November 2012 Archives

Nothing today either

Working on some stuff at home and had to run into town today. Tomorrow, Lulu and son will be out and we will be going to a Christmas party.

Long day today

Slept in this morning and then ran into town -- had to drop off the PA system for a community event. Had dinner in town and then came back out, waited until the event ended and then loaded up and back home again. Surf a little bit but there will not be that much spew tonight...

Bad science in Washington State

There is some stunningly bad science being done in Washington State -- they are blaming industry for increased Ocean Acidity without realizing that this is a natural variation caused by upwellings of deep water. There is a division of the state government dedicated to promoting this fallacy and -- the cherry on the top -- the co-chair of the panel that established this is the same guy who banned the manufacture and use of DDT based on a couple of shoddy science reports and not boots-on-the-ground observation. From the Kitsap Sun:
Governor calls for action to fight acidification, help shellfish industry
With the state's $270 million-a-year shellfish industry under serious threat, Gov. Chris Gregoire called on Washington state agencies and residents to step up and lead the world in addressing ocean acidification.

"It is time for us to take action," Gregoire declared as she signed an executive order to implement a 42-point program developed by the state's Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. The panel completed nine months of study with a report, which was officially handed over to the governor on Tuesday.

"This report, to say the least, is a sobering document," said Bill Ruckelshaus, co-chair of the panel.

Roughly 25 percent of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been absorbed into the ocean, he said. That has raised the acidity with potential effects on more than 30 percent of Puget Sound's marine species, particularly those that grow shells.
"The oceans are paying a penalty for being our friend," Ruckelshaus said. "The acidity has increased by 30 percent. This is not speculation. This is chemistry, and scientists expect the process to accelerate. At the end of this century it could be up to 100 to 150 percent. This has already adversely affected some shellfish."
If this was true, we would be seeing horrible effects. This is probably a 'study' or a computer 'model'. A 30% increase would be trumpeted from every direction. A bit more:
Other areas at risk include the Florida Keys, where coral growth has been affected; Alaska and New England, where king crabs and sea scallops are at risk; and the Arctic and Antarctic, where growing acidification has a severe effect on fragile creatures, she said.
Emphasis mine -- I will be returning to coral growth in a moment. It goes on:
Gregoire's executive order and the blue ribbon panel's 42-point plan focuses on six broad categories for action:
  • Reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by encouraging increased efforts at the regional, national and global levels.
  • Reduce local land-based contributions to ocean acidification, including nitrogen and organic carbon released in stormwater and sewage effluent.
  • Increase efforts to adapt in the short term, including new technologies for mediating seawater conditions.
  • Increase the state's ability to monitor and investigate the causes of ocean acidification.
  • Find new ways of informing and engaging state residents and decision-makers about the problem and what can be done about it.
  • Take steps to ensure a constant focus on the problem at all levels of government.
Item one is the same old Malthusian junk science. Item two is the real meat -- the problems are storm runoff and pollution. It is not acidification, it's pollution and bacterial contamination. Item three is a way for unproven technologies to be given lots of money to fail (Solyndra) Item four is another example of creeping statism -- fascism if you want another word. Item five is pollution of another kind. and Item six is expanding the scope and reach of an already too large government. Here is the link to the website from the Department of Ecology:
Ocean Acidification � From Knowledge to Action: Washington�s Strategic Response
What is ocean acidification?
Ocean acidification is primarily caused by oceans absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The rapid growth in the use of fossil fuels as a source of energy has increased the amount of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Regional factors combine with global carbon dioxide emissions to exacerbate acidification in Washington waters. Coastal upwelling brings cold, salty water rich in carbon dioxide and low in pH to Washington�s coast and eventually into the Puget Sound. Nutrient runoff, organic carbon, and local air emissions � which move from air into seawater � also contribute to acidification, especially in more developed areas.
Emphasis mine -- remember Coastal Upwelling -- I will return to it too... OK. Bill Ruckleshaus was the first head of the Environmental Protection Agency when it was formed on December 2nd, 1970 by President Richard Nixon. Congress wouldn't agree with its size and scope so Nixon had to use an Executive Order to ram it through. Rachel Carson wrote a book called Silent Spring which claimed that DDT was responsible for bird deaths and could cause cancer. Bird populations were actually growing and the single lab test for cancer used contaminated food and the rats were growing tumors because of that, not the DDT -- subsequent tests bear this out. Despite the growing canon of documentation calling Carson's work into question, he outright banned the production and use of DDT. I will say in his favor that because DDT was so benign for non-insect life, we were absolutely marinating in the stuff -- killing the beneficials as well as the baddies. Still, DDT could be saving millions of lives worldwide but no -- it is evil and must be banned. I wonder how Ruckleshaus can sleep at night. Millions of needless deaths year after year for forty years. Coral Growth -- if you know anyone that keeps a salt-water aquarium and grows Coral, ask them about Calcium Reactors. If you want to improve your Coral, you add a Calcium Reactor to your tank. From the Wikipedia entry:
In marine and reef aquariums, a calcium reactor creates a balance of alkalinity. An acidic solution is produced by injecting carbon dioxide into a chamber with salt water and calcium rich media. The carbon dioxide lowers the pH by producing a solution high in carbonic acid, and dissolves calcium. The effluent is returned to the reef aquarium where the calcium is consumed by organisms, primarily corals when building skeletons. A calcium reactor is an efficient method to supply calcium to a reef aquarium. Reactors may be used in elaborate freshwater and brackish aquariums where species of freshwater clams, corals, and other invertebrates need a constant supply of calcium.
CO2 is part of the life-cycle for corals as well as clams and other invertebrates. The CO2 will dissolve dead corals and release the calcium for living shellfish to take up and use. Finally, getting to Coastal Upwelling. The majority of the carbon here is from critters and plants that have died and sunk to the bottom. They decay and the resultant products collect. The CO2 found in the deep waters is not from atmospheric gasses -- in fact, there is very little mixing between the layers -- it is from decay products. From the WikiPedia entry:
Upwelling is an oceanographic phenomenon that involves wind-driven motion of dense, cooler, and usually nutrient-rich water towards the ocean surface, replacing the warmer, usually nutrient-depleted surface water. The increased availability in upwelling regions results in high levels of primary productivity and thus fishery production. Approximately 25% of the total global marine fish catches come from five upwellings that occupy only 5% of the total ocean area. Upwellings that are driven by coastal currents or diverging open ocean have the greatest impact on nutrient-enriched waters and global fishery yields.
More here, here (specifically addressing the waters off the Pacific Northwest) and here (DOC file -- lecture transcript). This whole thing is protectionism, cronyism and government growth masquerading as Science. It is stunningly bad science.

Finally - too little - too late

From The United States Department of the Interior:
Salazar Announces Final Steps on Cobell Litigation and Implementation of Settlement
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today lauded the final approval of the Cobell settlement and outlined steps that Interior will take to help implement the historic $3.4 billion settlement. The settlement resolves a long-running class action lawsuit regarding the U.S. government's trust management and historical accounting of individual American Indian trust accounts. It became final on November 24, 2012, following action by the Supreme Court and expiration of the appeal period.

�With the settlement now final, we can put years of discord behind us and start a new chapter in our nation-to-nation relationship,� said Salazar. �Today marks another historic step forward in President Obama�s agenda of reconciliation and empowerment for Indian Country and begins a new era of trust administration.�

The settlement includes a $1.5 billion fund to be distributed to class members for accounting and potential trust fund and asset mismanagement claims. The settlement also includes a $1.9 billion fund for a land consolidation program that allows for the voluntary sale of individual land interests that have �fractionated,� or split among owners, over successive generations. Fractionated land can have many owners � sometimes hundreds or more � diminishing the land�s value and making it difficult for individuals to use the land for agriculture, business development, or housing from which tribes can benefit. Up to $60 million of the $1.9 billion fund may be set aside to provide scholarships for American Indians and Alaska Natives to attend college or vocational school.

�This marks the historic conclusion of a contentious and long running period of litigation,� said Hilary Tompkins, Solicitor for the Department of the Interior. �Through the hard work and good will of plaintiffs, Interior and Treasury officials and Department of Justice counsel, we are turning a new page and look forward to collaboratively working with Indian country to manage these important funds and assets.�
And of course the banksters get involved:
The Department of the Treasury will transfer the $1.5 billion to an account at JP Morgan Chase, a bank approved by the court.
JP Morgan Chase is also the entity that processes all SNAP (Food Stamp) transactions. Must be nice to have the monopoly to skim a couple percent of the governments money. There is a lot more about this at the WikiPedia page. A very terrible part of our history as a Nation.

Not much today

Working on some stuff at home -- head out for a few pints after dinner.

Removing wine bottle labels

UPDATE: Soaking them in oil worked perfectly. Wrapped them in a paper towel and drizzled a few TBS of cooking oil over the top. The labels peeled right off this morning.

Seventy years ago today

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Birthday of Jimi Hendrix. "Official" website here: James Marshall Hendrix Memorial website here: Jimi Hendrix Memorial Project Amazing musician, amazing man and died waaaay too young. When I first moved to Seattle back in 1979, the guy who sold Jimi his first electric guitar was still alive and working for the same store. The Seattle music scene was really small back then -- a lot of great music has come out of the Pacific Northwest. It is the winters. It rains a LOT. You hole up and practice, practice, practice... Back in 1992, I had a small computer/DTP business and someone came in to do a resume. Part of the resume read that this guy was one of the original Kingsmen -- Louie Louie Needless to say, there was zero charge for that work... Fun times!

Heh - removing wine bottle labels

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I am changing around my mise in the kitchen and want to recycle two wine bottles for Grape Seed Oil and Olive Oil -- using a commercial bartender pour spout. Having a hell of a time removing the labels. Hot water delaminated the paper but did not touch the glue. Acetone did nothing. Oil did works a little bit. Did a Google search for remove wine bottle label and got 440,000 hits. It's not just me... Got the bottles soaking in oil (wrapped in paper towels on a quarter sheet pan) and will try OxyClean tomorrow. UPDATE: The joy of WikiPedia. Haring off on a path, I was looking up the Wiki entry for Chef Georges Auguste Escoffier Someone has been having too much fun -- paragraph #2 reads:
Alongside the recipes he recorded and invented, another of Escoffier's contributions to cooking was to elevate it to the status of a respected profession by introducing organized discipline to his kitchens coining the term "bitch clean that pot. He organized his kitchens by the brigade de cuisine system, with each section run by a chef de partie' of which all were required to wear french maid outfits as the apropriate uniform of the kitchen. Escoffier is crowned with his highlight achievement for creating the secret sauce on McDonalds "Big Mac", and it has been rumored that he was was a huge advocate for legalizing the medical use of marijuana in california where he ultimately finished his life, after opening the now successfull restaurant chain Taco Bell.

Words fail - progressive moral rot

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The moral clarity of our betters in Europe -- from J. Christian Adams at PJ Media:
European Disintegration: Animal Prostitution
If you ever wondered what lies at the bottom of the slippery slope, go to Germany. There, you will find Europe�s modern moral and cultural bankruptcy on open display. There, you can visit one of many �erotic zoos� and partake in sex with animals for a price.

In a German �erotic zoo,� customers pay to have sex with farm animals. A barnyard pimp collects money from the customers. These businesses are proliferating throughout Germany and Denmark, and are completely legal.

The Telegraph gives us some background to the law�s �enlightened� legalization of bestiality:
Bestiality was legalised in Germany in 1969, the same year that gay sex was also removed from the criminal code. After that, sex with animals was only punishable if the animal was severely injured.
The current proposal would outlaw animal prostitution by banning the pimps at the erotic zoo. That�s right, pimps. The gatekeepers, literally, would be criminalized. If you collect cash from freaks looking for a lamb, it would be a crime for the first time since 1969.

Has Europe really fallen so far so fast?
Like I said -- words fail. When I was growing up, I was shown Europe as the shining city on the hill in terms of culture and ideas. My Dad took a year-long sabbatical in Turino, Italy in 1960 and we visited there several times after that. I saw the Science and the Art. I did not see the corruption and rot that lay at its core. Now I can see that and I see the same corruption and rot forming at the heart of this Nation that I love so dearly. We are but a few steps away from a degeneration, a moral slide from which we might not recover in my lifetime. I will not stand by though -- I love this place too much.

The Louisiana Sinkhole

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A very large sinkhole has opened up near Baton Rouge Louisiana. This is an oil-rich area and close to the home of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Naturally, the enviros are jumping off half-cocked blaming it on their favorite whipping boy - Hydraulic Fracking. From The Examiner:
Sinkhole state-ordered fracking-type process might be causing quakes
Scientists are investigating whether the state-ordered removal of crude and natural gas through hydraulic fracturing of the failed storage cavern in the Napoleonville Salt Dome might be connected to recent earthquakes in the Bayou Corne sinkhole area.
From BlueDaze:
Louisiana sinkhole: What are they not telling us?
Not much good news about the sinkhole in Louisiana.

If you haven�t seen this video by dutchsinse you might want to watch it.

The word I�m getting from on the ground is there has been testing for radioactivity but the results have not yet been released. The residents no longer trust anyone in authority so they are doing their own testing. It makes us wonder what else �they� are not sharing.

Texas Brine was using the cavern for drilling waste so fracking is a factor whether the frackers like it or not. With no fracking there would be no fracking waste.
Emphasis mine -- that is absolutely false. They were exploring the remaining salt deposits -- seeing how high they went -- not using the cavern for waste storage. More level heads are telling the real story. From local station WAFB:
Giant Louisiana sinkhole grows to 4 acres
Issues continue to pile on crews working on the growing sinkhole in Assumption Parish.

Texas Brine, the company that owns a failed salt cavern blamed for the sinkhole says it will comply with new orders.

Texas Brine continues clean up Monday, but is limited to skimming as boats will not be allowed in the sinkhole due to the activity of removing hydrocarbons from the cavern. This is for the safety of workers as the removal of the hydrocarbons may cause pressure changes that could affect the sinkhole.

The current size of the sinkhole is just under four acres.

State officials are ordering further testing along with monitoring and removal of natural gas trapped underground.

Residents are still evacuated; they left their homes in early August.

Below is a summary of the directives that Texas Brine was ordered to perform in DNR's Third Amendment to the Declaration of Emergency & Directives (issued on 10/11/2012).
More information comes in and the State of Louisiana is now sending a rather hefty bill to Texas Brine Company. From American Press:
State bills Texas Brine $3.5M for sinkhole costs
The state sent a $3.5 million bill this week to the Texas company it blames for a massive sinkhole that has swallowed more than 5 acres of land in Assumption Parish and contaminated an aquifer.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell demanded payment from Texas Brine Co. LLC, saying it's the tally so far of state response efforts to the sinkhole from six different agencies. The letter also names Occidental Chemical Co., from whom Texas Brine leased the site.

"The state reserves its right to submit additional demands for response costs incurred as a result of this incident, as well as any fines, penalties, fees or other costs authorized or allowed under state and federal law," Caldwell wrote Thursday.

Caldwell said a lawsuit could be filed against the companies if payment isn't made.
Emphasis mine: Occidental Chemical Co. Here is some fun news about them -- from Accuracy in Media (March 28th, 2000):
ABC Goes After Gore Connection To Occidental
ABC News has touched on one of the most controversial aspects of Al Gore and his family background � his personal and family ties to Occidental Petroleum. To put it bluntly, Occidental made the Gore family rich, and the vice president continues to benefit financially from his ties to the company.

Occidental was headed by the late Armand Hammer, a Soviet agent and money launderer for the Communist Party. But ABC News didn't mention that. Instead, it focused on Occidental's current oil operations in Colombia, and the failure of Gore to speak out in favor of an Indian tribe down there which feels threatened by that development. The ABC News story, reported by Terry Moran, aired the same day that an ad appeared in the Los Angeles Times referring to Gore as the �Petroleum Politician.�

The report was an attack on Gore from the left, from those who believe he's a phony environmentalist. That ad was placed by an environmental group. One of the Gore critics in the piece was Atossa Soltani of Amazon Watch. It appears that ABC did the story because of pressure from these organizations.
A bit more:
Reporter Terry Moran echoed their complaints by noting that Occidental is a major Democratic Party donor and has given nearly $500,000 in soft money since 1992. Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity said Occidental is closer to Al Gore than any company in the U.S.
And it closes with this paragraph:
On the matter of Gore's family connections, ABC's Terry Moran mentioned that Gore Sr. was on the board of the company, but didn't mention that he was put there by the communist agent Armand Hammer. Gore Sr. was in charge of Occidental's coal division, where he concentrated on developing the coal reserves of Communist China. Under Clinton-Gore, the company has concentrated on countries like Colombia, Russia and even Libya. This is where the next phase of ABC's investigation should go. ABC should not let the matter drop now that they've pleased the environmentalists. Gore's Occidental connection goes far deeper than that.
That was twelve years ago -- time to do some more digging...
From Slashdot -- July 25th:
"Bad news: With an Arduino microcontroller and a little bit of programming, it's possible for a hacker to gain instant, untraceable access to millions of key card-protected hotel rooms. This hack was demonstrated by Cody Brocious, a Mozilla software developer, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. At risk are four million hotel rooms secured by Onity programmable key card locks. According to Brocious, who didn't disclose the hack to Onity before going public, there is no easy fix: There isn't a firmware upgrade � if hotels want to secure their guests, every single lock will have to be changed. I wish I could say that Brocious spent months on this hack, painstakingly reverse-engineering the Onity lock protocol, but the truth � as always, it seems � is far more depressing. 'With how stupidly simple this is, it wouldn't surprise me if a thousand other people have found this same vulnerability and sold it to other governments,' says Brocious. 'An intern at the NSA could find this in five minutes.'"
From Forbes -- yesterday:
Security Flaw In Common Keycard Locks Exploited In String Of Hotel Room Break-Ins
Whoever robbed Janet Wolf�s hotel room did his work discreetly.

When Wolf returned to the Hyatt in Houston�s Galleria district last September and found her Toshiba laptop stolen, there was no sign of a forced door or a picked lock. Suspicions about the housekeeping staff were soon ruled out, too�-Wolf says the hotel management used a device to read the memory of the keycard lock and told her that none of the maids� keys had been used while she was away.
Two days after the break-in, a letter from hotel management confirmed the answer: The room�s lock hadn�t been picked, and hadn�t been opened with any key. Instead, it had been hacked with a digital tool that effortlessly triggered its opening mechanism in seconds. The burglary, one of a string of similar thefts that hit the Hyatt in September, was a real-world case of a theoretical intrusion technique researchers had warned about months earlier�one that may still be effective on hundreds of thousands or millions of locks protecting hotel rooms around the world.
They caught the perp. Some more:
That security flaw was first publicly demonstrated by Cody Brocious, a 24-year-old software developer for Mozilla, at the Black Hat hacker conference in July. Brocious reverse-engineered Onity�s locks and discovered he could spoof the �portable programmer� device meant to be used for designating master keys and opening locks whose batteries had died.

On stage at Black Hat, Brocious showed it was possible to insert the plug of a small device he built with less than $50 in parts into the port at the bottom of any Onity keycard lock, read the digital key that provides access to the opening mechanism of the lock, and open it instantaneously.
Onity fixed the flaw but:
But even Onity�s official response, late as it may be, has left something to be desired. Rather than pay for the full fix itself, which requires a new circuit board for every affected lock, Onity has asked its hotel customers to cover the cost of those hardware replacements. Its free alternative involves merely blocking the port on the bottom of the lock instead with a plastic plug and changing the screws on the locks to a more obscure model to make it harder to open the locks� cases and remove the plugs.
Good Lord --- they should go overboard, take the hit and send out free replacement cards to all their customers. That would be the honorable thing to do. The article goes on to mention that some of the smaller hotels will not be able to afford the cost of this fax and will opt for not doing it -- incredible security breach. Onity is being an asshat for not stepping up to the plate. Their "free" fix using modified TORX screws can be defeated by this Harbour Freight security bit set -- now on sale for $9.99.

RIP - Willis Whitfield

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Willis Whitfield? Invented the 'Clean Room' -- from Network World:
Sandia Lab celebrates original �Mr. Clean� the clean room inventor
Sandia National Laboratories physicist Willis Whitfield, 92, passed away earlier this month and left a technological legacy that continues to reverberate today: The legendary clean room.

The original laminar-flow 10 x 6 clean room developed 50 years ago by Whitfield was more than 1,000 times cleaner than any cleanrooms used at the time and ultimately revolutionized microelectronics, healthcare and manufacturing development. According to Sandia, with slight modifications, it is still the clean room standard today. And one other thing: the invention lead Time magazine in 1962 to dub him "Mr. Clean."
One of those 1,000 little things that enabled today's technology but aren't really in the forefront of our thoughts. Sandia President and Labs Director Paul Hommert had this to say:
"His breakthrough concept for a new kind of cleanroom, orders of magnitude more effective than anything else available in the early 1960s, came at just the right time to usher in a new era of electronics, health care, scientific research and space exploration. His impact was immense; even immeasurable," said Sandia President and Labs Director Paul Hommert in a release.
From Discovery:
Psst! What Would You Do With a Spy Telescope?
NASA has begun surveying scientists on what they would like to do with two Hubble-class space telescopes donated to the civilian space agency by its secretive sibling, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) -- which operates the nation's spy satellites.

But the gifts have some formidable strings attached, including costs to develop instruments and launch the observatories. The telescopes, though declassified, also are subject to export regulations.

"We need to retain possession and control," NASA's astrophysics division director Paul Hertz told Discovery News. "That doesn't preclude us from partnering (with other countries). It just sets boundaries on the nature of the partnership."

NASA also isn't allowed to use the telescopes for any Earth-observing missions.
Emphasis mine -- well dang! I wanted to go outside and wave at it...

Good news re: Intrade

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Intrade was an interesting idea. People would wager a couple bucks of real money on the outcome of things. They would buy futures in Presidential elections, Oscar winnings, airstrikes against Iran, etc... The level of accurate prediction was amazing. Needless to say, the Federal Government tried to shut them down. From FOX Business:
Government Crushes Innovative Online Prediction Market
Today, Americans were told that they must close their accounts. That happened because the federal government agency known as the "Commodity Futures Trading Commission" (CFTC) today sued the prediction market, where people from all over the world bet about things like who will win elections.

Intrade decided all its U.S. customers must now close their accounts and withdraw their money from the site.

That's terrible news for all of us who want more input into what's going to happen in the future. Bettors on have made incredibly accurate predictions about elections - because they, unlike TV pundits, have real money on the line. This year, I watched on election night as TV pundits said "too close to call... too close to call..." while the bettors on Intrade knew that it was not a close call.

Intrade has also successfully predicted events like Saddam Hussein's capture and the winner of the Oscars. People with the best information trade about those events, and drive up the odds on Intrade.

Why did the American government sue Intrade? It was not for operating an online gambling operation, but for allegedly violating America's incomprehensible financial regulations -- specifically, these ones:
"Section 4c(b) and 9(a)(3) of the [Commodity Exchange] Act, ��6c(b) and 13(a)(3) (2006); Section 2(e) of the Act, as amended by the Dodd-Frank Act, to be codified at 7 U.S.C. � 2(e); and Regulation 32, as amended, to be codified at 17 C.F.R. � 32 (2011);"
In English: the government says that many of the things Intrade allows people to predict - everything from what the price of gold will be in the future to whether the U.S. will go to war soon - are legally considered "commodity options," and that Intrade broke the law because it isn't licensed to trade those. The penalty is $140,000 per violation.
Fortunately, the brilliant legal minds at Intrade have found a loophole and they will be back in business soon:
The report of Intrade's death was premature
We understand yesterday's announcement was met with surprise and disappointment by our US customers, but this in no way signals the end of Intrade in the US. In the near future we'll announce plans for a new exchange model that will allow legal participation from all jurisdictions - including the US. We believe this new model will further enhance Intrade's position as the leading prediction market platform for real time probabilities about future events.

For our non-US customers, we will continue to offer real-money prediction markets. In the coming weeks and months we plan to implement a number of improvements to the Intrade website. These include expanding our market categories, adding more convenient funding options and a new and improved trading interface. We�ll keep you posted on these initiatives as they develop.

Obama and the Communists

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A wonderful editorial from Pravda:
Obama's Soviet Mistake
Putin in 2009 outlined his strategy for economic success. Alas, poor Obama did the opposite but nevertheless was re-elected. Bye, bye Miss American Pie. The Communists have won in America with Obama but failed miserably in Russia with Zyuganov who only received 17% of the vote. Vladimir Putin was re-elected as President keeping the NWO order out of Russia while America continues to repeat the Soviet mistake.

After Obama was elected in his first term as president the then Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January of 2009. Ignored by the West as usual, Putin gave insightful and helpful advice to help the world economy and saying the world should avoid the Soviet mistake.

Recently, Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term by an illiterate society and he is ready to continue his lies of less taxes while he raises them. He gives speeches of peace and love in the world while he promotes wars as he did in Egypt, Libya and Syria. He plans his next war is with Iran as he fires or demotes his generals who get in the way.

Putin said regarding the military:
"...instead of solving the problem, militarization pushes it to a deeper level. It draws away from the economy immense financial and material resources, which could have been used much more efficiently elsewhere."
Well, any normal individual understands that as true but liberalism is a psychosis. O'bomber even keeps the war going along the Mexican border with projects like "fast and furious" and there is still no sign of ending it. He is a Communist without question promoting the Communist Manifesto without calling it so. How shrewd he is in America. His cult of personality mesmerizes those who cannot go beyond their ignorance. They will continue to follow him like those fools who still praise Lenin and Stalin in Russia. Obama's fools and Stalin's fools share the same drink of illusion.
Much more at the site -- this is a really clear analysis of Obama and Russia. Xavier Lerma's blog is here -- bookmarked for future reference...

The Snoopy Sloop

Very cool -- from the UK Telegraph:
Snoopy Sloop: the unmanned toy boat attempting Atlantic crossing
It sounds like an unlikely conqueror of the Atlantic - only 4ft long, weighing just 30lbs and held together in parts by bathroom light cord.

But this week a toy boat called Snoopy Sloop will follow in the wake of Transatlantic pioneers like Christopher Columbus when it attempts to become the first craft to make an unmanned crossing of the ocean.

Its creator Robin Lovelock, a retired Nato scientist, has spent four years developing a craft he believes can survive the 6,000 mile journey.

The vessel has already demonstrated its endurance, having completed more than 5,000 miles during seven months of almost continuous sailing, albeit on the gentler waters of Bray Lake, just off the M4 motorway near Windsor.

Now it faces a more testing voyage, battling the seas, and possibly storms, of the North Atlantic, despite being a fraction of the size of shipping which normally makes the winter crossing.
Lovelock's website is here The Snoopy Sloop website is here Looks like a very fun project! Lots of photos at the second site -- this is all built using COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) technologies and total cost was under $800 and this boat will report its position every hour. The Snoopy Sloop is actually an entry into an international competition:
The Microtransat Challenge
The Microtransat Challenge is a transatlantic race of fully autonomous sailing boats. The race aims to stimulate the development of autonomous sailing boats through friendly competition.

A simple experiment in Education

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From the UK Telegraph:
Students thrive as head bans mobile phones
Students at Burnage Media Arts College in Manchester are forbidden from using mobiles anywhere at any time on campus.

The ban was brought in after children disrupted lessons by texting and playing games on their phones. There were also concerns that pupils were cyber-bullying one another using texts and Blackberry messaging (BBM).

Headteacher Ian Fenn introduced a zero-tolerance ban to curb the problem. Any pupil seen using a phone has it confiscated, with their parents having to go into the school in order to get it back.

Staff at the boys-only school, on Burnage Lane, say the difference in behaviour has been 'dramatic' since the ban was introduced a year ago. Parents and governors have given their full backing, while education watchdog Ofsted have also praised the move.
Hell yeah! We need to do this here too. If there is a family emergency, the parents can call the school directly and the student fetched from class. Grades have gone up now that the students are not being distracted.
COOL!!!!11ELEVENTY!!! Oh. Wait. It's in China. From Xinhua News Service:
Tax cut to benefit over 900,000 enterprises
China's new round of structural tax cutting is likely to benefit more than 900,000 enterprises nationwide, according to a working conference held here on Monday to discuss the country's piloting of replacing business tax with a value-added tax (VAT).

About 710,000 enterprises have been covered by the tax-cutting program, and another 200,000 will be included starting from Dec.1 this year, according to the meeting jointly held by the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation.

Shanghai piloted the program on Jan. 1 this year in an effort to decrease the overall tax burden and boost the transportation and service sectors. The pilot was then expanded to provincial regions including Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang later this year.

Tianjin, Hubei, Zhejiang and Ningbo will also join the program from next month, under previous plans.
A bit more:
In Shanghai, the tax cut has helped reduce enterprises' tax burdens by 22.5 billion yuan (3.57 billion U.S.dollars) in the first 10 months of this year, while in Beijing, the new measure has cut tax revenue by 2.5 billion yuan in two months.
These people understand economics and the Laffer Curve.

The real Black Friday

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From CNS News:
Black Friday: Treasury Borrowed $211.69 Per U.S. Household on Day After Thanksgiving
The U.S. Treasury increased the net debt of the United States $24,327,048,384.38 on the day after Thanksgiving, which equals approximately $211.69 for each of the nation�s 114,916,000 households.

At the close of business last Wednesday, according to the Treasury, the national debt was $16,283,161,895,179.85. On Thanksgiving, the Treasury took the day off and did no borrowing. But on Friday, the Treasury increased the debt of the United States to $16,307,488,943,564.23. That was a one-day increase of $24,327,048,384.38.
This sounds like a lot but the United States Federal deficit -- not the amount that it spends, just the amount that it borrows -- was $3.8 Billion per day. Federal Spending is $9.7 Billion per day (2010 numbers). This will keep us going for less than one week (deficit) or two and a half days for total spending. Warren Buffet talks about higher rates for "the super rich" -- this will only bring in enough to cover seven days of deficits. We do not have a taxation problem -- we have a spending problem.

Doctorate of Pot

Only at Humboldt -- from the Eureka, CA Times-Standard:
Marijuana institute takes shape at HSU; third in a series of lectures Tuesday
A first-of-its-kind academic institute focused strictly on marijuana issues is taking shape at Humboldt State University this fall semester. The interdisciplinary institute, made up primarily of HSU faculty, is hosting a series of lectures that are open to the public and digging into marijuana-centric research in several academic fields.

�They finally tapped into something that's a big local concern and part of the identity here,� said politics professor Jason Plume, who hosts a talk on marijuana regulatory reform Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. in HSU's Native Forum.

The lectures have focused on hot marijuana-themed topics in our area -- the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, and the effects of cultivation on local wildlife. An October symposium gathered Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey, District Attorney Paul Gallegos, two county supervisors and a Fish and Game biologist to talk environmental impacts of marijuana production, and possible policy changes.
Heh -- Humboldt County is the nations biggest grower of pot. Efforts to legalize it have failed every time they came up because the growers would lose revenue. Nice little town but I would not walk in the woods too much -- a lot of people protecting their patches...

Parking in Chicago

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From The Expired Meter -- a blog about driving in Chicago:
Car Hit With Over $100,000 In Chicago Parking Tickets
It might just be a world record.

At the very least one particular car has set a City of Chicago record for having been issued the most parking violations ever and having accumulated the most parking fines in the city�s history.

The city claims Jennifer Fitzgerald owes over $100,000 in parking tickets.

No, that�s not a typo or a few misplaced zeros on the end.

The amount is actually 105,761 dollars and 80 cents to be precise.

This is the total mind boggling debt the City of Chicago says the 31 year old, single mother of one, allegedly owes for parking violations on a single vehicle.

It�s a car she claims she didn�t own, drive or park where it racked up 678 bright orange parking tickets over a period of nearly three years according to Chicago�s Department of Finance.

Based on records from the DOF�s list of the city�s top parking ticket scofflaws, the car in question seems to have set a record in Chicago for having received the highest number of parking tickets as well as accruing the largest fine amounts ever�beating Chicago�s #2 ranked parking ticket scofflaw by $65,000 and over 400 violations!

