February 2013 Archives

Excellent list from Sean Linnane. This is just part of the post but these caught my eye:
If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally . . . you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents� permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion . . . you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If the only school curriculum allowed to explain how we got here is evolution, but the government stops a $15 million construction project to keep a rare spider from evolving to extinction . . . you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book, but not to vote who runs the government . . . you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt . . . you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
Much more at the site.

Gun culture in Charleston, South Carolina

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A perfect demonstration of why "gun control" will never work. These people are unaffected -- from Charleston Thug Life Population is about 125K. Bellingham is about 80K These turds are in all of our cities. They do not respect our laws and are the primary source of crime. The only ray of light is that they do kill themselves off with abandon... And a big tip 'o the hat to Nikki at The Liberty Zone. She offers some alternative images.

Nappy is not taking the fall

From ABC News:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano Regrets Surprise Announcement of Immigrant Release
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had no part in a decision by underlings to release low-risk illegal immigrant detainees as a way to save money before the sequestration and was surprised to learn about it, Napolitano told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

"Detainee populations and how that is managed back and forth is really handled by career officials in the field," Napolitano said.
It will be interesting to see how many of these arrested illegals will commit another crime. The Sequester is minimal -- we could do a 20% cut in future spending instead of the 2.3% in place now and not notice it.
From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
Store owners say plastic bag ban causes more shoplifting
When the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a ban on plastic bags and required businesses to charge a nickel for paper bags, city leaders believed it would be better all around.

"I think we've gotten to a place where it's really going to work for the environment, businesses and the community in general," Councilman Mike O'Brien said at the time.

But the bag ban is contributing to thousands of dollars in losses for at least one Seattle grocery store, and questions have been raised about the risk of food-borne illness from reusable bags that shoppers don't often wash.

Mike Duke, who operates the Lake City Grocery Outlet with his wife, said that since the plastic-bag ban started last July, he's lost at least $5,000 in produce and between $3,000 and $4,000 in frozen food.

"We've never lost that much before," said Duke, who found those numbers through inventories of stolen and damaged goods.

The Dukes opened the Lake City grocery store in June 2011, and Mike Duke said in the year before the plastic-bag ban losses in frozen food and produce were a small fraction of what he's seeing now. As he explained to seattlepi.com and also the North Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the shoplifters' patterns are difficult to detect.

They enter the store with reusable bags and can more easily conceal items they steal. The reusable bags require staff to watch much more closely, and even though the store has a loss-prevention officer and more than a dozen security cameras, it's tough to tell what a customer has paid for and what they may already have brought with them.

According to data released in January by Seattle Public Utilities, 21.1 percent of business owners surveyed said increased shoplifting because of the plastic bag ban was a problem. Results of another survey released in January � one done by an environmental advocacy group that found the ban "popular and successful" � didn't mention the problem of shoplifting.
And it gets better:
The Lake City Grocery Outlet also saw a dramatic increase in the number of hand baskets stolen after Seattle's plastic bag ban was initiated.

Shoplifters would fill up their baskets � some with purchased items and others with stolen groceries � and walk out of the store at 3020 N.E. 127th St. Duke would see the hand baskets discarded around Lake City and said the losses from the baskets and merchandise are in the thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, my store is outside of the Bellingham city limits (Bellingham passed a similar law last year). Most "plastic" bags these days have a sizable component of plant starch and will disintegrate in about six months. Paper bags are actually worse for the environment than the modern plastic bags. As for the hand-baskets -- those puppies are surprisingly expensive. A good one is over $20 and a decent shopping cart is over $100. You need to realize that if I bought a simple basket at Wal-Mart for $10, it would be destroyed in one month of normal use. These prices are totally acceptable for the use and wear these items receive. That still doesn't make losing one of them any more palatible...

Busy couple of days

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Heading into town today to do some grocery shopping and run a few errands. There is the Annual General Meeting for our local Water Cooperative this Saturday so prepping for that (I am the President). Sunday, we have a planning potluck for the Farmer's Market. It operated informally last summer and was a great success. Planning a little bit more structure this year. Posting will be a little bit light and irregular for the next couple days. The following Monday is my weekly buying run for the store -- a busy day there too...

A ray of hope in the Energy Department

From Nature:

Physicist tipped for US energy post
As the administration of US President Barack Obama prepares for a renewed push towards cleaner energy and reduced greenhouse-gas emissions, the White House appears to have chosen another physicist to head the effort. The leading candidate to replace departing energy secretary Steven Chu is Ernest Moniz, director of the Energy Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. He would bring to the office a pragmatic support for nuclear power and natural gas, along with a candid desire to, in his own words, �innovate like hell� on basic energy technologies. Colleagues at MIT are waiting for a confirmation of the appointment, which could come as early as this week. "Ernie is a real people person, and he took us to a whole new level in terms of both size and visibility," says Howard Herzog, a participant in the Energy Initiative who works on carbon capture and sequestration technologies at MIT.

Excellent call -- he is not afraid to bring nuke and gas to the table. He is also no stranger to Washington having worked in several posts since the Clinton Administration. Sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders...

David Suzuki cannot face the press

I had posted about this wonderful article in BC Local News yesterday. Now this -- from CNEWS:
Sun News Network booted from David Suzuki speech
Fans of David Suzuki who paid $15 for tickets to see the eco-activist speak in Ottawa got a free screening of the theatre of the absurd this week -- organizers threatened to call the cops when Sun News showed up.

The event was announced in the Parliamentary Press Gallery notices, so, Sun News Network reporter Jessica Hume went with cameraman Andrei Filippov to ask Suzuki some questions.

However, Rev. David Illman-White ordered them both to leave the church and cover the event from the sidewalk, despite other reporters being there.

"Out, out, get out," Illman-White said. He also sarcastically remarked "great journalism" when Hume said she would wait until after the event to ask Suzuki questions.

When Hume explained it was an open media event, an organizer from a local bookstore stormed over and ordered them out also, grabbing the camera lens.

"Can someone use their cellphone to call 911? We have media here who will not leave!" the woman who said her name was Lisa shouted at the gathering.

Event moderator and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May swooped in and restored calm.

"Whoa, only Rob Ford calls 911 on the media," she joked before embracing Hume.

"I certainly thought an event at a church sponsored by an independent book store could manage a reporter and a cameraman," May said in an e-mail. "I thought some humour could diffuse the situation. I didn't think twice."

Suzuki eventually emerged from a back room after Sun left the building. His spokespeople did not return calls for comment.
So what is it David -- afraid of some inconvenient questions? You do know that the wheels are coming off the Global Warming wagon. Time to start drumming up something new to cry wolf about... And of course, the reporter in question -- Jessica Hume -- has published her side of the events. From The Sun News:
HUME: The real nature of things with David Suzuki
You can tell a lot about a person by the way they respond to being challenged.

Those with courage of conviction and the confidence that comes with real intellect will back their positions and rise to the occasion. Those whose sense of ego is mightier than their strength of character will retreat, resort to insults or not respond altogether.

So when David Suzuki � environmental guru, would-be benevolent dictator and all-around perfect human � arrived in Ottawa Tuesday evening to tell a church filled with a paying audience what a sustainable future looks like, he shocked his own loyal supporters by aggressively refusing to speak with this reporter and a cameraman (who�d only arrived after a media release about the event from the Green Party was sent to the national press corps).

When we first arrived we were welcomed, asked how long we�d like with the good doctor and where we should set up our shot. When it was revealed we represented Sun News, we were no longer welcome.

David Suzuki didn�t just refuse to speak to us. He refused to appear altogether, sending a handful of hostile event organizers to remove us from the premises. They would, eventually, but not before creating a real drama in front of a real audience that exposed the real nature of David Suzuki.
Read the whole thing as she deftly rips the good doctor a new one. Suzuki should realize that the more he avoids certain reporters, the greater traction they are going to gain and the more they will rip down his facade. This is a zero-sum game.
From FOX News:
New technology could stoke clean coal-powered cars
New technological advances may make it possible in the near future to engineer a coal-powered car so clean that it produces nearly no polluting emissions, including carbon dioxide, experts tell FoxNews.com.

�There are many exciting possibilities for the clean coal technology,� says Liang-Shih Fan, a chemical engineer and director of Ohio State University�s Clean Coal Research Laboratory. �We found a way to release the heat from coal without burning it. This could be applicable for many industries.�

Fan last week disclosed that he had discovered a way to get the energy out of coal without burning it, using iron-oxide pellets as an oxygen source, and contain the reaction in a small chamber from which pollutants cannot escape. The only waste product would be water and solid coal ash -- no greenhouse gases. As an added benefit, the metal from the iron-oxide is recyclable.
I love it -- a bottle of iron ore, a bottle of coal dust and you are good to go. Your exhaust is recyclable. Processes like this have very large efficiencies of scale so I am not betting on the car but a large powerplant? Cleaner than Wind Turbines? True Baseload capacity? You bet!

I had posted about Bob Woodward's wonderful article in The Washington Post. In this article, Woodward identifies Obama as the author of the sequester plan that Barry is now furiously trying to backpedal away from. Now things get interesting -- from Real Clear Politics:

Woodward: White House Warned Me "You Will Regret Doing This"
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: You're used to this kind of stuff, but share with our viewers what's going on between you and the White House.

BOB WOODWARD: Well, they're not happy at all and some people kind of, you know, said, look, 'we don't see eye to eye on this.' They never really said, though, afterwards, they've said that this is factually wrong, and they -- and it was said to me in an e-mail by a top --

BLITZER: What was said?

WOODWARD: It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this.

BLITZER: Who sent that e-mail to you?

WOODWARD: Well, I'm not going to say.

BLITZER: Was it a senior person at the White House?

WOODWARD: A very senior person. And just as a matter -- I mean, it makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, 'you're going to regret doing something that you believe in, and even though we don't look at it that way, you do look at it that way.' I think if Barack Obama knew that was part of the communication's strategy, let's hope it's not a strategy, that it's a tactic that somebody's employed, and said, 'Look, we don't go around trying to say to reporters, if you, in an honest way, present something we don't like, that, you know, you're going to regret this.' It's Mickey Mouse. (The Situation Room, February 27, 2013)

Woodward was one of the two reporters that brought down President Nixon with the Watergate Scandal. Nice to see that he is still at work...

Wonderful article on David Suzuki

Tom Fletcher pulls no punches in this article about David Suzuki. Note: Don Cherry is a white-haired Canadian Hockey announcer noted for his over-the-top manner. From BC Local News:
The Don Cherry of TV science
He has a white beard and a bully pulpit on CBC television, but he doesn�t use it to promote hockey fighting.

Instead he sucker punches the oil and gas industry at every opportunity, with increasingly flagrant disregard for the rules of science. Public broadcasting referees keep their whistles in their pockets, wary of offending a legend.

He�s David Suzuki, and he has evolved from geneticist to TV celebrity to his current role as the Don Cherry of Canadian science, an angry curmudgeon lashing out at his enemies.

Earlier I wrote about Suzuki�s hit piece on the Alberta oil sands, featuring selective pollution studies and a celebrity turn by movie director James Cameron, who toured the alleged carbon crime scene in his personal jet helicopter.

Suzuki�s latest Scud missile of misinformation was launched Feb. 7 on The Nature of Things. It�s called Shattered Ground, and it borrows heavily from earlier shock docs that target hydraulic fracturing for shale oil and gas.

While clearly aimed at the surging shale gas industry in B.C., this hour-long program offers little about B.C.�s long history of gas development. Suzuki�s voice-over refers briefly to B.C.�s Oil and Gas Commission, insinuating it was set up as a pet regulator protecting the industry from stricter oversight.
Hey Suzuki -- that horse is dead. Stop flogging it...

Our EPA in the news

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From Investors Business Daily:
EPA Increases Mandates For Fuels That Don't Exist
In yet another green folly, the lawless Environmental Protection Agency continues to fine gasoline producers for not using cellulosic biofuels in quantities that don't exist, making only more pain at the pump.

Last month, a federal court dealt a serious blow to the Environmental Protection Agency's renewable fuels push by ruling that the agency exceeded its authority by mandating refiners use cellulosic biofuels, which aren't commercially available. The EPA's lawless response in a lawless administration was to raise its requirements.
A bit more:
As Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner points out in Politico, 2010, the first year of the mandate, the EPA projected 5 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels would be available.

In fact, there were none. In 2011, the EPA increased the mandate to 6.5 million gallons. Again, the actual amount available was zero. Undeterred, in 2012, the EPA increased the required amount to 8.5 million gallons. The actual available amount was 25,000 gallons.
This is an organization that needs to be defunded. Now.

Windmills on the East Coast

A two-fer with lagniappe. First from FOX News:
Cape Cod community considers taking down wind turbines after illness, noise
Two wind turbines towering above the Cape Cod community of Falmouth, Mass., were intended to produce green energy and savings -- but they've created angst and division, and may now be removed at a high cost as neighbors complain of noise and illness.

"It gets to be jet-engine loud," said Falmouth resident Neil Andersen. He and his wife Betsy live just a quarter mile from one of the turbines. They say the impact on their health has been devastating. They're suffering headaches, dizziness and sleep deprivation and often seek to escape the property where they've lived for more than 20 years.

"Every time the blade has a downward motion it gives off a tremendous energy, gives off a pulse," said Andersen. "And that pulse, it gets into your tubular organs, chest cavity, mimics a heartbeat, gives you headaches. It's extremely disturbing and it gets to the point where you have to leave."
Next up -- there are nice subsidies for putting the damn thing in but who pays for their maintenance. From the Portsmouth, Rhode Island Patch:
Council Hears Wind Turbine Proposals
The Portsmouth Town Council heard a number of possible outcomes for the town's wind turbine generator, but did not vote during public and executive session on Monday night.

The town council is weighing possible options for its broken wind turbine generator, which has been stopped since last May.

Last July, the town council learned repairing the wind turbine next to Portsmouth High School could cost the town anywhere from $200,000 to $1.5 million.
Finally, an inconvenient truth -- basic Newtonian Physics department. From Anthony at Watts Up With That:
Rethinking wind power � Harvard study shows it to be overestimated
Cambridge, Mass. � February 25, 2013 � �People have often thought there�s no upper bound for wind power�that it�s one of the most scalable power sources,� says Harvard applied physicist David Keith. After all, gusts and breezes don�t seem likely to �run out� on a global scale in the way oil wells might run dry.

Yet the latest research in mesoscale atmospheric modeling, published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, suggests that the generating capacity of large-scale wind farms has been overestimated.

Each wind turbine creates behind it a �wind shadow� in which the air has been slowed down by drag on the turbine�s blades. The ideal wind farm strikes a balance, packing as many turbines onto the land as possible, while also spacing them enough to reduce the impact of these wind shadows. But as wind farms grow larger, they start to interact, and the regional-scale wind patterns matter more.

Keith�s research has shown that the generating capacity of very large wind power installations (larger than 100 square kilometers) may peak at between 0.5 and 1 watts per square meter. Previous estimates, which ignored the turbines� slowing effect on the wind, had put that figure at between 2 and 7 watts per square meter.

In short, we may not have access to as much wind power as scientists thought.
DERP! You are extracting power from the wind's movement and just now, you are surprised to realize that this makes the wind slow down? Once again, there is no alt.energy source that can provide baseline delivery. For every megawatt of installed wind capacity, there is another megawatt of natural gas generating capacity running on hot-standby for when the wind fails. Nuke and LFTR please. Stop wasting my tax dollars on stupid stuff...
From The Blaze:
�By All Means, Leave�: The Amazingly Blunt Response One State Rep. Gave a Citizen Who Wrote Him Opposing Concealed Carry in Schools
Get out of here.

That was one Wyoming state representative�s message to a resident who contacted him recently stating her opposition to a bill that would have allowed people with concealed carry permits to carry guns in public schools, colleges and sporting events.

Rev. Audette Fulbright had emailed all state legislators, including Republican Rep. Hans Hunt, earlier this month to say she and her husband had just moved to Wyoming and were �seriously reconsidering� their decision amid the proposed expansion of gun laws.

�Ample evidence has shown that schools and guns do not mix, and in particular, guns in the hands of amateurs/non-professionals is extremely dangerous, especially in any highly-charged situation,� Fulbright wrote. �To expose our children to greater risk in their schools by encouraging more guns on campuses is something that we cannot allow.�

Fulbright also said she was concerned about �the profoundly serious dangers of fracking� and said the question of whether to leave was �wrenching to all of us.�

�I know of other new-to-Wyoming families in similar contemplation. Your choices matter. It would be sad to see an exodus of educated, childrearing age adults from Wyoming as a result of poor lawmaking,� she wrote.

Hunt�s response? �By all means, leave.�

�I�ll be blunt,� he wrote back. �If you don�t like the political atmosphere of Wyoming, then by all means, leave. We, who have been here a very long time (I am proudly 4th generation) are quite proud of our independent heritage.�
Heh -- the Reverend's website has melted down. She is a minister in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Cheyenne. In the last six years of his life, my Dad was involved with the Seattle branch of this organization. They preached tolerance and acceptance. What a cosmic load of drivel... I was brought up in the Episcopal Church in the 1950's and '60s (born in 1950) back when that Church has some moral backbone and when it wasn't afraid to call a Sin a Sin. These people do not realize that there is evil out there. There are bad people and there are mentally ill people and we debase ourselves if we allow them to rise to our level. Instead, we are sinking to theirs. Political correctness be damned -- there is zero problem with being moral, just and faithful. Anyone who says differently is a person who is not willing to examine their own lives and cut out the rot. Yeah, it hurts and it is work. Get over it...

The AR-15 - a nice writeup

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I am surprised! With all the gun grabbing going on and especially with all the focus on the eeeevil black assault rifle (AR-15) here is a wonderfully written piece at Wired:
The AR-15 Is More Than a Gun. It�s a Gadget
I was shaking as I shouldered the rifle and peered through the scope at the small steel target 100 yards downrange. It was officially the coldest day in Las Vegas history, and I was in the middle of the desert, buffeted by wind and surrounded by the professional gun press, about to fire an AR-15 for the first time.

I grew up with guns, and I even own a small .22-caliber target pistol that I take to the range occasionally. But I had fired a rifle maybe twice in the past five years. I was a novice, and I was frozen to the core. I flinched as I pulled the trigger the first time, sending my shot wide of the mark. But the recoil wasn�t nearly as bad as I had feared; in fact, the shot was actually pleasant. I fired again with more confidence, and the bullet rang the distant steel plate like a bell; then the next shot hit, and the next.

�You�re doing great,� said Justin Harvel, founder of Black Rain Ordnance and maker of the gun I was shooting.

�It�s not me,� I replied. �I�ve never shot like this in my life. It�s gotta be this gun.�

�Yeah, it�s definitely not your daddy�s hunting rifle, is it?�

In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the AR-15 has gone from the most popular rifle in America to the most scrutinized and, in some quarters, vilified. Also known in its fully automatic, military incarnation as the M16, the rifle was racking up record sales in the years before Sandy Hook, but now, in the midst of a renewed effort to ban this weapon and others like it from civilian hands, the AR-15 market has gone nuclear, with some gun outlets rumored to have done three years� worth of sales in the three weeks after Newtown.
Designed by Eugene Stoner in the 1960's. Stoner is right up there in my top pantheon with John Moses Browning. George Kelgren (I own several of his designs) is a 2nd ranker. The article goes into the initial design and development, the first ten-year assault-weapon ban and concludes:
From the morning that ArmaLite opened its doors in 1954 to the present, most of the innovation that has gone into the AR-15 has been aimed at making the gun as accurate and pleasurable to shoot as possible. The result is a gun that really is an order of magnitude easier to use effectively than many of the traditional wood-stocked rifles that black-rifle-hating hunters grew up with. For someone who enjoys shooting a $2,500 AR-15 from a company like Lewis Machine and Tool, Black Rain Ordnance, Daniel Defense, or KAC, is like a driving enthusiast sitting behind the wheel of an Italian or German supercar. It�s a revelation, and the experience doesn�t wear off quickly.
Emphasis mine. I really love mine and mine is just an off-the-shelf unit from H&K. And this is not because it's a black rifle, I am restoring a 1943 Mosin-Nagant and having a blast (literally) with it too (Gawd I hate Cosmoline -- I frikkn' HATES ITSSSS) My AR is a precision machine -- I can reach out and touch something with precision, ease and reliability.

A harbinger of coming economic troubles

A two-fer. First from Yahoo Finance:
Eight Retailers That Will Close the Most Stores
It is the time of year again, when America�s largest retailers release those critical holiday season figures and disclose their annual sales. A review of these numbers tells us a great deal about how most of the companies will do in the upcoming year. And while successful retailers in 2012 may add stores this year, those that have performed very poorly may have to cut locations during 2013 to improve margins or reverse losses.

For many retailers, the sales situation is so bad that it is not a question of whether they will cut stores, but when and how many. Most recently, Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS) decided it had too many stores to maintain profits. Its CEO recently said he plans to close as many as a third of the company�s locations.
Best Buy (people go to compare products and then buy online), Sears (the Bellingham location closed recently), J.C. Penny (too many equivalent retail stores), Office Depot (sorry Rachel), Barnes and Noble (Amazon), Gamestop (the internet), Office Max (online shopping) and Radio Shack (lost it relevance twenty years ago). Next up is a troubling indicator -- from Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge:
Freight Shipment Volumes Plunge To Lowest In Two Years
Freight shipment volumes are rather obviously seasonal, but as Bloomberg Brief notes, the Cass Freight index shows shipment volumes have slumped for four consecutive months and are back to their worst levels in two years. This is the first year-over-year contraction since the 2007-2009 Great Recession - and places the reality of the dismal Q4 GDP print in context. If that wasn't enough good news about the real economy, the cyclicality of the shipments are losing momentum (i.e. each seasonal rebound in the last three years has been weaker - just as we saw in the lead up to 2008) and freight expenditures fell in January leading to a 1.6% drop over the last year - compared to a 27.2% rise in January 2011, and 22.2% rise in January 2012. As Cass noted, these volumes will not be enough to "have a significant impact on the unemployment numbers."
People aren't buying stuff like they used to. Thanks Barry -- your superb people in D.C. have made sure that the economy will take another ten years to recover...

Our Secretary of State

From the London Daily Mail:
John Kerry says Americans 'have a right to be stupid'
'Nuff said. Great hair, total inept moron, living off his wife's money.

Our enabling President

First, Obama made the "You didn't build that" speech.

Now he says "You Can't Do Things By Yourself" -- from The Weekly Standard:

Obama: 'You Can't Do Things By Yourself'
"You know, the one thing about being president is, after four years, you get pretty humble. You'd think maybe you wouldn't but actually you become more humble--you realize what you don't know," Obama said.

"You realize all the mistakes you made. But you also realize you can't do things by yourself. That's not how our system works. You've got to have the help and the goodwill of Congress, and what that means is you've got to make sure that constituents of members of Congress are putting some pressure on them, making sure they're doing the right thing."

Excuse me Barry but fuck off. I have built a lot of things in my life -- started and ran several successful businesses, remodeled two houses (one I gutted down to the framing)... I have built lots of things and nothing I built required the help of the Federal Government. If there is one unifying theme to my life it is that the input from the Federal Government has been more of a hindrance than a help. The Federal Government has told me what kind of toilet I can own, what kind of lightbulb I can use, what I can and cannot do with the 30 acres of land that I own.

He (and the rest of the polished turds in D.C.) is so far out of touch with the other 99% of America that he is useless.

A nasty bit of gun grabbing

From Huntsville, AL television station WAAY:

Proposed Guntersville ordinance sparks controversy
A proposed disaster emergency ordinance in Guntersville is causing controversy.

The city council and mayor are considering a new ordinance that gives the city more power.

Mayor Leigh Dollar says it would ensure a quick response in the event of a major disaster, like the April 27, 2011, tornadoes.

But it would also give police officers more power.

The ordinance states officers could disarm individuals, if necessary.


The proposed ordinance will be on the March 4th agenda at the next Guntersville City Council meeting.

I would love to be a fly on the wall for that meeting. What part of Shall not be infringed does the mayor fail to grasp...

Geeee... It's not like we are doing anything wrong are we? From England's Financial Times:
US oil imports from Middle East increase
The US was more reliant on the Middle East for its oil imports last year, underscoring the critical importance of the politically unstable region for the country despite the growing energy independence its shale gas revolution is bringing.
This beggars the imagination:
#1) - they really do not like us
#2) - they are charging us a lot of money
#3) - we have more domestic oil and gas resources than they ever had.
So why? Diesel is now about $4.20 if I can find it at that price. It was under $3 a few years ago.
From CNS News:
Obama�s Paycheck Exempted from �Sequester�
President Barack Obama won�t have to worry about his paycheck if the spending sequestration included in the Budget Control Act that he signed into law in 2011 begins taking effect this Friday.

A report published last month by the Congressional Research Service--�Budget Sequestration and Selected Program Exemptions and Special Rules"--identifies certain programs that are exempt from sequestration and lays out special rules that govern the sequestration of others.

Section 255 of the Budget Control Act includes �Compensation for the President� as one of those exemptions (Page 19).

�Most exempt programs are mandatory, and include Social Security and Medicaid; refundable tax credits to individuals; and low-income programs such as the Children�s Health Insurance Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Supplemental Security Income,� the report states.

�Some discretionary programs also are exempt, notably all programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs,� it said. �Also, subject to notification of Congress by the president, military personnel accounts may either be exempt or reduced by a lower percentage,� the report states. (The report states in a footnote that the White House notified Congress last year of President Obama's intention to exempt military personnel accounts from sequestration.)

