December 2012 Archives

That is it for the night

Heading upstairs to bed -- big party animal, yeah... Wishing everyone a wonderful and prosperous 2013. A time for renewal and growth. Looking forward to getting even more involved with Blacksmithing and Fused Glass. Looking forward to spending more time growing my own food, especially this garlic. Looking forward to getting back to my music -- moved the studio out of the DaveCave(tm) and into the spare bedroom in the house. And especially, it has been a bit over sixteen months since I met Lulu. Our love gets stronger every day. Sometime God saves the best for last (although neither of us are going anywhere soon -- we are both looking at 30 years together...) Anyway, I'm tired; It's late. Goodnight all and Happy New Year!

A fun story

I am a big fan of close-up magic tricks and there is nothing more close-up than a pickpocket.

There is a great story on Apollo Robbins at the New Yorker:

A Pickpocket's Tale
A few years ago, at a Las Vegas convention for magicians, Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, was introduced to a soft-spoken young man named Apollo Robbins, who has a reputation as a pickpocket of almost supernatural ability. Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, "a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem pole," was holding court at a table of colleagues, and he asked Robbins for a demonstration, ready to be unimpressed. Robbins demurred, claiming that he felt uncomfortable working in front of other magicians. He pointed out that, since Jillette was wearing only shorts and a sports shirt, he wouldn't have much to work with.

"Come on," Jillette said. "Steal something from me."

Again, Robbins begged off, but he offered to do a trick instead. He instructed Jillette to place a ring that he was wearing on a piece of paper and trace its outline with a pen. By now, a small crowd had gathered. Jillette removed his ring, put it down on the paper, unclipped a pen from his shirt, and leaned forward, preparing to draw. After a moment, he froze and looked up. His face was pale.

"Fuck. You," he said, and slumped into a chair.

Robbins held up a thin, cylindrical object: the cartridge from Jillette's pen.

A great story -- lots of pickpocket history as well as the scene today.

The parenting of the year award goes to - - -

Identities are being protected here but the story is from just South of here in Everett, WA. From the Everett, WA Herald:
Pair charged after allegedly exposing child to meth smoke
Felony child endangerment charges have been filed against a Lake Stevens couple who allegedly smoked meth while an 11-month-old baby was with them in their vehicle.

The girl's mother, 22, and her half-brother boyfriend, 35, were charged Thursday with one count each of child endangerment with a controlled substance.
Marysville police were summoned by a 911 call Dec. 7 about a man and a woman smoking methamphetamine inside a Ford Explorer. The caller was worried that the young girl was being exposed to second-hand smoke from the drug. One of the witnesses asked the caller for help summoning police, in part because he was afraid he was going to punch the man who was smoking meth, court papers said.
Emphasis mine -- yeah, me too. More:
A Marysville police officer found the pair in the Explorer, with the woman holding the girl. There were meth pipes in the vehicle. It was 38 degrees that night. The Explorer had no heat because it was out of gas. The girl, dressed only in a diaper, was crying and appeared to be cold and hungry, Alsdorf said.

Both adults allegedly admitted smoking meth that night.

The woman told police she's addicted to the drug "and readily acknowledged that she is an unfit mother because of her current drug addiction," court papers said. The man claimed that he's been smoking meth for 20 years.

"He said it was wrong to endanger the children and there was no excuse for it," the prosecutor wrote. "He explained that his childhood was a troubled one and that his father introduced him to methamphetamine at approximately 14 years old."

The pair also told police that they have been in an incestuous relationship for about a half-year, despite having the same mother. The family dynamics are an aspect of the case because the child exposed to meth Dec. 7 is a member of the defendants' family, adding a domestic violence element to the prosecution.
These are the kinds of people our Public School system is producing, that our economy is cranking out and that our Government is subsidizing. Another happy Obama family. And there are people out there who are actively propagating more of these Untermenschen because of their reliable Democrat vote? Just give them their free gubbinment cheese and they are happy...

Living close to nature

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Just heard an Elk bugle a few moments ago. There is a herd that lives in this area and have heard them before from time to time. Can't see anything with the flashlight -- suspect they are beyond the trees near the large creek that flows through the farm. Very cool!

Very long day

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I was scheduled to meet up with a vendor that I don't normally liaise with directly. He was close to one hour late. Add to this some really long lines at the bank and the stop at the gun store, I didn't get home until around 6PM. Quick dinner (pulled pork sandwiches) a glass or two of wine and then off to bed. Celebrate New Year in my dreams. Driving back to the store long the Mt. Baker Highway, I saw about six or seven sheriff's cars (not counting how many I did not see). I would not want to be drinking and driving tonight -- amateur hour...

Off to town - store shopping run

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Doing the Monday shopping run for the store so heading off in a few minutes. I generally visit about ten vendors who otherwise will not deliver given the volume we purchase. This is done twice/week on Monday and Friday. Lulu and I both dreamed about getting more than one kitty to replace Demeter (her two, me three -- both black and gray). Our thoughts are becoming very similar -- spooky and wonderful.

Could not happen to a nicer bunch of people

From Walter Russell Mead, writing at The American Interest:
Saudis Sweat Bullets As Energy Revolution Changes the Rules
The US shale gas boom, drastically cutting the cost of gas, is shaking the foundations of the Saudi Arabian economic model�and more is coming. The highly profitable $100bn Gulf petrochemical industry is taking a hit as its biggest customer�the U.S.�is importing less and relying instead on domestic production.

US petrochemical companies, propelled by cheaper access to raw materials, are competing effectively against companies like the Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic), the world�s largest chemical maker. Sabic also has some home-grown problems. The rapidly growing Saudi population wants to consume (subsidized) petrochemicals at home, air conditioning Saudi houses and running Saudi cars instead of exporting product abroad. Falling production, demand, and prices are beginning to hurt the once stalwart $89bn company. The Financial Times reports:
�The cyclical Gulf petrochemicals industry is already suffering, as lower prices have coincided with higher raw material costs. Sabic�has reported declining profits in every quarter so far this year.

In the third quarter net income fell 23 per cent from the year-earlier period; it fell 35 per cent in the second and 5 per cent in the first quarter.�
US gas prices have plummeted due to new techniques, known as fracking and horizontal drilling, developed to extract the vast deposits of shale gas in the North American bedrock. Production has jumped by nearly a quarter since 2000, reducing demand for Saudi gas. If China figures out how to exploit its own shale gas reserves the Saudis will have every reason to be nervous. The two pillars of the Saudi economy�oil and petrochemical exports�will both be on shaky ground.
One time when I will say: "Go China!" The sooner we starve these oil ticks, the sooner the world will be a lot more peaceful. The Wahhabist faction in S.A. (petro-islam) are the ones funding the majority of the terrorism around the world. Like I said, a nice bunch of people. The sooner they get retired back to their original status, the better.
A wonderful idea -- from Ed Morrissey writing at Hot Air:
Senate Republicans refuse to confirm Kerry until Hillary testifies about Benghazi
Isn�t this pushing a jinx? If Senate Republicans insist on having Hillary Clinton testify before allowing John Kerry�s confirmation to proceed, aren�t they risking a torn ACL or turf toe for the outgoing Secretary of State?
Clinton has pledged to remain in the job until Kerry is confirmed, which Obama said he was confident would happen �quickly.� The Senate is expected to take up Kerry�s nomination in early January, but multiple Republican senators have already said they won�t agree to a vote on Kerry�s nomination until Clinton testifies about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Illness and a concussion has prevented Clinton from appearing thus far.
Clinton promised to appear before Congress at one point, but the State Department backpedaled from that position quickly after it became public. State then said that Clinton couldn�t testify until after Congress received the report from the Accountability Review Board�s investigation into Benghazi, which they hinted Congress might not see for another 90 days � or possibly never see in its entirety. They got the ARB report last week, at which point State announced the resignations of four officials who never actually resigned at all. Accountability!

So yes, there are plenty of questions to ask Hillary Clinton about the �systemic failures� and �leadership and management deficiencies� that arose under her command at State, now that Congress has seen the report. There are plenty of questions to ask Hillary Clinton about the surreal resignation dodge of the past week. Asking those questions requires her presence, however, and it�s becoming clear that Hillary has no intention of submitting herself to those lines of inquiry in public. She and State are trying to run out the clock and leave John Kerry in position to deal with the aftermath.
Dingy Harry has 55 Democrats and he needs 60 Votes. (Channeling my inner Butt-head: Hehhhehhheh...) Ambassador John Bolton weighs in -- from the New York Post:
Beyond Benghazi: questions for Clinton
The State Department�s Accountability Review Board last week issued a devastating report on the events leading up to the Sept. 11 assassination of four Americans at our Benghazi consulate. Unfortunately, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has still not faced questioning by Congress or the media more than three months after the tragedy.

A series of excuses has conveniently allowed her to escape cross examination until after the ARB report was released. Clinton sails right along, now preparing the first steps for what is widely expected to be her 2016 presidential campaign.
A bit more:
The starting point for questioning Clinton is realizing that the Benghazi debacle embodies both policy and management failures. The administration�s utterly wrong-headed view of the Middle East created an atmosphere that fostered tragically erroneous management decisions. Clinton�s blithe disregard of the actual political reality in Libya and four years of not attending to seemingly mundane management issues represented a palpable failure of leadership directly contributing to the Benghazi tragedy.
(Lots more at the article -- well worth reading!) Hillary's work has been all glitter and zero substance. She is in so far over her head that it's amazing that she hasn't bailed out sooner out of plain decency...

Heh - a Gallup Poll

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From Breitbart:
Polls: NRA More Popular than Obama, Media
A Gallup poll conducted in the wake of the Connecticut shooting shows that the NRA is viewed more favorably than Obama or the Mainstream Media.

This is astounding when you think of the concerted effort by Democrats and MSM talking heads to denigrate and shame both the NRA and gun-owners at large following the criminal acts of Adam Lanza.

According to the poll, carried out Dec. 19-22, the NRA is viewed favorably by 54% of Americans.

Contrast this with a CBS poll conducted for Obama on Dec. 12-16, wherein his favorable rating was only 49%, and a September Gallup poll focused on the media, wherein the MSM's favorable rating was 40%.

The bottom line: the NRA remains popular because they defend our gun rights -- period. And now, more than ever, Americans know those rights need to be defended from gun-grabbing Democrats and duplicitous MSM personalities like David Gregory.
I would disagree with how these numbers are somewhat cherry-picked but the trend here is very obvious. These words come to mind:
When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
--Thomas Jefferson
Been reading a lot of the original founding documents -- Federalist Papers, etc... These were some amazingly well-read and intelligent people -- 180� from the self-serving hacks we have running things today.

The Chicago mob -- meet Nadhmi Auchi

From John A. Shaw writing at Doug Ross:
Arab Money and the Purchase of a President
In the run-up to the 2012 election, a story surfaced about an Iraqi billionaire who managed to buy access to Washington policy makers while funding a Chicago Pay-to-Play scheme that helped produce a Governor, a U.S. Senator, and, ultimately, a President of the United States.

The story was eight years in the making, yet despite the extent of his political influence, this Iraqi�s name remains largely unknown. He wants it that way. In fact, he has spent a significant sum attempting to hinder the reporting of his activities by the news media. The lack of attention paid to him, however, is inversely proportional to his level of importance.

His name is Nadhmi Auchi.

Auchi is now a British citizen. He bought respectability in Britain and in Europe through both donations to charities and self-serving gifts to politicians.

He was once Saddam Hussein�s arms merchant. He morphed into Saddam�s main financial operative in Europe. Today, he is one of the richest men in the world, and has, over the last few decades, been a player in nearly every noteworthy, corrupt, international deal involving Europe and the Middle East.

He was convicted of fraud in a $504 million corruption scandal -- the Elf Aquitaine case � the largest corruption trial in French history.

He was a central figure in one of the largest corruption cases during the Iraqi reconstruction, involving $3 billion dollars.

His U.S. visa was revoked for his alleged facilitation of $30 million in bribes to American and British officials in Iraq.

Auchi was a primary beneficiary of the widely abused and notoriously corrupt U.N. "Oil for Food" program while he was the single, largest stockholder in the merged French megabank BNP Parisbas. The bank was a major conduit for the funds flowing through the U.N. program.

He also reportedly gained access to the White House over the course of four separate administrations, beginning with George H. W. Bush, through the Clinton era and that of Bush 43. And it goes without saying that he was intimately involved with the political career of one Barack H. Obama.

Auchi's Chicago proxy was a man named Tony Rezko, best known for his curious land deal with Obama. At the same time, Auchi staged his worldwide operations out of London. But Chicago was the Alpha and Omega of his empire.

Rezko reportedly used Auchi money to grease political skids and buy access into the shadowy world of the Chicago political machine.
If this was a Ludlum novel, people would discount it for being too far out. And the author?
John A. Shaw, a former senior official of the Defense, State, and Commerce departments, served on several White House staffs. He is a specialist in international technology transfer and arms sales, and in the economic development of the Middle East.
Time to drain the entire swamp and start over...

Obamacare taxes due to kick in in 2013

From Americans for Tax Reform:
$1 Trillion Obamacare Tax Hike Hitting on Jan. 1
Obamacare contains twenty new or higher taxes. Five of the taxes hit for the first time on January 1. In total, Americans face a net $1 trillion tax hike for the years 2013-2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The article then enumerates these five and provides details on how much they will cost us. The Medical Itemized Deductions will hit a lot of people who are on fixed or limited income -- only a couple percent increase but that would make a big difference for the chronically ill. Obamacare needs to be defunded -- starved to death in its cradle.

Quote of the year - Mohandas Gandhi

Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.
--Mohandas Gandhi, an Autobiography, page 446
From this chilling story at Natural News:
Facebook bans Gandhi quote as part of revisionist history purge
The reports are absolutely true. Facebook suspended the Natural News account earlier today after we posted an historical quote from Mohandas Gandhi. The quote reads:

"Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest." - Mohandas Gandhi, an Autobiography, page 446.

This historical quote was apparently too much for Facebook's censors to bear. They suspended our account and gave us a "final warning" that one more violation of their so-called "community guidelines" would result in our account being permanently deactivated.
Paul Joseph Watson at InfoWars (sigh, I know -- but sometimes the conspiracy theories are true) writes:
Facebook Purges Pro-Gun Accounts
Facebook is purging accounts that carry pro-second amendment and pro-liberty information in a censorship purge that has accelerated over the past few hours, with innumerable pages being disappeared merely for posting legitimate political content.�s Mike Adams contacted us to alert us to the fact that �Facebook banned our account for posting this,� with an attached image of a Gandhi quote about how the British disarmed the citizenry during their rule in India.
Last week, we reported on how Facebook was suspending user accounts that questioned the official narrative behind the Sandy Hook school massacre.

As we have previously highlighted, Facebook occasionally deletes images and posts that it claims violate �Facebook�s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,� yet constitute little more than political conjecture or a healthy skepticism of official narratives on current events.

In September 2011, Infowars reporter Darrin McBreen was told by Facebook staff not to voice his political opinion on the social networking website.

Responding to comments McBreen had made about off-grid preppers being treated as criminals, the �Facebook Team� wrote, �Be careful making about making political statements on facebook,� adding, �Facebook is about building relationships not a platform for your political viewpoint. Don�t antagonize your base. Be careful and congnizat (sic) of what you are preaching.�
Staying under the radar is the best way to fly. Sure, someone could make a gun-friendly clone of FB but why -- there are already independent fora and blogs to read through.

Investing in precious metals

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I know a lot of people are touting Gold and Silver as investments but I am more into Lead and Brass. Because of the naked gun grab that is marshaling in the other Washington, prices are spiking to nosebleed levels. From The Hill:
Obama hopes to enact new gun-control measures in 2013
President Obama on Sunday said he would make gun control a priority in his new term, pledging to put his �full weight� behind passing new restrictions on firearms in 2013.

�I'm going to be putting forward a package and I'm going to be putting my full weight behind it,� Obama said in an interview aired on NBC�s �Meet the Press.� �I'm going to be making an argument to the American people about why this is important and why we have to do everything we can to make sure that something like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary does not happen again.�
One of the 3,000+ com mentors put it succinctly:
Nice, the person who approved fast and furious, the Benghazi operation and new wars in the middle east is going to save humanity-Lovely
Like I said, I will be putting a down-payment on two 'scary assault rifles' tomorrow.

Quiet day today

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Our three dogs and other cat are all in a state of shock along with us. I'll be posting later but spending a quiet day at home today. I really miss that little pest. Many thanks to the people that commented on Demeter's passing.

Well Crap - RIP Demeter the Cat

Our seven year old cat died about an hour ago. She suffered a Saddle Thrombosis two days ago -- made it through two nights but this afternoon, her breathing was fast and shallow (tachypnea) so I knew the end was near. Amped up her pain meds by 50% and she faded away. She was an awesome cat -- got her as a kitten and watched her grow into a full-fledged animal. Feisty, an excellent mouser (needed at the farm). Saddle thromboses are usually the first indication of an underlying serious heart disease so there was nothing else that we could really do. I am guessing that there was a mouse problem in Heaven -- God has a wonderful mouser. Rest in Peace. I will be having her cremated privately and her ashes buried at the farm.

CERT training

As readers know, I went through CERT training a few months ago. I was a member of Class #59.

Today's local newspaper has a nice profile of my instructor:

Ten Who Cared: Retired meteorologist Bob Jacobson preps residents as emergency response team trainer
Say what you want about the rainy marine climate in Bellingham, but for retired meteorologist Bob Jacobson, 66, the city sounded Goldilocks-approved - on the water, but not on the open water, not too hot, not too cold - just right.

Jacobson and his wife moved to Bellingham sight unseen in 2002. The two packed up their belongings into a U-Haul, drove cross-country from Washington D.C., and found a house within a week.

Aside from the weather and geographical considerations, the couple was attracted to Bellingham because of the colleges.

"Mentally you can't get old if you deal with young people," Jacobson says, laughing.

As a young retiree, Jacobson knew he needed to find something to occupy his free time, so he looked into volunteering for the county.

"When a person retires, especially at age 56, you can't just sit around and wait to die," he says. "You have to have something to do, something to look forward to each day."

Jacobson started volunteering with the Whatcom County Division of Emergency Management. He had never heard of Community Emergency Response Team training before, but he had dealt with preparedness planners while working as a weatherman for the National Weather Service.

CERT is a national program that offers training materials and classes to average citizens. The idea is that friends and neighbors with a little bit of training will be able to help one another out in case of a major disaster or emergency, when 911 and other help is likely to be overwhelmed.

After Jacobson had volunteered with emergency management for a few years, Sheriff Bill Elfo asked if he would be willing to manage the county's CERT program. Jacobson gladly took on the task in 2004.

That was a fun class and very useful. Will be doing the Red Cross training in the coming year.

Oliver Stone interviewed

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From Russia Today:
Oliver Stone to RT: �US has become an Orwellian state�
Americans are living in an Orwellian state argue Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick, as they sit down with RT to discuss US foreign policy and the Obama administration�s disregard for the rule of law.
RT�s Abby Martin in the program Breaking the Set discusses the Showtime film series and book titled The Untold History of the United States co-authored by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick.

"Obama was a great hope for change"
RT: It took both of you almost five years to produce this series. And in it you have a chapter called Obama: Management of a Wounded Empire. You give a harsh critique of the Obama administration. What in your eyes has been the most troubling aspect of his presidency, Oliver?

Oliver Stone: I think under the disguise of sheep�s clothing he has been a wolf. That because of the nightmare of the Bush presidency that preceded him, people forgave him a lot. He was a great hope for change. The color of his skin, the upbringing, the internationalism, the globalism, seemed all evident. And he is an intelligent man. He has taken all the Bush changes he basically put them into the establishment, he has codified them. That is what is sad. So we are going into the second administration that is living outside the law and does not respect the law and foundations of our system and he is a constitutional lawyer, you know. Without the law, it is the law of the jungle. Nuremburg existed for a reason and there was a reason to have trials, there is a reason for due process � �habeas corpus� as they call it in the United States.

RT: Do you agree Peter?

Peter Kuznick: I agree, if you look at his domestic policy, he did not break with the Bush administration�s policies. If you look at his transparency � he claimed to be the transparency president when he was running for office. There has not been transparency. We have been actually classifying more documents under Obama than we did under Bush. All previous presidents between 1970 and 2008 indicted three people total under Espionage Act. Obama has already indicted six people under the Espionage Act. The surveillance has not stopped, the incarceration without bringing people to trial has not stopped. So those policies have continued.

Then there are war policies, militarization policies. We are maintaining that. We are fighting wars now in Yemen, Afghanistan, we are keeping troops in Afghanistan. We have not cut back the things that we all found so odious about the Bush administration and Obama added some of his own. The drones policy � Obama had more drone attack in the first eight months than Bush had his entire presidency. And these have very dubious international legality.
That says a lot when Oliver Stone is that critical of Obama.

A firearm three-fer

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Three articles on firearms, safety and our rights. From the Sacremento Bee:
California gun sales jump; gun injuries, deaths fall
Gun deaths and injuries have dropped sharply in California, even as the number of guns sold in the state has risen, according to new state data.

Dealers sold 600,000 guns in California last year, up from 350,000 in 2002, according to records of sale tallied by the California Attorney General's office.

During that same period, the number of California hospitalizations due to gun injuries declined from about 4,000 annually to 2,800, a roughly 25 percent drop, according to hospital records collected by the California Department of Public Health.
This trend shows up everywhere -- John Lott is a great resource for this kind of data. Second and third are these two essays -- they are difficult to excerpt and still preserve the authors meaning. Just go and read.
Regulating the Militia

the american insurrection .... where it will be fought ....
Heading into town on Monday to do the buying run for the store. I will be stopping at my local gun shop and put down a deposit for a few items. I am not planning an insurrection but I want to own what is my right by law before the current regime tries to change that.

Antarctic forests

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From United Press International:
Fossil forest yields ancient life clues
A 100-million-year-old fossil forest on an island east of New Zealand has provided clues about ancient life close to the South Pole, researchers say.

Researchers from Monash University in Australia reported the discovery of large trees, early flowering plants, seed cones and rare insects preserved in a rock formation in the Chatham Islands.

The fossils are the first evidence of life close to the South Pole during the Cretaceous period, 145 million to 65 million years ago, a time researchers say was a period of extreme greenhouse conditions on Earth.

"One hundred million years ago, the Earth was in the grip of a greenhouse effect -- a planet of extreme heat with minimal ice (except in the high altitudes) and sea levels of up to 200 meters (650 feet) higher than today," Monash paleontologists Professor Stillwell said.
Just wow! A bit more:
The discovery was made in one of the most remote fossil locations in the Southern Hemisphere, more than 500 miles east of New Zealand.

"Never before have we had evidence about what life existed near the South Pole 90 to 100 million years, or the conditions that life on land experienced," Stillwell said.
Would have loved to have seen the expression on Professor Stillwell's face when he realized just what he was looking at... Very cool. And a 200 meter shift in sea level is nothing to sneeze at -- what the global warmistas are crying about is two or three inches in the next hundred years. That is peanuts...

Always classy - Philadelphia Unions

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From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Phila. police tie construction-site arson to union sabotage
The site where Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting is building a new meetinghouse was damaged by arsonists during Christmas week, and police are now "absolutely" sure the attack was the result of a dispute between members of a Philadelphia construction union and the project's nonunion contractor.

Although no suspects have been identified in the Dec. 21 incident, Lt. George McClay of Northwest Detectives said Friday that he was certain the small Quaker building on East Mermaid Lane was targeted because it is being built with nonunion labor.

"I absolutely think it is a union issue," McClay said.

If union members were involved, the attack would be the second violent incident in Philadelphia this year related to the use of nonunion construction workers. This spring, union protesters clashed with nonunion workers renovating the former Goldtex factory tower at 12th and Wood Streets for Post Bros., an apartment developer.

Unlike that high-profile development, the meetinghouse is a modest undertaking. The total cost for the building, which will include a work by the nationally recognized light artist James Turrell, is expected to run just over $6 million. Of that, about $3.5 million is being spent on construction.

Police nevertheless believe that it is unlikely that a random vandal carried out the attack on the Chestnut Hill site, where the steel outline of the future meetinghouse is visible. The vandals used an acetylene torch, which requires a skilled operator who must wear a special mask and gloves.
What kind of self-centered moron burns down a Church? Unions had their day but business changed and they did not change their business model. Time to either adapt (which some Unions are doing) or die which the Philadelphia branch of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers should contemplate. And BTW -- if you ever get a chance to see any of James Turrell's work, make a point to do so -- it is incredible.

About that French 75% tax rate for millionaires?

Struck down by their courts. From Reuters:

French court rejects 75 percent millionaires' tax
France's Constitutional Council on Saturday rejected a 75 percent upper income tax rate to be introduced in 2013 in a setback to Socialist President Francois Hollande's push to make the rich contribute more to cutting the public deficit.

The Council ruled that the planned 75 percent tax on annual income above 1 million euros ($1.32 million) - a flagship measure of Hollande's election campaign - was unfair in the way it would be applied to different households.

Hey Francois -- how about some spending cuts? That would work a lot better. Not as popular with the underclass but it would work. More at Bloomberg, the UK Guardian and Yahoo/Associated Press.

Demeter update - 12/28 PM

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She is doing OK given the assault on her body. Still in the large dog kennel. Lulu and I have been keeping a hot water bottle and she positions herself so she is placing her belly on top of it -- she knows what she needs. I had to go into town today but Lulu was staying with her. The vet called this afternoon and I did the update. She is medicated for pain and able to move her hind legs more today than yesterday so there is some measure of hope. All of the other critters know that something is very very wrong. Our dogs used to roughhouse with her and now, they are taking time laying quietly by her kennel and are very subdued. The other cat (Luna) was always a bit aloof but she is now spending a lot of time by her crate. God and Nature will work their ways -- I do not want to lose this young cat (only seven years) but if there is a mouse problem in Heaven, God's will be done.

Turn about is fair play

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From Associated Press:
Animal rights group settles lawsuit with Ringling
An animal rights group will pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million to settle a lawsuit the circus filed after courts found that activists paid a former circus worker for his help in claiming the circus abused elephants.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Friday it was not admitting any wrongdoing in settling the lawsuit. The New York-based animal rights group was one of several involved in a lawsuit filed in 2000 against the circus' owner, Feld Entertainment Inc., claiming elephants were abused. Courts later found that the animal rights activists had paid a former Ringling barn helper involved in the lawsuit at least $190,000, making him "essentially a paid plaintiff" who lacked credibility.

Two courts agreed the former barn helper, Tom Rider, wasn't credible and didn't have a right to sue. As a result, they didn't address claims the circus violated the federal Endangered Species Act by allegedly chaining the elephants for long periods and allowing trainers to use sharp tools called bullhooks.
And they are just getting started:
Friday's settlement covers only the ASPCA. Twelve other defendants including The Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Welfare Institute and The Fund for Animals are still involved in the lawsuit.
You forfeit the 'moral high ground' when you stoop to bribe people to testify. Actions have consequences and in your case, the consequences are just about right. Put a bad face on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus? Damn straight you are going to be on the hook for nine million dollars. Asshat...

A bit of a macabre idea

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From CNBC:
Will 'Fiscal Cliff' Accelerate Millionaire Deaths?
Because the "fiscal cliff" will not stop for death, it looks as if death's carriage may make a "kindly" stop to pick up some American millionaires this year, to paraphrase Emily Dickinson.

In 2010, after a year in which the estate tax was zeroed out altogether, Congress passed a law that set the estate tax at 35 percent and exempted all estates under $5 million, adjusted for inflation. That law expires in January 2013 when the exemption will fall to $1 million and the tax will rise to 55 percent.

Many families are faced with a stark proposition. If the life of an elderly wealthy family member extends into 2013, the tax bills will be substantially higher. An estate that could bequest $3 million this year will leave just $1.9 million after taxes next year. Shifting a death from January to December could produce $1.1 million in tax savings.

It may seem incredible to contemplate pulling the plug on grandma to save tax dollars. While we know that investors will sell stocks to avoid rising capital gains taxes, accelerating the death of a loved one seems at least a bit morbid�perhaps even evil. Will people really make life and death decisions based on taxes? Do we don our green eye shades when it comes to something this serious?
Sorry Granny... Reminds me of this old joke:
Mr. Fred was in the hospital, near death and couldn't talk, so the family sent for his pastor. As the pastor stood beside the bed, Fred's frail and pale condition grew worse, and he motioned frantically for something to write on. The pastor lovingly handed him a pen and piece of paper, and Fred used his last ounce of strength to scribble a note. Then he died. The pastor thought it was best not to look at the note immediately, so he slipped it into his jacket pocket. Several days later, at the funeral ceremony, the pastor delivered the eulogy. He realized that he was wearing the same jacket that he had worn the day Fred died.

"You know," he said, "ol Fred handed me a note just before he died. I haven't read it, but knowing Fred, I'm sure there's a word of inspiration there for us all." He unfolded the note and read aloud, "Pastor, you're standing on my oxygen tube!!"

About those stringent gun laws

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From the workers paradise of Chicago - the Chicago Tribune:
Grim milestone: Austin shooting 500th homicide in Chicago
Gave Bates smiled through tears as she swiped her hand across her phone, flipping through pictures of her cousin playing around and striking goofy poses.

"He was a lot of fun, very good at imitating people," Bates said of Nathaniel T. Jackson, 40. "He just had so much fun all the time. And we all grew up together in the same house."

Jackson was standing outside a store in the Austin neighborhood around 9 p.m. Thursday when someone walked up and shot him in the head, police said. His death was the 500th homicide in Chicago this year, marking a grim milestone. The city last reached that toll in 2008.

Jackson grew up on the West Side, a few miles away from where he was gunned down, and had been released from prison this past summer after serving a sentence for robbery. He had been shot several years ago, after an earlier stint in jail, and Bates said she constantly warned him to be careful on the street.

"The last time he was out, someone had shot him several times, in the back," Bates said as she stood outside Stroger Hospital, where Jackson was pronounced dead. "He was a fighter, he was a survivor."

Police had no motive on the shooting outside Noah Foods at Augusta Boulevard and Lavergne Avenue. No one was in custody.
And morons like Senator Feinstein want to impose draconian restrictions on firearms in the USA including registering previously 'grandfathered' firearms and basing the restrictions solely on appearances? How is that going to help?
From the Canadian Broadcast Service:
Canadians lack trust in some scientists, poll suggests
A significant number of Canadians have trust issues with researchers in certain areas of science, including climate change, a new poll suggests.

An online survey of 1,000 people conducted by Nanos Research and released to CBC News asked respondents how much they trusted scientists quoted in the news on four scientific topics.

When it came to new energy technologies and medicines, a sizable majority of those surveyed said they trusted or somewhat trusted scientists. But respondents were less certain when it came to climate change and genetically modified crops.

The poll, conducted on Dec. 3 and 4, found that trust was highest on the issue of new energies (78 per cent trusted or somewhat trusted scientists) and that 71 per cent felt the same on the issue of medicines.

While nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) trusted or somewhat trusted scientists on the issue of climate change, a sizable number, nearly one-third (28 per cent), said they somewhat distrusted or distrusted researchers on that issue.

However, Canadians seemed to mistrust scientists the most on the issue of genetically modified crops, with nearly half (45 per cent) saying they trust researchers but 44 per cent saying they don't.
A nice trend to see. Now if the Canadian elected officials will listen to their constituents and defund the enormous quantities of money that are being wasted on this rat-hole that will be all the better...

Demeter update

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She made it through the night. The prognosis is still not that great as the symptoms were caused by some form of heart failure and there is generally a survival rate of 72 hours. Still, we are both praying hard -- she is in a large dog crate in the living room parked by one of the furnace vents. She needs to be kept warm. I have to go into town today but Lulu will be here watching over her.