But now Fitzgerald is fighting back with a lawsuit against the city, her ex-boyfriend and United Airlines which was filed Friday, November 2nd in Cook County Circuit Court.
Quite the story at the site.

Busy day today

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Did the buying run for the store and then we had dinner. Time to surf for a bit...
This got my dander right up -- been doing a bit of digging. This bit of legislation happened in 1982 -- President Ronald Reagan's term was from January 20, 1981 to January 20, 1989. It was not President Reagan that did this though, it was the Chairman of the Republican National Committee -- a man named Richard (Dick) Richards from Utah. A search of the Republican National Committee website for Richard Richards turns up zero hits. There is a Richard Richards Institute for Politics, Decency and Ethical Conduct at Weber State University. Whoop-de-doo!!! The straw that breaks the camel's back is that the progressive websites were positively gloating over this throughout the election cycle and our Republican leaders did jack shit. From DailyKOS - Thu Oct 18, 2012:
RNC Consent Decree Banning Voter Supression That All Dem Poll Watchers Need to Read (UPDATEx2)
Psst: It is spelled Suppression -- two 'p' and two 's' From Democratic Underground - Fri Mar 9, 2012:
DNC v. RNC-1982 Injunction against RNC extended
I am a member of the Obama voter protection team and just received an e-mail from the head of the team that makes me smile. The DNC has maintained an injunction against the RNC since 1982 on voter suppression and vote caging efforts. The Third Circuit just confirmed the opinion of the judge in that case to extend this injunction for eight more years Here is the statement of the DNC on this victory.
UPDATE: The above link suffers from Link Rot - here is the web page with the link to the correct URL. Two thoughts. One: Where the fsck was the Romney voter protection team? Two: We have suffered through this for thirty years without being told about it. We now have to suffer through another eight years -- two more Presidential elections and Four more Congressional elections while the progressives extend their Chicago machine out to the rest of the United States? And nobody at the GOP will grow a pair and fight this? We have had massive cases of vote caging against potential Republican voters this last election (documented telephone and postal service) so there is ample evidence to turn the tables but noooooo... We just want to get along. We are the party that reaches across the aisle. More - Project VOTE - (not dated) A simple search at Google tuns up about 30K hits. The few examples I cited were just off the first page. More later...

This is how you do it - solar energy

A key problem with solar "energy" is that you cannot store it for when it is dark. You can however store distilled water. Here is a very interesting use for solar energy. From the UK Guardian:

Growing food in the desert: is this the solution to the world's food crisis?
The scrubby desert outside Port Augusta, three hours from Adelaide, is not the kind of countryside you see in Australian tourist brochures. The backdrop to an area of coal-fired power stations, lead smelting and mining, the coastal landscape is spiked with saltbush that can live on a trickle of brackish seawater seeping up through the arid soil. Poisonous king brown snakes, redback spiders, the odd kangaroo and emu are seen occasionally, flies constantly. When the local landowners who graze a few sheep here get a chance to sell some of this crummy real estate they jump at it, even for bottom dollar, because the only real natural resource in these parts is sunshine.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that a group of young brains from Europe, Asia and north America, led by a 33-year-old German former Goldman Sachs banker but inspired by a London theatre lighting engineer of 62, have bought a sizeable lump of this unpromising outback territory and built on it an experimental greenhouse which holds the seemingly realistic promise of solving the world's food problems.

Indeed, the work that Sundrop Farms, as they call themselves, are doing in South Australia, and just starting up in Qatar, is beyond the experimental stage. They appear to have pulled off the ultimate something-from-nothing agricultural feat - using the sun to desalinate seawater for irrigation and to heat and cool greenhouses as required, and thence cheaply grow high-quality, pesticide-free vegetables year-round in commercial quantities.

So far, the company has grown tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers by the tonne, but the same, proven technology is now almost ready to be extended to magic out, as if from thin air, unlimited quantities of many more crops - and even protein foods such as fish and chicken - but still using no fresh water and close to zero fossil fuels. Salty seawater, it hardly needs explaining, is free in every way and abundant - rather too abundant these days, as our ice caps melt away.

So well has Sundrop's 18-month project worked that investors and supermarket chains have lately been scurrying down to Port Augusta, making it hard to get a room in its few motels, or a table at the curry restaurant in the local pub. Academic agriculturalists, mainstream politicians and green activists are falling over each other to champion Sundrop. And the company's scientists, entrepreneurs and investors are about to start building an £8m, 20-acre greenhouse  40 times bigger than the current one - which will produce 2.8m kg of tomatoes and 1.2m kg of peppers a year for supermarkets now clamouring for an exclusive contract.

The technology is very simple but very clever:

A 75m line of motorised parabolic mirrors that follow the sun all day focuses its heat on a pipe containing a sealed-in supply of oil. The hot oil in turn heats nearby tanks of seawater pumped up from a few metres below ground - the shore is only 100m away. The oil brings the seawater up to 160C and steam from this drives turbines providing electricity. Some of the hot water from the process heats the greenhouse through the cold desert nights, while the rest is fed into a desalination plant that produces the 10,000 litres of fresh water a day needed to keep the plants happy. The water the grower gets is pure and ready for the perfect mix of nutrients to be added. The air in the greenhouse is kept humid and cool by trickling water over a wall of honeycombed cardboard evaporative pads through which air is driven by wind and fans. The system is hi-tech all the way; the greenhouse is in a remote spot, but the grower, a hyper-enthusiastic 27-year-old Canadian, Dave Pratt, can rather delightfully control all the growing conditions for his tonnes of crops from an iPhone app if he's out on the town - or even home in Ontario.

A lot more at the website. The idea is actually 21 years old and was nicked from Charlie Paton and his family company, Seawater Greenhouse. Although Sundrop Farms did not invent this technology, they brought it up to current levels of technology and made it a lot more efficient. Here is the website of Sundrop Farms Here is their technology page The only thing not mentioned is the fossil fuel burner to provide an enhanced level of CO2 to make the crops grow better. CO2 is a key component of photosynthesis --- no CO2, no plants... A tip of the hat to Walter Russell Mead for the link to the Guardian article. His thesis is that this is just another Kick in the Teeth for Malthus. Readers will know just how much I looooves the Reverend Thomas Malthus. One of those people you wish could be redacted from Earth's history -- dead wrong and influenced too many lazy thinkers with his garbage.

From the UK Daily Express:
End of the Doctor's surgery
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is planning a technological revolution that could spell the end of the traditional doctor�s surgery.

A new system of �virtual clinics� is being planned in which GPs connect with patients via iPads and Skype, an idea that NHS bosses are importing from India.

The reforms would save �2.9billion �almost immediately� and improve the lives of most patients, for example by avoiding the need to find child care during appointments, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said last week.
Yeah -- you really want the 30� web camera in your iPad being used for a Medical Diagnosis. The small villages in India living in crushing poverty can use something like this to get any medical attention that they can. The idea that this can translate to a first-world citizen is fscking demeaning. The idea that our Medical Masterminds are even considering this shows what big government is all about. They want their power and they want to use it to regulate us; giving us just enough free bennies that we consistently vote to keep them in power.
I was wondering why the very obvious cases of voter fraud were not being looked at. Now I know. From World Net Daily comes this:
GOP legally barred from fighting vote fraud
Voting machines suspiciously defaulting to Barack Obama? Buses loaded with strangers appearing at polling stations? Even ballots turning out 100 percent for one candidate in precinct reports?

In short, suspicions of vote fraud?

That�s too bad, because a race-based consent decree negotiated by Democrats against the Republican National Committee a generation ago still has tied the RNC�s hands, and GOP officials could be cited for contempt � or worse � if they try to make sure American elections are clean.


No. Fact.

The case is the Democratic National Committee vs. the Republican National Committee, originally from 1982.

Democrats alleged Republicans were trying intimidate minority voters in New Jersey and brought the legal action. The RNC, inexplicably, decided to agree to a consent decree before a Democrat-appointed judge rather than fight the claims.

The judge, Dickinson Debevoise, appointed by Jimmy Carter, later retired but decided he would continue to control the case. The decision requires the RNC � but not the DNC � to �refrain from undertaking any ballot security activities in polling places or election districts where the racial or ethnic composition of such districts is a factor in the decision to conduct, or the actual conduct of, such activities there and where a purpose or significant effect of such activities is to deter qualified voters from voting; and the conduct of such activities disproportionately in or directed toward districts that have a substantial proportion of racial or ethnic populations shall be considered relevant evidence of the existence of such a factor and purpose.�

The rest of the agreement essentially requires the RNC to follow applicable state and federal election laws.

But the section cited above has been used for decades to warn off Republicans from any challenge to evidence of voter fraud in districts with �racial or ethnic populations.�

The law has remained, even though the RNC recently challenged it at the appellate level only to be turned down by Judges Joseph Greenaway Jr., appointed by Bill Clinton; Dolores Sloviter, appointed by Carter; and Walter Stapleton, appointed by Ronald Reagan, in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It now is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
I know that World Net Daily is not the most reputable of news sources but they are turning themselves around and this story is very true and fact-checkable. From The Judicial View:
Democratic National Committee v Republican National Committee
Case No. 09-4615 (C.A. 3, Mar. 8, 2012)

In 1982, the Republican National Committee (�RNC�) and the Democratic National Committee (�DNC�) entered into a consent decree (the �Decree� or �Consent Decree�), which is national in scope, limiting the RNC�s ability to engage or assist in voter fraud prevention unless the RNC obtains the court�s approval in advance. The RNC appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey denying, in part, the RNC�s Motion to Vacate or Modify the Consent Decree. Although the District Court declined to vacate the Decree, it did make modifications to the Decree. The RNC argues that the District Court abused its discretion by modifying the Decree as it did and by declining to vacate the Decree. For the following reasons, we will affirm the District Court�s judgment.

A. 1981 Lawsuit and Consent Decree

During the 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial election, the DNC, the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (�DSC�), Virginia L. Peggins, and Lynette Monroe brought an action against the RNC, the New Jersey Republican State Committee (�RSC�), John A. Kelly, Ronald Kaufman, and Alex Hurtado, alleging that the RNC and RSC targeted minority voters in an effort to intimidate them in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (�VRA�), 42 U.S.C. �� 1971, 1973, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The RNC allegedly created a voter challenge list by mailing sample ballots to individuals in precincts with a high percentage of racial or ethnic minority registered voters and, then, including individuals whose postcards were returned as undeliverable on a list of voters to challenge at the polls. The RNC also allegedly enlisted the help of off-duty sheriffs and police officers to intimidate voters by standing at polling places in minority precincts during voting with �National Ballot Security Task Force� armbands. Some of the officers allegedly wore firearms in a visible manner.
To settle the lawsuit, the RNC and RSC entered into the Consent Decree at issue here. The RNC and RSC agreed that they would:
[I]n the future, in all states and territories of the United States:

(a) comply with all applicable state and federal laws protecting the rights of duly qualified citizens to vote for the candidate(s) of their choice;

(b) in the event that they produce or place any signs which are part of ballot security activities, cause said signs to disclose that they are authorized or sponsored by the party committees and any other committees participating with the party committees;

(c) refrain from giving any directions to or permitting their agents or employees to remove or deface any lawfully printed and placed campaign materials or signs;

(d) refrain from giving any directions to or permitting their employees to campaign within restricted polling areas or to interrogate prospective voters as to their qualifications to vote prior to their entry to a polling place;

(e) refrain from undertaking any ballot security activities in polling places or election districts where the racial or ethnic composition of such districts is a factor in the decision to conduct, or the actual conduct of, such activities there and where a purpose or significant effect of such activities is to deter qualified voters from voting; and the conduct of such activities disproportionately in or directed toward districts that have a substantial proportion of racial or ethnic populations shall be considered relevant evidence of the existence of such a factor and purpose;

(f) refrain from having private personnel deputized as law enforcement personnel in connection with ballot security activities.
Full text (PDF - registration and/or fee required) here. Way to go Democratic Party -- always classy (and above the law).

What an idiot -- from New York City station WPIX:

PIX EXCLUSIVE: Confidential Police Docs Found in Macy's Parade Confetti Spark Investigation
Something far more concerning than marching bands, balloons, cheerleaders and clowns was at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Confidential personal information is what some paradegoers found among confetti tossed during the world's most famous parade. That information included social security numbers and banking information for police employees, some of whom are undercover officers.

Ethan Finkelstein, who was home from college on Thanksgiving break, was watching the parade at 65th Street and Central Park West, when he and a friend noticed a strip of confetti stuck onto her coat.

"It landed on her shoulder," Finkelstein told PIX11 News, "and it says 'SSN' and it's written like a social security number, and we're like, 'That's really bizarre.'

It made the Tufts University freshman concerned, so he and his friends picked up more of the confetti that had fallen around them.

"There are phone numbers, addresses, more social security numbers, license plate numbers and then we find all these incident reports from police."

One confetti strip indicates that it's from an arrest record, and other strips offer more detail. "This is really shocking," Finkelstein said. "It says, 'At 4:30 A.M. a pipe bomb was thrown at a house in the Kings Grant' area."

A closer look shows that the documents are from the Nassau County Police Department. The papers were shredded, but clearly not well enough.

These were cut in a horizontal line -- shredders since the last ten years all use crosscut. If the Police Department didn't have a cross-cut shredder, why didn't they contract out to one of the secure paper disposal companies out there -- they have trucks with hamermills on them. The paper is turned into pulp on the spot, not just shredded. Somebody's got some 'splainin to do...

The cost of Solar energy

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From the Los Angeles Times:
Solar power plants burden the counties that host them
When it comes to attracting business to California's eastern deserts, Inyo County is none too choosy.

Since the 19th century the sparsely populated county has worked to attract industries shunned by others, including gold, tungsten and salt mining. The message: Your business may be messy, but if you plan to hire our residents, the welcome mat is out.

So the county grew giddy last year as it began to consider hosting a huge, clean industry. BrightSource Energy, developer of the proposed $2.7-billion Hidden Hills solar power plant 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles, promised a bounty of jobs and a windfall in tax receipts. In a county that issued just six building permits in 2011, Inyo officials first estimated that property taxes from the facility would boost the general fund 17%.

But upon closer inspection, the picture didn't seem so rosy.

An economic consultant hired by the county found that property tax revenue would be a fraction of the customary amount because portions of the plant qualifiy for a solar tax exclusion. Fewer than 10 local workers would land permanent positions � and just 5% of the construction jobs would be filled by county residents. And construction workers are likely to spend their money across the nearby state line, in Nevada.

Worse, the project would cost the county $11 million to $12 million during the 30-month construction phase, with much of the money going to upgrade a historic two-lane road to the plant. Once the plant begins operation, the county estimates taxpayers will foot the bill for nearly $2 million a year in additional public safety and other services.

Two of California's other Mojave Desert counties, Riverside and San Bernardino, have made similar discoveries. Like Inyo, they are now pushing back against solar developers, asking them to cover the costs of servicing the new industry.
A bit more:
"The solar companies are the beneficiaries of huge government loans, tax credits and, most critically for me, property tax exemptions, at the expense of taxpayers," said county Supervisor John Benoit, referring to a variety of taxpayer-supported loans and grants available to large solar projects as part of the Obama administration's renewable energy initiative. "I came to the conclusion that my taxpayers need to get something back."

County officials were unprepared for solar developers' reaction.

"They brought in six guys with three-piece suits, a PowerPoint presentation, and said, 'Your 2% is going to cost us $3 million a year,'" said Benoit, whose district includes many of the projects. "I thought, 'Wait a minute. That means you are going to make $150 million a year....' And they wanted to give us $96,000. It's a pittance compared to the loss of value and impact of these huge projects."
And of course, California's Governor Jerry Brown is always on top of things. From Sacramento, CA's Capital Public Radio:
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Governor Jerry Brown signed the agreement today at a solar farm near Sacramento.
Salazar and Brown took turns slapping down critics and promising big things for renewable energy:
Salazar: "Today is a reaffirmation that we are on the right track and that we are making believers out of the skeptics who never thought that we could capture the power of the sun in the way that we are capturing it today."

Brown: "It's not easy. There are gonna be screw-ups. There are gonna be bankruptcies. There'll be indictments and there'll be deaths. But we're gonna keep going - and nothing's gonna stop me. We're gonna make this state as great as we believe it to be. Thank you!" (applause)
The partnership expedites state and federal environmental reviews of proposed solar, wind and other renewable energy projects. The new agreement expands the partnership to include the building of transmission lines.
Emphasis mine: nothing's gonna stop me. Hey Moonbeam -- ever hear of We the People?

Good news from Uganda

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They might actually be able to claw their way out of the Africa trap. From World Net Daily:
Ugandan president repents of personal, national sins
Should a president lead citizens in a national prayer of repentance?

Uganda�s Christian president believes so.

The Ugandan newssite New Vision reports President Yoweri Museveni celebrated Uganda�s 50th anniversary of independence from Britain at the National Jubilee Prayers event by publicly repenting of his personal sin and the sins of the nation.

�I stand here today to close the evil past, and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for your forgiveness,� Museveni prayed.

�We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation. We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal,� Museveni said.

�Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict,� Museveni prayed.

Next, the president dedicated Uganda to God.

�We want to dedicate this nation to you so that you will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own,� Museveni prayed.
Uganda has decent resources - some minerals, oil and a strong agriculture. GDP growth rate of 5.1% for 2011 (the United States of America is enjoying a GDP growth of 1.8% for the same period). Let us hope that they do not fall to corruption like Zimbabwe which used to be very wealthy and an exporter of food. The comments at the New Vision website are a good mix and worth reading.

Meet Gus Wilson

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Gus Wilson and the Model Garage was a series of 529 monthly articles that ran in Popular Science magazine from July of 1925 through December of 1970. I remember reading them growing up. Mike Hammerberg and Don Miller both remembered the series fondly and it is now available online at Gus Stories. A behind the scenes look at how the project started. The illustrations by Ray Quigley are fun -- very Norman Rockwell-ish.

A family feud

Quite the story -- I knew the two companies were from the same family but I never heard about the feud. From Neatorama:
Family Feud: Adidas vs. Puma
Not long after the end of World War I in 1918, an 18-year-old German soldier named Adolf Dassler returned to his hometown of Herzogenaurach, in northern Bavaria. Shoemaking was the biggest industry in the area, so it was no surprise when he decided to become a cobbler.

Dassler started small, working in an empty laundry shed behind his parents' house. There he constructed his first shoes -- work shoes -- out of leather scraps salvaged from wartime army helmets and other gear. His interest soon turned to athletic footwear. An inveterate tinkerer, he made his first sports shoes for his friends. But as his designs improved, his reputation spread beyond Herzogenaurach, and he soon had more work than he could manage by himself.

In 1923 his boisterous older brother Rudolf joined his business. "Rudi" handled sales while "Adi" made the shoes. In 1924 they formalized their partnership by founding the Dassler Brother Shoe Company. Two years after that, they moved their growing business into a factory on the other side of town.
Some more:
Hitler intended the Olympics to serve as a showcase for the Nazi doctrine of Aryan racial superiority, but all the Dasslers cared about was getting Jesse Owens, the famous African-American track-and-field star, to wear Dassler Brothers shoes in the games. He did, and won four gold medals. Owens' victories gave the company its first international exposure. Soon athletes from all over Europe began making their way to tiny Herzogenaurach whenever they passed through Germany, to get a pair of Dassler Brothers shoes.
A bit more:
As the years passed and Adidas and Puma loomed ever larger over the economy of tiny Herzogenaurach, the entire town was drawn into their feud. Nearly everyone worked at one company or the other (or was related to someone who did), so few people could avoid choosing a side. Dating, even socializing, across company lines was frowned upon. Marrying someone from the other side was out of the question. Herzogenaurach became known as "the town of bent necks," because people looked down to see which shoes people were wearing before engaging them in conversation.

Adidas people bought their bread from bakers who sided with Adidas, bought their meat from Adidas-friendly butchers and drank in Adidas-only beer halls. Puma workers did the same. Which bus a child took to school depended on whose side their parents were on, and so did the gang the kid joined. The rivalry that started soon after birth went all the way to the cemetery: Each side had its own tombstone carvers. And when Adi and Rudi died four years apart in the 1970s, they were buried in opposite corners of Herzogenaurach cemetery, as far apart as possible. They had carried their feud to the end of their lives, and the same was expected of everyone else.
This is just a small excerpt from a much larger article -- amazing story and the feud continued through two generations of children. It also goes into how the corporate culture of both companies failed to recognize the threat of both Nike and Reebok.
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been organizing a PAC called Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG). From Emily Miller writing at The Washington Times:
Crimes of gun-grabbing mayors
Mike Bloomberg is on a mission to take away everyone�s guns. New York City�s billionaire mayor has bankrolled a coalition of municipal chiefs from coast to coast who tirelessly lobby for new laws restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The irony is that many in his coalition of pedophiles, embezzlers, wife beaters, cheaters and violent thugs are no longer eligible to legally own a gun.

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) on Monday detailed the crimes that have been committed by members of Mr. Bloomberg�s gang, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG). In its research, SAF found a significantly higher rate of felonious activity among the mayors who teamed up with hizzoner than among the 8 million citizens who are licensed to carry concealed firearms.

�If Mayor Bloomberg wants to align himself with this criminal element of mayors to push for gun control, we think the public should know about it,� SAF Founder Alan M. Gottlieb told The Washington Times in an interview.
The money quote:
Among them are Gary Becker of Racine, Wisc., who was sentenced to three years in jail for felony child enticement and attempted sexual assault of a child. Detroit�s former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, assaulted a police officer and perjured himself. Sheila Dixon, who hosted Mr. Bloomberg and his MAIG conference in her city of Baltimore, Md., was convicted while in office of perjury and embezzling funds.

Larry Langford of Birmingham, Ala., got 15 years in the big house for a staggering 60 counts of bribery, fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. The hypocrisy award goes to the late Frank Melton from Jackson, Miss., who violated his own city�s gun possession ordinances. SAF plans to publicize any time another mayor in the group goes bad. D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, a member of MAIG who denies residents all rights to bear arms, has also been under federal investigation for campaign finance fraud.
A big tip 'o the hat to Firehand at Irons in the Fire for the link. The Second Amendment Foundation's website can be found here. Their press release about this campaign can be found here. The advertisement can be found here (PDF). Good people -- did not know they were located in Bellevue, WA -- about two hours to my south.

Investing in Clean Energy

Only viable with heavy government subsidies -- our tax dollars being used to prop up something that cannot stand on itself as economically viable. From Investopedia:

Do You Own one of the Worst ETFs of 2012?
As I noted in this recent column, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that focus on homebuilders, biotechs and banks have been among the top domestic performers of 2012. Considering "a body in motion tends to stay in motion," some of these ETFs may well extend their gains into 2013. Yet many investors are more inclined to focus on ETFs that lagged the market in 2012 to find upside. Dozens of ETFs rose only modestly, below the double-digit gains seen by the major averages. In fact, some of these funds fell in value, moving toward multi-year lows.

The biggest duds should come as no surprise: clean-energy stocks -- especially solar -- fell in 2011 and then tumbled sharply this year.

The "best" fund only lost 17.7% this year while the worst lost 42.7%. Wind? Don't make me laugh:

The same can be said for wind-power stocks. Key tax breaks for this industry may soon expire, pushing demand lower in 2013.

Uranium and Coal are the two winners here with Gold coming in third. These are also losing money but not nearly as much and the demand is increasing despite the progressives daemonization of these two resources. Makes me wonder where the Goracle has his money...

A nice idea - American Christmas

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From ABC World News:
Made in America Christmas: Are You In?
"World News with Diane Sawyer" is gearing up for a "Made in America Christmas" and we need your help.

The average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts and goodies this year, totaling more than $465 billion, the National Retail Federation estimates. If that money was spent entirely on US made products it would create 4.6 million jobs. But it doesn't even have to be that big. If each of us spent just $64 on American made goods during our holiday shopping, the result would be 200,000 new jobs.

Now we want to know, are you in? If so, we want to hear from you. How are you planning on spending your $64?

What great Made in America products have you bought or plan on buying?

We want to hear how you are buying American this holiday season and how you are inspiring others in your community to do the same.

Have you encouraged your family, friends, neighbors, book club or church group to spend $64 on Made in America products this holiday season? How many people have agreed to do it?

Share your story with us and it could be featured on "World News with Diane Sawyer" or on
Hell yeah! Fantastic idea -- spread it around. It will be hard finding American made things at Costco or WalMart but they are out there. Some good links can be found here, here, here, here and here.

So wrong it's not even right

Talk about terminally stupid. From Sky News:

Chinese Farmer Fights Smog With Fan Power
A Chinese farmer worried about his country's pollution problem has come up with a bizarre four-wheeled solution.

In a small tractor workshop in the dusty village of Banjiehe, an hour outside Beijing, 55-year-old Tang Zhenping has been hard at work on a car he dreams will one day become the people's popular choice.

Mr Tang's model - built in just three months for around £1,000 - is electric, with a battery that needs to be charged from the mains.

Its engine uses scrap parts from a motorcycle and electric scooter, while its steering wheel, upholstery and headlights all come from a Chinese-made Xiali hatchback.

But what makes the one-seater special is the turbine on its nose.

When the car reaches 40mph, the blades spring into action, generating what Mr Tang claims is extra power.

He claims the turbine means his car's battery - which would otherwise need to be recharged daily - only requires charging every three days.

One word -- bullshit. Assuming that the turbine is two feet in diameter (guessing from the photo at the article), plugging that into this online wind calculator gives me a generated power of 235 Watts of power. Not enough to charge the battery for two days of additional driving. Plus, as the turbine operates, it creates aerodynamic drag on the vehicle causing an increased use of energy from the primary batteries.

However, critics say that any power generated by the turbine would be outweighed by the energy expended in propelling the vehicle forwards.

Yeah -- because anyone that sees the proposed design will also be able to see that it simply does not work. Adding the turbine will only make his car that much less efficient.

The farmer says he dreamed of building an electric car for three decades, but was unable to interest government officials or private investors.

Bad idea 30 years ago, bad idea today. Any investor would run from this shaking their head... Sky News? From their about page:

Sky News is an unrivalled, world class breaking news service with a spirit of innovation and a fresh approach to news broadcasting. As the UK's first dedicated 24-hour news channel, Sky News has built a deserved reputation for being the first to break major news as well as offering insight and analysis on the latest stories.

They should be ashamed of themselves. Any high-school physics student could explain in exquisite detail how this simply will not work.

A nice service

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Lulu and I just got back from Frank's memorial service. Really nicely done -- about 90 people showed up. My ex-wife came up from California. Barb and Frank were some of the first people she and I met when we moved to the area almost ten years ago. Back home -- dig some turkey out of the fridge in an hour or so and kick back...

A bit of push-back - Russia and Syria

From the World Tribune:

Supplier of arms to Syria assassinated in Russian city
A Russian official assigned to supply military equipment to Syria has been assassinated according to media reports here.

The Turkish daily Hurriyet said Vyacheslav Trukhachev was shot dead in the Russian city of Tula by an unknown assailant.

Hurriyet, regarded as close to the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, identified Trukhachev, deputy manager of the missile manufacturer KBP, as responsible for most weapons exports to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

No claim of responsibility was issued for the killing of Trukhachev. But Syrian rebels have warned over the past four months that Russia could be targeted for its continued weapons shipments to Assad. A Russian official assigned to supply military equipment to Syria has been assassinated according to media reports here.

The Turkish daily Hurriyet said Vyacheslav Trukhachev was shot dead in the Russian city of Tula by an unknown assailant. Hurriyet, regarded as close to the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, identified Trukhachev, deputy manager of the missile manufacturer KBP, as responsible for most weapons exports to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

No claim of responsibility was issued for the killing of Trukhachev. But Syrian rebels have warned over the past four months that Russia could be targeted for its continued weapons shipments to Assad. The Turkish daily Hurriyet said Vyacheslav Trukhachev was shot dead in the Russian city of Tula by an unknown assailant.

Hurriyet, regarded as close to the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, identified Trukhachev, deputy manager of the missile manufacturer KBP, as responsible for most weapons exports to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Curious -- no mention of the convoy from Iraq to Syria for the weeks before we first went in -- Iraq's WMD's? Moved to Syria.

I had posted earlier how some Unions, working with George Soros' organization MoveOn were planning to interrupt and picket WalMart stores today (Black Friday). From Breitbart:
Union Fail: Walmart Reports Record Sales
Despite union efforts to target retailers like Walmart, businesses are reporting record Black Friday traffic � the biggest sign yet that the unions are out of touch with the American people. Starting at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Walmart put its products on Black Friday sale, sparking a run to the stores and earning the stores record sales.

They�ve already sold nearly 2 million towels, 1.3 million televisions, and 250,000 bicycles. According to Walmart Chief Executive Bill Simon, over 1.3 million Walmart staffers are on duty. There have been picket lines around the country, but the movement has been far less effective than expected.
And from Reuters:
Nine arrests in Walmart protest, business still brisk
Nine people were arrested near a Walmart store in California on Friday as part of national protests for the rights of hourly workers, even as the world's largest retailer enjoyed what it said was its best ever start to the holiday shopping rush.

Hundreds of protesters, including some Walmart workers who skipped their shifts on the retail industry's busiest day, spoke, chanted and sang outside of Walmart stores around the United States, making pleas for higher wages and better healthcare for Walmart hourly workers.

OUR Walmart, an organization backed by the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, said it counted 1,000 protests in 46 U.S. states, including strikes in 100 cities - figures that Walmart said were "grossly exaggerated."
Grossly exaggerated indeed. These people lie like you and I breath air. Why should we allow them to be in any position of authority when we cannot trust anything that comes out of their mouths. A bit more:
Other demonstrations were smaller and less disruptive. At a Walmart on Chicago's South side, just one employee from the store's nearly 500 staff took part in the demonstration, according to Walmart. There, four busloads of protesters marched outside and were not stopped by police or security guards.
The market speaks:
Shares of Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart rose 1.9 percent to $70.20 on Friday, outpacing the gains in the broader stock market during a shortened trading session.
The Chicago worker who protested, Tyrone Robinson, said he earns $8.95 an hour working in the produce department, and that his shifts have been cut back to less than 40 hours per week.
Poor widdle Tyrone was cut back to part-time so evil capitalist WalMart would not have to pay the couple thousand dollar/year increase for Obamacare that comes into play next year. I bet widdle Tyrone voted for the very same guy whose machinations caused this cut. And this is all the while that the Democrats are arranging for amnesty for 12 Million illegal immigrants -- talk about diluting the job pool. The stupid -- it hurts...

23 overlooked movies

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A list of 23 interesting movies from the last decade. Overlooked due to studio stupidity, poor timing, lack of advertising... I have seen a couple of these and will be tracking down a couple more. The 140+ comments offer some discussion and more movies.

Done for the day

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A dear friend died in a motorcycle accident last September. Tomorrow would have been his birthday so Barb is having the memorial service tomorrow. Frank did a lot of photography and Barb asked me to digitize a bunch of his slides -- we will be projecting them from a laptop. Also doing the PA for the service. Finished 315 slides this afternoon and got them in Irfanview for the presentation. Had to run into town for something so had dinner in town (didn't think I could look at turkey meat today) and just got back. Surf for a bit and then off to an early bedtime...

Light posting today

Working on some stuff so posting will be minimal.

And it begins - Egypt sinks

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From The New York Times:
Citing Deadlock, Egypt�s Leader Seizes New Power and Plans Mubarak Retrial
With a constitutional assembly on the brink of collapse and protesters battling the police in the streets over the slow pace of change, President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree on Thursday granting himself broad powers above any court as the guardian of Egypt�s revolution, and used his new authority to order the retrial of Hosni Mubarak.

Mr. Morsi, an Islamist and Egypt�s first elected president, portrayed his decree as an attempt to fulfill popular demands for justice and protect the transition to a constitutional democracy. But the unexpected breadth of the powers he seized raised immediate fears that he might become a new strongman. Seldom in history has a postrevolutionary leader amassed so much personal power only to relinquish it swiftly.