Pensions for former presidents are also exempt, according to the report.
To quote the great James Thurston Nabors:

A pure humanitarian tragedy

From the Beeb:
Energy revolution promises to transform East Africa
An energy revolution is taking place in East Africa as the price of solar technology tumbles and huge resources of geothermal steam beneath the Great Rift Valley start to be exploited, moves which have the potential to lift millions out of poverty and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

It feels more like each strand of hair is being torn rather than cut, barber Sylvester Muthama explains as he demonstrates the manual clippers which he uses to cut hair in his salon in rural Kenya.

The problem, he tells me, is that the clippers tend to snag, especially with African hair, a worry for a barber who needs happy customers for his business to grow.

But Mr Muthama has little choice - the electric shears dangle uselessly to one side as this is not one of the very rare days when he has enough money to charge the car battery on the floor. And female clients must dry their hair in the sun.
A little bit more:
A little further north is Menengai Crater, where further test wells are being drilled and the potential could be even greater. Overall it is believed the geothermal potential in Kenya is 10,000 megawatts.
And the work does not stop at Kenya's borders - geothermal prospecting is happening in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania. Some of the money is coming from the African Development Bank and their regional director, Gabriel Negatu, says it could be transformative:
"Energy is not an end in itself; it is an enabler... every part of your life is affected by energy. [We'll see] a robust economy with factories, universities, a full industrial economy, and all of it will be powered by geothermal energy. What was once known as the Dark Continent will henceforth be known as the bright continent."
These poor poor people. Their energy planning has been hijacked by the green ideologues -- no, do not build a coal power plant. We will tell you what to build and it will be GREEN DAMMIT!. After all, I was educated at Harvard and I know more than you brown people. If we don't build green, you will all die horrible and tragic deaths. Oh... Wait... The density of available energy is in direct correlation to the intensity of development and wealth building. To uplift these people from their grinding poverty, we need to do two simple things: #1) - stop supporting the oligarchs that are keeping them down and #2) - let them develop at their own pace with their own choice of technologies. C.O.T.S. is a great leveller -- Commercial Off The Shelf. Cheap. It has worked very well elsewhere. True, it may not satisfy the subtle and nuanced hipsters in Portland or Seattle but, seriously, fuck them. We are talking about bringing clean water, sanitation, refrigeration, clean cooking to hundreds of thousands of people in one fell swoop. The twee hipster option is for those little brown people to suffer through an endless cycle of solar ovens, composting toilets, bicycle-powered radios and lights and gravity water filters that take an hour to filter a gallon of water (yeah Berkey -- I'm looking at you) when, if they were allowed to develop on their own, they could just come home, flick a switch and settle in for the evening. A lot of the progressives labor under the delusion that there is a fixed pool of money and that the inequities of the world are a result of that pool's unequal distribution. Bzzzzztttt!!! This was Karl Marx's major fuckup. Money is fungible -- it can be created and destroyed. In 2008, where were the trucks? Bear Stearns collapsed, it's corpse was sold off to Morgan Stanley for pennies on the dollar. The company lost several tens of billions of dollars. A shame since it was founded in 1923 and was able to weather the crash of 1929 without laying off any of its employees and in 1933 was healthy enough to start opening branch offices. Again, where were the trucks? Another example, back in 1997 a single Mom published some of her bedtime stories that she created for her son over the previous decade. She created an empire out of nothing -- an empire worth 15 Billion dollars. I am talking about Harry Potter of course. Again, where were the trucks? The idea that these nannies; our betters; these congenital morons (and I sincerely apologize to all the wonderful morons out there) see themselves in a position of authority is profoundly repugnant. They micromanage not only in their own country of residence but wherever else they can cast their net of lies and stupidity and they are blind to the reality, blind to the unintended consequences and blind to the damage caused by their cupidity. Shame on you. Bloody shame and a pox on your lineage.

Off to town

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Shopping run for the store. Back around 4PM -- raining heavily and turning to snow so it should be fun...


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Had the second water board meeting this month. Next Saturday is our Public Annual General Meeting and this is the meeting where we announce an increase in rates for everyone. We checked the other water districts in this area and we are on the low end of fees for water and the last time there was a rate increase was in 2006. Still, a lot of people will blithely send off checks to the Power, Phone and Cable companies but because we are a local cooperative run by friends and neighbors, they will quibble over every penny. One concern is that we recently moved into a permanent office in the old Town Hall. We also hired a person part-time to do bookkeeping and office work. So Ohhhhhhh... you are spending our money on non-essentials. Little do these people know that we got a killer price on the office space and we get free electricity, telephone, internet, heat and utilities. Also, our part-time person offloads what our accounting company was doing for us (and billing accordingly). We are now moved over to an internal copy of QuickBooks Pro and we email a quarterly copy of our books to a CPA to be "blessed" -- the cost is a lot lower and we have total control over our records. Need to keep all of our ducks in a row for the meeting. Still, I love being President of the Board. I was involved with our local Chamber of Commerce but dropped out as they and I were going in different directions. With the Water Board, I am active in development and running a business -- something I love.

Quote of the Month

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Found this at the website where I found my previous post.
�Today�s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom.
 The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.�
 --Vaclav Klaus
 Blue Planet in Green Shackles

The myths about CO2 - the Gas of Life

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From Walter Starck writing at Australia's Quadrant Online:
The greenhouse with no roof
As an interdisciplinary study, climatology draws upon knowledge and techniques from a diverse range of other relevant disciplines. Almost all of the leading �climatologists� promoting the Global Warming alarm are in fact rebadged biologists, geographers, computer modellers and other specialists. Vanishingly few have any genuine expertise in the fundamental matter of the complex atmospherics physics involved in the so-called greenhouse effect. They have simply accepted it as a proven physical fact that increased CO2 must �trap� more heat in the atmosphere. The very term �greenhouse effect� implies this.

Unfortunately, the greenhouse simile is highly misleading in a most important respect. The greenhouse constructed by the climate alarmists has no roof. It cannot �trap� any heat because the hot air will rise and drift away just as it does in a hot air balloon. A greenhouse with no roof is something only an academic would design. Anyone with practical experience would know immediately it could not work.

Even at pre-industrial levels of CO2, the absorption of infrared radiation that is within the absorption spectrum of CO2 is virtually complete within a few tens of meters. Increasing levels of CO2 do not increase the IR emitted from the surface and only marginal effect on the total amount of IR energy absorbed. It mainly concentrates the absorption closer to the surface. However, as soon as the near surface air begins to warm it also begins to expand and bubble upward in convection. This distributes the heat energy through a hugely greater volume of the troposphere. As the total amount of thermal energy that is being absorbed is very small and the warm air is not being �trapped� near the surface, it makes little difference to the temperature of the troposphere whether the initial warming takes place within a few metres more or less from the surface.

Calculations by atmospheric physicists have estimated that a doubling of CO2 should result in an increased absorption of IR by only about 1.2% and a temperature increase of about 0.7C�. Most of this increment would come from the margins of the absorption spectrum as it is only there that absorption is not already saturated. Because of the low rate of absorption involved, this very mild additional warming would take place over a much longer path through the atmosphere and would thus have even less effect on near surface temperatures.
Walter closes with this paragraph:
A number of key people promoting the climate scare are repeat offenders with histories of past involvement in the business of prophesying looming disaster for fun and profit. Before climbing onto the GW bandwagon they were preaching about a new ice age, nuclear winter, the ozone hole, acid rain, resource depletion, overpopulation, massive famines and sundry other imminent crises which never eventuated. The only reasonably certain effect of increased CO2 is a significant increase in plant productivity accompanied by a global greening in arid regions. It is past time to end the climate change farce and start focusing on the very real and serious economic problems which confront us. Continuing to throw billions of dollars at every imaginary threat conjured up by self-anointed experts is an indulgence we can no longer afford.
Walter is one of Australia�s most experienced marine biologists, with a professional career of studying coral reef and marine fishery ecosystems. Global Warming is junk science -- there is no evidence for it in the last 18 years. The models that these people use are broken -- they do not take into account the fact that our sun is a variable star -- and is entering a time of low output. We should be preparing for lower than normal temperatures instead of trying to scrub the Gas of Life from our atmosphere.
SLO Leaks is the blog of Rob and Judi McCarthy and their four year attempt to get a building permit for a house in San Luis Obispo County, California. Rob's family has lived in this area since 1906. Here is one post -- from December 29th, 2012:
It�s official � the Coastal Commission staff has screwed me
It took me a couple of days and several hours of meeting with Dave Watson (my planner), Lenny Grant, and Robert Malone (the architects) to figure out just exactly how screwed I am by the California Coastal Commission�s staff report on the appeal of my Minor Use Permit to build my house at Cave Landing.

The entire report is 276 pages long. You can read it here (if you are crazy and have no life). Of course I carefully read it, and below is the summary:
The staff is recommending that the full Coastal Commission approve my house but with �Special Conditions�. Here are the ways the Coastal Commission staff has screwed me over with the �Special Conditions�:

1. I can not use CSA-12 water at all, but I have to continue to pay $6,000 a year for forever to CSA-12 for the water that the Coastal Commission won�t let me use.

2. I have to hide my house from the Cave Landing dirt parking lot by digging down 16 ft below grade and moving 260,000 cubic yards of dirt to form berms.

3. My house has to be dramatically reduced in size EVEN THOUGH NO ONE CAN SEE IT! I don�t know how small my house has to be because that special condition is vaguely written.

4. I have to design my house to have a �rural agricultural theme� as defined by the Coastal Commission staff EVEN THOUGH NO ONE CAN SEE IT! (Remember, my house isn�t even in a rural area � it is in an urban or suburban area as defined by the LCP.)

5. I have to remove all the existing fences on my property and I can never obstruct anyone from trespassing on my property EVER! And what am I supposed to do with my two dogs? I can�t let them out without having a fence because they will run away.

6. The Coastal Commission staff has decided that my property contains public paths and I must maintain them and carry insurance for any injuries suffered by the trespassers while they are on my property for forever.

7. I must only plant native California plants in my yard. If I plant a zucchini the Coastal Commission can have me thrown into jail and fined up to $15,000 per day.
I cannot build my house under these conditions � which the Coastal Commission staff knows. So unless the full Coastal Commission overrules their own staff (which is very unlikely), I will spend the next few years in the California Court system � which the Coastal Commission staff knows. And, by the way, the Coastal Commission does not pay out of their budget any legal costs. All legal costs caused by the Coastal Commission have to be paid by the California State Attorney General�s office. So the Coastal Commission has a blank check to cover their costs, and any delays caused by lawsuits are to the Coastal Commission�s advantage.

The Coastal Commission staff has no legal ability to impose these conditions on me. There have been numerous legal cases since the creation of the Coastal Commission in 1976 that clearly prevent these sort of special conditions. (See Nolland v. California Coastal Commission, or Dolan v. City of Tigard) But that hasn�t stopped the Coastal Commission from continuing to bully property owners around by imposing illegal special conditions like they are doing to me.

So the brokest state of the brokest county in the history of the world has an unlimited budget to cover the legal costs of an out of control state agency that is forcing me to build on my property a small house without any fence, designed to look the way the state agency wants, with only the plants the state agency wants in my yard, using well water in a community water district, and I must allow anyone to trespass at any time. And it has taken this out of control state agency 3 years to decide this.
Mr. McCarthy is a dot.com millionaire and has this to say in another post -- from October 11, 2011:
Bankrupt California
At the company I run we had to make a decision today. Should we invest in more property in California for more office space for more employees, or should we lease space in Texas and hire more employees there?

After phrasing the situation in that way we were able to quickly decide that relocating that part of our business to Texas was, without a doubt, the best choice. So we are looking to hire 3 or 4 sales people, and 3 or 4 developers, to work in downtown Austin, Texas. A couple of the California employees will move to Texas to run the office. But we no longer want to invest in California if we have other choices. And a large part of the reason my company is investing outside of California is because of my experience in trying to get a building permit for my house at Cave Landing.
I know a lot of builders out here and from time to time, I hear them grouse about having to deal with our County Planning Department. They don't know how good they have it! My only concern is that California is still considered to be the gold standard for environmental regulations and their actions are copied by other planning departments. This needs to be nipped in the bud.

Our ruling elite

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Great post about our ruling class and their decoupling from the realities of life. From Jay Currie:
Kathy links to Megan Macardle�s article on the homogenization of America�s (and, realistically, Canada�s) ruling elite. Being the son or daughter of Harvard grads and a Harvard grad yourself is now, apparently, the ticket to alpha jobs in politics, law, the academy, journalism and finance. Which is a) likely more true than not, b) hardly surprising given the entrance requirements act as a ferocious cognitive screen, c) of less and less importance.

It is becoming less important because big government, the academy, big law, huge finance and big media are dying. Not quickly but they are on their way. Why? Because the mandarinate has not done much productive in forty years. And, in fact, the elite activities of governance, anti-trust litigation, climate action, tax law, derivatives and queered gender studies have largely left any possible reality. Spending a trillion dollars a year you do not have is a flight from reality, explaining why such spending is a good idea is financial surrealism, but actually financing the spending is an error that only a really well trained, Ivy League kinda of a guy could make. The rest of us are simply not cognitively capable of ignoring reality at that level.

As many people are starting to notice, the wheels are falling off the more cherished social tropes of the mandarinate. Cost benefit analysis of a black studies degree from Yale is being performed, legal analysis is being out sourced to India, banks are being bailed out to postpone the day when all those derivatives are going to come back and bite. Climate action is being quietly under bussed by smart politicians.

Smart parents are looking for ways to prepare their children for both the alpha cognitive world and the world where things are actually made and services performed. A trade makes a lot more sense than an internship at the end of a 200K debt financed �education�.

As with the end of the catastrophic global warming scam, the political elites will be the last to know because they are advised by mandarins.

It is instructive to look at what happened when the Chinese Manchu mandarinate was confronted with a changing world. The denial of the 18th century gave way to the decline of the 19th and the collapse at the beginning of the 20th. The mandarins did not become dumber nor were the examinations any less tough; the fact was that the modern, western, world arrived at China�s door and would not go away. The mandarins had no answer to a radical change.

Our mandarinate is, to a degree, innovative. But it is the phoney innovation of people who share precisely the same central world view and argue about the margins. Real change, radical restructuring in the face of a changing world is simply beyond the stunted imaginations of the test taking classes. It was not on the exam.
Spot on perfect.

From the London Daily Mail:

Eco-tastrophe! How MPs in the pay of subsidised eco-firms set insane new carbon targets that send your bills sky-rocketing... and drag us to a new Dark Age
Like all MPs, Tim Yeo is paid 65,000 a year. But he never has to make do with just that. Last year alone, three "green" companies paid the Conservative MP for South Suffolk 135,970.

For this, he usually did just a few hours' work a month. Yet he may be the firms' most valuable asset, as Mr Yeo is chairman of the Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, and so plays a key role in shaping the green economy in which his sometime employers - AFC Energy, Eco City Vehicles and TMO Renewables - operate.

And he may be about to perform his most valuable service yet.

Mr Yeo has moved an extraordinary amendment to the Energy Bill that would set a crippling and binding target for the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by generating power in 2030. It would transform the electricity industry and bring huge benefits to the business sector, which has so generously rewarded Mr Yeo.

For the rest of us, however, the effects will be very different. It will cause already high energy bills to soar further and could lead to more power cuts. The effect on business is likely to be even more dramatic.

Sounds like Mr. Yeo would fit right in in Washington D.C. And of course, the wind farms are not a universal panacea - from the UK Telegraph:

Wind farms will create more carbon dioxide, say scientists
The finding, which threatens the entire rationale of the onshore wind farm industry, will be made by Scottish government-funded researchers who devised the standard method used by developers to calculate "carbon payback time" for wind farms on peat soils.

Wind farms are typically built on upland sites, where peat soil is common. In Scotland alone, two thirds of all planned onshore wind development is on peatland. England and Wales also have large numbers of current or proposed peatland wind farms.

But peat is also a massive store of carbon, described as Europe's equivalent of the tropical rainforest. Peat bogs contain and absorb carbon in the same way as trees and plants - but in much higher quantities.

British peatland stores at least 3.2 billion tons of carbon, making it by far the country's most important carbon sink and among the most important in the world.

Wind farms, and the miles of new roads and tracks needed to service them, damage or destroy the peat and cause significant loss of carbon to the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change.

Excellent excellent article and a harbinger of what is in shore for us in the US if we don't wake up.

The guy is totally clueless -- from The Blaze:

Jimmy Carter: U.S. at the "Forefront of Killing People With Guns" Because the NRA "Pressures the Weak-Kneed"
Former President Jimmy Carter on Thursday chalked the nation's gun murder rate up to the influence of the National Rifle Association and "weak-kneed public officials" who cave to its demands.

'Scuuuuuse Me Jimbo -- these so-called weak-kneed public officials are actually listening to their constituents and yielding to their demands. They should be praised for upholding the Constitution and the rules of this Republic of States.

Appearing on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, Carter agreed that the gun lobby wields incredible influence and could derail new gun control legislation.

Oooo - Piers Morgan - wasn't he a showbiz columnist over in England and was booted out for some scandal? Don't forget that over 100,000 people signed a White House petition asking for him to be deported back but there is also a Petition to keep him from returning to the U.K. Yeah -- we are talking about real high-caliber reporting here...

"It happens not only at the federal level, but it also happens at every, at every state level and every municipal level," Carter said. "The NRA is there pressuring weak-kneed public officials to yield to their pressures, when they know what they're doing is wrong."

This is a matter of the Second Amendment -- Jimmy, you took your oath of office (only one time thank God) and swore to uphold the damn thing. The Bill of Rights are ten very powerful articles that guarantee the rights of the citizens of the United States. The framers didn't write nine Amendments of Freedom and then tuck a casual mention of hunting into the Bill. The people back then only had voice, handwriting and letterpress -- is the First Amendment limited to only those means of communication.

Carter went on to say that he's a gun owner and has been hunting all his life, but "I never have had a need for an assault weapon, I've never had a need for armor-piercing bullets."

The term "assault weapon" is totally fictionalized -- it's like Kwanzaa or the Easter Bunny. It does not exist, it has never existed. As for armor-piercing bullets, nobody else needs them. For one thing, they are too expensive. A decent round in .308, 9mm, .45ACP, 5.66 or even the 2.33 of the AR platform is a different matter.

President Carter, I do appreciate some of the community level things that you have spent time on. Habitat for Humanity is an excellent program.

However, as one of the commenters said:

Jimmy - you're the guy that created Usama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. You're the guy that gave away the Panama Canal. You're the guy that cowered in the White House while our hostages sat in Iran, and their captors only laughed at you (and note that the hostages were released 20 minutes after President Reagan was sworn in). You call someone 'weak kneed'?

And do not forget that that should read: "you're the guy that gave away the Panama Canal -- to China"

Again, just go home. Your only big accomplishment was to goad the low-information voters of the day to give President Ronald Reagan his landslide victory...

Our State Politicians inaction in action

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One can hope for some better news but it is not really expected. From the Yakima Herald:
Governor: Six underground Hanford nuclear tanks leaking
Six underground tanks that hold a brew of radioactive and toxic waste at the nation�s most contaminated nuclear site are leaking, federal and state officials said Friday.

Gov. Jay Inslee said the leaking material poses no immediate risk to public safety or the environment because it would take a while � perhaps years � to reach groundwater.

But the leaking tanks raise new concerns about delays for emptying them and strike another blow to federal efforts to clean up the Hanford nuclear reservation, where successes often are overshadowed by delays, budget overruns and technological challenges.
It is not just groundwater we need to be worried about. The Hanford plant is situated on the banks of the Columbia River. The leaks are not big -- 150 to 300 gallons per tank per year -- a drop at a time... More:
The federal government already spends $2 billion each year on Hanford cleanup � one-third of its entire budget for nuclear cleanup nationally. The Energy Department has said it expects funding levels to remain the same for the foreseeable future, but a new Energy Department report released this week includes annual budgets of as much as $3.5 billion during some years of the cleanup effort.

Much of that money goes toward construction of a plant to convert the underground waste into glasslike logs for safe, secure storage. The plant, last estimated at more than $12.3 billion, is billions of dollars over budget and behind schedule. It isn�t expected to being operating until at least 2019.

Given those delays, the federal government will have to show that there is adequate storage for the waste in the meantime, Inslee said.
The DOE needs to stop trying to do it and farm it out to some company with tried and true nuclear experience -- Bechtel, Westinghouse, Babcock and Wilcox. Another perfect example of government efficiency at its finest. And for once, I totally agree with an environmentalist:
Tom Carpenter of Hanford Challenge, a Hanford watchdog group, said Friday it�s disappointing that the Energy Department is not further along on the waste treatment plant and that there aren�t new tanks to transfer waste into.

�None of these tanks would be acceptable for use today. They are all beyond their design life. None of them should be in service,� he said. �And yet, they�re holding two-thirds of the nation�s high-level nuclear waste.�

Wyden noted the nation�s most contaminated nuclear site � and the challenges associated with ridding it of its toxic legacy � will be a subject of upcoming hearings and a higher priority in Washington, D.C.
It is not like these things suddenly sprung into existence -- we have known about this witches brew for over sixty years. We could have built aboveground tanks, pumped the materials into them and then passivated them. Another option is to burn the waste with a breeder reactor but, although these things work wonderfully, they use Thorium and not Uranium and Thorium does not go Ka-Boom and the USA wanted stuff that went Ka-Boom as well as commercial power. We didn't want to spend the money for two separate trains of nuclear development so back in the 1960's and 1970's, we decided to go with the stuff that goes Ka-Boom and funding was cut for Breeders. Breeder Reactors (Google Breeder Reactor and LFTR) can burn conventional nuclear waste and when all is said and done, the resulting waste materials only need to be sequestered for about 300 years.
Don't have a corroborating source for this so take it with a grain of salt but... From Against All Enemies - two posts. First -- the United States Military Academy at West Point:
West Point's "Green" Officer
Our military is rapidly losing its way. Somehow it believes that celebrating sodomy in the ranks will be beneficial to good order and discipline and that war is an equal opportunity employer. How is going against the Law of Nature as established by our Creator a good thing?

Now we have the introduction of "green" officers at the United States Military Academy with the addition of "Brigade Energy and Environmental" officers and non-commissioned officers to cadet staffs:
"Cadets on the Brigade Energy and Environmental staff will introduce a new insignia to the Corps when they don their cadet uniforms this week. These cadet energy and environmental officers and noncommissioned officers, or E2Os, are tasked with leading the charge on initiatives related to recycling, energy and water conservation at the academy.

The insignia has the chevrons customary to cadet rank. The three rockers below are designed as waves to signify energy and water. It has been decades since the last insignia has been approved for a cadet staff position, and the process took nearly a year before the rank received approval from the Brigade Tactical Department and the Commandant of Cadets." (from West Point Facebook page)
More at the site. Next up is this: the Green Annex:
Proposed "Green Annex" to the US Army Operations Order
Now that West Point has created Energy and Environmental Officers (or "E2Os"), it is time to introduce an Annex to the US Army Operations Order that addresses climate change, sustainable development, and other green issues during the conduct of military operations. Here is the proposed "Annex W: Sustainable Development" to be completed by the Green Officer on the unit's staff.
What follows are JPGs of the three pages of this document (here, here and here) What caught my eye are the following -- Page one, item five:
5. This is a hypothetical document and not an approved change to FM 5-0. It is being used to demonstrate the potential future of military operations under United Nations' Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development related policies.
And Page two, items 3.g. and 3.h.
g. (U) Scheme for Redistribution of Wealth. Address how the operation will support worldwide redistribution of wealth.
h. (U) Military Union Issues. Address all issues as required by collective bargaining agreements. May include : limitations on work hours, mandated rest periods, mandatory vacation periods, and Union dues.
Obviously, the second post is hypothetical and has not been implemented but the idea that it would be put out there in the first place is downright spooky. I am looking through the current FM 5-0 (PDF) and don't see anything there. Still, why was it released to the public. Especially when everything else checks out.

A modest proposal re: The Boston Globe

A great idea from Da Tech Guy:

The Right should buy the Boston Globe - and staff it with conservatives
There has been a lot of talk about what conservatives need to do in order to get their message out to the low information voter. These are the voters who don't pay attention to the news, don't watch cable or read blogs much but do read general magazines while waiting at the doctor, who do hear CNN in the background in airports or at their local bar and restaurant.

The problem is those background noises are filled with liberal pap.

More: Da Tech Guy then suggests that some people band together and buy the Boston Globe (it's for sale). Print media is not making that much money these days but Da Tech Guy quotes this piece from Robert Stacy McCain:

consider how rich liberals are willing to act as "angels" toward their media pets. I made this point yesterday in regard to Tina Brown, who lost $80 million during two years as editor of Talk, after losing $40 million during a three-year period as editor of The New Yorker, and who has most recently pushed back the goalposts of projected profitability at the Daily Beast to somewhere between (a) three years and (b) when hell freezes over.

Does it not occur to you, my clever readers, that these are not merely business losses, but are in fact a sort of charitable endeavor to support the propagation of fashionable liberalism?

And Da Tech Guy says that it is not just about the news. Imagine the following:

  • Imagine a Movie section where the liberal themes of a picture were noted and tweaked while the conservative themes were highlighted and celebrated.
  • Imagine a culture section where events of a conservative nature were celebrated while liberals pressed to get the press.
  • Imagine reviews of plays with conservative themes getting web space and print space and liberal themes hoping for a line or two.
  • Imagine stories in the Sunday section celebrating historic places, people and sites that highlight America's conservative History or people who are conservative doing great things for the community.
  • Imagine a whole slew of conservative Journalists cutting their teeth of straight news instead of news with a liberal spin, imagine the farm team it would create.
  • Imagine an editorial page giving conservative opinion day after day after day.
  • And imagine a web site ranked in the top 1500 worldwide and top 350 nationally, a web site that local papers around New England draw stories from giving that public conservative thought as background noise in the same way that liberals have done for ages.