Crap - RIP Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf

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From Stars and Stripes:
Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf dies at 78
Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who topped an illustrious military career by commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991 but kept a low public profile in controversies over the second Gulf War against Iraq, died Thursday. He was 78.

Schwarzkopf died in Tampa, Fla., where he had lived in retirement, according to a U.S. official, who was not authorized to release the information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as "Stormin' Norman" for a notoriously explosive temper.

He served in his last military assignment in Tampa as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and Africa to Pakistan.

Schwarzkopf became "CINC-Centcom" in 1988 and when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait three years later to punish it for allegedly stealing Iraqi oil reserves, he commanded Operation Desert Storm, the coalition of some 30 countries organized by then-President George H.W. Bush that succeeded in driving the Iraqis out.

At the peak of his postwar national celebrity, Schwarzkopf - a self-proclaimed political independent - rejected suggestions that he run for office, and remained far more private than other generals, although he did serve briefly as a military commentator for NBC.
He was one of the great ones.

Very cool archaeological find

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From NBC News:
Israelis find 2,750-year-old temple
Archaeologists have uncovered a 2,750-year-old temple near Jerusalem, along with pottery and clay figurines that suggest the site was the home base for a ritual cult, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.

The discovery was made during excavations at the Tel Motza archaeological site, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) west of Jerusalem, during preparations for work on a new section of Israeli's Highway 1, the agency said in a statement.

"The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judaea at the time of the First Temple," excavation directors Anna Eirikh, Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz were quoted as saying in the statement.

The Bible says the First Temple was built in Jerusalem by Solomon, son of King David, and archaeologists estimate that construction was undertaken in the 10th century B.C. The excavation's directors say the Tel Motza temple must have been active in an era "prior to the religious reforms throughout the kingdom at the end of the monarchic period (at the time of Hezekiah and Isaiah), which abolished all ritual sites, concentrating ritual practices solely at the Temple in Jerusalem."

Tel Motza was thought to be associated with the ancient settlement called "Mozah" in the Book of Joshua. During previous work, archaeologists uncovered a large structure with storehouses and a number of silos. They said that structure might have served as a storage facility for Jerusalem's grain supplies.
More info and photos at the site -- this puppy is huge. It will be fun to read about it in National Geographic in a year or two.
From the Manchester, VT Manchester Journal:
Man charged with DUI after parking on lawn of AA founder's birth home
State police said they cited a Massachusetts man for driving under the influence of alcohol after he parked his vehicle in the front yard of The Wilson House, the home where Bill W., cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was born.

Police said Donald Blood III, 55, of Marlboro, Mass., was cited to appear in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division on Jan. 14.

Police were called to the Wilson House on Christmas Eve at 7:25 p.m. because of the parked vehicle. Vermont State Police Trooper.

Christopher Burnett said Blood was a guest at the house and no damage was done during the incident.

According to its Website the Wilson House is a non-profit foundation and the building itself, a historic former hotel, hosts alcohol treatment group meetings.
I had posted about him on December 23rd. His original post here has been replaced by an abject apology. His original post has, however, been archived over here so you can read it in all of its useful idiot toe-curling stupidity. Anthony over at Watts Up With That has been following this story closely. Worth checking out for the many changes and retractions as well as the involvement with two major CAGW blogs. The 100+ comments are a fun read. I have run into people like Parncutt before -- classic case of Dunning-Kruger writ large...

Well crap - Demeter

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Lulu came back home today after taking her son back to Bellingham. About 30 minutes later, one of our cats -- Demeter -- started yowling something fierce and we found her on the stair landing unable to move her hind legs. Turns out to be a Saddle Thrombosis. This is generally the first symptom of congestive heart failure so Lulu and I are both in a state of shock right now. Demeter is only seven years old and was totally full of life earlier this morning. She is doped up now and feeling no pain, we are trying low-dose aspirin and if she pulls through, there is an excellent feline cardiologist in Fairhaven just to our south. Prognosis is not that good though. All of the other critters are doing fine -- we have that to be thankful for.

Good riddance Lisa Jackson

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About four years overdue but still, nice to hear. From the Associated Press:
EPA Administrator Jackson announces resignation
The Obama administration's chief environmental watchdog, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, is stepping down after a nearly four-year tenure marked by high-profile brawls over global warming pollution, the Keystone XL oil pipeline, new controls on coal-fired plants and several other hot-button issues that affect the nation's economy and people's health.

Jackson, the agency's first black administrator, constantly found herself caught between administration pledges to solve controversial environmental problems and steady resistance from Republicans and industrial groups who complained that the agency's rules destroyed jobs and made it harder for American companies to compete internationally.

The GOP chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton, said last year that Jackson would need her own parking spot at the Capitol because he planned to bring her in so frequently for questioning. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called for her firing, a stance that had little downside during the GOP primary.
She and Barry have done more to damage the economy of the United States than any other cabinet position. What Barry could not get passed through congress as a law, Lisa was more than happy to regulate. Our energy costs did skyrocket and Lisa is the tool that made it so. There is no other reason for this. Barry's ideology and his piss poor fiscal management. It has been four years since President Gorge Bush left office -- the blame is firmly in Barry's camp and actually, with the community redistribution act (housing meltdown), Barry agitated for this back when he was a Senator from Illinois.
Do it in summer. From Idaho television station KIFI:
Police follow footprints, make burglary arrest
Footprints in the snow led to the arrest of an Idaho Falls man.

At 5:45 a.m. Monday, police began investigating suspicious shoe tracks in the snow going from vehicle to vehicle at the 100 block of Tabor Avenue.

Officers followed the tracks to a home in the 300 block of Holbrook.

Officers arrested Cade Thomas Dixon, 20, at his home on a charge of burglary. He was booked into the Bonneville County Jail.

Police said Dixon had tried to enter more than 100 vehicles, most of which were locked. A small amount of cash and a GPS unit were taken from two of the vehicles.
The stupid -- it burns!!!
From The Smoking Gun:
Sandy Hook Hoaxer Busted By Federal Agents
A convicted felon who traveled to Newtown, Connecticut and masqueraded as the uncle of Sandy Hook Elementary School gunman A*am La*za has been arrested on a federal probation violation charge, The Smoking Gun has learned.

Jonathan Lee Riches was busted late last week and booked into the Chester County jail. Riches, 35, has been living in West Chester, Pennsylvania since his release earlier this year from federal prison, where he spent a decade in custody for conspiracy and wire fraud.

On December 16, two days after the school massacre, Riches drove to Connecticut and sought to visit the home of gunman A*am La*za. Riches, who videotaped part of the trip and uploaded clips to his YouTube page, was turned away from the La*za family�s street by a police blockade.

Riches, however, did turn up at a makeshift memorial site in Newtown, where he identified himself to reporters as �Jonathan La*za,� uncle of the school shooter. As reported by the New York Daily News and other media outlets, he told journalists that the killer had been taking Fanapt, an antipsychotic drug prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia. As photographers snapped away, Riches (seen below) dropped to a knee and feigned praying for the young victims.
The article at The Smoking Gun goes on to document Mr. Riches as a serial a**hole. This guy needs to be beaten down to the ground. He is very successful at gaming the system and is a total narcissist. He should not be wandering through the system; he needs to be doped to the gills and kept in a very happy place and not be allowed to cause any emotional harm to anyone else.

A Middle East link dump

Egyptian forces intercept 17 rockets headed for Gaza -- from David Barnett at Threat Matrix Head of Syria's military police becomes latest to defect to join the rebel uprising -- UK Telegraph Nobody loves these people: Why Arabs Hate And Kill Palestinians -- Gatestone Institute And why should they -- they are an artificial creation of the KGB back in the 1950's. Russia created and supported Yasser Arafat and the Middle East has been worse off ever since. They are Hashamite Jordanians but are so full of ideology that Jordan doesn't want them back. Merry Christmas: Muslim Terrorists Attack Midnight Mass, Kill Pastor, Set Church on Fire -- Front Page Magazine Not surprised -- this is not a new behavior for him: Obama Gives Cold Shoulder to Egypt's Secular Democrats -- Breitbart

Justice at last

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From the New York Post:
Now pay up, Tawana

Twenty-five years after a teenage Tawana Brawley falsely dragged his name through the mud as a gang-raping, kidnapping racist, it�s payback time for Steven Pagones, a former Dutchess County prosecutor whom she still owes $429,000, including interest, on a 1998 defamation judgment.

�In all these years, she�s never told the truth about this hoax or paid me a cent,� he said yesterday.

�Now I�m going to seek anything I�m entitled to under the law,� Pagones said in response to a Sunday Post exclusive that revealed Brawley is working under a new name, Tawana Gutierrez, as a licensed practical nurse in a Richmond, Va., nursing home.

�I�m going to serve papers seeking to garnish her wages within the next couple of weeks,� he said. �This is all about accountability.�
For those that do not remember the story:
Brawley was only 15 years old in 1987 when, after going missing for four days, she was found curled up in a garbage bag near her home in Wappingers Falls, Dutchess County. She was smeared in feces, and the words �n----r�and �b---h� were scrawled on her in charcoal, with �KKK� carved into her shoe.

Brawley, who is black, claimed she was abducted and gang raped repeatedly by six white men, one of whom she said wore a badge.

A week after her �abduction,� Fishkill Police Officer Harry Crist Jr., 28, committed suicide over a break-up with his girlfriend and his flunking of a state police exam.

The Rev. Al Sharpton seized on the suicide as �proof� Crist was one of Brawley�s rapists. When Pagones offered an alibi for Crist, Sharpton � with Brawley lawyers Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason � called Pagones guilty, too.

As Brawley stood silent, Pagones, Crist and Scott Patterson, a state trooper who found Crist�s body, were painted as racist brutes � until the following year, when a state grand jury found she had made the whole thing up.

It took until 1998 for Pagones to get some satisfaction in the civil courts. A Dutchess County judge issued a $185,000 defamation judgment against Brawley, but she had vanished by then. With interest, her debt is now $429,000.

Sharpton paid his $66,000 judgment to Pagones, with help from OJ Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran and others. Maddox has forked over his own bill of $97,000, and Mason, now disbarred and a Baptist minister, is getting his wages garnished for his $188,000 bill.

Pagones hadn�t been actively seeking Brawley out, he said, but now that he knows where she is, he is eager to hold her accountable.
Actions have consequences. Had she come forward, she would be in a lot less hurt. Why didn't Sharpton, Maddox and Mason come to the aid of this 15-year-old little girl? I mean Brawley was obviously in over her head and these morons manipulated her to their own rent-seeking advantage until the truth came out.

Big time food coma

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A very early evening for us. I hope that everyone had an awesome Christmas. It was good in this household. See 'ya all tomorrow...
From Investors Business Daily:
Can UAE-Backed Film Shut Down U.S. Fracking Boom?
As the U.S. changes the balance of power by exporting some of its abundant natural gas resources, a Hollywood propaganda film debuts claiming the technology making it possible will poison America's small towns.

'Promised Land," a film that does nothing to alter Hollywood's stereotype of businessmen, particularly energy industry executives, as greedy plunderers of the planet, opens this week in selected theatres.

The anti-fracking film is based on a not-true story about well contamination in a small Pennsylvania town with a healthy dose of junk science.

As documentary filmmaker Phelim McAleer, who is working on his own documentary, "FrackNation", has pointed out, the inspiration for the film was a spate of news reports about alleged ground water contamination from fracking wells in Dimock, Pa. "Promised Land" is set in rural Pennsylvania.

At one point, Hollywood celebrities even brought water to 11 families who claimed fracking had destroyed their water and their lives.

The only problem, notes McAleer, is the claims were debunked by both the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency, both of which found no evidence of contamination. But why spoil a good story with the facts?
Given their anti--energy development bias, if the EPA says something is junk science, it must really be junk science. A bit more:
States like the United Arab Emirates, an OPEC member, are threatened by the oil and natural gas boom in shale formations like the Bakken in North Dakota and the Marcellus in, yes, Pennsylvania. The film's nothing more than an anti-fracking infomercial paid for by an Arab oil state.

It should not surprise that major funding for the film, according to the Heritage Foundation's Lachlan Markey, comes from Image Media Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media.

"A spokesperson with DDA Public Relations, which runs PR for Participant Media, the company that developed the film fund backing "Promised Land", confirmed that AD Media is a financier. The company is wholly owned by the government of the UAE," Mackey writes.
And oh yeah -- there is a scene of water coming out of a tap being lit on fire. Bzzzzt:
A scene in the movie shows a character setting fire to tap water.

The inspiration for that was a video produced by Wolf Eagle Environmental Engineers in Texas that showed a flaming house water pipe and claimed a gas company had polluted the water. But Texas State District Judge Trey Loftin ruled in a lawsuit that the video was a fraud and that Wolf Eagle had connected the house gas pipe to a hose and then lit the water.
The Arabs are just watching out after their own interests. We could shut down our imports and enjoy cheap fossil fuel for the next five hundred years but noooooo, we don't have the political balls to do that... That five hundred years would be ample time to get fusion and LFTR reactors online making petroleum just an industrial chemical feedstock and something to use for airlines and boats.

A quiet Christmas at home

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Got some cool stuff and gave some cool stuff. Presents were opened and oohs and aahs were uttered. The roast beast is in the oven -- about two more hours to go. Lulu's son's XBox had broken a few weeks ago so I got him a replacement unit. I also found a company that makes fake gift boxes so he unwrapped a box that purported to be a video game called Extreme Chores complete with a game handle that could accept a leaf rake, a shovel, a mop handle... (and yes, he did eventually get an XBox). I got a very nice set of chef's knives -- quite the surprise and it will be used every day! Snow has just started to fall and we are supposed to get a couple inches overnight. Posting will be minimal for today. Wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas and the very best of Good Fortune for this next year and beyond.

Very cool idea - ecoATM

Very high geekdom -- check out ecoATM: From their About page:
About ecoATM
Based in San Diego, Calif., ecoATM ( is the first and only company to create an automated self-serve kiosk system that uses patented, advanced machine vision, electronic diagnostics, and artificial intelligence to evaluate and buy-back used electronics directly from consumers for cash or store credit. ecoATM's eCycling stations provide a convenient trade-in solution that:
■ Electronically and/or visually inspect virtually any consumer electronic device,
■ Connects consumers in real-time with a broad worldwide secondary market to ensure best pricing, and
■ Pays consumers immediately in cash and/or store credit, and
■ Automatically administers trade-in / trade-up promotions for retailers and manufacturers.
The How It Works page has more information and a video. Very clever idea -- there are a couple branches near me -- closest one is in the Everett Mall which I get near every other month or so (Costco has a Business Services branch down there, plus a great homebrewing store). Got a couple eToys that I do not use any more -- cash is always good... Hat tip to Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution for the link.

The gift that keeps on giving

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Anthony Watts runs a site called Watts Up With That. It is one of the leading Anthropogenic Global Warming skeptic sites and was awarded Best Science Blog in 2008, 2011 and 2012. Anthony was working with UK cartoonist Josh and made a calender which he had printed at Costco. As a lark, he sent a copy of it to Dr. Michael Mann -- you know him as one of the leading proponents of Global Warming and author of the Hockey Stick, a chart whose data points were very cherry-picked. Mann's reaction was amazing. From Anthony:
Too Funny! I send Michael Mann a free WUWT calendar as a Christmas gift, and he goes full conspiracy theory
From the post:
Last week I sent out a few free copies to some folks that I thought could really use some Christmas cheer: Dr. Mike Mann, Dr. Gavin Schmidt, Dr. Peter Gleick, and Dana Nuccitelli.

Never beyond my wildest dreams did I think it would turn into a #Kochmachine conspiracy theory issue. But then again, there�s this strange pervading idea that skeptics are well funded and well organized. Here�s what Dr. Mann Tweeted today:
Where did #AnthonyWatts (#WUWT) get funds for widely distributed #climatechange #denier calendar? #KochMachine
And it gets better -- today, Anthony replies:
Some Christmas gift notes for Dr. Michael Mann
As reported this past weekend, we had a hilarious case of Mann overboard! Since then, it has become the #1 story on WordPress worldwide. It stems from a $10 calendar from COSTCO I sent Dr. Mann, Dr. Gavin Schmidt, Dr. Peter Gleick and Dana Nuccitelli of �Skeptical Science� as Christmas gifts. As I said then, a little good humor didn�t work on the humorless.

Not content to simply stay quiet or just admit he went overboard in his claims while the world laughs at his reactions, he goes further with this latest Tweet.
Anthony then takes apart Michael Mann's assertions with nine points backed up with data and links to other source materials. The 70+ comments are a fun read.

Dinner time

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Thawed out some Ahi tuna steaks -- Lulu just finished searing them and we will be having a Hawai'ian dinner with King's sweet rolls, the tuna, white rice and various accompaniments (mango, pickled ginger, wasabi sauce, veges, etc... Got the roast beast brining out in the garage, did the lemon meringue pie today so tomorrow should be a feast. Snow is forecast so it will be a white Christmas -- snow is expected for 50% of the USA too. Glad we are not traveling!

A map

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Janet Hasson, the publisher of the Lower Hudson Valley, NY Journal News employs one Dwight R. Worley -- reporter. Mr. Worley wrote and printed some interactive maps that have caused more than a few raised eyebrows around the internet:
Map: Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood?
The map indicates the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties. Each dot represents an individual permit holder licensed to own a handgun � a pistol or revolver. The data does not include owners of long guns � rifles or shotguns � which can be purchased without a permit. Being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location owns a weapon, just that they are licensed to do so.

Data for all permit categories, unrestricted carry, premises, business, employment, target and hunting, is included, but permit information is not available on an individual basis.

To create the map, The Journal News submitted Freedom of Information requests for the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. By state law, the information is public record.

Putnam is still putting together its records and could not immediately provide any data. The map will be updated when that data is released.
A bit more from the article:
Zoom in and out for more information and click on a dot to see details of a permit.
Moe Lane offers this reassurance to gun owners: Journal News helpfully tells criminals which NY residences to avoid
I understand that the idea here by the Journal News was to intimidate/harass New York handgun owners by publishing their names and addresses, but the reality is that everybody on that map listed as having a handgun permit is now at least slightly less likely to be burgled. Seriously: if you robbed houses in Westchester and Rockland counties, wouldn�t you check this database first? After all, while New York�s Castle Doctrine policies are weaker than in other states, it explicitly indicates that you can shoot a burglar:
A person in possession or control of, or licensed or privileged to be in, a dwelling or an occupied building, who reasonably believes that another person is committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling or building, may use deadly physical force upon such other person when he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of such burglary.
In other words: you know who should be ticked about this? People in those counties without handgun permits. Because burglars are gonna burgle.
Of course, it didn't take long for someone to dig up the addresses and phone numbers of both Publisher Janet Hasson and Reporter Dwight R. Worley. Heh...
I had posted about his self-referential speech two days ago. A 1,600 word speech and Barry used the word �my� 21 times, �me� 12 times, and �I� 30 times. He talked about his first trip to the Mainland. Turns out he got the dates wrong. From Jim Hoft writing at The Gateway Pundit:
Figures. Obama�s Life Story at Senator Inouye�s Funeral Doesn�t Jibe With History
It�s already been discussed that Barack Obama�s eulogy at Senator Inouye�s memorial in Washington DC was a tribute to himself and not the late Hawaiian senator.

Obama spoke for 10 minutes about himself and his life story, barely mentioning the life of Senator Inouye.

But it�s worse than that.

Barack Obama distorted his life story in order to include Senator Inouye in his talk.

Jack Cashill at American Thinker reported:
Obama�s oration dealt to a large degree with how he came to understand what a U.S. senator is. �Now, even though my mother and grandparents took great pride that they had voted for him,� said Barack Obama of Inouye, �I confess that I wasn�t paying much attention to the United States Senate at the age of four or five or six. It wasn�t until I was 11 years old that I recall even learning what a U.S. senator was, or it registering, at least. It was during my summer vacation with my family � my first trip to what those of us in Hawaii call the Mainland.�

The story of the trip set up the punch line. He told Inouye�s mourners that �my mother that summer would turn on the TV every night during this vacation and watch the Watergate hearings,� and he was forced to watch, too. Of course, the senator who �fascinated� him most was �this man of Japanese descent with one arm, speaking in this courtly baritone, full of dignity and grace.�

This story would work only if Obama had toured the United States during the summer of the Watergate hearings, 1973, when he was eleven years old going on twelve, but in his memoir Dreams from My Father, he tells another story � a much more specific one. Yes, he made the same trip, but he did so �during the summer after my father�s visit to Hawaii, before my eleventh birthday.� This would have been 1972, when Watergate was still a third-rate burglary that had gotten little media traction.
I am not surprised -- details? Those are for the little people. I am above details...

Gun control - an excellent editorial

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From Larry Correia -- New York Times bestselling author of the Monster Hunter International series, the Grimnoir Chronicles, and the thriller Dead Six.
An opinion on gun control
I didn�t want to post about this, because frankly, it is exhausting. I�ve been having this exact same argument for my entire adult life. It is not an exaggeration when I say that I know pretty much exactly every single thing an anti-gun person can say. I�ve heard it over and over, the same old tired stuff, trotted out every single time there is a tragedy on the news that can be milked. Yet, I got sucked in, and I�ve spent the last few days arguing with people who either mean well but are uninformed about gun laws and how guns actually work (who I don�t mind at all), or the willfully ignorant (who I do mind), or the obnoxiously stupid who are completely incapable of any critical thinking deeper than a Facebook meme (them, I can�t stand).

Today�s blog post is going to be aimed at the first group. I am going to try to go through everything I�ve heard over the last few days, and try to break it down from my perspective. My goal tonight is to write something that my regular readers will be able to share with their friends who may not be as familiar with how mass shootings or gun control laws work.
An excellent post -- worth your time to read if you are unsure about what the mainstream media is feeding you regarding guns and the progressive/utopian anti-gun agenda. Be sure to check out his novels -- fun reading!

David Gregory - hypocrite

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Television host David Gregory lambasted Wayne LaPierre over his comments about armed guards in schools. Turns out his own kids are guarded by them. From The Weekly Standard:
Gregory Mocks LaPierre for Proposing Armed Guards, but Sends Kids to High-Security School
David Gregory mocked the NRA's Wayne LaPierre for proposing that armed guards be at every school in America. But the NBC host seems to have no problem with armed guards protecting his kids everyday where they attend school in Washington, D.C.

"You proposed armed guards in school. We'll talk about that in some detail in a moment. You confronted the news media. You blamed Hollywood and the gaming industry. But never once did you concede that guns could actually be part of the problem. Is that a meaningful contribution, Mr. LaPierre, or a dodge?," asked Gregory.

Later the host suggested that guns don't prevent violence in schools (he cited the mass shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech). "But you would concede that, as good as an idea as you think this is, it may not work. Because there have been cases where armed guards have not prevented this kind of massacre, this kind of carnage. I want you would concede that point, wouldn't you?," Gregory pleaded.

The NBC host would go on the rest of the segment to suggest that armed guards might not be effective in preventing mass murders at school. Which is perhaps an interesting theoretical argument.
Gregory's kids go to Sidwell Friends which has eleven armed guards plus the Secret Service detail for Obama's two daughters.

Christmas eve

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Got hay and grain out to the critters, got the brine heating up on the stove -- doing a nine-pound rib-in roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, roasted root vegetables and lemon meringue pie for desert. Haven't figured out what I'll do for the greens yet -- maybe saut� some kale. Everyone is just taking it easy. I put out some more bird feeders yesterday so we have a lot of feathered friends visiting. A nice quiet meditative day -- thinking about all that went on this year and wondering what will happen in 2013.


Heh -- go here and enter your birthdate.

California's cash crop

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From the Los Angeles Times:
Pot farms wreaking havoc on Northern California environment
EUREKA, Calif. � State scientists, grappling with an explosion of marijuana growing on the North Coast, recently studied aerial imagery of a small tributary of the Eel River, spawning grounds for endangered coho salmon and other threatened fish.

In the remote, 37-square-mile patch of forest, they counted 281 outdoor pot farms and 286 greenhouses, containing an estimated 20,000 plants � mostly fed by water diverted from creeks or a fork of the Eel. The scientists determined the farms were siphoning roughly 18 million gallons from the watershed every year, largely at the time when the salmon most need it.
A study led by researchers at UC Davis found that a rare forest carnivore called a fisher was being poisoned in Humboldt County and near Yosemite in the Sierra Nevada.

The team concluded in its July report that the weasel-like animals were probably eating rodenticides that marijuana growers employ to keep animals from gnawing on their plants, or they were preying on smaller rodents that had consumed the deadly bait. Forty-six of 58 fisher carcasses the team analyzed had rat poison in their systems.

Mark Higley, a wildlife biologist on the Hoopa Indian Reservation in eastern Humboldt who worked on the study, is incredulous over the poisons that growers are bringing in.

"Carbofuran," he said. "It seems like they're using that to kill bears and things like that that raid their camps. So they mix it up with tuna or sardine, and the bears eat that and die."

The insecticide is lethal to humans in small doses, requires a special permit from the EPA and is banned in other countries. Authorities are now regularly finding it at large-scale operations in some of California's most sensitive ecosystems.
And the people doing this?
"I started talking to this guy, and he says he used to be an Earth First! tree-sitter, saving the trees," Bauer said. "I told him everything he was doing here negates everything he did as an environmentalist."
From brain-dead ninny to brain-dead ninny. Not surprised. More and more people are getting involved with growing so the price is dropping so growers have to plant more just to keep the cash coming in. Some of the grow-ops are large enough to be visible on Google Earth. People will rent houses for growing too -- an interesting bit of information:
A study in the journal Energy Policy calculated that indoor marijuana cultivation could be responsible for 9% of California's household electricity use.
I would be very surprised at 9% but would not be at 1% or 2%. A perfect case for legalization. Do it at the Federal level, and then let the states individually tax and regulate it. 10th Amendment style...
Not really an asshat, just a useful idiot and utopian dreamer. He is a Professor of Systematic Musicology in Austria and has this to say about Glow-ball Warming:
Death penalty for global warming deniers?
For years, hard-nosed scientists have been predicting global warming (GW) and its devastating consequences. For a reputable summary of arguments for and against GW, see skepticalscience.

Some accounts are clearly exaggerated (more). But given the inherent uncertainty surrounding climatic predictions, even exaggerated accounts must be considered possible, albeit with a low probability. Consider this: If ten million people are going to die with a probability of 10%, that is like one million people dying with a probability of 100%.

When the earth's temperature rises on average by more than two degrees, interactions between different consequences of global warming (reduction in the area of arable land, unexpected crop failures, extinction of diverse plant and animal species) combined with increasing populations mean that hundreds of millions of people may die from starvation or disease in future famines. Moreover, an unknown number may die from wars over diminishing resources (more). Even if that does not happen, thousands of plants and animals will become extinct. Islands, shorelines and coastal communities will disappear.
The usual Malthusian drivel. And then the Prof. gets to his thesis:
In this article I am going to suggest that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for influential GW deniers. But before coming to this surprising conclusion, please allow me to explain where I am coming from.
He also links to the Utopian World Future Council To paraphrase Hanns Johst -- when I hear the word Council, I release the safety catch of my Browning. Yes, I know it's attributed to Goring
From Matt McGrath at the Beeb:
West Antarctic Ice Sheet warming twice earlier estimate
A new analysis of temperature records indicates that the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet is warming nearly twice as fast as previously thought.

US researchers say they found the first evidence of warming during the southern hemisphere's summer months.

They are worried that the increased melting of ice as a result of warmer temperatures could contribute to sea-level rise.
And there is a little infographic showing the warming around the Byrd station -- around eight o'clock on the continent. Next up from Environmental Graffiti:
Volcano, Not Global Warming Effects, May be Melting an Antarctic Glacier
Scientists have discovered a layer of volcanic ash and glass shards in Antarctica, evidence of an old eruption by a still active volcano that researchers believe may be contributing to the thinning of Antarctic glacial ice.

Hugh F.J. Corr and David G. Vaughan, two scientists with the British Antarctic Survey, recently published their discovery of the volcanic layer in the journal Nature Geoscience. The discovery is unique according to Dr. Vaughan. He said �This is the first time we have seen a volcano beneath the ice sheet punch a hole through the ice sheet.�

The volcano�s heat could possibly be melting and thinning the ice and raising the speed of the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica.
Sounds like the same research paper, just two very slanted views of it. Hmmmm... OK - now we set the wayback machine to May 7, 2008 -- from Watts Up With That
Climate Models Fail at Antarctic Warming Predictions
There is a a peer-reviewed study in the April 5th issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. It is by Andrew Monaghan of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. �This is a really important exercise for these climate models,� he said.

Monaghan and his team found that while climate models projected temperature increases of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.75 degrees Celsius) over the past century, temperatures were observed to have risen by only 0.4 F (0.2 C). �This is showing us that, over the past century, most of Antarctica has not undergone the fairly dramatic warming that has affected the rest of the globe,� Monaghan said. The gap between prediction and reality seemed to be caused by the models overestimating the amount of water vapor in the Antarctic atmosphere.�
Which links to this January 22, 2008 post from Anthony:
Surprise! There�s an active volcano under Antarctic ice
It seems that we still don�t know everything there is to know about our earth-climate system. Take this for example. Scientists have just now discovered an active volcano under the Antarctic ice that �creates melt-water that lubricates the base of the ice sheet and increases the flow towards the sea�.

Yet many claim the CO2 is the driver for any melting of the Antarctic ice sheet. I wonder how this will figure into that argument?

Larsen Ice Shelves A and B, by the way, sit astride a chain of volcanic vent islands known as the Seal Nunataks, which may figure into melting and breakups like this and this. (h/t Alan)
That last post has a nice map of the known volcanoes with several right at around eight o'clock on the antarctic continent. Hmmmm...

A widely distributed calender

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Heh -- impossible to excerpt, just go here and read -- from Watts Up With That Too Funny! I send Michael Mann a free WUWT calendar as a Christmas gift, and he goes full conspiracy theory The 200+ comments are a fun read too. Talk about paranoid...


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From the White House Dossier:
Obama Immediately Goes to Play Golf!
Less than 24 hours after he stood in the White House briefing room to announce that he was temporarily abandoning negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff, President Obama is in Hawaii golfing.
Well at least he is focused on something.

Fun times in Egypt - a three-fer

The lights are going out. #1) - from the UK Telegraph:
Egypt constitutional vote: 'Things are definitely worse than under the old regime'
When Alber Saber's mother called police to protect him from a mob baying for his blood, something odd happened: they arrested him. They then threw him in prison, encouraged his cellmates to attack him, and finally took him to court where he was jailed for three months.

Mr Saber's alleged offence was all the more significant in light of the new constitution � being voted on by millions of Egyptians on Saturday � that is at the heart of Egypt's political crisis.

The mob in his Cairo suburb accused him of atheism and disrespect of the Prophet Mohammed, and demanded he be killed; a neighbour had alleged he had posted to his Facebook page the now notorious Islam-mocking video that triggered protests across the world in September.
#2) - from the UK Guardian:
Egyptian artists fear for their future in cultural backlash after Arab spring
Leading Middle Eastern cultural figures and academics have warned that the arts of the Arab spring are under threat because of increasing violence, censorship and lack of political vision.

The popular perception that the region is experiencing unprecedented freedom of expression is "simplistic and misleading", with many artists "wary of the increasingly violent nature of the Arab spring", according to a study for the British Council by the postwar reconstruction and development unit at York University. The report, Out in the Open: Artistic Practices and Social Change in Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, found that the system of strict government censorship that has existed for decades is "largely still in place".
Where is their Bill of Rights? First Amendment? #3) - from FOX News:
Islamist-backed constitution gets 'yes' majority vote in Egypt
Egypt's opposition called Sunday for an investigation into allegations of vote fraud in the referendum on a deeply divisive Islamist-backed constitution after the Muslim Brotherhood, the main group backing the charter, claimed it passed with a 64 percent "yes" vote.

