographers are only $30, $10 for zombies and assistants come for free! Plus we have cool t-shirts for only $12.
Looks like a lot of fun -- their facebook page is here: Zombies in a wrecking yard!

Another nice long read - Arctic Ice

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Been tracking down some longer posts -- here is a wonderful meditation on the arctic ice. From Caleb Shaw posting at Watts Up With That:
September Panics and Smurphy�s Law
During hot spells in the summer I often find it refreshing to click onto Anthony�s �Sea Ice Page,� and to sit back and simply watch ice melt. It is an escape from my busy, sweaty routine, as long as I avoid the �Sea Ice Posts� where people become anxious, political, and somewhat insulting, about the serene topic of ice melting. However by September there is no way to avoid the furor generated by melting ice. It reaches a crescendo.

I used to like the September Panic because I often could hijack a thread by bringing up the subject of Vikings. I�d rather talk about Vikings floating around during the MWP, than a bunch of bergs floating around and melting today.

The September Panic also entertained me because I used to learn about all sorts of things I didn�t know about. The debate always involved people clobbering each other with facts, and hitting each other over the head with links. In the process you�d learn all sorts of fascinating trivia about Norwegian fishermen in the 1920�s, and arctic explorers in the 1800�s, and even some science.

For example, fresh water floats on top of saltier water, unless it is the Gulf Stream, which is saltier water floating on top of fresher water because it is warmer, until it gets colder.

This science crosses your eyes, in a pleasant manner, and leads inevitably to discussions about thermohaline circulation, which is fascinating, because so little is known about it.

It also leads to discussions about how the freezing of salt water creates floating ice that is turned into fresh water by extracting brine, which forms �brincicles� as it dribbles down through the ice at temperatures far below zero and enters the warmer sea beneath. This in turn leads to discussions involving the fact that, with such large amounts of brine sinking, surface water must come from someplace to replace it, and in some cases this surface water is cold, while in other cases it is warm.

The fact the replacing waters can be warmer leads to discussions about the northernmost branches of the Gulf Stream, and how these branches meander north and south. This in turn leads to talk of the unpredictable nature of meandering, the further downstream you move from the original point where the meandering starts, and this, (if you are lucky,) will lead you to Chaos Theory and Strange Attractors.

(In the case of the Mississippi River, the subject of meandering leads you to the Delta, plus the topics of Engineers, New Orleans, and Murphy�s Law.) (In the case of psychology, the meanderings of the human mind leads to the conclusion humans are utterly unpredictable, unless they are psychologists, in which case they obey Smurphy�s Law, which states a psychologist will succumb to whatever ailment he is expert in.)

In conclusion, the September Panic can be a source of fascinating thought, providing you are willing to drift like a berg and wind up miles off topic.
Visit the site and keep reading -- wonderful writing and buzz-kill links to the facts for the warmists. Win/Win

Meet Nudie Cohn

Not well known but you have seen his work. A wonderful read from Collectors Weekly:
Meet the Man Who Made Cowboys Love Rhinestones
Though it might seem like country-western stars sprang from the womb wearing golden boots and rhinestone suits, it wasn�t always so. In fact, we owe such flashy styles to a Ukrainian-born Jew named Nudie Cohn, who was the first to mix Nashville and Hollywood, making it hip to be ostentatious.

While Cohn�s name might not be familiar, you�ve certainly seen his famous Nudie suits, ranging from Gram Parsons� marijuana-leaf masterpiece to Elvis Presley�s outfit of glitzy gold lam�. Taking his cues from burlesque stage shows, Cohn�s business boomed in the flush years after World War II, when people weren�t afraid to flaunt their wealth. Superstars like Bob Dylan, Cher, David Byrne, John Wayne, and John Lennon all loved his wild outfits�the gaudier, the better.
So much more at the site -- just go and read. His Granddaughter - Jamie Lee Nudie runs her own website: Nudie's Rodeo Tailors Lots more photos and stories. People like this are who made America great. We need more Nudie Cohns

More brewing stuff

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Some wonderful people have developed a single-board computer that can run Linux - meet Raspberry Pi. For $35 or so, you get a machine with 256MB RAM, two USB ports (keyboard, mouse and I/O), Ethernet and Audio ports, an HDMI connector for Video and an SD Card interface for your operating system. Available from Allied Electronics Planning on getting one myself to tinker with over this winter. Used to do a lot of embedded programming and spent a lot of time with Linux. Anyway, check out BrewPi. It is a home-brewing temperature controller and logger using a Raspberry Pi, a display screen, some solid state relays for compressor and light (heater) and lots of data logging features. Looks like a fun project and it has been released as open source so anyone can add features, fix bugs, etc...

Why yes, in fact, I do own a brewery...

Looks like a fun group starting in Bellingham. Check out the Bellingham Beer Lab.

It is a co-operative brewery -- for $150 you get a lifetime membership and ownership of a share of the brewery. Lots of incredible craft brewing up here -- the water has a lot of minerals in it so it's very close to some of the classic British brewery town waters; Burton on Trent, etc...

Yikes - China hacking the White House

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Probably just a lone hacking team but still... From Bill Gertz writing at the Washington Free Beacon:
White House Hack Attack
Hackers linked to China�s government broke into one of the U.S. government�s most sensitive computer networks, breaching a system used by the White House Military Office for nuclear commands, according to defense and intelligence officials familiar with the incident.

