April 2013 Archives

Glyphosphate in the news

Best known by its original trade name Roundup (Monsanto's patent expired in 2000 so there are quite a few (and cheaper) clones out there). It is basically a soap based on Phosphorus. Household soap is based on Sodium. Glyphosphate has the curious ability to inhibit an enzyme involved in the synthesis of the aromatic amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan and phenylalanine. Without those amino acids, the plant is unable to make food and it dies. Because of its very low toxicity, its use is widespread. In 2007, US ag use was over 180 million pounds with an additional five to eight million pounds used residentially. Naturally, progressives cannot stand for something from the private sector to be so wildly successful so they have to PROTEST this evil chemical. They have quoted various peer reviewed papers saying that Glyphosphate is actually quite toxic to human beings. When examined, their evidence falls apart -- it is a joke and these papers make them laughingstocks of the scientific community. Medicinal chemist Derek Lowe writes at In the Pipeline:
Is Glyphosate Poisoning Everyone?
I've had a few people send along this article, on the possible toxicological effects of the herbicide glyphosate, wondering what I make of it as a medicinal chemist. It's getting a lot of play in some venues, particularly the news-from-Mother-Nature outlets. After spending some time reading this paper over, and looking through the literature, I've come to a conclusion: it is, unfortunately, a load of crap.

The authors believe that glyphosate is responsible for pretty much every chronic illness in humans, and a list of such is recited several times during the course of the long, rambling manuscript. Their thesis is that the compound is an inhibitor of the metabolizing CYP enzymes, of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids by gut bacteria, and of sulfate transport. But the evidence given for these assertions, and their connection with disease, while it might look alarming and convincing to someone who has never done research or read a scientific paper, is a spiderweb of "might", "could", "is possibly", "associated with", and so on. The minute you look at the actual evidence, things disappear.

Here's an example - let's go right to the central thesis that glyphosate inhibits CYP enzymes in the liver. Here's a quote from the paper itself:
A study conducted in 1998 demonstrated that glyphosate inhibits cytochrome P450 enzymes in plants [116]. CYP71s are a class of CYP enzymes which play a role in detoxification of benzene compounds. An inhibitory effect on CYP71B1l extracted from the plant, Thlaspi arvensae, was demonstrated through an experiment involving a reconstituted system containing E. coli bacterial membranes expressing a fusion protein of CYP71B fused with a cytochrome P450 reductase. The fusion protein was assayed for activity level in hydrolyzing a benzo(a)pyrene, in the presence of various concentrations of glyphosate. At 15 microM concentration of glyphosate, enzyme activity was reduced by a factor of four, and by 35 microM concentration enzyme activity was completely eliminated. The mechanism of inhibition involved binding of the nitrogen group in glyphosate to the haem pocket in the enzyme.

A more compelling study demonstrating an effect in mammals as well as in plants involved giving rats glyphosate intragastrically for two weeks [117]. A decrease in the hepatic level of cytochrome P450 activity was observed. As we will see later, CYP enzymes play many important roles in the liver. It is plausible that glyphosate could serve as a source for carcinogenic nitrosamine exposure in humans, leading to hepatic carcinoma. N-nitrosylation of glyphosate occurs in soils treated with sodium nitrite [118], and plant uptake of the nitrosylated product has been demonstrated [119]. Preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions in the liver of female Wistar rats exposed to carcinogenic nitrosamines showed reduced levels of several CYP enzymes involved with detoxification of xenobiotics, including NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase and various glutathione transferases [120]. Hence this becomes a plausible mechanism by which glyphosate might reduce the bioavailability of CYP enzymes in the liver.

Glyphosate is an organophosphate. Inhibition of CYP enzyme activity in human hepatic cells is a well-established property of organophosphates commonly used as pesticides [121]. In [122], it was demonstrated that organophosphates upregulate the nuclear receptor, constitutive androstane receptor (CAR), a key regulator of CYP activity. This resulted in increased synthesis of CYP2 mRNA, which they proposed may be a compensation for inhibition of CYP enzyme activity by the toxin. CYP2 plays an important role in detoxifying xenobiotics [123].
Now, that presumably sounds extremely detailed and impressive if you don't know any toxicology. What you wouldn't know from reading through all of it is that their reference 121 actually tested glyphosate against human CYP enzymes. In fact, you wouldn't know that anyone has ever actually done such an experiment, because all the evidence adduced in the paper is indirect - this species does that, so humans might do this, and this might be that, because this other thing over here has been shown that it could be something else. But the direct evidence is available, and is not cited - in fact, it's explicitly ignored. Reference 121 showed that glyphosate was inactive against all human CYP isoforms except 2C9, where it had in IC50 of 3.7 micromolar. You would also not know from this new paper that there is no way that ingested glyphosate could possibly reach levels in humans to inhibit CYP2C9 at that potency.

I'm not going to spend more time demolishing every point this way; this one is representative. This paper is a tissue of assertions and allegations, a tendentious brief for the prosecution that never should have been published in such a form in any scientific journal. Ah, but it's published in the online journal Entropy, from the MDPI people. And what on earth does this subject have to do with entropy, you may well ask? The authors managed to work that into the abstract, saying that glyphosate's alleged effects are an example of "exogenous semiotic entropy". And what the hell is that, you may well ask? Why, it's a made-up phrase making its first appearance, that's what it is.

But really, all you need to know is that MDPI is the same family of "journals" that published the (in)famous Andrulis "Gyres are the key to everything!" paper. And then made all kinds of implausible noises about layers of peer review afterwards. No, this is one of the real problems with sleazy "open-access" journals. They give the whole idea of open-access publishing a black eye, and they open the floodgates to whatever ridiculous crap comes in, which then gets "peer reviewed" and "published" in an "actual scientific journal", where it can fool the credulous and mislead the uninformed.
I quoted Derek's entry in full as it was impossible to excerpt. His thesis is impossible to refute -- just like the anti-vaccine people, all of the nay-saying comes down to one single flawed paper and once that is removed, every shred of evidence goes away -- claims built on claims built on a rotten foundation. Ask the ex-Md. Andy Wakefield what it feels like when these towers collapse. Lost his award, lost his Medical license, lost everything -- all for some dirty money from some lawyers. As for me, I am sitting here with a nice glass of Merlot enjoying a state of exogenous semiotic entropy. Be sure to check out the comments -- a lot of scientists as well as a few TRUE BELIEVERS!!!!!1111ELEVENTY!!!!
From Bellingham station KGMI also comes this news item:
Seattle Police prep for possible May Day offensive
A group called Puget Sound Anarchists has made a call for protestors to "wipe that grin off Lloyd Blankfein's face."

The anarchists posted the message on their website in reference to the chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, calling on demonstrators to rally tomorrow in front of the company's office in downtown Seattle.

The Seattle Police Department says officers will be posted at that location and others around the city tomorrow in preparation for demonstrations that get out of hand.

Last year, May Day protestors became violent and vandalized downtown businesses.
This is just asinine. Readers will know that I am by no means a friend of Goldman Sachs or any other "crony capitalist" organization but this sort of mindless mob activity hurts the small business owners and is about as far from 'sticking it to the man' as they can get. May Day heralded the start of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which murdered about 60,000,000 poor souls. The Mao took up the mantle and another 50,000,000 souls went to their rest. Socialism and Communism has never worked any place it has been tried. Marx's basic premise of the fixed pool of Capital that needs to be equitably distributed is fatally flawed at the outset -- Marx's basic premise was dead wrong. Why this keeps lingering around the periphery of the self-absorbed and mentally ill is beyond me. I guess they like the idea of being taken care of and getting 'free stuff' from a large central government. Move to Cuba if you want your workers paradise...

Our local crime scene

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From Bellingham station KGMI -- Sedro-Wooley is about 30 miles due South of here:
Sedro-Woolley bank robbery suspect In custody
A 19-year-old man covered in crimson dye is in police custody after being accused of robbing a bank in Sedro-Woolley.

Authorities say the dye came from an exploding pack that was inside the bag of money tellers handed the suspect at North Coast Credit Union.

The credit union was robbed at knifepoint around 10:30 Monday morning.

Mount Vernon police arrested the suspect about six hours later when they spotted his vehicle.
The stupid -- it burns!!!

Offline for a bit

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Heading into town for a few errands. It is turning out to be a gorgeous day so we will be working in the yard after I get back. More posting tonight...
On this date, April 30th 1993, the first website was posted to the World Wide Web. From CBS News:
CERN reactivates first Web page for 20th anniversary
Twenty years ago today, a team lead by Tim Berners-Lee at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced that a project they were working on, to connect computers around the world, would be a free and open platform for all to use.

On April 30, 1993, the World Wide Web was born. Often nicknamed WWW, W3 or the Web, the platform should not to be mistaken for the Internet, which is the infrastructure that the Web runs on.
From CERN:
First URL active once more
When the first website was born, it was probably quite lonely. And with few people having access to browsers - or to web servers so that they could in turn publish their own content - it must have taken a visionary leap of faith at the time to see why it was so exciting. The early WWW team, led by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN, had such vision and belief. The fact that they called their technology the World Wide Web hints at the fact that they knew they had something special, something big.