�An absolute presidential tyranny,� Amr Hamzawy, a liberal member of the dissolved Parliament and prominent political scientist, wrote in an online commentary. �Egypt is facing a horrifying coup against legitimacy and the rule of law and a complete assassination of the democratic transition.�
Let us welcome our new state sponsor of terrorism -- and to think that the Obama State Department enabled this change and put this dictator in power. Arab spring my fat hairy ass -- if this was a democratic revolution, where is their bill of rights, where was their declaration of independence, who is their George Washington, who is their James Madison?

Entering the food coma state

We spent about an hour stuffing our faces. Lulu's son went to an outbuilding where he stays when he is visiting, Lulu spent some time reading and I surfed a bit. The tryptophans are kicking in big-time -- it is only 7PM but feels like 11PM. Veeeery sleepy. Waiting for the dishwasher to finish a load; I'll refill it and head upstairs to bed. Turkey has been carved, most of the meat and sides are in the freezer for later meals and I'll boil down the carcass for soup stock in a few days. I have a lot to be thankful for this year -- dealing with some crap but a resolution is in sight and progress is being made. Otherwise, life is incredible -- this is Lulu's and my second Thanksgiving together and it just gets better and better. There is a memorial service for a dear friend this Saturday so feeling melancholy about that -- his passing was unexpected and there is still a big hole in my heart. Frank had done a bunch of photography over the years so I have been spending the last couple days digitizing a lot of his slides. There is a video projector at the memorial site -- powerpoint is actually good for some things...

New York Ninnies

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From FOX News:
NYC sends health teams to post-Sandy food handouts, rubbing some wrong way
The New York City Department of Health has been dispatching workers to storm-ravaged areas across the five boroughs as part of an outreach to ensure that volunteers are informed on proper food-handling and other safety issues.

But the presence of health officials has caused some confusion as to where the city is drawing the line between advisement and enforcement.

Bobby Eustace, an 11-year veteran with the city's fire department tells that on Sunday he and his fellow firefighters from Ladder 27 in the Bronx were issued a notice of violation for not maintaining restaurant standards in a tent set up in Breezy Point, Queens, to feed victims and first responders.

�It�s just a little ridiculous. The inspector came up and asked if we were wearing hairnets. I told him, �We have helmets. This is a disaster area,�� Eustace told �Then he asked is we had gloves and thermometers [for food]. I said, �Yeah, we have rectal and oral. Which one do you want?� He wasn�t amused.�

Eustace says that the Health Department worker then checked off a list of violations at the relief tent, including not having an HVAC system and fire extinguisher.
Some more and a bit of backpedaling:
�He told us that he might come back to see if we fixed the violations. But what can we do? We are just going to keep going until a professional catering company can help take over,� Eustace said, adding that firefighters across the city together have been contributing about $800 a day out of their own pockets to feeding victims in areas hit hard by Sandy.

But a spokeswoman for the NYC Department of Health tells that workers were not sent to issue violations. Rather, it was more of an outreach to inform volunteers on the proper way to handle food.

�We went out just to give recommendations. We were only at these locations in an advisory role,� the spokeswoman said.
The firefighters are the ones actually trying to get the community back on its feet. These clueless functionaries are an impediment and need to stand down. As for: "workers were not sent to issue violations" -- I call bullshit -- the Department of Health wants to expand its power base to include situations like this as well as the usual restaurants and food carts.

An inappropriate sampeah

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Sampeah? From this article at Investors Business Daily:
On his trip to Cambodia, a country he claimed didn't deserve a visit due to its strongman government, first lady Bun Rany greeted Obama with a traditional "sampeah" pressed-hands greeting reserved for servants, a little dig that was probably lost on him but not to Asians.
The whole trip was like that -- a Potemkin journey:
Obama's Southeast Asia Trip All Style, No Substance
So amid all the colorful and flirty photos from President Obama's first tour of Southeast Asia, what did he actually accomplish?
In his tour of Burma, billed as an historic first visit since Burma's 2007 move to democracy, it was clear he was in way over his head, even on small things. Obama repeatedly referred to the country's Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader Aung San Suu Kyi as Aung Yan Suu Kyi, an astonishing error given her global fame.

He also bungled the norms of Burmese polite address, calling Thein Sein, the nation's leader "President Sein," an error comparable to addressing Cambodia's Pol Pot as Mr. Pot.

But he also undermined his supposed democracy mission, first by telling the Burmese leaders that he too wished he could govern without opposition, calling into question whether he himself believed in the representative government he was advocating.

It didn't help that he ignored the real heroes who helped push Burma toward a more open system � President and Mrs. Bush, as well as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Sens. John McCain and Mitch McConnell, seeming to take credit for it himself.
A bit more:
No substance, no influence. Nothing underlined this quite like the lack of crowds greeting Obama in all three nations. When a leader's visit is cause for hope and a catalyst for change � think Pope John Paul II's 1978 Poland visit � crowds turn out. Obama, supposedly representing the greatest nation on earth, couldn't draw so much as an Occupy-sized crowd. Nor did he draw respect.
I would not go to see him if he visited my local community. His ideology and ignorance is very much on my radar screen but Obama as a man is not. He is an ineffectual low-grade manager with a Marxist bent. He is a shadow president controlled by a handful of progressive ideologues.

Nine days to act

From What is the ITU?

We love the internet.
And we're guessing you do too. Think about all the awesome things it gives us: A vast communication network; innovative businesses; a platform to freely speak or challenge powerful governments; and hundreds and hundreds of hours of cat videos.

All this great stuff is available because the internet was designed in an open and inclusive way, with a multitude of voices being able to get a say on how it's governed.

But the internet is in danger.
There's a meeting between the world's governments in a just a few weeks, and it could very well decide the future of the internet through a binding international treaty. It's called the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), and it's being organized by a government-controlled UN agency called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

If some proposals at WCIT are approved, decisions about the internet would be made by a top-down, old-school government-centric agency behind closed doors. Some proposals allow for access to be cut off more easily, threaten privacy, legitimize monitoring and blocking online traffic. Others seek to impose new fees for accessing content, not to mention slowing down connection speeds. If the delicate balance of the internet is upset, it could have grave consequences for businesses and human rights.

This must be stopped.
Only governments get a vote at WCIT, so we need people from all around the world to demand that our leaders keep the internet open.

There is an option to add your email address to get further information. I did.

More information from the Wall Street Journal:

The U.N. Threat to Internet Freedom
On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year's end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish "international control over the Internet" through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices.

If successful, these new regulatory proposals would upend the Internet's flourishing regime, which has been in place since 1988. That year, delegates from 114 countries gathered in Australia to agree to a treaty that set the stage for dramatic liberalization of international telecommunications. This insulated the Internet from economic and technical regulation and quickly became the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.

More at The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

The Senate has to vote a 2/3rds margin for the President to ratify a treaty so contact your Senator's office and say that you oppose U.N. control of the Internet.

Trustworthy dogs

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Our three canines are all hanging out underfoot in the kitchen. We normally feed them some table-scraps after we are done eating but with all the smells permeating the air today, they are underfoot. Not taking my eyes off them for one second... Turkey is resting, asparagus is in the smoker grilling, mashed spuds, cranberry sauce, from scratch gravy, and homemade lemon meringue pie and we have a feast for the next couple of days. Putting the whole household into a food coma in about 30 minutes...

Mutual trust

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From AFP:
Twelve rockets hit Israel after truce.
Twelve rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit Israel on Wednesday in the first hours that followed a ceasefire agreement ending hostilities in the week-long Gaza conflict, a police spokesman told AFP.
If this keeps up, Israel will have every justification to go into Gaza and disarm hamas house by house, mosque by mosque.

About that pardoned turkey

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From West Palm Beach, Fl station WPTV:
Peace, turkey pardoned by President Obama last Thanksgiving, euthanized
Peace, one of two turkeys pardoned by President Obama last year, was euthanized Monday, according to an official who insisted the timing of the death - days before the Thanksgiving holiday - was not suspicious.

Rebecca Aloisi, vice president for marketing at the Mount Vernon Estate, confirmed that Peace had been dead after a weekend "illness." But Aloise knew neither the nature of the illness, the manner of death, nor what had been done with the remains of the large, edible bird.

"I appreciate where you're going with this," Aloisi told CNN. "But I assure you that these birds are extremely well cared for." The decision to euthanize the bird was made by a veterinarian in consultation with Mount Vernon's livestock department, she said.

Peace had served as the understudy for Liberty, another turkey, at the 2011 pardoning ceremony by President Obama. Obama chose to pardon both birds to spare them from the fate of the plate.
Yummy turkey! Ours is 30 minutes away from being done. Got everything else ready except for the asparagus and mashed potatoes.

Israel and the United Nations

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The USA needs to stop funding the United Nations. It does not work. From Claudia Rosett comes a series of letters from the Israeli Ambassador to the UN Security Council:
Letters of Israel�s Ambassador to the UN Security Council
Now that Israel is fighting back against the rocket-launching Iranian-backed terrorists of Gaza, the United Nations has swung into a frenzy of activity, calling for immediate measures to stop the violence and end the crisis. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has rushed to the Middle East, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is firing off press releases to say she is �appalled� and �extremely concerned.� The Security Council has held an emergency closed meeting � and so on.

What a contrast to the UN response earlier this year, when for month after month, the terrorists of Hamas-controlled Gaza fired rockets into Israel, and while Israel complied with the UN�s demands for �restraint,� Israel�s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, pleaded with the Security Council to condemn the terrorist assaults on his country.
Excerpts from the letters:
February 27, 2012
Since I last wrote to you, ten days ago, ten more rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli communities.

March 13, 2012
More than 75 rockets have been fired into Israeli communities from Gaza in the past day. More than 250 rockets have been fired since last Friday. That�s one rocket every twenty minutes�
Yet, the Security Council has uttered zero words of condemnation of these attacks� It is time for the Security Council to speak with one voice against the terrorism that continues to flow from Gaza.

May 10, 2012 (this was not a letter, but part of a statement to the Security Council)
In southern Israel, terrorists from Gaza � sponsored by Iran � continue to rain down rockets on 1 million Israeli civilians. One rocket that explodes in the wrong place at the wrong time could ignite a dangerous escalation in our region. Yet the Council has not condemned the rocket fire. It has not uttered a single word.
Six more -- the Security Council did nothing. Much more at the site.

Our first thanksgiving

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An interesting account from historian Jerry Bowyer writing at Forbes Magazine:
How A Failed Commune Gave Us What Is Now Thanksgiving
It�s wrong to say that American was founded by capitalists. In fact, America was founded by socialists who had the humility to learn from their initial mistakes and embrace freedom. One of the earliest and arguably most historically significant North American colonies was Plymouth Colony, founded in 1620 in what is now known as Plymouth, Massachusetts. As I�ve outlined in greater detail here before (Lessons From a Capitalist Thanksgiving), the original colony had written into its charter a system of communal property and labor. As William Bradford recorded in his Of Plymouth Plantation, a people who had formerly been known for their virtue and hard work became lazy and unproductive. Resources were squandered, vegetables were allowed to rot on the ground and mass starvation was the result. And where there is starvation, there is plague. After 2 1/2 years, the leaders of the colony decided to abandon their socialist mandate and create a system which honored private property. The colony survived and thrived and the abundance which resulted was what was celebrated at that iconic Thanksgiving feast.
Dr. Bowyer writes about modern progressivism and its selective editing of our history and then goes on:
That�s how it is now, and that�s how it was in 1620. The charter of the Plymouth Colony reflected the most up-to-date economic, philosophical and religious thinking of the early 17th century. Plato was in vogue then, and Plato believed in central planning by intellectuals in the context of communal property, centralized state education, state centralized cultural offerings and communal family structure. For Plato, it literally did take a village to raise a child. This collectivist impulse reflected itself in various heretical offshoots of Protestant Christianity with names like The True Levelers, and the Diggers, mass movements of people who believed that property and income distinctions should be eliminated, that the wealthy should have their property expropriated and given to what we now call the 99%. This kind of thinking was rife in the 1600s and is perhaps why the Pilgrim settlers settled for a charter which did not create a private property system.

But the Pilgrims learned and prospered. And what they learned, we have forgotten and we fade. Now, new waves of ignorant masses flood into parks and public squares. New Platonists demand control of other people�s property. New True Levelers legally occupy the prestige pulpits of our nation, secular and sacred. And now, as then, the productive class of our now gigantic, colony-turned-superpower, learn and teach again, the painful lessons of history. Collectivism violates the iron laws of human nature. It has always failed. It is always failing, and it will always fail. I thank God that it is failing now. Providence is teaching us once again.
Something to think about after our recent election and this Holiday.

A mellow thanksgiving

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Lulu and her son are working outside prepping the garden for winter -- some weeding and planting the last of the bulbs. Turkey is in the oven and everything is prepped for assembly in a couple hours. Have a lot to be thankful for! Hope everyone is safe in their homes.

Spending in Detroit

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The spending at the Public Library system is so out of hand that the FBI is involved. From the Detroit Free Press:
FBI agents raided Detroit Public Library over allegations of contract fraud
This time, it�s about scamming the Detroit Public Library.

The federal government�s ongoing probes into public corruption landed today on the doorsteps of the city�s main library branch, where FBI agents raided the historic landmark over allegations of contract fraud.

�There may be an individual who awarded contracts for personal gain. And if that is the case, it is a total violation of the public trust,� Jonathan Kinloch, president of the Detroit Library Commission, told the Free Press.

According to Kinloch, the contracts involve two technology firms that were hired for at least $2 million to update the library�s computer systems. A library official allegedly had ties to at least one of the contractors, and benefited personally from the million-dollar deals, he said.
And it's not just this:
Kinloch also noted today�s raid, conducted before the library opened at noon, had nothing to do with the $1,000-a-piece trash cans that were purchased for a library wing renovation project in 2010.

While the pricey trash cans raised eyebrows � given the layoffs and continued financial woes of the library � Kinloch said the stainless steel garbage bins do not appear to be under federal scrutiny.

Kinloch did say, however, that the the garbage cans, along with the library�s new $1,000-a-piece designer lounge chairs, have triggered the need for more oversight of library management. While the general contractor purchased both items without any permission, he said, library officials ultimately signed off on the expense.

�That, unfortunately, is one of the waters that is under the bridge,� Kinloch said. �It continues to stand out as it relates to reasons why we need to have a total review of management at the library.�
Excuse me but Kinloch is the president of the Detroit Library Commission. It is his job to monitor stuff like this. He should have walked through the new wing before it opened and asked pointed questions like this -- he should have been present when the designs were being signed off. For him to say that things will be better managed in the future is a fscking joke.

Unions in the news

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Been a busy news cycle for unions From the UK Telegraph -- a little miscalculation on the part of the BBC -- of course, they expect British citizens to pay for:
Licence fee payers face �1.2billion bill for BBC pensions
The National Audit office yesterday disclosed in its financial review of the BBC that the deficit has risen by a quarter in the past year and is set to increase even more. The contribution is equivalent to �38 for every household in Britain.
A bit more:
The BBC faced the threat of industrial action from BBC staff and unions in 2010 after proposing cuts to the pension scheme, which led to a 48-hour strike by members of the National Union of Journalists.
Can't cut the pensions -- nooooo... A little closer to home -- from local radio station KGMI comes this twofer:
First: Union Says New Boeing Proposals Likely To Be Rejected
Officials with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace say a new contract proposal presented yesterday by Boeing is likely to be rejected.

Boeing says the new offer includes increased wages and improved benefits compared to the previous offer, but union executive director Ray Goforth says it still contains across the board cuts in pay and benefits.
Second: Pension Ruling Could Wreck State Budget
A new ruling on state pensions could end up wrecking the state's delicately-balanced budget.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham says the Legislature acted illegally last year when it eliminated an annual increase in benefits to retirees in two older state pension plans.

The Washington Federation of State Employees calls Wickham's decision a big win.
What a bunch of greedy little ninnies. They ratchet pay and bennies up so high that when the economy takes a downturn -- as it always has and always will -- they refuse to adjust their gimmies downward to reflect the market reality.

Unions -- their fifteen minutes

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From The Daily Caller -- looks like the Unions are getting into bed with George Soros and move.on: trying to rally Wal-Mart workers for Black Friday strike has jumped into the fight for a unionized Wal-Mart workforce.

The liberal group has sent emails to its list nationwide, urging a mass-protest outside Wal-Mart stores on Black Friday. The organization is encouraging people to strike against management even if they aren�t Wal-Mart employees themselves.

�Instead of listening to and learning from its workers, Wal-Mart has sought to silence us and retaliate against those who dare to speak up,� said in its email to supporters. �Warehouse workers who work for Wal-Mart contractors have also experienced retaliation for speaking out. Now, Wal-Mart workers have had enough.�

Black Friday is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

�On Black Friday, and throughout the Holiday Season, we�re standing up for an end to the retaliation against workers who speak out for what�s right for our families, our communities, and our country,� the left-wing organization continued. �Will you show your support?�
I would love to see some videos of shoppers decking these morons -- the union is standing between me and my cheap stuff.

First Snow of the Season

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It is not sticking but the rain turned to snow an hour ago. I can see from the local mountains that snow level is around 1,000 -- home is at 680' Mt. Baker opened today with 62" accumulation at Pan Dome.

Doing what they do so well

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From Reuters:
Tel Aviv bus hit by bomb; Hamas celebrates
A bomb exploded on a bus in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday, wounding 15 people in what Israeli officials said was a terrorist attack that could complicate efforts to secure a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Celebratory gunfire rang out across Gaza as the news spread and the territory's Islamist rulers Hamas praised the bombing, but no one claimed immediate responsibility.

The blast shattered windows on the bus as it drove along a tree-lined street next to Israel's huge defense ministry headquarters. Israel's ambulance service said four people suffered moderate-to-severe injuries and 11 were lightly hurt.
Some truce -- Hillary was just a messenger, Hamas is agreeing to a Hudna, not a real truce. The rockets will resume in a few days.

A modest proposal

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From Velociworld -- talking about our Government:
The Wild Boars Gambit
Have you ever been chased by a wild boar? I was, once, as a kid. It was pretty terrifying. And I'm relatively certain that was a domestic hog that had escaped, and in a year or so in the forest had reverted to his natural Lord of the Flies ethos. Kept me up a tree for two hours, at any rate.

Which brings me to my sermon. Man against the State. Man against the State. Man always loses that battle. Even in groups he is impotent against a Leviathan. As much as I admire the Tea Parties, the solution is not to send like minded souls to Washington. It is a corrupting wasteland, and they will either succumb, or be voted out for not bringing that fat, sweet bacon home. Because the same Man who votes for that fiscal hawk also, inexorably, still wants his bacon. He just doesn't want ne'er-do-wells in blue states to have his bacon. Besides, sending a Tea Partier to Washington is like sending your preacher into a whorehouse to clean it up. He's going to emerge in drunken stupor, without his pocket watch and Bible, and with a red wax ring around his willie.

No, I think, the solution is not tilting against the windmill that is the DC blob. It is in federalism. Real 10th Amendment federalism. States against the Leviathan. We all know the Constitution strictly enumerated the federal government's powers, and seeded the enormity of powers to the states. But Leviathan has been gobbling up those rights for 100 years, using a carrot and stick approach of funding bribes and the Commerce Clause. And each state has individually weakened, and capitulated.

But, what ho? The GOP now holds a large majority of governorships and statehouses. That election wasn't a blowout, and the Republicans control a lot of field level power. One man cannot beat back Leviathan, but 29 governors and statehouses can. If they coordinate, and play by the left's rules. Select specific areas where the federal government has usurped power, from education to highway construction to Medicaid allocations to, hell, drug laws, and sue the piss out of Leviathan's minions. Sue, sue, sue. Alinsky them.

Sue the EPA, sue the Interior Department, sue the Department of Health and Human Services. Sue the cabinet members individually. Sue czars. Find sympathetic federal courts and drag those czars' asses into court. Sue as groups of states, sue as individual states. Just file hundreds, if not thousands, of lawsuits. Most will be swept away by invoking immunity and the supremacy clause, but not all. At some point Leviathan will have to allocate resources. Pick their battles. Toss a few bones. Here's a thought: if five or six western states sue to allow energy exploration on federal lands some federal judge is eventually going to give them their day in court. The Supreme Court's mighty firewall could actually be a blessing here. Many appellate court decisions could be upheld.

Which brings me back to wild pigs. Being chased by one wild boar is a horrifying thing. Being chased by 25 could cause some serious hysteria in the Gilded City. Tip O'Neill famously said "All politics is local." True as far as it goes. Just remember: your governor is your neighbor, even if you have to travel to the Big City. He's a hell of a lot more local than your representative in Congress, who only comes home to run for reelection.

Here's an experiment: form some bullshit committee committed to saving the loggerhead turtles, or protecting abused women. Call your Governor's offices and request an audience. It might be six months, but you will get a breakfast, or a luncheon, or a photo op. This person still has to work the hamlets of Smut Eye, Alabama and Blue Balls, Pennsylvania and Santa Claus, Georgia. He isn't that distant Senator getting his horndog on in the DC.

Ten governors and 10,000 activists could change the world. Bring that power back to the states. Neuter Leviathan. And this isn't about "state's rights," or whatever euphemism passes for racism these days. It's about taking back what belongs to our states. To us. Forget Congress. Spend a day roaming your state house. Make a few friends. Buy the aides a beer after session. Get inside their heads. Let them know you're going forward with or without them.

We've lost a few states irrevocably. California's dead as a doornail. It's just like East Germany now. Except gays can window shop in the nude, and there is no Iron Curtain or Berlin Wall keeping sane people from fleeing California. But the Stasi is still there. The same old crowd. They just wear nipple rings now.

Jersey's toast, of course. But even New York has Wall Street. If they can smell power devolving to Albany those greedheads will be on board. I love the pure heart of a true capitalist. When I'm not hating on them for actually being crony capitalists. Which is what they really are. They'll merely rent-seek in Albany rather than DC. So, on second thought, scratch New York. Buy your securities in London.

I haven't enumerated much in the way of particular issues, but I will. I'm having enough trouble writing a preamble whilst getting my damn drink on. And, oh: never underestimate a local politician's opportunity to grab some power from someone else up the food chain. Use that as a tactical weapon. After all, at the end of the day, it's all about being a wild boar.
What he said...

Memo to self

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When pouring brine into the cooler, make sure the drain plug is closed tightly. That is all...

The oldest working digital computer

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Major geekdom -- the boffins at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park found a computer that had been put into storage when another museum had closed. It has been restored and after 60 years is now fully operational. From The National Museum of Computing:
The world's oldest original digital computer springs back into action at TNMOC
After a three-year restoration project at The National Museum of Computing, the Harwell Dekatron (aka WITCH) computer will rebooted on 20 November 2012 to become the world's oldest original working digital computer.

Now in its seventh decade and in its fifth home, the computer with its flashing lights and clattering printers and readers provides an awe-inspiring display for visiting school groups and the general public keen to learn about our rich computer heritage.

The 2.5 tonne, 1951 computer from Harwell with its 828 flashing Dekatron valves, 480 relays and a bank of paper tape readers will clatter back into action in the presence of two of the original designers, one of its first users and many others who have admired it at different times during its remarkable history.
Photos and a short video at the site. I remember Dekatron tubes -- they used a neon gas discharge to count up to ten. You could reset the tube to zero through one line and then use another electrode to advance the discharge by one. You would read the number by looking where the glow was.


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Starting the thanksgiving day dinner shortly -- doing the stuffing, the pie and some of the veggies. Get the bird brining in an hour or two. Working on some other stuff too so posting will be a bit light this afternoon.

Hackers 1 Israel IT team 43,999,999

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Two days ago, I had mentioned that Israeli websites have been under serious attack since the recent hostilities. There is a short writeup on Slashdot today:
Israeli Infrastructure Proves Too Strong For Anonymous
"Ever since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, hackers have been working overtime to strike a blow against the Israeli government's computer systems, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Sunday. No fewer than 44 million attacks have been recorded since the operation began five days ago � with nearly all of them failing, thanks to the recent strengthening of computer defense systems in Israel. Speaking at a special press conference at the Government Computing Center in Jerusalem about the cyber war against Israel that has accompanied Hamas's rocket attacks, Steinitz said that hackers 'are trying to disable the symbols of Israeli sovereignty, to enter web sites and install anti-Israel content, thus compromising information and data and damaging the government's ability to serve the public.' Most of the attacks, he said, were against government sites, like the Prime Minister's Office site, and security-related sites, such as that of the Home Front Command, the body charged with informing Israelis on how to protect themselves in the event of an attack. Out of those 44 million-plus attacks on government and defense related sites, said Steinitz, only one succeeded � partially. One site, which he did not name, was 'wobbly for a few minutes,' but quickly recovered. Even though the government has been successful in warding off hack attacks, Steinitz said that government sites were fully backed up and mirrored, meaning that they could be replaced by a duplicate site instantly if the original site were compromised."
Heh -- these aren't real hackers. These are just script kiddies in their mommies basement. Real hackers support Israel. Real hackers are for freedom.

Obama speaks

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From a speech he gave in Burma - from Breitbart:
Now, on other hand, as President, I cannot just impose my will on Congress -- the Congress of the United States -- even though sometimes I wish I could.
Much more at the site...

About that global warming? Nevermind...

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From the New York Times:
C.I.A. Closes Its Climate Change Office
The Central Intelligence Agency has disbanded its Center on Climate Change and National Security, a unit formed in 2009 to monitor the interplay between a warming planet and intelligence and security challenges.

The creation of the office drew fire at the time from some Republicans, who said it was an unnecessary expense and a distraction from the agency�s focus on terrorism and other more immediate threats. The agency did not say whether the closing was related to budget constraints or other political pressures.

Todd Ebitz, a C.I.A. spokesman, said that the agency would continue to monitor the security and humanitarian challenges posed by climate change as part of its focus on economic security, but not in a stand-alone office.
Not seeing any warming here either...

Another reason to not live in Seattle

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They are expanding the SR-520 bridge across Lake Washington. Seems that there are some issues with quality of construction. From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
Former inspector: New 520 Bridge 'a disaster waiting to happen'
Stunning new allegations have surfaced about the construction of the 520 Floating Bridge.

A former inspector says the quality of the first pontoons built in Aberdeen was so shoddy that it's a "disaster waiting to happen." At the same time, a scathing internal audit shows the state failed to hold contractor Kiewit accountable.

"To me it's just a disaster; it's a disaster waiting to happen," said the former inspector, who wants to remain anonymous.

The man was an onsite quality inspector at Kiewit Construction's pontoon casting basin in Aberdeen last winter.

"I won't drive across that bridge when they have it built," he said.
Ouch! We have already had two bridges collapse in Winter stormS so this is not something unknown to Seattleites...

Back home again - long day

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Got the stuff for thanksgiving dinner. Picked up an organic turkey at the co-op and doing that, homemade stuffing, brussels sprouts, green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce and a lemon meringue pie for desert. Got a bag of cooked shrimp and a deli plater from Costco for pre-meal munching. Me, Lulu, her son and a couple of her son's friends so it should be a good feast. Plenty to be thankful for!

Off to town

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Heading into town today -- shopping for Thanksgiving. Posting will be minimal today...

Whoopsie - Sandy and Wall Street

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Looks like some Banksters might need to check their couches for loose change. From the New York Post:
Billions in bearer bonds could be lost due to Hurricane Sandy
It�s the biggest mystery on Wall Street.

Hurricane Sandy floodwaters inundated a 10,000-square-foot underground vault downtown, soaking 1.3 million bond and stock certificates � including bearer bonds that function like cash � and putting them in danger of turning to mush.

A contractor working for the vault owner, the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp., is feverishly working to restore the paper.

But the value of the threatened notes under 55 Water St. remains unknown to all but the innermost circle of Wall Street bankers.
Some back-pedaling was involved:
Most of its member firms, including Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, UBS and Citi did not return calls.

The exception was Goldman Sachs, whose spokesman Michael DuVally confirmed Friday to The Post that his firm stored bearer bonds in the DTCC vaults. He acknowledged they would be nearly impossible to redeem if destroyed.

Yesterday morning, DuVally elaborated, and said the value of the Goldman bonds was �less than $1 million.� An hour later, he called back to say, �The market value of bearer bonds potentially impacted is less than $10,000.�
And this afternoon it was only $2.00 - some more:
Belfor, a Texas-based recovery firm rumored to have won the job, had a trailer parked outside 55 Water St. yesterday. When asked about a contract with Goldman to recover $70 billion in bearer bonds, Belfor spokeswoman Alex Gort said, �We have very strict confidentiality.�

Belfor workers at the site yesterday described a �complete restoration job� under �very high security,� but claimed to know nothing about the bonds.

�There are three vaults,� a hardhat said outside the building. �I wasn�t in the vault where the bonds are. Security is very tight down there. I know they were all under water. Billions of dollars� worth, soaked. I know they are trying to pack them up.�

Bearer bonds are paper certificates, usually issued by governments, that are redeemable after a prescribed term. The bearer submits an attached coupon to receive payment. Because they are typically unregistered and can be used like cash, they were commonly used by those wishing to hide, and not pay taxes on, assets. They were banned in 1982.

But those that haven�t been fully redeemed remain in circulation.
It is fun that these instruments are the ones that are damaged -- used for hiding assets. The other thought that came to mind is that these vaults are suffering from Kabuki Security -- the security is all a show for the clients and offers no real protection for the goods stored. Fake. Stupid. If such a vault cost $10 million to build, it could have been made 100% waterproof for an additional couple hundred thousand dollars -- less than one percent of the cost to build. Gaskets and positive pressure. You could also fill the vault with helium to prevent fading and decomposition. Schedule two or three days/month where humans could enter and work.

Occupy Jail

From Alyssa Newcomb writing at ABC News:
Bomb-Making Chemicals, Assault Rifles Found in Doctor's Home, Prosecutor Says
Large amounts of chemicals commonly used to make bombs were found in the basement of a New Jersey doctor, along with assault rifles and a stun gun, prosecutors said today.

Dr. Roberto Rivera, 60, who according to some reports was active in the Occupy Wall Street movement last year, was arrested following a Friday night raid on his Ridgewood, N.J., home.
A bit more:
Rivera faces six charges, including possession of a destructive device and recklessly creating a risk of widespread injury or damage. His bail was set at $1 million cash.

It was not yet clear whether Rivera has hired a lawyer.

Bill Dobbs, a member of the Occupy Wall Street press team, said he had no knowledge of any connection between Rivera and the movement, and said Occupy is firmly committed to non-violence.
Not affiliated with Occupy? From Bloomberg. Not affiliated with Occupy? These quotes from the New York Post:
�I�m glad that at last the youth of America is able to stand on two feet and take a position that millions of people around the world have taken that they will not be intimidated by the capitalist free-market paradigm and they will fight against gross inequality in distribution of income and assets,� Rivera told Bloomberg News in October 2011.

Rivera also told the Tribeca Trib that he was a volunteer medic who walked around Zuccotti providing medical aid to those in need.


Neighbors in Ridgewood said Rivera, who lives there with his girlfriend, had a combative personality and would cut people off while riding his bike around town.

�He just sneered at me,� said Elizabeth Western.

�He�s just one of those guys who just goes against everything.�
Occupy is firmly committed to non-violence? Here, here, here, here. A simple Google search for Occupy Wall Street violence returns 9,320,000 results. Finally, the good Doctor was fired -- from New Jersey's Ridgewood-Glen Rock Patch:
'Bomb' Doc Was Fired From Hospital After Stalking Allegation
A doctor charged Saturday with possessing a large quantity of chemicals used in bomb-making spent 15 years on the staff of a Manhattan hospital until he was fired in 2006 for refusing to submit to a psychiatric evaluation when a nurse accused him of stalking her, court records show.

Roberto Rivera, 60, was charged with recklessly creating a risk of widespread injury or damage after federal and local authorities found precursor chemicals used in the making of explosives in the basement of a Ridgewood house, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said in a release Saturday afternoon.
Rivera joined the staff of St. Vincent's Medical Center in 1991 as an attending physician, and spent 15 years there before his employment was terminated over allegations that he stalked a nurse who worked with him in the Department of Community Medicine, court records show.

Rivera and the nurse, whose name Patch is withholding, had developed a "deep friendship," and the doctor took to extremes to stay in contact with her after she tried to end the relationship, such as following her home on a bicycle, the nurse alleged.