Official results have not been released yet and are expected on Monday. If the unofficial numbers are confirmed, it will be a victory Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, who is from the Brotherhood.

But for many Egyptians, especially the tens of millions who live in extreme poverty, the results are unlikely to bring a hoped for end to the turmoil that has roiled their country for nearly two years since the uprising that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.
Gee -- if only we had some people who projected leadership. And now we have Lurch as Sec. State -- say hello to another five years of darkness...

Europe ♥'s John 'Lurch' Kerry

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It seems that they really really ♥♥♥♥♥♥ his anti-business attitude. From The Hill:
Senior EU official, lawmakers hope Kerry elevates climate at State
From Europe to Capitol Hill, proponents of stronger action to fight climate change are hopeful that Secretary of State nominee Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) will put global warming on the front burner at Foggy Bottom.

Connie Hedegaard, the European Union�s top climate change official, lauded the choice of Kerry as the nation�s top diplomat via Twitter.

�Confident @JohnKerry as state sec is good news for #climate. Cross fingers his dedication will make climate a strategic priority. Congrats,� said Hedegaard, the E.U.�s commissioner for climate action.

Kerry, who is widely expected to win Senate confirmation, is a decades-long advocate of addressing global warming, and calls climate change a major security and foreign policy challenge.
Again, we saw the measure of the man when he ran for President in 2004. Great hair, not evil, just not that smart. Definitely not elite. Not one of our betters. Not fit to be a mastermind.

John Boehner jumps the shark

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Poll numbers are worse than Pelosi -- from The Hill:
Poll: Boehner now less popular than Pelosi
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) now ranks as the least-liked congressional leader, with just 31 percent of voters holding a positive opinion of the Republican leader and more than half � 51 percent � saying they view the Ohio congressman unfavorably.

That's the first time in several years that Boehner has slipped below House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in the Rasmussen survey. The Democratic leader held a 37 percent favorability rating in the poll.
Time to vote this RINO out.

A mixed bag of links

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They don't make them like they used to -- plus, he got to know Voytek -- Augustyn Karolewski (And yes, I love bears. Met Smokey Bear two times and visited his grave a few years ago) Seventy-five numbers -- Zero Hedge Day by Day is a daily read for me -- today is totally spot on. Busy day today -- last minute Christmas shopping for Lulu and her son and getting ready for a several day feast.

Ann Coulter on gun violence

Excerpted from her December 19 editorial:
You will notice that most multiple-victim shootings occur in "gun-free zones" -- even within states that have concealed-carry laws: public schools, churches, Sikh temples, post offices, the movie theater where James Holmes committed mass murder, and the Portland, Ore., mall where a nut starting gunning down shoppers a few weeks ago.

Guns were banned in all these places. Mass killers may be crazy, but they're not stupid.

If the deterrent effect of concealed-carry laws seems surprising to you, that's because the media hide stories of armed citizens stopping mass shooters. At the Portland shooting, for example, no explanation was given for the amazing fact that the assailant managed to kill only two people in the mall during the busy Christmas season.

It turns out, concealed-carry-holder Nick Meli hadn't noticed that the mall was a gun-free zone. He pointed his (otherwise legal) gun at the shooter as he paused to reload, and the next shot was the attempted mass murderer killing himself. (Meli aimed, but didn't shoot, because there were bystanders behind the shooter.)

In a nonsense "study" going around the Internet right now, Mother Jones magazine claims to have produced its own study of all public shootings in the last 30 years and concludes: "In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun."

This will come as a shock to people who know something about the subject.
In addition to the Portland mall case, here are a few more examples excluded by the Mother Jones' methodology:
-- Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas, this week: Jesus Manuel Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a police car and bystanders from the nearby China Garden restaurant; as he enters the movie theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack. Total dead: Zero.

-- Winnemucca, Nev., 2008: Ernesto Villagomez opens fire in a crowded restaurant; concealed carry permit-holder shoots him dead. Total dead: Two. (I'm excluding the shooters' deaths in these examples.)

-- Appalachian School of Law, 2002: Crazed immigrant shoots the dean and a professor, then begins shooting students; as he goes for more ammunition, two armed students point their guns at him, allowing a third to tackle him. Total dead: Three.

-- Santee, Calif., 2001: Student begins shooting his classmates -- as well as the "trained campus supervisor"; an off-duty cop who happened to be bringing his daughter to school that day points his gun at the shooter, holding him until more police arrive. Total dead: Two.
A bunch more examples at the site. Mother Jones should be ashamed of themselves. It's OK to have a bias and an agenda but cherry-picking your data to fit your narrative is dishonest.

Our narcissist in chief

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From The Weekly Standard:
Obama Uses Funeral Service to Talk About Himself
President Barack Obama used the funeral for Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye to talk about himself. In the short 1,600 word speech, Obama used the word "my" 21 times, "me" 12 times, and "I" 30 times.

Obama's speech discussed how Inouye had gotten him interested in politics. "Danny was elected to the U.S. Senate when I was two years old," he said.
Inouye was a major hero and served Hawaii well -- for Barry to gloss over that so he could talk about his trip to Disneyland when he was eleven shows him for what he is -- a narcissist and idealogue...

Say hello to Arundo donax

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I cannot imagine that anyone is willingly planting this in the USA. From The Weather Channel:
Is Giant Reed a 'Miracle Plant' or the Next Kudzu?
It's fast-growing and drought-tolerant, producing tons of biomass per acre. It thrives even in poor soil and is a self-propagating perennial, so it requires little investment once established.

To people in the renewable fuels industry, Arundo donax � also known as "giant reed" � is nothing short of a miracle plant. An Oregon power plant is looking at it as a potential substitute for coal, and North Carolina boosters are salivating over the prospect of an ethanol bio-refinery that would bring millions of dollars in investment and dozens of high-paying jobs to hog country.

But to many scientists and environmentalists, Arundo looks less like a miracle than a nightmare waiting to happen. Officials in at least three states have banned the bamboo-like grass as a "noxious weed"; California has spent more than $70 million trying to eradicate it. The federal government has labeled it a "high risk" for invasiveness.

Many are comparing Arundo, which can reach heights of 30 feet in a single season, to another aggressive Asian transplant � the voracious kudzu vine.
I really wonder what the rate of successful imports is -- someone has the great idea to import a plant or critter from an area where there are natural checks and balances into a new area where this beastie is an apex predator. What is it -- 70% failures? Ethanol costs more energy to manufacture than it yields as fuel. All these people are harvesting is our tax dollars through the subsidies.

Gun sales

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One of the major online vendors for gun parts and accessories is Brownells. They bill themselves as the World's Largest Supplier of Gun Parts, etc... I buy from there, a neighbor who is a gunsmith and machinist makes tools that they sell. From CNS News:
Firearms Supplier Sells More Than Three Years Worth Of Magazines In Just Three Days
Brownells, the world's largest supplier of firearms, has reportedly sold three-and-a-half years worth of magazines in just seventy-two hours.

Brownells CEO said:
"I wanted to take a minute to shed some insight on the magazine situation if I can. First of all I wanted to offer an apology for the situation... with magazines being 'In-Stock' and back-ordered moments later... [The] demand for magazines actually exceeded the ability for the system to keep up with the volume that was being ordered."

"To shed some more light on the magazine situation at present, it really has been unprecedented in the last 5 days. During a roughly 72 hour period...we sold the 'average demand' equivalent of about 3.5 years worth of PMAGS, and an even greater amount of our Brownells magazines."
Crap -- the way people are moving in Washington, they may implement a ban before the backlog is filled. Was planning on getting an AR-15 as my next gun and then either a revolver or 1911. Time to step up the purchase date...
From Wired magazine's Danger Room:
Almost Everything You�ve Heard About the North Korean Space Launch Is Wrong
Last week, North Korea finally managed to put an object into orbit around the Earth after 14 years of trying. The event was greeted with hysterical headlines, about how the whole thing was a likely a missile test and most certainly a failure of Western intelligence. Most of those headlines were dead wrong.

There are many questions yet to be answered about this launch and what it means. Some of them will take weeks or months to determine, others may never be answered satisfactorily. But there�s enough information already in the public domain to answer basic questions about the launch. News flash: Most of the initial reports about it were total misfires.
An interesting read...

See if this holds up

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Was in town today too and picked up a brand new ASUS USB/WiFi network adapter. Installed seamlessly so we will see if it holds up over time...
As bad as Hillary was as Secretary of State (still waiting for news on that Concussion and the report on the Benghazi scandal), John Forbes Kerry will be even worse. From the Associated Press:
Obama nominates Kerry for secretary of state
President Barack Obama on Friday nominated Sen. John Kerry as his next secretary of state, elevating the longtime lawmaker and foreign policy expert to the top diplomatic job he had coveted.

"He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," Obama said, standing alongside Kerry at the White House. "Few individuals know as many presidents and prime ministers or grasp our policies as firmly as John Kerry."

If confirmed by the Senate, Kerry would replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who plans to leave Obama's Cabinet early next year. Clinton, who is recovering from a concussion sustained in a fall, did not attend the Roosevelt Room announcement.
Ye Gods -- Kerry was looked at very closely in the 2004 election cycle and found wanting. He looks the part but he is just not that bright and flip-flops whenever it is politically expedient for his career. A perfect example from The Weekly Standard:
Kerry Silent at State Announcement
President Barack Obama sang John Kerry's praise today, as he nominated the former presidential candidate to be the next secretary of state. But after the president spoke, Kerry did not.

It is highly unusual for the person being nominated not speak at the press conference being held for him. Nevertheless, that's what happened today at the White House.

Even CBS reporter Mark Knoller notes this oddity on Twitter:
Usually the nominee is given a chance to make some remarks, but not today. Neither did Pres Obama respond to questions about the fiscal cliff.
Sheesh -- you know the press is going to be there and will be expecting some kind of statement. There are plenty of people who could have drafted a 30 second pitch that would have dazzled the media with your eruditeness but no -- you stood dumbfounded. Deer in the headlights. And it is interesting that he invests in companies that violate the Iran sanctions:
Kerry Has Investments in Companies Accused of Violating Iran Sanctions
John Kerry, who will be nominated later today to be the next secretary of state, is the richest member of the U.S. Senate. His estimated net worth is, at minimum, $198.65 million, according to disclosure forms.

Kerry's disclosure forms also reveal that he has invested in companies accused of doing business with Iran.

One of the companies Kerry is invested in is called Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras (Petrobras), it's a Brazilian-based oil and gas corporation. Disclosure forms reveal that Kerry has between $150,000 and 350,000 in assets in the company.

But a 2009 report from Congressional Research Services found that, since 1999, Petrobras has "major investments in Iran's energy sector."

The next year, in 2010, Congress listed Petrobras as a company possibly violating Iran sanctions.
And of course, if the name Petrobras sounds familiar, it is because Obama arranged for them to get a $2 Billion loan through our Import/Export bank to develop offshore oil reserves. And finally, Senator Kerry embraces the Global Warming fiasco -- from Business Insider:
John Kerry: Global Warming Is The Next 9/11
John Kerry has written an op-ed for the Huffington Post comparing the inaction in response to a heating planet to the inaction of President Bush before September 11th.

Kerry reaches deep into the bag of global warming hysterics to uncork this piece, saying that the fate of the nation hinges upon the passing of some sort of climate change legislation.

It's ridiculously over the top, but we suppose it might get a few supporters all riled up and ready to fight for the bill this fall. Of course, it's so over the top that it might just turn off a bunch of people.
Not bad, just not that bright...

Knock knock - is this on?

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Looks like we were rick-rolled on a cosmic scale. Mayan long-count calender -- zero Civilization -- one Not that I was expecting anything differO(8yno*Vu5rBO98npiugBI6tboiuhl -- NO CARRIER
Arrrggghhh -- was just in town today too. Seems to be working now - could not get an IP address for the life of me. Grumble -- I have to go into town again to finish Christmas shopping so I'll hit the local computer store -- use it as a backup if things keep working. If it wasn't so late (and if I had not had a couple glasses of wine) I would go out to the forge and pound on some metal -- that I understand!!!

Minimal posting today - doctor stuff

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Had to visit my dermatologist today -- something I have been living with literally all of my life. Every year or so, I'll get a bad rash and there are a couple of drugs that knock it down so went in today and re-upped my prescription. Sweet blessed relief! Also, my internet adapter has been showing signs of advanced wonkiness. Every so often, I have to unplug the power, remove the battery and let it sit for a while. Running a Verizon MyFi 3G WiFi hotspot and get a decent signal so everything points to either a buggy "automatic firmware upgrade" that was installed or the unit is just plain failing.

Quote of the year - climate science

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Something that needs to be printed out and stuck on the walls of all of the "computer model" climate scientists:
When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science.�
--William Thomson, Lord Kelvin
Don't bother with the hockey sticks, show me the actual numbers. No warming since 1998?

Brain dump

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A couple of links that caught my eye: From the department of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Climate Change dammit!!! Sen. Barbara Boxer to Hold Weekly 'Open Forums' on Climate Change - from Breitbart. Babs -- our sun is a variable star and our climate changes from time to time -- ice age / warm / ice age / warm / etc... Do you get that Ma'am? Barry buys in: Obama: Climate change among top three priorities for second term Money for nothing and chicks for free. (here) A different Sandy: Barge lines on the Mississippi expect a waiting game Drought's winter toll: Mississippi barges face losses while US blasts river Drought Highlights Need for Infrastructure Improvements on Mississippi River Low water but enough for Mississippi River barges This sucks because it means a lot higher prices for our commodities. Food, trucking, steel, construction, etc. All higher and later...

Fun time to be alive - time keeping

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I had messed around in boats a lot when I was younger so the importance of timekeeping for navigation is a major thing for me. 30 years ago, timekeeping jumped to a whole new level when various clocks based on Cesium and Rubidium were developed. These devices are now showing up on eBay for cheap. Granted, the "Physics Packages" in these clocks have a lifespan of 20-30 years of operation but many of them were not operated 24/7 so for not that much money, you have a fun bit of history as well as a very accurate clock and when it dies in five or ten years, the next generation of technology will be available for another hundred bucks or so on eBay. There is an email list dedicated to accurate timekeeping and there has been a running discussion as to whether the Mayan Long Count calender took into account the Leap Seconds used to compensate for the slowing of the Earth's rotation. So the end of the world is when????

First they came for our guns

Now they are coming for our video games. From Puffington Host:

Video Games Targeted By Senate In Wake Of Sandy Hook Shooting
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has introduced one of Congress' first pieces of legislation related to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.: a bill to study the impact of violent video games on children.

"This week, we are all focused on protecting our children. At times like this, we need to take a comprehensive look at all the ways we can keep our kids safe. I have long expressed concern about the impact of the violent content our kids see and interact with every day," said Rockefeller, who is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Rockefeller's bill would direct the National Academy of Sciences to lead the investigation on video games' impact and submit a report on its findings within 18 months.

The legislation comes after reports suggested that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza may have played video games like "Call of Duty" and "Starcraft."

OK - let's look at some real numbers here. Call of Duty is a franchise -- a set of different games published by Activision. As of November 11, 2011, the Call Of Duty series have sold over 100 million copies. Just one release, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, broke sales records in the US and in England. From the UK Telegraph:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 breaks sales records
More than 6.5 million copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 were sold in the first 24 hours after the game's release, breaking records for a video game launch.

Another edition in the franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops II broke the Modern Warfare record by selling $1 Billion dollars of games within fifteen days of its release. So let me get this straight Senator Rockefeller -- with several hundreds of millions of players worldwide, you are targeting the entire games industry because of the horrific actions of one highly mentally ill individual? Cold dead hands Senator, cold dead hands...

Another bump in the road

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From the Associated Press:
Fitch says 'fiscal cliff' may cost US 'AAA' rating
Fitch warned that the U.S. is more likely to lose its top-notch "AAA" rating if lawmakers cannot agree on how to cut the deficit and avoid the broad government spending cuts and tax increases that go into effect next year if no deal is reached.
Lest we forget:
In the first-ever downgrade of U.S. government debt, Standard & Poor's last year cut its rating from "`AAA" to "AA+" after the government failed to come up with a plan to reduce the deficit.
Two downgrades. We are neck deep in the big muddy and the big fool says to push on! 'Big muddy' from here.

Going to get interesting in New York City

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A viable contender to Mayor Bloomberg -- from New York City's CBS affiliate:
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota To Run For New York City Mayor
CBS 2 has learned Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota will resign his post and run for mayor of New York City in 2013.

Highly placed sources in Gov. Andrew Cuomo�s administration and the MTA board told CBS 2′s Dick Brennan that Lhota will step down Friday and is expected to join the mayoral race for the Republican nomination.
�He�d be exactly what New York City needs,� former mayor Rudy Giuliani told CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer on Dec. 6.

It was high praise from the man once dubbed �America�s Mayor.� Giuliani told Kramer he would love to see Lhota succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

�Could this guy be a great mayor? Yeah, absolutely. He�s got all the talents,� Giuliani said.

Lhota was at Giuliani�s side after 9/11 as first deputy mayor.

�He was with me for 40 straight days, 24 hours a day. So I saw him under pressure. He handled September 11th heroically, so it wasn�t a big surprise to me to see how well he handled Sandy with the MTA,� Giuliani said.
"exactly what New York City needs" indeed. Proven leadership instead of going after people's, guns, salt and soft drinks.

Crap - RIP - Robert Bork

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One of the brightest legal minds out there. From FOX News:
Robert Bork, former Supreme Court nominee, dies
Robert Bork, former federal judge and Supreme Court nominee, has died, his family confirms to

Family members said Bork, 85, died early Wednesday morning. He had a history of heart problems and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung condition.
A bit more:
President Ronald Regan nominated Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987. In a 58-to-42 vote, the Senate rejected his nomination -- it was by one of the widest margins in U.S. history.

Republicans have long said his defeat was a completely partisan move and have said Bork was one of the greatest conservative figures in history.
A sad day.

An odd little scandal

From the Canadian Broadcasting Company:
Biofuel credits behind mystery cross-border train shipments
The mystery of the trainload of biodiesel that crossed back and forth across the Sarnia-Port Huron border without ever unloading its cargo, as reported by CBC News, has been solved.

CBC News received several tips after a recent story about a company shipping the same load of biodiesel back and forth by CN Rail at a cost of $2.6 million in the summer of 2010. It turns out the shipments were part of a deal by a Toronto-based company, which made several million dollars importing and exporting the fuel to exploit a loophole in a U.S. green energy program.

The entire U.S. biodiesel market has been the centre of controversy and even legislative hearings this summer over problems with the regulatory program administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The fallout and distrust of a market-based biodiesel credit system has had several repercussions for the industry, particularly for fledgling biodiesel companies trying to produce environmentally friendly fuel. The recent CBC reports on that train to nowhere have prompted an investigation by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), as well as a further investigation by the EPA.

The company that organized the train shipment was Bioversel Trading Inc. of Toronto. Its principal, Arie Mazur, gave CBC a detailed explanation this week explaining that the trip was all about RINs � renewable identification numbers � the credits set up by the EPA to promote and track production and importation of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.

The complicated deal unfolded in the final two weeks of June 2010.
Lots more at the site. It would be a clever business hack if these RINs were not coming straight out of our pockets. They are paid for by our tax dollars. The same company is being investigated by some other agencies in the EU. The article also names some other RIN scammers including this guy from Texas:
Last week, Jeffrey Gunselman, head of Absolute Fuels, pleaded guilty to the sale of more than $40 million worth of invalid credits, the profits of which he�d spent on real estate, cars, a demilitarized tank and a personal jet.
Emphasis mine -- I like his style but he is paying the price:
Gunselman faces a maximum sentence of up to 1,268 years in prison and a fine of nearly $20 million.
Holy crap -- a murderer can be locked up for 10 years and this guy gets an effective life imprisonment -- this is not justice. And yes, that number is correct.

A couple of links

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These links caught my eye today: Solar power adds to nonusers' costs from the San Francisco Chronicle Why Wind Power Has Low Economic Value from The Heritage Foundation Solar panel companies subpoenaed in federal probe over taxpayer aid from FOX News France warms to G�rard Depardieu, the heroic exile from the UK Telegraph Quite the turnaround in opinion... 12 Ways To Use Saul Alinsky's Rules For Radicals Against Liberals from Town Hall

Quote of the year

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From here:
I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you've earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money
--Thomas Sowell
From the San Antonio, CA Express-News:
Breakup sparked theater shootout
A recent breakup set off a shooting spree that ended with a man wounded at a South Side movie theater before the suspect was shot by an off-duty deputy, authorities said Monday.

Jesus Manuel Garcia, 19, an employee at a China Garden restaurant next to the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 theater, apparently became upset Sunday night after his girlfriend broke up with him.

He lashed out by sending her a message saying he planned to go to the restaurant and �shoot somebody,� said Bexar County sheriff's Sgt. Raymond Pollard.
And the "here's how you do it" ending:
He said that when a San Antonio police officer heard the gunshots and pulled into the theater's parking lot, Garcia shot out his patrol car's windshield.

Garcia then pursued the employee into the theater, firing more shots when he reached the lobby, Pollard said.

One of the shots struck a patron in the back, but the bullet did not strike any vital organs and the man was released from San Antonio Military Medical Center later Sunday night.

Bexar County sheriff's Sgt. Lisa Castellano, who was working off-duty as a security guard at the Mayan Palace, chased the gunman toward the back of the theater. The 13-year department veteran cornered him after he ran into a men's restroom, shooting him several times and taking his gun, Pollard said.

Armando Olguin, an off-duty San Antonio Independent School District police officer, restrained him using the sergeant's handcuffs, Pollard said.

Garcia was rushed to SAMMC, where he was in stable condition in the intensive care unit Monday.
The theater was not a gun-free zone -- it had an armed off-duty cop present. Only one person was hit and the turd Garcia was taken down, is in stable condition and will spend a significant chunk of his life behind bars. It bears remembering that the Colorado Dark Knight shooter had chosen that particular theater because it was the only one in his area that had a posted gun-free zone policy -- from an essay by Dr. John Lott:
Yet, neither explanation is right. Instead, out of all the movie theaters within 20 minutes of his apartment showing the new Batman movie that night, it was the only one where guns were banned. In Colorado, individuals with permits can carry concealed handgun in most malls, stores, movie theaters, and restaurants. But private businesses can determine whether permit holders can carry guns on their private property.

Most movie theaters allow permit holders carrying guns. But the Cinemark movie theater was the only one with a sign posted at the theater�s entrance.

A simple web search and some telephone calls reveal how easily one can find out how Cinemark compared to other movie theaters. According to and, there were seven movie theaters showing "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20th within 20 minutes of the killer�s apartment at 1690 Paris St, Aurora, Colorado. At 4 miles and an 8-minute car ride, the Cinemark�s Century Theater wasn't the closest. Another theater was only 1.2 miles (3 minutes) away.

There was also a theater just slightly further away, 10 minutes. It is the "home of Colorado's largest auditorium," according to their movie hotline greeting message. The potentially huge audience ought to have been attractive to someone trying to kill as many people as possible. Four other theaters were 18 minutes, two at 19 minutes, and 20 minutes away. But all of those theaters allowed permitted concealed handguns.
Again, it is not the guns, it is the mentally ill people.

Coal in the news

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Despite all the hippies and marxists trying to daemonise it, coal is one of the best fuels we have and we have lots of it -- enough for several hundred years at current usage. From Bloomberg:
Coal to Approach Oil as Top Energy Source by 2017, IEA Says
Global coal demand will rise 2.6 percent annually in the next six years and challenge oil as the top energy source, according to the International Energy Agency.

Coal consumption will climb to 4.32 billion tons of oil equivalent by 2017, compared with about 4.4 billion for oil, the Paris-based agency said today in its first Medium-Term Coal Market Report. Usage will rise in all regions except the U.S., where cheap natural gas has damped demand, the IEA said.

Demand for coal rose 4.3 percent last year, with China accounting for 67 percent of the increase to replace Japan as the largest importer of the fuel, according to the report. Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel and without limits by climate change policies, demand and emissions of carbon dioxide will continue to rise, the IEA said.
Emphasis mine -- bullshit. Current technologies for scrubbing yield exhaust gasses of CO2, CO and water vapor. The ash is trapped and stored at the site to be recycled into concrete and asphalt paving materials. China and India burn coal without these technologies so denying the use of coal here while exporting it increases the overall atmospheric pollution levels. Economic factors demand cheap energy and coal is the number one source.

Snowy weather

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Expecting a couple inches of snow over the next day or two. Heading out to the feed store to get another couple bales of hay for the critters and then use Buttercup the tractor to move another couple loads of firewood to the bin on the porch. Offline for a couple hours.

Fast and Furious in the news again

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Eric Holder's brilliant plan has backfired yet again -- from the Washington, DC CBS affiliate:
�Fast and Furious� Gun Found At Site Where Mexican Beauty Queen Killed
A gun found at the scene of a shootout between a Mexican drug cartel and soldiers where a beauty queen died was part of the botched �Fast and Furious� operation, CBS News reports.

Authorities had said that Maria Susana Flores Gamez was likely used as a human shield and that an automatic rifle had been found near her body after the Nov. 23 shootout.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tells CBS News that the Justice Department did not notify Congress that a Fast and Furious firearm was found at the scene in Sinaloa.

CBS News learned the Romanian AK-47-type WASR-10 rifle found near her body was purchased by Uriel Patino at an Arizona gun shop in 2010. Patino is a suspect who allegedly purchased 700 guns while under the ATF�s watch.
Yet another failed government program with the people at the top untouched. Time to drain the swamp.

The EPA's new ruling - something stinks

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and it isn't a dead fish. I had written yesterday about the new ruling for soot. Now it seems that the data supporting this ruling is being kept from view. From The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology:
Committee Leaders Call on Administration to Release Secret Data Behind Looming Air Rule
Republican leaders on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson, Acting White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Boris Bershteyn, and the President�s Science Advisor Dr. John Holdren questioning the rulemaking process and quality of science supporting a costly new fine particulate matter rule to be released in the coming days. The letter was sent by Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX), incoming Chairman for the 113th Congress, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris (R-MD).

As the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and EPA aim to respond to a court-imposed December 14th deadline for release of the final National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), the lawmakers reiterated concerns that the rulemaking has been rushed, and relies heavily on secret science and nontransparent data.
And why is this data so important?
The data sets in question serve as the sole basis for $1.7 trillion, or 85 percent, of the $2.0 trillion in total benefits that EPA claims will result from the Clean Air Act between 1990 to 2020. These secret data are also the origin of EPA�s frequent claim that the benefits of its Clean Air Act regulations exceed the costs by a 30-to-1 ratio.
Good -- hold their feet to the fire. If this is such a pressing issue, the EPA should have zero problems releasing the data for general viewing. The data would only reinforce their claims.
From Dennis Wagner writing at Arizona Central:
Macho B: Cover-up amid celebrations
News in early 2009 that the nation�s only known wild jaguar had been �accidentally� snared and collared by Arizona Game and Fish Department employees set off a celebration among state wildlife officials.

At the same time, environmentalists at organizations such as the Center for Biological Diversity and Sky Island Alliance were livid because they feared the aging cat would not survive.

Still, it was a historic event, and potentially profitable: The ability to track a jaguar known as Macho B would make the state agency and its contractors clear favorites to win a multimillion-dollar research grant. It would bring prestige to scientists and administrators involved. And it might provide valuable information about the border travels and habitat of an endangered species.
It's always about the Benjamins... More (Thorry is Thornton �Thorry� Smith):
Although Game and Fish officials claimed Macho B�s capture was accidental, McCain actually set the snare along a favored trail and baited it with scat from a female jaguar in heat. Then he flew to Europe to visit his girlfriend, leaving Smith and another Game and Fish employee to check the traps.

Macho B was caught on Feb. 18, 2009. Smith promptly shared the news with Ron Thompson, the Game and Fish administrator overseeing carnivores, who fired an e-mail to McCain in Spain, announcing: �Thorry did it!�

As word spread, congratulatory messages contained a hint of conspiracy. McCain received one e-mail from a co-worker who wrote, �And just think, he was an �incidental� take. The hell with politics.�

The answer: �Yes, it was incidental, and you know that. Right? I had nothing to do with this right? And neither did Ron.�

Thompson then issued a warning about indiscreet messages: �Emil, be aware that we cannot use the government email to communicate with you. Sky Island (Alliance) is calling it a conspiracy, and for the first time they are right!�
And of course, Macho B is in perfect health:
McCain held off calls for a recapture until March 1, when a hasty attempt was made. Hunters located Macho B about 2miles from the snare site. When they fired a tranquilizer dart at him, it bounced off and spiraled through the air, spewing anesthesia as the cat vanished into brush.

One day later, a posse moved in. The jaguar was treed by hounds, then darted from a helicopter. It had lost 20 pounds in less than two weeks. A hind leg was swollen with infection.

Macho B was flown to the Phoenix Zoo, diagnosed with kidney failure and put to sleep within hours.

�He died a very slow and painful death for 12 days,� Brun would note later in an online article. �His stomach was empty, he was dehydrated. I can�t imagine what he went through.�
There is an investigation, a 3,441 page criminal case file and five people were cited. Some of them got off -- one is writing a book. One is on probation and is currently out of the country. One retired early. A sordid tale of a government agency out of control but what is new with that...


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We were looking for the Higgs -- we might have found two of them... From the French blog R�sonaances:
Twin Peaks in ATLAS
For the annual December CERN council meeting the ATLAS experiment provided an update of the Higgs searches in the γγ and ZZ→4 leptons channels. The most interesting thing about the HCP update a month ago was why these most sensitive channels were *not* updated (also CMS chose not to update γγ). Now we can see why. The ATLAS analyses in these channels return the best fit Higgs masses that differ by more than 3 GeV: 123.5 GeV for ZZ and 126.6 GeV for γγ, which is much more than the estimated resolution of about 1 GeV. The tension between these 2 results is estimated to be 2.7σ. Apparently, ATLAS used this last month to search for the systematic errors that might be responsible for the discrepancy but, having found nothing, they decided to go public.

One may be tempted to interpret the twin peaks as 2 separate Higgs-like particles. However in this case they most likely signal a systematic problem rather than interesting physics. First, it would be quite a coincidence to have two Higgs particles so close in mass (I'm not aware of a symmetry that could ensure it). Even if the coincidence occurs, it would be highly unusual that one Higgs decays dominantly to ZZ and the other dominantly to γγ, each mimicking pretty well the standard Higgs rate in the respective channel. Finally, and most importantly, CMS does not see anything like that; actually their measurements give a reverse picture. In the ZZ→4l channel CMS measures mh=126.2�0.6 GeV, above (but well within the resolution) the best fit mass they find in the γγ channel which is 125.1�0.7 GeV GeV. That makes us certain that down-to-earth reasons are responsible for the double vision in ATLAS, the likely cause being an ECAL calibration error, an unlucky background fluctuation, or alcohol abuse.
Stay tuned -- this is what I really love about big science. The next increment, the next reveal, totally wipes the slate clean and sets you up with a whole new scenario. The universe is fractal (until you hit the turtles). The bigger the Science, the bigger the God. And, he has a sense of humor...

RIP - Senator Daniel K. Inouye

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A true hero -- Senator from Hawaii -- from the Honolulu Star Advertiser:
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye dies at age 88 of respiratory illness
Daniel K. Inouye died today of a respiratory ailment at a Bethesda, Md., hospital, ending a life of remarkable service for his country and Hawaii that included sacrificing his right arm in World War II combat and spending 50 years as a U.S. senator. He was 88.

The senator succumbed to respiratory complications at 5:01 p.m. Eastern time at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he had been hospitalized since Dec. 9. Inouye was first brought to George Washington University Hospital on Dec. 6 after fainting in a Senate office. He was transferred to Walter Reed three days later.