In 1993 the WWW team wrote an advert for the web that appeared in Tagung Deutsches ForschungsNetz. They wrote:
"To find out about WWW:

telnet info.cern.ch [a command you would type into your network-enabled computer]

This will give you the very basic line-mode interface. Don't be disappointed: use it to find out how to install it or more advanced graphical interface browsers on your local system."
I think the 'don't be disappointed' is crucial here: the WWW team knew that they had something revolutionary that could look rather ordinary, even disappointing. But they had an idea of what they were building.
The original website is up here but it is being hit with a lot of traffic so YMMV. From one website to over 600 million in 20 years -- not too shabby...


Interesting if slanted article at The Atlantic magazine:
What If We Never Run Out of Oil?
As the great research ship Chikyu left Shimizu in January to mine the explosive ice beneath the Philippine Sea, chances are good that not one of the scientists aboard realized they might be closing the door on Winston Churchill�s world. Their lack of knowledge is unsurprising; beyond the ranks of petroleum-industry historians, Churchill�s outsize role in the history of energy is insufficiently appreciated.

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911. With characteristic vigor and verve, he set about modernizing the Royal Navy, jewel of the empire. The revamped fleet, he proclaimed, should be fueled with oil, rather than coal�a decision that continues to reverberate in the present. Burning a pound of fuel oil produces about twice as much energy as burning a pound of coal. Because of this greater energy density, oil could push ships faster and farther than coal could.

Churchill�s proposal led to emphatic dispute. The United Kingdom had lots of coal but next to no oil. At the time, the United States produced almost two-thirds of the world�s petroleum; Russia produced another fifth. Both were allies of Great Britain. Nonetheless, Whitehall was uneasy about the prospect of the Navy�s falling under the thumb of foreign entities, even if friendly. The solution, Churchill told Parliament in 1913, was for Britons to become �the owners, or at any rate, the controllers at the source of at least a proportion of the supply of natural oil which we require.� Spurred by the Admiralty, the U.K. soon bought 51 percent of what is now British Petroleum, which had rights to oil �at the source�: Iran (then known as Persia). The concessions� terms were so unpopular in Iran that they helped spark a revolution. London worked to suppress it. Then, to prevent further disruptions, Britain enmeshed itself ever more deeply in the Middle East, working to install new shahs in Iran and carve Iraq out of the collapsing Ottoman Empire.
Long article but a great read. Coming into the present here:
The Chikyu, which first set out in 2005, was initially intended to probe earthquake-generating zones in the planet�s mantle, a subject of obvious interest to seismically unstable Japan. Its present undertaking was, if possible, of even greater importance: trying to develop an energy source that could free not just Japan but much of the world from the dependence on Middle Eastern oil that has bedeviled politicians since Churchill�s day.

In the 1970s, geologists discovered crystalline natural gas�methane hydrate, in the jargon�beneath the seafloor. Stored mostly in broad, shallow layers on continental margins, methane hydrate exists in immense quantities; by some estimates, it is twice as abundant as all other fossil fuels combined. Despite its plenitude, gas hydrate was long subject to petroleum-industry skepticism. These deposits�water molecules laced into frigid cages that trap �guest molecules� of natural gas�are strikingly unlike conventional energy reserves. Ice you can set on fire! Who could take it seriously? But as petroleum prices soared, undersea-drilling technology improved, and geological surveys accumulated, interest rose around the world. The U.S. Department of Energy has been funding a methane-hydrate research program since 1982.
Hydrates are very cool. But the dystopian pseudoscience creeps in:
On a broader level still, cheap, plentiful natural gas throws a wrench into efforts to combat climate change. Avoiding the worst effects of climate change, scientists increasingly believe, will require �a complete phase-out of carbon emissions � over 50 years,� in the words of one widely touted scientific estimate that appeared in January. A big, necessary step toward that goal is moving away from coal, still the second-most-important energy source worldwide. Natural gas burns so much cleaner than coal that converting power plants from coal to gas�a switch promoted by the deluge of gas from fracking�has already reduced U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions to their lowest levels since Newt Gingrich�s heyday.
CO2 is busted -- it is the natural variability of the sun that contributes to the warming and we may well be headed for a substantial cooling period. Lastly, the line about: "reduced U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions to their lowest levels since Newt Gingrich�s heyday" is because the economy is in the toilet and gas prices are double what they were when Obama took office. When people have less money to spend, they do not drive as much or buy as much stuff (trucked in to your local store). This was never a political or voluntary reduction. Personally, I think the more cheap energy the better. This directly affects the economy and helps raise everyone's standard of living. The whole concept of money needing to be equitably redistributed is based on Karl Marx's fallacy that there is a fixed pool of money and that inequities are caused by this pool not being distributed properly. Money is fungible -- it can be created and destroyed. The better our energy sources are, the more money everyone will have if they choose to work for it. Glad to see that the people of Japan are not falling for this claptrap...

Obama's executive order #13603

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This came up in conversation and I tracked it down. From the Federal Register (PDF):
National Defense Resources Preparedness
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (50 U.S.C. App. 2061 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 101. Purpose. This order delegates authorities and addresses national defense resource policies and programs under the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (the "Act").

Sec. 102. Policy. The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contrib-uting to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency. The domestic industrial and technological base is the foundation for national defense preparedness. The authorities provided in the Act shall be used to strengthen this base and to ensure it is capable of responding to the national defense needs of the United States.
Jim Powell wrote an excellent article at Forbes a year ago (to this day actually) that outlines the powers that Obama can claim:
Obama's Plan To Seize Control Of Our Economy And Our Lives
President Obama has made clear that he�s determined to continue pushing his �progressive� agenda, regardless of constitutional limitations on his power. He aims to have his way by issuing more and more executive orders.
More specifically:
Obama�s plan involves seizing control of:
  • �All commodities and products that are capable of being ingested by either human beings or animals�
  • �All forms of energy�
  • �All forms of civil transportation�
  • �All usable water from all sources�
  • �Health resources � drugs, biological products, medical devices, materials, facilities, health supplies, services and equipment�
  • Forced labor ( or �induction� as the executive order delicately refers to military conscription)

Moreover, federal officials would �issue regulations to prioritize and allocate resources.�

Each government bureaucracy �shall act as necessary and appropriate.�

To be sure, much of this language has appeared in national security executive orders that previous presidents have issued periodically since the beginning of the Cold War.

But more than previous national security executive orders, Obama�s 13603 seems to describe a potentially totalitarian regime obsessed with control over everything. Obama�s executive order makes no effort to justify the destruction of liberty, no effort to explain how amassing totalitarian control would enable government to deal effectively with cyber sabotage, suicide bombings, chemical warfare, nuclear missiles or other possible threats. It�s quite likely there would be greater difficulty responding to threats, since totalitarian regimes suffer from economic chaos, colossal waste, massive corruption and bureaucratic infighting that are inevitable consequences of extreme centralization.
All spelled out in black and white. Read.

Back from LinuxFest

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That was a lot of fun -- attended two sessions. Drupal and Gimp -- Drupal is going to be used with a new website I am developing and Gimp is a decent replacement for photoshop now that the companion app Darktable has been written. A great photography workflow solution. Lots of geeky exhibits -- scored a fun Tee Shirt and took a close look at a Raspberry Pi -- keep that puppy in mind for some embedded projects in the pipeline. I have a water board meeting tonight so posting will be minimal. Grabbing a quick bite to eat and then off...

From an email list

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A great quote:
The Government controls Food
The Government controls Money
The Government controls Education
The Government controls Media

An increasingly large number of Americans are
Fat, Poor and Stupid

Doesn't that seem odd to you?
Right where they want us to be -- voting Democrat...
From ABC News:
Hostess Reopening Plants, Without Union Workers
The bankrupt assets of Hostess Brands, Inc., the company responsible for Twinkies, Ho Ho's, Sno Balls and Ding Dongs, are being put back to work by a buyout firm. What's not being put back to work are the former Hostess unionized employees.

The unionized workers had been on strike when the company folded late last year.

The company had imposed a contract that would cut its 19,000 workers' wages � 15,000 of whom belonged to the workers from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) � by 8 percent. (The Teamsters was Hostess' largest union, followed by BCTGM.) The contract would have also cut benefits by 27 to 32 percent.

Hostess filed for Chapter 11 in January 2012. In November 2012, the company announced it would be shutting its doors for good. By that time, it had lost about $1.1 billion, largely due to bankruptcy filings.

But last month Apollo Global Management, LLC, and Metropoulos & Co., which owns Pabst Blue Ribbon and Vlasic pickles, bought the 83-year-old company for $410 million, renaming it Hostess Brands LLC. It is planning to re-open four bakeries over the next two and a half months, in Columbus, Ga.; Emporia, Kan.; Schiller Park, Ill.; and Indianapolis. It is also contemplating a fifth in Los Angeles.
I do feel sorry for the workers who lost their jobs. I have no beef with them. My complaint is with the union management. Hostess opened their books -- all but one union saw that they were having a tough financial time and agreed to the pay and benefit cuts. One union did not and went on strike so the entire unionized workforce had to follow suit. End of company. Unions very much did have their place in America but the days of the Company Town have passed. When you cannot find a working wage, you now have the ability to move (North Dakota is a prime example). The unions have not brought themselves up to date. Look at Detroit as a prime example of the fallout. Unions represent about 8% of our workforce -- there is a very good reason for that...

Some spending that can be cut

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With all the public pain from Obama's Sequester, here is a great way to save a couple million dollars. From FOX News:
Senate Republicans quiz Labor Department on purported payments for labor unions worldwide
Senate Republicans say the Labor Department appears to be spending millions in taxpayer dollars to establish labor unions and promote collective bargaining in foreign countries and is asking top Obama administration officials for a full audit.