Rivera left his wife and rented an apartment in the same Brooklyn neighborhood in which the nurse lived, according to the court records. He would follow her to work and leave notes on her desk, she claimed.

The nurse filed harassment and stalking complaints against Rivera in May 2006, and Rivera was suspended and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. He refused and was fired in July 2006.

Rivera sued the hospital. The suit was dismissed.

Neighbors interviewed Saturday and Sunday described Rivera as introverted. They said he lived in the building at 183 Union Street for about a year, and at least one recalled him carrying protest signs from the house.
The good Doctor needs to spend the next forty years behind bars...

Culture of corruption - Democratic Party

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A Democratic two-fer First from the Chicago Sun-Times:
15 members of Joe Berrios' family on county, state payrolls
For Joe Berrios, the Cook County assessor who is also the county Democratic Party chairman, government is the family business.

That got him in trouble with the county ethics board, which called for Berrios to fire three family members who are on his staff and fined him $10,000 for violating the county?s anti-nepotism ban by hiring two of them -- his son and sister -- after he was elected assessor in 2010.

But the Berrios family's presence on government payrolls goes far beyond that. In September, his nephew Stephen Berrios got a job working for the Cook County judiciary. That made him the 13th member of the powerful politician's family on a county or state payroll, a Chicago Sun-Times examination of government records shows.

And two of Berrios' siblings have recently retired from government jobs and now get public pensions. Count them, and that makes 15 members of the Berrios family who receive a total of more than $1.05 million a year in wages and pension payments, records show.
And under the No Shit Sherlock -- this:
Berrios declined an interview request for this story.
Second, from Florida's The Palm Beach Post
Murphy declares victory when St. Lucie board misses noon deadline; West considers challenge
Patrick Murphy�s campaign declared victory Sunday afternoon after recount totals showed him defeating U.S. Rep. Allen West by 2,146 votes, while West�s team refused to concede and contemplated its next challenge to the results in the District 18 congressional race.

�It�s time for Allen West to do the right thing and concede,� said Eric Johnson, Murphy�s senior adviser. West, however, has no such plans.

�As usual, Murphy�s people are full of garbage,� said Tim Edson, West�s campaign manager. �This is something the secretary of state and governor will have to sort out.�
And buried in the thirteenth paragraph of this story is this little gem:
Edson had his own questions. Among them: Preliminary totals showed 900 voters cast ballots in Precinct 93, where only seven voters are registered, Edson said.
Looks like a clear case of voter fraud and the classic quote is this from West's opponent:
Murphy said the campaign has convinced him of the need for election reform.
Pot meet kettle...

Fun at Foxconn

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From SingularityHUB:
1 Million Robots To Replace 1 Million Human Jobs At Foxconn? First Robots Have Arrived.
Foxconn, the Chinese electronics manufacturer that builds numerous mobile devices and gaming consoles, has been in the media lately because of labor issues, complaints over working conditions, rumored riots, and even suicides, all occurring in the past few years as demand for smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing.

While consumers began to complain in response to media coverage over working conditions, prompting Apple to hire an audit of the factories, Foxconn�s President Terry Gou had another idea for dealing with labor concerns: replace people with robots. In fact, last year Gou said that the company would be aiming to replace 1 million Foxconn workers with robots within 3 years.

It appears as if Gou has started the ball in motion. Since the announcement, a first batch of 10,000 robots � aptly named Foxbots � appear to have made its way into at least one factory, and by the end of 2012, another 20,000 more will be installed.
Employee conditions are already bad there -- I cannot imagine what they will be like in a few years. All for our iJunk. Wonder if they will be selling their robots on the open market -- might be fun to have one.

The unofficial start of Winter is here

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From the Bellingham Herald:
Snow closes North Cascades Highway
The North Cascades Highway closed at noon Monday, Nov. 19, after the mountains got an expected blast of snow.

About an inch of snow per hour was falling along the winding scenic highway in the early morning hours of Monday, leading crews to think it would shut down sometime in the evening, said state Department of Transporation spokesman Dustin Terpening.

But by 10 a.m., the flurries picked up the pace, dumping 4 � inches on the highway in 90 minutes. Three avalanches were reported along the Highway 20 route.

Once this storm passes through, crews will determine if it's safe enough to reopen, Terpening said. On average, winter weather closes the highway for about half of each year.

Terpening guffawed when asked if the highway might reopen for Thanksgiving travelers.

"With the weather, you never know," he said.

No to Rice

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From The Hill:
97 Republicans sign letter urging Obama to avoid Rice nod for State
Nearly 100 House Republicans on Monday called on President Obama not to nominate Susan Rice as secretary of State.

In a letter to Obama, the 97 Republicans said the credibility of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has been gravely wounded by her account of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

"Though Ambassador Rice has been our representative to the U.N., we believe her misleading statements over the days and weeks following the attack on our embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world," Republicans wrote in their letter, which was spearheaded by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and sent to Obama on Monday.
Pants on fire. She either willingly lied or was played for a fool and we do not need either to represent our Nation to the U. (spit) N. John Bolton would be perfect.
From The Weekly Standard:
Obama Talks Gaza With Islamist Turkish Leader Who Called Hamas Strikes 'a Pre-Election Stunt'
President Barack Obama spoke on the phone with the Islamist leader of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, about the Israel's retaliatory strikes on the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza, according to the White House.

The two leaders, according to a White House read-out of the call, seemed to agree on much. "Today, the President called Prime Minister Erdogan to discuss the escalating violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip," the White House read-out of the call states.

"The two leaders shared their concerns about the dangers to civilian populations on both sides and expressed their common desire to see an end to the violence. The President and Prime Minister agreed that the continued spiral of violence jeopardizes prospects for a durable, lasting peace in the region. The President underscored his commitment to advancing the goal of Middle East peace. The President�s call to Prime Minister Erdogan follows his outreach to counterparts in Israel and Egypt on November 14."

Indeed, the White House in no way indicates the leaders disagreed about anything in their call.
A meeting of the minds -- but then, there is this from the D.C. CBS affiliate:
Turkish Prime Minister: �Israel Is A Terrorist State�
A top Turkish official has claimed that Israel is committing acts of terrorism by bombing Hamas targets in Gaza.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told the Eurasian Islamic Council conference in Istanbul that the Jewish state is systematically mass-killing Muslims.

�Those who associate Islam with terrorism close their eyes in the face of mass killing of Muslims, turn their heads from the massacre of children in Gaza,� Erdogan said, according to Reuters. �For this reason, I say that Israel is a terrorist state, and its acts are terrorist acts.�
So which is it?

Money money money...

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From the Wall Street Journal:
Investment Falls Off a Cliff
U.S. companies are scaling back investment plans at the fastest pace since the recession, signaling more trouble for the economic recovery.

Half of the nation's 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders have announced plans to curtail capital expenditures this year or next, according to a review by The Wall Street Journal of securities filings and conference calls.

Nationwide, business investment in equipment and software�a measure of economic vitality in the corporate sector�stalled in the third quarter for the first time since early 2009. Corporate investment in new buildings has declined.

At the same time, exports are slowing or falling to such critical markets as China and the euro zone as the global economy downshifts, creating another drag on firms' expansion plans.

Corporate executives say they are slowing or delaying big projects to protect profits amid easing demand and rising uncertainty. Uncertainty around the U.S. elections and federal budget policies also appear among the factors driving the investment pullback since midyear. It is unclear whether Washington will avert the so-called fiscal cliff, tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to begin Jan. 2.
And it's all Chimpy McBushitler's fault... Oh? Wait? Four more years and then we get some adults back in the room.

Our tax dollars at work - Akutan, Alaska

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From Alaska radio station KUCB:
Akutan Builds Harbor First, Access Later
While Akutan�s new airport has received considerable attention and scrutiny for being expensive and hard to access, another large infrastructure project on the island that suffers some of the same problems has mostly flown under the radar.

Over the last two years, Knik Construction has converted what was once a flat stretch of tundra at the end of Akutan Bay into a full-size boat harbor.

"We've excavated almost a million cubic yards of material," says project manager Craig Bauld.

For now, the harbor is mostly just a big hole in the ground. While the construction team has finished its work, there�s still no electricity, no running water, and no floats. There�s also no road from the village, which is two miles away, so the only way to access the boat harbor is by boat. That means the harbor is cut off from the village�s grocery store, post office and fuel dock. Steve Boardman is head of the Army Corps of Engineers� civil projects division. He says transportation situation is unusual.
A bit more -- about the two-mile road:
Boardman adds that it helped that the project was �shovel-ready� when $29 million of federal stimulus money became available in 2009.

�And in this particular case, we knew a road was being contemplated," Boardman says.

The road is still being contemplated, but construction is at least a few years out. Every foot of the road will need to be blasted from the steep cliffs ringing Akutan Bay. That requires permits and money - lots of it.

�Our first estimate was at $18.1 million," says Jacob Stepetin, the administrator for Akutan Traditional Council, the group responsible for the road project. "But that was when we first planned it. It�s been two years now, so you know that�s going up.�

That�s $11 million per mile. Stepetin says the Council has petitioned the state government, the federal government, and Trident Seafoods for money, but so far, there aren�t any hard commitments.
All this for a town whose 2010 census population was 1,027. It is a port facility for fishing but they should levy a tax on the ships and use that to pay for the infrastructure. I don't see why my tax dollars should pay for it. Do not eat that much fish -- or pork.
Two stories about Israel today. First from CNBC:
Israeli government websites under mass hacking attack
More than 44 million hacking attempts have been made on Israeli government web sites since Wednesday when Israel began its Gaza air strikes, the government said on Sunday.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said just one hacking attempt was successful on a site he did not want to name, but it was up and running after 10 minutes of downtime.

Typically, there are a few hundred hacking attempts a day on Israeli sites, the ministry said.

Attempts on defense-related sites have been the highest, while 10 million attempts have been made on the site of Israel's president, 7 million on the Foreign Ministry and 3 million on the site of the prime minister.

A ministry spokesman said while the attacks have come from around the world, most have been from Israel and the Palestinian territories.
All this means is that someone is ponying up a couple bucks to lease a thousand bots around the world. This kind of attack is called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDS). Depending on the hosting computer server, a given website can only respond to so many simultaneous requests to serve a web page. If you get too many, the response time becomes so long that the visitor's browser will time out. By using bot machines to hammer a given website, this renders it unviewable by legitimate clients. This kind of attack has been around for quite a few years -- 'cmon guys, use your BRAAAIIINNNSSSSES!!!. Eleventy!!!. These are trivial to diagnose and there are a number of automated remedies to put into place. Second from Anonymous. I agree with some of what they do but they have put way too many people's lives at risk for pure ego-play on their part. They publish any data that they can get their peanut-butter and jelly stained hands on without regard to whether a person's life might be at risk from this disclosure. They would be just as effective publishing the first ten lines of a given document and saying to the party in power, we have the rest -- do this or we will publish the entire thing. They do not need to have blood on their hands. They should not be responsible for getting people being killed for their own emo gain. Anonymous really needs adult supervision. From Russia Today:
Anonymous leaks personal information of 5,000 Israeli officials
Internet hacktivist group Anonymous has declared cyberwar on Israel, posting personal data of five thousand Israeli officials online.

The group used their site to address a message to the Israeli government before linking to the page with names, ID numbers and personal emails of 5,000 officials.

The message said: "It has come to our attention that the Israeli government has ignored repeated warnings about the abuse of human rights, shutting down the internet in Israel and mistreating its own citizens and those of its neighboring countries."
Fscking pathetic.

Long meeting tonight

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Part of what kept the meeting going so long is that the fire department is planning a training session on December 8th -- a Saturday morning. There is a house in town that is beyond repair (built in 1920 and the last owner did zero maintenance) so the current owner is having the fire department come in and burn it for training. They did this to another property back in May 2009 -- a lot of fun! I'll be there and shoot some photos. This one will be interesting because it's only 30 feet from other buildings so the fire department will have to be very careful -- the other property was by itself in a field. Our water board will be running a line from a nearby hydrant to provide water. One of our board members is also a Volunteer for our local Fire District (Yeah 14!!!) and was telling about another planned fire where the firefighters had done their training, the building was fully involved and the firefighters were hanging out eating pizza and drinking pop. Cars would drive by and yell at them for not "working". Jon said that they just put on stupid grins and waved back. This fire is on the main highway that leads to the Mt. Baker ski area and on Saturday morning, it will be busy. Should be fun to film some of these reactions... The state is now requiring us to test for Radium in our water -- another $95 added to our testing bill. We have not raised rates for more than five years but are pushing up against that limit now -- our annual general meeting is in March and we are trying to see how we can get away without an increase. Just another day in paradise...

That's it for a couple of hours

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Fixing dinner (a big pot of red lentil and bean soup -- kinda borrowing from Minestrone and Middle Eastern on seasonings. Steaming some veggies and made a peanut sauce to go with some Thai rice noodles. Have a water board meeting at 7PM tonight so offline for a couple of hours...

The Curley Effect

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From Mark Hendrickson writing at Forbes:
President Obama's Wealth Destroying Goal: Taking The 'Curley Effect' Nationwide
It�s hard to think of anything more perverse in American politics than the Curley effect. The Curley effect historically has been an urban phenomenon, but President Obama seems bent on taking the entire country down this wretched path.

As defined by Harvard scholars Edward L. Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer in a famous 2002 article, the Curley effect (named after its prototype, James Michael Curley, a four-time mayor of Boston in the first half of the 20th century) is a political strategy of �increasing the relative size of one�s political base through distortionary, wealth-reducing policies.� Translation: A politician or a political party can achieve long-term dominance by tipping the balance of votes in their direction through the implementation of policies that strangle and stifle economic growth. Counterintuitively, making a city poorer leads to political success for the engineers of that impoverishment.

Here�s an example of how the Curley effect works: Let�s say a mayor advocates and adopts policies that redistribute wealth from the prosperous to the not-so-prosperous by bestowing generous tax-financed favors on unions, the public sector in general, and select corporations. These beneficiaries become economically dependent on their political patrons, so they give them their undivided electoral support�e.g., votes, campaign contributions, and get-out-the-vote drives.

Meanwhile, the anti-rich rhetoric of these clever demagogues, combined with higher taxes to fund the political favors, triggers a flight of tax refugees from the cities to the suburbs. This reduces the number of political opponents on the city�s voter registration rolls, thereby consolidating an electoral majority for the anti-wealth party. It also shrinks the tax base of the city, even as the city�s budget swells. The inevitable bankruptcy that results from expanding expenditures while diminishing revenues can be postponed for decades with the help of state and federal subsidies (�stimulus� in the Obama vernacular) and creative financing, but eventually you end up with cities like Detroit�called by Glaeser and Shleifer �the first major Third World city in the United States.�
Dr. Hendrickson goes on for a bit more (well worth your time to read) and closes with this:
The Curley effect already has inflicted great economic damage on important American cities and states. It now presents an existential threat to our entire country. That one of our major political parties has based its own success on such a ruthlessly cynical strategy is disgusting, if not diabolical. How we get off this suicidal path is one of the most urgent challenges facing us today.
I always thought it was several pillars of an agenda and not one specific tactic. Crap! We need to get the adults back in charge now. The opriginal paper can be downloaded here: The Curley Effect Direct link here

Heavy Weather for the next couple of days

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Got a couple of storm fronts moving in -- rain supposed to start this afternoon. Two weather advisories for the area here and here Lulu and I just spent the last 45 minutes refilling our wood bin and building a fire. Got hay and minerals for the critters - everyone is doing just fine.

Here's how you do it - Surgery

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From Reason Magazine:
Oklahoma Doctors vs. Obamacare
Three years ago, Dr. Keith Smith, co-founder and managing partner of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, took an initiative that would only be considered radical in the health care industry: He posted online a list of prices for 112 common surgical procedures. The 51-year-old Smith, a self-described libertarian, and his business partner, Dr. Steve Lantier, founded the Surgery Center 15 years ago, after they became disillusioned with the way patients were treated at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, where the two men worked as anesthesiologists. In 1997, Smith and Lantier bought the shell of a former surgical center with the aim of creating a for-profit facility that could deliver first-rate care at a fraction of what traditional hospitals charge.

The major cause of exploding U.S. heath care costs is the third-party payer system, a text-book concept in which A buys goods or services from B that are paid for by C. Because private insurance companies or the government generally pick up most of the tab for medical services, patients don�t have the normal incentive to seek out value.

The Surgery Center�s consumer-driven model could become increasingly common as Americans look for alternatives to the traditional health care market�an unintended consequence of Obamacare. Patients may have no choice but to look outside the traditional health care industry in the face of higher costs and reduced access to doctors and hospitals.
Makes a lot of sense -- the more 'layers' you put into anything, the more overhead you have and the more it is going to cost. Keeping things simple and lean will result in win/win for everyone. We could make medical care affordable for everyone if we took big government/big medicine out of the picture. Some more -- hospital billing and pricing:
Except for the clerical staff, every employee at the Surgery Center is directly involved in patient care. For example, both human resources and building maintenance are the responsibility of the head nurse. "One reason our prices are so low," says Smith, "is that we don't have administrators running around in their four or five thousand dollar suits."

In 2010, the top 18 administrative employees at Integris Health received an average of $413,000 in compensation, according to the not-for-profits' 990 tax form. There are no administrative employees at the Surgery Center.

Because bills charged by Integris are paid primarily by insurance companies or the government, the hospital gets away with gouging for its services. Reason obtained a bill for a procedure that Dr. Sigmon performed at Integris in October 2010 called a �complex bilateral sinus procedure,� which helps patients with chronic nasal infections. The bill, which is strictly for the hospital itself and doesn't include Sigmon's or the anesthesiologist's fees, totaled $33,505. When Sigmon performs the same procedure at the Surgery Center, the all-inclusive price is $5,885.

The Integris bill for the same nasal procedure went to Blue Cross of Oklahoma, so the patient had no compelling reason to question its outrageous markups. They included a $360 charge for a steroid called dexamethasone, which can be purchased wholesale for just 75 cents. Or the three charges totaling $630 for a painkiller called fentanyl citrate, which all together cost the hospital about $1.50.
Why doesn't everyone do this?

Good on him!

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From France24:
Israel ready to �significantly expand� Gaza offensive
Israel�s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern warning to Hamas on Sunday, declaring that the Israeli army was prepared to significantly widen its Gaza offensive. Netanyahu�s threat came as Hamas launched a fresh rocket attack on Tel Aviv.
�Our sole aim of this offensive is to make Hamas stop firing rockets. We have used air strikes but if that�s not enough then we may contemplate ground operations as well,� Ygal Palmor from the Israeli foreign ministry told FRANCE 24 on Sunday.

�If rockets are being fired then that will bring the ground operation forward,� he added.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also said on Sunday that Israel would not negotiate a truce with the Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers as long as rocket fire continues from the Palestinian enclave.
Sounds pretty simple to me -- stop firing rockets and we will pull back. Keep firing rockets and we will go into your territory, annihilate your military, destroy your munitions and ordnance and send you from the 9th century back even further into the 4th century. One last little bit:
The night of violence represents a blow to peace efforts, which have been lead by Egypt�s President Mohamed Morsi, who on Saturday said there were indications a truce could "soon" be reached.
France24 reports this as being a truce when in reality it would be a Hudna. The word Hudna does not mean truce -- it is a tactical truce that allows the so-called Palestinians to re-arm themselves and then find some minor infraction that allows them to break the "truce" and then come back even stronger than before. This has been explored at length here, here and here. Makes for some fascinating historical reading. From the first link above:
Hudna has a distinct meaning to Islamic fundamentalists, well-versed in their history: The prophet Mohammad struck a legendary, ten-year hudna with the Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca in the seventh century. Over the following two years, Mohammad rearmed and took advantage of a minor Quraysh infraction to break the hudna and launch the full conquest of Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.
The Israelis are just as aware of the true definition as everyone else so no -- no truce, only surrender.

Meet Richard Windsor

And who is he? None other than Environmental Protection Agency director Lisa Jackson when she wants to keep some email secret.

It is turning into quite the little Scandal Season for the Obama administration. Skyrocketing energy prices, nuclear Iran, severe recession, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the Sex scandals and those emails and now this. From The Daily Caller:

EPA chief's secret 'alias' email account revealed
The name Richard Windsor may sound innocuous, but it is allegedly one of the secret �alias� email accounts used by Obama EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

"That is the name - sorry, one of the alias names - used by Obama's radical EPA chief to keep her email from those who ask for it," Chris Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of the new book "The Liberal War on on Transparency," told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an email.

In his book, Horner revealed the existence of "alias" email accounts used by EPA administrators. The first such transparency dodge, he writes, came from Carol Browner, former director of the Obama White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy and Bill Clinton's EPA administrator.

"You remember Ms. Browner, the lady who suddenly ordered her computer hard drive reformatted and backup tapes erased, hours after a federal court issued a 'preserve' order - that her lawyers at the Clinton Justice Department insisted they hadn't yet told her about?" Horner told TheDC News Foundation. "The one who said it's all good because she didn't use her computer for email anyway? That one."

Horner said two former "fairly senior" EPA officials contacted him while he was researching his book, and gave him the name of one of the email alias names used by EPA Chief Jackson.

"Richard Windsor" was just one of the alternate email addresses she used, according to Horner, meaning there could be more.

More from The Washington Times:

Congress demands EPA's secret email accounts
A House committee has launched an investigation into whether EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used an email alias to try to hide correspondence from open-government requests and her agency�s own internal watchdog � something that Republican lawmakers said could run afoul of the law.

The science committee has asked Ms. Jackson to turn over all information related to an email account under the name of "Richard Windsor," which is one of the aliases identified by a researcher looking into the EPA.

The committee has also asked the White House's lawyer and EPA's inspector general to look into the matter and report back by the end of this month, saying that the secret email accounts could have been used to keep key information from official watchdogs as well as the public.

EPA did not respond Friday night to a request for comment.

Emphasis mine -- no shit. They are too busy scrubbing servers. We could use a good whistleblower right about now. They don't even have to come public -- after all, the ClimateGate I and II was handled completely anonymously and ClimateGate II has that encrypted package that makes a wonderful Sword of Damocles  in the event they do find the leak.

Well that was a lot of fun - Robert Irvine

Went into town early, had dinner at a local brewpub that we both like, drove around town for a little bit -- checked out a few art galleries -- and then went over to the Mount Baker theater for Robert Irvine's show.

Neither of us had any idea of what to expect but it was a lot of fun -- two and a half hours of cooking 'challenges' with members of the audience.

There was this very hokey 'computer' that would 'randomly' issue a challenge that Robert had to win -- fifteen minutes to cook a dish but within that fifteen minutes, he had to escape from a strait jacket. He brought 30 kids up on stage and made them all PB&J sammiches but he had to do this while suspended upside down.

His final challenge was to cook a meal with a member of the audience but they were handcuffed front to back with the audience member in the front.

He also called out all members of the Military of which Lulu is one. Another volunteer from the audience came up and sang America the Beautiful as the audience sang along. Very nice voice too! All the proceeds from his merch counter went to a military charity and although we know about his show Restaurant: Impossible, what neither of us knew (and it's not mentioned on the show), is that he also builds and renovates soup kitchens and kitchens for homeless.

He built a huge community kitchen in Joplin, MO after the tornado wiped it off the map. A lot of fun and my respect for the man increased a lot on knowing just how much he gives back to both the Military and Civilian communities.

A fun day

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In a couple hours, Lulu and I are heading into Bellingham for dinner and to catch Chef Robert Irvine's show at the Mt. Baker Theater. We both really like his television shows so it should be a lot of fun. Also planning to catch the new Bond film but that will probably be Tuesday.

Attending a conference in Chicago

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From Anne Sorock writing at Legal Insurrection:
Northwestern U. Marxism conference packed with teachers
Teachers filled the ranks at the 2012 Midwest Marxism Conference, which was held Saturday at Northwestern University�s Medill School of Journalism.

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey, who spoke at one of the breakout sessions, was just one of the hundreds of attendees, many of them teachers, there to strategize about the next phases of the partnership between Chicago Socialists and the Chicago Teachers Union.

Of course, all recording was strictly verboten unless you had been preapproved by the Chicago Socialists.

The event kicked off with Becca Barnes�s keynote speech. Barnes, a Chicago teacher, spoke about the new era of Marxism in America stemming from the Chicago Socialists� recent successes in running the show during the Chicago Teachers Strike. Said Barnes, who referred to everyday American capitalists as �capitalist vampires,� �the struggle here in the United States has entered a new phase. Nowhere have we pointed the way forward more clearly than here in Chicago with the teachers union strike.� From her talk and other succeeding events throughout the day, it was clear that the Teachers Union and Marxists were one and the same.
Good Lord! These are the idiots teaching our children. A bit more:
Thankfully, after hours of enduring non-discussion and hate speech against Americans (and being amongst those celebrating a philosophy of mass murderers), I was �outed� as not a communist, told I was �not in solidarity� and surrounded by members of the Chicago Socialists who told me to leave the Northwestern School of Journalism premises.
What does Chicago have to offer the United States anyway? Some financial entities? I would say just nuke this pestilent hell-hole from space and be done with it. UPDATE: Rebel Pundit from Breitbart was there too:
Teachers Flock to Northwestern University for 'Marxist Conference'
This Saturday, the Midwest Marxist Conference was held at Northwestern University�s Medill School of Journalism. The event was teeming with teachers who spoke about the new found bond between the radical socialists and their Teachers Union. The all-day event, which collected money to support Chicago Socialists and featured a communist bookstore, provided students on-campus along with the radical left community to plan the next phase in their activism.
Some more:
Despite registering for the event, the group of socialists that removed me, including pre-school teacher Kirstin Roberts, social worker Alison McKenna, printer Eric Kerl, Socialist organizer Shaun Harkin, and others. They surrounded me at the edge of a staircase, proceeded to push their way closer to me to force me down the stairs, and hurled insults at me as I attempted to find a way to leave safely. Even after leaving the conference, the group continued to bully me, with one larger man saying under his breath that �you know what would happen at Teamsters meeting� inferring a more violent solution to my presence:

Our financial woes

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Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man links to a fantastic post from Karl Denninger at Market-Ticker:
"There's none so blind as those who will not see"
That time-honored idiom applies particularly to the world's economic situation right now. I'm at a loss to understand how so many (including alleged 'experts' like Paul Krugman and other Keynesian hard-liners) continue to parrot the 'party line' that we need to borrow more, tax more and spend more in order to stimulate the economy and overcome the recession. We've been doing precisely that for a long, long time . . . and the results are what confront us now.

Karl Denninger laid it out (again) very bluntly today.
Go and read -- we are in for a world of hurt unless we get some adults running our financial system.

Twitter - stayin' classy

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From The Daily Caller:
Twitter suspends American Orthodox Jew for tweeting anti-Obama cartoon about Israel
Without warning, Twitter suspended a series of three accounts owned by an Orthodox Jew from New York City Wednesday and Thursday, after one of them tweeted a cartoon depicting the Obama administration stabbing Israel in the back. The social media company refused to tell The Daily Caller if the cartoon was the reason it shut the accounts down.

Twitter also wouldn�t say why it hasn�t taken similar action against the terror group Hamas and its supporters for tweeting �Death to the Jews� and other threats of violence.

The suspended accounts, named @RealGazaPeace, @RealGazaPeace1 and @GazaRealStory, were all operated by 25-year-old Benjamin Reisman. �Social media sites have an awesome responsibility to keep to our right of free speech,� he told TheDC via email Friday.

He began tweeting this week with a single account, he said, adding a second and a third as Twitter canceled each one.
A bit more:
�Enter �Hitler,� �Death to Jews� or any similar search� on Twitter, Reisman told TheDC, �and the volume of tweets, hate-filled and promoting death and violence, is quite shocking. I would just hope this rule is equally enforced to both sides.�
The al-Qassam Brigades appear to have violated Twitter�s published Terms of Service on many occasions, including one example from April 2011 in which it called for a �New Holocaust� against Jews.
Examples and links to postings in the article. These people are disgusting. It's one thing if they want to live in the 9th century, they should not try to drag everyone else down to their level. There are also links to topsy archives of Mr. Reisman's original three twitter sites. I do not see anything inflammatory about them -- nothing advocating violence, just strong defense.

Some good news from Israel

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From Al Arabiya News:
Israel kills 10 Palestinians, destroys Hamas Cabinet building
Israeli air strikes killed 10 Palestinians and destroyed the Hamas government building on Saturday as the Jewish state called up thousands more reservists for a possible ground war.

�The cabinet headquarters was targeted with four strikes and the government stresses that it remains committed to its positions and its stand alongside the people,� the Hamas government said in a statement.

Eyewitnesses and Hamas officials said the building located in the Nasser neighborhood of Gaza City was virtually leveled in the strike.

�The headquarters was completely destroyed and neighboring houses were damaged as a result of the barbaric Israeli bombing,� a Hamas official said.

After Palestinian militants fired rockets at the heart of Israel on Friday, Israeli warplanes carried out 180 air strikes overnight, Israel television reported.
In Egypt, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel would be held to account for the children killed.

�Everyone must know that sooner or later there will be a holding to account for the massacre of these innocent children killed inhumanely in Gaza,� he said in a speech in Cairo.
Ham-ass is specifically locating their munitions stores and rocket firing positions in civilian residential areas, playgrounds and mosques -- when Israel retaliates, their toadies in the complicit media can photograph all the poor wounded children with blood running down their faces. Like this account from the BBC, or this account from Anderson Cooper at CNN.

Just wonderful - Egypt gets in on the fun

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From the Weekly Standard
Report: Rockets Fired from Egypt Hit Israel
Two major Israeli newspapers are reporting that rockets fired from Egypt have hit Israel.

"Terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula launched rockets into Israel Friday night," reports the Jerusalem Post. "The rockets fell near an Israeli village on the southern border, causing some damage, but no injuries."

The Israeli daily Haaretz reports, "Rockets fired from direction of Egypt toward Eshkol Regional Council."

It appears no damage was reported in connection with the rocket fire from Egypt. Earlier today, the Egyptian prime minister visited Gaza to express solidarity with the Palestinians there.
I wish our President had the moral clarity and the stones to back Israel and tell Egypt and the Paleos to sod off and crawl back into their caves or we would start the bombing in 15 minutes.

22 signs

of voter fraud -- from The American Dream:
22 Signs That Voter Fraud Is Wildly Out Of Control And The Election Was A Sham
After what we have seen this November, how is any American ever supposed to trust the integrity of our elections ever again? There were over 70,000 reports of voting problems on election day, and there are numerous eyewitnesses that claim that they saw voting machines change votes for one candidate to another candidate right in front of their eyes. In several of the swing states there were counties where the number of registered voters exceeded the total voting age population by a very wide margin. How in the world does that happen? Some of the vote totals that were reported in some of the most important swing states were completely and totally absurd, and yet we are just supposed to accept them on blind faith without ever being able to ask any questions. Of course the Romney campaign has already totally given up, so it isn�t as if there is any chance that the results of the presidential election could be overturned anyhow. But if massive election fraud did take place and nobody is held accountable, what kind of message will that send for the future? Will we ever be able to have faith in the integrity of our elections ever again?

The following are 22 signs that voter fraud is wildly out of control and the election was a sham�

#1 According to the Election Protection Coalition, voters across the United States reported more than 70,000 voting problems by 5 PM Eastern time on election day.

#2 There were 59 voting divisions in the city of Philadelphia where Mitt Romney did not receive a single vote. In those voting divisions, the combined vote total was 19,605 for Barack Obama and 0 for Mitt Romney.

#3 The overall voter turnout rate in Philadelphia was only about 60 percent. But in the areas of Philadelphia where Republican poll watchers were illegally removed, the voter turnout rate was over 90% and Obama received over 99% of the vote. Officials in Philadelphia have already ruled out an investigation.

#4 According to WND, one poll watcher in Pennsylvania actually claims that he witnessed voting machine software repeatedly switch votes from Mitt Romney to Barack Obama�
It was in Upper Macungie Township, near Allentown, Pa., where an auditor, Robert Ashcroft, was dispatched by Republicans to monitor the vote on Election Day. He said the software he observed would �change the selection back to default � to Obama.�

He said that happened in about 5 percent to 10 percent of the votes.