One official said the cyber breach was one of Beijing�s most brazen cyber attacks against the United States and highlights a failure of the Obama administration to press China on its persistent cyber attacks.

Disclosure of the cyber attack also comes amid heightened tensions in Asia, as the Pentagon moved two U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups and Marine amphibious units near waters by Japan�s Senkaku islands.

China and Japan�the United States� closest ally in Asia and a defense treaty partner�are locked in a heated maritime dispute over the Senkakus, which China claims as its territory.

U.S. officials familiar with reports of the White House hacking incident said it took place earlier this month and involved unidentified hackers, believed to have used computer servers in China, who accessed the computer network used by the White House Military Office (WHMO), the president�s military office in charge of some of the government�s most sensitive communications, including strategic nuclear commands. The office also arranges presidential communications and travel, and inter-government teleconferences involving senior policy and intelligence officials.
Why these systems are live on the net without protection boggles the mind. Before moving up here, I worked for an Ocean Engineering company and we did a lot with Military and large corporate clients. A high measure of security was essential and we managed this very well. There was one project involving the US Navy and their security auditor was very pleased with the setup we built for them.
Spanish news agency Univision is hitting hard with the facts. From The Daily Caller:
Univision report connects Operation Fast and Furious scandal to murders of Mexican teenagers
The Spanish language television news network Univision unleashed a bombshell investigative report on Operation Fast and Furious Sunday evening, finding that in January 2010 drug cartel hit men slaughtered students with weapons the United States government allowed to flow to them across the Mexican border.

�On January 30, 2010, a commando of at least 20 hit men parked themselves outside a birthday party of high school and college students in Villas de Salvarcar, Ciudad Juarez,� according to a version of the Univision report in English, on the ABC News website.

�Near midnight, the assassins, later identified as hired guns for the Mexican cartel La Linea, broke into a one-story house and opened fire on a gathering of nearly 60 teenagers. Outside, lookouts gunned down a screaming neighbor and several students who had managed to escape. Fourteen young men and women were killed, and 12 more were wounded before the hit men finally fled.�

Citing a Mexican Army document it obtained and published, Univision reported that �[t]hree of the high caliber weapons fired that night in Villas de Salvarcar were linked to a gun tracing operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).�

That operation was Fast and Furious.
�Univision News identified a total of 57 more previously unreported firearms that were bought by straw purchasers monitored by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, and then recovered in Mexico in sites related to murders, kidnappings, and at least one other massacre,� the Univision report reads.
Univision held nothing back in its broadcast, airing images and video of bloodied, dead bodies. The network showed the faces of the dead and walked viewers through how cartel operatives hunted their victims down with the weapons President Barack Obama�s administration allowed straw buyers to traffick to them.

One photo, for instance, showed pools of blood in the streets of a Mexican town after a �massacre� committed by murderers armed with Fast and Furious weapons. Video footage showed where some of the victims were killed and how the cartels chased their helpless victims to their deaths.

The Univision broadcast implicitly suggested that Americans have no regard for the victims of violence American policy helps fuel � that is, until one of those victims ends up being an American.

It wasn�t until U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry�s murder prompted whistle-blowers to come forward to Congress to publicly voice concerns about the program that the Obama administration stopped allowing firearms to flow into Mexico.

One victim�s father, Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, told Univision he thinks �Americans are not often moved by the pain of those outside [their country].�

�But they are moved by the pain of their own,� Sicilia added.
One more bit:
�When Fast and Furious began in 2009, the ATF and Arizona prosecutors told [gun] store owners to sell weapons without restrictions to suspicious buyers.�

Univision also said that it was Phoenix ATF office leader Bill Newell who ultimately concluded that �the only way to track the guns was to wait for weapons to be recovered in crime scenes in Mexico.�

That charge, if true, would mean the Obama administration decided to allow cartel operatives to kill and injure people with the weapons it gave them, and to recover the guns only after criminals ditched them at brutal � often deadly � crime scenes.

Univision also found additional details about other gunwalking operations the Obama administration undertook.

�In Florida, the weapons from Operation Castaway ended up in the hands of criminals in Colombia, Honduras and Venezuela, the lead informant in the case told Univision News in a prison interview,� the network reported. The informant Unvision interviewed was �Vietnam veteran-turned-arms-trafficker� Hugh Crumpler.

�When the ATF stopped me, they told me the guns were going to cartels,� Crumpler said. �The ATF knew before I knew and had been following me for a considerable length of time. They could not have followed me for two months like they said they did, and not know the guns were going somewhere, and not want for that to be happening.�
Holder needs to be removed from his position of power and brought to trial for allowing this to happen. Yes, Bush did have a similar program (Wide Receiver) but those guns had RFID chips in them and could be tracked from some distance away. It was stopped the same year it was started. Fast and Furious ran for two full years.

Mr. Popularity

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From The Times of Israel:
Ahmadinejad�s cameraman defects, seeks asylum in US
A lawyer for a cameraman who was accompanying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the US for the United Nations General Assembly in New York says his client has defected.

Paul O�Dwyer, a New York City-based lawyer who is representing Hassan Gol Khanban, confirmed Sunday that his client is seeking asylum in the US He provided no other details.

It wasn�t immediately clear when the Iranian defected or his current whereabouts.

A message left with Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for the Iranian mission to the UN, was not immediately returned.

Ahmadinejad addressed the assembly on Wednesday, his last as president of Iran.
Heh -- must be rough when you can't keep your hand-picked staff from defecting to the Great Satan...

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