The request was sent by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the leading Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the top Republican on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

�At a time when our federal budget is deteriorating rapidly � it is troubling to us that the department appears to be spending millions of dollars of taxpayer funds to establish labor unions and promote collective bargaining in foreign countries,� they said in a letter to acting Labor Secretary Seth Harris.
A bit more:
The bureau for the past several years has purportedly made numerous awards -- worth millions of dollars -- to the United Nations, the Solidarity Center and other similar groups, �whose stated objective is to help establish labor unions in foreign countries," the senators said.

They also said the bureau recently awarded a Colombian labor organization $1.5 million to help workers improve their collective bargaining rights and $2.2 million to the Solidarity Center, an AFL-CIO organization, to strengthen unions in Haiti and Peru.

In addition, the bureau purportedly awarded a $1.5 million grant to an international development company in 2011 to assist labor unions in Vietnam engage in collective bargaining, the lawmakers said.
Why are we allowing this kind of meddling in other nations' affairs. If the businesses in those countries feel that they would be better served by collective bargaining, let them bear the cost of implementation. This kind of spending brings us zero benefit. And a tip 'o the hat to John Lott for the link.

Apples in the news

A great article on the renaissance of varietal apples in the USA featuring the founder of Fedco Trees. From Mother Jones:
Why Your Supermarket Only Sells 5 Kinds of Apples
Every fall at Maine's Common Ground Country Fair, the Lollapalooza of sustainable agriculture, John Bunker sets out a display of eccentric apples. Last September, once again, they covered every possible size, shape, and color in the wide world of appleness. There was a gnarled little yellow thing called a Westfield Seek-No-Further; a purplish plum impostor called a Black Oxford; a massive, red-streaked Wolf River; and one of Thomas Jefferson's go-to fruits, the Esopus Spitzenburg. Bunker is known in Maine as "The Apple Whisperer," or simply "The Apple Guy," and, after laboring for years in semi-obscurity, he has never been in more demand. Through the catalog of Fedco Trees, a mail-order company he founded in Maine 30 years ago, Bunker has sown the seeds of a grassroots apple revolution.

All weekend long, I watched people gravitate to what Bunker ("Bunk" to his friends, a category that seems to include half the population of Maine) calls "the vibrational pull" of a table laden with bright apples. "Baldwin!" said a tiny old man with white hair and intermittent teeth, pointing to a brick-red apple that was one of America's most important until the frigid winter of 1933-34 knocked it into obscurity. "That's the best!"

A leathery blonde from the coast held up a Blue Pearmain in wonder. "Blue Peahmain," she marveled. "My ma had one in her yahd."

Another woman got choked up by the sight of the Pound Sweet. "My grandmother had a Pound Sweet! She used to let me have one every time I hung out the laundry."

It wasn't just nostalgia. A steady conga line of homesteading hipsters -- Henry David Thoreau meets Johnny Depp -- paraded up to Bunk to get his blessing on their farm plans. "I've got three Kavanaghs and two Cox's Orange Pippins for fresh eating, a Wolf River for baking, and three Black Oxfords for winter keeping, but I feel like there are some gaps I need to fill. What do you recommend for cider?" Bunk, who is 62, dished out free advice through flayed vocal cords that made his words sound as if they were made of New England slate.
Back when we were planning the apple cider business, we planted a bunch of trees from Fedco. Unfortunately, they were not planted correctly so almost all of them died -- the root balls were strangled and the goats ate up most of what survived. Planning to rehabilitate the orchard next spring and build it back up.

Dr. James Hansen - staying classy

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Now that he is no longer head of the NASA Climate Change office, he has been going off the rails. From Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That:
Hansen unleashed: people he disagrees with are �neanderthals�
Dr. James Hansen, now no longer on a leash under NASA policy, has started what I expect will be the first of many ugly comments and actions in his new role as activist.

Niall from Canada writes in asking for help from WUWT and the readership:
This Saturday morning Canada�s state broadcaster (the CBC) aired, on their weekly politics & current affairs show �the House�, a 15 min. �interview� with James Hansen, in which he denigrated our Government as �neanderthal� in it�s approach to AGW, and that climate change science is �crystal clear�.

He also angled for a carbon tax (presumably to support his desired global wealth re-distribution scheme). I know you�re a very busy guy, but if you could formally respond in writing to the CBC, and indicate the gross errors Hansen voiced, and also post to your own site, many of us Canadian climate �realists� would be very grateful for your help in exposing this grotesque charlatan.

Att�d is the link for the show, and the address to respond to.

Yours very truly,
Niall from Winnipeg

the Story:
The guy should be put out of his misery -- he is delusional.
Boiling oceans indeed -- this is so far removed from reality...

A great list from Wikipedia

Check out: List of British words not widely used in the United States Here are five of them -- a lot more at the site.
berk -- a mildly derogatory term for a silly person
chav -- (slang, often derogatory, used primarily in England) typically a nouveau riche or working class person of most of the time lowish intelligence who wears designer label (e.g. Burberry) copies, fake gold bling, and is a trouble-maker
fairy cake -- a small sponge cake (US and UK also: cupcake)
Mole grips -- trade name for latching pliers (US: Vise grips)
wobbler, wobbly (to have or to throw) -- (informal) tantrum
From Atlanta, GA station WSB:
Narconon under investigation again
The Scientology-linked drug rehabilitation program known as Narconon of Georgia is again in trouble with the law. This time, agents from the Georgia Insurance Commissioner�s office and Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter are looking for evidence of insurance fraud.

Armed with a search warrant, half a dozen agents, accompanied by two Gwinnett County Police officers, searched the Narconon offices in Norcross, questioning employees as they showed up for work and hauling away more than a dozen computers and boxes full of documents.
�We have credible information that indicates that insurance fraud is taking place with Narconon,� said Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.
Much of that information was supplied by the family of 19-year old Emily Morton of Rome, who said Narconon tried to bill United Health Care $166,000 for her treatment after they were told they had paid the bill in full - $15,000 cash.
�They were billing for doctor visits � one amount was for $58,000.00. And she never even saw the doctor,� Morton said.
More at the site. Scientology is a fraud -- nice to see it getting the attention that it so richly deserves.

Nice work if you can get it - Greece

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From The Christian Science Monitor:
Greece starts firing civil servants for first time in a century
Pushed by its European creditors amid its crippling economic crisis, Greece began this week to do something it hasn't done in more than 100 years: fire public-sector workers en masse.

Following weeks of tough negotiations with its lenders � the "troika" of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the European Central Bank � the Greek government started laying off public-sector workers in an effort to implement the austerity that the troika has demanded. The first two civil servants were let go on Wednesday under a new law that speeds up the process � one, a policeman, for stealing debit cards, and the other for 110 days of unexcused absence.
Like I said, nice work if you can get it. More:
Civil servants� jobs have been protected by a law that dates back to the 1880s, which became enshrined in the century-old Greek constitution. Until that provision became law, each newly elected government would sack the civil servants hired by the previous government to replace them with their own party members, creating civil unrest and a dysfunctional state.

�The logic [behind this law] was that the public administration has to be politically independent, feel secure, and ensure the state�s continuity,� said Dimitris Charalambis, professor of political science at the University of Athens.

Even though the 19th-century law was initially intended to fight nepotism, it caused its own problem: Each successive government hired its own people, adding to a continually expanding civil service without making the public sector any more effective. As a result, the Greek public sector became infamous for being dysfunctional and bureaucratic.

Further, although the law had allowed the firing of civil servants convicted of misappropriation of public funds and other serious crimes or when their jobs are phased out, the civil servants were still guaranteed a right to appeal. The appeal process could take two to three years, during which they were able to remain at work.

The law was changed last November to speed up the appeal process and suspend civil servants charged with crimes. A separate effort today to remove the appeal entirely was blocked by the justice minister as unconstitutional, however.
Sounds like the roadmap for the Democratic Party -- it is sad that people do not look at the trainwreck of other cultures and realize that this is where we are heading in five years. We will become Greece if we do not change our government and get the professionally entitled off the dole.

Great news from Israel

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From Neo-Neocon:
And in other news�
Did you know that Israel appears poised to become a massive exporter of natural gas and oil? Seems that way:
Israel became energy independent on March 30, when the Tamar offshore gas field began pumping natural gas to Israel. In two to three years, when the Leviathan gas field comes online, Israel will become one of the most important producers of natural gas in the world. Moreover, in 2017, Israel will likely begin extracting commercial quantities of oil from its massive oil shale deposits in the Shfela Basin near Beit Shemesh.

Geologists assess that the field alone contains some 250 billion barrels of oil, giving Israel oil parity with Saudi Arabia. Chinese, Russian and Australian firms are lining up to sign contracts with Israeli energy companies. International analysts assess that Israel�s emergence as an energy power will have a stabilizing impact on the global economy and international security. Israel can end Asia�s oil and gas hunger. It can reduce European dependence on Russia. It will remove OPEC�s ability to dictate world oil prices through supply manipulation.
And in a very clever move, they have signed on with the Russians to do a lot of the development. Some arab nation looking to take over will certainly think twice about pissing the Russians off...