He said the changes appeared to have been made by a software program.

Ashcroft said the format for computer programming has a default status, and in this case it appeared to be designating a vote for Obama each time it went to default.
#5 Somehow Mitt Romney won 55 out of the 67 counties in the state of Pennsylvania and still managed to lose the entire state by a wide margin because of the absurd vote totals that Obama ran up in the urban areas.
Seventeen more at the site -- this one stands out as particularly egregious: #18 In Wisconsin, there were allegations that Obama voters were actually being bussed in from out of state
The Democrats stationed a self described �BIG Chicago pro bono attorney� as one of their two observers at this small polling place. He remained at the polling place from 7:00 a.m. until well after 8:p.m. �..A high priced CHICAGO attorney, sitting in a Sheboygan WISCONSIN polling place, observing wards comprised of 1500 voters? �. WHY???

Why would someone from Chicago be observing in Sheboygan Wisconsin? And WHY at such a small polling place? Finally, isn�t it interesting that this would occur at the VERY polling place in which all of the above described events ALSO occurred? AGAIN WHY WOULD A CHICAGO ATTORNEY BE OBSERVING AN ELECTION POLLING PLACE WITH FEWER THAN 1500 VOTERS IN IT, IN SHEBOYGAN WISCONSIN? Of all the places where there has been suspected voting irregularities, and OUTRIGHT FRAUD throughout the ENTIRE United States, WHY HERE? WHY SHEBOYGAN? WHY THIS SMALL WARD?

This lawyer spent the day running in and out making, and taking calls, which coincidentally then coincided with influxes of groups of individuals by the van and bus loads, coming in to register, AND VOTE, using what appeared to be copied Allient energy bills. These individuals often did not have photo I.D.�s, could not remember their own addresses without looking at the paper, and became easily tripped, confused and annoyed when questioned.

Many of these same individuals, just so happened to be dressed in/wearing CHICAGO BEARS apparel, and whom openly discussed �catching busses back to Chicago� with each other, with poll workers, via their cell phones in the lobby area just outside the polling place, as well as in the parking lot, both before and AFTER registering and voting.

One woman was dressed head to toe in CHICAGO BEARS apparel including perfectly manicured BEARS fake fingernails!

She complained because registering was taking too long and she had to hurry up to catch her bus back to Chicago.

We have photos of these people in vehicles with plates from different states, photos of them leaving the polls, and other irregularities.
I wonder how long it will take for a couple whistle-blowers to come forward and tell how many illegal ballots were cast. My initial thought was that they would amount to less than a percent or two but now I am not so sure. Welcome to Chicago politics...

Front moving in

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There are a series of fronts stacked up and moving in our direction. Starting to rain now and snow level will be around 3000 feet. Mt. Baker is talking about a limited opening on the 21st
From Bloomberg:
Carbon Fee From Obama Seen Viable With Backing From Exxon
Exxon Mobil Corp. is part of a growing coalition backing a carbon tax as an alternative to costly regulation, giving newfound prominence to an idea once anathema in Washington.

Conservative economists and fossil-fuel lobbyists united in 2009 to fend off climate-change legislation that would have established a cap-and-trade mechanism. They are now locked in a backroom debate over a tax on carbon-dioxide emissions that could raise an estimated $100 billion in its first year.

A carbon tax would force electricity producers, refiners and manufacturers to pay a fee for the greenhouse gases they emit. It is gaining interest as lawmakers and President Barack Obama pledge to simplify the corporate tax code and raise revenue to narrow the deficit. The devastation from superstorm Sandy following the wildfires and drought of this summer have also increased concern about global warming.
Another perfect example of unintended consequences. This 'tax' may raise $100B but it will impose that plus another $100B on consumers in the form of higher prices for trucked items (everything), higher fuel costs, higher electricity costs, etc... Our Federal Government spends about $10B each day so this added revenue will last us less than two weeks out of the fiscal year. A drop in the bucket.

IPCC on the skids?

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From Gulf Times:
Climate Change panel chief says �not invited to COP18�
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will not be attending the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8) in Doha, chairman Dr Rajendra K Pachauri has said.

�For the first time in the 18 years of COP, the IPCC will not be attending, because we have not been invited,� he told Gulf Times in Doha.

COP18 is to be held from November 26 to December 7.

The IPCC, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, former vice president of the US and environmental activist, is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. Currently 195 countries are members.
Buh Bye! Remember, 1998 was the warmest year in recent history. Earth has been cooling ever since. The sun's output is also very very low. At least Dr. Pachauri still has his literary career to keep him in the lifestyle he has become accustomed to...

[Ctrl] C - [Ctrl] V

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From Pro Publica:
From Russia With PR
Several opinion columns praising Russia and published in the last two years on CNBC�s web site and the Huffington Post were written by seemingly independent professionals but were placed on behalf of the Russian government by its public-relations firm, Ketchum.

The columns, written by two businessmen, a lawyer, and an academic, heap praise on the Russian government for its �ambitious modernization strategy� and �enforcement of laws designed to better protect business and reduce corruption.� One of the CNBC opinion pieces, authored by an executive at a Moscow-based investment bank, concludes that �Russia may well be the most dynamic place on the continent.�

There�s nothing unusual about Ketchum�s work on behalf of Russia. Public relations firms constantly peddle op-eds on behalf of politicians, corporations, and governments. Rarely if ever do publications disclose the role of a PR firm in placing an op-ed, so it�s unusual to get a glimpse behind the scenes and see how an op-ed was generated.

What readers of the CNBC and Huffington Post pieces did not know � but Justice Department foreign agent registration filings by Ketchum show � is that the columns were placed by the public-relations firm working on a contract with the Russian government to, among other things, promote the country �as a place favorable for foreign investments.�

In at least one case, a Ketchum subcontractor reached out to a writer and offered to place his columns in media outlets. The writer, Adrian Pabst, a lecturer in politics at the University of Kent, said that his views were his own and that he was not influenced or paid by Ketchum.

A spokesman for CNBC, which published the pieces on the Guest Blog section of its website, declined to comment. A Huffington Post spokesman said the column placed by Ketchum did not violate the site�s policy.

Ketchum spokeswoman Jackie Burton told ProPublica that when the firm corresponds with experts or the media on behalf of Russia, �consistent with Ketchum�s policies and industry standards, we clearly state that we represent the Russian Federation.�

Russia, often criticized for human rights abuses and corruption, paid handsomely for the public-relations work. From mid-2006 to mid-2012, Ketchum received almost $23 million in fees and expenses on the Russia account and an additional $17 million on the account of Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled energy giant, according to foreign agent filings.
Nothing illegal but still -- cutting and pasting spew from a Public Relations business is not reporting and should not be represented as such. Not that I take Huffington Post or CNBC for anything reliable anyway... Shades of Yuri Bezmenov Read here and here

Discovery will be interesting

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From The Heritage Network:
Lawsuit Alleges �Corruption and Negligence� at Department of Energy
A lawsuit filed in federal court on Wednesday alleges mass favoritism in the Department of Energy�s decisions to award federal grants to major car companies to develop electric vehicles, according to a legal complaint obtained by Scribe.

The plaintiff, San Francisco-based XP Technology, says in a complaint filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that �corruption and negligence� pervaded DOE�s decision to award loan guarantees to Ford, Nissan, Tesla Motors, and Fisker Automotive for the development of electric vehicle technology.

�Investigations have shown that DOE officials intentionally stalled numerous applicants� reviews in order to force them out of business and protect favored players,� the complaint claims. It adds:
XP has received information demonstrating that the unprecedented number of failures in the DOE program relative to what DOE officials have claimed to be �the most expensive and extensive due diligence in history� is explained by manipulated reviews, in the due diligence effort, on behalf of what the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigations found to be �favoritism� in published investigation reports. A senate ethics investigation states, in published reports, that �negligence and mismanagement by DOE officials� was a regular occurrence.
Like I said, the discovery process will be very interesting -- time to make a big bowl of popcorn...

Hostess - the union's response

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From Politico:
Union: 'Bain-style' killing of Twinkie
The Bain attack is back.

This time it�s being used against Hostess Brands, the Twinkies and Wonder Bread maker that announced Friday it was closing. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka drew the comparison in a public statement Friday.

�What�s happening with Hostess Brands is a microcosm of what�s wrong with America, as Bain-style Wall Street vultures make themselves rich by making America poor,� Trumka said in a public statement. �Crony capitalism and consistently poor management drove Hostess into the ground, but its workers are paying the price.�
What else is this ass-hat going to say -- is he going to be honest and say that the unions ratcheted the cost of employment so high that it bankrupted the company? That he put the union's support behind a President who is profoundly bad for business? That he doesn't really care for the workers, he only cares about consolidating his power?

Federal efficiency - our Postal Service

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From The Washington Times:
Despite $15.9 billion loss, U.S. Postal Service execs see boost in pay
Despite nearly $16 billion in annual losses announced by the U.S. Postal Service on Thursday, all but one of the top five executives for the nation's mail service had an overall compensation increase this year, records show.

Unlike past years, when the Postal Service�s politically appointed, bipartisan board of governors awarded executives lucrative deferred compensation deals and incentive bonuses, this year�s compensation increases came mostly in the form of pension plan earnings.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, for instance, earned a base salary of $276,840, but even without a bonus or incentive payout, his overall compensation came to $512,093, compared with $384,229 in 2011, according to regulatory filings.

Fueling the rise was the fact that his retirement account grew by $186,536. A 37-year employee of the Postal Service, Mr. Donahoe was paid $4.76 per hour during his first job as a postal clerk.

Meanwhile, two other executives � Ellis Burgoyne, chief information officer, and Mary Anne Gibbons, general counsel � also received hefty increases in their retirement plans.

In fact, Mr. Burgoyne�s retirement plan grew by more than $270,000, bringing his total compensation to $510,505, slightly less than Mr. Donahoe�s.
Total compensation for top postal executives is capped at $276,840, based on a rule that executives can�t earn more than 120 percent of the salary of the vice president of the United States. But the board of governors, which approves executive compensation for the Postal Service, can authorize hundreds of thousands of dollars in deferred compensation payments.

The Washington Times reported last year, for instance, that retired Postmaster General John E. Potter, now chief executive of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, was still owed more than $800,000 in deferred compensation payments with payouts scheduled over a decade.
The comments are a fun mix of moonbat and fact. I for one would love it if the Constitutional mandate was repealed and the USPS privatized. The Private Express Statutes had their day but this organization needs to be streamlined...

Another bit of fun Union idiocy

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From Los Angeles station KCAL:
Thousands Of LAX Workers Set For Walkout On Thanksgiving Eve
Employees at Los Angeles International Airport were considering plans Friday to walk off the job ahead on what is traditionally the busiest traveling day of the year.

A coalition of Southland labor and community leaders are calling for the protest of alleged violations by LAX contractor Aviation Safeguards (AVSG) after breaking their contract with the airport earlier this year.
Waaaahhhhhh!!! Talk about maximizing public opinion against your cause. Times are tough all over...
From FOX News:
Hostess to close, lay off 18,500 after 'crippling' union fight
A small union's stubbornness in contract talks with Hostess is being blamed for the shutdown of one of America's snack food icons, the loss of 18,500 jobs just before the holiday season and much-needed tax revenue from hundreds of plants and shops across the country.

The privately-held company had reached a deal with the Teamsters, but a smaller union representing bakery workers refused to agree to concessions, prompting the mass layoffs and closing down of hundreds of plants, bakeries and delivery routes. That prompted harsh words from both the company and from Teamsters officials.

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn said in a statement. "Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."

The company said it will continue to ship out its well-known products until inventory runs out.
The smaller union was the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union -- very big name, very small brains. Here is the Wikipedia entry for this union. Here is the home page for this union -- it keeps giving me Bandwidth Exceeded errors through. Heh. Hostess snack cakes are a favorite food of hackers and you do not want to piss off a bunch of hackers...

Oopsie - email faux pas

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From ABC News:
Oops! Taliban Reveal Identities of Their Mailing List Members
Somewhere out there, Mullah Omar must be shaking his head.

In a Dilbert-esque faux pax, a Taliban spokesperson sent out a routine email last week with one notable difference.He publicly CC'd the names of everyone on his mailing list.

The names were disclosed in an email by Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, an official Taliban spokesperson, on Saturday. The email was a press release he received from the account of Zabihullah Mujahid, another Taliban spokesperson. Ahmedi then forwarded Mujahid's email to the full Taliban mailing list, but rather than using the BCC function, or blind carbon copy which keeps email addresses private, Ahmedi made the addresses public.

"Taliban have included all 4 of my email addresses on the leaked distribution list," tweeted journalist Mustafa Kazemi, a prolific Kabul-based tweeter with more than 9,500 followers. "Quite reassuring to my safety."

The list, made up of more than 400 recipients, consists mostly of journalists, but also includes an address appearing to belong to a provincial governor, an Afghan legislator, several academics and activists, an l Afghan consultative committee, and a representative of Gulbuddein Hekmatar, an Afghan warlord whose outlawed group Hezb-i-Islami is believed to be behind several attacks against coalition troops.
Some time spent with DNS lists will prove valuable. Heh...

The Denver UFOs

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?�?�?� - Seriously WTF There seems to be some small UFOs flying over Denver. Story here and here. Possible explanation here. The local television station went out with one of their own cameras and got the same artifacts so it was not a hoax from the original cameraman. What would I do? I would take two cameras spaced a couple feet apart and use stereoscopic analysis to see how far the UFO is from the camera lens. If it is a bug, it will be in one field of view and probably not in the other. If it is in both fields of view, this will get really interesting, really fast...

Food labels - GMO

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There is a push to have the labels on foods changed to reflect if they contain Genetically Modified Foods. The proposition to do this failed in California. I went shopping today and saw some twinkie soliciting signatures for a similar initiative in Washington State. I asked him if he knew what the original corn cob looked like. Just like a true progressive, when confronted with a fact he didn't like, he changed the subject and started ranting how corn had no nutritional value and how he didn't eat it. I asked if he ate rice. He owned up to this. I asked if he knew about Golden Rice (here and here). He did not. I asked if he knew who Norman Borlaug (here, here, here, here and here)was. He did not. I suggested that he Google these two items and he assured me he would but I bet he will not. A shame as this guy saved a billion people from brutal slow starvation. Won the Nobel Prize for it too. Here is a nice article on the failed California Proposition 37 from Burbank, CA station KCET:
Why Prop 37 Failed
Proposition 37, the California campaign that would have required some products made with genetically engineered food to be labeled as such, was solidly defeated in the voting booth by six points (53%-47%). This failure is somewhat surprising as Prop 37 began the campaign season with a nearly 2-1 lead, according to polls. In the wake of this defeat, a discussion of why Prop 37 was ultimately overwhelmed by the opposition and what this means for the future of the food movement is of critical importance.

So far, proponents of Prop 37 have been more than happy to place the blame on their opposition and the vast amounts of capital they spent. For example, Stacy Malkan, the media director for Yes on 37, said, "I think this election was largely a story of money. We didn't have the funds to compete." Ocean Robbins made the same point: "The 'No on 37' campaign spent $46 million burying the state's voters in an avalanche of misleading ads and outright falsehoods. Their efforts defeated the proposition."

I disagree. Although the opposition outspent the Yes on 37 campaign by five to one, the ultimate reason the Yes on 37 campaign failed was the message.

"You have a right to know" is a great slogan and a very attractive message, and was right there in the campaign's name: CA Right to Know. People do like to know what it is they are eating. No wonder then that when peopled were asked this summer whether they supported Prop 37, so many answered yes.

Unfortunately, a "right to know" argument only goes so far. When the "No on 37" campaign began to push back, claiming that the proposition would raise food costs and was confusing and full of exemptions, then the "right to know" became a much weaker message. After all, I have a right to know many things, but if that knowledge will cost a significant amount (say, in grocery bills), than I might choose to forgo that knowledge.
This is just another mental disconnect in the progressive brain -- hybridization is just fine because it is "natural" and "organic". But hybridization is a scattershot breeding method and something could come over that has a potential to cause harm in ten or twenty years. With gene sequencing and splicing, the exact traits are carried over with no other baggage. One of my main reasons for not getting Organic certification for my farm is that there are some incredibly specific and good insecticides that I can use where the "natural" "plant-based" insecticides allowed to an organic farmer are actually realy toxic. Rotenone is allowed but it kills all species of insects (both bad and beneficial) as well as birds and fish. I am very much into eating from local food sources but the whole Organic movement has taken on a Frankensteinian life of its own and it is now owned by the corporate producers. I would much rather eat food where a mindful application of pesticides was made than some agri-giant 'organic' farm where broad-spectrum pesticides were applied whether needed or not.
Labor Unions are --><-- this close to causing Hostess Bakery to call it quits and putting 17,000 employees on the streets. Now these spoiled little children have set their sights on Wal-Mart. From Crooks and Liars:
Support Walmart Black Friday Strikers
It's time to take a stand and support the workers who are standing up to live better through an unfair labor practice strike.

Walmart workers decided to strike on Black Friday after they were targeted for retaliation for speaking out about substandard work conditions and treatment last month in the first ever walk out in the history of the company.

The workers are demanding the following from Walmart:
Improve Workers� Lives
Pay a minimum of $25,000/year and guarantee quality, affordable health coverage for all Walmart associates and workers in the company�s US distribution chain.

Rebuild Communities
Sign on to a national community benefits agreement that ensures as Walmart expands into new markets, it strengthens communities, protects the environment and is responsible for the well-being of its employees in its retail stores and US supply and distribution chain.

Put Its Promises in Writing
Agree to a global labor agreement guaranteeing the fundamental human right of freedom of association for all of its associates and instruct their suppliers to do the same, and recognize and negotiate with OUR Walmart.

Elevate Global Living Standards
Establish a legally binding global responsible contractor policy requiring contractors and subcontractors to provide living wages, worker safety protections, and respect basic human and labor rights, including freedom of association and freedom from racial and gender discrimination.
Nice ideas but who pays for it? These "demands" are expensive; where does this money come from? Thought not... Fscking idiots. Prattling children. Useful idiots. Wan't planning on doing any black friday shopping but this might make me drive the 35 miles to the local Wal-Mart. Just think, I get to spew that much more Carbon Dioxide into the pwecious atmosphere!!! Yaaayyyyyy!!!

Crap - RIP - Pete Namlook

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From FACT Magazine:
R.I.P Pete Namlook, storied producer and boss of German ambient label FAX
Pete Namlook � prolific electronic producer, and boss of the FAX imprint � has unexpectedly passed away aged 52.

Born Peter Kuhlmann, the Frankfurt resident built a reputation as an astonishingly industrious producer and curator of adventurous electronica. In 1992, Namlook created FAX � or, to give it its somewhat unwieldy full name, FAX +49-69/450464 � as a means of releasing his own productions and collaborations. The label swiftly evolved into a huge stable for ambient-leaning artists of all shapes and stripes. The label was very much forged Namlook�s own image: catalogue numbers starting with PK signified a solo release, those with PS pointed towards other artists, and PW were reserved for collaborative exercises. Each of the releases were rarely printed in batches of more than 1000, building FAX�s cult cache considerably.

Namlook�s own work formed the bulk of FAX�s output, and runs to somewhere in the region of 130 albums. As you�d expect from a discography that capacious, it�s a highly varied collection. Alongside hour upon hour of ambient material, Namlook�s work gesture in all sorts of directions: an interest in psychedelic rock, Eastern mysticism, techno, and modern classical (the latter issued on his Yesterday & Tomorrow sub label) are all evident. His enormous body of work is a major achievement, and testament to a work ethic contemporaries could do well to learn from.

Namlook�s daughter Fabia issued the following statement: �It is with much grief that we announce the passing of Peter Kuhlmann, AKA Pete Namlook. We are still shocked and are working on an official announcement that will follow soon to bring clarity to our minds. As word spreads on the internet more and more we just want to make clear that he died peacefully from as yet unspecified causes on 8th November 2012. We will announce more details as and when they surface.�
Crap - 52 is way to young. I have a couple of his pre-FAX CDs as well as some FAX issues -- will be digging them out and putting them on heavy rotation at home. I really liked his solo work.
From FOX News:
Jackson Jr. won�t resign until he gets disability pay
Sources tell FOX 32 News that Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is willing to give up his 2nd Congressional District seat if he's given disability when he steps down.

Jackson Jr. was re-elected to his tenth term but last month, sources say, he applied for a disability package--what could be his only income if he resigns. It is expected to take a couple of weeks for Congress to approve or deny the request.

His house on 72nd Street in Chicago is part of the federal government's investigation into allegations that Jackson Jr. misused campaign funds. Sources say Jackson allegedly spent $20,000 to renovate and buy furniture for the family's home in Chicago, not their 5-bedroom Victorian home in Washington D.C.
Jr. is corrupt and needs to pay for his crimes, not get a handout.

Stuck on stupid

Lt. Gen. Russel Honore led Task Force Katrina in the aftermath of the hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast in 2005. Here he weighs in on how Sandy is being handled -- it is not good.

From CNN:

Gen. Honore: Sandy recovery is stumbling
Superstorm Sandy inflicted havoc and heartache throughout the Northeast, hitting the Big Apple and its surrounding coastal towns hard. We have seen this kind of destruction before: I had an up-close-and personal view when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

On August 31, 2005, I was designated commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, responsible for coordinating military relief efforts for damaged areas across the Gulf Coast. My arrival in New Orleans came after what was widely believed to be a poor performance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its director Michael D. Brown. We learned a lot about what really works in our Katrina recovery efforts -- but New York and New Jersey seem to be ignoring those lessons.

First, I would like to praise the search and rescue operations in New York and New Jersey. But they could be doing much better now that they've entered the difficult part, the recovery operation.

Where is the command center? Who is in charge? Where is the National Guard?

During the aftermath of Katrina, National Guard troops were positioned on every block to establish a sense of safety and source of help for the people in need. They did not leave communities till people were safe and sound. This has not happened in New York or New Jersey.

And the numbers:

During the Hurricane Katrina disaster, about 20,000 federal troops were mobilized; 20 ships, including a hospital ship, about 50,000 National Guard members and 200 helicopters assisted in the relief efforts. So far, in Sandy relief efforts, about 11,000 National Guard troops were deployed, and only two ships have assisted -- this as people still suffer.

And Katrina was a much smaller storm -- only 200 miles in diameter while Sandy was over 600 miles -- a much smaller area affected. And we continue to think that a large Federal Government is supple enough to learn and adapt. Of course, it's all Bush's fault...

From FOX News:
Interior Secretary Threatens To 'Punch Out' Colorado Springs Reporter
Originally published by Cloud Foundation
Interior Secretary threatens to �punch out� Colorado Springs reporter
Cloud Foundation Director snubbed by Salazar

Colorado Springs, Colo. (November 12, 2012) � On Election Day, at an enthusiastic gathering of Obama supporters in Fountain, Colorado; Dave Phillips, a reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, had just finished an interview with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar about his controversial policies for managing America�s wild horse populations. Just after Secretary Salazar answered final questions about the future safety of wild horses and he turned to leave the interview, he unexpectedly approached Phillips and told him, �If you set me up like this again, I�ll punch you out.� Standing nearby was Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation, a Colorado-based wild horse advocacy organization. �I was stunned by the Secretary�s rude and clearly hostile comment toward Dave,� said Kathrens.

Kathrens, who had had been granted permission by an Interior law enforcement official to take pictures at the rally added, � Salazar walked past me, refused to shake my hand, and told me, �You know, you should never do that.� It was unclear to Kathrens what he meant. �These threats would have been inappropriate coming from anyone, but the fact that it came out of the mouth of the Secretary of the Interior is alarming,� stated Kathrens. �I can�t believe that a top official in Obama�s cabinet could be so defensive.�

Phillips� interview with Salazar was a follow-up to a story he had written in September about the sale of wild horses to Tom Davis, a Colorado killer buyer who purchased over 1,700 wild horses from government holding facilities. The horses ended up in south Texas and it is believed they were trucked over the border to Mexican slaughterhouses. Secretary Salazar acknowledged that an investigation of Davis� activities is currently underway.
Touchy... A bit more from the Cloud Foundation:
The BLM removes far more horses from their legally designated home ranges than can be adopted out to the public. The massive roundups have resulted in the stockpiling of animals in government facilities and privately contracted ranches. Nearly twice as many wild horses are housed in these costly holding operations than currently roam free, leaving most wild herds under populated and vulnerable to inbreeding and die-off due to a lack of genetic diversity.

�You know, this isn�t just about wild horses,� explains Kathrens. �America needs leaders in Washington, and the President needs cabinet members who respect citizens, respect the laws, value discussion and working toward mutual solutions. Ken Salazar displayed none of this on Tuesday.�
Add to this Salazar's working with the EPA to shut out oil and gas exploration -- he is working for the Federal Leviathan and not for us.

Obama re-election fallout - layoffs

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I had posted before about companies waiting to see who won the election before making personnel changes. We had a bunch a few days ago and now we have a bunch more:
Texas Instruments to cut 1,700 jobs to reduce costs
126 layoffs in proposed budget for NY county
Bechtel Power Corp. warns of 277 layoffs at Turkey Point Nuclear Plant
Job Cuts Announced At Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (950 positions)
Panasonic prepares for 'garage sale', to axe 10,000 jobs
Xerox to lay off 2,500; local impact unclear
Smithfield Foods to begin layoffs as it shuts down Va. packaged meat plant (400 workers total)
NBCUniversal cuts about 500 employees
These are all news items that were posted yesterday or today. There were a lot more that I did not post. Unemployment will be down a bit with all the temporary Christmas hiring but the January numbers are going to be brutal -- especially when sequestration kicks in.
In North Africa this time -- from Germany's Der Spiegel:
Desertec's Promise of Solar Power for Europe Fades
Supporters hailed the Desertec Industrial Initiative as the most ambitious solar energy project ever when it was founded in 2009. Major industrial backers pledged active involvement, politicians saw a win-win proposition and environmentalists fawned over Europe's green energy future. For a projected budget of �400 billion ($560 billion), the venture was to pipe clean solar power from the Sahara Desert through a Mediterranean super-grid to energy-hungry European countries.

Today, a scant three years later, there is still little to show for the project but the ambition.

The list of recent setbacks is daunting. The project has failed to break ground on a single power plant. Spain recently balked at signing a declaration of intent to connect high-voltage lines between Morocco and the rest of Europe. In recent weeks, two of the biggest industrial supporters at the founding of the initiative, Siemens and Bosch, backed out. And perhaps most tellingly, though last week's third annual Desertec conference was held in Berlin's Foreign Ministry, not a single German cabinet minister bothered to attend.

"Much to his regret, Minister R�sler could not participate in the third Dii Desert Energy Conference due to conflicting schedules," the German Economy Ministry said in a statement explaining Philipp R�sler's absence. "Notwithstanding, the federal government, in principle, is willing to support a Desertec pilot project in Morocco. However, there are several open questions. Therefore, Minister R�sler has advised against too much euphoria."

Political backing for energy from the desert, in other words, is evaporating.
I have said it before and I will say it again. There is no green energy. It simply does not exist. Every attempt -- solar, wind, tide, geothermal, etc... has show-stopping problems when you try to roll it out to full scale production. None of these technologies will be able to provide a baseload feed. People are so twitterpated about uranium reactors that they reject all nuclear options. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors offer a significantly better approach -- intrinsically safe (Thorium does not go Ka-Boom) and the waste materials only need a few hundred years of storage before they are safe. Relatively cheap to build too -- cheaper than Uranium reactors. We have enough Thorium in the earths crust for several thousand years of operation. Grrrr.... Idiots -- every one of them.

Yikes - another Ebola outbreak

From FOX News:

New outbreak of Ebola fever in Uganda kills 2, infects more in district near the capital city
Ugandan officials say a new outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever has killed at least two Ugandans in a district near the capital.

Health Minister Christine Ondoa told The Associated Press late Wednesday that investigators had found conclusive evidence of Ebola in Luweero, about 62 kilometers (38 miles) from Kampala, the capital.

Last month Uganda declared itself Ebola-free after an earlier outbreak of the disease killed at least 16 people in a remote district of western Uganda. It was not clear if the new outbreak and the previous one are related. In 2000 an Ebola outbreak in Uganda infected 425 people, killing more than half.

Nasty disease -- you bleed out from all orifices. Highly contagious.

Steping down - LIPA head

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From FOX News:
Chief operating officer of NY utility criticized for Sandy response quitting at end of year
The chief operating officer of a utility company heavily criticized for its response to Superstorm Sandy is stepping down.

The Long Island Power Authority announced Tuesday that Michael Hervey had tendered his resignation, effective at the end of the year. Hervey has been with LIPA for 12 years.

LIPA has come under withering criticism since Sandy knocked out power to more than a million of its customers on Oct. 29, both for how long it was taking to get power restored and for poor communication with customers.

There are about 10,000 outages in Nassau and Suffolk counties, just east of New York City, and LIPA officials have said they hope to have most of them resolved by Wednesday.
From Bloomberg:
Long Island Power Authority Sued Over Hurricane Sandy
New York�s Long Island Power Authority and National Grid Plc, which operates the utility�s electricity network, were sued over their Hurricane Sandy response while about 45,000 of LIPA�s customers remained blacked out two weeks after the storm.

Two customers accuse LIPA of failing to provide electric services because of its �disregard� in management and maintenance of equipment, facilities and personnel and its �failure to replace an outdated, obsolete outage management system which lacks the ability to manage large-scale outages,� according to a complaint filed today in New York State Supreme Court in Nassau County.
And from the New York Post:
Cuomo�s LIPA fail
Gov. Cuomo charged full-tilt-boogie into New York�s public utilities this week � and none of them has his knickers twisted tighter than the hapless Long Island Power Authority.

He�s even threatened to lift LIPA�s franchise, complaining that some 200,000 customers remained without power yesterday, some two weeks after Superstorm Sandy.

�We gave them a franchise because they represented themselves as expert in doing this,� said the governor. �They failed.�
The agency had ignored a 2006 recommendation that it update its management system, which runs on an obsolete 25-year-old computer language.

During Sandy, LIPA used memo pads and dial-up Internet access � rather than smartphones and tablet computers � to track power outages.

For years, the agency has neglected such critical tasks as maintaining rotting poles and trimming trees around power lines.

Moreover, LIPA officials ignored these criticisms because they were convinced Irene was a once-in-a-lifetime disaster.
I hope that sufficient heads will roll. The LIPA board was appointed by NY State -- another example of government efficiency.

Red Cross and FEMA's response to Sandy

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Their response was to hole up in a plush hotel. From FOX News:
In Sandy response, some Red Cross, FEMA workers stayed in plush NYC hotel
Relief workers who rushed to New York after the superstorm created a logistical challenge: finding accommodations for thousands in a tourist-clogged city in the throes of a housing crisis.

For two of the biggest aid organizations, the solutions included government-owned ships floating in the harbor, storm shelters, friends' apartments�and a luxury hotel in Lower Manhattan.

Representatives for the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said they have placed workers at the Soho Grand since the storm, paying a discounted nightly rate of $310 a room.

By the time Red Cross staffers check out of 45 rooms at the Soho Grand, its tab at the boutique hotel will have run to about $181,000, said spokeswoman Laura Howe.
Must be nice...

Six contradictions

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America is capitalist and greedy -- yet half of the population is subsidized.
Half of the population is subsidized -- yet they think they are victims.
They think they are victims -- yet their representatives run the government.
Their representatives run the government -- yet the poor keep getting poorer.
The poor keep getting poorer -- yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
They have things that people in other countries only dream about -- yet they want America to be more like those other countries.
From Red Square at The People's Cube

Obama's schedule

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Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler asks a simple question:
What Does Barack Obama Do All Day?
White House spokesman Jay Carney reiterated today that President Obama was not told of the Petraeus affair, despite its obvious national security implications.

We�ve also been told that Barack Obama did not know about the requests for more security at the US consulate in Benghazi, where the CIA may or may not have been holding captured terrorists. If that story turns out to be true, we�ll be told that Obama didn�t know anything about it.