Makes a lot of sense. Conservative backers have spent hundreds of millions on Romney's campaign for naught -- they didn't change the hide-bound RINO message. A hundred million spent at the Globe could change the USA for the better...

The Californian city of San Bernardino is bankrupt -- unfunded union pension liabilities and tax rates that drove out businesses.

Who do they hire to turn things around? From USA Today:

Bankrupt Calif. city hires twice-bankrupt manager
Bankrupt San Bernardino, Calif., has hired a new city manager with professional experience getting cities out of fiscal jams and personal experience getting deeply into debt - he has twice declared personal bankruptcy.

The financial problems of the city of 210,000 in Riverside County, about 65 miles east of Los Angeles, are seen as a national test case that pits worker pensions against Wall Street bond holders.

Over the past 30 years, Allen J. Parker has served as city manager or redevelopment director for other communities in California and Illinois.

On Feb. 15, the San Bernardino City Council hired the 71-year-old Parker - at an annual salary of nearly $222,000 - knowing that he and his wife had declared bankruptcy in February 2011, The Press-Enterprise reported. They owed creditors more than $620,000, and had assets, including a house, worth $170,000, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.

City officials also knew about Parker's 1991 bankruptcy in San Mateo, south of San Francisco, and that in 2010 he was removed from the Banning Heights Mutual Water Co. after shareholders sued him and other board members for trying to sell the private utility, Reuters reported.

I cannot see this ending well. This kind of delusional thinking is what got them into this problem in the first place. Also, why has Parker moved around so much -- if he was any good at management, he would find a place and stay there for 30 years...


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Talk about delusional -- from Reuters:
North Korea warns U.S. forces of "destruction" ahead of war drills
North Korea on Sunday warned the top U.S. military commander stationed in South Korea that his forces would "meet a miserable destruction" if they go ahead with scheduled military drills with South Korean troops, North Korean state media said.

Pak Rim-su, chief delegate of the North Korean military mission to the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom, gave the message by phone to Gen. James Thurman, the commander of the U.S. Forces Korea, KCNA news agency said.

It came amid escalating tension on the divided Korean peninsula after the North's third nuclear test earlier this month, in defiance of U.N. resolutions, drew harsh international condemnation.
What is triggering this response:
The U.S.-South Korean Combined Forces Command is holding an annual computer-based simulation war drill, Key Resolve, from March 11 to 25, involving 10,000 South Korean and 3,500 U.S. troops.

The command also plans to hold Foal Eagle joint military exercises involving land, sea and air manoeuvres. About 200,000 Korean troops and 10,000 U.S. forces are expected to be mobilized for the two month-long exercise which starts on March 1.
Title of this post? From General Anthony Clement McAuliffe and the Siege of Bastogne:
The most famous quote of the battle came from the 101st�s acting commander, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe. When confronted with a written request from German General Luttwitz for the surrender of Bastogne, his reply was one word: "NUTS!"

Police unions in the news - Lowell Mass

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From the Lowell Sun:
Lowell paying $230 a month but police GPS units still not activated
The city has paid $230 per month for the last eight months to Verizon to track police officers with a global-positioning system that hasn't been turned on yet.

The department also spent $50,000 to purchase hardware needed to make operational the GPS system first proposed by City Manager Bernie Lynch and Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee three years ago.

But two city unions are blocking the project because they want assurances the data will be used for public safety and not discipline.

City taxpayers are not footing the bill for the hardware outlay or the monthly fee. Police are using the law-enforcement trust fund, built with money taken during drug seizures. That money can only be used for federally-approved purposes, such as buying police equipment.

Lynch and Lavallee announced the initiative after a cruiser was stolen in the Highlands by Ricky Sin of Lowell. Sin pleaded guilty to several charges, including larceny of a motor vehicle.

"Our goal here is to know where the cruisers are and where our people are," Lynch said Tuesday. "And it would certainly be helpful in terms of the deployment of officers."
But the unions:
The 170-member Lowell Patrolmen's Association has other concerns, President Dennis Moriarty said.

"This issue is not as black and white as it might appear," said Moriarty. "We would be willing to approve its use with certain stipulations."

Primarily, he said, the union does not want it used as a disciplinary tool and that the data not be stored.

"There is already a system of checks and balances for that," said Moriarty. "There is a street boss for every shift, a lieutenant and a sergeant. This would be overkill." Moriarty suggested the trust fund be used for other purposes, like officer training.

Lynch disagreed.

"I don't see it (being used for discipline) unless a police officer is somewhere he or she shouldn't be," said Lynch.
I agree with Lynch -- the GPS would only be an 'issue' if the police car is not where it should be. As for this: "Moriarty suggested the trust fund be used for other purposes, like officer training", he seems to be forgetting this: "That money can only be used for federally-approved purposes, such as buying police equipment" Capital equipment for the department and not high-priced junkets to luxurious training facilities. These people work for the citizens of Lowell. Their salary is collected from these citizens through their taxes. They should not consider themselves to be above the citizens.

The National Labor Relations Board

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Remember about a year ago when Obama did a recess appointment for three positions at the NLRB? This was when Congress was not in recess. There is some push-back going on -- from the Washington Examiner:
Court orders NLRB to justify continuing operation in wake of recess appointee ruling
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today ordered the National Labor Relations Board to respond to a petition by a pro-business group that it suspend any further action in a Rhode Island case. The same court had earlier ruled that two of the three current board members were appointed unconstitutionally. Should the court grant the petition, it could force the NLRB to cease all activity.

�We are not asking the court to shut down the Board, but it may have that effect. If the court shuts down the NLRB in this case, why not another other case? This will open the door for challenges in the other cases that have the potential to be invalidated by the court�s decision last month,� said Anthony Riedel, spokesman for the National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation, which filed the petition.
A bit more:
The NRTW�s action followed a decision last month by the court which said the White House had overreached when it recess appointed three people to the five-member board in January 2012. Republican lawmakers had argued the Senate wasn�t actually in recess at the time. The court�s decision effectively said that the appointments of boardmembers Sharon Block and Richard Griffin (the third appointee, Terrence Flynn, had since stepped down) were null and void.

That threw into doubt every decision of the board since the appointments. Without Block and Griffin, it would have lacked a quorum to act.
The Courts move slowly but they do move...

King Obama - a three-fer

These are three long articles that are well worth reading so I am just greatly excerpting them and posting the links. It is worth the 20 minutes of your time to go and read the originals. First: The laws are for the little people -- The New York Times:
Top Cuomo Aide Delivers Public Rebuke of State Worker Who Talked to the Press
Mike Fayette broke the rules. An engineer at the New York State Transportation Department, he gave an interview to a reporter from The Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

In the interview, Mr. Fayette praised Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the transportation workers who had labored to repair roads and bridges washed out by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. No matter. His supervisors said he had not been authorized to speak to the press, and they moved to fire him; he retired instead and left in February.
Second: Pants on Fire - Obama is a serial lier -- Bob Woodward shows some of his original fire and journalist chops. The Washington Post:
Obama�s sequester deal-changer
Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.

What is the non-budget wonk to make of this? Who is responsible? What really happened?

The finger-pointing began during the third presidential debate last fall, on Oct. 22, when President Obama blamed Congress. �The sequester is not something that I�ve proposed,� Obama said. �It is something that Congress has proposed.�
Hint: It was Obama and Jack Lew. Finally: Why we are not represented. From Forbes:
As Country Club Republicans Link Up With The Democratic Ruling Class, Millions Of Voters Are Orphaned
On January 1, 2013 one third of Republican congressmen, following their leaders, joined with nearly all Democrats to legislate higher taxes and more subsidies for Democratic constituencies. Two thirds voted no, following the people who had elected them. For generations, the Republican Party had presented itself as the political vehicle for Americans whose opposition to ever-bigger government financed by ever-higher taxes makes them a �country class.� Yet modern Republican leaders, with the exception of the Reagan Administration, have been partners in the expansion of government, indeed in the growth of a government-based �ruling class.� They have relished that role despite their voters. Thus these leaders gradually solidified their choice to no longer represent what had been their constituency, but to openly adopt the identity of junior partners in that ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the identity of Republican voters and of the majority of Republican elected representatives, the Republican leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013 a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves.
This last article is the key one -- why doesn't the Republican party represent us? Why did the Tea Party need to form? Why is Karl Rove still relevant? The author - Angelo M. Codevilla - is Professor Emeritus of international relations at Boston University and a fellow of the Claremont Institute. Time to drain the swamp and start fresh.

How it's done in Canada - subsidies

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Very good call by the Canadian Government -- from the Toronto Globe and Mail:
Ottawa ending biofuels subsidy over unfulfilled industry promises
The Conservative government is formally shutting down its controversial biofuels subsidy program, saying companies producing biodiesel have failed to meet ambitious production targets.

In a letter sent Thursday, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver rejected calls from the industry to provide new money under Ottawa�s ecoEnergy program to ethanol or biodiesel firms looking to build plants. Existing commitments, however, will be met until the program expires in 2017. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Globe and Mail.

�The government will not redesign or reopen the ecoEnergy for biofuels programs to new applicants,� Mr. Oliver said. �During this time of fiscal restraint and challenging global fiscal realities, our government has committed to ensuring that we balance our budget.�

Ottawa has already paid out $672-million to companies that have built plants to make grain-based ethanol and biodiesel, which has created 800 jobs and a new market for farmers. It expects to spend $1-billion on biofuels subsidies when the last payments are made in 2017, though the program was initially promoted as a $1.5-billion effort.

The government stopped taking applications under the program in 2010, but several companies have announced plans to build new biodiesel plants and the industry has been urging the government since then to continue the subsidy program. In November, 2011, U.S. agrifood giant Archer Daniels Midland announced plans to build a 265-million-litre-a-year biodiesel plant in Lloydminster, Alta., next to its canola crushing plant.
Archer Daniels Midland is not making money from selling Ethanol, it is making its money from the subsidies. For more on ADM, check out "Rats in the Grain" The movie is OK but it totally re-writes the character of the key person. Get the book from your library...
From Jim Hoft at the Gateway Pundit:
SHOCK REPORT � Veterans Receive Letters From VA Prohibiting Ownership or Purchase of Firearms
This must be Barack Obama�s way of thanking our veterans for serving.

US veterans are receiving letters from the government informing them that they are disabled and not allowed to own, purchase or possess a firearm. If the veteran does decide to purchase a firearm he will by fined, imprisoned or both.

This comes on page 2 of the VA letter.
From the letter:
A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).
Two words come to mind: Draconian. Tyranny.

King Barack on climate

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From Anthony at Watts Up With That:
�King� Obama to circumvent lawful due process on climate

FLASHBACK March 2011: Obama on Deporting Illegals �America Is a Nation of Laws,� Presidential Action Not �Appropriate�
Obama Administration Moves Forward on Climate Change Without Congress

Forthcoming regulation likely means no new coal-fired power plants will be built in the United States

By Rebekah Metzler February 22, 2013

President Barack Obama is tired of waiting for Congress to move on legislation to reduce carbon emissions, and his administration is poised to move forward on actions to do just that�including a move that will effectively eliminate the possibility of any new coal plant opening in the United States, experts say.
Source: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/02/22/obama-administration-moves-forward-on-climate-change-without-congress

Sure, let�s ignore China and Germany building new coal plants like there is no tomorrow because some activist idiots (led by �death train� Hansen)have made the weak minded afraid of the weather.

What happens when people start dying in the cold winters because they can�t afford electricity? This is already happening in Britain. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2240716/24-000-died-cold-homes-winter-Fears-grow-figure-higher-year-spiralling-bills.html

My comment to this unlawful presidential action spurred on by irrational fearmongering activists like Bill McKibben and 350.org is simply �Up yours, Mr. President�.
Indeed -- Up Yours! A clear violation of the Constitution. Legislation by executive action. Side-steps the checks and balances built into the cultural DNA of this Nation.

Always classy - Lee Coleman

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From David Codrea at the Gun Rights Examiner:
Gun-grabber has meltdown, flees public affairs forum in anger
With all of the emotion that proposals to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms can generate, what started as a calculated insult against a gun rights proponent speaking at a forum in Oregon turned into an open display of anger and self-humiliation by a former Democrat statehouse candidate.

Lee Coleman fled the hall sputtering insults as he was being questioned by a laughing cameraman.

The event was a Washington County Public Affairs Forum held on Monday. The guest speaker was Kevin Starrett, executive director of Oregon Firearms Federation, and the tensions were created when Coleman, a forum member took to the microphone and turned things personal.

�You made a number of assertions about gun-grabbing and the so-called assault weapon ban as an attempt to grab back weapons already in the hands of people,� Coleman stated. �I would describe those as paranoid delusions. Have you consulted a psychiatrist on this?�
More at the site. Classic old-school v/s new media. Kudos to the cameraman who kept rolling. Cameras are so small these days, I bet Coleman never realized that he was being filmed. What a putz!
Meet State Senator Adam Kline, D-Seattle. From Clayton E. Cramer writing at PJ Media:
Warrantless Searches Proposed � for Third Time � by WA Democrats
Imagine if Republicans in Utah or Alabama, responding to a horrifying sex crime, introduced a bill allowing warrantless searches of homosexuals� homes to make sure they weren�t holding little boys as sex slaves.

The national media would be discussing this gross violation of the Fourth Amendment incessantly, using it as an example of how fundamentally fascist the Republican Party is � everywhere.

Cut to Washington State: in this case, liberal Democrats in the legislature have introduced an assault weapon ban that includes annual inspections of the homes of people that already own assault weapons to make sure that they are being safely stored.

There is no need for a warrant; there is no probable cause requirement; and the Seattle Times columnist writing about this clearly unconstitutional law observes that the sponsors include �Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, a lawyer who typically is hyper-attuned to civil-liberties issues.�

After a stream of criticism, the author withdrew the warrantless search section of the bill, calling it a �mistake.� Yet, as Bryan Preston points out, the warrantless search section � word for word � was included in bills by Kline in 2009 and 2005.

Mistake? I think he was just finally caught and called out this time.

What makes this especially outrageous: not only are they ignoring the Fourth Amendment�s guarantee regarding warrantless searches and the Second Amendment�s guarantee of the right to bear arms, but also the Washington State Constitution�s guarantee of the right to bear arms.

Before liberals attempt to defend not only warrantless searches but also to claim that �assault weapons� are not protected: the Supreme Court of the State of Washington has recognized by name the AR-15 as a constitutionally protected arm.
More at the site. Rope. Tree. Some assembly required.

Happy Sherlock day!!!

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Today is 2/21/13 Write that as 22113 and kern the last 1 and 3 together and you wind up with a very famous Baker Street address...

Long day today

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Went into town to run some errands and check on some stuff. Had a late dinner at a local brewpub and just got home.

Heh - a bit of pushback

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From the BEEB:
West Burton power station: EDF to sue protesters
Climate change protesters who staged a seven day sit-in at a Nottinghamshire power station claim they are being sued for about �5m by the facility's owners.

The 21 campaigners from No Dash for Gas admitted aggravated trespass at the West Burton plant at Mansfield Magistrates' Court, on Wednesday.

EDF Energy confirmed the action and said damages and costs were "in the region" of the figure that is claimed.

The group said some of the campaigners face losing their homes as a result.

A statement on the No Dash for Gas website reads: "EDF has launched a civil claim for damages against the group and associated activists for costs the company claims to have incurred, a figure it puts at �5m.

"Should the claim succeed, several of the campaigners face losing their homes, and all could face bankruptcy or be forced to pay a percentage of their salaries to EDF for decades to come."
A very simple observation -- actions have consequences. Too bad, so sad (NOT!)

Over the transom

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From Irons in the Fire:
Heisenberg and Schr�dinger Were Speeding Along... ... and get pulled over.

Heisenberg is in the driver's seat, the officer asks "do you know how fast you were going?" Heisenberg replies, "No, but I know exactly where I am!" The officer looks at him confused and says "you were going 108 miles per hour!" Heisenberg throws his arms up and cries, "Great! Now I'm lost!"

The officer, now more confused and frustrated orders the men outside of the car, and proceeds to inspect the vehicle. He opens the trunk and yells at the two men, "Hey! Did you guys know you have a dead cat back here?"

Schr�dinger angrily yells back, "We do now, asshole!"

The Jersey Shore four months after Storm Sandy

FEMA slow to respond -- G. W. Bush blamed for lack of relief. Oh. Wait. From Victor Fiorillo writing at the Philadelphia Post:
PHOTOS: Hurricane Sandy�s Destruction at the Shore, Four Months Later
It has been nearly four months since the storm commonly known as Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey�s shoreline. And even though Sandy was not, in fact, a hurricane by the time it ripped into the Jersey Shore, the damage it caused was widespread and severe.

Some beaches and roads remain closed, and many residents will never recover their losses. I took a ride through some of the hardest hit areas last weekend with Walter LaCicero, the Mayor of Lavallette, who said time and time again, �There used to be a house there.� Here, some photos from our trip.
Visit the site for the photos -- the damage is huge with no remediation and it has been four months for these people -- they cannot get on with their lives. What is up with that? New Orleans got rebuilt quickly -- flooded business were up and running in a month or two. Sandy? Not so much -- sure, there was a bill for $60 Billion in relief funding but it was larded with pork not related to the storm damage. The New York Post had a nice writeup:
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.

An eye-popping $13 billion would go to �mitigation� projects to prepare for future storms.

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.
It's not like Sandy was unique -- lots of storms just as large have hit the Eastern Seabord since 1667. And this is just the tip of the iceberg -- there are a lot more screwups that happened. Our government is broken. It cannot work for We The People and it just keeps stuffing more and more of our tax dollars into its maw, gulping and growing at an alarming rate while giving us no benefit.

From Yahoo News/Reuters:

"Keep your so-called workers," U.S. boss tells France
The CEO of a U.S. tire company has delivered a crushing summary of how some outsiders view France's work ethic in a letter saying he would have to be stupid to take over a factory whose staff only put in three hours work a day.

Titan International's Maurice "Morry" Taylor, who goes by "The Grizz" for his bear-like no-nonsense style, told France's left-wing industry minister in a letter published by Paris media that he had no interest in buying a doomed plant.

"The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three," Taylor wrote on February 8 in the letter in English addressed to the minister, Arnaud Montebourg.

"I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way!" Taylor added in the letter, which was posted by business daily Les Echos on its website on Wednesday and which the ministry confirmed was genuine.

"How stupid do you think we are?" he asked at one point.

"Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour wage and ship all the tires France needs," he said. "You can keep the so-called workers."

Needless to say, there was quite the reaction from French officials and the Union bosses. More at the site. Pathetic really -- the old school socialist union mentality comes head to head with practical reality and a boss who will not cave to social pressures.

Like I said, the next time Buttercup needs new rubber, I'm buying Titan tires...

A new sport - underwater ice hockey

From Reuters -- note that the term 'apnea diving' means free diving. They hold their breath under water:

Under the ice
I've been diving for almost 15 years, but due to family matters it has fallen off my list lately. So a new picture assignment at Lake Weissensee in mid-February 2013 just came right to my diver's heart: The Underwater Ice hockey Championships.

Underwater Ice hockey is not played on top of the ice like ice hockey is usually played but underneath it. That's where diving comes into the game because the underwater ice hockey players are in fact apnea divers who want to give their sports an additional sportive kick.

My day started early when I met with the men and women from the Vienna rescue divers' squad ASBOe - Moedling. These dive enthusiasts are responsible for safety and security during the whole tournament. If you dive under ice you can't go straight to the surface to breath if you have an emergency. Thus ice diving is, together with cave diving, considered to be the most dangerous diving discipline. For that reason I listened to the security briefing attentively.


After checking the equipment we jumped into the water and went down. There I could see the field of play. It was underneath the ice approximately 3 x 6 meters square; each side fronted by a goal. The puck was 10 inches wide and made of Styrofoam so it didn't sink but floated right under the ice.

The teams consisted of two players (men and women) who took turns with the hockey stick trying to score. Each time they succeeded in scoring the apnea divers came back to the surface to breathe. In total, the game lasted three periods with a ten minute break.

More at the site -- talk about an extreme sport! Hat tip to Neatorama for the link.

it's all about Anthropogenic Global Warming. From the Weekly Standard:
Kerry Gives First Foreign Policy Speech � on Climate Change
Secretary of State John Kerry gave his first major foreign policy speech today. In his address, delivered at the University of Virginia, he discussed tackling climate change.

"We as a nation must have the foresight and courage to make the investments necessary to safeguard the most sacred trust we keep for our children and grandchildren: an environment not ravaged by rising seas, deadly superstorms, devastating droughts, and the other hallmarks of a dramatically changing climate," said Kerry, according to prepared remarks.

"And let�s face it � we are all in this one together. No nation can stand alone. We share nothing so completely as our planet. When we work with others � large and small � to develop and deploy the clean technologies that will power a new world, we�re also helping create new markets and new opportunities for America�s second-to-none innovators and entrepreneurs to succeed in the next great revolution."

Kerry called for collective action to deal with this problem. "So let�s commit ourselves to doing the smart thing and the right thing and truly commit to tackling this challenge," he said. "Because if we don�t rise to meet it, rising temperatures and rising sea levels will surely lead to rising costs down the road. If we waste this opportunity, it may be the only thing our generations are remembered for. We need to find the courage to leave a far different legacy."
What the hell is this guy smoking? I want to know so that I can avoid it at all costs. You mean to say that Kerry is basing a part of the United State's Foreign Policy on a discredited political/scientific scam?


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From the White House Dossier:
Top Ten Sequester Cuts Obama Really Hates!
President Obama is excoriating Republicans for threatening to allow the sequester � the one Obama insisted on � to kick in, claiming all sorts of intolerable spending cuts will occur and calamitous things will happen if something isn�t done to avert it.

But White House Dossier has discovered the true reason for Obama�s concern. Some of these cuts hit the White House, and they�re going to hit right where it hurts.

What follows are the top ten sequester cuts that Obama can�t stand.


1. Hot warm towels at the end of Air Force One flights ELIMINATED.
2. Bo Obama to receive Purina instead of Science Diet dog food.
3. Obamas forced to take vacations together.
Seven more at the site and be sure to check out the comments -- there are a bunch more ideas:
New nickel tax every time the words �I�, �me�, or �my� are used in a speech
State dinners are now involve Michelle�s healthy lunch school program.
POTUS has to re-imburse the Treasury for his skeet ammunition


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We had been lulled into thoughts of an early spring -- average temps were in the 40's and 50's with clear skies. Should have known... The last two nights were stunningly clear and cold -- there was a forecast for rain today and it's coming down in the frozen state. No appreciable accumulation as yet but the day is young...
Computer software updates are not always a good thing. From the D.C. CBS affiliate:
NASA Regains Space Station Contact After 3-Hour Outage
The International Space Station regained contact with NASA controllers in Houston after nearly three hours of accidental quiet, the space agency says.

Officials say the six crew members and station are fine and had no problem during the brief outage.

NASA spokesman Josh Byerly said something went wrong around 9:45 a.m. EST Tuesday during a computer software update on the station. The outpost abruptly lost all communication, voice and command from Houston.
Sometimes things just do not go as planned... When I worked at Microsoft, I had a couple of hard drive controllers 'brick' on me when I did a firmware upgrade. The manufacturer replaced the units but still, it took two weeks to get the replacements and that put a crimp in the operations. They should have tested the upgrade more thoroughly...

Good news about the United Nations

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. From FOX News:

US, other nations quietly maneuvering to rein in sprawling, inefficient UN system
Frustrated by the epic inefficiency, sprawling disorganization and free-spending of their money by the United Nations, a group of Western donor nations, including the U.S., has been meeting quietly to develop a strategy to rein in the world organization's more than $20 billion a year in anti-poverty assistance -- which even parts of the U.N. concede hasn't done much to relieve poverty.

Good luck on that -- it is seriously needed and overdue. The UN does some good work but other parts of the organization are corrupt, bloated and have no oversight or responsibility. Those arms need to be lopped off.

Our once-great Military

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Obama continues to gut our military. From The Hill:
Pentagon informs Congress of plans to furlough 800K civilians
The Pentagon notified Congress on Wednesday it will be furloughing its civilian workforce of 800,000 employees if sequestration goes into effect March 1.

Defense officials have warned lawmakers that sequestration will devastate the military and lead to a hollow force, but the civilian furloughs will be one of the first major impacts felt by the across-the-board cuts.

The Pentagon furloughs will affect civilians across the country. Pentagon officials have said that civilians could face up to 22 days of furloughs, one per week, through the end of the fiscal year in September. The employees would receive 30 days notice before being furloughed.

�We are doing everything possible to limit the worst effects on DOD personnel � but I regret that our flexibility within the law is extremely limited,� Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrote in a message to the department. �The president has used his legal authority to exempt military personnel funding from sequestration, but we have no legal authority to exempt civilian personnel funding from reductions.�
And so begins the twilight of our America as implemented by the 51% of low-information voters who just wanted their share of free stuff...

Oymyakon, the Pole of Cold

Coldest permantly settled city in the world. Wonderful story and set of photographs from the London Daily Mail:

Coldest village in the world just got even COLDER... weather takes turn for the worse in -71C Russian hamlet where even the planes can't land in winter
As we whinge about the wintry weather here in Britain, spare a thought for those living in a Russian hamlet where temperatures can plummet to -71C, so cold even planes cannot land there in winter.