More lightning curiosities

From Norway's Birkeland Centre for Space Science:

Unique observations of optical lightning and terrestrial gamma flash
In a study by Nikolai Estgaard and Thomas Gjesteland at the Birkeland Centre for Space Science (BCSS), University of Bergen, together with researchers from USA and South Africa, the first simultaneous detection of a terrestrial gamma flash (TGF) and the optical signal from lightning is presented. This result may be a breakthrough in the understanding of the enigmatic terrestrial gamma flash that was discovered in the 90s. The study has recently been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters.

"Our study shows that the TGF was produced deep in the thundercloud at the initial stage of an intracloud (IC) lightning before the leader reached the cloud top and extended horizontally" says professor Nikolai Estgaard, leader of BCSS. "A strong radio pulse was produced by the TGF itself. This is the first time the sequence of radio pulses, TGF and optical emissions have been identified" Estgaard adds.

By fortuitous coincidence two independent satellites passed less than 300 km from a thunderstorm that developed over Lake Maracaibo in Venezuala, October 27, 2006 and produced a TGF lasting only 70 ms . This is a region known for its powerful and frequent lightning. The RHESSI satellite detected a TGF that lasted only 70 ms and TRMM recorded optical emissions as well as the cloud temperature.

"Together with two independent measurements of radio emissions we have an unprecedented coverage of the event" says scientist Thomas Gjesteland. Both timing and location show clearly that the radio signals, the TGF and optical lightning came from the same IC discharge that lasted for about 300 ms.

It was recently suggested that TGFs could be dark lightning, that is, the gammas are produced by relativistic electrons that also make a strong electric current that again produces a strong radio pulse, and that this can occur without any following optical lightning to discharge the cloud. "Our results confirm that the TGF produces a strong radio signal, but the �dark lightning�(TGF) is followed by a 'bright lightning' and indicates that both phenomena are intrinsic processes in the lightning discharge" says Nikolai �stgaard.

This comes on the heels of the Florida Institute of Technology's comments on Dark Lightning.

For something as simple as an electric spark, there is a lot we do not know.

Fun time to be alive! Kristian Olaf Birkeland was a fascinating character -- the first space scientist. He was the first person to figure out the causation of the Aurora.

He invented the electromagnetic cannon (AKA coil gun). More here and here.

As the wheel turns

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Fun article by Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal:
The Presidential Wheel Turns
Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 because he was not George W. Bush. In fact, he was elected because he was the farthest thing possible from Mr. Bush. On some level he knew this, which is why every time he got in trouble he'd say Bush's name. It's all his fault, you have no idea the mess I inherited. As long as Mr. Bush's memory was hovering like Boo Radley in the shadows, Mr. Obama would be OK.

This week something changed. George W. Bush is back, for the unveiling of his presidential library. His numbers are dramatically up. You know why? Because he's the farthest thing from Barack Obama.

Obama fatigue has opened the way to Bush affection.

In all his recent interviews Mr. Bush has been modest, humorous, proud but unassuming, and essentially philosophical: History will decide. No finger-pointing or scoring points. If he feels rancor or resentment he didn't show it. He didn't attempt to manipulate. His sheer normality seemed like a relief, an echo of an older age.

And all this felt like an antidote to Obama�to the imperious I, to the inability to execute, to the endless interviews and the imperturbable drone, to the sense that he is trying to teach us, like an Ivy League instructor taken aback by the backwardness of his students. And there's the unconscious superiority. One thing Mr. Bush didn't think he was was superior. He thought he was luckily born, quick but not deep, and he famously trusted his gut but also his heart. He always seemed moved and grateful to be in the White House. Someone who met with Mr. Obama during his first year in office, an old hand who'd worked with many presidents, came away worried and confounded. Mr. Obama, he said, was the only one who didn't seem awed by his surroundings, or by the presidency itself.
Miss me yet?

Give it back GE

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A great idea -- from their website:
Give It Back, GE!
When the Obama administration rammed the 2009 stimulus bill through Congress, the package was loaded with payoffs for special interests. According to Recovery.Gov, General Electric received 47 stimulus grants totaling almost $100 million. Looks like CEO Jeffrey Immelt�s close relationship with President Obama paid off, literally.

The handouts did not stop there! This year GE got another $5 million from the Department of Energy. Corporate handouts distort the free market and harm American consumers. General Electric has been feasting on your hard earned money for years. It�s time to tell GE we can�t afford this, and demand our money back.

GE is a profitable company earning $16 billion in 2012 - they don't need our money! Your checkbook is not GE's credit card. President Obama won't stand up for us taxpayers, we need to do it ourselves.

Demand the corporate directors at General Electric return your tax dollars.
Considering yesterday's post about GE, sending them this message is a good idea. We are watching...

Politics in Chicago

A wonderful essay on doing Politics in Chicago from Chicago Magazine:
Gangs and Politicians in Chicago: An Unholy Alliance
A few months before last February�s citywide elections, Hal Baskin�s phone started ringing. And ringing. Most of the callers were candidates for Chicago City Council, seeking the kind of help Baskin was uniquely qualified to provide.

Baskin isn�t a slick campaign strategist. He�s a former gang leader and, for several decades, a community activist who now operates a neighborhood center that aims to keep kids off the streets. Baskin has deep contacts inside the South Side�s complex network of politicians, community organizations, and street gangs. as he recalls, the inquiring candidates wanted to know: �Who do I need to be talking to so I can get the gangs on board?�

Baskin�who was himself a candidate in the 16th Ward aldermanic race, which he would lose�was happy to oblige. In all, he says, he helped broker meetings between roughly 30 politicians (ten sitting aldermen and 20 candidates for City Council) and at least six gang representatives. That claim is backed up by two other community activists, Harold Davis Jr. and Kublai K. M. Toure, who worked with Baskin to arrange the meetings, and a third participant, also a community activist, who requested anonymity. The gang representatives were former chiefs who had walked away from day-to-day thug life, but they were still respected on the streets and wielded enough influence to mobilize active gang members.

The first meeting, according to Baskin, occurred in early November 2010, right before the statewide general election; more gatherings followed in the run-up to the February 2011 municipal elections. The venues included office buildings, restaurants, and law offices. (By all accounts, similar meetings took place across the city before last year�s elections and in elections past, including after hours at the Garfield Center, a taxpayer-financed facility on the West Side that is used by the city�s Department of Family and Support Services.)

At some of the meetings, the politicians arrived with campaign materials and occasionally with aides. The sessions were organized much like corporate-style job fairs. The gang representatives conducted hourlong interviews, one after the other, talking to as many as five candidates in a single evening. Like supplicants, the politicians came into the room alone and sat before the gang representatives, who sat behind a long table. �One candidate said, �I feel like I�m in the hot seat,�� recalls Baskin. �And they were.�

The former chieftains, several of them ex-convicts, represented some of the most notorious gangs on the South and West Sides, including the Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Cobras, Black P Stones, and Black Gangsters. Before the election, the gangs agreed to set aside decades-old rivalries and bloody vendettas to operate as a unified political force, which they called Black United Voters of Chicago. �They realized that if they came together, they could get the politicians to come to them,� explains Baskin.

The gang representatives were interested in electing aldermen sympathetic to their interests and those of their impoverished wards. As for the politicians, says Baskin, their interests essentially boiled down to getting elected or reelected. �All of [the political hopefuls] were aware of who they were meeting with,� he says. �They didn�t care. All they wanted to do was get the support.�
And this is the political model Obama grew up with and has implemented in Washington. A long article (five pages) but interesting reading. The comments are worth reading as well. Glad I do not live in Chicago.

Shutting down for the night

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The internet is slow as molasses in January -- clear night so it cannot be rain-fade. Very stiff from working on the fence. I will definitely be feeling it tomorrow... Got five yards of 3-way topsoil arriving tomorrow AM -- we will top off the beds in the garden and I'll be prepping another garden area near a south-facing barn wall (maximum light and heat) -- planting hops, tobacco and some other sun-loving plants.
Two sides of the same story depending on who you ask. From The Washington Times:
Sequester, tight budgets means DHS buying less ammunition
Homeland Security officials tried to mollify Congress� concerns over the department�s ammunition purchases Thursday, but they may have made things worse by providing conflicting information that left House members fuming.

Department officials testified that their agents and officers average about 1,300 rounds of ammunition a year for training, qualifying and operations � about 1,000 more small-arms rounds than are assigned for every member of the military.
And from The Washington Free Beacon:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reserves the right to buy up to 750 million rounds of ammunition over the next five years and currently has �two years worth� of ammo on hand, or around 247 million rounds in its inventory, the department�s top procurement official said Thursday during congressional testimony.

DHS has already purchased around 41 million rounds of ammunition this year alone, Nick Nayak, DHS�s chief procurement officer, said during an oversight hearing on Capitol Hill. Some $37 million in taxpayer dollars will be spent on the purchase of ammunition in the entirety of fiscal year 2013.
If they have two years on hand, why buy more than a billion additional rounds? Sure, it's great to train -- I recently got a nice CO2 BB gun because it's a lot cheaper than any of my pistol ammunition but expending 1,300 rounds per DHS employee works out to 6.5 rounds for each and every employee per day (200 working days in a year). Is every DHS employee firearm qualified? My guess would be no. And do not forget that the Sequester is just a 2% reduction in the growth of the Federal budget, it is not a cut.