We�ve also been told that Barack Obama did not know anything about Fast and Furious, the huge operation by which thousands of guns were allowed to walk off and take part in Mexico�s heinous drug war, at a time when Obama just happened to be blaming the violence in that war on US gun rights.

Obama reportedly had very little role in drafting or selling ObamaCare. He outsourced the stimulus to Congress. Democrats complain that he doesn�t even talk to them, much less the Republicans.

So Obama doesn�t know anything that his own administration is doing? Ok. What does the guy do all day? Especially now that the campaign is over.
Heh... Here is what Barry is doing today:
10:00 am The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
12:30 pm The President and the Vice President meet for lunch
1:30 pm The President holds a news conference
2:45 pm The President and the Vice President attend a meeting with business leaders to discuss the actions we need to take to keep our economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce our deficit.
Nothing much and no word as to who the 'business leaders' are. I remember when we had real leaders...

How not to avoid jury duty

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Talk about stupid -- from ABC News:
Denver Woman Sentenced for Faking PTSD to Dodge Jury Duty
A Denver woman has pleaded guilty to second-degree perjury and attempting to influence a public servant for faking post-traumatic stress disorder to dodge jury duty, according to a statement from the Denver District Attorney.

Susan Cole arrived for jury selection in June 2011 looking purposefully disheveled, wearing curlers in her hair and mismatched shoes, according to an affidavit obtained by the Denver Post.

Cole reportedly told Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield she �broke out of domestic violence in the military� and had �a lot of repercussions,� including PTSD.

�Her makeup looked like something you would wear during a theater performance,� court reporter Kelli Wessels told investigators at the time, according to the Denver Post. �When the judge asked the entire panel if anyone had a mental illness, [Cole] stated she had difficulties getting ready in the morning, which was apparent to me by the way she was dressed.�

Cole was excused from her civic duties. But her plot was foiled four months later when Judge Mansfield heard a woman bragging about how she faked mental illness to evade jury duty on a local radio show.
And the upshot?
Cole pleaded guilty Tuesday and was given a two-year deferred judgment for the felony count of attempting to influence a public servant, a felony, and two years of probation for the misdemeanor count of second degree perjury, according to the Denver District Attorney. She is also required to perform 40 hours of community service.

And it starts - Israel kills Hamas leader

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Good news -- Israel got tired of waiting for Obama to step in so they are now ramping things up. From Reuters:
Israel launches Gaza offensive, kills Hamas commander
Israel launched a major offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza on Wednesday, killing the military commander of Hamas in an air strike and threatening an invasion of the enclave that the Islamist group vowed would "open the gates of hell".

The onslaught shattered hopes that a truce mediated on Tuesday by Egypt could pull the two sides back from the brink of war after five days of escalating Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli strikes at militant targets.

Operation "Pillar of Defence" began with a surgical strike on a car carrying the commander of the military wing of Hamas, the Iranian-armed Islamist movement which controls Gaza and dominates a score of smaller armed groups.

Within minutes of the death of Ahmed Al-Jaabari, big explosions were rocking Gaza, as the Israeli air force struck at selected targets just before sundown, blasting plumes of smoke and debris high above the crowded city.
A bit more:
Hamas is also supported by Iran, which Israel regards as a rising threat to its own existence due to its nuclear program.

Helped by the contraband trade through tunnels from Egypt, Gaza militias have smuggled in better weapons.

But their estimated 35,000 Palestinian fighters are still no match for Israel's F-16 fighter-bombers, Apache helicopter gunships, Merkava tanks and other modern weapons systems in the hands of a conscript force of 175,000, with 450,000 in reserve.
Sorry progressives and anti-semites, Israel has the moral high-ground here. If you study your history, you will learn that there were no Palestinians -- they are an invention of the Soviet KGB who groomed Yasser Arafat and funded him to destabilize Israel. They wanted the oil.

I am now a CERT responder

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The test was a lot of fun. We had 21 volunteers who were made up (moulage) with various injuries -- everything from a good whack to the head to an impalement and various broken bones, twisted ankles, etc... to liven things up a bit. These volunteers were scattered through a two-story building that is used by the college for maintenance so there were a lot of small tractors and other machinery scattered around. The lights were off, we were told that there had been a severe earthquake, we divided into four teams and went in. A couple other people stayed back in the classroom to set up medical treatment area and to establish an incident command post. We would do this for 30 minutes and then swap positions around so everyone got to do everything. Very unnerving because the volunteers were really hamming it up -- crying out in pain and trying to distract us from our search, triage and rescue but the observers said that we did really well. It has been an amazing nine weeks. I'll be going for the Red Cross medical training next.

Heading into town

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Final CERT class tonight -- it's been a long training program (nine weeks) but a fun one. I'll miss the classes. Running some other errands so heading in early.

Very curious - Philadelphia voters

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From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
In 59 Philadelphia voting divisions, Mitt Romney got zero votes
It's one thing for a Democratic presidential candidate to dominate a Democratic city like Philadelphia, but check out this head-spinning figure: In 59 voting divisions in the city, Mitt Romney received not one vote. Zero. Zilch.

These are the kind of numbers that send Republicans into paroxysms of voter-fraud angst, but such results may not be so startling after all.

"We have always had these dense urban corridors that are extremely Democratic," said Jonathan Rodden, a political science professor at Stanford University. "It's kind of an urban fact, and you are looking at the extreme end of it in Philadelphia."

Most big cities are politically homogeneous, with 75 percent to 80 percent of voters identifying as Democrats.
Still, was there not one contrarian voter in those 59 divisions, where unofficial vote tallies have President Obama outscoring Romney by a combined 19,605 to 0?
And of course, there is going to be a ballot by ballot recount. I thought voter fraud was a felony...

The Religion of Peace

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From Al Arabiya News:
�Destroy the idols,� Egyptian jihadist calls for removal of Sphinx, Pyramids
An Egyptian jihad leader, with self-professed links to the Taliban, called for the �destruction of the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids in Egypt,� drawing ties between the Egyptian relics and Buddha statues, local media reported this week.

Murgan Salem al-Gohary, an Islamist leader twice-sentenced under former President Hosni Mubarak for advocating violence, called on Muslims to remove such �idols.�

�All Muslims are charged with applying the teachings of Islam to remove such idols, as we did in Afghanistan when we destroyed the Buddha statues,� he said on Saturday during a television interview on an Egyptian private channel, widely watched by Egyptian and Arab audiences.

�God ordered Prophet Mohammed to destroy idols,� he added. �When I was with the Taliban we destroyed the statue of Buddha, something the government failed to do.�
A royal prince of a guy:
Gohary, 50, is well-known in Egypt for his advocacy of violence, Egypt Independent reported.

�He was sentenced twice, one of the two sentences being life imprisonment. He subsequently fled Egypt to Afghanistan, where he was badly injured in the American invasion. In 2007, he traveled from Pakistan to Syria, which then handed him over to Egypt. After Mubarak's fall in early 2011, he was released from prison by a judicial ruling,� the newspaper added.
I hope there is a special circle of hell for people like this -- so willingly filled with ignorance and hate. The very idea that he thinks that he speaks for any manifestation of God is pure hubris.
From the Washington Post:
Obama considering John Kerry for job of defense secretary
President Obama is considering asking Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) to serve as his next defense secretary, part of an extensive rearrangement of his national security team that will include a permanent replacement for former CIA director David H. Petraeus.

Although Kerry is thought to covet the job of secretary of state, senior administration officials familiar with transition planning said that nomination will almost certainly go to Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Kerry has great hair but there is nothing underneath -- the guy is an idiot. I still shudder when I think of how close he came to being president. Think Obama is bad? And don't get me started on Susan Rice -- she was a major part of the Benghazi coverup scandal. The next couple of months will be fun because the facts of what happened will come out and the President is deeply involved...

A little cheery ditty from Bertolt Brecht

This came to mind:

The Solution
Bertolt Brecht

After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writer's Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

Cold and wet outside -- got down to 24° last night and it's 35° and raining heavily.

Perfect climate for a little B.B.

Halfway tempted to put on The Threepenny Opera - Kurt Weill was amazing.

Over the transom -- quote of the day

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From an email list -- talking about raising taxes on "luxury" items to raise urban revenue:
I want to see every faux eyeglass/skinny jeans wearing hipster in tears as he weighs �Pabst� or �Camels� while looking at his empty wallet.
From FOX News:
PETA Thanksgiving billboard asks kids: Would you eat your dog?
A billboard that will be placed outside Nevada public schools is sure to make for interesting Thanksgiving dinner conversation, that is, if kids let the turkey make it to the table.

PETA plans to place a billboard that reads, "KIDS: If you wouldn't eat your dog, why eat a turkey? Go vegan," with a picture of a dog head on a turkey body, near Reno public schools.
From President Obama's book: Dreams from My Father
With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chilli peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy).
Happy Thanksgiving...

Al Gore in the news

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From Watts Up With That comes a chain of emails from someone who works for Al Gore and the guy who filmed the Australian Fire Tornado who is a climate realist:
Emails reveal Al Gore and crew won�t take �no� for an answer when seeking imagery to spin for their �dirty weather� project
People send me stuff.

Readers may recall this story: Al Gore denied film footage rights by an Australian filmmaker where Mr. Gore sought the broadcast rights to a �fire tornado� footage shot during a wildfire near Alice Springs Australia for use in his upcoming �dirty weather report� aka 24 hours of Tabloid Climatology�.

The Australian wrote about how the filmmaker said �no� then:
Al Gore denied firestorm footage | The Australian
A WEATHER expert has backed the stance of an Alice Springs filmmaker who refused to sell footage of a firestorm to former US vice-president Al Gore � to use in Mr Gore�s climate presentations � because the event was unrelated to climate change.

In an email exchange with Mr Gore�s office, Tangey said using the footage in a climate-change framework would be �deliberately deceptive�

�I am aware that you may have missed the reporting on the very localised nature of this firestorm,� Tangey wrote. �However, in any case, I am confused as to why you would offer to buy a licence to use it at all unless you had conducted even elementary research which might indicate that this Mt Conner event had direct linkage to global warming/climate change.�
What follows are five emails back and forth -- Gore's people totally ignoring what Chris Tangey (the person who filmed the fire tornado) says about his personal thoughts on 'climate change'. For the Gore-bots, it's their way or the highway. Meanwhile in the comments, it is pointed out that Gore is devoting every penny he earns to his non-profit: Alliance For Climate Protection

AL GORE: Every penny that I have made, I have put right into a non-profit deal, Alliance For Climate Protection, to spread awareness of why we have to take on this challenge. And Congresswomen, if your, if, if you believe that the reason I have been working on this issue for 30 years is because of greed, you do not know me.
Al, we know you and your ilk all too well. You and your whole campaign jumped the shark fourteen years ago. The overall temperature of this planet has been stable or cooling since 1998. Also mentioned is this link to Gore's new house in Montecito, CA. It is his fourth luxury estate and cost him us taxpayers $8.8 Million Dollars. Doug Ross has the photos. More from the L.A. Times Pants on Fire. Talk about carbon footprint. Talk about hypocrite.

Comment of the year

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From Small Dead Animals:
Davenport said: "I'm going to head off The Phantom here, who doubtless will show up shortly with some rant about how this is all FEMA's fault."

You really are DENSE woman. FEMA, while it is a clusterfrig of titanic proportions, could not cause this much misery on its own. Although they FAILED to have emergency generators at key fuel distribution points (read gas stations) and although they FAILED to have any kind of plan to move food and fuel to the affected areas, and although they FAILED to even have a forward based supply of bottled water and ran out last Friday, even these gold plated MORONS couldn't have frigged things up this badly alone.

Do you want to know why the power is STILL off on Long Island, Davenport? Read this here:

In it you will find reference to a report from 2006, SIX YEARS AGO, which found that Long Island Power Authority had not done the basic maintenance required to secure the power grid from weather damage. The maintenance they're talking about here is tree cutting mostly, and replacing bad power poles.

I lived in New York in the 1990's. I could have written that report. The f-ing power went off every time it snowed because they didn't cut trees and the trees ripped the lines down. They also didn't plow the roads, but that's a story for another day.

You want to know why they don't cut the f-ing trees Davenport? It isn't because they are stupid, it isn't because they don't know, it isn't because private enterprise is inherently corrupt, it isn't even because union workers are a bunch of rent-seeking layabouts. Its because every time they go to cut down a tree, some local Greenies get up a petition or a court order to make them stop. So they stop. So the trees break and knock down the power lines. Same thing all over the North East until you get up into snow country, where even the f-ing tree huggers know better.

Well this time it all came home to roost the same day, and every overhanging branch from New Jersey to Connecticut took out a line.

But don't get me wrong, there's a ton of corruption and scamming going on too. Paying off inspectors, hockey tickets for town council, that sort of thing. That's why all those flooded switching stations were within reach of a flood in the first place, because the money to move them was skimmed off by graft. That's why FEMA didn't have any forward located stuff, because it all either vanished or was never there to start with except on paper.

But now that there's been a disaster the LIPA wankers are screaming for crews. And they aren't getting them. You know why Davenport? Because volunteer crews from as far away as Florida showed up Monday before the storm and cooled their heels until Friday, didn't get any assignments because they WERE NOT UNION, and then those volunteer crews went the hell back home.

And FEMA didn't say jack about it, did they? Nor did anyone else. One phone call from Barack "The Golfer" Obama to the head of the union could have fixed that. Just one, single phone call. Didn't get made, did it? He made a speech on Wednesday and then flew to Vegas.
This is about half of the comment. Wonderful reading. The original post that sparked the call and response is here: Blue State:
So, let's get this straight.
"A lot of us out here are fighting for our lives,� said Feliciano, 51. �A lot of people are desperate. They don't know where they are getting their next meal.

"We are fighting amongst ourselves here because we are tired. And we are frustrated."
A major disaster occurs on the outskirts of one of the most advanced civilizations on earth, and 10 days later there are victims walking 6 miles to find food?

They should have voted for Republicans. This might be a scandal by now.
The other comments at this site are good too -- a nice balance between self-reliance advocates and "gimme mine" moonbats.

Lord knows Obama certainly does not like Israel so after this disastrous election, they know that they are on their own.

From Associated Press:

Israel drawn into Syria fighting for first time
Israel was drawn into the fighting in neighboring Syria for the first time Sunday, firing warning shots across the border after an errant mortar shell landed near an Israeli military installation in the Golan Heights.

While Israel appeared eager to calm the situation, its response was a potent reminder of how easily the Syrian civil war - already spilling across borders with Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan - could explode into a wider regional conflagration.

A bit more:

They have feared that the instability in Syria over the past 19 months could spill across the border into Israel, particularly as President Bashar Assad's grip on power grows increasingly precarious.

Israel has little love for Assad, who has provided refuge and support to Israel's bitterest enemies through the years. But the Syrian leader - and his father before him - have kept the frontier quiet for nearly four decades, providing a rare source of stability in the volatile region.

The Israeli military said the mortar fire caused no injuries or damage at the post in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war and then annexed.

In recent weeks, incidents of errant fire from Syria have multiplied, leading Israel to warn that it holds Syria responsible. Israeli officials believe most of the fire has come from Syrian government forces, although they think it has been inadvertent and not been aimed at Israel.


The Israeli military also said it filed a complaint through United Nations forces operating in the area, stating that "fire emanating from Syria into Israel will not be tolerated and shall be responded to with severity."

Israeli defense officials said the incident was not considered a serious military threat, but Israel felt the need to respond in order to set clear limits for the Syrians.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israeli defense forces have been instructed "to prevent the battles from spilling over into our territory."

"Additional shelling into Israel from Syria will elicit a tougher response; exacting a higher price from Syria," Barak said.

Well, the ball is now in Assad's court. Crap...

A Job Fair in Chicago

Just wonderful -- from the Chicago CBS affiliate:

First Ever City Job Fair Leaves Many Frustrated With Hiring Process
About 3,000 people lined up for the city's first-ever jobs fair on Friday - some of them waiting in line for up to six hours - hoping to apply for work with the city, but many left frustrated after learning the only way to apply for a job was to go online.

WBBM Newsradio's Bernie Tafoya reports Mayor Rahm Emanuel stopped by the job fair, expecting a warm welcome from job seekers, but instead ran into lots of ticked-off people.

More than 3,000 people showed up for the 55 posted job openings, but city hiring rules require all applications be filed online, so many of those who attended left frustrated at having to stand in line for hours, without being able to actually apply for a job.

Bzzzztttt!!! Two things wrong right there. First - the available jobs were only with the city -- government jobs, jobs that will grow the government at a time when it really needs to shrink. The second is that there was zero reason to get these people out in the first place -- there was no mechanism to hire them without their being online. A bit more:

City officials were not conducting job interviews, or hiring anyone on the spot. Officials said all job applications for city jobs must be done online, because of city hiring rules and the federal Shakman decree that bans political-based hiring for most city jobs.

However, city representatives did offer assistance in applying for jobs online using computers provided by the city, and also informed job seekers about workshops on resume writing and job interview skills.

Bread and circuses -- if the city was serious, they could have coordinated with the various Chambers of Commerce and had local businesses also there to accept applications. Some more:

CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reports the event left many of those job seekers wondering why someone didn't tell them from the start to use their computers to apply for a city job, rather than stand in line for hours in the cold.

Geeezzz -- if these widdle snowflakes really wanted a job, why didn't they sit down in front of their home computer and start googling. You are not going to get the good stuff handed to you on a silver platter -- if you want to work, work! A few comments:

Rodney Booker said, "I stood in line for four hours. They better give me a Wal-Mart gift card, or something."


Michael Williams compared the job fair to standing in a soup line, only to find out there's no soup.

And this is the caliber of people who are applying for jobs with the Chicago City Government? And finally:

Despite the complaints, the mayor's office said the job fair was a success, and another would be held next year.
Those people who gave so much that we would be free and prosperous. I hate to think of what they see in the US today -- this Nation is stumbling. It has lost her way. More than 50% of its Citizens are now takers rather than makers and all parties are guilty in this transformation.

Home safe and sound

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Earlier today, I had mentioned that there might be a problem with a local resident who has been having some mental issues. I spent the last hour at the store and although he had come in twice earlier today during my employee's shift, he was a no-show for coming in a few minutes before closing. Her next shift is Tuesday and my final CERT class is then but I will try to get out there as soon as possible. Had a fun evening though -- brought Grace down and walked her through the store a couple times. This is not a familiar environment for her so it was a good training opportunity. She is coming along really nicely -- working well both on-lead and off, voice and visual. Also, a local friend was celebrating his birthday and his wife and another woman came into the store to buy a couple bottles of wine and champagne. They were cute as can be -- several sheets to the wind and feeling zero pain. The party was only five hundred feet away so no issue with driving. Sounds like a great party! Surf for a bit, have a glass or two of wine to decompress and then to bed. Early day tomorrow -- fixing fences and doing some winterizing -- it's 24�F and dropping like a stone out there...

James Carville speaks his mind

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And I love it -- from Rat's Right:
James Carville Says 80% Of Democrats Are Politically Clueless
James Carville, Democrat political consultant extraordinaire � and former Bill Clinton campaign manager, has astonishingly come out and said what all good Republicans have known for decades: Not only are most Democrats politically clueless; they�re easily manipulated by the puppet masters of their party as well. Wow. James Freaking Carville. Of all people. Here�s an excerpt, as quoted on
�Ideologies aren�t all that important. What�s important is psychology.

The Democratic constituency is just like a herd of cows. All you have to do is lay out enough silage and they come running. That�s why I became an operative working with Democrats. With Democrats all you have to do is make a lot of noise, lay out the hay, and be ready to use the ole cattle prod in case a few want to bolt the herd.

Eighty percent of the people who call themselves Democrats don�t have a clue as to political reality.

What amazes me is that you could take a group of people who are hard workers and convince them that they should support social programs that were the exact opposite of their own personal convictions. Put a little fear here and there and you can get people to vote any way you want.

The voter is basically dumb and lazy. The reason I became a Democratic operative instead of a Republican was because there were more Democrats that didn�t have a clue than there were Republicans.

Truth is relative. Truth is what you can make the voter believe is the truth. If you�re smart enough, truth is what you make the voter think it is. That�s why I�m a Democrat. I can make the Democratic voters think whatever I want them to.�
Bingo. I couldn�t have written that for ol� James any better myself. Truth be told, I�ve always had kind of a love-hate relationship with Carville. While I�ve never agreed with him on much of anything � unless he was commenting on the failures of his party, which unlike most political operatives, he�s not been afraid to do through the years � this is different. This amounts to a total confession of what I define in the right sidebar of this blog as the quintessential �political lie�:

Liberals saying things they know aren�t true for the sole purpose of exploiting the �less-than-informed� for political gain.

Bravo, James � and thanks for the validation.
And a big tip 'o the hat to Cajun at Mostly Cajun for the link.

A simple prayer

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Dear Lord:
The American people have made their choice. They have decided that America must change its course, away from the principals of our Founders. And, away from the idea of individual freedom and individual responsibility. Away from capitalism, economic responsibility, and personal acceptance.

We are a Country in favor of redistribution, national weakness and reduced standard of living and lower and lower levels of personal freedom.

My regret, Lord, is that our young people, including those in my own family, never will know what America was like or might have been. They will pay the price in their reduced standard of living and, most especially, reduced freedom.

The takers outvoted the producers. In response to this, I have turned to my Bible and in II Peter, Chapter 1, verses 4-9 it says, �To faith we are to add goodness; to goodness, knowledge; to knowledge, self control; to self control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, kindness; to brotherly kindness, love.�

Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build. We ask for your guidance in this drastic time with the drastic decisions that will be made to have any hope of our survival as an American business enterprise.
Spoken by Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray before he announced the layoff of 156 of his employees. From The Washington Post:
After Obama reelection, Murray Energy CEO reads prayer, announces layoffs
For the chairman and chief executive of Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company, the reelection of President Obama was no cause for celebration. It was a time for prayer � and layoffs.
Murray Energy is the country�s largest privately owned coal mining company, with about 3,000 employees producing about 30 million tons of bituminous coal a year, according to its Web site.
We are neck deep in the Big Muddy and the damned fool says to push on.

Fear of State

From William A. Jacobson, Associate Clinical Professor, Cornell Law School writing at Legal Insurrection:

This is what fear of the State looks like
When companies self-censor to wait until the days after the election to announce major layoffs.

Via commenter conservativegram in the Tip Line:
As Drudge would say - "Own it!"

Nextel to cut 20% of jobs at Virginia headquarters

In Past 48 hrs, following companies announced layoffs:
Caterpillar, CVPH Medical Center, Lightyear Haqwker Beechcraft, Westinghouse, Research in Motion, US Cellular, Commerzbank, Iberia, ING, Ericsson, Bristol-Myers, Corning, Boston Scientific, Abbott Labs and St. Jude.

Pepsi looking to layoff 4,000 workers

Energizer Holdings Inc. will reduce its global workforce by more than 10 percent - or about 1,500 employees - as the company closes three manufacturing plants and streamlines other operations.

As Twitchy reported in September, the Obama administration made moves to encourage defense contractors to delay layoff announcements until after the election, offering to reimburse contractors for any legal costs incurred in not informing their affected employees. Lockheed Martin seemingly took the offer, and today, Boeing announced it would be cutting 30 percent of management positions.

And, of course - Unexpectedly: Stocks Suffer Heavy Losses Second Straight Day After Election;Analysts Baffled
The Blaze has a list of post-election announcements for companies large and small. This is just PART of the list, it is much longer:

Caterpillar Inc. will close its plant in Owatonna Minn.
Mount Pleasant's Albrecht Sentry Foods
The Target store at Manassas Mall Va.
Millennium Academy in Wake Forest NC
Target Closing Kissimmee FL Location
The Andover Gift Shop in Andover MA
Grand Union Family Markets Closing Storrs Location CT
Movie Scene Milford Location NH
Update: TE Connectivity Closing Greensboro Plant - 620 Layoffs Expected
Gomer's Fried Chicken in South Kansas City
Kmart in Homer Glen
Fresh Market on Pine Street in Burlington
AGC Glass North America to permanently close its Blue Ridge Plant in Kingsport Tenn.
The Target store at Platte and Academy in Colorado Springs
The Roses store on Reynold Road in Winston-Salem NC
Meanders Kitchen losing its West Seattle location at 6032 California Ave
Bost Harley-Davidson at 46th Avenue North and Delaware Ave. in West Nashville TN
Townsend Booksellers in Oakland
The Kmart store in Parkway Plaza off University Drive in Durham NC � 79 Jobs Lost

Is there any doubt that many of these announcements, at least for the larger companies, were delayed out of fear of retribution from the Obama administration?

The same administration which has bullied defense contractors into not complying with the WARN Act prior to the election. Message sent and received.

Self-censorship is the end result of fear of the State.

I might add in our own little corner of paradise, sleepy little Bellingham, our Sears store is closing in January - 92 employees and our Mt. Baker Harley-Davidson is closing (although this was announced ahead of the election on October 28th) - ten employees.

From Chicago's CBS affiliate:
Former U.S. Prosecutor Negotiating Plea Deal For Jackson Jr.
A former U.S. attorney representing embattled Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is negotiating a plea deal with the federal government, CBS 2 has learned.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine has the exclusive details.

The plea deal would end Jackson�s 17-year career as a congressman representing Chicago�s South Side and suburbs.

At the center of negotiations is white-collar criminal defense attorney Dan Webb, who served as Chicago�s top federal prosecutor in the 1980s, when several Cook County judges were indicted for public corruption under the �Operation Greylord� investigation.
The 'deal'
The tentative deal includes:

�Jackson resigning for health reasons.

�His pleading guilty to charges involving misuse of campaign funds.

�The congressman�s repayment of any contributions that were converted to personal use, such as home furnishings, improper travel or gifts.

At least some jail time would appear to be inevitable for Jackson, the son of civil-rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and spouse of Chicago 7th Ward Ald. Sandi Jackson.
Talk about a slap on the wrist. The guy was dirty, he got caught and now needs to pay the price. The apple does not fall far from the tree... The article closes with this little tid-bit:
If Jackson resigns, as expected, a special election will determine his successor. Jackson himself replaced the disgraced U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds in 1995.
What is it with Chicago and Illinois politicians -- quite the high rate of arrest and conviction.

Lazy day today

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Ran out and got the first load of hay for the critters. Now that we have had a couple of heavy frosts, the graze is not as nutritious so will be starting to supplement feed for the critters. Hay and a small grain treat every day. Stocked up on a couple mineral blocks too. Lulu is working out in the DaveCave(tm) -- we just had lunch. There may be an issue tonight -- there is a local guy who has started to manifest classic paranoid schizophrenia. He has been firing his gun from his apartment and has been trespassed from several establishments. He is fond of one of my employees and she works tonight. The guy has been showing up five or ten minutes before closing so I'll be hanging out in the back room from 9:30 until 10PM (closing time). I talked with the Sheriff's Deputy and he is going to be nearby listening for a 911 dispatch. Joys of small business ownership...

The babushkas of Chernobyl

Wonderful story about some people who have reclaimed their farms inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

From the UK Telegraph:

The women living in Chernobyl's toxic wasteland
Outside Hanna Zavorotnya's cottage in Chernobyl's dead zone, a hulking, severed sow's head bleeds into the snow, its gargantuan snout pointing to the sky in strange, smug defeat.

The frigid December air feels charged with excitement as Hanna, 78, zips between the outlying sheds wielding the seven-inch silver blade that she used to bring the pig to its end.

'Today I command the parade,' she says, grinning as she passes a vat of steaming entrails to her sister-in-law at the smokehouse, then moves off again. In one hand she holds a fresh, fist-sized hunk of raw pig fat - there is no greater delicacy in Ukraine - and she pauses now and then to dole out thin slices to her neighbours.

'I fly like a falcon!' says Hanna, shuttling at high speed back towards the carcass. Indeed, falcons - as well as wolves, wild boar, moose and some species not seen in these environs for decades - are thriving in the forests and villages around Chernobyl. One particular falcon, however, has not fared so well. A large grey and white specimen, it is strung up, dead, chest puffed and wings outspread against the slate sky, above Hanna's chicken coop as a warning to its brethren. 'He came and ate my chicken, so I beat him with a stick,' she says.

Even though this falcon may not have survived, Hanna and her neighbours have - against all odds and any reasonable medical prediction. Twenty-six years ago, on 26 April 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant's Reactor No 4 blew up after a routine test, and the resulting fire lasted 10 days, spewing 400 times as much radiation as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The government (then Soviet) declared the area that lay within an 18-mile radius uninhabitable and resettled 116,000 residents with a pension, an apartment and sketchy information about the health risks that lay ahead. In the ensuing months and years, these first resettlers were followed by a few hundred thousand more, all displaced, most from the land where they'd grown up. But Hanna, who had been forced out in the first group, did not accept that fate.

Three months after being relocated, she returned with her husband, her mother-in-law and a handful of other members of their collective farm. When government officials objected, she responded, 'Shoot us and dig the grave; otherwise we're staying.'

Hanna was among some 1,200 returnees, called 'self-settlers', most over the age of 48, who made their way back in the first few years after the accident, in defiance of the authorities' legitimate concerns. For despite the self-settlers' deep love of their ancestral homes, it's a fact that the soil, air and water here in what is now known as the Exclusion Zone, or Zone of Alienation, are among the most heavily contaminated on earth.

Today 230 or so self-settlers remain, scattered about in eerily silent villages that are ghostly but also somehow charming. About 80 per cent of the surviving self-settlers are women in their seventies and eighties, creating a unique world of babushkas, to use a Russian word that means 'grandmother' but also refers to 'old countrywomen'

Why would the babushkas choose to live on this deadly land? Are they unaware of the risks, crazy enough to ignore them, or both? These are reasonable questions for Westerners who might stand in a grocery-shop aisle debating whether to pay the extra $2 for organic almond butter. The babushkas see their lives, and the risks they run, decidedly differently.

The land is supposed to be some of the "most heavily contaminated on earth" and yet the wildlife and these settlers are thriving. The author of the story is making a documentary.

Where's Barry

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From The Weekly Standard:
Obama Plays Golf
President Barack Obama is spending his first Saturday after winning reelection on the golf course. Today's outing is to the course on Andrews Air Force Base.

"Motorcade arrived at Andrews Air Force Base at 11:01 am after an uneventful ride," the pool report reads. "President Obama is playing golf with three White House aides: Eugene Kang, Joe Paulson and trip director Marvin Nicholson, according to a White House official. Pool is holding at the Andrews fast food court for the next few hours."
The good news is that the more time he spends on the links, the less damage he can do to this Nation...
From The Washington Examiner:
TSA uniform perks more expensive than Marine Corps
Under their new collective bargaining agreement, Transportation Security Administration officers get to spend more taxpayer money on their uniforms every year than a United States Marine Corps lieutenant can spend in a lifetime.

�TSA employees will see their uniform allowances nearly double to $446 per year,� the House Transportation Committee noted in a press release on the TSA�s new collective bargaining agreement. �By comparison, a combat Marine Lieutenant receives a one-time uniform allowance of $400. The cost of the increase in TSA uniform allowance is an estimated $9.63 million annually.�
Yet another fscking union at work. How has their being unionized made my life any better? And people wonder why I no longer fly unless I absolutely have to...
From the New York Post:
Hostess bakers go on strike
Union workers at Hostess Brands� plant in Lenexa, Kan., walked off the job yesterday, kicking off a potentially crippling strike that could force the company to liquidate.

Hostess�s second-largest union, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union, said workers at more plants may strike in the next few days.

The Post reported exclusively yesterday that as many as eight of the 36 bakery locals were planning a strike this weekend after the bankrupt maker of Twinkies and other products imposed an 8 percent pay cut on workers.

The bakers represent about 6,000 of the company�s 18,300 workers.

�A widespread strike will cause Hostess Brands to liquidate if we are unable to produce or deliver products,� Hostess said. �We urge our employees to remain on the job to rebuild the company.�
A perfect example of why unions are well past their sell-by date. The parent company is going through bankruptcy and asked the workers to take an eight percent pay cut. Now, because of the union's intransigence, 6,000 workers will be out of work. The idea is to form a partnership with the employer -- to re-calibrate their demands to meet the conditions of the day and not just ratchet everything up to eleventy. Unions had their place in early industrial America when the idea of moving from one city to another was unthought of. But now, if a factory is paying poor wages, the workers can move to another place where the pay and living conditions are better. Lenexa, Kansas has a 2010 population of 48,190. This is twelve percent of the population that will find themselves without employment.