The valley of Oymyakon in northeast Russia is known as the 'Pole of Cold' and with an average January temperature of -50C, it is no wonder the village is the coldest permanently inhabited settlement in the world.

This is the lowest recorded temperature for any permanently inhabited location on Earth and the lowest temperature recorded in the Northern Hemisphere.

The village, which is home to about 500 people, was, in the 1920s and 1930s, a stopover for reindeer herders who would water their flocks from the thermal spring.

But the Soviet government, in its efforts to settle nomadic populations, believing them to be difficult to control and technologically and culturally backward, made the site a permanent settlement.

Daily problems that come with living in Oymyakon include pen ink freezing, glasses freezing to people's faces and batteries losing power. Locals are said to leave their cars running all day for fear of not being able to restart them.

Even if there was coverage for mobile phone reception the phones themselves would not work in such cold conditions.

Another problem caused by the frozen temperatures is burying dead bodies, which can take anything up to three days. The earth must first be thawed sufficiently in order to dig it, so a bonfire is lit for a couple of hours. Hot coals are then pushed to the side and a hole a couple of inches deep is dug. The process is repeated for several days until the hole is deep enough to bury the coffin.

Ironically, Oymyakon actually means 'non-freezing water' due to a nearby hot spring.

That would be an amazing place to visit for a week or two.

A Postal Boondoggle

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Talk about poor management -- from The Washington Post:
Postal Service to launch new clothing line in 2014
First the end of Saturday mail, now a new clothing line. The U.S. Postal Service is taking unprecedented steps to make itself relevant and profitable these days.

The cash-strapped agency announced plans on Tuesday to launch a new line of all-weather apparel and accessories sometime next year.

Move over, upscale North Face. Or should it be the grittier Carhartt brand that worries?

The Postal Service chose �Rain Heat & Snow� as its own brand name, alluding to its unofficial motto: �Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.�
The article mentions that:
The Postal Service introduced a limited retail line in the 1980s that included items such as T-shirts, mugs and neckties, all sold exclusively in post offices. Betts said the agency discontinued those products after lobbyists complained to Congress that the organization was directly competing with private businesses and that it was not established to sell merchandise.
Time to get some new management in there. They exist due to a Constitutional clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 7) so it's not as though we could sell it off to Fed-Ex or something...
From the Beeb:
Bulgaria government to resign, PM Boiko Borisov says
Bulgaria's government has announced it is resigning after nationwide protests against high electricity prices and austerity measures, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov has said.
And the sad thing is that it sounds like the Prime Minister is just the kind of politician they need to have:
The PM said he had decided to go after protesters against rising electricity prices clashed with police in Sofia.

At least 14 people were injured during Tuesday's demonstrations.

"I will not participate in a government under which police are beating people," Mr Borisov said.

"Every drop of blood is a shame for us,"
Mr. Borisov is probably doing everything right -- the citizens of Bulgaria need to listen and realize that they have voted themselves free stuff and it is now time to pay the butcher's bill... Next up from Reuters:
Anti-austerity strike to bring Greece to a standstill
Greek workers walk off the job on Wednesday in a nationwide anti-austerity strike that will disrupt transport, shut public schools and tax offices and leave hospitals working with emergency staff.

Greece's two biggest labor unions plan to bring much of the near-bankrupt country to a standstill during a 24-hour strike over the cuts, which they say only deepen the plight of a people struggling to get through the country's worst peacetime downturn.

Representing about 2.5 million workers, the unions have gone on strike repeatedly since Europe's debt crisis erupted in late 2009, testing the government's will to implement necessary reforms in the face of growing public anger.
Greece's population is 10.7 million and significantly, just under 20% of the population is age 65 or older so the majority of these people are drawing their retirement pensions. Just looking at the 10.7 million, if 20% of these people are retired, this leaves a working population of less than 8.56 million people. Obviously, the actual number is a lot lower as this is the population from age 1 through age 64. If these unions represent 2.5 million people, they represent about 30% of the total labor force. This is too big a number -- the unions have a lock on the Greek workforce -- too much power concentrated in one place and the entire nation is suffering for it... Socialism has always failed. The ideas are nice in theory but the bar will always get ratcheted up and up and up until the system collapses -- and it will always collapse. We are headed down the same path as Greece and the other EU nations.

Wal-Mart concerned about the economy

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And if they are concerned, I'm concerned. From The Washington Post:
Wal-Mart�s freaking out about the economy. Should the rest of us?
�Well, we just had one of those weeks here at Walmart U.S. Where are all the customers? And where�s their money?�

On Friday, Bloomberg published a couple of internal e-mails from Wal-Mart executives panicking about the company�s worst sales start in seven years � �a total disaster,� as one put it. The execs attributed Wal-Mart�s slump to the payroll tax hike that kicked in on Jan. 1, cutting the median family�s take-home pay by about $1,000 this year.

So if Wal-Mart is struggling, does that mean everyone else should worry? There are two ways to look at this. The first is that this is a terrible omen. Wal-Mart makes up such a huge chunk of the U.S. economy � 2.3 percent of GDP in 2006 � that many analysts look to it as a key bellwether. Matt Stoller wrote an excellent post last year on this topic:
Because of its scale and remarkable amount of data, the company actually has more granular data about the economy than most macro-economic forecasters. As Fed Board Governor Randall Kroszner said in a June 2006 meeting, Walmart officials �effectively know what retail sales are before the numbers are reported because their sales are so highly correlated with overall retail sales.�
Stoller combed through transcripts of meetings from the Federal Open Market Committee over the years and found that Wal-Mart was often warning about signs of trouble in the economy long before anyone else:
In 2004, Walmart began warning of high energy prices, and that consumers were �liquidity-constrained�. The company saw in its sales figures that consumers were increasingly living paycheck to paycheck. In 2005, the company began worrying about a �strange� situation � the consumer was tapped out, but sales were up and Walmart couldn�t figure out why. This was a hint of the credit bubble, but the Fed ignored it.
In other words, pay attention to Wal-Mart. They often know something the rest of us don�t.
Times are going to get worse before they get better. Time to hunker down and conserve resources.

An expensive conference

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From San Francisco station KTVU:
U.S. Postal Service conference at Moscone Center totals $2.2 million
The United States Postal Service is bleeding money and drastically cutting services, yet the agency is spending more than $2 million to send its top executives to a conference in San Francisco.

The National Postal Forum is happening at the Moscone Center next month, which includes workshops and meetings but there's also a dance party, a dinner event and a golf tournament.
Documents obtained by KTVU's Washington D.C. bureau show the travel, $220,000 in exhibit space and other incidentals will cost the postal service $2.2 million.

The advertised hotels, such as the Marriott Marquis and the Intercontinental, go for nearly $300 a night before the government discount.

Internal postal service documents show beyond meetings and a golf tournament there will also be music entertainment and a taste of San Francisco banquet at the Marriott featuring the foods of Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown.
$2.2 million will buy a lot of stamps. No wonder they are broke...

Voter fraud update

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Nice to see that this story is not going away. Back on February 9 I posted about Melowese Richardson who freely admitted to voting twice in last November's election. Now it seems that she might have cast six ballots -- from FOX News:
Did Obama supporter vote 6 times in 2012? Ohio poll worker target of investigation
The Obama/Biden lawn sign remains proudly planted in front of Melowese Richardson's Cincinnati home, three months after the presidential election.

It seems that President Obama has an especially ardent supporter in the veteran Ohio poll worker.

Richardson told a local television station this month that she voted twice last November. She cast an absentee ballot and then voted at the polls as well.

"Yes, I voted twice," Richardson told WCPO-TV. "I, after registering thousands of people, certainly wanted my vote to count, so I voted. I voted at the polls."

Authorities also are investigating if she voted in the names of four other people, too, for a total of six votes in the 2012 presidential election.
A bit more:
"It appears she not only attempted to vote more than once, but was actually successful at it and having those additional votes counted," Ohio Secretary of State John Husted, who is in charge of the state's elections, told Fox News.

"She appears to have used her position as a poll worker to cover her tracks. That would be someone who is an official in the elections process, using that position to commit a fraud. That is especially troubling to me, as the chief elections officer of the state, because it is my responsibility to make sure the system runs effectively, that it has integrity. When I find issues like this, I know that it undermines voter confidence in our elections, and we must pursue it."
She needs to spend some time in jail. It would be curious to know how many cases of voter fraud there were -- we know about the bus-loads of people showing up in Michigan.

North Korea rattles its saber

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Talk about paranoid sounding -- from Reuters:
North Korea threatens South with "final destruction"
North Korea threatened South Korea with "final destruction" during a debate at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday, saying it could take further steps after a nuclear test last week.
I would like to see what happens if they tried -- a big smoking crater where Pyongyang used to be...

Up for auction

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I am into precise time measurement and subscribe to an email list for this topic. This auction was mentioned today:
BBC BUSH house Patek Philippe clock pulse clock system
This is a real piece of history, this rack unit houses clocks made by one of the most expensive manufactures of wristwatches in the world, much bigger than Rolex and defiantly one of the best. Here we have a pulse clock system made fore the BBC's BUSH house broadcasting studios, this unit was located in the centre block of the BBC, it produced a pulse to the clocks you see around it, the unit would be capable of driving many clocks synchronously and accurately in multiple time zones.

I have tested the unit to the best of my abilities, the device needs 48V but I have only got a 25V PSU so it was not strong enough to power everything correctly. The video shows the 4 BS-10 units pulsing on their own accord as they have an internal clock system, they can also use a sync from an external clock pulse for higher accuracy, this unit isn't supplied.
A real piece of history indeed -- these were the heartbeat of all timekeeping for BBC throughout the world. I had posted earlier about The hardware of the British Broadcasting Corporation -- this fits right in...

Back for the day

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My old cookware was pretty beat up so I now have a couple of very nice stainless pots and pans. I like to cook so this will make things a lot easier.

Heading up to Canada

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Gone for the day -- we are heading up to Ikea and a couple other stores. No posting until tonight...

Hey Bro - time to move to Texas

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From The Register:
Brocade: California taxman took off with our profits
Storage networking and Ethernet supplier Brocade has grown its latest quarter's revenues but swung from profit to loss after changes to the state of California's tax code. It reckons it will soon be doing even better now on the back of its 16GBit/s Fibre Channel kit and added that software-defined networking has opened up a whole new raft of opportunities.

Revenues for the first fiscal 2013 quarter, ended 26 January 2013, were $588.7m - a record and a 5 per cent increase on the year-ago quarter. We would have expected net income of around $60m but instead there was a $21m loss due to the tax slurp.
I spent five years working at Microsoft as a lab manager and Brocade was one of the top-tier networking and storage companies. Excellent equipment and software. They need to seriously look at relocating to Texas or some other tax-friendly state -- they are not doing their shareholders any good...

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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Yikes -- from The Register:
Higgs data shows alternate reality will SWALLOW UNIVERSE
That Higgs Boson we all got excited about last year because it would reveal the mysteries of the universe?

One boffin now says his analysis of the data suggests the Higgs is, in fact, an obituary for the universe.

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston yesterday, Joseph Lykken of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and a member of the LHC team delivered a talk titled �What the Latest Results on the Higgs Tell Us�.

According to Reuters, the talk had bad news for everyone and everything, and even time itself.

"It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable and at some point billions of years from now it's all going to get wiped out," Lykken told the newswire.

Here's how things will unfold in the worst case scenario:
"Many tens of billions of years from now, there'll be a catastrophe. A little bubble of what you might think of as an �alternative' universe will appear somewhere and then it will expand out and destroy us.�
Lykken is happily a little unsure of his numbers , noting that for his equations to work we need to know the mass of the Higgs to within one percent. Change an input and �you get a different end of the universe.�

Even if Lykken's maths are right, there is some upside in the fact he says this event won't happen for billions of years and will take place at the speed of light, giving those of us far away from the event some time in which to put our affairs in order.
Sheesh -- so now, in the span of a week, I have to deal with meteorite strikes, move my secret undersea lair and now this. It used to be that I just had to hibernate through the ice ages every 20K years or so. This planet is getting a bit to active for my tastes. Title of this post? Go and read (end of first paragraph) -- it ties together...

Go and read

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Sarah Hoyt is on fire these days. First this and now this:
Keeping Grandma Atop The Cliff
It is something everyone knows that anyone who wants to shrink government is aiming to push grandmas off cliffs and let the poor starve in the dark.

Just because �everybody knows it� doesn�t mean it�s so. Some time ago � oh, seventy years or so � international communism made it a goal to capture all the gatekeeper positions for mass media and entertainment. (No, I�m not saying everyone in that position is a communist. Most of them aren�t even conscious fellow-travelers. They�ve just bought the �every good/smart/well educated person thinks this, and they�d rather die than think.)

That�s actually what makes it worse. If these people had been conscious communists, they would have had to re-examine their beliefs when the horror-show that the Soviet Union had hidden came out when it collapsed. But because they�re simply going on �what the good people believe� without examining it or figuring out where it leads, they have continued, pretty much on course, repeating the lies that were once in service of a now defunct evil empire. It�s a zombie thing.

So the �big lies� that get repeated over and over by the media, until everyone knows them often are gross distortions of reality. More often, they have absolutely nothing to do with reality and are made with reference only to the Marxian theory of the world. (Sort of like the maps medieval cartographers made with reference only to other, previous maps � often someone�s guess at reality � had absolutely nothing to do with where land masses were or even what the shape of the Earth was.)
Go and read the whole thing -- don't forget to check out the 170+ comments.

Lavrov and Kerry finally talk

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Five days ago, our new Secretary of State tried to call the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Three days ago, there was still no love but don't fret, everything is just coming up roses -- the Kerry office said:
�Well, first of all, let me say that we are relaxed. The secretary is relaxed about this,� outgoing State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday. �From our perspective, the secretary would like to talk to him. It's up to him whether he wants to take that opportunity.�
Well, today it is high fives all around the State Department because -- as reported in The Moscow Times:
Kerry Finally Reaches Lavrov by Phone
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry finally reached Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by phone over the weekend, after almost a week of trying to contact his Russian counterpart.

In a statement on its official website, the Foreign Ministry said that Lavrov and Kerry spoke by phone on Sunday and discussed North Korea and the international community's efforts to put an end to the civil conflict in Syria.

The ministry said that North Korea was discussed "on the initiative of the Russian side" and that Lavrov and Kerry had agreed to stay in touch.
Sigh... I look forward to the day when we get a real alpha dog back into this office.

Hell no - proposed WA State gun law

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From the Seattle Times:
Misstep in gun bill could defeat the effort
Forget police drones flying over your house. How about police coming inside, once a year, to have a look around?

As Orwellian as that sounds, it isn�t hypothetical. The notion of police home inspections was introduced in a bill last week in Olympia.

That it�s part of one of the major gun-control efforts pains me. It seemed in recent weeks lawmakers might be headed toward some common-sense regulation of gun sales. But then last week they went too far. By mistake, they claim. But still too far.
And the crux of the matter:
Responding to the Newtown school massacre, the bill would ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons that use detachable ammunition magazines. Clips that contain more than 10 rounds would be illegal.

But then, with respect to the thousands of weapons like that already owned by Washington residents, the bill says this:
�In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing shall ... safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection.�
In other words, come into homes without a warrant to poke around. Failure to comply could get you up to a year in jail.

�I�m a liberal Democrat � I�ve voted for only one Republican in my life,� Palmer told me. �But now I understand why my right-wing opponents worry about having to fight a government takeover.�

He added: �It�s exactly this sort of thing that drives people into the arms of the NRA.�
When a liberal lawyer brings a proposed law like this to the attention of a liberal columnist and neither of them think it a good idea, this is where we make progress in education. A teachable moment. The ten round limit is downright stupid but allowing the sheriff to come into your house once/year. I am not hiding anything but I still want them to get a warrant first -- it is the polite thing to do...

And another one bites the dust

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Say goodbye to this Ames True Temper factory -- the company is almost 240 years old and falling victim to our economy. From Erie, PA station WFXP:
Union City Manufacturing Plant Closing
The Ames True Temper manufacturing plant is closing its doors this fall. Thirty full-time, permanent employees will lose their jobs.

We spoke to Union City borough council president, Dan Brumigan, to confirm the closure, and he says this is the sixth factory to close in the past 15 years, resulting in a total loss of about 800 jobs in the Union City area. He says this is especially a large number of job losses, considering that the population of Union City is about 3.300.

He also says the community faces other economic challenges with the closure of the plant. The borough will lose tax revenue and water/sewage revenue from the plant closure.
The company is still very much in business but still, it is sad to see the USA manufacturing move overseas to China...
From the Chicago Tribune:
Anxiety grows as CPS releases preliminary school closings list
After trimming the number of schools that could be closed to 129, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's school administration has entered the latest and what is likely to be the most intense phase so far in trying to determine which schools should be shut.

Chicago Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett is expected to pare the preliminary list, released Wednesday, before unveiling a final one at the end of March. She said administrators will determine which schools are saved in the coming weeks amid a final round of community meetings to hear arguments from parents, teachers and community groups about why their schools should stay open.

If a hearing Wednesday night in North Lawndale was any indication, CPS still has a long way to go to gain the public's trust.
Well, we just need to raise taxes and spend more money. Then again, there is this chart:
More funding to education merely feeds the teachers union leviathan and does nothing to improve the quality of teachers. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule but these are 10% or less.

Great idea

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From Bellingham, WA station KGMI:
Bill Would Require Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients
A measure being considered in the state Legislature involves drug testing for welfare recipients in Washington.

The bill, whose primary sponsor is Senator Don Benton of Vancouver, calls for testing for welfare recipients who are suspected by caseworkers of having drug problems.

A positive result would mean the recipient loses the benefits unless they undergo treatment and stay clean.

The measure is currently being heard in committee.
Time to call some Representative's offices -- a very good idea. Welfare was never meant to be a lifestyle -- it was meant to help a family over a bad patch. There are lots of people seriously abusing the system.
The Government is my Shepherd, I need not work.
It alloweth me to lie down on a good job; It leadeth me beside still factories; It destroyeth my initiative.
It leadeth me in the path of a parasite for politics' sake;
Yea, though I walk through the valley of laziness and deficit-spending,
I will fear no evil, for the government is with me.
It prepareth an economic Utopia for me, by appropriating the earnings of my own grandchildren.
It filleth my head with false security; My inefficiency runneth over.
Surely the government should care for me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell in a fool's house forever.

Party in Kansas

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From The Wichita Eagle:
Brothers celebrate lottery win by blowing up house
Two brothers who were celebrating a $75,000 winning lottery ticket by purchasing marijuana and meth accidentally blew up their house on Friday, said Sgt. Bruce Watts of the Wichita Police Department.

The explosion sent one of the brothers � a 27-year-old � to the hospital, where he remains in serious but stable condition with second-degree burns on his hands, arms and chest.

The other brother was sent to jail, Watts said.

The brothers were in a house in the 100 block of North Nevada Court, near Douglas and West Street, about 7 p.m. Friday, Watts said. One of the brothers went to the kitchen to refuel the butane torches they planned to use to light their bongs. He emptied a couple of large cans of butane lighter fluid, leaking butane into the air.

�The butane vapor reached the pilot light in the furnace, and as you might expect, ka-boom,� Watts said.

The victim was wearing a lottery T-shirt during the explosion.

The victim�s girlfriend loaded him and some children into a car and took him to the Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis emergency room, where she dropped him off and left.

Officers went to the house with a warrant, where the other brother ran out, admitting he had marijuana and methamphetamine. He was arrested.
His stay in the burn ward will probably cost him more than his $75K and he still owes the IRS their share of the winnings too. The stupid -- it burns... Looks like the gene pool could use a little more Clorox.

Say hi to higher poultry prices

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From Associated Press:
Mexico: Bird flu outbreak hits 582,000 chickens
Mexico's animal health agency says a bird flu outbreak at seven farms in central Mexico has affected as many as 582,000 chickens.

The Agriculture Department says more than a half million birds were exposed, but the number that will have to be slaughtered has yet to be determined.

An outbreak of the H7N3 bird flu virus in western Mexico in 2012 led to the slaughter of more than 22 million hens and caused price increases in chicken and egg products.
This is just the first mention so it could be the tip of the iceberg. No updates as yet...

Daniel Hannan on Socialism

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Daniel Hannan is a National treasure -- alas, of England. Still, he is a great friend of the United States and issues this cautionary editorial at the UK Telegraph:
So total is the Left's cultural ascendancy that no one likes to mention the socialist roots of fascism
'I am a Socialist,' Hitler told Otto Strasser in 1930, 'and a very different kind of Socialist from your rich friend, Count Reventlow'.

No one at the time would have regarded it as a controversial statement. The Nazis could hardly have been more open in their socialism, describing themselves with the same terminology as our own SWP: National Socialist German Workers' Party.

Almost everyone in those days accepted that fascism had emerged from the revolutionary Left. Its militants marched on May Day under red flags. Its leaders stood for collectivism, state control of industry, high tariffs, workers' councils. Around Europe, fascists were convinced that, as Hitler told an enthusiastic Mussolini in 1934, 'capitalism has run its course'.

One of the most stunning achievements of the modern Left is to have created a cultural climate where simply to recite these facts is jarring. History is reinterpreted, and it is taken as axiomatic that fascism must have been Right-wing, the logic seemingly being that Left-wing means compassionate and Right-wing means nasty and fascists were nasty. You expect this level of analysis from Twitter mobs; you shouldn't expect it from mainstream commentators.
The tactics, names and dates have changed but the underlying ideology stays the same. 930+ comments offering a wide range of belief systems...

Health -- bad news from The Washington Post

A two-fer - first -- boomers (Hey! That's me!) health:
Baby boomers in worse health than their parents at the same life stage, study says
Members of the baby boomer generation are in worse health than their parents were at the same stage of life, with obesity and lack of exercise taking a toll, according to a new study.

About 13 percent of baby boomers � the generation born in the two decades after World War II � reported being in �excellent� health in middle age. That compares with 32 percent of the previous generation who said the same thing at the same stage of life, researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine.

�The baby boomer generation has a reputation of being active,� said Dana King, a professor at the West Virginia School of Medicine and the study�s lead author. But �that did not seem to jibe with what we�re seeing in our medical offices.�
And, Obamacare's pre-existing conditions promise? Out of money already:
Funds run low for health insurance in state �high-risk pools�
Tens of thousands of Americans who cannot get health insurance because of preexisting medical problems will be blocked from a program designed to help them because funding is running low.

Obama administration officials said Friday that the state-based �high-risk pools� set up under the 2010 health-care law will be closed to new applicants as soon as Saturday and no later than March 2, depending on the state.
A bit more -- the money in question is five billion dollars:
The program, which was launched in summer 2010, was always intended as a temporary bridge for the uninsured. But it was supposed to last until 2014. At that point, the health-care law will bar insurers from rejecting or otherwise discriminating against people who are already sick, enabling such people to buy plans through the private market.
Supposed to last for four years -- spent in two. Obamacare hasn't even kicked in yet and it is already running out of money. The health care system needed reform but central planning was not the way to do it -- institute tort reform for frivolous malpractice cases, allow insurance to be purchased across state lines, open clinics 24/7 for low need emergency care for the uninsured. There are a lot of things that could be done that aren't.

Nice work if you can get it

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Must be nice to be one of Obama's cronies -- from Bloomberg Businessweek:
Facebook Gets a Multibillion-Dollar Tax Break
It hasn�t drawn much attention, but Facebook�s first annual earnings report contains an accounting gem: a multibillion-dollar tax deduction for the cost of executive stock options and share awards.

Even though Facebook (FB) reported $1.1 billion in pre-tax profits from U.S. operations in 2012, it will probably pay zero federal and state taxes�and even receive a federal tax refund of about $429 million�according to a Feb. 14 statement from Citizens for Tax Justice.

The tax-research and -lobbying organization says companies such as Facebook should treat stock options the same in their reports to shareholders as they do in their tax filings. Citizens for Tax Justice calls the tax footnotes in Facebook�s Jan. 30 financial statement �an amazing admission,� but there�s nothing illegal about the breaks the company is claiming. Companies like Facebook are allowed to treat the cost of non-cash compensation, such as stock options, as an expense that reduces profits, essentially the way they treat cash compensation such as salaries.
All totally legal, just wrong.

Vacation time again - yaaayyyy!!!

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From The Weekly Standard:
Separate Vacations for Barack and Michelle Obama
The White House confirms today that President Barack Obama will be vacationing in Florida this weekend. His wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, will be in Colorado. The two daughters will be with Michelle.
While the rest of his family will be skiing, Obama is expected to be hitting the links with golf pros and buddies in Florida.

Vice President Joe Biden and his family, according to the White House, will be in Colorado this weekend on vacation.
Great -- two transportation chains, two details of catering, media, personal assistants, security, etc... that we taxpayers are paying for. I do not begrudge anyone a good vacation after a period of work but this is getting ridiculous. There are issues that need to be dealt with and Barry Obama is kicking the can down the road.

Those Wascally Wabbits

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From the Denver, Colorado Denver Post:
Bunnies taking toll on cars at Denver airport
The furry creatures are wreaking havoc on cars parked at Denver International Airport by eating spark plug cables and other wiring.

To stop the problem, federal wildlife workers are removing at least 100 bunnies a month while parking companies install better fences and build perches for predator hawks and eagles.
And the best solution:
Mechanics say coating the wires with fox or coyote urine can rob the rabbits of their appetite. Fox urine can be purchased at many hunting shops.
Two of my goats used to like to hang out on the front porch at night with the corresponding poop and pee issues. I picked up some coyote urine at a local hunting store and problem solved. The smell is something primal to them. Predator...