General Electric in the news again

It is bad enough that they did not pay any Income Taxes in 2011 (don't know about 2012 or 13 but I suspect not either). GE also moved its entire Medical Imaging division over to China -- the profits stay in China and are not taxed. Their CEO is BFF with Obama and has visited the White House many times. Now, the financial arm of General Electric (GE Capital Retail Bank) has decided that they will not loan funds to Gun dealers or manufacturers. Fortunately there is a wonderful way to deal with this. From Karl Denninger at Market Ticker:
Call For SHUNNING -- GE Capital Affiliates
I love a free market and the right to choose who do business with -- or not.

So it was with much bemusement when I read about GE Capital's recent "decision" to refuse to offer credit to firearms sellers and their customers:
This month, Glenn Duncan, owner of Duncan's Outdoor Store in Bay City, Mich., said he received a letter from GE Capital Retail Bank in which the lender said it had made "the difficult decision" to stop providing financing services to his store. Other gun dealers have received similar notices.

GE is at least the second big financial firm to retreat from the gun business following the school shootings, which claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and six adults in December.
GE is a business that happens to be publicly traded but is not a government entity -- it is a private firm owned by its shareholders. It can decide it doesn't want to do business with people that sell or buy firearms. I've no trouble with that.

But GE Capital's decision may have rather uncomfortable consequences that eventually could lead its owners (that is, the shareholders) to decide that management needs to be fired and/or this decision changed. See, there are about a hundred million firearms owners in the United States. And GE Capital provides financial services for a whole host of companies in all sorts of lines of work. Some of that is internal financing and some external (that is, consumer-facing) financing, particularly for major purchases.

The company makes a huge percentage of their operating profits from that subsidiary too. In fact GE Capital had $11.5 billion in revenues last quarter (about a third of the firm's total) and roughly half of the consolidated firm's 4.1 billion in operating earnings! This is not small ball folks.

The firms affiliated with GE and involved in co-branding credit offers are companies we can choose to boycott if we, the people, disagree with GE Capital's decision. After all you are not forced to do business with someone who you think sucks big fat donkey -- and it doesn't matter one bit why you think that.

GE Capital has the absolute right to choose not to do business with gun dealers and their customers.

We the people have the absolute right to not do business with GE Capital and by doing business with those who are funded by GE Capital or who offer credit through it you are choosing to do business with them.

Who's on this list? Oh my oh my. Sporting goods companies, automotive parts and service centers, health care providers and more.

In essentially every case there are competitors who do not use or accept GE Capital Credit, and you can take 30 seconds before choosing to buy -- and choose a firm NOT affiliated.

So folks, head on over to the conveniently public list of companies and co-branded offers the next time you need to buy something, especially something expensive. As Santa Claus says "make your list and check it twice" -- and make sure you tell the losing bidders why you're picking their competition.

In a free market both buyers and sellers express their opinion of one another by transacting or not as they perceive the value of a given transaction to them.

GE Capital is perfectly free to take position that the value of those firms as business partners for such offers along with general financing is negative -- that is, the firm's perception of the cost is too high, and therefore they choose not to transact.

You, in turn, are perfectly free to assign the perceived cost of a firm attempting to harm Second Amendment Rights as infinite and therefore choose to take an extra 30 seconds to find a vendor who isn't affiliated with and generates business from a firm that does such things, just as GE Capital is doing.
And a big tip of the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link. It will be interesting to prowl through the GE website and see who is using them. For the last couple years, I have avoided buying GE appliances because of their extreme crony capitalism. Now I have another reason...

Nobel prize in Physics if this works

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From MIT Technology Review:
Physicists Build World�s First �Magnetic Hose� For Transmitting Magnetic Fields
One of the more important properties of electromagnetic waves is that they can be transmitted over almost unlimited distance. However, the same cannot be said of magnetic fields.

�The impact of magnetism in science is limited by an apparently insurmountable restriction: magnetic fields rapidly decay with the distance from the sources,� say Carles Navau at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a few pals.

That looks set to change. These guys say they�ve discovered how to transmit magnetic fields over long distances using a �magnetic hose�. They�ve even demonstrated the technique for the first time with a proof of principle device.

Researchers have attempted to transmit magnetic fields over short distances for many years. Transformers, for example, use ferromagnetic materials with a high permeability to transmit magnetic fields, but only over short distances because the field decays rapidly.

But new materials offer an alternative approach. In recent years, physicists have begun to experiment with a new technologies that can manipulate electromagnetic fields with much greater flexibility. So-called �transformation optics� allows these fields to be bent, twisted and steered in ways that were impossible just a few years ago. The trick is to create bespoke materials�metamaterials�that interact with the fields at a sub wavelength scale, guiding them in specific, predetermined ways.

Navau and co point out that a static magnetic field can be thought of as a wave with an infinite wavelength so in theory it ought to be possible to control it with a metamaterial in the same way as electromagnetic waves.

Part of their paper is devoted to exploring the properties of such a material and how it might be built.
Very cool -- this could be a game-changer for a lot of technologies.

Long day

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Got up early to meet someone in town to exchange some product (it was getting moldy), they weren't there (delayed by traffic) and then headed home. It was such a wonderful day, Lulu and I spent a couple hours rebuilding the fence around our primary garden (about 8,000 sq. ft. bed area). Last year, we had some peas, broccoli, lettuce and sunflowers that the Llamas decided were theirs. Fine one day and gone the next. Having Llama steak for dinner was seriously considered that evening. After today? Not a chance. I am running a couple strands of barbed wire on the outside tomorrow for good measure. Made a big pot of spaghetti and have had a couple Shiner Bock's (great beer!) so feeling pretty good -- dinner in a few minutes...

Underground economy

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Color me surprised - NOT! From CNS News:
$2 Trillion Underground Economy May Be Recovery's Savior
The growing underground economy may be helping to prevent the real economy from sinking further, according to analysts.

The shadow economy is a system composed of those who can't find a full-time or regular job. Workers turn to anything that pays them under the table, with no income reported and no taxes paid � especially with an uneven job picture.

"I think the underground economy is quite big in the U.S.," said Alexandre Padilla, associate professor of economics at Metropolitan State University of Denver. "Whether it's using undocumented workers or those here legally, it's pretty large."

"You normally see underground economies in places like Brazil or in southern Europe," said Laura Gonzalez, professor of personal finance at Fordham University. "But with the job situation and the uncertainty in the economy, it's not all that surprising to have it growing here in the United States."

Estimates are that underground activity last year totaled as much as $2 trillion, according to a study by Edgar Feige, an economist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

That's double the amount in 2009, according to a study by Friedrich Schneider, a professor at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. The study said the shadow economy amounts to nearly 8 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.
Well, Obama stated that his goal was to fundamentally transform America. The sad thing is that he is going poorer and not richer. Get Fed.Gov off our backs and this economy could soar.
From Classic Wisconsin:
The Life & Crimes of Dan Seavey
Dan Seavey stepped ashore the docks of Grand Haven, Michigan, armed with two of the most dangerous weapons known to man: booze and bad intentions.

It was night of June 11, 1908, and by daybreak �Roaring Dan� was sailing into maritime history as the pirate of the Great Lakes.

Stealing a 40-ton ship and doing battle with a federal cutter will earn you that reputation.

Shanghaied in Grand Haven
Like all Great Lake ports, Grand Haven�s harborside nightlife was ripe for a guy like Seavey, a sailor not above switching buoy lights to send ships aground so he could �salvage� the cargos after the crews departed. Nor was he opposed to running boatloads of poached deer, or using his ship as a floating whorehouse, or dropping a piano on an adversary�s head.

With a fully stocked jug, Seavey easily befriended three marks that fateful June night - the crew of the Nellie Johnson.

One thing about sharing a jug: You never know how much other guy is drinking.

Seavey allowed his companions to incapacitate themselves, likely faking his own swigs from the jug. With the crew literally under the table, Seavey commandeered the forty-ton Nellie Johnson, fully loaded with cargo, and set sail across Lake Michigan.

It took a day or so for the Nellie Johnson�s skipper to convince authorities he hadn�t merely lost track of the ship in his drunken stupor.

Meanwhile Seavey was shopping his ill-gotten booty in Chicago, where the big city harbor was teaming with folks who would buy his goods no questions asked.

The harbormaster, however, had his suspicions. Maybe it was Seavey�s assertion he had won the ship and its expensive cargo of cedar posts in a poker game. Perhaps it was Seavey�s companion, a known counterfeiter with an outstanding arrest warrant in his name. Either way, Seavey ran up the Nellie Johnson�s sails and departed Chicago rather hastily. With that, the alarm went up and down the Lake Michigan shore: That reprobate Dan Seavey had pirated the Nellie Johnson.

Piracy was a capital offense in 1908.

Capt. Preston Ueberroth of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service in Milwaukee took the call, telling reporters, �I was asked to set out on a hunt for the man.�

With a federal marshal on board, Ueberroth ordered the steamer Tuscarora loaded with coal and prepared for a chase.

A chase he got.
A great story -- they do not make them like they used to (see here). My only nit is this line towards the end:
At his core Seavey was a master of the lakes, and it�s not a stretch to picture the land-bound old sailor gazing from a nursing home window, looking east toward the waters of Green Bay, imagining the roll of the waves and the snap of the sail, the luminescent Milky Way overhead, a dependable schooner underfoot, the humid summer night heavy with scent of kelp, and through the mystic, the distant clang of a channel buoy calling him home.
Kelp is a salt water brown alga. The foul-smelling fresh water green alga that plagues Lake Michigan is Cladophora(PDF).