A statement from his office said that his wife Irene Hirano Inouye and his son Ken were at his side and that last rites were performed by Senate Chaplain Dr. Barry Black.

When he was asked recently how he wanted to be remembered, he said, "I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did OK," according to the statement.

His last words were, "Aloha."
A great man -- I wish there were more people like him living today.


Reposted in full -- from Donald Sensing's Sense of Events:

Full speed for the fiscal cliff
By Donald Sensing
Geithner: Ready to Go Over 'Cliff' If Taxes Don't Rise:
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither told CNBC Wednesday that Republicans are "making a little bit of progress" in "fiscal cliff" talks but said the Obama administration was "absolutely" ready to go over the cliff if the GOP doesn't agree to raise tax rates on the wealthy.

"I think they're making a little bit of progress," Geithner said. "They're clearly moving and figuring out how to try to move further."

But Geithner said the White House would "absolutely" go over the fiscal cliff -  triggering over $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases - unless tax rates increase on the top 2 percent of wage earners.
Going over the cliff is in fact the actual Democrat plan. They want to go over so they can blame it on the Republicans. This president has only one goal in his second term: to eliminate political and economic competition to himself first and the Democrat party second. There is no other Obama agenda. Not jobs, not economic growth, not anything. Emplacing permanent one-party rule in this country is the sole goal for term 2.

There is no check and balance on the Democrats to stop them. The media have been so thoroughly co-opted that they will never return to their traditional role of the fourth estate and guardian on behalf of the people against the government imperium. National level reporters and producers will never surrender their prestige, money and power to do that. They are individually too personally invested in the Democrat status quo ever to turn aside. If all goes according to plan - and I personally think it will - then forget all the talk about Hillary in 2016. Maybe she'll run and maybe she won't. Won't matter. The Dems could nominate a circus clown and keep the White House.

I posted in 2003,
When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I'd tell them to emigrate, but there's nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.
I really did not imagine it would take so few years.

What he says. We have become a nation of morons whose first words are GIMME MY STUFF!

Paying for Sandy

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All of us taxpayers are -- to the tune of $60.4 Billion Dollars -- but it is all going to repair people's houses and strengthen the infrastructure right? No??? From the New York Post:
Obama Sandy aid bill filled with holiday goodies unrelated to storm damage
President Obama�s $60.4 billion request for Hurricane Sandy relief has morphed into a huge Christmas stocking of goodies for federal agencies and even the state of Alaska, The Post has learned.

The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.
Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm�s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.
This is political cronyism at its finest. Our tax dollars are being spent to fund contributors pet projects. From The Washington Times:
Porked-up Sandy relief bill storms into Senate
The Senate�s emergency spending bill to cover costs from Hurricane Sandy includes millions of dollars that will never touch the affected Northeast � including money for salmon fisheries in Alaska, cash for an expansion of train service into New York, and funds to preserve and repair historic properties.

Lawmakers begin debating the bill Monday on the Senate floor, where the first thing they will confront is the size and scope of the $60.4 billion package, which aims to repair damage and to build protection against storms.

President Obama submitted his wish list to Congress, but senators added their own priorities. For example, Mr. Obama asked for $32 million to repair part of the Amtrak rail system not covered by insurance, but the Senate multiplied that request more than tenfold, to $336 million, with the extra money going to cover Amtrak�s operating losses and to increase train capacity into New York City.

The Sandy recovery bill also includes more than $500 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which amounts to a full tenth of what the agency spends per year, nationwide.
This is disgusting. A am saddened by how far our great nation has fallen.

And it starts - the EPAs new ruling

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From Yahoo News/Associated Press:
EPA to tighten standards for soot pollution
In its first major regulation since the election, the Obama administration on Friday imposed a new air quality standard that reduces by 20 percent the maximum amount of soot released into the air from smokestacks, diesel trucks and other sources of pollution.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said the new standard will save thousands of lives each year and reduce the burden of illness in communities across the country, as people "benefit from the simple fact of being able to breathe cleaner air."
Excuse me but bullshit. I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA back when the steel mills were running full blast, when white-collar workers had to bring a second shirt into work and change them at lunchtime. That level of soot was damaging. What we have now is one millionth of what that was and this new regulation is a case of diminishing returns. The effort to clean up is done. It is over. The air is clean. We do not need to micromanage this any more -- it is time to move on to something that is actually important. This sort of action would never ever pass through Congress as a statute so Obama has to push it through the EPA. Say hello to higher costs of vehicles, say goodbye to fireplaces in new construction (got mine roaring right now -- it's cold outside!). Makes me wonder just how many more 'rulings' like this are in the pipeline. The stupidity -- it burns...

Off to town for a couple hours

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Got the shopping run for the store today and it is snowing so traffic will be a bit slow. No posting until this evening. Mt. Baker now has more snow than any ski area in the world -- 149" base and 22" new in the last 24 hours. It is awesome powder up there -- winter storm warning in effect with accumulations from 7 to 10 inches through today. Glad I have a heavy four wheel drive truck...

Here is how you do it - Texas

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From FOX News:
Texas School District Will Let Teachers Carry Guns
A tiny Texas school district may be the first in the nation to pass a law specifically allowing teachers and staff to pack heat when classes begin later this month.

Trustees at the Harrold Independent School District approved a district policy change last October so employees can carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting teachers follow certain requirements.

Superintendent David Thweatt told the policy was initiated because of safety concerns.

"We have had employees assaulted before by people in the last several years," Thweatt said. "I think that safety is big concern. We are seeing a lot of anger in society."

He wouldn't comment further on the nature of the assaults.

The Texas superintendent linked gun-free zones with the uprising of school shootings in recent years.

"When you make schools gun-free zones, it's like inviting people to come in and take advantage," Thweatt told
A bit more -- on the permitting process:
In order for teachers and staff to carry a pistol, they must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun; must be authorized to carry by the district; must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations and must use ammunition that is designed to minimize the risk of ricochet in school halls.
That is the perfect response -- make sure the teacher has appropriate training and uses the proper ordnance. Had this been implemented in Connecticut, this would have been a much smaller disaster.

Good news for Kenya

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From the Nairobi, Kenya Standard:
Scramble for resources put Kenya on global mining radar
The recent discoveries of commercial coal deposits in Mui Basin in Kitui County, huge crude oil wells in Turkana, and titanium deposits in Kwale is turning Kenya into an emerging mineral resource powerhouse.

This change in fortune is a big plus for a country that has hardly relied on mineral resources. Traditionally, Kenya�s economy is largely dependent on agriculture, tourism and some level of manufacturing.

However, the bullish outlook for natural resources is driven by demand in China and other rapidly industrializing nations.

Already, Kenya is on the global radar, as scramble for natural resources take shape. After years of waiting, Base Titanium is on the verge of becoming one of the first major mining companies to establish itself in this lucrative sub-sector. The Australian mining firm, Base Resources, will earn in excess of Sh76.5 billion from the Titanium mining project at the Kenyan Coast that is at an advanced stage.

The Government will take a third of the total proceeds through royalties and taxation, which translates to about Sh25.5 billion over the 13 year mine life of the Kwale project.
One Kenyan shilling is equivalent to just over one US penny so Kenya takes home about $290 Million for this one mining project. Not bad for a Nation with a real GDP of $33 Billion (a bit less than 1% and this doesn't count the oil and other mines).

It begins again - Hungary's Jews

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From Reuters:
Hungary's Jews face down new extremism
A week after a leader of Hungary's far-right Jobbik party called for lists of prominent Jews to be drawn up to protect national security, Janos Fonagy stepped forward.

"My mother and father were Jewish, and so am I, whether you like it or not," the state secretary of the Development Ministry told parliament, explaining he did not have dual citizenship with Israel and was not religious.

"I cannot choose, I was born into this. But you can choose, and you have chosen this path," he said, addressing Jobbik deputies. "Bear history's judgement."

It is only relatively recently that Hungary's Jews have celebrated their identity as openly as they did when Europe's largest synagogue was built in Budapest in the 1850s.

Now they are determined not to allow a political climate in which they have to defend that identity or even suppress it.
Didn't we settle this once and for all back in the 1940's? I wonder what the Hungarian school system is like regarding the teaching of history. Bad as ours?

Sandy Hook shooting - a three-fer

First -- from the Tulsa, Oklahoma Tulsa World:
Bartlesville High School student arrested in school-shooting plot
An 18-year-old Bartlesville High School student was arrested early Friday after police uncovered an alleged school-shooting massacre plot.

Sammie Eaglebear Chavez attempted to recruit students in the school cafeteria on Wednesday to help him carry out a massive school shooting and bombing plot, police allege in a court affidavit.

Prosecutors charged Chavez later Friday with planning, attempting or conspiring to perform an act of violence. District Judge Curtis DeLapp set Chavez�s bail at $1 million.
Police were notified of the plot Thursday afternoon by school administrators who had been told of the alleged plan by another student, the affidavit states. Chavez had told the students he would place bombs by the auditorium doors and that when police arrived, he would detonate them.

As police conducted their investigation, officers learned that Chavez had told a teacher last week that he�d bought a Colt .45 gun and had spent the weekend shooting it, the affidavit says.

Chavez, who had been attempting to obtain a map or diagram of the high school facilities, had been using a school computer to search for information on a Marlin Model 99M � a .22-caliber rifle on a machine gun platform, the affidavit states.

Students had witnessed Chavez researching the Columbine High School massacre and reading online letters that were written in the aftermath of the April 1999 shooting, which killed 12 students and a teacher in Littleton, Colo, as well as the two shooters. A student also had witnessed Chavez looking at a website on how to build pipe bombs, the affidavit states.
And of course Chavez is just going to get a slap on the wrist as he hasn't "done anything" yet. Second, from The Anarchist Soccer Mom:
Thinking the Unthinkable
In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it�s easy to talk about guns. But it�s time to talk about mental illness.

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

�I can wear these pants,� he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

�They are navy blue,� I told him. �Your school�s dress code says black or khaki pants only.�

�They told me I could wear these,� he insisted. �You�re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!�

�You can�t wear whatever pants you want to,� I said, my tone affable, reasonable. �And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You�re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.�

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan�they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn�t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.
The rest of the story is chilling -- there is no mechanism to properly deal with these people. There used to be but the Democrats took it away. Finally -- this made my gorge rise. From the London Daily Mail:
Outrage as Westboro Baptist plans praise gathering outside Sandy Hook Elementary school to celebrate God 'executing his judgement' in horrific shooting rampage that killed 20 children and 6 adults
The tight-knit community of Newtown, Connecticut is numb in the aftermath of the heart-wrenching massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary school on Friday when a gunman killed 20 young students, all aged six and seven, in addition to six adults.

As families mourn the lives that were cut short in this unspeakable horror, an extremist group has announced they plan to congregate at the scene of the tragedy and offer praise to God for 'executing his judgement' - an unthinkable act amidst the sorrow overwhelming the quiet town.

A member from the Westboro Baptist Church, an unaffiliated religious group that self-identifies as a church, said on Saturday the group will picket the school in a so-called praise service, while the rest of the nation struggles to move forward after the tragedy.
I would see nothing wrong with some of the parents delivering a righteous beat-down on those a**holes. They need to be put in their place, not just ignored. Of course, they would turn around and litigate and this is just what they want -- more publicity. Ignore the trolls...

Great news for Clint Tarver

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Michigan just enacted a right-to-work law and the union thugs are not happy. Hot dog seller Clint Tarver was paid to cater a pro right-to-work rally and a gang of pro-union asshats tore up his cart and destroyed all of his food and his tent. Mr Tarver is now $33,000 richer. From FOX News:
Michigan's 'hot dog guy' getting new digs after protesters destroyed his supplies
The �hot dog guy� is getting new digs.

Clinton Tarver, the owner of Clint�s Hot Dog Cart and Casual Catering, saw his small business thrust into the national spotlight on Tuesday when his supplies were destroyed at a pro-union protest against right-to-work legislation in Lansing, Mich. �Violent� demonstrators tore down a tent where Tarver was serving his dogs, he said, prompting a staff member for a local lawmaker to create an online fundraiser for the 63-year-old downtown fixture. As of Friday, more than $33,000 had been donated.

�I�m overwhelmed,� Tarver said Friday. �The public has shown such love to me. You never know your true friends until you get down and I�ve had people I thought were pretty close to me and they�ve given me one call. You learn from your endeavors.�
And what is he doing with his money?
�First of all, I�m going to get a brand new cart,� he said. �And I have sick sister, so I�m going to help her out and I�m going to help my church too.�
Sounds like a righteous man.

The end of the world

From the Chicago Sun-Times/Associated Press:
Mexico's Mayas calm as apocalypse calendar ticks away
Amid a worldwide frenzy of advertisers and new-agers preparing for a Maya apocalypse, one group is approaching Dec. 21 with calm and equanimity -- the people whose ancestors supposedly made the prediction in the first place.

Mexico's 800,000 Mayas are not the sinister, secretive, apocalypse-obsessed race they've been made out to be.

In their heartland on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, Mayas continue their daily lives, industriously pedaling three-wheeled bikes laden with family members and animal fodder down table-flat roads. They tell rhyming off-color jokes at dances, and pull chairs out onto the sidewalk in the evening to chat and enjoy the relative cool after a hot day.

Many still live simply in thatched, oval, mud-and-stick houses designed mostly for natural air conditioning against the oppressive heat of the Yucatan, where they plant corn, harvest oranges and raise pigs.

When asked about the end next week of a major cycle in the 5,125-year Mayan Long Count calendar, a period known as the 13th Baktun, many respond with a healthy dose of homespun Maya philosophy.

"We don't know if the world is going to end," said Liborio Yeh Kinil, a 62-year-old who can usually be found sitting on a chair outside his small grocery store at the corner of the grassy central square of the town of Uh-May in Quintana Roo state. "Remember 2006, and the "6-6-6" (June 6, 2006): A lot of people thought something was going to happen, and nothing happened after all."
Funny how some people can get so worked up about stuff like this. Besides, it isn't happening on the 21st, it's December 16th right around 4:30PM PacifL1,/U;B9p''[8h]p\98-h=;o@#iO$!87g9O7YI -- NO CARRIER

Putting things by

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Spent a very pleasant afternoon canning 12 jars of dilly beans. The beans in the garden didn't do well this year (very long wet spring) so I got a couple pounds from Costco. Also, was building a fire and using an old edition of the Capital Press to start and noticed an article about a rare garlic. Saved it, tracked down the website and will be ordering two pounds. It is late in the season to plant but I'll start them in pots out in the garage where it is cold and transplant after last frost. I love serendipitous things like that. Hunkering down for the night as there is supposed to be high winds for a while. Got the proper plug on the generator tie lead so we should be OK.

An odd bit of news - Bing Map service

From our friends in Hobbit-land --

Bing Maps - Beware
Has anyone had a look at our Island names on Bing Maps.

This has been around for a little while but comes as an App with Windows 8.

It is appallingly inaccurate when it comes to our Island names. The first place I looked at was Tiritiri Matangi, only to learn it is now called Solander Island. Solander Island is Rangitoto Island. Stephens Island is Rat Island and the Islands east of Tutukaka (Poor Knights) are the Seal Islands and Alderman Islands.

The Mercury Islands are 3km south of Kawau Island whilst three of the Mercury Islands are Long Island, Limestone Island and, funniest of all, Little Barber Island.

There are many more.


Odd -- will have to spend some time with a marine chart for Puget Sound and see if there are any discrepancies in this part of the world...

Heh - a climate two-fer from The Hill

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From The Hill - tax credits for wind:
Top wind industry lobbyist to resign
The wind industry�s top lobbyist is resigning, The Hill has learned.

Denise Bode, chief executive with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), will leave her post Jan. 1 after four years at the head of the organization. She will return to private practice as a tax attorney.

The announcement comes in the midst of arguably the industry�s largest political battle. It is fighting to extend a 2.2-cent-per-kilowatt-hour credit for wind power production, which is set to expire Dec. 31.

In a Friday interview with The Hill, Bode said that she is "not going anywhere" until the credit extension "gets done."

Asked whether it would get extended, she said, "Oh yeah. Of course it will be."

The industry says the credit extension is key for getting wind power costs competitive with other energy sources. Nixing it this year would threaten the industry�s long-term health, AWEA has said.
The Bozo is strong with this one. Tax Credits? These are our dollars that are being wasted. This is our money being used to subsidize a bad business model. Next up - again, from The Hill - a widdle bit of schadenfreude:
Report: Solar firms under investigation for stimulus swindle
The nation�s three most productive solar installation firms are under investigation for allegedly exaggerating business costs to get larger cash payments through a federal stimulus program.

The Treasury Department�s inspector general is asking SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity to justify the more than $500 million in federal grants and tax credits they got for their work, according to The Washington Post.
Next time around, could we please elect some adults? A small request but we need to start turning this thing around...
Almost missed it -- today is National Bill of Rights day. Succinct and powerful -- that is why they are being trampled underfoot so much these days. Here - read:
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
462 words and this is a major part of the Cultural DNA of the United States. Why has the Tenth Amendment been ignored since Woodrow Wilson? Why are 'people in power' going after the Second and Fourth? The Hippies of the 60's used to protest against "The Man" -- now they ARE "The Man". Others are bastardizing the First to prevent my free expression of my Faith. And a big fat Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!
We know about the horrific shooting at the Elementary school in Connecticut. We also had a shooting in Oregon earlier this month -- the goblin killed two people and injured one other. He was carrying an AR-15 (stolen) and several magazines. A crowded mall (news reports 10,000 people). There should have been a lot more fatalities and injuries. Why not? Meet Nick Meli -- from Portland television station KGW:
Clackamas man, armed, confronts mall shooter
Nick Meli is emotionally drained. The 22-year-old was at Clackamas Town Center with a friend and her baby when a masked man opened fire.

"I heard three shots and turned and looked at Casey and said, 'are you serious?,'" he said.

The friend and baby hit the floor. Meli, who has a concealed carry permit, positioned himself behind a pillar.

"He was working on his rifle," said Meli. "He kept pulling the charging handle and hitting the side."

The break in gunfire allowed Meli to pull out his own gun, but he never took his eyes off the shooter.

"As I was going down to pull, I saw someone in the back of the Charlotte move, and I knew if I fired and missed, I could hit them," he said.

Meli took cover inside a nearby store. He never pulled the trigger. He stands by that decision.

"I'm not beating myself up cause I didn't shoot him," said Meli. "I know after he saw me, I think the last shot he fired was the one he used on himself."
A perfect example of how a legally armed (and CCW permitted) young man brought what could have been a horrible massacre to a very fast end. He chose not to shoot (rules two and four) but his presence and his gun caused an early end to Mr. Roberts' (may he rot in Hell) swan song. Had the Headmaster or any of the Teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School been armed, Adam Lanza's little spree would have been cut just as short. The progressives are clamoring for "Gun Control" but those cities that have draconian laws against civilian gun ownership also have some of the highest gun injury and fatality rates in the nation. Take a look at this from the Chicago Tribune:
10 shot, including 4 teens, Friday afternoon and night
Shootings across the city Friday afternoon and night wounded at least ten people, according to Chicago police, including four teens in three separate South and West side attacks.
One half of one day in a city where private ownership of firearms is next to impossible. As our masterminds wring their hands with dismay and call for the gun laws to be ratcheted even tighter -- this will stop them now!!! These masterminds have zero real-world experience, have no knowledge of the common man and fail to see the truth before their faces. Useful idiots all of them.

From Daily Tech:

Global Warming Afforded Same Legal Status as Religion in UK
In an unusual case in the United Kingdom, it has been ruled that climate change beliefs should be afforded the same legal protections as religious freedoms. The bizarre ruling sets a landmark legal precedent and could have broad implications both in Britain and abroad.

The case began when Tim Nicholson, former head of sustainability at property firm Grainger PLC was laid off in July 2008 for his criticism of management on the basis of climate change beliefs. Mr. Nicholson, who renovated his house to be greener and refuses to fly by air, was upset that Rupert Dickinson, the firm's chief executive, had an employee fly to him in Ireland to deliver his Blackberry.

When Mr. Nicholson began to gripe and express his environmental sentiments, he was later dismissed. He took his former employers to court, contending that the same laws that protect religious freedoms protected his "philosophical belief about climate change and the environment."

His employers contended that climate change was a scientific, not a religious or philosophical belief, and thus not legally protected. Mr. Nicholson, however, insisted that climate change was a philosophical belief as "philosophy deals with matters that are not capable of scientific proof." His lawyer, Shah Qureshi, head of employment law at Bindmans LLP, added that to not grant AGW beliefs the same protections as religion would mean "that the more evidence there is to support your views, the less likely it would be for you to enjoy protection against discrimination."

Science is warm and fuzzy? Who would have guessed. If this judgment stands, we are royally stuffed...

Here we go again - truce off

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Back on November 18th, I said that the Palestine truce with Israel was just a hudna and not a real attempt at peace. From The Jerusalem Post:
New Palestinian group declares 3rd Intifada
Masked men belonging to various Palestinian factions announced in Hebron on Saturday the establishment of the Brigades of National Unity and the beginning of a third intifada against Israel.

In a video posted on several Palestinian websites, a spokesman for the new group said it consisted of members of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The spokesman said that although his group backed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas�s statehood bid at the UN, �We will not give up one inch of the land of Palestine, from the river to the sea.�

He said the group would �pursue our struggle until we expel the occupation and liberate all Palestine.�
Nothing but a bunch of stupid tools -- they are being funded by some of the worst people in the world to act as proxy in the war with the West. These asshats are proud of their ignorance and they worship a false prophet. Enjoy your raisins guys -- I'm standing with Israel!

The Benghazi conspiracy theory

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I had alluded to a theory floating around in cyberspace. Michael Haltman at The Political Commentator expresses it best and quotes an email he received recently -- here is just the email:
According to sources in the State Department and the CIA and intercepted communications from the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama "staged" the attack in Benghazi in order to create a monumental "October Surprise" that would guarantee him re-election. Yes, you read that right, and no, I'm not making this up.

Obama, we now know is and has been working with the Muslim Brotherhood secretly to engineer the release of the "Blind Sheik," Omar Abdel Rahman, the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center attack. In Obama's October Surprise, he intentionally set up the consulate to have no security so that Chris Stevens could be kidnapped, and held for ransom by Al-Qaeda (and the Muslim Brotherhood).

Then, several days before the election, the plan was to trade Chris Stevens for the Blind Sheik, making himself look like a hero, and all but guaranteeing re-election. This was one of the top reasons why Obama was so insistent on the Muslim Brotherhood getting $1.2 Billion in U.S. Aid. They were to have primary role in getting Obama re-elected. That is why, even though they knew days before the attack that it was going to occur, no effort was made to bolster security. It was intended to be non-existent.

The Libyan security forces were intended to quietly slip into the night when the attack began. And they did, just as planned. That is why, even though 2 C-130U gunships, which were built SPECIFICALLY for this kind of attack, and which could have saved the lives of our people there and were a mere 45 minutes away, were never scrambled at any time during the attack.

There was to be no resistance whatsoever. That is why there were not one, but TWO armed drones flying over the consulate during the conflagration... our CIA operatives on the ground were painting targets because they knew air cover was available. That is why, even though requesting support and backup three times, their requests were NOT ignored, but were intentionally, specifically DENIED three times, and they were told to "stand down, " which basically means to "surrender." That was part of Obama's plan.

They were not to fight back. That would potentially undermine the kidnapping effort and cause unnecessary "complications." That is why, even though the CIA operatives and ex-Navy Seals were on the ground, providing real-time reports, and even though they were "lighting up" the source of the mortars attacking the compound with lasers, no gunships or support ever came.

They weren't supposed to resist. That wasn't "part of the plan." It also wasn't part of the plan for one of the CIA operatives to intentionally defy Obama's orders, and who rescued the body of Sean Smith and then stood up against orders and engaged the enemy who was attacking American soil. It was supposed to be "clean." Quick. Efficient. Kidnap the Ambassador and get out. Then Save The Day in the "nick of time."

They didn't factor in a tiny group of highly trained ex-Navy Seals/CIA operatives... American Patriots and heroes. Even though they eventually lost their lives in the firefight, they managed to employ the full measure of their skills, and took out over 80 attackers in the process... which enraged the attackers, who were led to believe that they would encounter no resistance.

THAT is why Ambassador Stevens was raped (sodomized), murdered, and dragged through the streets. In their warped minds, they believed that they had been betrayed by the U.S. yet again. They believed that Obama was their friend. They believed that they were going to get their beloved Blind Sheik back. And yet, here were 80 of their own... dead by American hands.

Obama was asked directly in an interview if he denied their request for assistance, he refused to answer, and instead droned on with a canned response promising to "bring those responsible to justice." Former CIA and State Dept. personnel are coming out now with damning evidence that indicts President Obama, and reveals the truth about what is going on.

Hillary Clinton, who is now openly laying the blame at the feet of the President, after falling on her sword in a premature show of loyalty for the Administration. The "Video" defense was carefully crafted WEEKS in advance, to explain the attack.
No smoking gun yet but this sounds plausible. Like I said before, the truth will come out.

A Hillary Clinton two-fer

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First, from Associated Press:
Secretary of state faints, sustains concussion
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who skipped an overseas trip this past week because of a stomach virus, sustained a concussion after fainting, the State Department said Saturday.

The 65-year-old Clinton, who's expected to leave her job soon, was recovering at home after the incident last week and is being monitored by doctors, according to a statement by aide Philippe Reines.

No further details were immediately available.
Next, from Foreign Policy:
Clinton won't testify on Benghazi due to illness
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won't testify to Congress next week on Benghazi, after fainting and suffering a concussion Saturday and due to her ongoing stomach ailment.

"While suffering from a stomach virus, Secretary Clinton became dehydrated and fainted, sustaining a concussion," Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines said in a statement. "She has been recovering at home and will continue to be monitored regularly by her doctors. At their recommendation, she will continue to work from home next week, staying in regular contact with Department and other officials. She is looking forward to being back in the office soon."

Deputy Secretaries of State Bill Burns and Tom Nides will both testify in Clinton's place, according to the office of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA).
Is it just me or is the whole timing just a little bit too convenient. There are some stories going around as to what really happened there -- the truth will come out at some point. Also, the initial reports were that the Seals rescued 70 people from the Embassy grounds during the attack -- where are they? Why aren't they telling their side of the story?

If at first you don't suceed...

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From Renewable Energy World:
California Tries Again For A "Community Clean Power' Bill
The idea of giving the masses more access to solar energy has taken shape in a newly drafted bill in California that will allow renters to buy renewable electricity that is produced away from where they live and get credit on their utility bills.

Sen. Lois Wolk introduced the bill yesterday, a second attempt by her and solar energy proponents to pass such renewable energy sharing legislation. SB 43 will allow renters, along with homeowners who don�t have good enough credit or have roofs that aren�t suitable for solar panels, for example, to sign contracts with owners of solar power generation projects for a portion of the electricity produced. The amount they pay for will show up as credits on their utility bills. Businesses that lease office space will be able to do the same.
No mention of subsidies or actual costs to the consumers but I bet it's steep. Our energy costs are skyrocketing as per Obama's plan. Didn't pass the first time, what has changed to make it pass this time around?

Another moron at the top

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Just wonderful -- John Forbes Kerry is going to be Sec. State. From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Obama has chosen John Kerry as Secretary of State
President Barack Obama has chosen Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts to be the next secretary of state, a source has told Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed.

His replacement as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the Sneed source said.

This comes on the heels of Thursday�s announcement that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice had removed herself from the list of candidates to take over from Hillary Clinton. Rice said that what was sure to be a contentious and lengthy approval process took attention away from more pressing problems facing the nation.
The guy has great hair but is a moron, a traitor and a liar -- look at his 2004 campaign for President. He lost and should not be anything more than Massachusetts's senator for life. Swift-boating to commence in three... two... one...

2nd Amendment

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They are making a go for it -- from The Washington Times:
Dem. lawmaker: To get gun control, Obama must �exploit� shooting
A veteran Democratic lawmaker believes the nation will go along with stronger gun control laws if President Obama �exploits� the Newtown, Conn., tragedy and nudges Congress to action.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who represents portions of New York City, said he was encouraged by Mr. Obama�s statement on Friday afternoon that the mass shooting, which claimed the lives of 20 young children, requires �meaningful action� by Congress, but hopes those words turn into concrete legislation.
They fail to realize that an armed teacher could have nipped this attack in the bud. They fail to realize that cities with draconian gun laws have higher rates of gun violence. They fail to realize that criminals can always get guns without having to go through 'channels'
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Update on a previous post

I had posted yesterday about the spending at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as noticed by Colorado Watchdog. It seems that one of the NREL employees is a bit unhinged. From today's Colorado Watchdog:
'Murderous rampage�: Gov�t lab worker threatens reporters
A woman angered by a Watchdog investigation into the government lab where she works retaliated by threatening mass murder against this news organization in several Twitter posts.

�Have you ever felt like going on a murderous rampage? Start at @WatchdogCO �s offices. They perpetuate lies like this,� Kerrilee Ann Crosby tweeted last month while working at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

�You guys are f***ing retarded. You are the Fox News of blogs. At first I thought I was reading The Onion, but no not the case,� Crosby continued.

Crosby, 34, was responding to a Watchdog story detailing massive spending at the secret government lab, a Jimmy Carter initiative to push green energy. NREL and the two companies that manage its activities have received more than $1 billion from taxpayers since 2010 alone. Top executives at the lab earn well into six figures. NREL�s top manager, Dan Arvizu, makes close to $1 million per year. His two top lieutenants rake in more than$500,000 each and nine others make more than $350,000 a year.
Probably hoping for a chance at the big bucks and pissed because her little empire is going to come crashing down at some point. A bit more -- sounds like a model employee:
Crosby�s Linkedin profile had the header: �I take my day job seriously.� But her Twitter feed is filled with dozens of tweets per day that appear during the business hours. They detail graphic sex, love of alcohol, and the Denver music scene, and bemoan her lackluster dating life.

�i�m gonna be the tree at my office Christmas party tonight. Get it? Cause I�ll be so lit up. Get it?� Crosby tweeted recently. And: �Barfing out passenger window, going down 6th at 30 mph in merging traffic and no one honked at me.�

Despite her Linkedin declaration that she is a good employee, she posted this about her job at NREL: �In our weekly meetings I play this lil game called How Much Can I Fart In This Leather Chair And Get Away W/ It. Works best with a hangover.�
Trainwreck waiting to happen. This person's life is being funded by you and me -- our tax dollars at (what passes for) work...

The Underwater Realm

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Looks like a good movie -- their website
Same team that did Zomblies

Of course, now they come for our guns

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The logical first reaction to the Connecticut shooting is that an armed teacher or administrator could have stopped that punk Lanza right then and there. The mayors of New York City and Boston don't think the same way. From Breitbart:
Bloomberg: Obama Must Take 'Immediate Action' Against Guns
Today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an ardent gun control advocate, moved to politicize the monstrous school shooting in Connecticut, issuing the following statement:
With all the carnage from gun violence in our country, it�s still almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen. It has come to that. Not even kindergarteners learning their A,B,Cs are safe. We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again. For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year olds. President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for �meaningful action� is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership � not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. My deepest sympathies are with the families of all those affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever.
If Bloomberg�s deepest sympathies were with the family, he wouldn�t use this as an opportunity to get on his soapbox about gun control. We don�t know all the facts of the case yet, Connecticut has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country, and it seems that the shooter obtained his guns legally.
And, also from Breitbart:
Boston Mayor Menino: Time For 'National Policy on Guns'
At the same time that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a statement going full bore after gun owners on the heels of the tragic school shootings in Connecticut, Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston issued a similar statement. It was just as strident and just as political:
As a parent and grandparent, I am overcome with both grief and outrage by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. This unspeakable act of violence will forever imprint this day in our hearts and minds. My heart goes out to the families impacted by this senseless tragedy and the many others we have recently witnessed across the United States. As a Mayor who has witnessed too many lives forever altered by gun violence, it is my responsibility to fight for action. Today�s tragedy reminds us that now is the time for action. Innocent children will now never attend a prom, never play in a big game, never step foot on a college campus. Now is the time for a national policy on guns that takes the loopholes out of the laws, the automatic weapons out of our neighborhoods and the tragedies like today out of our future.
There is no law on earth that can take tragedy out of our future. The guns used today were apparently semi-automatic, not automatic. And as for the loopholes in the law, there is no evidence of any loopholes exploited by the perpetrator. As mentioned, Connecticut has some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation -- which is why Menino is calling for a national gun policy, since he clearly can't blame Connecticut's gun policy.