John Kerry - financial update?

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Kerry is married to Heinz Foods heiress Teresa Heinz. Kerry has some money but it is dwarfed by the Heinz fortune. Heinz Foods was sold to Berkshire Hathaway recently and the Securities and Exchange Commission noticed an odd stock transaction that benefited the anonymous trader by $1.7 million. From the Wall Street Journal:
SEC Freezes Swiss Account Over Heinz Trades
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has frozen the assets of a Swiss trading account that allegedly made a series of "highly suspicious" trades reaping about $1.7 million ahead of the blockbuster sale of H.J. Heinz Co. HNZ -0.30%

The regulator's move came one day after Heinz said it was selling itself for $23 billion to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRKB +0.56%and Brazilian private-equity firm 3G Capital in one of the biggest food-industry acquisitions ever.

In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday, the SEC said the traders invested nearly $90,000 in options that would gain in value if Heinz's share price rose. A day later, after the deal was announced, the traders stood to reap a profit of more than $1.7 million, the lawsuit said.

Regulators began an inquiry into possible insider trading very shortly after the deal was announced, alerted by a spike in options trading the day before, according to people close to the investigation.
It will be interesting to find out who Trader 'X' is -- stupid for one thing, they could have diluted the impact of their trades by opening up multiple accounts.

Poor Sec. State Kerry - update

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It was noted two days ago that newly appointed Secretary of State Kerry was unable to get Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to pick up the phone. A request for a callback was given and now -- from Foreign Policy:
Russia�s foreign minister still hasn�t called Kerry back
As you head off for your Presidents' Day weekend, The Cable would just like to note that it's now been over 72 hours since Secretary of State John Kerry reached out to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov -- without getting a call back.

As The Cable reported earlier this week, Kerry reached out to Lavrov after North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb on Feb. 11, as well as the foreign ministers of Japan, China, and South Korea. Lavrov, who has been traveling in Africa, is the only foreign minister who didn't answer or return Kerry's call. The State Department is trying very hard not to seem upset about the perceived snub.

"Well, first of all, let me say that we are relaxed. The secretary is relaxed about this," outgoing State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday. "From our perspective, the secretary would like to talk to him. It's up to him whether he wants to take that opportunity."
Emphasis mine -- what other kind of spin could you conceivably put on this. The official representative of one of the top five world powers deliberately snubbing their counterpart? Kerry is, as they say in Texas, all hat and no cattle. We saw this during his presidential bid. He has great hair and looks very senatorial but he is out of touch with the real world.
David Middleton writes about himself at Watts Up With That:
I have been a geoscientist in the evil oil and gas industry for almost 30 years. My favorite hobby is debunking the junk science of the radical environmentalists... Particularly the junk science of anthropogenic global warming.
His post looks at some of Obama's talking points and proceeds to refute them:
SOTU: Energy Fabrications, Falsehoods and Fantasies
During his State of the Union Address, President Obama had a few things to say about energy and I have a few replies.
Pres. Obama: We buy� less foreign oil than we have in 20 [years].
Wrong!!! We buy more �foreign oil� now than we did 20 years ago.
Pres. Obama: We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years.
What do you mean by �we�? You don�t produce any oil.

See that decline in Federal Gulf of Mexico production from ~1.7 MMbbl/d to ~1.4 MMbbl/d since early 2010?

You actually did build that.
David goes on for a couple more -- each of his refutations are backed up with data from the following sources:
U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Imports by Country of Origin
U.S. Energy Information Administration, Crude Oil Production
Quest Offshore Resources, Inc. The State of the Offshore U.S. Oil and Gas Industry, December 2011
Office of Natural Resource Revenue, Statistical Information
Pants on fire...

An Earth Shattering Ka-Boom

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Quite the meteor in Russia yesterday. Because of car insurance requirements, most Russian vehicles have running dash-cams hence the number of videos. From Russia Today:
Meteorite hits Russian Urals: Fireball explosion wreaks havoc, up to 1,200 injured (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Russia�s Urals region has been rocked by a meteorite explosion in the stratosphere. The impact wave damaged several buildings, and blew out thousands of windows amid frigid winter weather. Hundreds have sought medical attention for minor injuries.

Around 1200 people have sought medical attention in Chelyabinsk alone because of the disaster, the region's governor Mikhail Yurevich told RIA Novosti. Over 110 of them have been hospitalized and two of them are in heavy condition. Among the injured there are 159 children, Emergency ministry reported.

Army units found three meteorite debris impact sites, two of which are in an area near Chebarkul Lake, west of Chelyabinsk. The third site was found some 80 kilometers further to the northwest, near the town of Zlatoust. One of the fragments that struck near Chebarkul left a crater six meters in diameter.

Servicemembers from the tank brigade that found the crater have confirmed that background radiation levels at the site are normal.
Lots of photos and video at the site. A big problem is that temps are in the serious sub-zero range and the sonic boom broke a lot of windows. Russia Today has more here and here. The Australian Sydney Morning Herald has some video and a few photos. From Spaceweather:
"Here is what we know so far," says Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "The asteroid was about 15 meters in diameter and weighed approximately 7000 metric tons. It struck Earth's atmosphere at 40,000 mph (18 km/s) and broke apart about 12 to 15 miles (20 to 25 km) above Earth's surface. The energy of the resulting explosion was in the vicinity of 300 kilotons of TNT. A shock wave propagated down and struck the city below, causing large numbers of windows to break, some walls to collapse, and minor damage throughout the city. When you hear about injuries, those are undoubtedly due to the effects of the shock wave, not due to fragments striking the ground. There are undoubtedly fragments on the ground, but as of this time we know of no recovered fragments that we can verify."
It is natural to wonder if this event has any connection to today's record-setting flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14. Paul Chodas of the Near Earth Object Program at JPL says no. "The Russian fireball is not related to 2012 DA14 in any way. It's an incredible coincidence that we have had these two rare events in one day."
Interesting times...

Environmental activism in Canada

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From Vivian Krause:
Who Funds Environmentalists ..... and Why?
In various environmental campaigns in Canada, American economic and trade interests are being protected. For example, the campaign against oil tanker traffic on the north coast of British Columbia would landlock Canadian oil and continue the virtual monopoly that the U.S. has on our oil exports - all in the name of protecting the environment. No oil tanker traffic means no oil exports to Asia. The "antifarming campaign" against B.C. farmed salmon sways market share towards "wild" salmon, most of which is Alaskan.

According to my preliminary calculations, since 2000 USA foundations have poured $300 million into the environmental movement in Canada. The David Suzuki Foundation alone has been paid at least $13 million by American foundations over the past decade. Why are American foundations spending so much money in Canada instead of in their own country or in other countries around the world that are far more needy than Canada?

In some instances, environmental activism is funded by American foundations as part of marketing campaigns in favor of American interests. Media coverage of so-called scientific studies is one of the key tactics of these charity-funded marketing campaigns. The problem is, some of this science is seriously flawed, and in some cases, the findings have been falsely reported. A classic example of this is David Suzuki's false claim about high levels of PCBs in farmed salmon.
Follow the money again...

OMG - WTF - Supervolcano

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From the New Zealand Herald:
Supervolcano forming north of New Zealand
A supervolcano forming north of New Zealand could spell the end of the world - but there is no need to panic, it won't happen for at least 100 million years.

Researchers from the University of Utah have warned of impending doom after discovering that two or more continent-sized piles of rock are colliding as they move at the bottom of Earth's thick mantle, 2896km beneath the Pacific Ocean near Samoa.

They said the movement could be the beginning of a vast eruption that could threaten life on earth in 100 million to 200 million years.

"What we may be detecting is the start of one of these large eruptive events that - if it ever happens - could cause very massive destruction on Earth," said seismologist Michael Thorne, the study's principal author and an assistant professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah.
Curious -- there has been a lot of shallow seismic activity there in the last couple of weeks. Memo to self -- monitor this condition and be prepared to have my minions move my under-sea secret lair if this develops...

Follow the money - a two-fer

First up -- those eviiillll Koch brothers. From the UK Guardian:
Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks
Conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly $120m (�77m) to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change, the Guardian has learned.

The funds, doled out between 2002 and 2010, helped build a vast network of thinktanks and activist groups working to a single purpose: to redefine climate change from neutral scientific fact to a highly polarising "wedge issue" for hardcore conservatives.

The millions were routed through two trusts, Donors Trust and the Donors Capital Fund, operating out of a generic town house in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. Donors Capital caters to those making donations of $1m or more.
A bit more:
The rise of that movement is evident in the funding stream. In 2002, the two trusts raised less than $900,000 for the anti-climate cause. That was a fraction of what Exxon Mobil or the conservative oil billionaire Koch brothers donated to climate sceptic groups that year.

By 2010, the two Donor Trusts between them were channelling just under $30m to a host of conservative organisations opposing climate action or science. That accounted to 46% of all their grants to conservative causes, according to the Greenpeace analysis.

The funding stream far outstripped the support from more visible opponents of climate action such as the oil industry or the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, the records show. When it came to blocking action on the climate crisis, the obscure charity in the suburbs was outspending the Koch brothers by a factor of six to one.
Looking at the aggregate from 2002 through 2010, we are looking at $120 Million divided among "more than" 100 groups. $1.2 Million over a period of eight years or $150,000 per year. Next up is just one group -- Weepy Bill McKibben's 350.org. From the Financial Post:
Rockefellers behind �scruffy little outfit�
Nothing influences President Barack Obama�s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline quite like the protests against it, led by Bill McKibben, an American environmentalist, and his organization, called 350.org. On Wednesday, 350.org and the Sierra Club participated in an anti-Keystone protest at the White House and this Sunday they are holding another one on Capital Hill. They expect 20,000 people from across the United States.

350.org has the look and feel of an amateur, grassroots operation, but in reality, it is a multi-million dollar campaign run by staff earning six-digit salaries.

By my analysis of information from the U.S. Foundation Center and the tax filings of American charitable foundations, McKibben�s campaigns have received more than 100 grants since 2005 for a total of US$10-million from 50 charitable foundations. Six of those grants were for roughly US$1-million each.

In the interest of fairness and transparency, McKibben should fully disclose 350.org�s funding and the Rockefellers and other charitable foundations that have been bankrolling the anti-Keystone campaign should come out from the shadows.
And a bit more:
More than half of the US$10-million came from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, where McKibben, a trustee, was paid US$25,000 per year (2001-09). Since 2007, the Rockefellers have paid US$4-million towards 1Sky and 350.org, tax returns say. The Schumann Center provided US$1.5-million to McKibben�s three campaigns as well as US$2.7-million to fund the Environmental Journalism Program at Middlebury College, in Vermont, where McKibben is on staff.
And McKibben is just one fish in the pond -- remember, the previous article cited over 100 organizations. The progressives are funded a lot more than the conservatives and yet, they scream the loudest. A final thought -- the first article also had this line:
...money amounted to $118m distributed to 102 thinktanks or action groups which have a record of denying the existence of a human factor in climate change, or opposing environmental regulations.
This is dead wrong. We do not deny that there is a human factor in climate change. All the observable indications show however that this factor is negligible. A few percent at the very most and the "runaway" warming was shown to be a patently false theory about twenty years ago.

I Dream Of Wires

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For those of you interested in Analog Modular Synthesizers (Moog, Buchla, etc...), there is what looks to be an excellent documentary, several years in the making and just released. $40 for two blu-ray disks (standard DVDs also available) Check out I Dream Of Wires:
"I Dream of Wires" (IDOW) is an upcoming, independent documentary film about the phenomenal resurgence of the modular synthesizer � exploring the passions, obsessions and dreams of people who have dedicated part of their lives to this esoteric electronic music machine. Written and directed by Robert Fantinatto with Jason Amm (Ghostly International recording artist Solvent) serving as producer and co-writer, IDOW is set to premiere spring 2013.

Inventors, musicians, and enthusiasts are interviewed about their relationship with the modular synthesizer � for many, it's an all-consuming passion. Established musicians such as Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Carl Craig and John Foxx show off their systems and explain why they opt to use this volatile but ultimately rewarding technology. Meanwhile, a new generation of dance and electronica artists including Clark, James Holden and Factory Floor explain why they've stepped away from laptops to embrace the sound and physicality of modular synthesizers. Innovative companies like Modcan and Doepfer, driven by a desire to revive modular synthesizers, discuss how they planted the seeds that have now grown into a major cottage industry. What started out as a "vintage-revival scene" in the '90s has grown into an underground phenomena with a growing market of modular obsessives craving ever more wild and innovative sounds and interfaces. Today, the modular synthesizer is no longer an esoteric curiosity or even a mere music instrument � it is an essential tool for radical new sounds and a bonafide subculture.
Got mine ordered -- been playing these beasties for the last twenty five years.

Quiet day today

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Ran into town for a couple of errands and a dump and recycling run. Came back out -- got two T-bone steaks resting, garlic mashed potatoes, some frozen peas and a bottle of nice wine and that is dinner for the two of us.

Heh - nosy neighbors

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From the Springfield, IL State Journal-Register:
Southern Illinois family's syrup making mistaken for meth lab
A southern Illinois family is finding their homemade maple syrup operation anything but sweet after investigators swarmed their property, mistaking their sap collection for a meth lab.

Laura Benson tells KFVS-TV that drug agents showed up at her home near Anna on Wednesday morning saying they fielded a report that a meth-making operation was on the Union County property.

When investigators pointed to buckets near some trees, 49-year-old Benson says she quickly explained the containers were collecting sap for the family's production of syrup.

The law enforcers quickly moved on, taking with them some homemade syrup the Bensons gave them.

Schools these days

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Talk about bias -- from Steubenville, Ohio station WTOV:
Students, parents concerned by seemingly slanted college syllabus
Students and parents are questioning a college professor after she reportedly issued a syllabus that filtered student�s research options.

The syllabus tells students in a West Liberty University political science course what sources they can and cannot use.

Among those students are asked not to use are The Onion, an openly fictitious parody of real-life news, and Fox News, a professional news organization.

In the syllabus, the professor allegedly says, "The tagline Fox News makes me cringe."
Professors like that make me cringe. This is supposed to be an education, not an indoctrination...
Wishing everyone a very happy Valentine's Day It was one year and six months ago that I met Lulu. Lulu � I love you with all of my heart � here's to the next 28.5 (or more!) years! We are heading into town for a dump run and to do some shopping and then dinner at a local restaurant when we get back.

Stop reading this now!

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Go over to Sarah Hoyt's site and read this -- I'll be here when you come back:
Drinking Their Own Ink
Sometime ago I started talking about the problem with the publishers being that they were drinking their own ink. I.e. they make up stuff, put it on paper, and then piously believe it, as though it were a fact.

They tell themselves the bestsellers � you know, the ones they actually give publicity and support to and to whom they pay high advances � support their houses, and next thing you know, they�re believing it, and getting rid of midlisters left and right and becoming puzzled when the bottom line doesn�t improve. That�s because � duh � what they�re doing is roughly the equivalent of a steak restaurant deciding they make most of their money on the desserts and the appetizers, which are, of course, the highest priced in relation to cost on the menu. Therefore, they�re now going to serve only appetizers and desserts�

The problem goes way deeper than publishers, though � we have a whole slew of people drinking their own ink, starting with our own government. (Possibly because our government, our churches, our arts, our media, all draw for leadership from a pool of people who know each other, run in the same circles and were taught the same �truths� by the same mentors.)

Take that amazing froth of wishful thinking called the State of the Union address � did any thought go into what the speech writers wrote? No? I think not.
Nails! It! Be sure to scroll down and read the 240+ comments -- some great observations and debate there -- she hit a nerve with this post.

New archaeological dig in Peru

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Cool find -- from Phys.Org:
Peru archeologists find ancient temple
Peruvian archeologists have discovered a temple believed to be about 5,000 years old at the ancient El Paraiso archaeological site in a valley just north of Lima, the Culture Ministry said.

If the date is confirmed, it would be among the oldest sites in the world, comparable to the ancient city of Caral, a coastal city some 200 kilometers (125 miles) to the north.

The discovery, dubbed the Temple of Fire, was found in one of the wings of El Paraiso's main pyramid. It includes a hearth that experts believe was used to burn ceremonial offerings.

"The smoke allowed the priests to connect with the gods," said Marco Guillen, who led the team of researchers who made the find.
The site covers 125 acres.

Poor Sec. State Kerry

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The guy has great hair but he is dumb as a post. From Foreign Policy:
Russian foreign minister won�t return Kerry�s call
Secretary of State John Kerry called all the foreign ministers of countries that deal with North Korea following Monday's nuclear test and all but one of them picked up the phone -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Lavrov is no dummy...

Politics in Utah

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From The Salt Lake Tribune:
Swallow suggested cash in exchange for protection, sources say
Three Utah businessmen say John Swallow suggested they would have protection in the Attorney General�s Office if they were willing to contribute to Mark Shurtleff�s campaign fund.

The three men independently tell strikingly similar stories. In separate 2009 meetings, Swallow indicated that donors would get special consideration if the Attorney General�s Office ever had to pursue complaints against their businesses.

"Essentially, what we were told was: �Look, at the end of the day, we want to know who you guys are, because if someone gives us a complaint or calls us from another agency. � We want to be able to head it off at that level,� " one of the businessmen recalls Swallow saying.
Shurtleff is currently practicing law in Washington, DC. Perfect place for him...

A fun little website

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Check out Regulations.gov A look at what's in store for us:
Newly Posted Regulations
Last 3 Days(334)
Last 7 Days(666)
Last 15 Days(1,330)
Last 30 Days(2,278)
Last 90 Days(5,993)
This nanny state is inserting itself into our lives more than we realize.

Green Energy in Germany

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From The Global Warming Policy Foundation:
Germany�s Green Nightmare
Germany has fully embarked on an energy transition-enterprise, aiming at converting an 80 % share of its electricity generation to so-called renewable sources. Main focus is plants that generate electricity from wind and solar, complemented by biomass, energy from waste incineration and hydropower. Among the most striking arguments of the proponents of this policy is that all this is cheaper in the long run than conventional solutions, since wind, sun and water are available free of charge on a permanent basis. Furthermore, renewable energy had contributed to reduce prices on the electric power bourses. But despite the seemingly good news, one wonders why the German EEG levy (an add-on to Germany�s electricity bills) increases every year, with a breath-taking hike of 47 % this year. Reason enough to get the cost development of the EEG payments � the money collected from electric power users transferred to �renewable� energy plant operators � a closer look and to care about where this journey will take us in the in the coming years. Performing such a predictive assessment is greatly facilitated by a little basic math.
The money quote (This is the German EEG levy -- an add-on to Germany�s electricity bills:
From a mere � 43,- per four-person household (4p-household) in 2000, these costs have in the meantime risen to � 919,- in 2012. By 2015, a further increase to � 1.386,- is to be expected.
All this is the true cost of 'green' energy. A quick heads up -- there is no @#$% green energy -- never has been and never will. We have fossil fuels and nuke -- that is it. If the government was really serious about alt-energy, they would give an amount equal to the Solyndra loan to these people: EMC2 and kiss the Arabs goodbye...

Water loss in the Middle East

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Satellite measurement shows a lot less water in the Middle East. From NASA:
NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East
A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.

Scientists at the University of California, Irvine; NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., found during a seven-year period beginning in 2003 that parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran along the Tigris and Euphrates river basins lost 117 million acre feet (144 cubic kilometers) of total stored freshwater. That is almost the amount of water in the Dead Sea. The researchers attribute about 60 percent of the loss to pumping of groundwater from underground reservoirs.

The findings, to be published Friday, Feb. 15, in the journal Water Resources Research, are the result of one of the first comprehensive hydrological assessments of the entire Tigris-Euphrates-Western Iran region. Because obtaining ground-based data in the area is difficult, satellite data, such as those from NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, are essential. GRACE is providing a global picture of water storage trends and is invaluable when hydrologic observations are not routinely collected or shared beyond political boundaries.

"GRACE data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India," said Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at UC Irvine. "The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws."
Great -- something else to destabilize the area... We need cheap Thorium reactors to run desalinization stations.
No. From David Heath and Ronnie Greene writing at PBS Newshour:
Ouster of Scientist from EPA Panel Shows Industry Clout
In 2007, when Deborah Rice was appointed chair of an Environmental Protection Agency panel assessing the safety levels of flame retardants, she arrived as a respected Maine toxicologist with no ties to industry.

Yet the EPA removed Rice from the panel after an intense push by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), an industry lobbying group that accused her of bias. Her supposed conflict of interest? She had publicly raised questions about the safety of a flame retardant under EPA review.

Rice's travails through the EPA's Integrated Risk Information System, or IRIS, program reveal the flip side of industry's sway. Not only does the ACC back many scientists named to IRIS panels, it also has the power to help remove ones it doesn't favor.
This agency simply cannot do anything right. They need to be defunded. They had their day -- we now have clean air and water.
Just stumbled upon a wonderful website detailing equipment used by the BBC. If you enjoy the history of radio and early mixing consoles and transmitting equipment, check out Old BBC Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories Fascinating reading...

Happy happy joy joy

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There is an exploit for PDF files -- from FireEye:
In Turn, It's PDF Time
We have found IE, Java, and Flash zero-days in a row in the past several months, and now it's PDF�s turn. Today, we identified that a PDF zero-day is being exploited in the wild, and we observed successful exploitation on the latest Adobe PDF Reader 9.5.3, 10.1.5, and 11.0.1.

Upon successful exploitation, it will drop two DLLs. The first DLL shows a fake error message and opens a decoy PDF document, which is usually common in targeted attacks. The second DLL in turn drops the callback component, which talks to a remote domain.
I started using the Foxit Reader about five years ago. The Adobe product is huge -- bloatware at its finest. Foxit is lean and speedy. Good stuff!
I play keyboards and do some recording -- I am also an electronics geek so the engineering side of music making has always appealed to me too. Gizmodo has a wonderful post of eleven mixing boards for your perusal:
11 Amazing Soundboards For Your Listening Pleasure
Sure, singers sing and guitarists strum, but you owe just as much to the engineers behind the music as you do the musicians themselves. They may not get much time in the Grammy spotlight, but in honor of the mixers and shakers who make music worth listening to, here are 11 epic past and present soundboards, mixing consoles, and more.
And lots of links to more material -- if you are a certifiable geek like me, be sure to have your drool-cup at the ready (and perhaps a spare) -- you will use it...
A Reddit channel for stories of defensive gun use. There are a lot of stories out there that are not being picked up by the mainstream media and why should they? They have Barry's agenda to promote. Here is a perfect example -- from The Washington Times:
Police superintendent: �Chicago does not have strict gun laws�
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy implored the press Monday to stop characterizing the city as being strict on guns.

�One of the things that I would like to again try to clear up, and I ask you to please stop adopting the rhetoric of the gun advocates,� Mr. McCarthy said. �Chicago does not have strict gun laws.�
I wonder what it feels like for a resident of Chicago to realize that their Police Superintendent is delusional. Fortunately, the WT article exposes the lies of Mr. McCarthy:
Despite the superintendent�s claims, Chicago has some of the strictest gun-control mandates in the country. �Assault weapons� and high-capacity magazines are completely banned and, until a 2010 Supreme Court decision, so were handguns.

Residents now can get a permit to own a gun, but the process requires training, background checks and a firearm owner�s identification card.
And over 500 gun-related murders last year and off to a good start for 2013. And of course, Joey 'Plugs' Biden has to open his yapper -- from The Washington Examiner:
Biden: We�re counting on �legitimate media� for successful gun control effort
During a press conference on gun safety in Philadelphia, Vice President Joe Biden said that any reports that suggest that he was trying to take weapons away from gun owners was a �bunch of malarkey.�

"I know that's a word that you've never heard before, although it's now in the dictionary," Biden boasted.

Biden said that it was important for the media to dissuade the American public from the idea that the Obama administration was prepared to do something unconstitutional on guns.

�To be very blunt with you, we�re counting on all of you, the legitimate news media to cover these discussions because the truth is that times have changed,� Biden added, warning that people would continue to �misrepresent� the White House's plans for gun control.

"The social media that exists out there, the tragedies that have occurred, the Supreme Court decision affirming that its an individual right to bear arms - all give a lie to the argument that what we're trying to do is somehow unconstitutional, or somehow goes after the legitimate right to own and bear arms and to hunt and protect yourselves," Biden added.
Christ on a Corn Dog -- Legitimate Media? There is no such thing. State Approved and Controlled Media -- is that what is running through your little brain Joe? As for the:
bunch of malarkey

"I know that's a word that you've never heard before, although it's now in the dictionary," Biden boasted.
Merriam Webster has the first known use in 1929 And, I love their two examples:
Examples of MALARKEY
He thinks everything politicians say is just a bunch of malarkey.
The old lady declared that everything politicians say is pure malarkey.
The true colors of this regime are being shown now that it is a lame duck. We conservatives need to fight like hell to reclaim the Senate in 2014 and keep the house. This is our nation and we need to cut the rot out from its heart.

Aww crap - negotiating things away

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A dismal bit of prognostication from Terence Corcoran writing at Canada's Financial Post:
Terence Corcoran: The price of Keystone may be a carbon tax
Hello Canada! Are you ready � ready for a new national tax on carbon that will ding pocketbooks across the country? My bet is that a new carbon tax is coming, made almost inevitable by Prime Minister Stephen Harper�s full-bore push to secure Washington�s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

For early clues on the carbon tax/Keystone trade-off, tune in Tuesday night to President Barack Obama�s State of the Union address. As the president speaks, he will be alert to the chorus of Hollywood stars, environmental activists, editorial writers and industry leaders who are pushing for him to make the biggest climate-change decision he can possibly make: Impose a carbon tax.