A geeky weekend

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Bellingham is hosting LinuxFest Northwest and the bellingham electronic arts festival. Gonna be getting my inner Geek on...

Nancy Pelosi - a poll

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From Gallup:
Pelosi Best Known, Least Liked of Congressional Leaders
The top Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House and Senate are a generally unpopular foursome, with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi being the most well-known, but also the least well-liked. Thirty-one percent of Americans view Pelosi favorably and 48% unfavorably. Her resulting net -17 image score compares with -11 for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, -10 for Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, and -8 for Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Some of the other ratings are interesting but nothing that is not obvious to anyone who pays attention...

Sequester pain

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The pain of the sequester is very focused in order to maximize public pain. This is done so constituents will write their congresscritters to increase spending. Here is a two-fer of where there is no pain. First, from The Washington Times:
Washington airports spared sequester impacts
The chief of the FAA told Congress today that Washington-area airports will largely escape the effects of the air traffic controller furloughs � a blessing for lawmakers who fly out of the nation�s capitol.
Red state airports -- massive furloughs. Blue state airports - no massive furloughs. And yes, it is that political... Second -- from The Hill:
No furloughs for ObamaCare officials
The office implementing most of President Obama's healthcare law is not furloughing its workers as a result of sequestration, its director said Wednesday.

Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said Wednesday that his office has not cut its workers' hours and pay as a result of the automatic budget cuts that went into effect in March.

Republicans have accused the Obama administration of politicizing the sequester by targeting highly visible programs like airport security and White House tours.

The fact that ObamaCare officials haven't been furloughed shows that the cuts are political, Rep. Greg Harper (R-Miss.) said Wednesday.
Chicago-style politics, nothing more...

Yikes - glad I do not live in Texas

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This link came up on an email list. From the Texas Department of Public Safety:
Precursor Chemical Program
The precursor chemical statute was enacted by the legislature in 1987 for the purpose of controlling the diversion of chemicals used in the illegal manufacture of drugs, primarily methamphetamine and amphetamine. In 1989, the statute was amended and requires anyone who sells, transfers, furnishes, or purchases certain precursor chemicals or certain laboratory apparatus to be regulated by DPS.
They list nineteen precursor chemicals and I have two -- Pseudoephedrine (for me) and Ephedrine (for the critters). Next they have this:
"Chemical laboratory apparatus" means any item of equipment designed, made, or adapted to manufacture a controlled substance or a controlled substance analogue, including:
They list fourteen pieces of equipment and I have ten of them! Crap -- I am soooo busted. My major was Marine Biology and Physical Oceanography and I am a bit of a home-brewing geek. I have been accumulating a nice small chem lab over the last fifteen years. A lot of this came from local auctions and University and College surplus sales.

Welfare and Food Stamps

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A two-fer - first from The Washington Post:
In Florida, a food-stamp recruiter deals with wrenching choices
A good recruiter needs to be liked, so Dillie Nerios filled gift bags with dog toys for the dog people and cat food for the cat people. She packed crates of cookies, croissants, vegetables and fresh fruit. She curled her hair and painted her nails fluorescent pink. �A happy, it�s-all-good look,� she said, checking her reflection in the rearview mirror. Then she drove along the Florida coast to sign people up for food stamps.

Her destination on a recent morning was a 55-and-over community in central Florida, where single-wide trailers surround a parched golf course. On the drive, Nerios, 56, reviewed techniques she had learned for connecting with some of Florida�s most desperate senior citizens during two years on the job. Touch a shoulder. Hold eye contact. Listen for as long as it takes. �Some seniors haven�t had anyone to talk to in some time,� one of the state-issued training manuals reads. �Make each person feel like the only one who matters.�
And the back-story:
In fact, it is Nerios�s job to enroll at least 150 seniors for food stamps each month, a quota she usually exceeds. Alleviate hunger, lessen poverty: These are the primary goals of her work. But the job also has a second and more controversial purpose for cash-strapped Florida, where increasing food-stamp enrollment has become a means of economic growth, bringing almost $6 billion each year into the state. The money helps to sustain communities, grocery stores and food producers. It also adds to rising federal entitlement spending and the U.S. debt.
Emphases mine. I was in favor of Governor Rick Scott -- seemed to be a stable conservative but this is beyond the pale. Pulling a gimmie for federal funding without any consideration of the damage being done to the national debt. The second item is from the Boston Herald:
Tamerlan Tsarnaev got Mass. welfare benefits
Marathon bombings mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev was living on taxpayer-funded state welfare benefits even as he was delving deep into the world of radical anti-American Islamism, the Herald has learned.

State officials confirmed last night that Tsarnaev, slain in a raging gun battle with police last Friday, was receiving benefits along with his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, and their 3-year-old daughter. The state�s Executive Office of Health and Human Services said those benefits ended in 2012 when the couple stopped meeting income eligibility limits. Russell Tsarnaev�s attorney has claimed Katherine � who had converted to Islam � was working up to 80 hours a week as a home health aide while Tsarnaev stayed at home.

In addition, both of Tsarnaev�s parents received benefits, and accused brother bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan were recipients through their parents when they were younger, according to the state.
So he hated Western culture but didn't feel 'stained' by taking from it. Hypocrite -- I hope that he is enjoying his 72 white grapes of exceptional purity. I always liked this piece from The Onion. Go there and read and remember.
From France24/Agence France-Presse:
Taiwan confirms first H7N9 bird flu case outside China
Taiwan on Wednesday reported the first case of the H7N9 bird flu outside of mainland China.

The 53-year-old man, who had been working in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, showed symptoms three days after returning to Taiwan via Shanghai, the Centers for Disease Control said, adding that he had been hospitalised since April 16 and was in a critical condition.
And so it starts...

Gorgeous day

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We are starting to see signs of spring these days. I woke up at 6:00AM to let the dogs out for a run and it was 30�F outside with a soft frost. Crawled back into bed for another couple hours and now it is clear skies, sunny and 60�F outside. Built a couple more hoop house frames yesterday -- planning to finish them off and plant. The fence around the garden needs maintenence too. I love this time of year...
I am a big fan of Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Nuclear Reactors. They have many more advantages than the current crop of updated 60-year-old Uranium U235 technology. There is also the Traveling Wave Reactor which was first theorised in 1958. The physics is solid. Bill is Chairman of TerraPower, a company that is designing and building these reactors -- they expect to be up and running in about nine years. In the USA, we have 700 years of energy available from just our stockpiles of Depleted Uranium (U238) left over from seperating out the U235 for conventional reactors. The core runs for 40 years and then only needs another 30 years sequestration for the radiation to die down to harmless levels. A very safe design. Anyway, I saw that Bill Gates was being roundly chastised in the media for his "informal" handshake with South Korea's President Ms. Park Geun-hye. The article I saw was at the UK Telegraph:
Bill Gates 'disrespects' South Korean president with casual handshake
The picture of the meet-and-greet between the Microsoft founder and Ms Park on Monday was front page news across the country. Some newspapers cropped out the offending pocketed hand, but most chose to highlight it.

"Cultural difference, or an act of disrespect?" the JoongAng Ilbo wrote in the accompanying caption.

"Disrespectful handshake? Casual handshake?" the Dong-A Ilbo asked.
That was the first three paragraphs of the story. The story was thirteen paragraphs long and paragraph twelve was this one:
Mr Gates was in South Korea as chairman of the nuclear start-up TerraPower, promoting its project to develop a next-generation nuclear reactor.
All of this chattering over a handshake and the media is failing to grasp that BillG is offering the South Koreans a big brass ring for energy independence, saying goodbye to petroleum imports for energy (they still need petroleum for manufacturing feedstocks but this is a fraction of a percent of what they now import). Makes you wonder about bias in the media from time to time...
Some wonderful happenings in Tanzania -- from the Global Post:
Tanzania to evict Maasai people in favor of fee-paying trophy hunters
Tens of thousands of Maasai people in northern Tanzania, under a new government plan, face eviction from their homes and a ban from the land their cattle have grazed for generations.

Tanzania says it will designate as a "wildlife corridor" a 600-square-mile patch of land next to the popular tourist attractions of the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

The designation bans pastoralist Maasai herders � known for their red tartan-print blankets and intricate beadwork � from the land, but permits fee-paying trophy hunters to access the area as guests of a United Arab Emirates company called Ortello Business Corporation (OBC), which has had a concession in the area for 21 years.
No mention as to the moneys involved -- the sad thing about corruption is not that these people can be bought, the sad thing is how little money it takes to buy them. A nation of people ousted from their lands and their heritage over wee bit of saudi petro-dollars. A stupid decision too -- they will probably bring in a "Great White Hunter" to guide when they could be hiring the Maasai. Who would know the land better? Who would know the movements of the animals better? Who would be the better guide and would that not be an amazing hunt -- to be guided by someone whose family had lived and hunted on that land for generations. Think of the stories told around the campfire at the end of the day...


Talk about stupid -- from CNS News:
Teacher Sues School over Suspension for 'Weapons' Charge: Showing Students Garden Tools
Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a civil rights lawsuit against a Chicago public school district on behalf of a second-grade teacher who was suspended after he displayed garden-variety tools such as wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers in his classroom as part of a "tool discussion" in his class.

Despite the fact that all potentially hazardous items were kept out of the students' reach, school officials at Washington Irving Elementary School informed Doug Bartlett, a 17-year veteran in the classroom, that his use of the tools as visual aids endangered his students. Bartlett was subsequently penalized with a four-day suspension without pay - charged with possessing, carrying, storing or using a weapon.
'Ya know... If North Korea actually does want to nuke the United States, Chicago would not be a bad place to start.