But all of that won�t stop the radical left from politicizing the shootings with minutes. And it hasn�t.
The comments to both entries are worth reading. μολὼν λαβέ 'Puter writing at the Gormogons had this to say:
'Puter's bile aside, he thought it would be a good time to remind us all that the most effective weapon against evil and its concomitant violence is love. That's right, 'Puter said love. And before you call 'Puter a hippie stoner, let 'Puter say he's not talking about the 1960s infantile concept of love. 'Puter's talking about true love, the love God has for each of us and the love he wants us to have for each other.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 may be 'Puter's most hated Bible passage. If you've been to a Christian wedding, you've heard it. It's putridly treacly and sappy.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Or is it? Maybe 'Puter's had it wrong all these years. Maybe there's something deeper Paul's trying to tell us about love in this passage.

Real love isn't the "she's so hot, my pants just got shorter" kind. Nor is it the "dude, I totes love Bronies and unicorns" kind.

Real love means, when necessary, telling people the truth, no matter how unpleasant or uncomfortable or unwelcome the truth may be. Real love is protecting the weak. Real love is doing the right thing in difficult circumstances. Most of all, real love is offering forgiveness when asked.

Out of this latest massacre, and through the Paul's wisdom that 'Puter's overlooked for so many years, 'Puter thinks he sees Paul's point, and a way forward.

It is love to say to the violently mentally ill that they are a danger to society, and that for the good of all, including themselves, they must be separated from society and monitored. It is love to say to the violently mentally ill that they cannot have guns. It is love to do so, for we speak the truth: the evil and the mentally ill cannot remain free to roam society and free to act on their deranged and/or evil impulses.

It is love to say to qualified and properly licensed teachers and administrators that if they wish, they can concealed carry firearms on school grounds. What greater love can their be than an unrelated teacher willing to kill if necessary to defend her classroom full of innocents? After all, love always protects.

It is kind to treat the violently mentally ill, even against their will when necessary. It is kind both to society and to the patients themselves. In so doing, we cannot lose love's patience, nor its perseverance, for the proper and just treatment of the mentally ill requires scads of each from all involved.

But most of all, we all must trust and hope. Trust in God, and hope in the future he has provided for each of us.

So, perhaps we'd all do well to step back and consider the deeper meaning of Virgil's words, "Omnia vincit amor et nos cedamus amori." In English, "Love conquers all; let us all yield to love."

Tonight, as we head home to join our families, yield to love. For when we act out of real love, God is truly present among us, and, as we are told, with God all things are possible, including finding the good in today's senseless, evil slaughter.

Obamacare in the news

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From FOX News/Associated Press:
Tom Monaghan sues feds over new health care law
The founder of Domino's Pizza is suing the federal government over mandatory contraception coverage in the new health care law.

Tom Monaghan, a devout Roman Catholic, says contraception is not health care and instead is a "gravely immoral" practice. He's a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court, along with his Domino's Farms, which runs an office park near Ann Arbor.

Monaghan offers health insurance that excludes contraception and abortion for employees. The new law requires employers to offer insurance that includes contraception coverage or risk fines. Monaghan says the law violates his constitutional rights, and he's asking a judge to strike down the mandate.
I have not seen more crap in 2,000 pages than this bill -- what with the tax on medical devices, the mandate for full-time employees causing many to be put on 30-hours or less. This needs to be struck down before it can grow any larger.

Nancy Pelosi being classy

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From The Weekly Standard:
Pelosi Skips Town Amid 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks
A day after complaining that the "fiscal cliff" negotiations are "getting boring," Nancy Pelosi was spotted yesterday afternoon skipping town.

She was comfortably situated in first class on United Airlines flight 1460, which was scheduled to leave Dulles Airport at 2:53 p.m. and arrive in San Francisco 5:57 p.m. A list on United's website of those who were on the upgrade standby list reveals that PEL, N. (presumably, Nancy Pelosi) was upgraded to seat 4F, a window seat in first class.

Pelosi represents California's 8th Congressional District, which covers mainly San Francisco.
The lives of our betters. Hey Nancy -- you are employed by your constituents, how about showing up for work...

Minimal posting today and tomorrow

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Heading into town and spending the night at the Lake House. Prayers going out to the families and children in Connecticut and I hope Mr. Lanza enjoys his eternity in Hell. Murdering one's parents is bad. The slaughter of innocent children is beyond that -- it is in the realm of Satan. Beyond any mental illness. That being said, it is not the gun that did this, it was the man. Had someone at the school been armed, this would not have been as horrific.

Instapundit on Union goons

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Glen Reynolds weighs in on the latest outbreak of Union violence:
MARK STEYN�S GOT IT ALL WRONG: Michigan Unions Managed to Get Core Message Out Yesterday �(Don�t Cross Us or We�ll Smash Your Mouth). Yeah, but so fucking what?

Look, what they did to Crowder was wrong, and revealing. But they lost. And despite all the effort by the press to protect them, they�re losing the PR battle afterward, too. And they�re a bunch of fat old men.

When I worked as a summer associate after my first year in law school, I worked at a Birmingham law firm where the top labor partner was famous for having carried an axe handle while crossing a picket line to meet with clients. He would have made mincemeat of these guys. We�re witnessing the labor movement in its dissolution, not its strength. Don�t be misled.

UPDATE: Reader Bart Hall writes: ��Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure.� Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971). We are witnessing the frantic late-stage thrashings of a badly-wounded animal. Still dangerous, but nevertheless in the process of mortal exsanguination.� Yes.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Tom Elia emails:
I agree with you.

Not only are they a bunch of fat fucks, they can�t punch worth shit.

In fact, they fight about as well as their leadership runs the state they live in � or maybe about as well as they build cars.
It�s hard to get good goons these days.

MORE: A reader emails: �From what I saw on the video they are just a bunch of fat, old white men bitterly clinging to a labor model that was outdated 25 years ago. If unions weren�t the darlings of the Left, think how this would be portrayed.�
Nails it. Less than ten percent of the US workforce, why are they being so vocal?
From The Daily Caller:
Elizabeth Warren will not serve on Committee on Indian Affairs
Democratic Massachusetts Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren will not serve on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in the next Congress, insiders on Capitol Hill confirm.

North Dakota Senator-elect Heidi Heitkamp has been appointed to serve on the Indian Affairs Committee, The Hill reported Tuesday.

Warren, a self-identified Cherokee who listed herself as a Native American in the American Association of Law Schools Directory in 1984 before getting hired at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law Schools, told reporters this year that she knew of her ancestry because her �papaw� had �high cheekbones, like all of the Indians do.�
I cannot believe that Massachusetts voters traded Scott Brown for this lying moron.

A curious package

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A package arrived at the University of Chicago addressed to Henry Walton Jones, Jr. It was put into the dead-letter bin and a student was going through it and realized that the addressee was also known as Indiana Jones. The package is gorgeous -- check it out at UChicago College Admissions:
Indiana Jones Mystery Package
We don�t really even know how to start this post. Yesterday we received a package addressed to �Henry Walton Jones, Jr.�. We sort-of shrugged it off and put it in our bin of mail for student workers to sort and deliver to the right faculty member� we get the wrong mail a lot.

Little did we know what we were looking at. When our student mail worker snapped out of his finals-tired haze and realized who Dr. Jones was, we were sort of in luck: this package wasn�t meant for a random professor in the Stat department. It is addressed to �Indiana� Jones.

What we know: The package contained an incredibly detailed replica of �University of Chicago Professor� Abner Ravenwood�s journal from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. It looks only sort of like this one, but almost exactly like this one, so much so that we thought it might have been the one that was for sale on Ebay had we not seen some telling inconsistencies in cover color and �Ex Libris� page (and distinct lack of sword). The book itself is a bit dusty, and the cover is teal fabric with a red velvet spine, with weathered inserts and many postcards/pictures of Marion Ravenwood (and some cool old replica money) included. It�s clear that it is mostly, but not completely handmade, as although the included paper is weathered all of the �handwriting� and calligraphy lacks the telltale pressure marks of actual handwriting.

What we don�t know: Why this came to us. The package does not actually have real stamps on it� the outside of the package was crinkly and dirty as if it came through the mail, but the stamps themselves are pasted on and look like they have been photocopied. There is no US postage on the package, but we did receive it in a bin of mail, and it is addressed to the physical address of our building, Rosenwald Hall, which has a distinctly different address from any other buildings where it might be appropriate to send it (Haskell Hall or the Oriental Institute Museum). However, although now home to the Econ department and College Admissions, Rosenwald Hall used to be the home to our departments of geology and geography.

If you�re an applicant and sent this to us: Why? How? Did you make it? Why so awesome? If you�re a member of the University community and this belongs to you or you�ve gotten one like it before, PLEASE tell us how you acquired it, and whether or not yours came with a description� or if we�re making a big deal out of the fact that you accidentally slipped a gift for a friend in to the inter-university mail system. If you are an Indiana Jones enthusiast and have any idea who may have sent this to us or who made it, let us know that, too.
Very cool hack.

Ouch! Fun with water

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Lulu went home Tuesday to spend a day at her Lake House. She noticed that her tub (2nd floor) wasn't working just right so she called a plumber. Turns out it was a major leak running down inside the wall into her son's music room (1st floor). The plumber is still working on it -- thank God for homeowners insurance. I'll be heading in tomorrow night and we will do an urban date -- dinner and movie. A new theater is opening in Bellingham today so we will probably check it out. Still need to see Skyfall on the big screen. Fixing some lunch and then head out to take care of the goats, sheep and llamas -- picked up some more mineral blocks for them yesterday. Setting out some bird food too -- suet blocks and seed. Basic farm stuff...

Quite the vacation

From the UK Guardian:

Christmas cruise turns into 'plague ship' after norovirus outbreak
A dream Christmas cruise has turned into the holiday from hell, according to passengers who claim as many as 400 travellers have been struck down with the norovirus winter vomiting bug.

One traveller aboard the P&O liner Oriana, which is on a 10-night Baltic cruise out of Southampton visiting Christmas markets, said people felt like they were sailing on a "plague ship".

P&O's parent company Carnival said there had been "an incidence of a mild gastrointestinal illness" among the passengers.

The spokeswoman added that, as of Thursday, out of 1,843 passengers "the number of passengers with active symptoms is six".

One passenger, Paul Gilman, 62, told the Daily Mail: "It has been outrageous from start to finish. People were falling like flies, yet the crew were trying to insist everything was fine.

"Everyone is saying this is a plague ship. It's a living nightmare."

Yikes -- been reading Spillover by David Quammen the last few days. A ship like this would be a perfect place for a virus...

Always classy - Harry Belafonte

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From Moonbattery:
Harry Belafonte Encourages Obama to Imprison Advocates of Entitlement Reform
Communist AARP Impact Award winner Harry Belafonte offers some friendly advice to his ideological compadre, Barack Hussein Obama, on what to do about those who think we should rein in entitlement spending before it inevitably causes total economic collapse:
�Work like a Third World dictator and just put all these guys in jail.�
We�re not there yet, but we soon will be. The media has managed to put the likes of Belafonte in charge of our country. If they are allowed much longer to consolidate their power, there will be no turning back.

Disband the United Nations now

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From The Weekly Standard:
U.N. Conference Slyly Introduces Resolution to Gain Control of Internet�in Middle of Night
In the middle of the night at a U.N. conference in Dubai, the presiding chairman of the International Telecommunication Union conference surveyed the assembled countries to see whether there was interest in having greater involvement in the U.N. governing the Internet. A majority of countries gave their approval.

With a sufficient majority supporting the U.N. becoming more active in controlling the Internet, the chairman put forth a resolution. The chairman, though, insisted the survey "was not a vote."

The resolution was supported by Cuba, Algeria, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia; the United States opposed it.

The proposed resolution resolves that the secretary general of the U.N. "continue to take the necessary steps for ITU to play an active and constructive role in the multi-stakeholder model of the Internet," according to a draft of the text.
Hell no -- hands off my internet.

How about those Green stocks?

From The Market Oracle:

Green Energy Stocks 90% Price Collapse
In late 2007 the RENIXX index of 30 leading clean energy stocks reached its peak: since then it has almost constantly fallen, and to early December 2012 has lost more than 90% against the peak.

Explaining the fall through 2010-2012 could seem difficult. Other stock indices outside the renewable energy sector covered by RENIXX, which includes a few diversified companies operating in fuel cells, power transmission, biotech and smart metering as well as wind and solar, have shown sometimes massive recovery and growth since the 2008-2009 stock panic. The bounce was of course a fake and lent heavily on extreme or massive government handouts and bailouts, but why did it not also tweak green energy stocks?

What happens when a business without a real model gets promoted with government subsidies. Pump and dump.

From Colorado Watchdog:
Secret energy lab spawns million dollar govt employee
The federal government�s dream of a renewable energy empire hinges on a scrubby outpost here, where scientists and executives doggedly explore a new frontier.

If you live outside Colorado, you probably haven�t heard of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory � NREL for short. It�s the place where solar panels, windmills and corn are deemed the energy source of the future and companies who support such endeavors are courted.

It�s also the place where highly paid staff decide how to spend hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.

And the public pays those decision-makers well: NREL�s top executive, Dr. Dan Arvizu, makes close to a million dollars per year. His two top lieutenants rake in more than half a million each and nine others make more than $350,000 a year.

But what is really going on there? Energy expert Amy Oliver Cooke drove out to the site, which looks something like Nevada�s Area 51 with its remote location and forbidding concrete buildings. NREL had started a construction project and Cooke wanted to see for herself. She didn�t get far: a man in an SUV seemingly appeared out of nowhere, stopped her car, and told her to leave.

�A beefy looking fellow told me, �It�s top secret,� said Cooke, director of the Energy Policy Center at the Independence Institute think tank. �I said, �I�m a taxpayer and I want to see what you�re building� and he said it was it was �top secret so we can bring Americans a better future.��
Annual budget of $533 Million -- these are the mokes who gave us Ethanol and Abound Solar (bankrupt). The article has the salaries for several years -- the level of raises are amazing - the director took home $652,159 in 2008, $691,570 in 2009 and then $928,069 in 2010. Our tax dollars at work...

Barry and the Norks - an analysis

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Excellent post at The Diplomat:
How Obama Got North Korea Wrong
Just hours ago North Korea successfully tested what many consider to be intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) technology, underscoring the failure of two decades of U.S. policy. How Washington expected to halt Pyongyang�s missile development program without taking serious steps to do so remains a mystery. While ineffective policies date back to the previous Bush and Clinton administrations, the current administration bears its fair share of the blame.

President Obama made a serious error when he failed to order that the rocket launched in April be shot down � if not destroyed on the launch pad, admittedly a highly provocative act. Had he done so, he would have deprived the North Koreans of the lessons it learned from that missile�s failure and we might not be where we are today. In fact, had the president established a new precedent � the United States simply does not allow North Korea to conduct unfettered missile tests � he might have quickly made such tests a thing of the past.

But for whatever reason, when Pyongyang launched its rocket in April, the president chose to stick to an old playbook full of defensive formations that has never given North Korea pause. The State Department unwittingly admitted last week that the old approach � stern warnings before a launch, stepped up sanctions after � has all but failed. As spokesman Mark Toner explained at last Wednesday�s press briefing, �there�s always ways to toughen enforcement of sanctions. They can always be tweaked or modified so that there�s better enforcement of existing sanctions.�
Their missile launches are coming faster and faster and they are getting better (accuracy and reliability). North Korea can now lob a nuke into the United States. That missile should have been destroyed on the launchpad. Oh right -- we don't have that capability any more with our military being gutted under Obama's regieme...

Hell no - UN off my Internet

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The United Nations really needs to be disbanded now. It is totally ineffectual on the big issues and meddling on the minor issues. An imbecile. From CNET:
U.N. summit rejects U.S., Europe hands-off-the-Internet plea
Delegates to a United Nations summit agreed today that a U.N. body should take a more "active" role in shaping the future of the Internet, a move that had been opposed by the United States and its allies that had warned of greater government control.

The agreement by delegates from the International Telecommunication Union's 192 member nations, a majority of whom raised their placards in support of the language, took place after 1:30 a.m. local time in Dubai. It came after the head of the ITU, a U.N. agency, had promised not to hold votes on controversial topics, and appeared to take the U.S. and Europe by surprise.
Time for the USA to stop giving them so much money and time to repurpose their lavish New York City headquarters.

Stolen my idea

From Las Vegas station KXNT:

Border Patrol: Smugglers Use Cannon To Launch Cans Of Marijuana Into US
U.S. Border Patrol agents say smugglers have come up with yet another creative way to get drugs in the country -- a cannon.

Authorities say 33 cans of marijuana were spotted Friday in a field near where the Colorado River crosses the U.S.-Mexico border. They believe the cans were launched about 500 feet into the U.S. using a pneumatic-powered cannon.

I had this idea a couple years ago for backpacking. Launch 40 pounds of supplies to your campsite. Targeting would be problematical but put a beeper on the cache and carry a small receiver. A hungry backpacker is a very motivated beast...

North Korea launches satellite

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From NBC News:
North Korean satellite 'tumbling out of control,' US officials say
The object that North Korea sent into space on Wednesday appears to be �tumbling out of control� as it orbits the earth, U.S. officials told NBC News.

The officials said that it is indeed some kind of space vehicle, but they still haven�t been able to determine exactly what the satellite is supposed to do.

In a statement, the White House said the rocket launch was a highly provocative act that threatens regional security and violates U.N. resolutions.

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday condemned the launch, calling it a "clear violation" of U.N. resolutions. A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he "deplores" the launch.

North Korea is banned from conducting missile and nuclear tests, under the terms of U.N. sanctions imposed after a series of nuclear weapons tests in 2006 and 2009.
Sanctions and strongly worded memos will do nothing. North Korea will develop what it wants to on its own timescale. The only people hurt by these sanctions are the citizens for whom grass is a vegetable. This is what pure socialism looks like people -- this is where all socialist governments end up. It's all about the power and not about the people...

Barry Obama - gun salesman of the year

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From Reuters:
Florida nears 1 million permits for concealed weapons
The number of active concealed weapons licenses in Florida, already home to more owners of such registered weapons than any other U.S. state, is expected to reach the 1 million mark next week, a state official said on Wednesday.

Applications for the permits in the state of 19.1 million people have doubled since 2007. Only 0.3 percent of the more than 2 million total permits issued since 1987 have been revoked, said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

"Floridians who are obtaining these licenses are obtaining them for the right reason and are using them in an appropriate way," Putnam said.

The state processed more criminal background checks for firearm purchases on Black Friday, the busy shopping day that follows Thanksgiving, than any single other day in the state's history, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said.
Permits doubled since 2007. One in nineteen people have concealed carry. Must be a safe place to live. Very cool...

Finally - Norway tests Thorium Reactor

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Good news from Singularity Hub:
Norway Begins Four Year Test Of Thorium Nuclear Reactor
A Norwegian company is breaking with convention and switching to an alternative energy it hopes will be safer, cleaner and more efficient. But this isn�t about ditching fossil fuels, but rather about making the switch from uranium to thorium. Oslo based Thor Energy is pairing up with the Norwegian government and US-based (but Japanese/Toshiba owned) Westinghouse to begin a four year test that they hope will dispel doubts and make thorium the rule rather than the exception. The thorium will run at a government reactor in Halden.

Thorium was discovered in 1828 by the Swedish chemist Jons Jakob Berzelius who named it after the Norse god of thunder, Thor. Found in trace amounts in rocks and soil, thorium is actually about three times more abundant than uranium.

The attractiveness of thorium has led others in the past to build their own thorium reactors. A reactor operated in Germany between 1983 and 1989, and three operated in the US between the late sixties and early eighties. These plants were abandoned, some think, because the plutonium produced at uranium reactors was deemed indispensable to many in a Cold War world.
The article closes with this comment:
The place where thorium is proven either way could be China. The country is serious about weaning itself off of fossil fuels and making nuclear power their primary energy source. Fourteen nuclear power reactors are in operation in China today, another 25 under construction, and there are plans to build more. And in 2011 they announced plans to build a thorium, molten salt reactor. So whether it be Norway, the UK, China, or some other forward-thinking countries, we�ll soon find out if thorium reactors are better than uranium ones, at which point more countries may want to join the thorium chain reaction.
And the guy who is spearheading this studied at Drexell University. We need to get moving on this technology.

Crap - RIP - Ravi Shankar

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Lived a good life though -- 92 years. From The Washington Post:
Ravi Shankar, Grammy-winning Indian sitar virtuoso, dies at 92
Ravi Shankar, the Grammy Award-winning Indian sitar virtuoso who became the world�s leading representative of South Asian music, exerted a major influence on popular music in the 1960s and was the father of the jazz-pop musician Norah Jones, died Tuesday. He was 92.

Stuart Wolferman, a spokesman for Mr. Shankar, said he died at a hospital near his home in Encinitas, Calif. The cause of death was not immediately available.
Had the great joy of seeming Ravi perform several times back when I lived on the East Coast. Amazing musician. I also had the wonder of seeing his (at that time) teenage daughter Anoushka Shankar perform near Seattle in the 90's -- she came out, did a few little diddles and then proceeded to rip open the vault of heaven with her music. Very powerful performer for one so young. Ravi's Wikipedia page has a lot of information. His work is not played as much these days as it should. Check it out...

A cooking three-fer

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Seriously thinking about heating the oven up right now. From The Kitchn comes these three recipes. Candied Salted Bacon DIY Caramel And bringing these two together: Bite Sized Bacon Caramels Salivating...

Interesting data from Seattle

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Looks like the banksters are going hungry -- from the Seattle Times:
Credit unions have surpassed BofA in Seattle
If you haven�t switched away from one of the big banks, chances are you�ve at least considered it. Many Americans, fed up with hidden fees and excessive charges, have said goodbye to the big banks in favor of credit unions in recent years. Here in Seattle, that shift has been dramatic.

28 percent of Seattle-area households bank primarily with a credit union now, up from 21.5 percent in 2008, according to market data firm Scarborough Research. That is a 30 percent jump in credit union banking, the ninth largest increase out of 96 metro areas around the nation. About half of all households banking with a credit union in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area are with BECU.
Switched all accounts to a Credit Union six years ago and very happy. in England

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A nice online web page for England's power grid. At this moment:
44.45 GW demand
21.75 GW from Coal
7.79 GW from Nuclear
12.87 GW from Gas Turbine
0.30 GW from wind
The gas turbines are the 'hot standby' used to cover the demand when the wind doesn't blow. Building a wind generator is only half of the picture, you also have to build a gas turbine power plant to cover the baseload. Very expensive -- you have to install two infrastructures to cover one feel-good generator.

Fiscal Cliff / Dunning-Kruger effect

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Seeing a lot of both these days. Fiscal cliff is seriously under-reported. In the next 30 years, there will be about 70 Trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities coming home to roost -- these are Federal and Union pensions and healthcare. All unfunded... Dunning�Kruger effect? From the Wikipedia entry:
Dunning�Kruger effect
The Dunning�Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.
All of the Fiscal Cliff meetings are being held in private. Where is CSPAN when we need them?

Life in the socialist paradise of France

Jerk the tax rate up to 75%? Watch your citizens leave. From France24/AFP:

Critics savage Depardieu's new role as tax exile
French politicians reacted with dismay on Monday after it emerged the country's leading actor, Gerard Depardieu, has taken up the role of tax exile in neighbouring Belgium.

The article gets a bit snarky with his personal life and then goes on:

Local mayor Daniel Senesael suggested Depardieu had been drawn to Nechin by the attractions of country life as much as the fiscal shelter it offers.

"He wanted to find somewhere to stay in Belgium to escape French taxes but he could just as easily have settled in Brussels," the mayor told Belgian TV.

"He wanted to get out of Paris with all its noise and find a bit of peace and quiet."

Nechin's bucolic charm has already seduced a number of Depardieu's compatriots. A quarter of the village's population is French, among them the Meunier and Mulliez families, respective owners of the Carrefour and Auchan supermarket chains.

And a bit more:

"It is sad because he is a great actor and someone I know and like," said Bertrand Delanoe, the Socialist mayor of Paris. "He is a generous man but in this instance he is not showing that."

Hey Mr. Delanoe -- Pants on Fire.

You just wanted to spend his money on your 'pet' social programs and you are pissed because he grew a pair and said Non!

What happens when France runs out of other people's money? Do you have a plan for that because it will happen...

How to make a baby

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Really cute set of photographs -- Safe for Work Click here: Hilarious Photo Series Explains How to Make a Baby

Long day today - store shopping run

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Went to town today shopping for the store. There are some items that we can buy cheaper at WalMart or Costco than our distributor can sell to us so we send the truck in every Monday and Friday. Returned home to find a message on my phone letting me know that my Llamas were in a neighbors yard. Grrrrrrr... It was around this same time last year when they discovered a weak spot in the fence and started eloping. Nothing I can do now -- it's very dark out. Setting the alarm for tomorrow and will head out with a bucket of grain...

Bit by bit

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Good thing I like Chinese food. Item number one -- from the UK Financial Times:
Chinese bid wins auction for A123
A Chinese car parts maker has won the auction for bankrupt US battery maker A123 Systems, in a further success in international dealmaking for Chinese groups.

Wanxiang Group bid about $257m to win the auction for the battery maker, which supplies electric cars. The sale still requires the approval of the Delaware court where A123 filed for bankruptcy.

The US group will formally submit the bid to the court for approval on Tuesday. The sale will also require the approval of the US Committee on Foreign Investment.
Emphasis mine -- talk about rubberstamp. Those mokes are bought and paid for by the lobbyists. Drop trou, lube up and bend over... Item number two -- from Bloomberg:
Chinese Group Buys 80% of AIG Plane Unit for $4.2 Billion
A Chinese group agreed to buy 80.1 percent of American International Group Inc. (AIG)�s plane-leasing unit for $4.23 billion in the nation�s largest acquisition of a U.S. company.

The International Lease Finance Corp. acquirers, led by New China Trust Co. Chairman Weng Xianding, have an option to buy another 9.9 percent, New York-based AIG said today in a statement. The transaction, which values ILFC at $5.3 billion, passes China Investment Corp.�s $3 billion purchase of a stake in Blackstone Group LP (BX) in 2007 as the biggest Chinese-U.S. deal.

The acquisition gives the group control of the world�s second-largest aircraft lessor as rising travel in China and Asia spurs demand for planes. AIG, which counts the U.S. government as its largest investor, is selling the Los Angeles- based unit as Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche focuses on insurance operations and works to reduce debt.
Right now I could give a rats ass about the "fiscal cliff" -- this is just the latest 'talking point' coined to keep the proles chattering to themselves. We are seriously inflating our currency to pay the interest on our loans all the while China is coming in and either outright buying our businesses or enticing them to move to China (GE Medical Imaging comes to mind -- yeah Immelt, lookin' at you buddy). Looking from now out to twenty years ahead, there is a 60 to 90 Trillion Dollar unfunded liability for government union pensions and health care funding. The Medicare and Social Security problems are just a bump on the road. We are in serious crap and nobody is addressing it. We need some adults in the room now please...

Carbon Credits

From the London Daily Mail:
Police raid City office after we warn on the menace of investment scams for worthless carbon credits
They sound so ethically correct. They appear to offer a decent return on savings in these troubled times. Yet carbon credits are at the centre of increasingly adventurous scams.

And last Tuesday morning, police investigating a suspected fraud network of investment firms selling worthless carbon credits arrested ten men and a woman in co-ordinated raids on offices in the City of London, Essex and Hertfordshire.

The raids follow mounting official concern at the scale of carbon credit scams, where investors pay thousands of pounds for overpriced certificates that are said to be linked to environmentally friendly projects such as tree planting.
These mokes will probably will not serve any hard time and they will just open up a new shop after they pay off the right people but still, good to see some effort being made. Details of the raid:
Staff were ordered not to make phone calls, so that they could not tip off other police targets, and to produce identification.

Several were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. Others were released throughout the morning as their identities were confirmed and criminal record checks were carried out. Computers and company records were seized and carried from the building in sealed plastic evidence bags.

Salesmen�s desks were strewn with paperwork, including sales scripts. One read: �The project we were last trading is fully sold! Clients who were fortunate enough to get holdings are going to see 20-25 per cent on a 9-15 month hold! But look, listen, don�t worry yourself that you missed that one. I have it on good authority from my Senior Trader that something is being released tomorrow .  .  . the one which is going to set this market alight.�

The salesman then tells the victim he has arranged for him to speak to the �Head of Emissions�, adding: �This is somebody you want fighting in your corner. He�s made a lot of wealthy clients a lot of money. He�s just got back from Geneva yesterday, so we�re actually in luck that he�s in the office today.�

A follow-up script headed �Objection Handling� tells salesmen how to treat reluctant investors. Anyone with doubts about the financial markets in general is given the �Boomerang� response: �That�s exactly why I am calling you today, because of the poor performance of the stock market and financial advisers that quite frankly couldn�t deliver a pizza, we find ourselves in financial embarrassment.�

If this fails, the salesman is told to plead: �Look, it�s my first week in the job, my boss won�t take his eyes off me, I just need you to hear me out and let me send this brochure off to you.� Staff are �psyched up� by reminders of what they can earn. Two desks were decorated with pictures of Rolex watches. One had a photograph of a sports car. A young salesman who said his partner was expecting a baby had a note on his desk, �I am a self-made millionaire�, repeated over and over. The sales pitch clearly works. Whiteboards covering most of one wall of the office show how Hudson Forbes� salesmen have performed. One deal raked in �16,850, another �20,000.

One potential victim had a narrow escape. Mrs Harriet Phipps from Beaulieu, Hampshire, was about to send a cheque for �5,005 for carbon credits. She says the salesman had told her she was investing at a cut price. �He said the credits were being sold by a man who owns a lot of investments in the Far East, and he needed the money in a hurry,� she says. �That�s why they were going urgently, cheaply.�

There is virtually no resale market for the certificates and investors typically lose every penny.
And these are people who cannot afford the loss -- people who succumb to pressure, who don't know anything about financial instruments and who are panicky about their savings. There should be a special circle in Hell for these "traders" -- no soul at all.

Phone phun

When I first moved out here, Nextel was the only phone service that offered coverage. Been a happy Nextel customer for close to ten years. Eighty bucks/month and I have cell coverage all over. About a year ago, Sprint announced that it had purchased Nextel. Now, in June of 2013, they are shutting the entire network down and they are adding a penalty to your bill starting January 1st, 2013. There is no Sprint coverage out here -- only in town. So I go into WalMart and see that I can buy a nice phone for $20 and for another $40, I can get two cards that give me a total of six months of service and 120 minutes of airtime (I generally do about ten-twenty minutes/month). Say hello to a new TracFone customer. Looks great so far with one hitch. I tried entering my PO Box number but their website would not accept it -- the error message is that they do not ship to PO Boxes. 'SCUSE ME? #1) - anyone should be able to ship to a PO Box and besides, it's not like I am ordering a new phone from them. I already have the puppy charged up and sitting in front of me. If I need more time, I'll go back to Wally-World and spend another $20. #2) - I need to use the PO Box for any correspondence. I am very rural and there are a lot of low-income families out here that seek solace in drugs. A lot of the mail delivered to my mailbox will be stolen by the crack-heads looking for money or identity information. I have all of my billing and business correspondence come to my PO Box for that very specific reason. I don't know what the reception will be like out here but for now, I will be saving $60/month for services I do not need and which will be taken away in a few months anyway. This shit adds up over time. From now on, it will be my going-into-the-big-city number. Plus, I am able to port my old Nextel number over to the new phone. I'll call their business office tomorrow and see about the mailing address issue but everything else makes me a happy camper.