It is time Canadians became aware of the giant trap being set in Washington over Keystone. The short version is this: The president approves Keystone, greatly expanding the flow of Canadian oil sands production into the United States. In return, however, Canada has no choice but to accept a carbon tax at home as part of a grand bargain.

I first mentioned the likely Obama pipelines-for-taxes strategy in comments at the annual Financial Post forecast luncheon at the New Year. �I see new taxes coming in the United States, including an energy or carbon tax, to try to cover the deficits. The new energy tax would serve as partial cover for President Obama�s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.�

That Mr. Obama might offer some kind of carbon tax as a carrot to environmentalists and climate activists opposed to Keystone has since emerged as more than plausible. Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel recently outlined how the president might demand a carbon tax in return for approval of energy projects, including Keystone. Getting a carbon tax through Congress looks tricky. But Ms. Strassel reported that California Senator Barbara Boxer outlined how a carbon tax could be imposed administratively through the Environmental Protection Agency.
Just great -- drive up the cost of energy (and consequently everything) over some half-baked theory of CO2 and warming, hamstring our economies and give even more power to the EPA just at the time that the EPA needs to have its power seriously curtailed...

Democratic deception

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Hoist by their own petard -- from The Washington Examiner:
Democratic House chairwoman Wasserman Schultz caught in deception with reporters
Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz attempted a bit of deception Monday in an effort to criticize GOP rising star Marco Rubio ahead of his State of the Union rebuttal Tuesday night. But on this occasion, the press wasn't falling for it.

In a conference call Monday, Wasserman Schultz enlisted the help of Annette Capella, described by party officials as a "Medicare recipient from Florida," to warn of the "extreme budget priorities," they believe Rubio is likely to outline in his televised response to President Obama's address.

Capella gave a lengthy and unflattering statement about Rubio, a U.S. senator from Florida and Tea Party favorite. She admitted he is an attractive politician but one who would make life more difficult for seniors by supporting a plan to alter Medicare by reducing benefits.

It turns out, however, that Capella is hardly your standard Medicare-dependent Floridian. She's the Democratic Party's state committeewoman for St. Johns County.

The truth was uncovered when the call was opened up to questions. The first query came from a Palm Beach Post reporter, who asked Wasserman Schultz if Capella was the same person listed as the head of the St. Johns Democratic Party.

Wasserman Schultz paused for a moment but then said she would let Capella answer the question. Capella corrected the reporter, saying she'd stepped down from that role and is now represents the county as the party's state committeewoman for St. Johns, located in northeastern Florida.
Pants on fire...

Foodstamps on the rise

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From CNS News:
Food Stamp Rolls in America Now Surpass the Population of Spain
Since taking office in 2009, food stamp rolls under President Barack Obama have risen to more than 47 million people in America, exceeding the population of Spain.

�Now is the time to act boldly and wisely � to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity,� said Obama during his first joint session address to Congress on Feb. 24, 2009.

Since then, the number of participants enrolled in food stamps, known as the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP), has risen substantially.

When Obama entered office in January 2009 there were 31,939,110 Americans receiving food stamps. As of November 2012�the most recent data available�there were 47,692,896 Americans enrolled, an increase of 49.3 percent.
Obama is giving his State of the Union address tonight. Wonder how he can keep a straight face when talking to us...

Backstory on Hagel nomination

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Chuck Hagel is the wrong person to be our next defense secretary. His past positions and voting record are writ large. Dick Cheney has an idea why Hagel is being promoted. From the Washington D.C. CBS affiliate:
Cheney: Obama Chose Hagel So A Republican Will �Take The Heat� For Defense Cuts
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday night that President Barack Obama has jeopardized U.S. national security by nominating substandard candidates for key cabinet posts and by degrading the U.S. military.

�The performance now of Barack Obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal,� Cheney said in comments to about 300 members of the Wyoming Republican Party.

Cheney, a Wyoming native, said it was vital to the nation�s national security that �good folks� hold the positions of secretary of state, CIA director and secretary of defense.

�Frankly, what he has appointed are second-rate people,� he said.

John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, has been confirmed as secretary of state. CIA designate John Brennan and defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel are still awaiting U.S. Senate confirmation.
Makes sense to me. Obama's picks have generally been very poor ones.

Tossing people under the bus

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When someone known to the Obama administration is no longer politically convenient, they get tossed under the bus. Case in point from ABC News:
Fort Hood Hero Says President Obama 'Betrayed' Her, Other Victims
Three years after the White House arranged a hero's welcome at the State of the Union address for the Fort Hood police sergeant and her partner who stopped the deadly shooting there, Kimberly Munley says President Obama broke the promise he made to her that the victims would be well taken care of.

"Betrayed is a good word," former Sgt. Munley told ABC News in a tearful interview to be broadcast tonight on "World News with Diane Sawyer" and "Nightline."

"Not to the least little bit have the victims been taken care of," she said. "In fact they've been neglected."

There was no immediate comment from the White House about Munley's allegations.
A bit more:
Despite extensive evidence that Hasan was in communication with al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki prior to the attack, the military has denied the victims a Purple Heart and is treating the incident as "workplace violence" instead of "combat related" or terrorism.
And more:
Manning says the "workplace violence" designation has cost him almost $70,000 in benefits that would have been available if his injuries were classified as "combat related."

"Basically, they're treating us like I was downtown and I got hit by a car," he told ABC News.

For Alonzo Lunsford, who was shot seven times at Fort Hood and blinded in one eye, the military's treatment is deeply hurtful.

"It's a slap in the face, not only for me but for all of the 32 that wore the uniform that day," he told ABC News.

Lunsford's medical records show his injuries were determined to be "in the line of duty" but neither he nor any of the other soldiers shot or killed at Fort Hood is eligible for the Purple Heart under the Department of Defense's current policy for decorations and awards.
And finally:
Former Sgt. Munley says she now believes the White House used her for political advantage in arranging for her to sit next to Michelle Obama during the President's State of the Union address in 2010.

Munley says she has no hesitation now speaking out against the President or taking part in the lawsuit, because she wants to help the others who were shot that day and continue to suffer.

"We got tired of being neglected. So this was our last resort and I'm not ashamed of it a bit," said Munley. She is also raising money for a movie about Fort Hood, and says some of the proceeds will go to the victims.
Disgusting but not surprising. This turnaround came from the top.

North Korea sets off another nuke

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From the Beeb:
North Korea nuclear test branded 'serious threat' to US
In a speech made after Pyongyang carried out its third nuclear test, Mr Panetta likened the North to Iran, describing them as "rogue states".

In New York, the UN Security Council "strongly condemned" the nuclear test.

The council said it would begin work on measures against North Korea, after UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the test was a "clear and grave violation".

Earlier, Pyongyang said "even stronger" action might follow, saying its test was a response to US "hostility".

North Korea warned the US in advance that it intended to conduct a nuclear test, the state department said, but did not say when it would happen.
About the device:
Nuclear test monitors in Vienna say the underground explosion had double the force of the last test, in 2009, despite the use of a device said by the North to be smaller.

If a smaller device was indeed tested, analysts said this could take Pyongyang closer to building a warhead small enough to arm a missile.
We do have the capability of shooting down a missile -- what I am more worried about would be a cargo ship in the Los Angeles or Seattle harbor with a nuke going off. This would paralyze the economy as it would be six months before the harbor could be restored to operation. Put a small missile on said ship and detonate the bomb 30 miles up and the EMP would take out the entire city. And meanwhile, Barry is gutting the military to feed his bread and circuses programs.

Ruben Sanabria did not have a good day

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From the New York Post:
7 years in prison over $2
Skipping out on a $2.25 subway fare cost this guy 10 years of his life.

A Manhattan PATH rider was sentenced yesterday to seven years in prison � and another 3 1/2 years� parole � after cops stopped him for fare-beating and discovered an illegal handgun.

Ruben Sanabria, 37, was caught with a loaded .40-caliber Smith & Wesson at the 14th Street station March 30.

Two cops grabbed him after they saw him hop the turnstile, and quickly found the weapon in his waistband.

Sanabria was also carrying extra bullets and a holster.
Bad enough carrying the gun without having a permit for it, worse to try to get into the subway system without paying. The stupid -- it buuuurns!!!
Since Obama's response to Sandy is so nuanced and wise, they are all praising the Democratic soft machine. Still waiting for FEMA to pull their heads out of their asses... From the New York Post:
City hikes taxes on Sandy-hit houses
Homeowners in an exclusive waterfront enclave in Brooklyn thought Hurricane Sandy was as cruel a blow as they could suffer � until the taxman proved them wrong.

The city is claiming that property values have actually shot up for many homes in Manhattan Beach and it�s going ahead with hefty tax hikes for the houses devastated by the October superstorm, shocked property owners told The Post.

Homeowners in other neighborhoods hit by Sandy, including Coney Island, the Rockaways and parts of Staten Island, also said they�ve received increases.
Granted, these are high value houses and even if the house is a loss, an oceanfront building lot is worth a good chunk of change -- still...

Well that didn't take long - Tesla motors

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Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla had some words regarding the unfavorable NY Times review I posted about two hours ago:
Well, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has responded on Twitter. You can see the tweets above (and we'll link to the more detailed blog post when it's available); basically, Tesla now turns on the logging feature on its EVs when it allows media to borrow them, and the logs on Mr. Broder's Model S tell a different story from what is in the NYT review. We'll have to wait for the details to be entirely sure, but I don't think Elon Musk would pick a fight with the biggest newspaper in the world if he didn't have a lot of data to back his claims.
That will leave a mark...

A public service announcement

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From Great Falls, Montana television station KRTV:
Bogus emergency alert message transmitted
Someone apparently hacked into the Emergency Alert System and announced on KRTV and the CW that there was an emergency in several Montana counties.

This message did not originate from KRTV, and there is no emergency.

Our engineers are investigating to determine what happened and if it affected other media outlets.
A tip of the hat for the link to Rawlsian at Slashdot. They also provide the backstory:
Great Falls, Montana, television station KRTC issued a denial of an Emergency Alert System report that 'dead bodies are rising from their graves.' The denial surmises that 'someone apparently hacked into the Emergency Alert System...This message did not originate from KRTV, and there is no emergency.'
Got my Zombie-Killah stashed in the house so zero problems here... The comments at the Slashdot site were uniform in saying that a hack about flood warnings would be malicious but that this was a pure white-hat prank. Fun with zero consequences and demonstrating a vulnerability that needs to be patched stat!

Another wonderful story from Willis

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Willis Eschenbach posted yet another delightful story regarding several years he spent on a small island in the South Pacific in 1989. Check out Tropical Crime and Punishment:
People sometimes ask how I learned so much about coral atolls and islands. It�s because for three years in the late �80s I lived in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, a coral island in the South Pacific. I was the Manager of the island, the company had a slipway and a shipyard and a machine shop and a trade store and a copra buying point and a banking agency and and a couple of cargo ships and a postal agency and a couple of guest cottages that we rented out and (as you can see) a whole lot of coconuts, and I ran the zoo. My wife and I were the only melanin-deficient folk on the island, at least at the time I�m talking about before our daughter was born, the rest were Melanesians and Micronesians, wonderful people. The company employed about thirty folks, and they and their wives and husbands and kids almost all lived on the island.
Willis sounds like a wonderful person to sit down over a couple beers and swap tales...
Not quite ready for prime time -- from the New York Times:
Stalled Out on Tesla�s Electric Highway
Washington, D.C. � Having established a fast-charging foothold in California for its electric cars, Tesla Motors has brought its formula east, opening two ultrafast charging stations in December that would, in theory, allow a speedy electric-car road trip between here and Boston.

But as I discovered on a recent test drive of the company�s high-performance Model S sedan, theory can be trumped by reality, especially when Northeast temperatures plunge.
A bit more:
The car is a technological wonder, with luminous paint on aluminum bodywork, a spacious and ultrahip cabin, a 17-inch touch screen to control functions from suspension height to the Google-driven navigation system. Feeding the 416 horsepower motor of the top-of-the-line Model S Performance edition is a half-ton lithium-ion battery pack slung beneath the cockpit; that combination is capable of flinging this $101,000 luxury car through the quarter mile as quickly as vaunted sport sedans like the Cadillac CTS-V.

The Model S has won multiple car-of-the-year awards and is, many reviews would have you believe, the coolest car on the planet.

What fun, no? Well, no.
And more:
I drove, slowly, to Stonington, Conn., for dinner and spent the night in Groton, a total distance of 79 miles. When I parked the car, its computer said I had 90 miles of range, twice the 46 miles back to Milford. It was a different story at 8:30 the next morning. The thermometer read 10 degrees and the display showed 25 miles of remaining range � the electrical equivalent of someone having siphoned off more than two-thirds of the fuel that was in the tank when I parked.

I called Tesla in California, and the official I woke up said I needed to �condition� the battery pack to restore the lost energy. That meant sitting in the car for half an hour with the heat on a low setting. (There is now a mobile application for warming the battery remotely; it was not available at the time of my test drive.)

After completing the battery conditioning process, the estimated range reading was 19 miles; no way would I make it back to Milford.
The cold temperatures suck the storage out of the batteries. Sure, the performance is great on a racetrack (electrical motors deliver full rated torque at a dead stall unlike internal combustion engines) but for practical use? Not ready for prime time yet. I do not doubt that there are a bunch of these puppies parked every day at Microsoft ferrying their owners the 30-40 miles to their palatial estates but for general driving? Give me fossil fuels any day...

Long day today

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Did the Monday shopping run for the store. Bellingham's Costco is about 30 miles South of the Canadian border so we get a lot of people coming down for the day. Milk and a lot of other staples are a lot more expensive up North. Today was a Canadian holiday so the lines at Costco were stacked 20 carts deep in the early afternoon. The other vendors were a lot more mellow. Had left-over spaghetti for dinner and sitting down to surf for a bit.

A question of Trust - Obama and the Marines

A very disturbing bit of news -- from the Gun Rights Examiner:
Disabled Marine rifles at inauguration signal shift in administration policy
�Didn't know the Marines had to take the bolts out of their rifles for the Inaugural,� an email forwarded to Gun Rights Examiner from a United States Marine Corps source observed. �Wonder if someone can explain why [they] would be marching in the inaugural parade with no bolts in their rifles!�

The email linked to a YouTube video of the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade, embedded in this column, featuring Bravo Company Marines from the Marine Barracks Washington. Sure enough, the observation in the email is confirmed by watching the video, with screen shots provided in the photo and slide show accompanying this article.

This prompted an internet search to see if others had also noticed, and the Blur-Brain blog had.

�The bolts have been removed from the rifles rendering them unable to fire a round,� the post stated. �Apparently Obama�s Secret Service doesn�t trust the USMC. Simply searching each guy to make sure he didn�t have a live round hidden on him wasn�t enough, they had to make sure the guns were inoperable.
A bit more:
Gun Rights Examiner made a cursory search and found something even more curious. In the 2009 Inaugural Parade, the United States Navy marched with rifles that had not been so disabled (see 1:24 into that video plus the final slide).

This raises the question of why the administration felt it necessary to make this change now, particularly with concerns being raised about military involvement in domestic affairs, litmus tests on top brass willingness to fire on American citizens alleged by a heretofore prominent and credible Nobel Prize nominee, a "terrorism" policy that allows for assassinating Americans without due process, rising concerns over deployment of domestic drones, and publicized opposition among many in the USMC to presidential policies such as women in combat, as well as having been the most resistant military branch to ending �don�t ask, don�t tell.�

Add to this concerns over administration agencies buying up ammunition in massive quantities, the renewed destruction of expended military ammunition brass in contravention of the Defense Appropriations Act, and Obama�s post-election confidence in dropping the mask on his previously �under the radar� citizen disarmament plans, and the change becomes another piece that fits in a puzzle that�s forming an increasingly disturbing picture.

Unsurprisingly, a Google news feed search finds no reports on inaugural Marine disarmament in the �Authorized Journalist� media. Chances are, most of them aren�t qualified to notice such things, and that it doesn�t serve the agenda of those who are to point such things out.
Hat tip to Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link. Peter offers these words:
Would someone please tell me why every General- and Field-Grade officer in the US Marines did not instantly resign his commission upon learning of this grossly contemptuous and distrustful gesture towards their Corps? Do they have any esprit de corps left? Or have they become nothing more than lickspittle lapdogs for politicians?

If I were a Marine today, I'd take this mortal insult - for it can be construed as nothing less - as grounds to request my immediate discharge from a Corps that no longer appears to understand - for it certainly no longer appears to apply! - the meaning of honor. How the USMC could have asked or expected its personnel to acquiesce in such a demeaning, degrading exercise is utterly beyond me.

I wouldn't like to have been anywhere near Chesty Puller's grave on the day this happened. The tremors of his high-speed spinning would probably have made it impossible to stand! He probably wouldn't say aloud, but would almost certainly think, that any President displaying such distrust in and contempt for his nation's finest fighting force is probably not worth serving.
Indeed. The zero-information voters think that everything is just peachy but this nation is rotting away at the core.

It never rains in Washington State

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Washington State gets about 70% of its electrical power from hydroelectricity. There is a bill going through State legislature that would redefine hydro as non-renewable. The state is forcing the development of more wind farms which are renewable... When they work... And of course, we will not comment on the matching conventional generation capacity that has to be kept running on hot-standby for when the wind fails. From the Washington State Wire:
Windpower Purchasing Rules Spark Another Fight in Olympia � Green Groups Balk at Changes
Six years of battle over Washington�s renewable-energy standards has resumed at the state Capitol as utilities and business groups continue to complain that the big green-energy thrust of a 2006 ballot measure is forcing them to buy costly windpower they don�t need.
Yet that�s not the real fight. It�s about the details, nittier and grittier than ever, as utility and business groups zero in on what they call arbitrary purchasing requirements that will begin having a big impact in 2016. By that year utilities will be required to purchase 9 percent of their power from �renewable energy� sources � essentially windpower.
And the kicker:
In his news conference Wednesday, Inslee pointed to one bill introduced by Senate Energy Chairman Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, as an example of how the Senate has �gone backwards� since a Republican-leaning coalition took power at the beginning of the year. The bill would add hydropower to the definition of renewable energy � and since the state gets 70 percent of its power from hydroelectric dams, that would essentially render utility purchasing requirements meaningless. �I-937 should not be the ceiling,� the governor said. �It should be looked at as the floor.�
Emphasis mine -- hydro is a perfect example of renewable energy. It also creates lakes for recreation, it stabilizes and stores water for agriculture and domestic use. We have been to the Grand Coul�e dam in eastern Washington and we are planning to visit the Ross Lake facility sometime this summer. This is coming up this week so writing to my Representatives. I would also love to see Nuke in the picture -- Thorium reactors are the way to go but I am not holding my breath...

Bird Language

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I read Anthony Watt's website: Watts Up With That daily. I was suspicious of the Michael Mann's Hockey Stick when it was first published in 1998 having lived through the great coming ice age scare of the '70's. Anthony runs his website as a group blog with various people posting. One poster is Willis Eschenbach who has posted some wonderful articles on climate trends and what is going on behind them. Well worth reading. Yesterday, he posted Between The Warm And The Wild which leads off with the following:
People have been encouraging me to write a book of my experiences, and so I�ve chosen to do so in bits and pieces. We�ve been discussing the vagaries of those astonishing emergent phenomena known as wild animals, so let me continue the theme.

When I was a kid on the cattle ranch my stepdaddy worked in the surrounding forest as what�s called a �timber feller�. The fellers actually fell the trees, they are the aristocracy of the logging crew, and by all accounts he was a good one. One of the things he was best at was finding baby animals whose parents had been killed and bringing them home for us kids to raise. At various times we had a baby horned owl named Dr. Seuss, a baby flying squirrel that could really fly, and of all things, a tiny baby skunk. Named The Skunk. We also had a dog named Puppy until it died of old age, and a cat named Kitty. The Skunk was always and ever just called �The Skunk�, in capital letters like that.
Today, he hits it out of the park with Bird Language:
One fine day, after exhausting my meager means and concluding that my hopes of being struck by financial lightning were as ungrounded as Ben Frankin�s kite, I found myself yielding to exigency.

�Exigency�, as far as I can tell, is from a Latin word meaning �out of money again�. So for exigent reasons, I hired out to work as a cowboy on a cattle ranch up near the California-Oregon border. Caught a ride with the boss out to the spread, put my gear in the bunkhouse, and went to work. I was eighteen.
A wonderful lyrical story -- a prose poem. Go and read. Whatever your views on the climate are, your life will be made better by these essays...

Navy defunding impact

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From the United States Naval Institute:
Navy: Lincoln Refueling Delayed, Will Hurt Carrier Readiness
The U.S. Navy will delay the refueling of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) for an unknown period because of the uncertain fiscal environment due to the ongoing legislative struggle, the service told Congress in a Friday message obtained by USNI News.
A bit more:
Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower subcommittee released a statement denouncing the need for decision.

Forbes called the delay, �another example of how these reckless and irresponsible defense cuts in Washington will have a long-term impact on the Navy�s ability to perform its missions. Not only will the Lincoln be delayed in returning to the Fleet, but this decision will also affect the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) defueling, the USS George Washington (CVN-73) RCOH, and future carrier readiness.�

The move by the navy is the second this week involving funding for carriers. On Wednesday it announced it would delay the deployment of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) to the Middle East do to the ongoing budget strife bringing the total number of carriers in U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) to one until funding normalizes.
Bit by bit, Obama is emasculating our armed forces. This should not be done at this time in history. Over 1,300 comments including this one:
Obama doesn't show "poor leadership." He shows no leadership, in the sense you, I and tens of millions of others recognize leadership to be.

He really appears to be Nero Re-Incarnate. Chasing homosexual agenda, chasing the red herring of so-called gun control, chasing or rather aggravating illegal-alien immigration, whatever else -- all while our Republic's economy and security deteriorate.

He, the Democrat-liberal-leftist-progressive Party, the Obamamedia and all those who voted for and support him constitute the clearest and most present danger to our country.
What he said...
This page is beyond sick -- from Lisa Brenner writing at Pasadena, CA station KPCC -- Southern California Public Radio:
LAPD manhunt: Some cheer on fugitive Christopher Dorner with anti-cop, gun control, race agendas
America's history is sepia-soaked with outlaws who have engendered popular support. In keeping with this difficult-to-deconstruct phenomenon, a number of social media corners are cheering on suspected murderer Christopher Dorner while authorities are still trying to track him down.

The ex-LAPD officer and former Navy reservist who posted a 14-page "manifesto" detailing his plans for a revenge-fueled rampage across California is still at large, with the search expanding into other regions.

He is a suspect in the shooting deaths of three people, including a member of Riverside PD, and the daughter of Dorner's former lawyer.

None of this has dissuaded a group of ardent supporters who back Dorner for a variety of reasons. #GoDornerGo, #WeAreAllChrisDorner and other hashtags have been gaining momentum on Twitter. Some supporters appear to be motivated by personal issues; others express anti-hero worship and fugitive fandom to push specific agendas.
What follows is a sickening collection of tweets, Facebook pages, images and comments. The 743 comments run the gamut.

Unions in the news - gimme gimme

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From The Hill:
Federal employees' union head: Obama pay raise proposal 'simply not enough'
The president of the American Federation of Government Employees says a one-percent increase is "absolutely unconscionable."

The head of the largest federal employee union said Saturday that President Obama's proposal to increase pay for federal employees by 1 percent was "absolutely unconscionable" and "simply not enough."
These are public servants. The state of the economy is no secret and with 26,000,000 people out of work, I would think that the union bosses would be a little more circumspect. They need to tone down their greed.

Unintended consequences - ocean habitat

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The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (PDF) was passed in 1953 and amended several times (lastly in 2000). One of the things it covers is the removal of offshore oil and gas rigs one year after they are no longer in service. The Federal Government is doing this and in so doing, destroying a vibrant fishery and marine habitat. These rigs are like coral reefs and support a huge population. From the Pacific Standard:
Gulf Coast Oil Platforms: Save the Rigs?
This year, it�s likely more than 100 offshore structures in the Gulf of Mexico will be removed as part of a Department of the Interior plan. There are 650 nonproducing oil and gas platforms, known in the industry as �idle iron,� listed for removal �as soon as possible��i.e. within five years of the end of production or a year of losing the lease�under Interior�s directive. Historically, companies seldom removed an idle structure until the lease for the area where it was located expired.

Having companies clean up after themselves sounds like a good idea, but many recreational fishermen, scuba divers, scientists, and fishery managers aren�t happy about it. Turns out, some of the 2,500 multileg platforms that pepper the Gulf of Mexico have become de facto artificial reefs. According to Bob Shipp, University of South Alabama�s Department of Marine Sciences, the platforms have transformed the entire ecosystem. Some marine species are attracted to platforms for shelter or food, but others�sea fans, sponges, algae, and reef fish�spend their entire life cycle on these structures. What�s more, some species have increased in number because of the platforms.
Nothing the government touches ever comes out quite right... Mobile, Alabama station WPMI has some more:
Explosive Fed. Mandate Killing Thousands of Red Snapper
A federal mandate to remove old, abandoned oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico is blowing up a lot more than just the rigs.

Undercover video obtained by Local 15 shows thousands of pounds of dead fish, mostly red snapper, floating to the surface after one of the controversial demolitions in the Gulf.