Will Steacy - photographer

Some really nice work - from his Bio page:
Will Steacy (b. 1980) is an American photographer and writer. He comes from five generations of newspaper men and worked as a Union Laborer before becoming a photographer. His photographs have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York, FotoFest Biennial, African American Museum of Art, among others, and represented in major collections, including The Haggerty Museum of Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art and The Library of Congress. Steacy was named 25 Under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers by The Center for Documentary Studies and one of Photo District News 30 Emerging Photographers of 2011.
What caught my eye was this: Deadline A wonderful series of photographs ranging from historical shots from the 1950's of his Grandfather and Father at work at The Philadelphia Inquirer to his own photographs at the same paper from 2009 through 2012 when the paper moved to a new location. A real telling of history -- a great (and poignant) story in about a hundred photographs. Growing up in Pittsburgh, I knew some of the people that worked at the Pittsburgh Press. My mom's parents owned a paper distribution company in Erie, PA and when we would visit, I was often handed off to one of the salesmen and would spend the day visiting various print-shops. I later opened a copy-print business in Seattle and ran that for six years. My blood has a good measure of printers ink in it...

Got him!

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From Stripes:
Traffic stop of Calif. man leads to exposure of phony SEAL
After years of pretending to be a Navy SEAL and a member of law enforcement, a Rhode Island felon is facing multiple years in California and Rhode Island prisons after finally slipping up because of expired vehicle tags.

William Burley pleaded not guilty to charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and in possession of ammunition on Wednesday in Morongo Superior Court. Just the previous week in the same court, Burley, a Yucaipa resident, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, a prohibited person in possession of ammunition and receiving stolen property.

Due to special allegations of having a prior strike against him, Burley could be facing four years in a California prison before being sent back to Rhode Island to face imprisonment there, authorities said.
A bit more:
Burley wasn't content just to claim to be a SEAL for free drinks or pats on the back. A team of investigators alleges that Burley used the lie to bilk people out of tens of thousands of dollars.

When Burley, then an eager 19-year-old, East Greenwich, R.I., native, completed his initial Navy training in 1999, his commander noted three deficiencies, including wearing unauthorized insignia.

He was wearing a trident that is earned at the end of Navy SEALs training, said Probation Officer Tiffany Lawyer, who has been investigating Burley's case since his February arrest.

Burley ultimately was court-martialed.

"His last duty assignment shows the brig in Miramar," said Shipley, referring to the Marine Corps air base in north San Diego.

But it appears being drummed out of the Navy did nothing to stop Burley from claiming to be something or someone he wasn't.
Talk about being an asshat -- at least he is going to be spending a lot of time indoors and away from the general public...

Earth Day - an excellent meditation

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The Silicon Graybeard reposted his excellent Earth Day 2011:
Earth Day
Earth Day, as most of you know, is a holiday made up in the late 1960s at the start of the national environmental movement. Ira Einhorn is one of the main founders of Earth Day, if not the guy who started it. Ira practiced what he preached: he murdered his girlfriend (less stress on the planet) and composted her body in his closet. (Hey - reduce, re-use, recycle!)
You won't find Ira Einhorn's name listed in any of the Earth Day promotional literature, as the organizers have taken great pains to distance themselves from this man, at least since he became better known for composting his girlfriend in a trunk in his closet for a couple of years in the late 1970s.
I was a science geek in high school in 1970, the first Earth Day, and indoctrinated into the liberal crap of the day. Who can forget the commercial with the crying Indian ("Iron Eyes Cody", who - BTW - was Italian, not Native American) looking at the spoiled earth. Caught up in the spirit of the day, we went looking for pollution, and tested a local canal for coliform bacteria.

The movement led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, probably the best example of an agency that has outlived its usefulness.

I suppose the ethos of modern America requires that I say I consider myself an environmentalist. Long before 1970 and ever since, I've been a fisherman, hiker, camper, cyclist, runner, biathlete (I'm a really crappy swimmer...) and outdoor photographer. I want a clean, healthy environment. Nobody wants dirty air or water, nobody wants pollution, nobody wants to make themselves or their children or anybody else or anybody else's children sick. Can we get away from those useless stereotypes and be grown ups from now on?

That said, 95% of being environmentally responsible is cleaning up after yourself. Most of the rest of that last 5% is recognizing "there is no such place as 'away' where you throw things". All you do is relocate your problem from right under your nose to somewhere else.

I don't think there's anyone alive who remembers the 1960s that doesn't think we're better off today than we were then. The laws removing lead from gasoline and paint removed tons of the metal from the environment. Removal of combustion products of Nitrogen from vehicle exhaust, reduction of sulfur emissions at power plants, and mandating catalytic converters to remove heavier combustion products are all big steps.
Much more at the site -- a wonderful essay and examination of what real environmentalism is all about. Well worth your time to read.

FOX News on top

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Looks like the voice of the people have spoken -- from Deadline Hollywood:
Fox News Tops All Cable For 1st Time Since 2005
Fox News Channel�s coverage of the bombing at the Boston Marathon last week propelled the network to the top of the cable rankings for the first time in nearly a decade. In both total day and primetime for the week of April 15-April 21, the News Corp-owned news network pulled ahead of usually top-ranked USA Network. Excluding election coverage last year, the last time Fox News was in the top position was August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. In primetime, FNC garnered 2.874 million viewers on average for the week compared with No. 2 USA�s 2.621 million. CNN also climbed the cable ladder to finish No. 3 with 1.985 million viewers overall on average. History Channel was in fourth with 1.937 million viewers and A&E was fifth with 1.928 million.
And this bit:
MSNBC was 19th in the cable primetime rankings with 923,000 viewers

Just wonderful - Nanny Bloomberg

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From PoliTicker:
Bloomberg Says Interpretation of Constitution Will �Have to Change� After Boston Bombing
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday the country�s interpretation of the Constitution will �have to change� to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.
What do you mean by interpretation -- the Constitution is about as black and white as you can get. There are no gray areas that need interpretation. If you politicians and government employees just did your #&@% jobs, we would not have these problems.

Empty Suit

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From Bruce Walker at American Thinker:
The Tailor Who Sewed the Obama Empty Suit Has Sewn Others
The most glaring fact about our president is that he is an empty suit. The people around him are also empty suits. They believe in nothing, really, but unearned luxury, unmerited adulation, and unaccountable power. Those whom we have come to call "leftists" are in fact nothing but nihilists, and we flatter them when we presume that they value anything beyond their vanities, their avarice, and their selfishness.

When tragedy strikes, like in the Boston bombing, these empty suits can look and act appropriately somber and serious, but it is all for show, and the intended audience are Americans who have been carefully cultivated into creatures who emote in response to momentary appearances but who cannot think clearly or remember the past.

The left began to drift towards this profound silliness decades ago. FDR, for example, freely acknowledged that he had no real plan to fix the nation's economic distress. His treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau, six years into the New Deal, freely admitted to the House Ways and Means Committee that:
We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong ... somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises[.] ... I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started...[a]nd an enormous debt to boot!
What is memorable about FDR is his rhetoric and not his substance, and that rhetoric has been made memorable because of the fawning attention of biased historians. Ask someone who lived through the Depression about FDR, and he will likely recall his "fireside chats," in which FDR said nothing, really -- but he sounded good doing it.

The same was true of other leftist icons. What, for example, did JFK do? He said a lot, but he failed in almost everything he did -- his tax cuts being an exception -- and even his rhetoric was all impression and emotion, which is why Americans who heard the Nixon-Kennedy debates on radio thought Nixon clobbered Kennedy, but those who saw the two on television judged Kennedy the winner.
Clint Eastwood nailed it.

Obama and terrorism

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One of Obama's main claims is that he worked with foreign governments to eliminate terrorism in the world. If Obama was forced to admit that last Monday's Boston Marathon bombing was the act of foreign terrorist operating on our own soil, he would be forced to recant his claim and he does not want to do this. This is why the horrible shooting at Fort Hood was classified as "workplace violence" instead of an act of terror. That is why 'suspect #2' from the marathon bombing is being tried in a civil court and not a military tribunal. Well, guess what -- terrorism is alive and afoot in this land. From FOX News:
Al Qaeda-linked plot to attack passenger train broken up by Canadian, U.S. authorities
Canadian authorities announced Monday they have broken up an Al Qaeda-linked terror plot to attack a passenger train as it crossed over a bridge in the Toronto area.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Monday that two suspects have been arrested on terrorism charges. Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser, who live in greater Montreal and Toronto -- were conspiring to carry out an Al Qaeda-supported attack against Via Rail, but posed no immediate threat to the public.
We are doing nothing to stop terrorism. All of our attempts at security have been Kabuki theater for show -- nothing effective. The Islamofascists will keep probing us, keep trying and eventually, they will be successful. With our borders so open, how many sleeper cells have already been infiltrated.
Jim Hanson leaves NASA and all of a sudden, stories like this come out. From Ice Age Now:
NASA � New study shows that CO2 COOLS atmosphere
Carbon dioxide acts as a coolant in Earth�s atmosphere, says new NASA report.

�NASA�s Langley Research Center has collated data proving that �greenhouse gases� actually block up to 95 percent of harmful solar rays from reaching our planet, thus reducing the heating impact of the sun,� says to this article on principia-scientific.org.