The nine circles of Scientific Hell

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A fun reworking of Dante's Inferno -- from Perspectives on Psychological Science:
The Nine Circles of Scientific Hell
In the spirit of Dante Alighieri�s Inferno, this paper takes a humorous look at the fate that awaits scientists who sin against best practice.

The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri is a classic of world literature and was the first major work in the Italian language. In the first book of the trilogy, Inferno, Dante offers a tour of the nine increasingly horrible levels of Hell, in which the wicked are tormented forever in ways corresponding to their sins. But Dante lived before the era of modern science. Perhaps it is necessary to update his scheme to explain what happens to those guilty of various scientific sins, ranging from the commonplace to the shocking.

Dante�s Hell had a place for everyone, and it was only Christ�s intervention that saved anyone from it; even "good" people went to Hell, because everyone sinned, and sins were still sins however ubiquitous they were. Likewise, very few scientists (the author is certainly not one of them) would be able to avoid being condemned to some level of this Inferno� but is that an excuse?

First Circle: Limbo
The uppermost circle is not a place of punishment so much as regret. Those who have committed no scientific sins per se, but who have turned a blind eye to them, or encouraged sinners through the awarding of grants, spend eternity on top of this barren mountain, watching the carnage below and reflecting on how they are partially responsible�

Second Circle: Overselling
This circle is reserved for those who exaggerated the importance of their work in order to get grants or write better papers. Sinners are trapped in a huge pit, up to their necks in horrible sludge. Each sinner is provided with the single rung of a ladder, labeled �The Way Out�Scientists Crack Problem of Second Circle of Hell.�

Third Circle: Post-Hoc Storytelling
Sinners condemned to this circle must constantly dodge the attacks of demons armed with bows and arrows, firing more or less at random. Every time someone is hit in some part of their body, a demon proceeds to explain at length that it was aiming for that exact spot all along.

Fourth Circle: p Value Fishing
Those who tried every statistical test in the book until they got a p value less than .05 find themselves here, in an enormous lake of murky water. Sinners sit on boats and must fish for their food. Fortunately, they have a huge selection of different fishing rods and nets (brand names include Bayes, Student, Spearman, and many more). Unfortunately, only one in 20 fish are edible, so the sinners in this circle are constantly hungry.
Heh - more at the site...

With friends like these - a twofer

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First -- from Russia Today:
Assange: Reelected Obama a 'wolf in sheep's clothing'
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sees no reason to celebrate the reelection of US President Barack Obama. The US aggressively pursued and �persecuted� the whistleblower site under a Democratic administration, he explained.

�Obama seems to be a nice man, and that is precisely the problem,� the 41-year-old told AFP, speaking from his room in London�s Ecuadorian embassy.

�It's better to have a sheep in wolf's clothing than a wolf in sheep's clothing,� he said. �All of the activities against WikiLeaks by the United States have occurred under an Obama administration.�
Second -- from Politico:
Oliver Stone: �I find Obama scary�
Each presidential cycle gets shrouded in the ultimate question, �Are you better off than you were four years ago?�

In Oliver Stone�s new book � �The Untold History of the United States� � the filmmaker, along with historian Peter Kuznick, argues that, �The country Obama inherited was indeed in shambles, but Obama took a bad situation and, in certain ways, made it worse.�
Jeez -- when you lose Assange and Stone, you are really disconnected from the progressive base.

The price of oil these days

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Hang on to your hats -- from The Hill:
Interior proposal would limit commercial oil shale development on federal lands in West
The Interior Department on Friday issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated for oil shale development.

The proposed plan would fence off a majority of the initial blueprint laid out in the final days of the George W. Bush administration. It faces a 30-day protest period and a 60-day process to ensure it is consistent with local and state policies. After that, the department would render a decision for implementation.
Can't say I didn't warn you.

Oh hell no - big sis for AG???

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From the Washington Examiner:
Napolitano floated for attorney general
The second term game of Obama cabinet musical chairs kicked into high gear Thursday when Attorney General Eric Holder suggested that he might leave soon. He would join Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Tim Geither and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on the exit list.

Names immediately surfaced of those who might replace Holder including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who has steered her department through controversial issues and come out generally unscathed.
She was barely competent as Arizona Governor, she was promoted to her level of incompetence at Homeland Security and for her to be given the Attorney General post is insane.

Carny lingo

Fun collection of terms from the old-school traveling carnivals. A few examples:

Baby Needs Milk - When you see a fellow carny flirting with a townie, you might wander by and say this just to mess up your buddy's 'score', either as a joke or if you know that this particular townie has - oh, say, the police chief for a father.

Bozo - Character who insults customers to induce them to try to throw balls to spill him in a dunk tank. The joint is usually named "Dunk Bozo," in less sensitive days it was known as the "African Dip" or (in even older days) "Nigger Dip". Bozo's "calls" over a loudspeaker are very effective at drawing customers. Bozo is often made up as a sort of "nightmare clown," but (as in the great depiction in the Jodie Foster/Gary Busey movie "Carny") he's definitely not a sweet guy - his taunts grow more embarrassing, barbed at the start and increasing to real nastiness, trying to make the current mark so angry he'll continue throwing balls until he hits the switch and dunks his tormentor.

Freak Show - A show where human oddities displayed themselves (often selling photos, Bibles or other memorabilia). These were often ten-in-one shows and usually featured born freaks, 'made freaks' like tattooed people, and working acts like sword swallowers and fire eaters.

G-Top - The "G" is for "gambling." An "after-hours club" open only to carnies. A combined convenience store, bar, snack stand and casino. The gambling might be just a friendly (but wary) game of poker, or it might be organized and more elaborate. When the lights go out on the wheel, signaling that the lot is closed for the night, the G-top starts filling up. One former carny said, "You haven't played games unless you've played with people who do it all day for a living! - I've seen people lose a whole week's pay in 10 minutes - cars they worked a year for, the money they were going to eat on tomorrow. - That's how you learn the "tricks of the trade", in the G-Top."

Red Light Job - You are the victim of a red light job when you undertake some work on the lot and, when you go to collect your pay, all you see are the red taillights of the employer's car receding in the distance.

University Horn - One of the old indestructible, harsh-sounding, horn-shaped public-address speakers made by University Sound (also by Electro Voice and Atlas Sound), good for blasting the midway with your grind-show ballys (on an endless 8-track tape using a cheap pre-recorded tape recorded over on one of those awful 8-track home recorders). Simple PA hookups, including one or two university horns, were usually supplied by audio engineer Wally Baptist, who operated Baptist Sound in Illinois. You could frame a whole show with just Brill's Bible, the O'Henry banner catalog, and the Baptist Sound catalog.

Lots more at the site - a curious look at a part of America's past. Fairs these days are cleaned up a lot.

Time to make a big bowl of popcorn

The timing is everything -- from Breitbart:
CIA Director Petraeus Resigns Over 'Affair'
Just two days after President Obama's re-election, General David Petraeus, the CIA Director, has resigned from the administration over an extramarital affair. Petraeus was slated to testify before Congress next week on the murder of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, in Benghazi, Libya. Bret Baier of Fox News just tweeted, "With Petraeus' resignation effective immediately, he will not testify next week & lawmakers are said to be 'stunned' by the announcement."
And a bit more showing the scope of what we are in for:
This is only the latest in a string of groundshaking events demonstrating that the Obama administration hid information vital to the American people during the last days of the 2012 election cycle. The fact that the most respected soldier of his generation, Petraeus, would be leaving the administration during an Obama second term, had to be known by the White House prior to the election. And they said nothing in order to run out the clock.

The fact that Attorney General Eric Holder was considering stepping down from the administration had to be known by the White House prior to the election. Meanwhile, during the election cycle, the Obama administration claimed executive privilege in order to shield Holder from questions about Fast and Furious.

The fact that an American drone was fired upon in international airspace by Iranian airplanes was hidden from the American public for a week in order to prevent the American public from recognizing the failure of the Obama Iranian foreign policy.

The facts in Benghazi were lied about by virtually every member of the Obama administration for weeks upon weeks.

The fact that the administration had been slow-walking reams of vital regulation to beyond the election in order to avoid scaring off voters was hidden from the public.

Now that the Obama administration has succeeded in winning a second term, they are cleaning house. The two figures most linked to the disaster in Benghazi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Petraeus, are gone. The figure most linked with Fast and Furious, Eric Holder, will be gone. The figure most linked to the administration�s economic failures, Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, will be gone.

Only Obama remains. He ran out the clock on his scandals, and now throws anyone associated with them overboard.

The Petraeus resignation is only the most recent evidence that the Obama administration will lie to the American people to achieve its ends. But with all of his experts gone, Obama�s cabinet will now be staffed by the political C team in a time of crisis, both domestically and internationally.
Quite the laundry list... The slow-walking item is major -- we are going to get screwed fast and hard in the next four years. Time to invest in K-Y Jelly stock.

Nanny Bloomberg

What a prat. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg -- from FOX News:

Nanny Bloomberg Bans Food Donations to Homeless Shelters: Too Salty!
So much for serving the homeless.

The Bloomberg administration is now taking the term 'food police' to new depths, blocking food donations to all government-run facilities that serve the city's homeless.

In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can't assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans.

For over a decade, Glenn Richter and his wife, Lenore, have led a team of food-delivery volunteers from Ohab Zedek, the Upper West Side Orthodox congregation.

They've brought freshly cooked, nutrient-rich surplus foods from synagogue events to homeless facilities in the neighborhood. (Disclosure: I know the food is so tasty because I've eaten it - I'm an OZ member.) The practice of donating such surplus food to homeless shelters is common among houses of worship in the city.

DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond says the ban on food donations is consistent with Mayor Bloomberg's emphasis on improving nutrition for all New Yorkers. A new interagency document controls what can be served at facilities - dictating serving sizes as well as salt, fat and calorie contents, plus fiber minimums and condiment recommendations.

The city also cites food-safety issues with donations, but it's clear that the real driver behind the ban is the Bloomberg dietary diktats.

Talk about being unclear on what constitutes leadership and what constitutes micro-management. Sure, good health is good for everyone but you don't enforce it with the barrel of a gun. The key is education and I don't see any of that happening...

Transitions - peat bogs and ice ages

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From Anthony over at Watts Up With That: New paper suggests that CO2 ��could prove to be our salvation from the next ice age� From the University of Gothenburg, another head exploder for Joe Romm and company.
Carbon dioxide � our salvation from a future ice age?
Mankind�s emissions of fossil carbon and the resulting increase in temperature could prove to be our salvation from the next ice age. According to new research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, the current increase in the extent of peatland is having the opposite effect.

�We are probably entering a new ice age right now. However, we�re not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide�, says researcher Professor Lars Franz�n.

Looking back over the past three million years, the earth has experienced at least 30 periods of ice age, known as ice age pulses. The periods in between are called interglacials. The researchers believe that the Little Ice Age of the 16th to 18th centuries may have been halted as a result of human activity. Increased felling of woodlands and growing areas of agricultural land, combined with the early stages of industrialisation, resulted in increased emissions of carbon dioxide which probably slowed down, or even reversed, the cooling trend.

�It is certainly possible that mankind�s various activities contributed towards extending our ice age interval by keeping carbon dioxide levels high enough,� explains Lars Franz�n, Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Gothenburg.

�Without the human impact, the inevitable progression towards an ice age would have continued. The spread of peatlands is an important factor.�
Much more at the site. Makes a lot of sense and, this is measured data, boots-on-the-ground observation and not some computer model forecast that breaks when asked to hindcast. It's 30 degrees outside and I just tossed another couple logs into the fireplace (forced-air insert -- very efficient). It's like the 1970's all over again. UPDATE: This story was just picked up by Bloomberg

Okay - so who pays for this?

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From our local newspaper - the Bellingham Herald:
Calif. city plans to provide transgender surgeries
San Francisco is preparing to become the first U.S. city to provide and cover the cost of sex reassignment surgeries for uninsured transgender residents.

The city's Health Commission voted Tuesday to create a comprehensive program for treating transgender people experiencing mental distress because of the mismatch between their bodies and their gender identities. San Francisco already provides transgender residents with hormones, counseling and routine health services, but has stopped short of offering surgical interventions, Public Health Director Barbara Garcia said Thursday after the vote was announced.

The idea for a new program that included surgeries came out of conversations between public health officials and transgender rights advocates who wanted mastectomies, genital reconstructions and other surgeries that are recommended for some transgender people covered under San Francisco's 5-year-old universal health care plan.

At the urging of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center, the commission agreed this week to drop sex reassignment surgery from the list of procedures specifically excluded from the Healthy San Francisco plan.
Nice idea but... Who is going to pay for this? The total number of sexually different in the US population is about 3.4% -- you walk past thirty people and one of them is gay. Big deal. Why are they asking for and getting such preferential treatment? Granted, by nature, they flock to "gay friendly" locales so the population is concentrated there. Still, why such preferential treatment? I had to have foot surgery and even though I had insurance at the time, I still had to pay a couple thousand bucks out-of-pocket costs as it was elective "cosmetic" surgery. Cosmetic in that a bone process had grown out of the side of my big toe such that anything but a sandal was painful and the process was so large that I could not put on my steel-toed boots. It prevented me from working. Why wasn't that covered for free? How about people that need to take statins or insulin -- where are their free meds?

Another quake to our North

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There was just a 6.3Mag earthquake in B.C.- 100KM offshore to the West. More here. No word yet as to tsunami watch.

FEMA funnies

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From DNAinfo:
FEMA Disaster Centers Shut Doors 'Due to Weather'
They fly into disaster areas, but flee from raindrops.

FEMA disaster recovery centers in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged sections of the city that were supposed to provide assistance to hurricane victims went MIA Wednesday morning, posting signs saying that they were closed due to the approaching Nor'easter.

The temporary shuttering of the facilities, which help victims register for disaster relief, as well as city food distribution centers come even as many of those still reeling from the monster storm were not told that they had to leave the battered areas.
Wonder if they got their water delivered on time.

Some words of wisdom

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From James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal:
That's the mess a President Romney would inherit from his predecessor. He'd have to spend much of his political capital persuading Congress to undo this legislation, and quite possibly with a Democratic Senate majority.

If Obama is re-elected, he will inherit this mess from himself. There will be no blaming George W. Bush for a two-term Obama presidency. History will hold Obama accountable for the results, and the electorate will hold his party accountable in 2014 and 2016.
Time to dig in and hold fast.

Our economic recovery

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From CNBC:
Why Stocks May Keep Falling: 'The Sugar High Will End'
Investors cast their own vote on the presidential race Wednesday, and the result was a landslide rout that could have lasting repercussions beyond Tuesday's results.

A day after President Barack Obama stormed past Republican challenger Mitt Romney, the stock market sent a clear message: There's still a lot more to do than win a campaign.

Market experts said a confluence of factors are poised to make for a difficult environment that could last well into 2013, which traditionally would be a slow year outside of all the present headwinds.

Theories abounded on why the market tumbled. They ranged from worries over the "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts, as well as troubles in Europe, a slowdown in the U.S. and questions over the efficiency and effects of Federal Reserve policy.
It will be an interesting four years.


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From Klein Online:
ISRAELI OFFICIAL: �WE WILL NOT CAPITULATE BEFORE OBAMA.� Warns president�s reelection means Jewish state must �take care of its own�
The state of Israel will not capitulate before President Obama, whose �naive� leadership has hurt the U.S., stated Danny Danon, deputy speaker of Israel�s Knesset.

Danon, a Knesset member from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu�s ruling Likud party, was reacting to the reelection of Obama.

Danon told KleinOnline: �Obama�s victory demonstrates that the state of Israel must take care of its own interests. We cannot rely on anyone but ourselves. Obama has hurt the United States by his na�ve leadership in foreign policy, which prefers the Arab world over the Western world, along with Israel. The state of Israel will not capitulate before Obama.�
And so it starts...

And it starts

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From Bloomberg:
Dollar Falls as Obama Win Paves Way for Monetary Easing
The dollar weakened on speculation President Barack Obama�s re-election victory will boost chances the U.S. will continue monetary stimulus policies that tend to weaken the currency.

The dollar reversed earlier gains versus the euro after Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to television network projections that show the incumbent winning the electoral votes needed for re-election.
Time to start buying Canadian Oil stocks...
Came out of CERT Class just in time to hear Mitt Romney's concession speech. People voted in their own personal interests and not for the overall good. More gubbinment cheese. The good news is that the conservatives are very energized and can direct their focus on the Senate, the House and the Media.

Busy day today

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Heading into town later today for CERT class -- doing the final exam this morning and running a few errands before class. Posting will be minimal -- have an ear to the radio listening to voting information. See if I get my B-Day pres(id)ent...

At the polls

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Bidness as usual in Philadelphia - from The Washington Examiner:
Philly GOP: Poll inspectors being ousted for Dems
Court-appointed Republican poll inspectors are being forcibly removed from voting stations in some Philadelphia wards and replaced in some cases by Democratic inspectors and even members of the Black Panthers, according to GOP officials.

Secrets just received this memo from GOP officials:

The Philadelphia GOP is reporting that court appointed Minority (read GOP) Inspectors are being thrown out of polling locations in several Wards.

These Inspectors are election officials - again, court appointed -- and are reportedly being thrown out by the Head Judges of Elections (these Judges are elected Democrats) and being replaced by Democrats.
The 1,160+ comments are a fun romp through what passes for the urban democrat thought process.

The Benghazi Scandal

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The reality of what led up to the 9/11 attack is now starting to trickle out. From James Lewis writing at American Thinker:
The Worst News from Benghazi
It is now apparent that the president of the United States countermanded standing Pentagon orders to help American personnel under attack. Ambassador Stevens and three others were left to die without AC-130 Spectres and rescue teams that are always on standby in the Africom theater. Only the White House could have countermanded those standing orders, and we know that POTUS had an emergency meeting with Panetta and Hillary within 55 minutes of the start of the attack. AFRICOM's General Carter F. Ham was fired -- presumably for wanting to rescue the Americans under fire.

Ambassador Stevens and his people were left to die to protect a deep-cover NSC-CIA operation. But what could be so important that 32 Americans had to be abandoned to the mercy of al-Qaeda? Benghazi was a major gun-running operation, funneling armaments from the crushed Libyan regime of Moammar Gaddafi to rebel forces opposing Syria's Assad. Ambassador Stevens was negotiating with a whole Star Wars barroom thug collection of bad actors, a reported ten different jihadist militias operating in Benghazi.

The most damning Benghazi revelation is the Obama policy that led to the disaster: Obama's four-year policy of secretly supporting violent Islamists against civilized Muslims, like Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, and modern-minded people in countries like Turkey and Iran. We used to support moderate Muslims until Obama took over; now we support our deadly enemies. In Benghazi, some of those gangster types turned against us, tore the cover off the operation, burned out Ambassador Stevens, and killed American defenders with mortar fire. Our defenders had the AQIM mortar crew laser-marked for jet bombers and gunships that never showed up.

We now have four solid years of Obama administration support for radical jihadi movements against the modern world. The United States has abandoned any moral basis for its foreign policy. Prior to Obama, we stood for civilization and against tyranny of all kinds, in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Cold War. Today, for the first time in history, an American president is knowingly aiding and abetting ideological barbarism. Thomas Jefferson fought the Barbary Pirates; Obama is aiding the Barbary Pirates to fight us.
When everything comes out, this will be one of the biggest scandals in US history. Watergate will be a bump in the road compared to this.

The regulatory leviathan

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From the Richmond, Virginia Times-Dispatch:
We need regulation, but not this much
According to conventional progressive wisdom, regulation is the means by which a compassionate government protects the weak and innocent from the strong and malevolent.

Try telling that to Brad Jones.

Jones is one of the owners of Buckingham Slate, a Virginia business a little over an hour's drive west of Richmond. The company is distinguished by the quality of the highly valued Arvonia slate it produces. And by the fact that its roots trace back almost to the Civil War. And by the fact that federal regulators smacked it with a $4,000 fine.

Over a trash can.

The offending can � or "waste receptacle," in the words of the Mine Safety and Health Administration's official citation � was "not covered." What's more, "the receptacle was full." It "could be smelled." There were � brace yourself � "flies fl[y]ing in and around the receptacle." And to crown all, "management engaged in aggravated conduct constituting more than ordinary negligence" by allowing this "condition to exist." The horror.

Buckingham Slate has racked up other fines, too � such as a $70,000 fine imposed because one of its trucks had an inoperable horn. Perhaps regulators were following the approach advocated by Al Armendariz, the former EPA official who said enforcers should "crucify" offenders to "make an example" of them, which would then make others "easy to manage."
For a bit more on the wonderful Al Armendariz (an Obama appointee), here is an article on the event at Forbes. There are a lot more examples at the site. I'm all for clean air and water but the other 99.99% of these regulations are specious.

Stuffing the ballot box - or not

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From The Hill:
GOP senators: Thousands of ballots unlikely to reach military voters in time
A group of Republican senators said Monday that thousands of voter ballots are unlikely to reach military service members until after Nov. 6.

One day ahead of the election, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to express their concern over delays in ballots reaching military voters overseas.

�We write to express concerns over another serious failure by the Department of Defense (DoD) to safeguard the voting rights of our overseas military service members, which we believe could result in the imminent disenfranchisement of thousands,� the letter stated.

Mail redirection in the military can take between 14 to 50 days, meaning a ballot could reach the voter possibly more than a month after ballots have to be mailed back in order to be counted. The Military Postal Service Agency (MPSA) identified problems with the system after the 2010 election, but hasn�t implemented changes.
Military members tend to vote conservative so of course, the Obama regime didn't implement any change.
A decoder ring for the terminology used -- from
Preamp eBay glossary
If you've ever thought about buying or selling preamps on eBay, especially vintage preamps - here's a little glossary to help you out:
Antique: Anything being sold on eBay
Retro: Anything being sold on ebay by someone who can't spell "antique"
Buyer to collect: OK, so I *really* want to see the person who would actually buy this crap
Working: So, at some point I heard some type of noise come out of this, but I couldn't tell if it was mains hum, or a voltage spike from plugging in a microphone
Not working: I tried to mod it or fix it myself, and it's even worse than before I got ahold of it
Unsure if it functions/Sold as-is: See 'not working'
Small problem, probably just a tube: It *could* be a tube, but it's very unlikely, as I tried to replace the tube myself, and it didn't help. Of course this is the primary reason that I'm selling it in the first place, stupid.
Bill Putnam era: It looks like someone built it in their garage
Heh - more at the site...

Lame Duck season

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I am figuring a neat win for Romney -- people are tired of the lies and the bad economy and the polls and media are so in the tank for Obama that we are not getting accurate survey numbers. That being said, the next couple months are going to be quite the power-grab by Obama, especially the EPA. From The Washington Examiner:
November surprise: EPA planning major post-election anti-coal regulation
President Obama�s Environmental Protection Agency has devoted an unprecedented number of bureaucrats to finalizing new anti-coal regulations that are set to be released at the end of November, according to a source inside the EPA.

More than 50 EPA staff are now crashing to finish greenhouse gas emission standards that would essentially ban all construction of new coal-fired power plants. Never before have so many EPA resources been devoted to a single regulation. The independent and non-partisan Manhattan Institute estimates that the EPA�s greenhouse gas coal regulation will cost the U.S. economy $700 billion.

The rush is a major sign of panic by environmentalists inside the Obama administration. If Obama wins, the EPA would have another four full years to implement their anti-fossil fuel agenda. But if Romney wins, regulators will have a very narrow window to enact a select few costly regulations that would then be very hard for a President Romney to undo.
This was on the wind back in October when I wrote about their agenda and a couple days ago when I wrote about the large number of regulations sitting in the queue.

Back from town

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Late day today -- because of the wonderful massage, I slept twelve hours last night so today's buying run started an hour late. Came home and Lulu had the table set, was making some pasta with olive oil and lots of garlic and a salad. I grilled the steak and opened a bottle of wine and now settling down to surf. Life is good! Heading into town tomorrow for CERT class.

That's it for the night

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Back to the grind tomorrow. Lulu and I have been spending Sunday as a day of rest and it is wonderful. She gave me a two hour massage today for my B-Day (she was an LMT for 30 years in Hawaii) and I cooked some rice noodles with peanut sauce and some left-over ahi and a salad. Hung out with our dogs -- I surfed for a couple hours. I had turned Lulu onto the Outlander series a few days ago so she has her nose firmly buried in the second book. Got a fire going in the fireplace and life is good. It is only 19:15 or so but feeling a bit tired so I will check email and head upstairs. Doing the store buying run tomorrow and then I come home and we vote! It will be nice to vote with someone where most of our votes do not cancel each other out...

A bit of history revisited and a list

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This was left as a comment to this amazing post
The Sixth of November

Remember, remember, this sixth of November,
The radicals� treasonous plot.
I know of no reason the radicals� treason
Should e�er be forgiv�n or forgot.

The Sixties were waning, and Leftists were claiming
That radical changes were due.
Their Marxist solution was armed revolution:
The Weathermen made their debut.

The radicals raged on the national stage, and
Horrific explosions ensued.
Their bombs were dramatic, but also erratic;
They sometimes killed radicals, too.

The Leftists grew older, the underground, colder,
And so they came in from the cold.
�Subvert from within � in the long run, we�ll win,� said
The Leftists, determined and bold.

And thus it began � this nefarious plan � and
The radicals slowly took charge:
Complete infiltration of all education;
The long institutional march.

The journalist schools would produce useful fools, for
The Left would need media shills.
And Hollywood, too, would assist in the coup, with
Its slick propagandizing skills.

�Community action� would build a new faction;
�Twould organize proles on the street.
A smooth politician would front for the mission,
And run for the president�s seat.

The radicals� goal, which they proudly extol, is
A communist U.S. of A.
Collectivist schemes lead to brutal regimes, and
For this do the radicals pray.

But Jefferson�s aim, with the charters he framed, was
To guard individual rights.
And �redistribution� was not a solution,
But one of the evils to fight.

So let us remember, this sixth of November,
Just what is at stake on this date.
Will Jefferson�s dream, or the radicals� scheme, now
Determine America�s fate?
Outstanding. (Original here.) Go and read the post too, not just this one comment. From Zombie:
Why Was There No October Surprise? Because Every Freakin� Day for the Last Four Years Has Been an October Surprise
Where was the October Surprise?

Almost everyone anticipated this year�s �October Surprise� � some last-minute, unexpected, shocking scandal to rock the presidential election and derail one of the candidates. But it never appeared. In an era of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink gutterball politics, this mysterious absence of any major scandal was itself noteworthy. How could nothing have happened?

Sure, there was Hurricane Sandy. But that doesn�t count. Sandy was a natural disaster that dominated the headlines for a few days, but it wasn�t a scandal. And yes, there was Benghazi. But that happened in early September, and it wasn�t so much a political scandal uncovered by partisan operatives as it was the umpteenth example of Obama�s incompetence. Whatever Benghazi blowback he�s gotten damaging his election chances are entirely his own responsibility for bungling an international crisis. So, no, neither one of those counted as an October Surprise.

Which left many people scratching their heads. Why wasn�t there one? For either candidate?

In Mitt Romney�s case, the answer is pretty obvious: He�s squeaky clean. His entire adult life has been like a boring treatise on Mormon moral rectitude. His political career has long been an open book � moderate, bipartisan, essentially uneventful. The Democrats have tried to squeeze some droplets of outrage over Romney�s tenure at Bain Capital, but those attacks came earlier in the summer and turned out to be extremely slim pickin�s. There are no skeletons in Romney�s closet, otherwise we would have heard about them.

But in Barack Obama�s case, the situation is reversed: Everything he�s ever done is scandalous. The reason there was no October Surprise for Obama is that we�re all scandaled out. Anyone�s who been paying attention since 2008 has literally been in paralytic shock every single day. We spent October 2012 exactly as we�ve spent every month of the last four years: Our jaws on the floor, aghast, stupefied, unable to breathe. Almost every single thing Obama has done since he�s been in the national spotlight could have been and should have been a career-ending October Surprise. But the mainstream media, as we all know, has devoted itself to protecting him.

Not a day has gone by since Obama took office when I didn�t learn of some fresh outrage and say Oh. My. God. But we�ve been traumatized so often that over time the scandals have all blurred together and fused into a single red-hot thought: Please let this nightmare end.
Zombie goes on for a bit and then lists one hundred of Obama's more egregious blunders and the 390+ commenters offer quite a few more.

Two editorials regarding Benghazi

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Ouch - Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post are both asking some hard-hitting questions about just went down in Benghazi, what were we doing there and how much did Obama know about the attacks. From the Wall Street Journal:
The Fog of Benghazi
The Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were murdered September 11 in Benghazi. That we know. But too little else about what took place before, during and after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission is clear.

The White House says Republicans are "politicizing" a tragedy. Politicians politicize, yes, but part of their job is to hold other politicians accountable. The Administration has made that difficult by offering evasive, inconsistent and conflicting accounts about one of the most serious American overseas defeats in recent years. Unresolved questions about Benghazi loom over this election because the White House has failed to resolve them.
It took eight days for the Administration to formally declare that the four Americans "were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy," in the words of Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center. But six days later Mr. Obama was asked by Joy Behar on "The View" if "it was an act of terrorism"? He said the government didn't know. In his September 25 U.N. address, Mr. Obama made several general references to the YouTube video but made no mention of terrorism in the context of Benghazi.

His campaign stump speech to this day includes the lines that "al Qaeda has been decimated" and the U.S. is "finally turning the page on a decade of war to do some nation-building right here at home" (Thursday in Las Vegas).
He keeps using the word decimated wrong -- when something is decimated, it's strength is reduced by ten percent. More:
The President may succeed in stonewalling Congress and the media past Election Day. But the issue will return, perhaps with a vengeance, in an Obama second term. The episode reflects directly on his competence and honesty as Commander in Chief. If his Administration is found to have dissembled, careers will be ended and his Presidency will be severely damaged�all the more so because he refused to deal candidly with the issue before the election.
Regardless of whether or not he wins the second term, he and those under his command need to be prosecuted. This was a horrific lapse in judgment -- the truth will come out, it's just a matter of when. Next from The Washington Post:
A security breakdown in Benghazi
News reporting about the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, has moved from the political and mostly pointless issue of when the Obama administration had publicly acknowledged that a terrorist attack had taken place to more essential questions: Why was there a security failure at the consulate, and how did U.S. forces in Libya and outside the country respond to the emergency? The result is a host of unanswered questions.

Following a single background briefing, the State Department has mostly refused to respond to inquiries about Benghazi, citing an ongoing investigation by a review board. But considerable evidence has emerged that Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who died in the attack, and his security staff were deeply concerned about what they considered to be inadequate security.
While the agencies separately defend themselves � or not � the White House appears determined to put off any serious discussion of Benghazi until after the election. Sooner or later, however, the administration must answer questions about what increasingly looks like a major security failure � and about the policies that led to it.
It all boils down to the classic: "What did the President know and when did he know it?" (from here and here)
The website is here: Students for Obama It autoplays the following video:
From their website:
In the past four years, we have changed. We once supported President Obama. Obama made many good promises. Obama seemed non-partisan and willing to bring about change. He was charismatic. We were excited to see what would come of his administration. Sadly, Obama has failed us, instituting policies that have negatively affected us.

Because of this, Students For Obama has become Students No Longer For Obama. We have awakened to the President's failures, and we feel that it is time for a change. It's time to allow someone else a chance in the Oval Office. Obama doesn't deserve four more years of reckless behavior.
The youth vote were some of his strongest constituents -- if he loses them, it's over.

Bill Maher - a real class act

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From NewsBusters:
Bill Maher Warns Romney Supporters: 'Black People Know Who You Are and They Will Come After You'
Bill Maher on HBO's Real Time Friday might have said one of the most disgraceful things uttered during the 2012 campaign season.