�Good Lord,� marine scientist Dr. Bob Shipp said, when Local 15 showed him the video. �As a scientist, I think it�s abominable.�

Shipp said the demolitions are frequent, sometimes three a week in the Gulf, but are seldom video-taped. Shipp also sits on the Gulf Fisheries Management Council, and has been a strong opponent of the demolitions.

�It�s a double whammy,� Shipp said, �Not only are we killing a lot of snapper, but we�re also destroying their habitat.�

The old rigs are an eye-sore, but under the surface, they�ve developed into artificial reefs with rich coral habitats. On some of the older rigs, those habitats have grown over the course of 30 to 40 years.

The killing of the red snapper is also infuriating charter boat captains and anglers. Federal restrictions keep cutting the red snapper season shorter and quotas smaller to protect the species from over-fishing.

�They tell us not to fish [red snapper] but they�re blowing them up,� charter boat Captain Jason Domange told Local 15, �It�s a cryin� shame.�

The confidential source who provided Local 15 the video estimated 10,000 pounds of fish, mostly red snapper, were killed after that one demolition.

�That�s a year�s salary for a lot of people and that�s just going to waste,� Domange said.
Some faceless government bureaucrat sitting in an office 1,200 miles away is making policy decisions that impact the environment and people's lives. This is a perfect example of something that should be handled on a state basis -- where is the tenth amendment when you need it...
For more information, check out the Conserve Gravity website -- they offer 44 helpful tips. Here are the first ten:
Scientists have noticed that Earth's gravity has decreased slightly. To conserve this force, they recommend:
  1. Drive instead of flying.
  2. Use pushcarts instead of carrying.
  3. Do not bowl.
  4. No weightlifting.
  5. Diet.
  6. No post-its; use e-mail.
  7. No heavy things on top shelves.
  8. Sit as much as possible.
  9. Don't hang diplomas, tapestries, pictures, or posters.
  10. Empty upper floor trash 4 times a day.
And the list concludes with:
Isn't this list just as silly as half the things they want you to do for "global warming" prevention?
I would say so...

A curious problem with WiFi

From Network World:
A giant radio telescope, a small school and a Wi-Fi problem
Students at a tiny Appalachian public school can't use Wi-Fi because any such network can throw the radio equivalent of a monkey wrench into a gigantic super-sensitive radio telescope just up the road.

Green Bank Elementary/Middle School is located just over half a mile away from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The NRAO says the 17 million-pound telescope is the most advanced of its kind in the world, boasting 2 acres of surface area which it uses to collect radio signals from around the cosmos. The facility studies everything from pulsars to the formation of stars to the movement of gigantic gas clouds in distant galaxies.

However, the GBT's extraordinary sensitivity means that it's very susceptible to human-generated radio interference, according to site interference protection engineer Carla Beaudet.

"If there was no dirt between us and the transmitter, a typical access point ... would have to be on the order of 1,000,000 km [more than 620,000 miles, or about two and a half times the distance from the Earth to the Moon] distant to not interfere. Fortunately, we have mountains around us which provide lots of attenuation, so we're not seeing everything from everywhere," she said in an email to Network World.

A standard Wi-Fi access point would wipe out a significant range of usable frequencies for the observatory.
A bit more:
The school, with its enrollment of 261, is in a tough position. Though quiet zone rules ban it from using Wi-Fi due to its proximity to the GBT, the rest of the schools in Pocahontas County are planning a move to digital textbooks in the next academic year. Moreover, the state of West Virginia will move to an online-only standardized aptitude test the year after that, which will also require Internet access for each student.

Pocahontas County Schools technology coordinator Ruth Bland worries that the district simply doesn't have the resources to cope.

"Short of wiring every classroom to have at least 25 drops and a laptop for every student, we will have a very difficult time providing digital textbooks or access to take the testing. The drops will require quite a number of switches and miles of cabling. All very costly," she says.
I visited the old telescope several times with my Dad while growing up in Pittsburgh, PA -- that one collapsed in on November 1988. It's replacement saw first light on August, 2000 and has done some really important work. Sadly, there is a move to de-fund its operation over the next five years -- here is the website to save it:
The mission of this website is to prevent the closure of the National Radio Astronomy (NRAO) site in Green Bank, West Virginia and preserve the operation and use for national science of the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). To do so, this website will provide information and links to information telling you about the NRAO/GBT facility, its mission, history and accomplishment and what you can do to help.
Closing a facility like this would put the United States years behind any other facility for deep-sky observation. This scope is state of the art and to decommission it would be a death sentence as deferring maintenance would result in its becoming inoperable.

Our EPA at work

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From Bloomberg Businessweek:
Oil, Gas Production Among Top Greenhouse-Gas Sources
Natural gas and oil production is the second-biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gases, the government said, emboldening environmentalists who say tighter measures are needed to curb the emissions from hydraulic fracturing.

In its second-annual accounting of emissions that cause global warming from stationary sources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the first time included oil and natural- gas production. Emissions from drilling, including fracking, and leaks from transmission pipes totaled 225 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents during 2011, second only to power plants, which emitted about 10 times that amount.
Odd -- they talk about CO2 like it's a bad thing. And of course, the EPA continues its power grab:
The EPA has already proposed regulations to curb emissions from new power plants, setting a standard that would preclude the construction of new coal-fired facilities that don�t capture and sink underground the carbon coming from their smokestacks. Once those rules are finished in the coming weeks, the EPA must move to establish similar rules for existing power plants.
Emphasis mine -- talk about turning off the lights. Underground carbon sinks do not do anything except drive the cost of electricity sky high -- which is exactly what Obama intends.
Don't let the door hit 'ya where the good Lord split 'ya. From the New York Times:
Mr. Menendez�s Ethics Problem
Senator Robert Menendez was never a distinguished choice for chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the position he ascended to this month by virtue of seniority. Concerns about that quality gap have sharply escalated amid new disclosures about Mr. Menendez�s use of his position to advance the financial interests of a friend and big donor. Instead of trying to protect Mr. Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, needs to remove his gavel, at least pending credible resolution by the Senate Ethics Committee of the swirling accusations of misconduct.
Sheesh -- the NY Times is being hostile to a Democrat -- something must really be up! Time to pop a bowl of popcorn and sit back and watch the scandal unfold...

Herd immunity

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Another example of the anti-vaccine stupidity rearing it's ugly head. From the London Daily Mail:
Measles cases at 18-year high because parents are failing to get children vaccinated
Cases of measles are at a record high, health officials have warned.

In 2012, there were 2,016 cases of the potentially deadly disease in babies, children and adults in England and Wales.

This makes it the biggest outbreak since cases were first formally recorded almost 20 years ago.

The total is more than six times that of 2002 - and almost 40 times higher than 1998, when just 56 cases were documented.
I first posted about this in 2004. Dr. Wakefield is the idiot who published his "research" in The Lancet -- an influential British medical journal back in 1998. In 2004, The Lancet retracted the paper and said:
�In my view, if we had known the conflict of interest Dr Wakefield had in this work, I think that would have strongly affected the peer reviewers about the credibility of this work, and in my judgement it would have been rejected.�
Back in 2006, Dr. Wakefield:
Andrew Wakefield, the doctor behind the scare over a potential link between the MMR jab and autism in children, is to face four charges relating to unprofessional conduct at the General Medical Council, it is reported today.

Mr. Wakefield, a surgeon who became a gut specialist, could be struck off the medical register and debarred from practising in the UK if the GMC finds him guilty of serious professional misconduct.

Following the publication of a research paper in the Lancet by Mr Wakefield and colleagues in February 1998 - which suggested a tentative link between the immunisation at the age of 18 months, a bowel disorder called Crohn's disease, and autism - many parents became anxious over the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine.
In January of 2010, the General Medical Council reported:
Continuing a month of skeptical victories, the UK�s General Medical Council has found that Andrew Wakefield � the founder of the modern antivaccination movement � acted �dishonestly and irresponsibly� when doing the research that led him to conclude that vaccinations were linked with autism.
In May of 2010, Dr. Wakefield became just plain Andy Wakefield:
A U.K. medical regulator revoked the license of the doctor who first suggested a link between vaccines and autism and spurred a long-running, heated debate over the safety of vaccines.

Ending a nearly three-year hearing, Britain's General Medical Council found Andrew Wakefield guilty of �serious professional misconduct� in the way he carried out his research in the late 1990s. The council struck his name from the U.K.'s medical register.
And finally, the US Courts put a stake through the heart with a ruling in March of 2010
'Vaccines court' rejects mercury-autism link in 3 test cases

The finding supports a broad scientific consensus that the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal does not cause autism, and will likely disappoint parents who are convinced otherwise.
The idea that parents are still clinging to this nugget of horrible science is saddening. They put their children at risk over a bad paper published by a fraudulent doctor (Wakefield was on the payroll of a legal group that was looking to sue vaccine manufacturers) For those that do not understand what Herd Immunity is all about, the Wikipedia page is good.

Voter fraud

Toss them in jail -- from National Review Online:
The Voter Fraud That �Never Happens� Keeps Coming Back
Critics of voter ID and other laws cracking down on voter fraud claim they�re unnecessary because fraud is nonexistent. For instance, Brennan Center attorneys Michael Waldman and Justin Levitt claimed last year: �A person casting two votes risks jail time and a fine for minimal gain. Proven voter fraud, statistically, happens about as often as death by lightning strike.�

Well, lightning is suddenly all over Cincinnati, Ohio. The Hamilton County Board of Elections is investigating 19 possible cases of alleged voter fraud that occurred when Ohio was a focal point of the 2012 presidential election. A total of 19 voters and nine witnesses are part of the probe.

Democrat Melowese Richardson has been an official poll worker for the last quarter century and registered thousands of people to vote last year. She candidly admitted to Cincinnati�s Channel 9 this week that she voted twice in the last election.
More at the site -- this was first reported by Cincinnati station WCPO which has a lot more including the fact that there were five people casting absentee ballots from her physical address and that she cast the ballot for one of her grandchildren. Now wasn't Ohio one of Obama's key states? Wonder why...

A life in public service

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From the Racine, WI Journal-Times:
Owner of closed Bare Coffee blames public, DRC and others
To say the owner of the now closed Bare Coffee left Downtown with a sour taste in his mouth is a vast understatement.

Michael Young opened his shop at 327 Main St. in July 2011 and closed it weeks ago � apparently Jan. 11, according to his vitriolic Facebook posts. On the way out, he blasted the Racine community, Downtown Racine Corp., government and poor employees, on his personal Facebook page and to The Journal Times on Wednesday.

�Served the last ungrateful person in my life hopefully,� Young posted to Facebook on Jan. 11. �I really hate dealing with the general public.�

�What an awesome feeling not to have to deal with all the tools and (expletive) in this town anymore,� Young posted the same day. �To all my true friends that came out and supported us over the last year and a half thank you. To all the people of Racine and the government of Racine and the DRC go (expletive) yourselves!�
Heh - hey Michael, why don't you tell us what you really feel. The guy should go into politics. Be sure to click and read all the comments -- customer experiences in his store as well as political dirt on Racine pointing to two blogs: Racine in Ruins and Racine EXPOSED! Not planning to move there anytime soon.

Here's how you run a nation

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From The Economist:
Northern lights
Thirty years ago Margaret Thatcher turned Britain into the world�s leading centre of �thinking the unthinkable�. Today that distinction has passed to Sweden. The streets of Stockholm are awash with the blood of sacred cows. The think-tanks are brimful of new ideas. The erstwhile champion of the �third way� is now pursuing a far more interesting brand of politics.

Sweden has reduced public spending as a proportion of GDP from 67% in 1993 to 49% today. It could soon have a smaller state than Britain. It has also cut the top marginal tax rate by 27 percentage points since 1983, to 57%, and scrapped a mare�s nest of taxes on property, gifts, wealth and inheritance. This year it is cutting the corporate-tax rate from 26.3% to 22%.

Sweden has also donned the golden straitjacket of fiscal orthodoxy with its pledge to produce a fiscal surplus over the economic cycle. Its public debt fell from 70% of GDP in 1993 to 37% in 2010, and its budget moved from an 11% deficit to a surplus of 0.3% over the same period. This allowed a country with a small, open economy to recover quickly from the financial storm of 2007-08. Sweden has also put its pension system on a sound foundation, replacing a defined-benefit system with a defined-contribution one and making automatic adjustments for longer life expectancy.

Most daringly, it has introduced a universal system of school vouchers and invited private schools to compete with public ones. Private companies also vie with each other to provide state-funded health services and care for the elderly. Anders Aslund, a Swedish economist who lives in America, hopes that Sweden is pioneering �a new conservative model�; Brian Palmer, an American anthropologist who lives in Sweden, worries that it is turning into �the United States of Swedeamerica�.
Wonderful to hear -- we need to be doing this in the United States. The longer we put it off, the more painful things will get. How did Sweden get into such a dire position:
For most of the 20th century Sweden prided itself on offering what Marquis Childs called, in his 1936 book of that title, a �Middle Way� between capitalism and socialism. Global companies such as Volvo and Ericsson generated wealth while enlightened bureaucrats built the Folkhemmet or �People�s Home�. As the decades rolled by, the middle way veered left. The government kept growing: public spending as a share of GDP nearly doubled from 1960 to 1980 and peaked at 67% in 1993. Taxes kept rising. The Social Democrats (who ruled Sweden for 44 uninterrupted years from 1932 to 1976 and for 21 out of the 24 years from 1982 to 2006) kept squeezing business. �The era of neo-capitalism is drawing to an end,� said Olof Palme, the party�s leader, in 1974. �It is some kind of socialism that is the key to the future.�
Government creep -- starts off small but it snowballs. Big Governments do not work -- they are toxic to their citizens.

And the lights went out

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Lulu, her son and I had a lot of fun watching the Superbowl last week. Seeing the lights go out was fun -- technology can rise up and bit you in the ass from time to time. They found the problem -- from Associated Press:
Power company takes blame for Super Bowl outage
The company that supplied electricity to the Super Bowl took the blame Friday for the power outage that brought the big game to a halt, explaining that a device designed specifically to prevent a blackout failed and plunged the game into darkness for more than half an hour.

The device called a relay had been installed to protect the Superdome from problems in the cable that links the company's incoming power line with the lines that run into the stadium.

Officials from Entergy New Orleans said the relay functioned with no problems during January's Sugar Bowl and other earlier events. It has been removed and will be replaced.
I love it: a device designed specifically to prevent a blackout failed and plunged the game into darkness Someone's not getting that promotion and corner office...

Life in Chicago

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A two-fer. Rahm loses it -- from Chicago station WBBM:
Emanuel Becomes Emotional As He Discusses Challenges Facing Chicago Youth
The death toll of young Chicagoans to urban violence appears to be taking a toll on the mayor.

In the days since the murder of 15 year-old Hadiya Pendleton, Rahm Emanuel has twice been overcome with emotion.

On Thursday, there were tears in his eyes as he talked about violence plaguing inner-city youth.
But the police union just says gimme -- from the same station:
Chicago Police Want 12 Percent Pay Raise
Contract demands by Chicago police officers include much higher pay and something you might not have imagined.

Chicago police are reportedly proposing in negotiations that their pay increase by 12 percent over two years.

The union also wants officers to get extra money because they are required to live in the city.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the union is proposing a residency stipend of $3,000 per officer.

Police also want to pay less for their health insurance and get more money for their uniform allowance.

The Sun-Times reports, officers also want to reach the top of the pay scale after 20 years, rather than the current 25 years.
How about demonstrating that you are doing your job and then we will talk money and bennies...
From Seattle's Post-Intelligencer:
Guard shoots boy, 15, at FDA office in Bothell
A security guard shot a 15-year-old boy at a Food and Drug Administration regional facility in Bothell early Friday, according to police.

Bothell Police Captain Denise Langford said it was not immediately clear why the guard fired at the boy at about 7 a.m. in the parking lot of the FDA's Pacific Regional Laboratory Northwest.

The teenager got into a car after he was hit by gunfire and crashed into another vehicle about a mile away on the Bothell-Everett Highway, said Sgt. Cedric Collins of the Bothell police.

He was taken to Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland with non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to recover, Collins said.

People who were in the area at the time of the shooting said they heard multiple gunshots, and tire tracks could been seen leading from the street in front of the building and across a grassy median.
What was the kid doing to provoke such a reaction?

Jesse Jackson Jr. does deal

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From the Chicago NBC affiliate:
Jesse Jackson Jr. Signs Plea Deal In Federal Probe
It�s been nearly three months since Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress, but now NBC News confirms that Jackson has signed papers in a plea deal within the past several days.

Jackson�s case is being handled by the US Attorney�s office in Washington DC. While no public announcement is expected today, those with knowledge of the investigation believe the loose ends now deal with Jackson�s wife, former Alderman Sandi Jackson, and whether or not she is ultimately charged.

Under the terms of the deal Jackson signed, he pleads guilty and his fate � as to jail time � would be in the hands of a federal judge, not yet assigned.

He would repay the government hundreds of thousands of dollars � for items like the $40,000 Rolex watch, travel expenses for a woman he described as a �social acquaintance� and furniture purchased for his home.

Converting campaign contributions for personal use is strictly prohibited by federal law. It opens Jackson up to �not more than 5 years� in prison.
Hope you had a good time because you are going to be living your life a lot differently. What is it with Chicago and corrupt politicians...

The Manifesto

Chris Dorner's murdering several people and finding him has been all over the news today. Everyone knows that he started his rampage with a long manifesto published on his Facebook account. What hasn't been mentioned is that any published version has been heavily redacted by the mainstream media. Sure, I can see blanking out the names of people -- sure. What hasn't been talked about is this -- from SooperMexican:
News Media Scrub Cop Murderer�s Manifesto of Pro-Obama, Hillary, MSNBC, CNN, Gay, and Anti-Gun Comments
I�ve been following closely the news story about Chris Dorner, who is now suspected of murdering three people, including one police officer, and shooting another two police officers. He is targeting police and their families for what he says is a corrupt system that robbed him of his name and his life.

You can read all the details here.

However, I started noticing that some of the details the media was talking about didn�t fit the released manifesto I�ve read everywhere. Especially interesting, is that KFI�s morning news regurgitator Bill Handel had mentioned some pro-Obama comments and anti-NRA sentiments in the manifesto.

But these weren�t in the copy that KFI themselves released � see for yourself.
This video from FOX News Los Angeles reports that the manifesto was 22 pages long, while the manifesto released was only 11.

The page where FOX News LA had the manifesto is now deleted. Comments don�t mention the manifesto at all.

KTLA also has the abbreviated manifesto, with this parenthetical: �KTLA has removed the names of a number of officers out of respect for their privacy.�

FOX News reposted the manifesto, with all the names redacted as the authorities asked, but it still doesn�t have the second half.

ABC 7 has also posted a redacted half version of the manifesto.
Being curious, I started looking for a complete copy, but other mainstream news media only had the abbreviated copy.

However, I was able to find a complete copy of the posting, from the website �Crime File News� � the details in it corroborate with the reading that Bill Handel gave on the KFI morning show today.
And what was redacted? Read on (I am doing a lot of redaction on my own -- visit the site for the full text):
What�s the difference between posting 11 rambling pages and 21 rambling pages? Look at what�s taken out:

Pro Gun Control:
Who in there right mind needs a fucking silencer!!! who needs a freaking SBR AR15? No one. No more Virginia Tech, Columbine HS, Wisconsin temple, Aurora theatre, Portland malls, Tucson rally, Newtown Sandy Hook. Whether by executive order or thru a bi-partisan congress an assault weapons ban needs to be re-instituted. Period!!!
Loves Obama:
You disrespect the office of the POTUS/Presidency and Commander in Chief. You call him Kenyan, mongroid, halfrican, muslim, and FBHO when in essence you are to address him as simply, President. The same as you did to President George W. Bush and all those in the highest ranking position of our land before him. Just as I always have. You question his birth certificate, his educational and professional...
Fan of Joe Biden:
Mr. Vice President, do your due diligence when formulating a concise and permanent national AWB plan. Future generations of Americans depend on your plan and advisement to the president. I�ve always been a fan of yours and consider you one of the few genuine and charismatic politicians.
For Hillary 2016:
Hillary Clinton. You�ll make one hell of a president in 2016. Much like your husband, Bill, you will be one of the greatest. ...
Wayne LaPierre, President of the NRA, you�re a vile and inhumane piece of shit. You never even showed 30 seconds of empathy for the children, teachers, and families of Sandy Hook.
Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough, Pat Harvey, Brian Williams, Soledad Obrien, Wolf Blitzer, Meredith Viera, Tavis Smiley, and Anderson Cooper, keep up the great work and follow Cronkite�s lead.
Loves Piers Morgan:
�give Piers Morgan an indefinite resident alien and Visa card. Mr. Morgan, the problem that many American gun owners have with you and your continuous discussion of gun control is that you are not an American citizen and have an accent that is distinct and clarifies that you are a foreigner. I want you to know that I agree with you 100% on enacting stricter firearm laws
Radicalized by Trayvon Martin Propaganda:
Too bad Trayvon didn�t smash your skull completely open, Zim.

So should MSNBC and Obama be blamed for this murderous scum targeting cops and their families? NO � but if we applied the same standard that the media does conservatives and Republicans, then each of the people on this list contributed to the radicalization of a murderer who has taken 3 lives.

And why did they edit all of this out? Would they do this for a Tea Party shooter? Somehow I doubt it.
Like he said, if the shooter was a Tea Party member, the media would be running with all of this craziness -- instead, it is treading very carefully. There is a lot more at the site if you have the time (and stomach) to wade through what counts for this person's mind... The full unredacted manifesto can be found here

20 optical illusions

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A good collection -- some just visual, some GIF animations. There were some ones I had not seen before. Check out 20 Optical Illusions That Might Break Your Mind
From Reuters:
At Obama's inauguration, a Stars and Stripes made in Belgium?
When President Barack Obama was sworn in for his second term on Jan. 21, it's a decent bet that at least one of the flags fluttering behind him was made in Belgium.

The Waelkens flag company, based in the small town of Oostrozebeke in Flanders, supplies around 2,000 flags a year to the United States, with clients including the Pentagon and other U.S. government departments as well as the United Nations.

But it's not just the far side of the Atlantic where the company is gaining ground - it also makes flags for NATO, national militaries, the European Union and just about every country in the world, from China to Nigeria.

"We have a lot of know-how about how we have to make flags and a big tradition of embroidery," said Benedikt Waelkens, who runs the company with his brother, David. "There aren't a lot of people in the world who can and are making handmade flags."
No word as to whether the flags used were actually from this company. I would think that there are plenty of US companies that could do this level of work...
From FOX News:
Supermarkets cry foul as FDA proposes new food labeling rule under ObamaCare
If the Food and Drug Administration gets its way, your trip to the grocery store could get a tad pricier.

Supermarket owners argue a pending federal food-labeling rule that stems from the new health care law would overburden thousands of grocers and convenience store owners -- to the tune of $1 billion in the first year alone.

Store owner Tom Heinen said the industry's profit margins already are razor thin. "When you incur a significant cost, there is no way that that doesn't get passed on to the customer in some form," he said.
A bit more:
The proposed regulation would require store owners to label prepared, unpackaged foods found in salad bars and food bars, soups and bakery items. Erik Lieberman, regulatory counsel at the Food Marketing Institute, said testing foods for nutritional data will require either expensive software or even more costly off-site laboratory assessments.
We have a lot of bulk bins, we sell locally made baked goods and have a lot of snack items that don't have nutritional information -- probably 300 to 500 SKUs that would need to have nutritional information added. Thank you Barry -- could you meddle some more?

DHS buys even more ammo

From FedBid:
View Details for Buy # 451659

Commercial Leaded Training Ammo (CLTA) Pistol Cartridge .40 caliber 165 Grain, jacketed Hollow point(Jhp) p/n P40HSTS3G OR EQUAL. BRASS CASING 100,000 ROUNDS PRICE PER 1000 ROUNDS WILL INCLUDE DELIVERY.


Emphases mine -- 240,000 rounds? March 2012 manufacturer ATK announced that they were providing DHS with 450 million rounds over four years and DHS purchased another 200 million rounds in September 2012.

Toy store

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I'm sunk. Someone just turned me on to this company: Industrial Arts Supply Company

Plastic Bag bans

We just got one in Bellingham, WA. Seattle enacted one a few years ago. I really hate progressivism -- all ideology+now and no facts+perspective. From Bloomberg:
The Disgusting Consequences of Plastic-Bag Bans
Conservatives often point out that laws, no matter how benign they may appear, have unintended consequences. They can reverberate in ways that not many people foresaw and nobody wanted: Raising the minimum wage can increase unemployment; prohibition can create black markets.

The efforts in many cities to discourage the use of plastic bags demonstrate that such unintended consequences can be, among other things, kind of gross.

San Francisco has been discouraging plastic bags since 2007, saying that it takes too much oil to make them and that used bags pollute waterways and kill marine animals. In 2012, it strengthened its law. Several West Coast cities, including Seattle and Los Angeles, have also adopted bans for environmental reasons. The government of Washington, D.C., imposes a 5 cent plastic-bag tax. (Advocates prefer to call it a �fee� because taxes are unpopular.) Environmental groups and celebrity activists, including Eva Longoria and Julia Louis- Dreyfus, support these laws.
And the pesky facts:
Most alarmingly, the industry has highlighted news reports linking reusable shopping bags to the spread of disease. Like this one, from the Los Angeles Times last May: �A reusable grocery bag left in a hotel bathroom caused an outbreak of norovirus-induced diarrhea and nausea that struck nine of 13 members of a girls� soccer team in October, Oregon researchers reported Wednesday.� The norovirus may not have political clout, but evidently it, too, is rooting against plastic bags.