Awww crap - RIP Nick Johnson

Back in 2004, I found a blog called Big Dead Place. I have always had a fascination with polar regions -- backpacked through Iceland, visited the French station Dumont D'Urville in Antarctica in 1992 aboard this now sunk vessel and spent a bunch of time in Alaska as far north as Point Barrow. I had noticed that the posts at Big Dead Place were not as frequent but there was no indication of what was happening with the posters life. It seems that Nick's life was not going well and he committed suicide this November 28th. The last post at Big Dead Place is a brilliant polemic against the management at McMurdo base. Go there and read. I wondered why it wasn't in the usual blog format with links to the earlier posts (this was a week ago) but now I know -- it was Nick's swan song. It seems that Nick had written a book -- Big Dead Place: Inside The Strange And Menacing World Of Antarctica He had re-applied for work at McMurdo and was sent this email reply:
Dear Mr. Johnson:

Please be advised that PAE Inc. hereby rescinds its August 1, 2012 primary offer letter and September 28, 2012 alternate offer letter to you. It has recently come to our attention that, writing as Nicholas Johnson, you are the author of Big Dead Place. It is our opinion that due to the nature and content of this book, you would not be a suitable candidate for employment under the Antarctic Support Contract.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. PAE regrets any inconvenience this decision has caused, but believes that the decision is in both parties� best interest.


Stacy Maddox
Vice President, Stability Operations
From Feral House Publishers:
Nick Johnson, RIP
A close friend and Feral House author, Nick Johnson, also known as Darin and Nicholas, blew his head off with a shotgun in the afternoon of Wednesday November 28 in West Seattle.

He�s the guy with the green hat in the attached photo taken by Jodi Wille in our Port Townsend living room back in 2009.

Nick and I got on really well, and I respected that he approached his life as an adventure and was not opposed to spending many months of his life in Antarctica, both in the McMurdo Station and the South Pole itself. His fascinating website, inspired me to ask him to put together a book on the subject, and he did, receiving excellent reviews and a television series option by HBO (which is still in development there).

Admittedly, I was concerned for Nick�s physical and mental health when he started working for a contractor in Kabul, Afghanistan a few years ago. The experiences sounded both sad and horrendous, and it seemed to rot his soul. Unlike his Antarctica experience, Nick had trouble turning his Afghanistan years into words, and he began drinking quite a bit and taking seriously the nihilist essays of Thomas Ligotti. This past year Nick got off the juice. I last saw him in Seattle when Nick, his friend Frank Woll and I attended a screening of The Master which had perhaps three or four other audience members. The experience was depressing in a way that only a dark and lonely Fall Seattle evening can be.

Nick is perhaps best known for his book and website Big Dead Place, but he also wrote issues of a well-known zine world iteration, �Shark Fear, Shark Awareness,� which can be found through a Google search.

Nick got �clean� and did quite well this past year keeping off the juice. But what might put him over was the fact that he was accepted to go down to Antarctica but at the last minute was rejected.
The rejection letter above was from this obituary. Another obituary is from Hoosh: (from here: a thick stew made from pemmican (a mix of dried meat, fat, and cereal) or other meat, thickener such as ground biscuits, and water. It was the common food of early twentieth century Antarctic expeditions.)
Death of Antarctic writer Nicholas Johnson
Nicholas Johnson, author of Big Dead Place and a close friend, took his life on November 28, 2012. Nick�s death is a heartbreaking loss to his family, to his friends, and to so many of us that knew him as an essential part of the Antarctic community. He had a voice and a spirit unlike any I�ve known, equally cynical and generous, funny and soulful. I loved him and I miss him.

No one has done more to change the way we understand Antarctica. Nick was unflinching in his critique of bureaucracy and authority in the United States Antarctic Program, but mainly he sought to create a dialogue within and about Antarctica that cut through clich� and hypocrisy in order to describe things as they really are, in all their glory and strangeness. Not all his readers realize that Big Dead Place (both the book and the website), which can be both brutally honest and explicit, is first and foremost an expression of Nick�s love of Antarctica and of the people in the USAP. He loved the place so much that he wanted to make it better. And he did. There is nothing like Nick or his writing in all of Antarctic literature or history. Not many people can say they upended a continent�s literature.
Yeah -- what he said. There is a transcendent purity in extreme places and I think that Nick was looking forward to returning to that place that he loved so that he could heal. To have that door slammed in his face by a mindless bureaucrat... Nicholas -- wherever you are, may God light your path and give you peace. Stacy -- #1) - I know that you had no idea what the reaction to your letter would be and #2) - anyone this close to the edge would not be someone you would want to have on ice for six months but... Nick's track record was a well proven thing. He did good work for you before and to reject his re-application solely on the basis of his book was cruel. Please remember that actions have consequences and it is usually better to have an employee who is fiercely critical but who fiercely loves the work (and does it very well) than to have a "safe" employee who does not rock your corporate boat but who is not as passionate or efficient. Like I said -- Awww crap...

About that recession

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From the December 6th press release from Smith and Wesson -- their financial results for the fiscal 2013 second quarter ended October 31, 2012: An item of note:
�Net sales from continuing operations for the second quarter were a record $136.6 million, up 48.0% from the second quarter last year. The increase was led by continued strong sales across all of the company's firearm product lines, including M&P� branded products, such as pistols, modern sporting rifles, and the recently launched Shield� pistol designed for concealed carry and personal protection.
Forty Eight percent up from the same time period last year. Give a hand to the Gun Salesman of the Year -- Mr. Barry Obama

Superstorm Sandy and a faulty memory

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From the Wilkes-Barre, PA Citizens Voice/Associated Press:
NY mostly ignored reports warning of superstorm
More than three decades before Superstorm Sandy, a state law and a series of legislative reports began warning New York politicians to prepare for a storm of historic proportions, spelling out scenarios eerily similar to what actually happened: a towering storm surge; overwhelming flooding; swamped subway lines; widespread power outages. The Rockaway peninsula was deemed among the "most at risk."

But most of the warnings and a requirement in a 1978 law to create a regularly updated plan for the restoration of "vital services" after a storm went mostly unheeded, either because of tight budgets or the lack of political will to prepare for a hypothetical storm that may never hit.
Emphasis mine -- oh. Like September 8, 1667? October 29, 1693, August 19, 1788? Or how about the 1821 Norfolk and Long Island hurricane with storm surges up to 13 feet -- Sandy was 13.7 feet. Or this: October 4, 1841 � Gale�force winds affect New York City as a hurricane tracks north along the East Coast of the United States. Damage is estimated at $2 million (1841 USD, $41 million 2007 USD). Or this: 1903 Vagabond Hurricane This: New England Hurricane of 1938 -- Sandy was a tropical storm -- this was CAT3 and property losses were $4.7 Billion in 2005 dollars. Or this: 1944 Great Atlantic Hurricane -- 117 homes are completely destroyed, while 2,427 are severely damaged and almost 1000 businesses are destroyed or damaged. This: 1954 � Hurricane Hazel -- wind gust of 113 mph at Battery Park, highest ever recorded in New York City. Or: September 11, 1960 � Hurricane Donna makes landfall on Long Island as a Category 2 hurricane. Sustained winds of 100 mph (160 km/h) on eastern Long Island and 70 mph (110 km/h) winds on western Long Island are reported, and tides are 6 feet (2 m) above normal along most of the coast. Strong waves also cause beach erosion and several homes along the shore to be destroyed. Due to well-executed warnings, damages are extremely low, and it is reported that no deaths result from the storm. But I am just cherry picking maybe one out of every ten storms on record. Also, these are just the storms and hurricanes that actually hit New York City. Hypothetical storm that may never hit my great hairy ass... These people need to wake up and smell the storm surge -- New York has always been hit and will continue to always get hit with bad weather -- it is the nature of the Atlantic Ocean. A bit more from the article:
The 1978 executive law required a standing state Disaster Preparedness Commission to meet at least twice a year to create and update disaster plans. It mandated the state to address temporary housing needs after a disaster, create a detailed plan to restore services, maintain sewage treatment, prevent fires, assure generators "sufficient to supply" nursing homes and other health facilities, and "protect and assure uninterrupted delivery of services, medicines, water, food, energy and fuel."

Reports in 2005, 2006 and 2010 added urgency. "It's not a question of whether a strong hurricane will hit New York City," the 2006 Assembly report warned. "It's just a question of when."
The Executive Law is still on the books. Shut up and do your work politicians of New York City and State. No more money for 'pet projects' until you get the basic infrastructure on a solid footing. You represent your constituents and you are doing a piss-poor job by not seeing to their safety and by getting distracted by a new shiny project instead of following through on the ones that need doing...

Back from the meeting

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A fun time -- played Christmas music while people got in and got settled. The chair of the Chamber held a 20 minute meeting (she is very good at staying focused) and then we enjoyed a potluck dinner. A few Chamber members own restaurants so the food was really good. Stuffed. Met a few new people and talked with people we haven't seen in a while. Back home -- surf for a bit and then an early bedtime. Because of the fire, I got up really early today so feeling a bit tired.

Changing gears

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The fire was a lot of fun -- three companies showed up and one of them had a bunch of recruits that had never been in a live fire before so the first two hours were spent with smoke training. Full masks, compressed air and a man-sized (and weight) dummy was placed inside at random locations. Teams of three would to go in on their hands and knees, search and rescue the dummy. Since it is snowing, I went out and got another couple bales of hay for the critters as well as some suit blocks for the birds -- stopped at the fire site on my way back home and took some more photos. The building is completely down now but there is still a lot of fire burning. Changing into some better clothes, loading up the PA system and heading out for the Chamber event in an hour...

Long day today - fire and a meeting

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Heading out in a few minutes to observe and photograph a controlled burn in a house in our little community. The guy who owned the house passed a couple years ago and he had not done proper maintenance to it for a long time. Besides that, it is too close to the main highway to get repermitted for any kind of commercial use (no parking) and the wiring and septic are a joke. The new owner plans to build and is letting our local volunteer fire department burn the place down for training purposes. After that is done, we head over to the local community center for the Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting. I am a member (used to be a board member) and will be running my PA system for the event. These meetings generally draw a couple hundred people and are a lot of fun. A local brewery is providing their wares to sample.

Very clever hack and interesting that they would notice.

From the Scientific American:

Cigarette Butts in Nests Deter Bird Parasites
The sight of cigarette butts delicately woven into birds' nests sparks an array of reactions, from relief that birds are adapting to urban environments to disgust at the display of human disregard for wildlife. But a new study suggests that some birds may benefit from nesting with cigarette butts. The nicotine lingering in filters may serve as an insecticide, driving parasites away from the nests and the baby birds living within.

As horrifying as the idea of baby birds growing up in a cigarette-filled home sounds, it's not too surprising: the fluffy plastic in cigarette filters makes a fantastic construction material. However, cigarette butts are undoubtably smelly - a fact that has even driven people away from keeping them around.

But birds are actually quite fond of the chemicals found in some smelly plants, otherwise known as aromatics, from which 'essential oils' are derived. Aromatic plants produce these chemicals to defend themselves against insects and other animals that would take them for food - but birds have their own use for them. Some nest-building species, including starlings and blue tits, regularly replenish their nests with fresh aromatics, and scientists hypothesize that the birds use these chemicals as parenting tools.

How would plant-derived chemicals help birds raise their chicks? It's possible that the chemicals boost the immune systems or development of the chicks so that they survive better after they leave the nest; this is known as the "drug hypothesis." Alternatively, the "nest protection" hypothesis suggests that the plant chemicals act as insecticides, driving parasites and other harmful insects from the nest.

Nicotine is an insecticide, although we don't often think of it that way. Tobacco plants generate nicotine because it defends against herbivorous beetles that would otherwise devour the plants - which means a smoker's buzz is caused by a plant's chemical defense mechanism. Some remnants of that insecticide remains in cigarette butts left in city streets, which are then transported into bird nests.

The paper authors wanted to know: does this nicotine remnant act as an insecticide when used to construct nests?

And the results bear out the hypothesis. Fascinating.

Birdbrain indeed...

From Watts Up With That:
Monckton on his smashing the U.N. wall of silence on lack of warming, and censure
I have been a bad boy. At the U.N. climate conference in Doha, I addressed a plenary session of national negotiating delegates though only accredited as an observer.

One just couldn�t resist. There they all were, earnestly outbidding each other to demand that the West should keep them in pampered luxury for the rest of their indolent lives, and all on the pretext of preventing global warming that has now become embarrassingly notorious for its long absence.

No one was allowed to give the alternative � and scientifically correct � viewpoint. The U.N.�s wall of silence was rigidly in place.

The microphone was just in front of me. All I had to do was press the button. I pressed it. The Chair recognized Myanmar (Burmese for Burma). I was on.

On behalf of the Asian Coastal Co-operation Initiative, an outfit I had thought up on the spur of the moment (it sounded just like one of the many dubious taxpayer-funded propaganda groups at the conference), I spoke for less than a minute.

Quietly, politely, authoritatively, I told the delegates three inconvenient truths they would not hear from anyone else:
� There has been no global warming for 16 of the 18 years of these wearisome, self-congratulatory yadayadathons.

� It is at least ten times more cost-effective to see how much global warming happens and then adapt in a focused way to what little harm it may cause than to spend a single red cent futilely attempting to mitigate it today.

� An independent scientific enquiry should establish whether the U.N.�s climate conferences are still heading in the right direction.
As I delivered the last of my three points, there were keening shrieks of rage from the delegates. They had not heard any of this before. They could not believe it. Outrage! Silence him! Free speech? No! This is the U.N.! Gettimoff! Eeeeeeeeeagh!

One of the hundreds of beefy, truncheon-toting U.N. police at the conference approached me as I left the hall and I was soon surrounded by him and a colleague. They took my conference pass, peered at it and murmured into cellphones.

Trouble was, they were having great difficulty keeping a straight face.
Classic Monckton wit. Read the whole thing. We have video:
Audio is a bit dodgy at the end but the expressions on people's faces are priceless.

Just wonderful

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From the The Washington Times:
Govt. borrows 46 cents of every dollar it spends
The federal government borrowed 46 cents of every dollar it has spent so far in fiscal year 2013, which began Oct. 1, according to the latest data the Congressional Budget Office released Friday.

The government notched a $172 billion deficit in November, and is already nearly $300 billion in the hole through the first two months of fiscal year 2013, underscoring just how deep the government�s budget problems are as lawmakers try to negotiate a year-end deal to avoid a budgetary �fiscal cliff.�
Here we go...

The Blue Marble turns 40 today

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December 7th, 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts took the photo that defined Earth. Story and image at Life
This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap. Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is Madagascar. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast.

A Union two-fer

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A big win in Michigan with Right To Work winning in both the State House and the State Senate -- Governor Snyder said that he will not veto if it reached his desk. From Ace of Spades:
Michigan State Legislature Passes Right To Work Law
Michigan. Michigan? Yes, Michigan. This will make them the 24th Right to Work state in America.

Earlier today:
The House vote also fell mostly along party lines, 58-52, with all Democrats and some Republicans opposing it. Democratic House floor leader Kate Segal, D-Battle Creek, said she would ask to reconsider the vote on HB 4054 during the next day of session, but that decision will be up to Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall.
And just hours ago:
The Michigan Senate passed their first bill by a 22-16 vote, with Democrats and a few Republicans voting against it. A separate bill approving right-to-work strictly for public-sector workers passed a few minutes afterward by a 22-4 vote. The chamber's 12 Democrats walked off the floor in protest and were purposely absent for that vote.
As you may expect, the unions aren't taking the news well.
Next is this excerpt from a column from Michelle Malkin writing at Right Wing News:
The California Federation of Teachers, an AFL-CIO affiliate that rakes in an estimated $22 million in coerced dues, enjoys nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(5) status. So does CFT�s larger counterpart, the California Teachers Association, which collects a whopping $300 million in annual dues. While they burn through mountains of dues lobbying for everyone else to pay higher taxes, these Democratic partisan heavies pay nothing in either federal or state income taxes. Zero, zip, nada. In theory, the unions are entitled to this special status because their �primary� purpose is to �secure better working conditions, wages and similar benefits� for their members.

In practice, of course, the unions are Democratic Party front groups that shovel hundreds of millions of dollars to liberal causes and candidates � against the will of their rank-and-file members and often without their knowledge.

Mark Levin�s ever-vigilant Landmark Legal Foundation has pressured the Internal Revenue Service for more than a decade to force national teachers unions to file proper federal reporting and IRS statements regarding their hidden political expenditures. (The overwhelmingly Democratic donations are not tax-exempt.) As a result of Landmark�s investigative work, the Wisconsin Education Association admitted in 2006 that it had failed to pay more than $171,000 in federal taxes on Democratic political expenditures.
And this is not even scratching the surface of their luxurious headquarters, hotels, golf courses and country clubs. Unions had their place and time -- that time is gone, they need to follow suit...

A history of programming languages

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From James Iry:
A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages
1801 - Joseph Marie Jacquard uses punch cards to instruct a loom to weave "hello, world" into a tapestry. Redditers of the time are not impressed due to the lack of tail call recursion, concurrency, or proper capitalization.

1842 - Ada Lovelace writes the first program. She is hampered in her efforts by the minor inconvenience that she doesn't have any actual computers to run her code. Enterprise architects will later relearn her techniques in order to program in UML.

1936 - Alan Turing invents every programming language that will ever be but is shanghaied by British Intelligence to be 007 before he can patent them.

1936 - Alonzo Church also invents every language that will ever be but does it better. His lambda calculus is ignored because it is insufficiently C-like. This criticism occurs in spite of the fact that C has not yet been invented.

1940s - Various "computers" are "programmed" using direct wiring and switches. Engineers do this in order to avoid the tabs vs spaces debate.

1957 - John Backus and IBM create FORTRAN. There's nothing funny about IBM or FORTRAN. It is a syntax error to write FORTRAN while not wearing a blue tie.
Damn near spit some nice Meritage over the keyboard... Lots more at the site.

Something 'new' - Toxoplasma gondii

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I was posting about it back in 2006 (here and here) but aparently it is news to the people at the UK Independent:
Cat parasite toxoplasma uses 'Trojan horse' to infect human brain and may cause suicidal thoughts and risk-taking
A food-borne parasite that infects domestic cats can get inside the human brain by commandeering special cells of the immune system which it uses as a Trojan horse to enter the central nervous system, a study has found.

Scientists believe they have finally discovered the mechanism that allows Toxoplasma gondii � a single-celled parasite � to pass from the human gut to the brain where it may cause behavioural changes.

Researchers have shown that the parasite can infect the dendritic white blood cells of the immune system causing them to secrete a chemical neurotransmitter that allows the infected cells, and the parasite, to cross the natural barrier protecting the brain.

Toxoplasma gondii can live in many different species but it can only complete its life cycle in cats, which secrete the parasite in their faeces. Studies have shown that toxoplasma affects the behaviour of rats and mice, making them more likely to be eaten by cats, thereby completing parasite�s complex life-cycle.
And today's Holy Crap! number:
Latest figures released in September by the Food Standards Agency show about 1,000 people a day in Britain � 350,000 a year � are being infected with toxoplasma, probably from either direct contact with cats or by eating poorly-cooked meat or vegetables.
Imagine what it must be for urban metro areas in the USA. Explains a lot.

Yet another site to Google

In the red due to declining advertising, The Washington Post is going behind a paywall.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Washington Post Plans a Paywall
The Washington Post, one of the last holdouts against the trend of charging readers for online access to newspaper articles, is likely to reverse that decision in 2013, according to people familiar with the matter.

While details are being finished, people familiar with the matter said that a metered paywall�meaning a website that allows casual readers to read a certain number of stories free before charging a subscription fee -- is likely to be rolled out in 2013, along with increases to the print newspaper's newsstand price. One person familiar with the matter said the paywall will be introduced no earlier than next summer.

The Post is dealing with a steep decline in its core business of print advertising. Its newspaper division reported an operating loss of $56.3 million for the first nine months of the year, reflecting a 14% decline in revenue to $160.7 million. The company lost its chief revenue officer in the spring, and the search for a replacement continues.

If this is anything like the New York Times' paywall, you can either use CCleaner to clear out your cookies or you can call up the article (just the first few lines will be shown), cut and paste the title and Google NYT + title and click on the link that shows the article's URL.

The Times doesn't block searches that come from Google as it wants its site to be indexed.

Christmas spirit

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Just got back from getting a seven foot tall Grand Fir -- the person at the tree farm recognized us. Got festive music playing and trimming the tree. House smells wonderful! Lulu's and my second Christmas together.


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First snow of the season -- about an inch so far. Heading out in a bit to get hay and water out to the critters. Got a bale to them yesterday but need to check. Filling the bird feeders too. We were planning on getting a Christmas tree today but will refigure that -- tomorrow is a very full day with a controlled house fire and a Chamber of Commerce annual meeting so maybe Sunday.

And so it goes - Detroit

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Socialism and welfare - both Marxist ideas. Detroit used to be Motor City until the leeches came for their little share. From The Detroit News:
State laying groundwork for managed bankruptcy for Detroit
Even as the state Treasury prepares to begin another financial review of Detroit's books, a plan is being solidified in the governor's office that would guide Michigan's largest city through what is being called a managed bankruptcy.

The working concept, still evolving, assumes that the state's financial review would find severe financial distress in Detroit, that Mayor Dave Bing and City Council would be unable to push through overdue restructuring, and that the process would culminate in appointment of an emergency financial manager under Public Act 72.

The case would be filed under Chapter 9 of the federal bankruptcy code, according to two ranking sources familiar with the situation, following efforts to reach prenegotiated settlements with as many key creditors � unions, vendors and pension funds among them � as possible before any filing.
I took the liberties of highlighting the two root causes. As Maggie said, eventually you run out of other people's money... Read the whole article -- one small taste:
A Chapter 9 filing for Detroit may be increasingly likely given the dysfunction and infantile posturing atop City Hall.
That smarts! The 200+ comments are a hoot.

Corporate Synergasm - Citigroup

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Citigroup's statement (86 words):
Citigroup today announced a series of repositioning actions that will further reduce expenses and improve efficiency across the company while maintaining Citi's unique capabilities to serve clients, especially in the emerging markets. These actions will result in increased business efficiency, streamlined operations and an optimized consumer footprint across geographies.
In plain English (ten words):
Citigroup today announced lay offs. These actions will save money.
How many people? Eleven Thousand. Synergasm? Here.
From The Washington Free Beacon:
Bailout on the Brink
A New York federal judge may rule imminently on a case that could reverse the General Motors (GM) bailout and send the company back into bankruptcy, according to sources close to the case.

At issue is a backroom deal hatched by GM to fulfill the Obama administration�s demand for a quick bankruptcy, draining the automaker of nearly all of its cash on hand and leaving it in worse shape than it was when it collapsed in 2009.
The case is pretty cut and dried -- a bit more:
All of that could be reversed if bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber reopens the process and rules in favor of old GM trustees, who are suing the hedge funds at the center of the lockout agreement.
It seems that the Obama administration and the management of GM were not quite forthright when Gerber oversaw the initial bailout:
Gerber, the federal judge who initially approved the sale with little hesitation, now has the power to reverse the entire auto bailout. He has expressed deep frustration with the company for failing to disclose the deal, leading some to speculate that he may overturn one of President Barack Obama�s signature achievements.

�When I approved the sale agreement and entered the sale approval order I mistakenly thought that I was merely saving GM, the supply chain, and about a million jobs. It never once occurred to me, and nobody bothered to disclose, that amongst all of the assigned contracts was this lock-up agreement, if indeed it was assigned at all,� Gerber said in July.
At heart, it was never about bailing out GM, it was about bailing out the UAW. GM's bondholders got screwed over bad. The only bright side is that a lot of UAW pension funds were being held in GM bonds... A I said in a post on April 27th 2010:
I have been a General Motors driver since the 1970's.

My last truck was about 12 years old and was close to 200 thousand miles.

I recently purchased its replacement.

Note the pretty blue oval logo�
Picked her up on April 13th, 2010 -- 2008 vintage with 20K miles. She just ticked over the 100K mark with only one mechanical problem -- the radiator blew out. Looking forward to the next couple hundred K miles -- I love this truck and am a dedicated Ford driver from now on.

From National Review Online:

How the UN Hides Secret Talks in Public
This year's climate conference in Qatar -- though in the public eye -- is the most secretive ever.

The U.N. has never really enjoyed allowing any debate about the climate. At the first annual climate talks I attended, at Bali in 2007, the then-chief clerk of the conference secretariat -- at no notice -- threw us out of a validly-booked room because too many members of the press were attending our daily press conferences.

She also complained to the head of my delegation because I had dared to write an article for the Jakarta Post recommending that my fellow delegates deal with the non-problem of global warming by having the courage to do nothing about it.

In those days, though, we had the right to attend just about every negotiating session; to meet and talk to national negotiating delegates; to leave letters on their desks; and to watch the negotiations as they unfolded, blow by blow.

Not any more. The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), the only environmental group that the U.N. allows to voice any alternative to the imagined (and imaginary) 'consensus' at its annual talks about talks about the climate, has been too effective.

Last year, half of the prolix negotiating text at Durban was hastily dropped within half a day of my blog posting revealing what not one of the world's news media had bothered to cover, namely: the actual contents of the final negotiating text, including proposals for a World Climate Court, rights of legal personality for 'Mother Earth,' and a halving of CO2 concentration, which would kill many plants and animals by depriving plants of adequate amounts of carbon dioxide to grow and prosper.

Today, as yesterday, I tried to get a copy of the Doha draft. However, the U.N. has gone paperless -- it says to make a petty gesture towards cutting the staggering but irrelevant 'carbon footprint' of these conferences. Now it is almost impossible for anyone to track down any of the vital documents. They seem not to be available from the 'PaperSmart' booth ("not much Paper and not that Smart," as one disgruntled delegate put it).

Nor can one get into most of the negotiating sessions, which are labeled 'Parties and Observer States Only' on the official timetable -- if you can find one. I tried to get into a plenary session, but it had been canceled without warning, leaving dozens of us sitting in an empty conference hall for over an hour.

Lord Monckton is just getting started -- read the whole thing.

And it just hit Drudgereport

Viral in 3... 2... 1...

From Climate Depot:
Fmr. Thatcher advisor Lord Monckton evicted from UN climate summit after challenging global warming -- 'Escorted from the hall and security officers stripped him of his UN credentials'

By Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter
Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012
[Reprint from E&E Greenwire - December 6, 2012 - subscription required]
Excerpt: UK's Lord Christopher Monckton, a climate skeptic, gets evicted

After the news conference, and as diplomats gathered for the climate conference president's assessment of how close countries are to agreement, Monckton quietly slipped into the seat reserved for the delegation of Myanmar and clicked the button to speak.

"In the 16 years we have been coming to these conferences, there has been no global warming," Monckton said as confused murmurs filled the hall and then turned into a chorus of boos.

The stunt infuriated negotiators and activists here who gather every year to address what they believe is one of the world's top threats, the steady rise of man-made global warming.

As Monckton was escorted from the hall and security officers stripped him of his U.N. credentials, several people noted that just a few hours earlier a group of young activists had been thrown out of the convention center and deported. Their crime: unfurling an unauthorized banner calling for the Qatari hosts to lead the negotiations to a strong conclusion.

By late today, several activists attending the conference had posted calls to "deport Monckton" on their Twitter feeds.
End Greenwire excerpt.
Webmaster Marc Morano then proceeds to cite (with links) twenty references to global warming just not happening for the last sixteen years. Sources include the UK Met office, NOAA, HadCRUT as well as news sources. This just happened so it will be a lot of fun to read Lord Monckton's writeup in a day or two -- he has quite the way with words... It will be interesting if CAGW actually gets killed. Government officials in a lot of the smaller nations are counting on fat handouts -- maybe they might actually have to promote economic growth in their countries. Cash is fungible -- we do not suffer from a fixed pool that needs to be redistributed properly. That is just stoopid Marxism and the sooner these idiots realize this, the better for their citizens.
From The Daily Caller:
Online sales tax to be added to defense authorization bill
This may be the last Christmas of online shopping without paying sales tax.

A proposed online sales tax has been offered as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, much to the ire of opponents.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association, a group that opposes this move, says that an online sales tax will burden small businesses, �some of the most promising candidates for future economic growth.�
That is going to be a bear to collect for the individual vendor. I bet that eBay and PayPal will offer tools but how about the small online store using one of the many eCommerce storefronts? People will write plug-ins but that is not going to be available when the law kicks in. Congress didn't have the votes to bring it up on its own as a bill so they snuck it in through this backdoor. Stayin' classy...

Technology Leaks to China

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Looks like a Chinese company might be buying up battery manufacturer A123. From the Los Angeles Times:
Auction of battery maker A123 Systems raises concern
The auction of battery-maker A123 Systems Inc., scheduled for Thursday, is expected to draw both U.S. and foreign bidders against the backdrop of growing pressure from military leaders and politicians to block U.S.-funded technology from being transferred outside the country � especially to a Chinese-affiliated company.

Two of the major players keen on acquiring A123's assets are Johnson Controls Inc. of Milwaukee, and Wanxiang Group Corp., a Chinese auto parts maker whose North American headquarters is in Elgin, Ill.

Johnson Controls, which was awarded $299 million in federal grants, has said A123's technology is in its early stages and will require further funding but that the company is committed to adding jobs in the U.S. It describes itself as "one of the last standing American companies competing in and building this U.S. advanced battery industry."

Meanwhile, a coalition of former U.S. military leaders and industry experts urged the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to thwart Wanxiang's bid in a Nov. 27 letter: "Aside from the national security risk, American taxpayers should not pay for development of a technology that is freely transferred to a non-allied nation."
Not to worry says this moke:
But some, such as Charles Gassenheimer, a former executive with companies involved in the electric car industry, believe that has already happened.

Last week, Gassenheimer was in Washington lobbying for Wanxiang. He had been chairman of electric car maker Think and chief executive of battery-maker Ener1, both of which were snapped up out of another bankruptcy by Boris Zingarevich, a Russian businessman. Both Ener1 and Think had also been nurtured by the Energy Department and state and local government funding. Ener1's biggest investor other than Zingarevich is Wanxiang, which has a joint venture with the battery-maker to co-manufacture lithium-ion energy storage systems for the Chinese market.
So Charlie Gassenheimer was CEO of an electric car company that tanked and was sold (presumably for pennies on the dollar) to the Russians and here he is in Washington lobbying to do the same thing for another company? Didn't Barry say something about ending the revolving door between government and lobbyists. Yeah -- me neither...