"If you're thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, I would like to make this one plea: black people know who you are and they will come after you"

Imagine for a moment the outrage if a conservative commentator said even jokingly to Obama supporters, "White people know who you are and they will come after you."

That would be the end of that person's career. Period. No questions asked. Done!

But Maher who's adored by the Obama-loving media can say this with total impunity.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: HBO should be ashamed to have this disgusting man as one of its on air personalities. Period. End of story
Maher is not funny, he is not edgy, he is not that particularly intelligent. He is reveling in his fifteen minutes and then it will be all over. Say buh-bye...

Sandy quote of the week

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The closing paragraph of a wonderful editorial by Eric Berger at the Houston Chronicle:
It is true that Sandy was a human-caused disaster. We build cities on the coast. We don�t adequately protect them. We don�t heed evacuation warnings. That is where the blame lies for this one, not climate change.
Read the whole thing - really well written. Hat tip Anthony for the link.

FEMA ready to roll

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It seems that FEMA is playing catch-up to Sandy's victims. Sure, they promised to deliver bottled drinking water. They put in the Combined Synopsis/Solicitation on November 2nd -- five days after Sandy made landfall. From the Federal Government's Business Opportunities comes this solicitation:
bottled water 470 tractor trailer or truck loads of water. Equates 2.3M gallons. Proposals are due by 4:30pm on 11/02/2012
Solicitation Number: HSFE70-R-0010
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Office: Federal Emergency Management Agency
Location: Region IV
Posted Date: November 2, 2012

THIS ACQUISITON IS SET ASIDE FOR FULL AND OPEN COMPETITON This is a combined synopsis/solicitation for commercial items prepared in accordance with the format in Subpart 12.6, as supplemented with additional information included in this notice. This announcement constitutes the only solicitation; quotes are being requested and a written solicitation will not be issued....
It drones on -- government language -- more:
Specifications Requirements FEMA is requesting 2.3M gallons of bottle water which equates 470 tractor trailer truck loads. Package shall be wrapped and palletized. Date of Delivery: The date of delivery will be on 11/05/2012 by 4:30PM
And more:
SHIPPING/DELIVERY INSTRUCTIONS: Delivery Location: Republic FSA 7150 Republic Airport Road East Farmingdale, NY 11735
They had at least ten days heads up and five days of actual time to get this done. Five days after landfall, they are now finally getting around to ordering the water on Friday and they are expecting delivery the next Monday? Sale, shipment and delivery of 470 tractor trailer truck loads - bid goes out November 2nd and they are expecting delivery on November 5th -- to serve people who have been without potable water for, at that time, a full week. Oh - and that line in the RFQ: THIS ACQUISITON IS SET ASIDE FOR FULL AND OPEN COMPETITON? ACQUISITON and COMPETITON are both missing an I at the end: acquisitIon and competitIon. You might want to run a spell checker before you post something...

The climate v/s the weather

Two news articles.

From the 20 March 2000 edition of London, England's The Independent:

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.

From the BBC- 4 November 2012:

Flood warnings after snowfall in west of England
Flood warnings have been issued after three inches of snow fell across parts of the West Country and southern England, causing disruption to transport.

The snowfall happened early on Sunday and affected parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, North Dorset and Devon.

Flood warnings were put in place as the snow began to melt away, with one bridge in danger of collapse.

A BBC weather forecaster said brighter weather was expected on Monday.

Areas including Bath, Frome and Midsomer Norton and Radstock in the Mendips were affected by snow, with up to 6in (15cm) reported in places.

1998 was the hottest year in the last 40. It has been cooling ever since despite what the Chief Muppet at NASA says.

Five to three hundred fifty nine

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Endorsements baby -- go Mitt go! From Gerard:
Military Endorsements For Obama And Romney

"We the undersigned, proudly support
Governor Mitt Romney as our Nation's next
President and Commander-in-Chief"

Obama�s Public Military Endorsements [Take a short breath]:
General Wesley Clark, USA, (Ret) General Colin Powell, USA (Ret) Major General Paul Eaton, USA (Ret) Admiral Donald Gutter, USN, former JAG of the Navy, (Ret) Admiral John Nathman, USN, (Ret)

Mitt Romney�s Public Military Endorsements [Take a deep breath]:
Admiral James B. Busey, USN, (Ret.) General James T. Conway, USMC, (Ret.) General Terrence R. Dake, USMC, (Ret) Admiral James O. Ellis, USN, (Ret.) Admiral Mark Fitzgerald, USM, (Ret.) General Ronald R. Fogleman, USAF, (Ret) General Tommy Franks, USA, (Ret) and it goes on for 352 more names.
No wonder this regime has been trying to minimize the ability of our military to vote -- airplane crashes with absentee ballots burned, disenfranchised servicemen returning home to find their names purged from the polls with no time to re-apply. Clark and Powell are contemptible. Have been for years. Eaton, Gutter (no web presence) and Nathman are just nebbishes -- placeholders until real men got appointed to fill these shoes.

Second spam blast

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Had some problems with a spammer from China posting about 120 attempts on October 25. Netblock and buh-bye. Having some problems today with about the same number, different message and these mokes are a private residence in France. Fscking morons. Netblock, saving the activity logs and emailing them to their ISP. Number of successful spams in either case? ZERO -- losers! Like shooting fish in a barel...

Moral purity - in the 9th century

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From the UK Telegraph:
German quits 'unhygienic, drug-using' Taliban
The former fighter also complained of the unhygienic conditions in the war-torn lands of Pakistan's Waziristan province and Afghanistan that left him infected with hepatitis, and which were, in his opinion, "incompatible with the teachings of the Koran".

The unflattering portrayal of life in the Taliban came in a statement made by Thomas U. during his trial in Berlin for involvement in a foreign terrorist group.

The 27-year-old had traveled to Waziristan with his wife in the autumn of 2009 with the intention of freeing the area from the "infidel occupiers" after the couple had converted to Islam.
A bit more:
Underlying his dislike of his new life was the Taliban propensity to use drugs, and their "macho" attitude to women. In one case a Taliban fighter went to the German widow of a dead comrade and told her that she would marry him. The proposal was made without any consultation with her, "as if she was just an object" said Thomas U. in his statement.
These kinds of 'revolutionary' movements have always been corrupt bottom-feeding scum. There has never been one with the moral high-ground -- instead, it's always about consolidating power and leaching off the general population. All smoke and mirrors -- narrative and imagery instead of purposeful action. The hagiography of Dear Leader when Dear Leader could care less about his "people". The Taliban promote themselves as moral people striving to rid their homelands of the corrupt Western influence and who want to go back to an earlier time of purity and devotion when in fact, they are a band of thugs who use terror to build their base and who are only after money and power. They use drugs when it is forbidden by the Koran. They use the Opium crop of Afghanistan to finance their operations and if they were so concerned about their lands, why are they exporting terror to our lands. I just see a bunch of feral children -- willfully ignorant 9th century barbarians whose educated 'leaders' are keeping them in that state so they do not know any better, that they have any other options in life.

Hope and change to come

Something wonderful to look forward to -- from Hot Air:

Oh, good: Obama admin just sitting on a bunch of new regulations
As if it isn't enough that the Obama administration is severely outpacing his predecessors in terms of regulation output, the NJ is out with a report detailing all of the new-and-exciting regulations the Obama administration is just waiting out the election to write. I don't suppose this could have anything to do with why they've conspicuously failed to comply with the law by producing a regulatory outlook every six months, could it?
Federal agencies are sitting on a pile of major health, environmental, and financial regulations that lobbyists, congressional staffers, and former administration officials say are being held back to avoid providing ammunition to Mitt Romney and other Republican critics.

Despite looming legislative deadlines in the Affordable Care Act, court deadlines requiring environmental-protection rules, and a financial industry awaiting clarification on key reform details, the pace of regulatory release has slowed by almost half. The drop-off stands out not just compared to earlier years of Obama�s term but also compared to other years in which presidents are running for reelection, according to analyses from experts at George Mason and George Washington universities.

The administration has also failed to release a required regulatory outlook document, describing its regulatory agenda. Such documents are supposed to be published every six months; the most recent one was published in January, making this the longest lag between outlooks since the deadline schedule was created in 1994.
Yes, but it's the "Republican obstructionism" preventing Obama from doing even more that is ostensibly the source of our crummy economy. Riiiiiiight.

The fact that they are hiding this makes it obvious that they know Obama doesn't have the best interests of this Nation at heart. The fools fail to realize that they will be impacted by these new rules and regulations along with everyone else. Energy prices skyrocketing indeed. How about food prices, materials (priced a 2*4 recently?), gallon of gasoline? These are all about double what they were when Obama took office all the while, the Fed is printing money, diluting our currency and triggering rampant inflation.

Some numbers

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Interesting numbers at the presidential rallies. First, from National Review:
Obama Attracting Smaller Crowds than McCain in �08
Campaigning in Mentor, Ohio today, President Obama drew a crowd of 4,000. RNC research director Joe Pounder notes that, four years ago, John McCain drew a bigger ground to the same venue.

This appears to be something of a trends. Last night, Mitt Romney drew 30,000 to a Cincinnati rally, while 2,800 people showed up to see President Obama at the Franklin County fairgrounds.
And from Breitbart:
Obama's Cleveland Rally Attendance 20x Lower than 2008
Last night, in the cold and with long lines, 30,000 people showed up in Ohio to see Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. That same day, Obama attracted a meager 2,800. But enthusiasm for President FailureTeleprompter can be judged by more than comparisons with Romney. In 2008, at his last stop in Cleveland, a Democrat stronghold, Obama attracted 80,000 people. This morning, at his last 2012 stop in that same city, Obama could only attract 4,000.
Looks like I might get the birthday present I want... Winning the Senate would be gravy. Here is a perfect example of why we need to win there too. From The Investigative Project on Terrorism:
Dems Tap Radical Islamists for Cash
The Investigative Project on Terrorism has learned that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi headlined a Democratic Party fundraiser with leaders of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood front groups in May of this year.

The invitation-only fundraiser was sponsored by Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; Andre Carson, D-Ind.; and Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and took place on the evening of May 16, 2012, at the W Hotel in Washington D.C.

In attendance were about 20 members of a Syrian dissident group and 10 officials representing Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front groups. Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad was perhaps the most prominent attendee and played a key role in organizing the event.
A bit more:
During the fundraiser, Pelosi sat at the same table with Awad and Barzinji.

Speaking to the attendees in her 10-minute address, she said the Democratic Party should become the natural home of Muslim-Americans, because Republicans fan the flames of "Islamophobia." She focused exclusively on Islamophobia, a term devised by radical Islamists and their apologists to silence critics, while avoiding any mention of terrorism carried out by Islamists in the United States.

Also speaking were Israel, Ellison, Carson, and Reps Alyson Schwartz, D-Pa., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn. Israel and Murphy were said to have been the most vehement among the members of Congress in attendance in terms of their incendiary accusations of Republican-incited Islamophobia. One observer said that it was striking that "there was not a scintilla of comments in defense of U.S. national security." However, they welcomed each of the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood front groups represented at the event into the "Democratic community" without any mention of their well-documented terror links.
People like Pelosi are incapable of seeing the grave damage they are doing to the core fabric of our Nation. They are so swept up in the echo chamber of their own devising that they fail to connect with reality. And, B.T.W. Nancy, that phrase of yours: "Muslim-Americans" That really really needs to be: "American Muslims" Emphasis on AMERICAN. This is where you and I and all those wonderfully tolerant people live and after all, this is the religion of PEACE. Do I really need to link to "Memo from Turner" again? Yeaggggghhhhhh... Your love is all I want. And I have a tunnel in Brooklyn that needs some work but for you? Cheap!

Sandy - scientific post-mortem

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Starting to see some interesting analyses of Sandy which went from a warm-core hurricane, through an extratropical transition and morphed into a cold-core tropical storm. Bob Henson of NCAR News has an excellent post-mortem at Watts Up With That:
The hybridization of hurricane Sandy
Every so often, a quiet corner of research suddenly grabs the spotlight. Such was the case this week when a Category 1 Atlantic hurricane morphed into Superstorm Sandy (note- it wasn�t a hurricane when it made landfall, it was an extratropical cyclone � Anthony), wreaking tens of billions of dollars in damage and taking scores of lives in the eastern United States.

Sandy�s destiny as a hybrid storm was flagged to the public several days before landfall, when the irresistible name �Frankenstorm��coined by a NOAA meteorologist�went viral. (Of course, in the original Mary Shelley novel, it was the scientist rather than the monster who was dubbed Frankenstein, as Bay Area meteorologist Jan Null pointed out to me.)

While there have been hybrid storms before, Superstorm Sandy was a creation distinct in meteorological annals, as it pulled together a variety of familiar ingredients in a unique way. Sandy could be the storm that launches a thousand dissertations�or at least a few�and some of its noteworthy aspects have implications for hurricane warning in general. Warning: there�s a bit of unavoidable weather geekery in the material below, although I�ll try to keep it as accessible as possible.
Fascinating reading.

62 turns around the sun

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Celebrating my birthday today. Lazy day at home, some surfing and then Lulu is taking me out to dinner. Back to whatever passes for normal tomorrow...

Oopsie - got caught

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Bunch of asshats -- from Media Trackers:
Toledo Union Members Caught with a Truckload of Stolen Romney Signs
Four men caught in a Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) truck full of Romney/Ryan signs were issued summons for receiving stolen property early Friday morning in Perrysburg. Local police responded after residents reported seeing men stealing Romney signs in the middle of the night.

A Perrysburg Police incident report published by the Ohio Liberty Coalition listed four adult males: Corey Beaubien, Christopher Monaghan, Sean Bresler, and John Russell. The police report indicated the vehicle in question was registered to SMWIA Local 33 of Parma.

John Russell and Chris Monaghan are listed as Business Agents for the union�s Toledo district on the SMWIA Local 33 website.

Additionally, Facebook accounts appearing to belong to Beaubien, Monaghan, and Russell identify the three as employees of SMWIA Local 33.

Monaghan, age 41, uses as his profile picture a �Yes on 2″ logo supporting the ballot issue from union front Voters First Ohio. He lists The Ed Show on MSNBC as his favorite TV show, and �Likes� union front We Are Ohio as well as a page titled �I will vote for Barack Obama in 2012.�

Russell, age 39, �Likes� Obama for America � Ohio.

Beaubien, age 37, �Likes� Barack Obama, Obama for America � Ohio, and Sherrod Brown.

The Sheet Metal Workers� Local 33 � Toledo page on Facebook is awash in liberal talking points promoting Obama and attacking Romney. An October 27 status update pleading with members to help distribute campaign literature closed with, �We have 10 days left lets not wake up on Wednesday with our heads hung low because we lost. Remember right to work for less will be the death of us all.�

Romney has voiced support for a national right-to-work law, which would allow employees in unionized workplaces to opt out of union membership without being forced to pay �fair share� fees.

Paul, Dammit! weighs in

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From Hawsepiper:
the natives are growing restless
So a scant 5 days after the hurricane, New Yorkers are going feral. Multiple generations most certainly were not prepared for an interruption in the supply of gubmint cheese. The entitlement crowd, all 47% of them, are entirely unwilling to walk a couple of miles to load up on groceries for a day or two, and seem to prefer stealing, dumpster diving and giving seriously (un)classy fodder for the entertainment pleasure of the millions of Americans who, right now, are so very grateful to not be in New York.

If I seem somewhat callous, call it a response in having grown up on the fringe of a coastal flood zone and being somewhat insistent on a degree of self-reliance. I wish I could say that the majority of the victim society is made up of elderly and infirm residents who need legitimate help, but there seems to be no shortage of able-bodied people seemingly more than healthy enough to get their stirrup-panted fat ass in front of a microphone, but unable to to stomach the idea of walking to the top of a hill 3 miles away to load up on canned goods at one of the many working bodegas and small shops that, amazingly, my coworkers have had no trouble at all in finding, despite being based in the hardest-hit portions of Red Hook.

My dad used to say that poor planning on my part shouldn't constitute a crisis on his. While I could always rely on him to save the day, I dreaded asking him to. I wish I saw more of that, but I'm assuming that there's help out there. The narrative on TV currently focuses on how unlikely New Yorkers are to survive without attaching an umbilical cord to us all from Uncle Sugar to our growling stomachs.
So true -- there are people genuinely in need but there are also people who will not get up and walk to the nearest store. They had a weeks warning. C'mon -- buy a couple cans of beans and jugs of water people -- this is not rocket science...

RIP - John Silber

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John was the President of Boston University back when I was attending in the 1970's (Marine Bio. and Physical Oceanography). He turned the place around and made it one of the leading research and educational institutions in the USA. Roger Kimball has a nice obituary at The New Criterion:
John Silber, 1926�2012
When John Silber died, age eighty-six, at the end of September, he was at work on an essay for The New Criterion. I was very much looking forward to the piece. It was to be a review of Martin Duberman�s new biography of the left-wing historian Howard Zinn (1922�2010), the author of the anti-American bestseller A People�s History of the United States. John had often crossed swords with Zinn at Boston University, where Zinn was a professor and where John reigned as President from 1971 to 1996 and then as Chancellor until 2003. Duberman�s biography is certain to be an exercise in hagiography, probably of the fawning variety, and John�s anatomy of the book and its subject promised to be a piquant addition to his library of salubrious polemic.

I deeply regret that John did not complete the review, but I was not surprised. I had spoken to him just a couple of weeks before his death. He was as cogent and cheerful as ever but was clearly fighting a formidable battery of ailments. I was abroad when the news came that he had died. I returned a few days later to find a brief letter from him informing me that his illness was terminal and thanking me for our friendship. It was written two days before his death.
Read the whole thing -- Dr. Silber was a force of nature.

Crap - a Sandy loss

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From Yahoo/The Week:
How Hurricane Sandy destroyed years of medical research
Mice and other specimens were lost when a New York lab flooded and lost power, potentially setting back crucial studies for years.

As Hurricane Sandy flooded Lower Manhattan, the staff at New York University's Langone Medical Center rushed to evacuate 300 patients. At another NYU facility, the Smilow Research Building, thousands of lab mice drowned as the storm surge filled the basement with water. Many tissue samples and other specimens also were lost. "It's so horrible, you don't even want to think about it," said Michelle Krogsgaard, a cancer biologist. "All the work we did, all the time and money, we're going to have to start all over." What kinds of research were lost in the storm? Here, a brief guide:

What went wrong?
The so-called Frankenstorm knocked out power to the hospital. When the storm's record-breaking tides flooded the basement, where many of the research specimens were kept, the backup generators failed, leaving the 13-story research center in the dark. The mice were inundated. Other cells, tissues, and animals used for medical research died slowly in idle refrigerators, freezers, and incubators. Precious enzymes, antibodies, and DNA strands generated by scientists and stored at temperatures as cold as -80 degrees were also almost surely destroyed.

How significant was the loss?
The facility houses labs dedicated to research on heart disease, neurodegeneration, and cancer. Some scientists doing doctoral or post-doc research may have been several years into a five- or six-year program, and may have to essentially start over from square one. Some of the mice that were lost had been genetically engineered for use studying melanoma and other diseases, and it could take several years of careful breeding to rebuild the colony. Researchers have to identify a gene to be studied, inject the altered gene into mouse blastocysts, and make sure the offspring can pass the traits along to following generations. "Some mice are unique, they're just made for certain research," one non-NYU researcher said, and there's no way to replace them without starting from scratch. "This does not equate to a loss of life," one NYU source told the New York Daily News, "but it is extremely disheartening to see years of research go down the drain."
Not very well thought out. Moving a cryo-freezer is a pretty big deal but they had a weeks notice. Moving a couple thousand mice is simple -- even just the expediency of moving them to an auditorium in the same building -- not like they are going to hold classes during the storm.

The new unemployment numbers

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From The Weekly Standard:
Big Jump in Unemployment for Blacks
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the biggest change in employment over the last month affected black workers. In September, the unemployment rate for blacks was 13.4 percent. In October, that number jumped to 14.3 percent, an almost a full percentage point change, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment for whites remained steady at 7 percent.

Likewise, the unemployment rate remain unchanged for teenagers (23.7 percent) and adult men (7.3 percent).

For Asians the rate ticked up, from 4.8 percent tp 4.9 percent. Likewise for Hispanics, from 9.9 percent to 10 percent.

The unemployment rate for adult women shifted up to 7.2 percent from 7.0 percent.

And, of course, overall, the unemployment rate went up from 7.8 percent in September to 7.9 percent in October.
And Obama thinks tells us we are recovering.
From Tampa Florida station WTSP:
#ProtectYourVote: Active service members upset over removal from voting rolls
Local service members who have spent years serving the country are discovering this fall that they aren't allowed to vote in the presidential election.

Valrico resident and Navy Captain Peter Kehrig, who has been abroad for five years tells 10 News he feels cheated by a system that removed him from the rolls.

Florida State Law requires county supervisor of elections offices to perform regular "maintenance" on its voter rolls to eliminate voters who have been convicted of felonies, moved out of the county, or may have died.

Voters who miss two consecutive general elections (2010 and 2008, for instance) are mailed a letter to their residence warning them they will be removed from the rolls. But since the post office only forwards mail for six months, Kehrig never got it.
Kehrig is one of about 30 active and reserve service members who have contacted the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections' office about the discovery, but October 8 was the last day the law allows a voter to register for the general election. Other Tampa Bay-area counties reported small numbers of complaints too.

"It's not just a right that I've earned by being an American," Kehrig said of voting, "but I've (been) trying to protect our country and I really believe it's a right I'm being denied."

Kehrig has served in the military for more than 30 years, including time at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. He suggests legislators change the law so service members aren't disenfranchised.
Good Lord -- the guy is serving his country and he cannot vote?

New York City turns Feral

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Things are very bad in NY City - gas lines several hours long, food shortages and people regressing to common thuggery. From ABC News:
�We Need Food, We Need Clothing�: Staten Island Residents Plead for Help 3 Days After Sandy
The residents of Staten Island are pleading for help from elected officials, begging for gasoline, food and clothing three days after Sandy slammed the New York City borough.

�We�re going to die! We�re going to freeze! We got 90-year-old people!� Donna Solli told visiting officials. �You don�t understand. You gotta get your trucks down here on the corner now. It�s been three days!�

Staten Island was one of the hardest-hit communities in New York City. More than 80,000 residents are still without power. Many are homeless, and at least 19 people died on Staten Island because of the storm.
From Yahoo News/Reuters:
New York fuel "panic" grows even as ports open, reserves tapped
A third day of gasoline "panic buying" among storm-stricken New York area motorists prompted authorities on Friday to tap strategic oil reserves and waive shipping regulations even as limited deliveries resumed in the battered region.
Faced with losing another day of business, William Torrens got up at 5 a.m. in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to queue for fuel. The owner of All Clear Plumbing waited for four hours in a six-block line at a Sunoco station before finally getting gasoline for his truck and home generator.
And I had posted earler about the non-union electrical lineworkers being turned away by the union thugs. The workers filmed the confrontation and it was jaw dropping. Haven't found it online yet but heard the audio a few hours ago -- the Union workers are calling the workers from Decatur scabs and chanting Union over and over again. What a bunch of stupid apes...

Hope and Change

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From The Weekly Standard:
Food Stamp Growth 75X Greater than Job Creation
With the latest jobs report, it is now the case that "Under Obama, Food Stamp Growth [Is] 75 Times Greater Than Job Creation," according to statistics compiled by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.
Since January 2009, a net of 194,000 new jobs have been created. During that same time, 14.7 million have been added to the food stamp rolls.
75.773 times to be exact but who cares -- this is unreal. Some numbers:
In January 2009, there were 133.56 million Americans with jobs and 31.98 million on food stamps. Today, there are 133.76 million Americans with jobs and 46.68 million on food stamps. The employment rolls have thus grown by 0.15 percent and the food stamp rolls have grown by 46 percent, meaning that for every one American who found a job, 75 Americans signed up for food stamps. Meanwhile, during that time, our nation�s debt has risen $5.63 trillion. Total spending on food stamps is now more than $80 billion annually, a fourfold increase from 2001. Total spending on federal means-tested welfare�food stamps, public housing, social services, cash aid, etc.�is now approximately $1 trillion. That amount is enough, if converted to cash, to send every household beneath the federal poverty line an annual check for $60,000.
And over half of that $60,000 is wasted in the Federal Bureaucracy. Bring it back to a State level or privatize it.

Glad I do not live in New Jersey

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I kinda like Governor Chris Christie but at times, I am not so sure. His hanging out with Obama was disgusting and now this from station WAFF:
Decatur Utilities: Nonunion AL crews turned away from Sandy recovery
The hurricane-ravaged east coast has been receiving north Alabama help, but crews learned they could not help out in New Jersey unless they affiliated with a union.

Crews from Decatur Utilities headed up there this week, but Derrick Moore, one of the Decatur workers, said they were told by crews in New Jersey that they can't do any work there since they're not union employees.

The general manager of Decatur Utilities, Ray Hardin told Fox Business they were presented documents from the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers at a staging area in Virginia. The documents stated they had to affiliate with a union to work, which the crews could not agree to.

Crews were told this was a requirement to work according to Hardin.

The crews were originally called to Seaside Heights, but they never made it to New Jersey. They attempted to look for work in other areas but made the decision late Thursday night to return home.

Moore said they're frustrated being told "thanks, but no thanks."
A classic example of why Unions are well past their due date. A great idea 100 years ago -- a dinosaur today.

Heading into town today

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Got a court date today. I do not know what Jen's lawyer is thinking but there are some things that I cannot do until Jen files her own paperwork and gets a copy to me. Sheesh...

About those jobs numbers

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From The Washington Times:
Two-thirds of jobs go to immigrants during Obama�s four years
Two-thirds of those who have found employment under President Obama are immigrants, both legal and illegal, according to an analysis that suggests immigration has soaked up a large portion of what little job growth there has been over the past three years.

The Center for Immigration Studies is releasing the study Thursday morning, a day ahead of the final Labor Department unemployment report of the campaign season, which is expected to show a sluggish job market more than three years into the economic recovery.
His numbers are stark: Since the first quarter of 2009, the number of immigrants of working age (16 to 65) who are employed has risen 2 million, from 21.2 million to 23.2 million. During the same time, native-born employment has risen just 1 million, to reach 119.9 million.
Why isn't Janet Napolitano doing her job?


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The intarwebs are a bit abuzz over the escapades of Senator Menendez. It seems that his enabler is a bit dirty too -- from the Washington Free Beacon:
Dem Super PAC Donor Owes IRS $11.1 Million
The Florida ophthalmologist caught in the middle of Sen. Robert Menendez�s prostitute scandal is also one of the largest donor�s to the Super PAC supporting Senate Democrats.

Salomon Melgen founded the Melgen Vitreo Retinal Eye Center in Florida, formerly known as Vitreo Retinal Consultants Eye Center. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Melgen�s Vitreo Retinal Consultants has contributed at least $700,000 to Majority PAC, a Super PAC dedicated to Democrat candidates for Senate and founded by a former aide to Sen. Harry Reid.

During this cycle, Melgen has also contributed at least $5,000 to Menendez and $10,000 to the New Jersey Democrat State Committee.

Melgen, however, has some serious problems with the Internal Revenue Service. In May 2011, the IRS filed a federal tax lien against Melgen for more than $11.1 million in unpaid taxes dating back to 2006. According to the Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller website, the lien has not been released or withdrawn.
It just gets better and better -- Lulu and I will be voting tomorrow. It is nice to vote with someone when the votes amplify -- Jen's and my ballots mostly canceled out.

The entitlement state - New York

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From Yahoo News/Reuters:
New York state asks Washington to cover all storm costs
New York state on Wednesday asked the U.S. federal government to pay all the costs of cleaning up and repairing damage from massive storm Sandy that tore through the Northeast this week and crippled New York City.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is asking fellow Democrat, President Barack Obama, to pay 100 percent of the estimated $6 billion bill, at a time that state and local government budgets remain constrained by a weak economic recovery.

That would be a significant change from last year when the federal government covered about 75 percent of the $1.2 billion cost paid by New York to clean up after storm Irene hit the region.

The two U.S. senators from neighboring New Jersey, the other state hit hardest by the storm, also asked that the federal government cover more than the usual share of the cost, given the size of the disaster and the financially strapped local coffers.
So you want the rest of our 56 states pay for your failure to establish and maintain a contingency fund for disasters such as this? As I have mentioned, I am involved in our local water board and WA State law requires us to maintain a separate bank account with enough cash to replace the most expensive piece of equipment (our two water tanks). We are running very close to the bone (don't want to raise the rates) but we have over $100K stashed for contingencies. If WA State makes us do this, the States themselves should operate under the same rules. More:
Cuomo said in a letter to Obama that "initial estimates project up to $6 billion in lost economic revenue in the greater metropolitan area and the state" due to disruption to business in the world's financial hub.

Cuomo added that "the significant impact from Hurricane Sandy plainly warrants providing this assistance."

The state, he said, was still battling multi-building fires, tunnel closures, and power outages at hospitals and other vital facilities. Plus there are destroyed homes and people needing shelter.

"Moreover, the cost to restore the complex electrically driven subway and rail transportation systems after total inundation from saltwater flooding will place a tremendous financial burden on New York state," Cuomo said in the letter.
If you call yourself "the world's financial hub", you are doing your customers a disservice by not providing backup to the infrastructure. After your admission that you cannot fix this and need Federal bailout money they will probably look for some other place to work. As for the subways, you are not maintaining your infrastructure -- you squeaked by with Hurricane Irene. A year ago, the surge was one foot below overtopping the barriers and flooding the subway. Did you do anything beside put on a clean pair of BVD's? Nope. Now you got pee-pee smacked and you want mommy to make it better...


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An interesting perspective from Nonie Darwish writing at the Gatestone Institute:
The Benghazi Scandal
Americans need answers as to why the Obama administration had no response to the eight-hour terror attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and who was involved in the decision not to go to their aid despite their repeated requests for help. And why is the producer of the "Innocence of Muslims" video still in a California jail cell, allegedly for violating his parole, while none of the people who refused to rescue Ambassador Christopher Stevens and these immensely courageous former Navy SEALS has been even been named and charged with negligent homicide, or even reckless endangerment?

From the Muslim world's viewpoint, the Obama administration's behavior makes perfect sense: The Muslim world is used to, and expects, victims of terror not to act. It is an unforgivable violation of Sharia law for non-Muslims to fight back against jihadi assaults. As Muslims interpret such passivity, those who want to appease the Muslim world and its Sharia law are expected to freeze when faced with Islamic terror -- freezing is the only acceptable response.

Ask Coptic Christians why they often leave Islamic terror unpunished, and why their Muslim attackers never go to jail? Why, if a non-Muslim responds to terror, he becomes an enemy of the Islamic State? Ask Israel why defending itself after terror attacks is never understood by the Muslim world? Muslims consider Jews as subhuman apes, pigs, and enemies of Allah, who do not have the right to defend themselves. Ask Middle Eastern non-Muslims why, even though the the Muslim media constantly slanders them, they must stay silent before the slander? Sharia law permits Muslims to slander and lie about their enemies. Ask victims of Islamic terror why they rarely, if ever, responded to it? Or why Christians in Egypt never burn mosques when Muslim attackers burn churches?

The answer to all of the above is simple: Under Sharia law, non-Muslims as well as non-Muslim countries, must never dare to respond to jihad [war in the name of Islam] in kind -- not even to terrorism. If they do -- if even one Muslim is killed in the process -- they become permanent enemies of the Islamic State, worthy of more and more slander, terror and jihad.

To understand the current administration's stance on Libya, it might help first to understand what seem to be Obama's views on "The Muslim World." U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration have for years been insisting that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. The President apparently chooses not to see, hear or say anything uncomplimentary about Islamic Sharia and jihad. Members of the current administration even insisted that attacks, such as that of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who had "SOA" [Soldier of Allah"] on his business cards and who shouted "Allahu Akbar!" ["Allah is Greater!"], were "man-caused disasters or "workplace violence," not Islamic terrorism. They instead blamed Islamic anger on previous American foreign policies, Israel, or even a YouTube video � a charge later discredited.
Much more at the site. Time to clean house (and eat more bacon!)

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