Warning of disease may seem like an over-the-top scare tactic, but research suggests there�s more than anecdote behind this industry talking point. In a 2011 study, four researchers examined reusable bags in California and Arizona and found that 51 percent of them contained coliform bacteria. The problem appears to be the habits of the reusers. Seventy-five percent said they keep meat and vegetables in the same bag. When bags were stored in hot car trunks for two hours, the bacteria grew tenfold.
And not just sick:
Klick and Wright estimate that the San Francisco ban results in a 46 percent increase in deaths from foodborne illnesses, or 5.5 more of them each year. They then run through a cost-benefit analysis employing the same estimate of the value of a human life that the Environmental Protection Agency uses when evaluating regulations that are supposed to save lives. They conclude that the anti-plastic-bag policies can�t pass the test -- and that�s before counting the higher health-care costs they generate.
Given that the plastic bags degenerate after a year or two in the landfill, this is a moot issue. I am waiting for some resource company to start bidding on digging up old landfills to salvage the metals and organics. First company to be able to do this right will become very very rich very very quickly.

A few words from our betters:

�Complex technology of any sort is an assault on human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.�
--Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute

�The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.�
--Jeremy Rifkin, Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

�Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.�
--Prof Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University

�The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can�t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the US. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are.�
--Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund

�Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.�
--Professor Maurice King

�We�ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.�
--Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

�No matter if the science of global warming is all phony� climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.�
--Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

�The data doesn�t matter. We�re not basing our recommendations on the data. We�re basing them on the climate models.�
--Prof. Chris Folland, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research

�The models are convenient fictions that provide something very useful.�
--Dr David Frame, climate modeler, Oxford University

�I believe it is appropriate to have an �over-representation� of the facts on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience.�
--Al Gore, Climate Change activist

�The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.�
--Daniel Botkin

�The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift Global Consciousness to a higher level.�
--Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

�We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis��
--David Rockefeller, Club of Rome executive member

�We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects. We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of acres of presently settled land.�
--David Foreman, co-founder of Earth First!

�My three goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with its full complement of species, returning throughout the world.�
--David Foreman, co-founder of Earth First!

�A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.�
--Ted Turner, Founder of CNN and major UN donor

�The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.�
--Jeremy Rifkin, Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

�The big threat to the planet is people: there are too many, doing too well economically and burning too much oil.�
--Sir James Lovelock, BBC Interview

�We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public�s imagination� So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts� Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.�
--Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology, Lead author of many IPCC reports

�Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.�
--Sir John Houghton, First chairman of the IPCC

�It doesn�t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.�
--Paul Watson, Co-founder of Greenpeace

�Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.�
--David Brower, First Executive Director of the Sierra Club

�We�ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.�
--Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

�No matter if the science of global warming is all phony� climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.�
--Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

�Isn�t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn�t it our responsibility to bring that about?�
--Maurice Strong, Founder of the UN Environmental Program

�A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-Development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.�
--Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies, Author: �Population Bomb�, �Ecoscience�

�If I were reincarnated I would wish to return to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.�
--Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of the World Wildlife Foundation

�The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can�t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization we have in the US. We have to stop these third World countries right where they are.�
--Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund

�Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.�
--Professor Maurice King

�Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class � involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing � are not sustainable.�
--Maurice Strong, Rio Earth Summit

�Complex technology of any sort is an assault on the human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.�
--Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute

�I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. it played an important part in balancing ecosystems.�
--John Davis, Editor of Earth First! Journal

��the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries.�
--David Rockefeller, June, 1991, Bilderberg Conference, Baden, Germany
The affairs of the Earth would be a lot better off if these morons would just S.T.F.U.

The age of enlightenment

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Smart people over there -- from the International Business Times:
Women's Unclean Breasts Cause Diarrhoea, Says Egypt Prime Minister Hisham Qandil
The inability of women in rural Egypt to clean their breasts is causing a diarrhoea epidemic, according to the country's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil.

Qandil was speaking about the spate of recent epidemics in Egypt's rural communities. During the address, he said he had witnessed children suffering from diarrhoea immediately after they have been breastfed because their mothers were unable to clean themselves probably.

He added that many women in rural Egypt don't even bother to clean their breasts at all before feeding their toddlers.

Qandil made his remarks during an address at a cabinet meeting. Women members present were noticeably uncomfortable as Qandil made the comments.

Qandil previously caused widespread anger by offering a bizarre solution to Egypt's power crisis. He urged the Egyptians to wear cotton clothes and gather in a single room to conserve power.
Emphasis mine -- the guy is a total moron and yet, he is Egypt's Prime Minister. Even a fast-acting disease like cholera still has a couple hours to five day incubation period -- the contamination vector is feces, not a mothers skin. And these are the people that Obama is giving Abrams tanks and F-16 jet fighters to...
From Washington, DC station WTOP:
Bruce Willis: Don't infringe on Second Amendment
Bruce Willis says he's against new gun control laws that could infringe on Second Amendment rights. The "Die Hard" star also dismisses any link between Hollywood shootouts and real-life gun violence.

"I think that you can't start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it's all going to become undone," Willis told The Associated Press in a recent interview while promoting his latest film, "A Good Day To Die Hard." ''If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn't they take all your rights away from you?"
A bit more -- talking about the underlying mental health issues:
"It's a difficult thing and I really feel bad for those families," he said. "I'm a father and it's just a tragedy. But I don't know how you legislate insanity. I don't know what you do about it. I don't even know how you begin to stop that."
Nice to see some intelligence coming out of Hollywood...

Like Craigslist for firearms

Check out Armslist From their About Us page:
ARMSLIST is a free local classified site for listing hand guns, pistols, rifles, shotguns, ammunition, archery, and hunting equipment. We created this site to allow people to find buyers and sellers in their local community and not have to pay fees to list their stuff. We wanted the site to be simple, easy to use, and non-intrusive, but specifically for buying, selling, and trading guns!

ARMSLIST became active in January of 2009.

ARMSLIST was created by a number of gun owning and gun loving Americans after seeing firsthand how the popular marketplace sites on the Internet shun firearms. We appreciate all the help and support that everyone has given us and hope for continued success of the site!

ARMSLIST is currently running on the ASP.NET MVC 3 Framework and MySQL server. ARMSLIST is hosted in the cloud on an Amazon Elastic Cloud Computing instance.
Very cool!

Saber rattling between China and Japan

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From the Associated Press:
Japan accuses China of using weapons radar on ship
Japan on Tuesday accused Chinese navy vessels of locking a weapons-targeting radar on a Japanese destroyer and helicopter amid escalating territorial disputes between the Asian powers.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera accused Chinese navy vessels of using the weapons radar in two incidents last month, on Jan. 19 and Jan. 30. He said it happened in the East China Sea, suggesting it was near disputed islands controlled by Japan but also claimed by China. He did not give an exact location.

Onodera said the action could have led to a dangerous situation. Shots were not fired on either occasion.

"It is extremely abnormal to use such fire-control radar, or radar for (weapons) firing," he told reporters in an emergency briefing. "The incident could have led to a dangerous situation in case of a misstep."

"We will sternly call on the Chinese side to refrain from such dangerous acts," he added.
We have a treaty agreement with Japan so we would come to her aid if attacked. This is a dispute over some islands that have off-shore oil deposits. As usual, a case of follow the benjamins...

Wonderful news from Mali

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From the Associated Press:
People of Timbuktu save manuscripts from invaders
For eight days after the Islamists set fire to one of the world's most precious collections of ancient manuscripts, the alarm inside the building blared. It was an eerie, repetitive beeping, a cry from the innards of the injured library that echoed around the world.

The al-Qaida-linked extremists who ransacked the institute wanted to deal a final blow to Mali, whose northern half they had held for 10 months before retreating in the face of a French-led military advance. They also wanted to deal a blow to the world, especially France, whose capital houses the headquarters of UNESCO, the organization which recognized and elevated Timbuktu's monuments to its list of World Heritage sites.

So as they left, they torched the Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research, aiming to destroy a heritage of 30,000 manuscripts that date back to the 13th century.
But, these asshats didn't reckon with Abba Alhadi:
However, they didn't bother searching the old building, where an elderly man named Abba Alhadi has spent 40 of his 72 years on earth taking care of rare manuscripts. The illiterate old man, who walks with a cane and looks like a character from the Bible, was the perfect foil for the Islamists. They wrongly assumed that the city's European-educated elite would be the ones trying to save the manuscripts, he said.

So last August, Alhadi began stuffing the thousands of books into empty rice and millet sacks.

At night, he loaded the millet sacks onto the type of trolley used to cart boxes of vegetables to the market. He pushed them across town and piled them into a lorry and onto the backs of motorcycles, which drove them to the banks of the Niger River.

From there, they floated down to the central Malian town of Mopti in a pinasse, a narrow, canoe-like boat. Then cars drove them from Mopti, the first government-controlled town, to Mali's capital, Bamako, over 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from here.

"I have spent my life protecting these manuscripts. This has been my life's work. And I had to come to terms with the fact that I could no longer protect them here," said Alhadi. "It hurt me deeply to see them go, but I took strength knowing that they were being sent to a safe place."

It took two weeks in all to spirit out the bulk of the collection, around 28,000 texts housed in the old building covering the subjects of theology, astronomy, geography and more.

There was nothing they could do, however, for the 2,000 documents that had already been transferred to the new library, to its exhibition and restoration rooms, and to a basement vault. Cisse took solace knowing that most of the texts in the new library had been digitized.

Even so, when his staff came to tell him about the fire, he felt a constriction in his chest.
Any burned book is a sad event but they were able to save 95% of the collection. These islamists think that they are following the "purest" version of islam when in reality, they are following a perversion of islam and are worshiping a false prophet. They are willfully ignorant and represent all that is evil in society.

This is not how you do it

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From FOX News:
Argentina freezes prices to break inflation spiral
Argentina announced a two-month price freeze on supermarket products Monday in an effort to break spiraling inflation.

The price freeze applies to every product in all of the nation's largest supermarkets � a group including Walmart, Carrefour, Coto, Jumbo, Disco and other large chains. The companies' trade group, representing 70 percent of the Argentine market, reached the accord with Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno, the government's news agency Telam reported.

The commerce ministry wants consumers to keep receipts and complain to a hotline about any price hikes they see before April 1.

Polls show Argentines worry most about inflation, which private economists estimate could reach 30 percent this year. The government says it's trying to hold the next union wage hikes to 20 percent, a figure that suggests how little anyone believes the official index that pegs annual inflation at just 10 percent.
They are fixing the prices but probably not addressing the costs in the supply chain. We had this back in the 1970's with gasoline. The stores will run out and there will be rationing with an underground economy developing. The idea that the Unions are going to limit their pay raise to just 20% speaks volumes about how out of control that government is. And the good news is that we may be seeing similar conditions beginning here in about three months...

Obama's economy

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All he wants is our money. From Bloomberg:
Obama Says U.S. Needs Revenue Along With Spending Cuts
President Barack Obama said there is �no doubt� the government needs new revenue from closing tax �loopholes� and limiting deductions, along with enacting spending cuts, to reduce the federal deficit.

There�s �no reason why we can�t have really strong growth in 2013,� the president said in an interview with CBS television yesterday before the network�s Super Bowl broadcast. He cited a recovering housing industry, strong manufacturing and rising car sales.
More taxes? He doesn't understand his spending problem. If we taxed everybody at 100% when their income topped $250,000, that would raise enough revenue to run government for about nine months. Another little item from The Hill:
Gasoline costs take biggest share of household income in three decades
Trips to the gasoline pump in 2012 and 2008 took their biggest share of U.S. household income in several decades, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The Energy Department�s statistical arm reported Monday that the average household spent $2,912 for gasoline in 2012, which makes up almost 4 percent of pre-tax income, tying 2008 for the highest percentage in roughly 30 years.
Which of course will raise the prices of everything that has to be delivered at some point in the manufacturing chain -- ie: everything...

Long day today and tomorrow

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Watched the Superbowl and fixed some grilled Mahi steaks with grilled asparagus and fresh pasta with capers, lemon, shallots and garlic. Also checked out Elementary -- a lot of fun. I love the original Sherlock Holmes and this is a fun take on the canon. Do the shoping run tomorrow so calling it an early night...

Not just the convoy

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From the New York Times:
Israeli Strike Into Syria Said to Damage Research Site
The Israeli attack last week on a Syrian convoy of antiaircraft weapons appears to have also hit the country�s main research center for work on biological and chemical weapons, according to American officials who are sorting through intelligence reports.

While the main target of the attack on Wednesday appears to have been SA-17 missiles and their launchers � which the Israelis feared were about to be moved to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon � video shown on Syrian television appears to back up assertions that the research center north of Damascus was also damaged.

That complex, the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, has been the target of American and Western sanctions for more than a decade because of intelligence suggesting that it was the training site for engineers who worked on chemical and biological weaponry.
In for a penny, in for a pound -- do the maximum damage while they are there...
16th? From here:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
It was ratified on February 3, 1913. From Dan Mitchell:
The 100th Anniversary of the Income Tax�and the Lesson We Should Learn from that Mistake
What�s the worst thing about Delaware?

No, not Joe Biden. He�s just a harmless clown and the butt of some good jokes.

Instead, the so-called First State is actually the Worst State because 100 years ago, on this very day, Delaware made the personal income tax possible by ratifying the 16th Amendment.

Though, to be fair, I suppose the 35 states that already had ratified the Amendment were more despicable since they were even more anxious to enable this noxious levy (and Alabama was first in line, which is a further sign that Georgia deserved to win the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, but I digress).

Let�s not get bogged down in details. The purpose of this post is not to re-hash history, but to instead ask what lessons we can learn from the adoption of the income tax.

The most obvious lesson is that politicians can�t be trusted with additional powers. The first income tax had a top tax rate of just 7 percent and the entire tax code was 400 pages long. Now we have a top tax rate of 39.6 percent (even higher if you include additional levies for Medicare and Obamacare) and the tax code has become a 72,000-page monstrosity.

But the main lesson I want to discuss today is that giving politicians a new source of money inevitably leads to much higher spending.
A good article pointing out the recent growth of government spending. Read the whole thing to realize what we are up to...

A climate change two-fer

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First, from FOX News: Report shows UN admitting solar activity may play significant role in global warming Title says it all... Next up from the London Daily Mail:
Britain must prepare for floods caused by 'the wrong type of rain' says Environment Agency chief
Britain's worsening floods are caused by a 'new kind of rain', according to the head of the Environment Agency.

Chairman Lord Smith says changes in rain patterns mean parts of the country are being hit by prolonged downpours that are causing extreme flooding.

Thousands of homes and businesses were damaged and at least eight people were killed in 2012 as Britain suffered its second wettest year on record.

Lord Smith told the Sunday Telegraph that changes in the way it rains have contributed to the severe floods, in a claim reminiscent of British Rail's 'wrong type of snow excuse'.

He said: 'Instead of rain sweeping across the country, we are getting convective rain, which sits in one place and just dumps itself in a deluge over a long period of time.
No, England just happened to have a wet summer last year. There are not types of rain. For more on the 'wrong type of snow' fiasco go here, here and here.

The ongoing demonization of coal

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From the Puffington Host
The Poison We Never Talk About in School
The most dangerous substance in the world is barely mentioned in the school curriculum. Coal.

According to the International Energy Agency, burning coal creates more greenhouse gases than any other source -- including oil. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and arguably the world's foremost climatologist, has called coal "the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on the planet."
Hansen is morphing into a complete joke. The GISS is flat-out dead wrong yet still continues to milk the warming claim. Lots of nice grant money for those who drink the kool-aid and play along with the marxist meme of the decade. More:
And, as 350.org founder Bill McKibben pointed out recently in a remarkable article in Rolling Stone magazine, "Global Warming's Terrifying New Math," from a mathematical standpoint, it is demonstrably impossible to prevent the climate from spinning out of control with unimaginably horrible consequences, if we burn the fossil fuels that energy corporations are in the process of exploiting and selling. And the worst fossil fuel from a climate standpoint is coal -- responsible for 45 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, a third more polluting in terms of carbon dioxide than oil, and twice as polluting as natural gas.
Weepy Bill is even more of a joke. A non-scientist and believer in positive climate feedback and runaway warming. Both demonstrably proven to be false. More:
So when you think about Superstorm Sandy, melting ice caps, wildfires in Australia, drought in the Southwest, floods in Pakistan, climate refugees from Bangladesh, dying polar bears and species you've never heard of, increased rates of asthma, and farmland that can no longer be farmed -- think coal.
A perfect case of confusing weather for climate. Sandy? The East Coast has been pasted by even larger storms in the past. This summer, with all the heat, fully one third of the record temperatures set in the United States were for cold temperatures. The author of this crap is co-director of the Zinn Education Project which I presume is named after revisionist Howard Zinn. Are these congenital idiots trying to push revisionist crap like this in our schools? They need to be soundly mocked and rode out of town on a rail...

Back inside again

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Several hundred rounds were fired (22LR through 12Gage slugs). The sawhorse is broken into two pieces. I did a roast beef for dinner and that is resting with some vegetables roasting in the oven. Decided to name my new (to me) Moisin-Nagant the 'Tzar of Muscovy' -- rebuilding that is coming along very nicely. Finally got all the @#$% cosmoline out of the barrel. The Ed's Red is working very well -- cheap to make but it stinks so usage is confined to the shop...

Light posting for the next couple hours

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Gorgeous day today -- temps in the mid-50's and clear sky. Spending a lot of time outdoors... UPDATE: Lulu's son and a friend of his pulled up an hour ago. All three of us are armed and loaded for bear -- have a sawhorse setup with targets on it. Having barrels of fun!

Earthquake update

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From FOX News:
Strong earthquake hits Japan's northern island of Hokkaido; no injuries or danger of tsunami
A strong earthquake has struck Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, but authorities say there is no danger of a tsunami and there are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Japan's Meteorological Agency says the quake had a magnitude of 6.4 and hit at 11:17 p.m. (1417 GMT) Saturday in the Tokachi region in southern Hokkaido, at a depth of 120 kilometer (75 miles).

The agency says there is no danger of a tsunami from the quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake's magnitude was 6.9.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK says nearby nuclear power plants, including Tomari and Higashidori, which are currently idled for safety inspections, have reported no abnormalities.
Good news indeed!
No news yet but there is a report of a 6.9 Mag quake near Hokkaido. The good news is that it is 103 Kilometers deep -- much less surface activity than the last big one.

Granny of the year - Betty Stewart

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Awesome story -- from the Atlanta, Georgia station WSBTV:
Great-grandmother shields toddler as tornado destroys home
Cleanup efforts are under way in north Georgia after the area was hit by at least one deadly tornado.

Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in Gordon and Bartow counties, where a man was killed by a fallen tree, up to 100 homes were damaged and 17 injuries were reported. The state insurance commissioner estimates damage losses at $75 million.

Among the injured is 2-year-old Zane McFarland. The boy is recovering Thursday as his 80-year-old great grandmother undergoes surgery for injuries suffered when a tornado destroyed their Gordon County home.

The senior, Betty Stewart, is being hailed as a hero after she covered Zane in a quilt, then shielded his body with her own as the wind swept their home off its foundation and demolished it against two nearby trees.

"She fought a tornado, and she won," said nephew Kenneth Hayes.
She fought a tornado, and she won -- words to live by.
From Ohio's Buckeye Firearms Association:
Convicted rapist organizes gun control demonstration at Dayton gun show; Media fails to note his sex offender status
This past weekend, a small group of perhaps a dozen protesters gathered outside Dayton's Hara Arena to protest the sale of modern sporting rifles at Bill Goodman's Gun and Knife Show.

From the article:
"We know that guns are being sold on the floor inside Hara Arena illegally" said Jerome McCorry. "No background checks no identification of any kind."

McCorry said "AK-47s and M16s are not gonna be used for hunting, they're not going to be used to protect anybody. These are the weapons that are coming back and being used in mass murders and mass killings."
After reading the article, a Buckeye Firearms Association supporter decided to contact McCorry, the apparent protest organizer, to inform him about the inaccuracies in his statements about firearms (it isn't illegal for private individuals to sell a gun at the show without a background check, people aren't selling M16s or fully-automatic AK-47s at Hara Arena, modern sporting rifles are used for hunting, gun shows are rarely used by criminals as a source for guns, rifles [of any type] are used in murders far less than fists or baseball bats, etc.).

The supporter quickly found more than he bargained for. A simple Google search for Jerome McCorry reveals that the man trying to tell the public what weapons they should be allowed to own is a convicted felon.

From the Attorney General's ICrimeWatch.net
But wait -- there's more:
What's even worse, this isn't the first time. A search of the WHIO-TV website shows Jerome McCorry appearing in other articles advocating gun control over the past few years, and one article about an incident in which an Adam Project-sponsored rally turned violent.

The Dayton Daily News has also given McCorry legitimacy, covering a "hoodie rally" sponsored by McCorry and The Adam Project in the wake of the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, after the 17 year-old allegedly attacked neighborhood watch volunteer and concealed weapons permit-holder George Zimmerman.

Not one of the articles by WHIO-TV or The Dayton Daily News mentions McCorry's status as a convicted rapist who is on the sex offender registry.

Hmmmm........Can anyone think of a reason why this man doesn't want law-abiding citizens to have the ability to defend themselves with firearms?
For the background on the Trayvon Martin shooting, read this post from May 30, 2012. Source materials here, here with updated materials here. A big tip 'o the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

Flight of the athletes

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From FOX News:
For millionaire athletes, states with highest tax rates may not make the cut
Is Lefty's stance on California's tax hikes a sign of things to come for millionaire athletes?

The Golden State's new 13.3 percent income tax on top earners prompted golfer Phil Mickelson to say earlier this month he was considering a move, and according to the accountants who advise millionaire athletes, he was just saying what a lot of jocks were already thinking. Federal taxes on the top income bracket just rose by roughly 5 percent, and, while there's nothing rich athletes can do about that, they are paying attention to which states dip into their game checks � and how much they take.

�They�re going to have an exodus of people,� said John Karaffa, president of ProSport CPA, a Virginia-based firm that represents nearly 300 professional athletes, primarily in basketball and football. �I think they�ll see some [leave California] for sure. They were already a very high tax state and it�s getting to a point where folks have to make a business decision as well as a lifestyle decision.�
And the exodus begins.

Not my dime you don't

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Jesse Jackson has his hands out again -- completely craven. From the New York Times:
Jesse Jackson Proposes Creation of a New Lender
There�s been no shortage of ideas for how to jump-start economic growth in the aftermath of the financial crisis. But a new one comes with a high-profile backer: the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.

At a three-day conference in New York that began on Wednesday, Mr. Jackson discussed a proposal for increasing the availability of capital by using pension money to make loans in low-income communities. The idea is getting a prominent debut at the 16th annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit, hosted by Mr. Jackson�s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Citizenship Education Fund.
So he is proposing taking money out of pension funds (where they are invested wisely and growing money) into socially responsible investments. A bit more:
Mr. Jackson, who regularly speaks out about banks� abuses in minority communities, envisions the creation of a lender similar to development banks in other countries. With political gridlock in Washington, and with banks limiting access to capital, a separate solution is needed, Mr. Jackson said, comparing the idea to the Marshall Plan.

Using pension money would simultaneously achieve another of Mr. Jackson�s goals: encouraging pensions to focus on socially responsible investments.
Mr. Jackson is confusing earning money with handing it out by the fistfull with no expectation of return. Development banks in other countries take foreign aid money given by the US and Europe and turn around and give it to the ruling despot of said country. The Marshall Plan was a complete rebuilding of Europe on our dime. I hope the Union rank and file rise up and protest this grab of their pension funds...

Good news on the fuel arena

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From the New York Times:
Court Overturns E.P.A.�s Biofuels Mandate
A federal appeals court threw out a federal rule on renewable fuels on Friday, saying that a quota set by the Environmental Protection Agency for incorporating liquids made from woody crops and wastes into car and truck fuels was based on wishful thinking rather than realistic estimates of what could be achieved.

The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia involved a case brought by the American Petroleum Institute, whose members were bound by the 2012 cellulosic biofuels quota being challenged.
Good news -- I do not think I am alone in wishing that the EPA were defunded. They do no good.

RIP - Edward Koch

I really wish that more politicians were like him. From the NY Times:

Edward Koch, Former Mayor of New York, Dies at 88
Edward I. Koch, the master showman of City Hall, who parlayed shrewd political instincts and plenty of chutzpah into three tumultuous terms as mayor of New York with all the tenacity, zest and combativeness that personified his city of golden dreams, died Friday morning at age 88.

Mr. Koch's spokesman, George Arzt, said the former mayor died at 2 a.m. from congestive heart failure. He was being treated at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital.

A long (8 pages) and wonderful read -- Koch was a force of nature.

YES!!!!!!!!! Chu to step down

From FOX News:
Energy Secretary Steven Chu to step down
Energy Secretary Steven Chu will be leaving his post, the White House confirmed Friday, exiting the administration at the start of President Obama's second term after a rocky tenure.

In his resignation letter, Chu said he intend to stay on board "past the end of February" to help the department find his successor.

Chu's leadership has drawn sharp criticism from Republicans who questioned his controversial support for and handling of a $528 million federal loan to solar panel maker Solyndra before the company filed for bankruptcy.
And good riddance. Chu was a perfect example of someone who, because they are good at one thing, deem themselves to be good at everything. Chu won the Nobel in Physics but is a piss-poor manager and knows nothing about alt.energy. My only concern is who his replacement will be now that Obama is a lame duck...

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