Our spending problem - one part of it

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From Senator Jim Inhofe at the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: (Excerpts from the transcript of a video presentation)
Obama Quietly Handing Over Billions of Dollars to the UN in the Name of Global Warming
Over the past decade, I have been leading the charge in Washington to make sure the global warming hoax is exposed. A big part of that effort has been putting the spotlight on what takes place at the UN�s annual global warming conferences. While I have been unable to travel to the last few conferences, I have counted on groups like CFACT to provide �on the ground� reports. This year�s UN conference is in Doha, Qatar and I�m pleased that Lord Christopher Monckton is there working with his partners, including CFACT Executive Director Craig Rucker and Marc Morano of I�m certainly looking forward to the release of Climate Depot�s new report that debunks the alarmists� extreme weather claims.
I said that the United States Senate would never ratify the Kyoto treaty or pass cap-and-trade. I was right, and now even the liberal media is admitting that these conferences are pointless. As Der Spiegel put it, the conference in Doha is �turning into a farce.� The UK Guardian said that �Doha is a byword for stalemate and failure� and the New York Times reported that after the failure of the Rio+20 conference held in June, �more and more people may be ignoring these global confabs.�
Three years ago, President Obama helped create a United Nations Green Slush Fund that would redistribute over $100 billion from developed countries to developing countries. While he has been racking up huge deficits and talking up tax increases, the President has already sent billions of American taxpayer dollars to the United Nations � and he�s managed to do it quietly so that no one will notice.
At the global warming conference in Milan, I asked an African delegate who I knew why he had attended and he said, �It has nothing to do with the science; it�s because it�s the biggest party of the year.� It�s time to put an end to these lavish, absurd global warming parties and focus on the real problems that we face.
Speaking truth to power. I feel sorry for the next generation -- they voted this Marxist into office for a second term, I get to enjoy what few years of Social Security are left in the system and they get to pay the butchers bill for the rest of their lives...

Pot in Seattle

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The Seattle Police Department Spokesman has a great sense of humor -- from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Seattle police address new Wash. marijuana law
With marijuana possession now legal in Washington state, the Seattle Police Department has given its officers some guidance on what to do about public use of pot, which is still banned.

In an email to officers, the department told them they should only issue verbal warnings in cases of public marijuana use "until further notice."

Police spokesman Jonah Spangenthal-Lee wrote on the SPD Blotter that officers will be advising people to take their weed inside.
And the money quote:
The police department believes that, under state law, you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a 'Lord of the Rings' marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to.
Heh... Got any Doritos around here?
Talk about being an ass-hat -- from Hawaii News Now:
Lawsuit threat cancels Christmas concert
A threatened lawsuit had put a halt to what's become a Christmas tradition for members of the Moanalua High School orchestra.

For the past six years, the award-winning group and volunteers from the New Hope Church have raised more than $200,000 for a charity that treats poor people in Africa.

But that all came to a halt on Monday when the Department of Education decided to cancel the concert just four days before the event.

In a letter to the Department of Education, Mitch Kahle, founder of the Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church, took issue with the involvement of New Hope Church, which handles ticket sales and sells those tickets at its services.

"The issue here is an entanglement between a public school and a Christian church," said Kahle.

"And one of the things about the constitution is that it prohibits the involvement of public schools and churches."
That idiot does not know his Constitution. Hey -- Mr. Kahle. Tell me where in the Constitution it says that a Public School is not allowed to work with a Church to raise money for a charity and put on a concert. People like this are bottom feeders, pushing their personal agenda onto others. Mr. Kahle - you disgust me. More:
Concert volunteer Chad Brownstein said that this year's event has sold more than 600 tickets and would have generated about $30,000 in sales and donations.

"(The students) could have done something that they're good at it and benefit others instead of themselves," Brownstein said.

"So I'm very disappointed that they won't be getting that lesson through that concert anymore."

Concert organizers are still looking at other locations but chances of finding a new place before Christmas that are very slim.
Here is their website: Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church Their Facebook Page Some lawyer needs to do some pro bono and slap Mr. Kahle to the ground...

Corruption? Naaaa - nothing here

From the UK Telegraph:

Climate change funds earmarked for Africa 'are going to corporations'
At the latest round of climate change talks in Doha, Qatar, the UK pledged almost £2bn over the next two years to help poor countries cope with climate change.

But the World Development Movement said the money is going to large companies rather than helping poor people likely to suffer from climate change.

A recent example was £385m, channeled through a World Bank project to promote clean energy in poor countries.

WDM say that most of the money went to private companies to build wind turbines or solar panels for profit.

Some £10m ended up going towards a 27-turbine farm in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, operated by the French energy giant EDF, to be paid back in 15 years.

WDM claim that all of the electricity is being used by Walmart, the owner of the Asda supermarket chain, rather than for local people. Also land owned by indigenous people was used without their consent.


Greg Barker, the Energy and Climate Change Minister, insisted that public money will continue to go directly to help poor communities adapt to floods and droughts and other impacts from global warming.

But he said that channeling money through the private sector could ensure billions more cash is spent on helping the developing world to go green.

Yeah and I have this really nice older bridge in Brooklyn, NY that I would like to sell you. Make you such a deal.

Much Loved

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Just go here: Much Loved Damned wood stove must be leaking ash into the room again. My eyes are tearing up something fierce... You can pause the slide show (I found it a bit too fast) by mousing over the right and left edges of the frame to get the directional controls to pop up.

A little oversight for Hollywood

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From The Hollywood Reporter:
'2016' Oscar Snub Has Filmmakers Claiming Political Bias
Gerald Molen, the Oscar-winning producer of Schindler�s List, is claiming political bias because a documentary movie he produced this year isn't up for an Oscar, even though that film, 2016: Obama�s America, made more money at the box office than the combined earning of the 15 films the Academy deemed eligible.

2016, a negative take on President Barack Obama co-written and directed by author Dinesh D�Souza, earned $33.4 million at the domestic box office. But its omission on the list of the 15 documentaries the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Monday would advance in the voting process makes it ineligible for an Oscar.

"Dinesh warned me this might happen," Molen said with a laugh Tuesday. "The action confirms my opinion that the bias against anything from a conservative point of view is dead on arrival in Hollywood circles. The film�s outstanding success means that America went to see the documentary in spite of how Hollywood feels about it."
Does not surprise me -- we saw it and it was excellent. Well scripted and produced. A powerful and true message. Dinesh D�Souza offered this comment:
"I want to thank the Academy for not nominating our film,� D�Souza joked. "By ignoring 2016, the top-performing box-office hit of 2012, and pretending that films like Searching for Sugar Man and This Is Not a Film are more deserving of an Oscar, our friends in Hollywood have removed any doubt average Americans may have had that liberal political ideology, not excellence, is the true standard of what receives awards."
Gee -- maybe people should push to get the Hollywood Tax Credits looked at. I mean there is a lot of money that could be redistributed to more worthy causes than mansions and jet airplanes. We may not have the Presidency or the Senate but we have the House and it is time to hold people's feet to the fire. It is also time to start working at a grassroots level and clean out the deadwood from the Republican Party. Both parties have strayed from their original ideals -- it is time to get back to our roots...

Widdle snowflake speaks out

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Another activist in the works -- from the Associated Press:
Cadet quits, cites overt religion at West Point
A cadet quitting West Point less than six months before graduation says he could no longer be part of a culture that promotes prayers and religious activities and disrespects nonreligious cadets.

Blake Page announced his decision to quit the U.S. Military Academy this week in a much-discussed online post that echoed the sentiments of soldiers and airmen at other military installations. The 24-year-old told The Associated Press that a determination this semester that he could not become an officer because of clinical depression played a role in his public protest against what he calls the unconstitutional prevalence of religion in the military.
Emphasis mine -- remember this as you read Mr. Page's further statements:
"I've been trying since I found that out: What can I do? What can I possibly do to initiate the change that I want to see and so many other people want to see?" Page said. "I realized that this is one way I can make that change happen."
First three things that come to mind are:
  • Get Help

  • Find a med regime that works and

  • Stay on your Meds
But nooooooooo:
In announcing his resignation this week on The Huffington Post, he denounced "criminals" in the military who violate the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution.
What criminals? Huffington Post -- of course. It just gets better:
Page said he hears about the plight of other nonreligious cadets in part through his involvement with the West Point affiliate of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The founder and president of that advocacy group said Page's action is a milestone in the fight against "fanatical religiosity" in the military.

"This is an extraordinary act of courage that I do compare directly to what Rosa Parks did," said Mikey Weinstein.
So he found Mikey -- the word you are looking for is enabler. More:
West Point confirmed that it approved his resignation and that Page had been meeting the academic standards and was not undergoing any disciplinary actions. Page said he had been medically disqualified this semester from receiving a commission in the Army as a second lieutenant - like his classmates will receive in May - because of clinical depression and anxiety. He said his condition has gotten worse since his father killed himself last year.
That really sucks but, at the risk of sounding heartless, the apple has not fallen far from the tree. More:
Page expects to leave for his grandparents' home in Wright County, Minn., in the coming days. He plans to remain an activist on the role of religion in the military.

"I'd really love to be able to do this for the rest of my life," he said.
Oh goodie -- so we have this little asshole to deal with for the next forty years or so. How about he just goes away and deals with the hand that life dealt him instead of forcing us to deal with his mental issues and his new found zeal as an activist. Hey Blake -- being an activist is not a good thing. Most activists are either sociopaths or morons. Paging Mr. Hassan, Major Nidal Hassan to the white courtesy phone please...
And this regime was doing a piss-poor job of it too. From the New York Times:
U.S.-Approved Arms for Libya Rebels Fell Into Jihadis� Hands
The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar last year, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats.

No evidence has emerged linking the weapons provided by the Qataris during the uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to the attack that killed four Americans at the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in September.

But in the months before, the Obama administration clearly was worried about the consequences of its hidden hand in helping arm Libyan militants, concerns that have not previously been reported. The weapons and money from Qatar strengthened militant groups in Libya, allowing them to become a destabilizing force since the fall of the Qaddafi government.
A bit more:
The Obama administration did not initially raise objections when Qatar began shipping arms to opposition groups in Syria, even if it did not offer encouragement, according to current and former administration officials. But they said the United States has growing concerns that, just as in Libya, the Qataris are equipping some of the wrong militants.

The United States, which had only small numbers of C.I.A. officers in Libya during the tumult of the rebellion, provided little oversight of the arms shipments. Within weeks of endorsing Qatar�s plan to send weapons there in spring 2011, the White House began receiving reports that they were going to Islamic militant groups. They were �more antidemocratic, more hard-line, closer to an extreme version of Islam� than the main rebel alliance in Libya, said a former Defense Department official.

The Qatari assistance to fighters viewed as hostile by the United States demonstrates the Obama administration�s continuing struggles in dealing with the Arab Spring uprisings, as it tries to support popular protest movements while avoiding American military entanglements. Relying on surrogates allows the United States to keep its fingerprints off operations, but also means they may play out in ways that conflict with American interests.
This was conceived, planned and executed on Obama's watch -- if it was Bush, we would be hearing an entirely different story from the NY Times. Obama's regime is culpable -- we knew that we were sending arms and ordnance to the Islamofascists and we did nothing.

Oh Noooooeeessss!!!!!!!!!!!

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From here:
Over 4.5 Billion people could die from Global Warming-related causes by XXXX
A recent scientific theory called the "hydrate hypothesis" says that historical global warming cycles have been caused by a feedback loop, where melting permafrost methane clathrates (also known as "hydrates") spur local global warming, leading to further melting of clathrates and bacterial growth.

In other words, like western Siberia, the 400 billion tons of methane in permafrost hydrate will gradually melt, and the released methane will speed the melting. The effect of even a couple of billion tons of methane being emitted into the atmosphere each year would be catastrophic.
It goes on quite a bit and closes with these paragraphs:
To summarize, human activity is causing the Earth to warm. Bacteria converts carbon in the soil into greenhouse gasses, and enormous quantities are trapped in unstable clathrates. As the earth continues to warm, permafrost clathrates will thaw; peat and soil microbial activity will dramatically increase; and, finally, vast oceanic clathrates will melt. This global warming chain reaction has happened in the past.

Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 rose by a record amount over the past year. It is the third successive year in which they have increased sharply. Scientists are at a loss to explain why the rapid rise has taken place, but fear the trend could be the first sign of runaway global warming.

Runaway Global Warming promises to literally burn-up agricultural areas into dust worldwide by XXXX, causing global famine, anarchy, diseases, and war on a global scale as military powers including the U.S., Russia, and China, fight for control of the Earth's remaining resources.

Over 4.5 billion people could die from Global Warming related causes by XXXX, as planet Earth accelarates into a greed-driven horrific catastrophe.
Oh yeah -- the XXXX in question is the year 2012. The journal cited (the here) is the January 8th, 2007 edition of The Canadian - Canada's new socially progressive and cross-cultural national newspaper. Looks like their science reporting is as good as ever -- from their issue dated November 23, 2012:
UFOs around Sun resemble foretold Galactic Obliteration Devices
Bookmarking the site -- sometimes you just need a good belly laugh...

Quote of the month

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�The doctrine that public opinion is not irresponsible, but somehow ‘responsible to itself’ – in the sense that its mistakes will rebound upon the public who held the mistaken opinion– is another form of the collectivist myth of public opinion: the mistaken propaganda of one group of citizens may easily harm a very different group.�
--Karl Popper
All of the environmental special interest groups come quickly to mind. Collectivist myth of public opinion indeed... From here.

Bathroom sanitation

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An interesting question from the Wall Street Journal:
Burning Question: Air Blowers or Paper Towels?
Go to any sports stadium and watch people washing their hands in the bathroom, and you'll likely switch to paper, notes Dr. Thompson. "The trouble with blowers is that they take so long," he says. "Most people dry their hands for a bit, then wipe them on their dirty jeans, or open the door with their still-wet hands." Maybe they even decide not to wash altogether to save time.

Meanwhile, time-consuming, loud "blowers turn people off," he says. "But there is no downside to the paper towel, psychologically."

Even environmental concerns, Dr. Thompson says, are eradicated by the paper towel. "The electric blower uses more energy than making a paper towel," he says.
A bit more:
The Dry Facts
In June, the Mayo Clinic published a comprehensive study of every known hand-washing study done since 1970. The authors concluded that drying skin is essential to staving off bacteria, and that paper towels are superior to driers: They're more efficient, they don't spatter germs, they won't dry out hands and most people prefer them. Dr. Thompson's study was one of the dozen samples reviewed, and he concurs with the recent findings.
Always preferred paper towels -- now I know why...

Ontario sees the light of day

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Hey enviros -- the free ride is over. We are sick of paying for your shit. From Canada's Financial Post:
Ontario backing away from climate change commitments
Ontario�s Liberal government is backing away from its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and will miss its own targets, Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller said Tuesday.

The government is scaling back plans to fight greenhouse gas emissions, cutting funding for programs to buy electric vehicles and develop charging stations, and delaying construction of 31 kilometres of HOV lanes because of shrinking revenues.

The need to cut spending to help eliminate a $14.4-billion deficit is no reason to cut good programs that help reduce the impact of climate change, said Miller.
Waaaaaaaaaaaa... More:
Environment Minister Jim Bradley said the government cut $101 million from the $164 million promised for electric vehicles and charging stations because so few people took advantage of the program.
Miller gave the government high marks for phasing out coal-fired electricity generation, but said that has meant natural gas has surpassed coal as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector.

�While the coal phase-out is a worthy accomplishment, it is now past performance and no new initiatives to garner such measurable benefits or reductions are being advanced,� he said.
Effin' clueless -- you shut down an industry that provides cheap energy and spend the money to bring a new technology online, building a brand new infrastructure. You then have the temerity to complain that no "measurable benefits or reductions are being advanced". More:
�If we can shift some of our transportation to electricity drive, which means heavy rail, certainly light rail to move people, and plug-in electric vehicles, then we�ll save large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions,� he said.
And this electricity comes from where? Are you really this stupid or was this just a bad interview... Be sure to read the 50+ comments -- people are starting to wake up.

DERP - social media is not your friend

Meet Hannah Sabata -- from York, Nebraska television station KETV:

Robbery suspect brags on YouTube
Authorities say a woman accused of robbing a bank in eastern Nebraska posted a video on YouTube bragging about the robbery.

York County Sheriff Dale Radcliff said a copy of the video will be turned in as evidence against Hannah Sabata of Stromsburg. The 19-year-old was arrested on Wednesday in connection with a robbery the day before at the Cornerstone Bank branch in Waco. She faces robbery and theft charges.

The video was posted the same day Sabata was arrested. It shows a woman holding handwritten signs that say she robbed a bank and stole a car. The woman then holds a large bundle of cash, what she says is $6,256, in front of the camera. She also holds up what appears to be a bag of marijuana.

The video caption says, "I just stole a car and robbed a bank. Now I'm rich, I can pay off my college financial aid, and tomorrow I'm going for a shopping spree."

Being that schtoopid should hurt -- a lot. And she is a classical entitled widdle snowflake(tm):

The woman in the video explains herself as a victim of the government -- how authorities took her baby before she could take the baby home, charging the woman with neglect.

Community trade colleges should offer classes for prisoners. You go to jail for four years. You have a couple months to pick one of the available trade programs. You spend the next two years of your sentence going through your choice while maintaining a B minimum average. You do not have a lot of distractions so there should be ample time to study. You then spend the next two years as an apprentice helping out the instructors and working as an unpaid teachers assistant. Hell -- this is no different than Graduate School in the outside world. The world needs more Diesel Mechanics, Welders, Machinists, X-RAY Technicians, Dental Hygienists, Metallurgists, etc... and the pay and benefits are excellent.

Voting themselves other people's money

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From the Atlanta, Georgia Journal-Constitution:
Atlanta City Council votes for 50 percent pay increase
Atlanta City Council representatives could get more expensive come 2014.

The council voted 10-4 on Monday to raise salaries by more than 50 percent for members who will take office in January 2014, after next year�s election. The pay increases of roughly $20,000, pushing the pay for the City Council and its president above $60,000, appear to be the largest in Atlanta�s history.

The vote is the latest move in an escalation of salaries that stretches back to at least the 1990s. With the upcoming pay spike, the City Council�s pay will have nearly tripled in twelve years, creating a potentially potent issue for challengers in next year�s elections.
And of course, there's the You got Yours, Where's Mine?
The controversial vote also sets up tense talks with city employees about their own promised increases.
And these morons will be re-elected. Destroy the nuclear family, destroy the educational system, hand out free gubbinment cheese and you have a job for life as long as you keep the handouts coming.

About that jobs market

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From Jason Ma writing at Investor's Business Daily:
Manufacturers Slash Jobs, Inventories Ahead Of Cliff
Manufacturers are slashing jobs and inventories ahead of the year-end "fiscal cliff," in a fresh sign Monday the sector will keep teetering amid the ongoing policy uncertainty.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index fell to a three-year low of 49.5 in November from 51.7 in October, a surprise return to below the neutral 50 level after two months of expansion.

The indicator has been under that threshold for four of the last six months. The jobs gauge dropped to 48.4 in Nov. from 52.1, slipping into negative territory for the first time since September 2009. The inventories measure sank to 45 from 50.

This latest slowdown could show up in the Labor Department's November payroll report on Friday. Manufacturers added jobs in October but shed them in the two earlier months.
Ever notice that they always release the bad information in a big dump on Friday. The mainstream media ignores it over the weekend as this is not part of the weekend news cycle and very few news outlets will run with it on Monday because by then, it is 'old' news. I'm saying, let's hit that fiscal cliff running and yelling Geronimo all the way down to Wiemar Republic style inflation and beyond. Four years of pain but it will leave us better and stronger. Washington has been run by power-grabbing morons too long and we need an emetic of this nature to force us into a clean sweep -- get all of the bastards out of office, shackle the banksters and simplify the tax code. A National Consumption (sales) tax seems to be the way to go -- implement that and get rid of the IRS -- rich people consume more and buy more expensive items.

Good news from the Antipodes

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From the Sydney Morning Herald:
What young people fear most - and it's not the environment
Forget trees. The biggest concern for the next generation is finding a job to support their families.

The economy has overtaken the environment as the most pressing concern for the young, according to a survey of 15,000 people aged 15 to 19.

The environment was the top national concern in the past two National Youth Surveys conducted by Mission Australia but its 11th annual report found it had slipped to sixth place this year, with only 17.5 per cent of respondents saying it was the most important issue facing the country, compared with 37.4 per cent who made the same comment last year.
From top concern to sixth place in one year. Good to see people waking up. As more and more people see Anthropogenic Global Warming as the political power-grab and hoax that it is, the AGW proponents ratchet the hysteria up and up to the point where it is obvious that there is no rational science there. Welcome to the real world -- actual measurements instead of very expensive computer models... Here is the Mission Australia 2012 National Youth Survey Here is a link to the actual results (114 page PDF) The relevant numbers are on the 22nd page (Page 20 in the report):
01) The economy and financial matters
02) Population issues
03) Alcohol and drugs
04) Politics and societal values
05) Equity and discrimination
06) The environment
07) Health
08) Crime, safety and violence
09) Mental health
10) Bullying
11) Education
12) Employment
13) Homelessness/housing
14) LGBT issues
15) Adolescence/youth
A very nice assessment of priorities -- these kids will do just fine if they can stay away from indoctrination. I would hate to think of what a similar assessment would reveal in the United States...

Coming up on Showtime

From Newsbusters:
Showtime Orders Up 'Titanic' New Documentary Series Pushing Global Warming Panic in 2013
Lacey Rose at The Hollywood Reporter underlined that Showtime is lining up the top talents in Hollywood and some big names in the liberal media for a new documentary series titled "Years of Living Dangerously." The executive producers include "Titanic" director James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who delighted liberals on climate issues when he was governor of "Cully-fornia." The narrators will include Alec Baldwin, Don Cheadle, and Matt Damon.

Then there are the New York Times writers: Thomas Friedman, Nicholas Kristof, and even food writer Mark Bittman (who argued for giving up "industrial meat" to save the planet). If that wasn't enough socialist credentials for you, they're bringing along MSNBC host Chris Hayes -- who argued before the election you could either vote Democrat (for your fellow humans) or Republican (for homicidal storms.) Showtime exec David Nevins naturally explained superstorm Sandy makes this series relevant:
"The recent devastation on the East Coast is a tragic reminder of the direct link between our daily lives and climate change," said Showtime Networks' president of entertainment David Nevins, who has been vocal about his desire to bulk up the network's documentary portfolio. "This series presents a unique opportunity to combine the large-scale filmmaking styles of James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger -- arguably some of Hollywood's biggest moviemakers -- with the hard-hitting, intimate journalism of 60 Minutes veterans Joel Bach and David Gelber. I believe this combination will make for a thought-provoking television event."
Yes, perhaps because Showtime is owned by CBS, there are two 60 Minutes producers in the mix -- well, three. The series will also be executive produced by "Maria Wilhelm (Avatar Alliance Foundation), along with seven-time Emmy winner Solly Granatstein (60 Minutes, Rock Center With Brian Williams) and Dr. Joseph Romm ( as a co-executive producer as technical adviser, respectively."
One year to make, three days to completely debunk. Bring it on... The article also reminds us of James Cameron's famous debate with some climate realists scheduled in August of 2010:
One of the invited skeptics, Ann McElhinney of, wrote about Cameron's surprise cancellation Sunday:
His representatives contacted myself and two other well known skeptics, Marc Morano of the Climate Depot website and Andrew Breitbart, the new media entrepreneur.

Mr. Cameron was attending the AREDAY environmental conference in Aspen Colorado 19-22 August. He wanted the conference to end with a debate on climate change. Cameron would be flanked with two scientists. It would be 90 minutes long. It would be streamed live on the internet.

They hoped the debate would attract a lot of media coverage.

"We are delighted to have Fox News, Newsmax, The Washington Times and anyone else you'd like. The more the better," one of James Cameron's organizers said in an email.
And then, the rules started changing:
McElhinney continued:
But then as the debate approached James Cameron's side started changing the rules.

They wanted to change their team. We agreed.

They wanted to change the format to less of a debate-to "a roundtable". We agreed.

Then they wanted to ban our cameras from the debate. We could have access to their footage. We agreed.

Bizarrely, for a brief while, the worlds [sic] most successful film maker suggested that no cameras should be allowed-that sound only should be recorded. We agreed [sic]

Then finally James Cameron, who so publicly announced that he "wanted to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out," decided to ban the media from the shoot out.

He even wanted to ban the public. The debate/roundtable would only be open to those who attended the conference.

No media would be allowed and there would be no streaming on the internet. No one would be allowed to record it in any way.

We all agreed to that.

And then, yesterday, just one day before the debate, his representatives sent an email that Mr. "shoot it out " Cameron no longer wanted to take part. The debate was cancelled.
Morano wrote Monday:
Cameron backed out of the debate at the last minute after environmentalists "came out of the woodwork" to warn him not to engage in a debate with skeptics because it was not in his best interest. [...]

According to AREDAY organizers, activist Joseph Romm of Climate Progress urged Cameron not to go ahead with the debate as well.
Romm making this suggestion is certainly no surprise, for last April he got trounced in a debate with Morano. Dismayed by his defeat, Romm barred any articles by Morano to be linked to at Climate Progress and attacked me for writing about the encounter.
The truth is for me and not for thee. No wonder these morons do not allow themselves to be asked the tough questions -- even their standard-bearers like Joe Romm. Naaa -- we'll just throw a couple million into a pop-television series.

Fun and games - our Senate

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From The Hill:
Senate Dems push climate change amendment
Senate Democrats are attempting to force a vote on climate change through an amendment to the defense authorization bill.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse�s (D-R.I.) amendment calls for the U.S. to �assess, plan for, and mitigate the security and strategic implications of climate change� out of concern for national security.

It is unclear whether the amendment will surface on the floor as senators work to complete the sweeping defense policy bill as soon as Tuesday.

But its submission shows that Democrats might be looking for chances to put Republicans on the record on climate change, especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Sandy was not a hurricane , it was a tropical storm. A very very large one and there were a confluence of events that caused her damage to be much greater than normal -- full moon, direction, etc... There have been other historical storms that were stronger and larger. Sandy is not unique. More:
The amendment would confront the GOP on the nexus of climate change and national security.

A significant number of Republicans question widely accepted scientific opinions on global warming and the extent of humans' contribution through greenhouse gas emissions.

At their convention in August, Republicans adopted a platform that criticized the White House National Security Strategy in 2010 for saying, �The danger from climate change is real, urgent, and severe.�

The platform said that such a position, �subordinates our national security interests to environmental, energy, and international health issues, and elevates �climate change� to the level of a �severe threat� equivalent to foreign aggression.��
Emphasis mine: "The amendment would confront the GOP..." It is not about doing the best for the United States and representing the Senator's constituents, it's about consolidating power, carving out turf and presenting your opposition in the worst possible light -- mud slinging.

Banking in Kabul - no corruption here

From the New York Times:

Audit Says Kabul Bank Began as Ponzi Scheme
Kabul Bank became Afghanistan's largest financial institution by offering the promise of modern banking to people who had never had a saving or checking account. What it really dealt in was modern theft: From its very beginning, according to a confidential forensic audit of Kabul Bank, the bank was a well-concealed Ponzi scheme.

Afghan and American officials had for years promoted Kabul Bank as a prime example of how Western-style banking was transforming a war-ravaged economy. But the audit, prepared this year for Afghanistan's central bank by the Kroll investigative firm, gives new details of how the bank instead was institutionalizing fraud that reached into the hundreds of millions of dollars and obliterated Afghans' trust after regulators finally seized the bank in August 2010 and the theft was revealed.

Going further than previous reports, the audit asserts that Kabul Bank had little reason to exist other than to allow a narrow clique tied to President Hamid Karzai's government to siphon riches from depositors, who were the bank's only substantial source of revenue.

At one point, Kroll's investigators found 114 rubber stamps for fake companies used to give forged documents a more legitimate look. And the auditing firms used by the bank never took issue with loan books that were almost entirely fraudulent, Kroll found, recommending that the Afghan government explore suing the last such auditor, A.F. Ferguson & Co., a private Pakistani firm with a franchise under PricewaterhouseCoopers.

And the rot is right at the top - more:

What Kroll's audit found is that on Aug. 31, 2010, the day the Bank of Afghanistan seized Kabul Bank, more than 92 percent of the lender's loan portfolio - $861 million, or roughly 5 percent of Afghanistan's annual economic output at the time - had gone to 19 related people and companies, according to the audit.

Among the largest beneficiaries were a brother of Mr. Karzai and a brother of First Vice President Muhammad Qasim Fahim who each owned stakes in the bank that had been bought with loans from the bank, according to the audit and regulatory officials. For their part, both have insisted that they never took part in any fraud at the lender.

Who'd a thunk it... We need to just get out and build a wall (economic wall) around that region and let them stew in their own juices. They have had the benefits of Western largess for 50 years and have done nothing except consolidate power, keep their citizens in grinding poverty with zero education and export terror and oil (both profitable and controlled by the top). Let them come to us, hat in hand with a contrite heart and then, maybe then, we will start to talk again.

Loopholes for Obama's cronies. From Reuters:
IRS aims to clarify investment income tax under healthcare law
The Internal Revenue Service has released new rules for investment income taxes on capital gains and dividends earned by high-income individuals that passed Congress as part of the 2010 healthcare reform law.

The 3.8 percent surtax on investment income, meant to help pay for healthcare, goes into effect in 2013. It is the first surtax to be applied to capital gains and dividend income.

The tax affects only individuals with more than $200,000 in modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), and married couples filing jointly with more than $250,000 of MAGI.

The tax applies to a broad range of investment securities ranging from stocks and bonds to commodity securities and specialized derivatives.

The 159 pages of rules spell out when the tax applies to trusts and annuities, as well as to individual securities traders.

Released late on Friday, the new regulations include a 0.9 percent healthcare tax on wages for high-income individuals.
The current regime always releases a dump of stuff on Friday. This is the start of the weekend news cycle and by Monday, everything is forgotten by the mainstream media. UPDATE: Here is what is happening in England. They jacked their highest tax rate up to 50% and for some strange reason, collected revenues are waaaay down. From the UK Telegraph -- note: 50p means 50 per cent, not 50 pence:
50p tax rate 'failing to boost revenues�
The Treasury received �10.35 billion in income tax payments from those paying by self-assessment last month, a drop of �509 million compared with January 2011. Most other taxes produced higher revenues over the same period.

Senior sources said that the first official figures indicated that there had been �manoeuvring� by well-off Britons to avoid the new higher rate. The figures will add to pressure on the Coalition to drop the levy amid fears it is forcing entrepreneurs to relocate abroad.

The self-assessment returns from January, when most income tax is paid by the better-off, have been eagerly awaited by the Treasury and government ministers as they provide the first evidence of the success, or failure, of the 50p rate. It is the first year following the introduction of the 50p rate which had been expected to boost tax revenues from self-assessment by more than �1billion.
Some more which shows exactly what is wrong with the liberal mindset:
George Osborne, the Chancellor, is expected to receive a definitive analysis from the revenue on the 50p rate before next month�s Budget. The Liberal Democrats have insisted that it must stay because it is important to demonstrate that the rich are paying their fair share.
Emphasis mine -- fscking mastermind. Nanny. Statist. Big government leach. Willfully stupid and never heard of the Laffer Curve -- Google it.

The price of Hay

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I was noticing a sharp uptick in the price of hay this year. About two bucks more at the local feed store. It seems that it isn't just this neck of the woods. From the St. Louis, Missouri station KMOX:
Missouri Farmers Fight Rise In Hay Thefts
As if it�s not bad enough that Missouri farmers are trying to survive the worst drought in decades, now many of them are facing a new problem that�s costing them big bucks.

Missouri Farm Bureau president Blake Hurst says thieves are actually targeting those big bundles of hay that are left out in fields prior to being harvested, hauling them off and selling the valuable commodity.

�Of course, no one brands their hay so if you hook onto it with your tractor or your pickup and make it out the gate, then it�s impossible to prove where the hay came from,� Hurst said.

With winter approaching and grass dying out, the price for fresh hay to feed livestock is on the rise, and Hurst says that makes unguarded bales a tempting target.

Ironically, it�s because of the ongoing drought that fresh hay has become so valuable with the winter season fast approaching.

And it�s not just Missouri. This trend is happening in farm states across the country, so much so that some are now putting global positioning trackers inside their bales, in case they�re stolen.
I love the GPS units -- great idea. In the dead of winter, I'll go through about a bale a day with my critters. Started off with hay from the feed store but have a local source that's a lot cheaper so I'll get the big trailer over there and buy enough for the winter.
From Newsbusters:
On CBS, Cheesecake Factory CEO Warns ObamaCare Will Be 'Very Costly'
Monday's CBS This Morning, Cheesecake Factory CEO David Overton spotlighted the looming economic impact of Obamacare's implementation, especially on small enterprises: "For those businesses that don't cover their employees, they'll be in for a very expensive situation." Overton also warned that the cost of the law would be passed on to customers.

Anchor Norah O'Donnell raised the issue of the still-controversial health care law: "One of the things that's going to change, of course, in the new year is ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act. How do you implement that at Cheesecake Factory, and how will you pay for health care for all of your employees?"

The restaurant chain executive pointed out that, unlike many businesses, The Cheesecake Factory is "already...paying a great deal in health care. So, we're not sure how much more it will be - or how much less - or what exactly we'll do. So, for us, it won't be as bad as it will be for others, which it will be very costly."

O'Donnell followed up by asking about the possibility increased prices for customers: "When you say it will be very costly, it will be passed on to who - the customers?" Overton confirmed that this would be the case: "Well, I believe most people will have to do that or cheapen their product."
Let's see - 165 restaurants, 2011 revenue of $1.757 Billion. When that CEO speaks, I will listen. I am really glad that my store has fewer than 50 employees -- I would have to let people go. Website here: The Cheesecake Factory A wonderful writeup on the business by Medical Doctor Atul Gawande can be found at The New Yorker. The author looks at parallels with how operations at The Cheesecake Factory are streamlined and how this could be brought forward to many medical procedures.

Outsourcing in the news

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From the CBC again comes this story:
Siemens light bulb making unit Osram cutting 4,700 more jobs in restructuring
German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG's light bulb unit, Osram, says it is cutting 4,700 additional jobs in its drive to save costs and phase out older technologies.

Company spokesman Stefan Schmidt told The Associated Press on Friday the cuts come on top of others previously announced, for a total of at least 7,300 reductions through 2014. Osram currently has some 39,000 employees worldwide.

The restructuring plan includes shuttering some sites outside Germany, and opening a new LED-assembly plant in China that is expected to add 1,700 jobs by 2017.
Fun times all over...

Interesting technology - FIPEL

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From the Canadian Broadcasting Company:
Scientists invent flicker-free, shatterproof light bulb
U.S. scientists have developed a new kind of light bulb � one that is long-lasting, flicker-free and shatterproof.

Researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., hope that the new technology will replace fluorescent lamps, those white tubes widely used in offices, stores and even homes.

"People often complain that fluorescent lights bother their eyes," said David Carroll, the professor leading the project, "and the hum from the fluorescent tubes irritates anyone sitting at a desk underneath them."

The new light is based on technology called field-induced polymer electroluminescence, or FIPEL. It's made of three layers of a white-emitting polymer that is blended with a small amount of nano-particles which glow when an electric current is passed through them.

The resulting light is similar to the soft, white glow of sunlight that human eyes prefer. (In contrast, fluorescent bulbs have a yellowish cast and LEDs emit a bluish tinge, possibly triggering headaches in some people.)

The new technology is described in the latest issue of Organic Electronics.

The FIPEL lights are at least twice as efficient as compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, which have risen in popularity in Canada since the government announced a ban on incandescent bulbs.

Unlike CFL bulbs, FIPEL technology is shatterproof and mercury-free, which means toxic contamination won't be a concern.
Very cool -- electroluminescence has been with us for a long long time but they were never able to get it very bright. More a lab curiosity than a useful light source.
About that homeless guy and the cop who bought him a pair of boots? He's barefoot again. From the New York Times:
Homeless Man Is Grateful for Officer�s Gift of Boots. But He Again Is Barefoot.
After Officer Lawrence DePrimo knelt beside a barefoot man on a bitterly cold November night in Times Square, giving him a pair of boots, a photo of his random act of good will quickly took on a life of its own � becoming a symbol for a million acts of kindness that go unnoticed every day and a reminder that even in this tough, often anonymous city, people can still look out for one another.
For days, his bare feet � blistered and battered � were well known. Yet precise details about him proved elusive.

His name is Jeffrey Hillman, and on Sunday night, he was once again wandering the streets � this time on the Upper West Side � with no shoes.

The $100 pair of boots that Officer DePrimo had bought for him at a Skechers store on Nov. 14 were nowhere to be seen.

�Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,� Mr. Hillman said in an interview on Broadway in the 70s. �I could lose my life.�
Naaa -- those shoes were sold for $20. Being shoeless in bad weather is his shtick -- his act. He is pulling down $15 to $30 an hour, all of it tax free. He puts up with a bit of personal discomfort to get this handout. No mention of the millions of people who actually need support and help. Oh yeah, this:
�I was put on YouTube, I was put on everything without permission. What do I get?� he said. �This went around the world, and I want a piece of the pie.�
Hey snowflake -- the world does not owe you a living. Asshat.
No mention in the news article but these two have to be Union members -- no way would an individual get such kid-glove treatment. From Wisconsin again -- the La Crosse Tribune:
Six months on paid leave for city workers
The city of La Crosse has paid two employees nearly $80,000 in the six months since they were placed on administrative leave for reasons officials still have not disclosed.

Another $25,000 has been spent to have a private law firm take over municipal court duties formerly handled by assistant city attorney Peter Kisken, according to the legal department.

He and Community Development Administrator Liana Escott have been absent from City Hall since May 24, while the city continues its investigation, said Wendy Oestreich, the city�s human resources director.

Oestreich continued to provide no other details on the case, citing laws for personnel matters.

But Escott said this week she received no warning before the city�s action and has never been told the basis of any complaint against her, other than a potential violation of city policy. When she asked which policy, she was told that was not yet known, Escott said.
A bit more:
Both Escott and Kisken still earn $38.72 an hour for a 37.5 hour work week, Oestreich said. She had no estimate on when the matter might be resolved.

State law has no time limit on how long an employee can be kept on paid administrative leave, which in some instances has stretched for years, an attorney with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission said.

Escott noted she had no previous problems on her work record, adding �I�ve never been in a situation like this.�

But Kisken, a city employee since 1992, was reprimanded in 2001 and 2003 by then-city attorney Pat Houlihan for job performance, and also placed on paid administrative leave for about two days in 2002 after a reported confrontation with Houlihan.

The city in 2006 gave Kisken $55,000 and transferred him to a different department to settle a discrimination claim he filed against the city.
What kind of cloud coo-coo land do these people live in and why do these city managers just drop trou, lube up and bend over for the union bosses? There is no economic reason for someone to be earning $38/hour for an admin or assistant city attorney position. And there is zero mention of pension or benefits. And we wonder why the cities are in such dire financial straits. Grow a pair and say no the next time the Union bosses come around with their hat in hand...

Justice is served

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From Wisconsin's Sheboygan Press:
Gunman's restitution to pay for victim's funeral
The 22-year-old gunman in a fatal shooting outside the south-side Sheboygan Walmart earlier this year has been ordered to pay a $36,429 bill for the victim�s funeral.

The restitution amount was set Friday by Sheboygan County Circuit Court Judge L. Edward Stengel. It will cover nearly all costs associated with the January funeral of shooting victim Pheng Lee, 20, who was given a traditional Hmong funeral that lasted three-and-a-half days and included food, drinks and other amenities for the 500 guests who attended.

In issuing his ruling, Stengel said that there was little precedent in state statutes or case law regarding what constitutes, for restitution purposes, a reasonable funeral expense.

Following earlier testimony by the victim�s family, Stengel indicated that he did not believe the family held the funeral with the idea of recouping its cost. Nor did he think the funeral was excessive or outside what�s called for in Hmong culture.

�(The funeral) was to ensure Mr. Lee had a proper celebration of his life and an appropriate funeral in accordance with Hmong culture,� Stengel said.
And this little tidbit in the next to last paragraph:
Yang had earlier pleaded no contest to possession of a firearm by a felon.
So the little turd was already a convicted felon. Serves him right -- he is also behind bars for eighteen years. You take a life, you pay the price. He got off easy... I really like Judge Stengel's ruling.

Thorium Reactors

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Reading the comments from the link at my last post, there was a reference to an article on Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR) at Wired Magazine. I read it and it is an incredible post -- well worth reading for a great introduction to this technology that was developed from the '50s through the '70s but scotched by Admiral Hyman Rickover who preferred the Uranium reactors because they could be used to manufacture Plutonium for weapons. Thorium does not go Ka-Boom. We have enough Uranium for about 500 years of reactor operation at current levels of generation. Using current known reserves of Thorium, this gets pushed up to several tens of thousands of years. The comments are well worth your time to read as a lot of knowledgeable people are chiming in with their anecdotes, numbers, corrections to numbers, etc... From Richard Martin writing at Wired Magazine - December 21, 2009:
Uranium Is So Last Century � Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke
The thick hardbound volume was sitting on a shelf in a colleague�s office when Kirk Sorensen spotted it. A rookie NASA engineer at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Sorensen was researching nuclear-powered propulsion, and the book�s title � Fluid Fuel Reactors � jumped out at him. He picked it up and thumbed through it. Hours later, he was still reading, enchanted by the ideas but struggling with the arcane writing. �I took it home that night, but I didn�t understand all the nuclear terminology,� Sorensen says. He pored over it in the coming months, ultimately deciding that he held in his hands the key to the world�s energy future.

Published in 1958 under the auspices of the Atomic Energy Commission as part of its Atoms for Peace program, Fluid Fuel Reactors is a book only an engineer could love: a dense, 978-page account of research conducted at Oak Ridge National Lab, most of it under former director Alvin Weinberg. What caught Sorensen�s eye was the description of Weinberg�s experiments producing nuclear power with an element called thorium.

At the time, in 2000, Sorensen was just 25, engaged to be married and thrilled to be employed at his first serious job as a real aerospace engineer. A devout Mormon with a linebacker�s build and a marine�s crew cut, Sorensen made an unlikely iconoclast. But the book inspired him to pursue an intense study of nuclear energy over the next few years, during which he became convinced that thorium could solve the nuclear power industry�s most intractable problems. After it has been used as fuel for power plants, the element leaves behind minuscule amounts of waste. And that waste needs to be stored for only a few hundred years, not a few hundred thousand like other nuclear byproducts. Because it�s so plentiful in nature, it�s virtually inexhaustible. It�s also one of only a few substances that acts as a thermal breeder, in theory creating enough new fuel as it breaks down to sustain a high-temperature chain reaction indefinitely. And it would be virtually impossible for the byproducts of a thorium reactor to be used by terrorists or anyone else to make nuclear weapons.

Weinberg and his men proved the efficacy of thorium reactors in hundreds of tests at Oak Ridge from the �50s through the early �70s. But thorium hit a dead end. Locked in a struggle with a nuclear- armed Soviet Union, the US government in the �60s chose to build uranium-fueled reactors � in part because they produce plutonium that can be refined into weapons-grade material. The course of the nuclear industry was set for the next four decades, and thorium power became one of the great what-if technologies of the 20th century.
Again, be sure to read the comments as there is a lot of great discussion going on -- be sure to note Ken Ricci, johnkclark, georgeherbert and kfsorensen.

Point / Counterpoint

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A guy writes a very pro-solar energy article at an investment website and then receives 35+ comments with links and facts to why solar energy is a waste of money and a government boondoggle. From Matthew Frankel at Seeking Alpha:
The Hidden Impact Of Solar: Why You Should Care
I often get chastised by my readers for my love of, and belief in the solar industry. However, I completely understand that stand-alone companies (such as First Solar (FSLR)) may not turn profitable without government help for some time. Many investors are simply not willing to wait for what could be decades to see a nice return on their investment. Others simply don't believe the solar industry is viable at all.

I still adamantly believe that solar power is the energy source of the future, more so than clean coal, nuclear, wind, geothermal, and fossil fuels combined. My reasons for this are too many to list here; however, please take a look at another article of mine that provides an in-depth argument of why solar will be the next big thing in energy.

What most investors don't know is how far into the market solar energy has an impact. More major companies than the average investor is aware of are delving into solar power. There are companies that are well-positioned to capitalize on their large R&D resources, manufacturing capacities, and cash flows to create a big presence in the alternative energy industry in the years to come.
And the comments: From Davewmart:
Looking at the 'other article' provides no more clues on any solid grounds for your over-estimation of solar.

About the only one I could dig out there was the claim:
'The sheer cost of building a nuclear plant alone is prohibitively expensive to most of the developing nations where this increased need in power is going to be.'

The cost of building a nuclear plant in China is around half of that in the US.

Here are cost comparisons for different energy sources both in terms of levelised costs and overnight by country:

These cost estimates are on a plant basis, and do not include the very large costs imposed on the grid to make up for the intermittency of renewables:
'The study considers six technologies in detail: nuclear, coal, gas, onshore wind, offshore wind and solar. It finds that the so-called dispatchable technologies - coal, gas and nuclear - have system costs of less than $3 per MWh, while the system costs for renewables can reach up to $40 per MWh for onshore wind, $45 per MWh for offshore wind and $80 per MWh for solar. The costs for renewables vary depending on the country, technology and penetration levels, with higher system costs for greater penetration of renewables.

Currently, the report notes, these costs tend to be unacknowledged and are absorbed by consumers through high network charges and by the producers of dispatchable energy through reduced margins and lower load factors. Failing to account for system costs is, NEA says, "adding implicit subsidies to already sizeable explicit subsidies for variable renewables." '

I am all for the use of solar where it makes sense ie within around 20 degrees of the equator and in off grid situations.

I am also hopeful that eventually, and that is certainly not the case today, it will make economic sense for peak load in areas like Arizona where demand and supply coincide on an annular basis.

What is complete nonsense is the generalisation of this handy relatively minor resource into something supposedly able to substitute for nuclear power, even in areas where most demand is in the winter and there is very little sun then.

Solar pv costs are dropping, but that is panel prices, which no longer form a very major part of the costs.
And it just gets better and better. The author chimes in several times only to get whacked down with facts...

More faster

From Crain's Detroit Business:

ALS patient is living his second miracle
Ted Harada is living his second miracle right now, savoring every minute of every hour of it for as long as it lasts. His strength is back up, there's a spring in his step, he's got a strong grip back in his hands, and the symptoms of his ALS once again are in retreat to the ongoing surprise of his doctors and to the delight of his family.

Once again, Harada is easily going up the stairs to tuck his kids in at night and give them a kiss, instead of struggling up a step at a time, having to hold onto the handrail for support. Once again, he knows - or is as close to knowing as you can with such a disease - that he is part of something that will eventually change the death-sentence prognosis that until now has been a certainty as soon as there is a diagnosis with the dreaded words no one wants to hear: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - Lou Gehrig's disease.

"The first time, it's easy to say it was an outlier. Luck. But I've been helped twice. Twice, and you can throw luck out the window. They've got to figure out, now, what's going on with me," he says. "We've got to turn Lou Gehrig's disease into Lou Gehrig's chronic illness."

Some more:

Because Phase 1 trials are designed to test safety before any approval from the Food and Drug Administration to move on to Phase 2 trials, which test efficacy, researchers are cautious. They generally decline much comment for fear about running afoul of the bureaucrats.

But patients themselves are free to talk to anyone they want, and Harada was eager to tell his tale.

Harada, 40, is a former manager at FedEx who first noticed symptoms of ALS in 2009 while playing Marco Polo with his kids in the family swimming pool.

On March 9, 2011, he got an injection of 500,000 stem cells - the cells were derived by Rockville, Md.-based Neuralstem Inc. after a patient donated spinal-cord tissue in 2002 - as part of an 18-operation, 15-patient trial that last 2 years.


About a year after the operation, Harada began to notice a gradual decline, a decline that continued until his second operation - though he was still stronger when he went into the second operation than he had been going into the first.


By Oct. 20, Harada was feeling strong enough that he took part in a 2.5-mile fundraising ALS walk in Atlanta.

This is wonderful news -- turning Lou Gehrig's disease into Lou Gehrig's chronic illness.

Replacing God with Gaia

A delightful post from Dr. Tim Ball over at Watts Up With That:

Is Al Gore the Latter Day Pardoner?
Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1342 - 1400) is among the giants of English literature, recognized for his perceptive and realistic stories about human nature. Like Shakespeare, his characters and stories are recognizable and relevant at any time in history and in any society. His most famous work, The Canterbury Tales, has a number of characters traveling on a pilgrimage and telling their story. He achieves what Paul Johnson described as, "a lethal combination of satire, irony, and sarcasm." Characters are recognizable even if their position, such as knights, no longer exist.

We are unfamiliar with the name Pardoner, but know the character. Johnson describes him as follows, "The Pardoner, a seller of indulgences, is a complete and shameless rogue; but Chaucer, not content with exposing his impudence, shows how good he was at his job and how powerfully he preached against sinfulness. The Pardoner had also been taught to use the figure of death to scare his hearers." So the Pardoner sold indulgences or pardons, hence his name, that absolved your sinful lifestyle and guaranteed going to Heaven. Who could resist a no lose offer?

A bit more -- setting the stage:

Environmentalism became the new religion in the 1960s, although the seeds were effectively planted when Darwinism replaced Creationism. Life became dependent on Gaia the planet, not God. This belief system claims humans are killing the planet with CO2.

David Graber, a research biologist with the National Park Service delineates the overall thesis.
"Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn't true. Somewhere along the line - at about a billion years ago - we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth."
These are the larger sins we have to pay for that became focused in the false science of CO2. Pardon or absolution came as carbon credits. Ignore the fact that purveyors deliberately mix carbon (a solid) with CO2 (a gas) and reduce carbon to stop sinning. Better still but buy carbon credits and you can sin without conscience. Ignore the fact it doesn't reduce but will actually increase the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere. Indulgences and carbon credits were available to everyone, but in reality only the rich could afford to sin and buy their way into heaven or drive a powerful car without guilt.

Go and read the whole thing -- wonderful stuff...

Solar cycle 24 ending?

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Our sun is a variable star and goes through normal solar cycles every 13 years or so. At the height of the cycle, there are lots of sunspots and also the sun's radiation is a lot higher. At the minima of the cycle, there are very few sunspots and the sun's output is a lot lower. This last cycle has been a lot less vigorous than the ones preceding it and there is talk that we might be headed for another Maunder Minimum -- a time from 1645 through 1715 when temperatures on Earth were unseasonably cold and there were very few visible sunspots. Now, climate blogger Tallbloke notes that we may have some sunspots with reversed magnetic polerization. This is a significant indicator of the end of a sunspot cycle. Time to buy that down comforter and stock up on firewood if this is correct...

Oh hell no - unions at McDonalds?

From Rick Moran writing at PJ Media:

Burger Flippers of the World, Unite! The Drive to Unionize Fast-Food Workers
I begrudge no one their right to organize and join a union if they so choose. But these poor schlubs are being led down a primrose path to unemployment if they think that a burger or pizza joint can stay in business long if the workers are earning $15 an hour.

New York Times:
Fast-food workers at several restaurants in New York walked off the job on Thursday, firing the first salvo in what workplace experts say is the biggest effort to unionize fast-food workers ever undertaken in the United States.

The campaign - backed by community and civil rights groups, religious leaders and a labor union - has engaged 40 full-time organizers in recent months to enlist workers at McDonald's, Wendy's, Domino's, Taco Bell and other fast-food restaurants across the city.

Leaders of the effort said that workers were walking off the job to protest what they said were low wages and retaliation against several workers who have backed the unionization campaign. They said it would be the first multi-restaurant strike by fast-food workers in American history, although it was unclear how many workers would walk off the job.
I don't envy people who work in fast-food restaurants, but neither do I feel sorry for them. Life is full of choices. Nobody is forcing anyone to work at McDonald's. If you want something better, you have to better yourself. You have to better your skills to make yourself more employable in higher-paying, higher-skilled positions.

Unless you're an actor:
Raymond Lopez, 21, an aspiring actor who has worked at the McDonald's for more than two years, showed up on his day off to protest. "In this job having a union would really be a dream come true," said Mr. Lopez, who added that he makes $8.75 an hour. He said that he, and fellow fast-food workers, were under-compensated. "We don't get paid for what we do," he said. "It really is living in poverty."
Au contraire, Mr. Lopez. You get paid exactly for what you do - a job that any 15 year old can perform with three days training. If you can organize a union under the trying circumstances of massive turnover and generally apathetic workers, I wish you the best.

Mr. Lopez needs to realize that actions have consequences and his "living in poverty" is entirely his own choice and decision. There are plenty of trade colleges out there and there is plenty of demand for good diesel mechanics, welders, plumbers, electricians, etc... Rather than go into hock for some liberal arts education, Mr. Lopez needs to man up and make something of himself. Acting is a hobby, not a lifestyle -- for every successful actor out there, there are tens of thousands of actors who have "real jobs".

Rick drives home the obvious with this paragraph:

What would a Big Mac cost if the workers were earning $15 an hour with union health care and other benefits? No doubt there are regional variations in price, but in my neck of the woods, a Big Mac is $3.79 and a Whopper is $4.89. So figure a $7 Big Mac and $8 Whopper if workers at my local burger joints unionize. At those prices, I'd go to a nice sit-down restaurant and get decent service. And I doubt that too many harried working mothers would spend $25-$30 a few times a month taking their kids out for a fast-food treat.

I do the Monday buying runs for my store and the third stop of the morning is at WalMart. There is a McDonalds there and I like their french fries so I usually get a medium fries and medium coke to munch on while shopping. It's $3.14 and if it went up to $5, I would stop buying them.

Unions had their day -- now all it is is a collection of power, using the Union dues to effect political change for the benefit of the Union. They have no reason to exist -- their original reason for existence has faded into the past.

Be sure to read the comments -- a lot of stories out there...

The Christmas Season

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We just got back from a really nice Housewarming/Christmas party at one of my employees. Great group of people.

It is Lulu's and my second Christmas together -- life is wonderful, I have not been this happy or content in a long long time.

The Mt. Baker ski area is in full swing -- they have an 80" base and are getting about an inch of new snow every hour -- it is dumping up there and the photos (at the above link) look like a lot of fun.

I had a pot roast cooking in the oven so when we got back, dinner was ready and the house smelled wonderful -- the dogs were eying us with the most hungry and mournful expressions on their faces. No scraps tonight but they will get some tomorrow with their dinner (after ours). Surf for a bit -- long day tomorrow as we are getting our Christmas tree and I have a bunch of hay to get out to the critters as well as pay some bills.

One of the classic old-school delicatessens - from the New York Times:
Say Goodbye to the Stage Deli, a Midtown Staple Since 1937
At midnight on Thursday, the Stage Deli, a landmark New York institution that got its start 75 years ago, closed its doors.

�It�s a sad day for New York,� said Paul Zolenge, who has owned the deli, on Seventh Avenue near 54th Street, with Steve Auerbach for 26 years. �We�ve been struggling to make it through these hard times.�

Mr. Zolenge cited the cost of doing business in New York. The landlord erected scaffolding in front of the restaurant a year ago, he said, and even though it came down in September, �we lost a whole year.� The rent had gone up several times in recent years, Mr. Zolenge said, and with the lease ending in a few months, he and Mr. Auerbach were expecting another increase. �We just couldn�t afford to keep it going any more,� he said.

The deli, known for its overstuffed sandwiches named for celebrities, usually in show business, was started by Max Asnas in 1937. Mr. Asnas sold it to Jimmy Richter, and Mr. Zolenge became involved through family connections. �My father-in-law, who has been a silent partner, bought it in 1978, and after a few years, I took it over,� he said.
I've eaten there a couple times -- lived in Boston back in the 1970's and 80's and would go to NYC for 'culture' every year or so. The article mentioned that a couple other old-school restaurants are closing. A sad testament to today's economy. Their website is still up and running: Stage Deli

Unintended consequences

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A123 company got a sweetheart 'loan' from the Obama administration and promptly declared bankruptcy. A123 made batteries for another Obama fave - Fisker. Now Fiskar has stopped production of it's electric car. From Popular Mechanics:
Fisker Suspends Production of the Karma
California-based Fisker Automotive has halted production of its plug-in hybrid Karma luxury sedan after battery provider A123 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month. The automaker says it is suspending production until a buyer is found for the failed battery manufacturer.

The news, first reported by Bloomberg yesterday, is yet another setback to the fledgling automaker, which lost 300 European-bound Karmas during Hurricane Sandy and continues to delay production of its mass-market mid-size Atlantic sedan.

Fisker will be waiting to see what happens when A123 is auctioned off on Dec. 6. Top suitors include U.S.-based JCI Industries and the Chinese Wangxing Group.
Just can't get a break. I'm surprised that Fiskar didn't have better oversight of A123's management -- if a vendor was that crucial, I'd be taking a close look at its books and business operations. Wonder if the auction is online -- would be interesting to see what is being sold off...

Unions in the news - California

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From Michelle Malkin:
Port strike update: SoCal at a standstill, shippers moves to Mexico, retailers beg Obama for help
In case you missed it last week during the holiday, I discussed the port strike chaos on the Cavuto show and pointed out that shippers were redirecting traffic to Mexico. As the L.A./Long Beach port strike drags on this week, southern California is losing even more business.
One container ship laden with goods to be imported into the U.S. has already been diverted to Oakland because of the strike, which that has idled 10 of the 14 cargo terminals at the nation�s busiest seaport complex, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.

A second ship that was also bound for San Pedro Bay has been diverted to a port in Mexico, said Capt. Dick McKenna, executive director of the Marine Exchange, which tracks local ship movements.

Three more container ships that were expected to arrive at either Los Angeles or Long Beach but are significantly overdue are presumed to have also been diverted to other ports, McKenna said.

This means that a strike that began at just one cargo terminal Tuesday and spread to nine more on Wednesday is already resulting in lost work for product supply chain employees such as truck drivers, railroad workers, warehouse workers and logistics employees, among others.
I am going to continue to post and re-post the FACTS about the striking ILWU clerical workers because pushback against Big Labor�s false narratives is vital. The rest of America�s workers (and those seeking work) need to know what these goons are really up to as they monkey-wrench the economy.
Michelle goes on to talk about the ludicrous wages and benefits this union gets:
annual compensation packages to over $190,000 in wages and benefits by 2016, including:
� Average annual wages up to approximately $90,000;
� Pensions of up to $75,000 per year;
� Maintenance of all benefits in the OCU�s extremely generous health plan, for which the OCU pay nothing (benefits include, e.g., $0 co-pay for generic drugs; $0 for x-rays, diagnostics, and lab tests; $5 office visit co-pays; 90% coverage for infertility; and more);
They also get up to three and a half months paid leave -- sick days, holidays, vacation, etc... The retailers have asked for help from the White House Rotsa ruck on that one... The article includes this charming bit of data:
The National Retail Federation noted that in 2002 a 10-day lockout at West Coast ports led to significant supply chain disruptions, which took six months to remedy, and cost the economy an estimated $1 billion a day.
And this is the key port for imports from Asia right at the Christmas buying season. I would hate to be the logistics manager for BestBuy or WalMart.

Oysters in the news again

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Back on November 28th, I had posted about some stunningly bad science being practiced in Washington State's oyster farms. Now, an Oyster farm in California is victim to more bad science. From Bridget Johnson writing at PJ Media:
Feinstein Slams Salazar for Using �False Science� to Kill Historic Oyster Farm
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) lashed out at Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and accused him of using junk science to kill the last operating oyster cannery in her home state.

The Drakes Bay Oyster Company had been in a long fight with the Interior Department, who said the fourth-generation family business was harming harbor seal pups and native plants, and wanted to return the coastal region in Marin County to its natural state.

In 1972, the National Park Service purchased the land that housed the oyster operation and the owner reserved a 40-year right to continue its activities through November 30, 2012.

�I�ve taken this matter very seriously. We�ve undertaken a robust public process to review the matter from all sides, and I have personally visited the park to meet with the company and members of the community,� said Salazar in a statement yesterday. �After careful consideration of the applicable law and policy, I have directed the National Park Service to allow the permit for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company to expire at the end of its current term and to return the Drakes Estero to the state of wilderness that Congress designated for it in 1976. I believe it is the right decision for Point Reyes National Seashore and for future generations who will enjoy this treasured landscape.�

The popular business enjoyed strong community support and over the years millions of dollars in studies went into the protracted fight with the government.

�As stewards of the land, our practices are driven by a deep respect for the earth and the waters of the Estero ecosystem. The farms provide jobs, housing, and income to many locals, and are a significant part of the history and diversity of this thriving agricultural community,� the company said on its website.

Now, just before the holidays, 30 people are out of work.
The Drakes Bay Oyster Company website is here. A lot more information can be found here: Oysterzone 20 minute video at Hot Air

Susan Rice - follow the money

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From the Washington Free Beacon:
Susan Rice�s Enrichment Program
The portfolio of embattled United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice includes investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in several energy companies known for doing business with Iran, according to financial disclosure forms.

Rice, a possible nominee to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she steps down, has come under criticism for promulgating erroneous information about the September 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.

Rice has the highest net worth of executive branch members, with a fortune estimated between $24 to $44 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. A Free Beacon analysis of Rice�s portfolio shows thousands of dollars invested in at least three separate companies cited by lawmakers on Capitol Hill for doing business in Iran�s oil and gas sector.

The revelation of these investments could pose a problem for Rice if she is tapped by President Barack Obama to replace Clinton. Among the responsibilities of the next secretary of state will be a showdown with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program.

�That Susan Rice invested in companies doing business in Iran shows either the Obama administration�s lack of seriousness regarding Iran or Rice�s own immorality,� said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq. �Either way, her actions undercut her ability to demand our allies unity on Iran.�

The companies in question appear to have conducted business with Tehran well after Western governments began to urge divestment from the rogue nation, which has continued to enrich uranium near levels needed to build a nuclear bomb.
And she stands to become Secretary of State?

Getting your feet wet in Britain

From the London Telegraph:
The watery grave that lies in wait
Notice something remarkable about many of the pictures of this week�s devastating floods? They showed the foul brown waters swamping recently built housing. Indeed, if that did not seem strange, it may be because it has become all too common: after the record 2007 floods, for example, the Environment Agency reported that most houses affected were relatively new.

Yet, whereas trouble might be expected in ancient river-girt settlements such as Tewkesbury, Malmesbury or York � where the King�s Arms pub, under water again this week, records the level of repeated floods in its bar � wouldn�t it be reasonable to assume that modern estates would be designed to escape it?

Reasonable, maybe � but certainly not right. Half of all the houses built in Britain since the Second World War, covering an area the size of the West Midlands, have been flung up on land vulnerable to flooding, with councils and ministers often dismissing official warnings.

Indeed building on the flood plains that make up 12 per cent of England is still growing almost twice as fast as elsewhere. And if the hyperactive new planning minister Nick Boles � who this week advocated spreading new housing over open countryside two and a half times the size of Greater London � has his way, things will get very much worse.
Ministers� planning policies look like making things worse. Take what is happening in the village of Feniton, near Honiton in Devon, which was flooded again this week � as it was this summer and in 2008 � after water spilled from a nearby field. Work is about to start on building 50 houses in that same field, after the Government�s Planning Inspectorate overruled both the East Devon district council and the local development plan to give it the go-ahead.

The council confirms that no flood defences are in prospect and, though it says the developer has given assurances that it will not make things worse, local people don�t agree. But the inspector swept away all objections in favour of a provision in the new National Planning Policy Framework that enough land must be made available for housing.
The joys of centralized planning. South of here, the Skagit River used to flood regularly -- they built some levees to stop it but you see the old farmhouses built with the first floor ten feet off the ground level. To build on a flood plain with no protection is nuts...

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