�The data was collected by Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry, (or SABER). SABER monitors infrared emissions from Earth�s upper atmosphere, in particular from carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO), two substances thought to be playing a key role in the energy balance of air above our planet�s surface.�

�Carbon dioxide and nitric oxide are natural thermostats,� explains James Russell of Hampton University, SABER�s principal investigator. �When the upper atmosphere (or �thermosphere�) heats up, these molecules try as hard as they can to shed that heat back into space.�
Say what you may about climate reports coming from a website called Ice Age Now --but-- the simple fact is that this information comes from these two NASA links (here and here) and the data is being presented as the result of NASA research.

PhoneSat up and running

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PhoneSat was scheduled to have been launched last Wednesday but it was scrubbed twice (cable problems and high wind). It finally took off yesterday. From PhoneSat:
Thank you!
Since the successful deployment of our three PhoneSats on Sunday, we have already received over 200 packets from Amateur Radio operators around the world! We are sincerely grateful for all of your support and would like to thank you for your key contributions in making this technology demonstration a success. The received packets are being processed right now and will be published soon. Please keep sending packets so we can follow the status of the satellites for the complete duration of the technology demonstration.
Info on the launch from NASA And a nice writeup from FOX News:
Private company succeeds in test launch of rocket that will carry cargo ship
A company contracted by NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station successfully launched a rocket on Sunday in a test of its ability to send a cargo ship aloft.

About 10 minutes after the launch from Wallops Island on Virginia's Eastern Shore, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles declared the test a success after observing a practice payload reach orbit and safely separate from the rocket.

The Sunday launch comes after two previous attempts were scrubbed. A data cord that was connected to the rocket's second stage came loose just minutes before the rocket was set to lift off Wednesday, and company officials said they were easily able to fix the problem. A second attempt Saturday was scrubbed because of wind.

"It certainly was an amazing achievement for Orbital today, a great day for NASA and another historical day for commercial spaceflight in America. The flight today was just beautiful and it looks like the preliminary data says that all the objectives we established for the flight today were 100 percent met," said Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of NASA's commercial crew and cargo program.

The company from the Washington suburb of Dulles was one of two, along with California-based competitor SpaceX, chosen to supply the space station after NASA ended its three-decade-old shuttle program in 2011. The space agency turned to private companies for the job, saying it would focus on getting manned flights to asteroids and to Mars.
Sad to see NASA losing focus but really happy to see these companies step up to the plate.

Oh Noes - the horror of it all

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From Associated Press:
Mass. police: Bomb suspects didn't have gun permit
A Massachusetts police official say the brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon before having shootouts with authorities didn't have gun permits.

Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas tells The Associated Press in an interview Sunday that neither Tamerlan Tsarnaev (tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) nor his brother Dzhokhar had permission to carry firearms.

He says it's unclear whether either ever applied and the applications aren't considered public records.
The citizens of Massachusetts enjoy some really draconian gun restrictions. How did that work out for them? I bet the people living within the Watertown lockdown would have loved to have been able to protect themselves in the event of a home invasion...

Earth Day

This is tomorrow -- spending it driving my big diesel truck into town for the store shopping run.

I spent a couple productive hours at the forge today making parts for the rest of the hoop-houses in the garden. Put in a set of large fluorescent lights onto a shelf in the garage for the garden seedlings plus an electric heating pad to trick the corn into germinating early (planting an Iroquois garden this year).

Have the propane heat in the house cranked up to a comfy 70 degrees while it is 33 F outside.

Carbon Dioxide is the Gas of Life -- without it, there would be no photosynthesis and no plants. The more the merrier and besides, it is well known that it is our Sun that drives our climate and not the atmospheric gasses. Anyone who tells you differently is delusional. After the last couple of springs, everyone up here is going for hoop-houses. It is getting cooler.

Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22nd 1970 -- this is the 100th Birthday anniversary of Владимир Ильич Ленин and we all know how well that worked out -- what is the Communist/Marxist death count up to these days? I know it is at least over 100,000,000 dead?

An idea so good it has to be mandatory...

That explosion in Texas

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It seems that they had a lot of ammonium nitrate. 270 tons of it... From Reuters:
Texas fertilizer company didn't heed disclosure rules before blast
The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate - which can also be used in bomb making - unaware of any danger there.

Fertilizer plants and depots must report to the DHS when they hold 400 lb (180 kg) or more of the substance. Filings this year with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren't shared with DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year.
What raises my hackles is that DHS has the threshold of reporting set way too low. 400 pounds is the annual order for a very small farm. Why is DHS requiring this data from every single mom and pop farm in the United States -- why do they consider this to be their jurisdiction? We just went through a similar thing a few years ago with the NAIS program (here, here, here and here. The last link goes to the NoNAIS.ORG website and they are showing the same kind of behavior that all too many other advocacy groups show -- the victory was won but did they pat themselves on the back and disband? No -- NAIS is dead and gone but NoNAIS is still active and soliciting funds for operation. Time to drive a stake through its beating little heart...) Anyway, the article goes on:
Chemical safety experts and local officials suspect this week's blast was caused when ammonium nitrate was set ablaze. Authorities suspect the disaster was an industrial accident, but haven't ruled out other possibilities.

The fertilizer is considered safe when stored properly, but can explode at high temperatures and when it reacts with other substances.

"I strongly believe that if the proper safeguards were in place, as are at thousands of (DHS) CFATS-regulated plants across the country, the loss of life and destruction could have been far less extensive," said Rep. Thompson.
Ammonium nitrate by itself at room temperature is pretty stable. The problem is that it starts to disintegrate when it hits the right temperature and this disintegration is very exothermic. If the material is confined, the runaway fire will result in a detonation. The explosion in West, Texas is not the first for Texas and not unique around the world.

A few political quotations

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From Theo:
We hang petty thieves and appoint the great thieves to public office.
--Aesop, Greek slave & fable author

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
--Plato, ancient Greek Philosopher

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.
--Nikita Khrushchev, Russian Soviet politician

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.
--John Quinton, American actor/writer

I offered my opponents a deal: if they stop telling lies about me, I will stop telling the truth about them.
--Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952
True stuff -- more at the site.

From an email - the terrorists

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Came in through the transom:
The Tsarnaevs are white people in the purest sense of the word. They are Caucasians from Caucasus. They also cling to their religion and to their guns.

Eight interesting questions

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RE: The Boston terrorist bombers -- from John Jay at summer patriot, winter soldier:
some small points of interest on the "double agent" theory ....
1.) someone needs to go to chechnya and talk to mom and dad. about the double agent thing, being employed and in contact with the f.bi./c.i.a., and many other things.

2.) in none of this, (and, of course, it is early and people have not thought of such matters, yet), have i heard anything about what these kids did to earn money, to have a house/apartment of their own, to be able to afford a mercedes automobile, to attend dartmouth college.

they don't give away ivy league educations, you understand that, right?

3.) where did the older brother get the means to visit russia? did he in fact, go to russia? what was his travel itinerary? and, if he did go to russia, did whoever finance his trip supervise where he went, and who he saw, and what he talked about? 100% of his time & whereabouts, accounted for?

4.) just who supported the life style these kids enjoyed?

5.) who were their contacts in the jihad, and how extensive were they?

and, oh yes, i nearly forgot.--

6.) did anyone besides michelle obama think to go visit that slimy piece of shit saudi in the hospital before his skinny butt got whisked out of the united states? and, do you suppose, that there is an off chance that michelle obama, she of the red belly, thought to ask the little twerp just how it was that he managed to burn his hands in the explosion(s) at the finish of the boston marathon? just how and why was he there, she might have inquired, had she been of an inquiring mind.

7.) what was his relationship to the brother chechnyans?

and, finally.--

8.) into whose tender ministrations has he been received in saudi arabia, if not al queda's?
And of course, Obama is going to answer all these and more at his next press conference. Yeah -- and I have some oceanfront property in Nebraska to sell you.

Minimal posting today

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Got a bit of a break in the weather so headed out to get stuff ready for planting in the garden. Setting up some grow lights in the garage for seedlings. I'll post later this evening.
A couple of stories from around the web. From the UK Telegraph:
Obama lulled America into false confidence over terror threat
In his State of the Union address to the American people earlier this year, Barack Obama declared that he was "confident" of achieving "our objective of defeating the core of al-Qaeda".
From the London Daily Mail:
Eldest Boston bomber was thrown out of his mosque for 'raged filled rant' against Martin Luther King three months ago - as FBI hunts mysterious religious leader who 'brainwashed' him
One excerpt:
'He�s crazy to me,' said Muhammad. 'He had an anger inside.� I can�t explain what was in his mind.'
From today's CNN:
No immediate suggestion of accomplices in Boston bombings
Evidence uncovered so far supports the theory that the two brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings had no help, authorities said Saturday.
From the UK Mirror:
FBI hunting 12-strong terrorist �sleeper cell� linked to brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
The FBI was last night hunting a 12-strong terrorist �sleeper cell� linked to the Boston marathon bomb brothers.

About that alt.energy

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From the International Energy Agency:
Progress towards clean energy has stalled, IEA says
The rapid expansion of renewable technologies is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak assessment of global progress towards low-carbon energy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in an annual report to the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) here today.

�The drive to clean up the world�s energy system has stalled,� IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven told the CEM, which brings together ministers representing countries responsible for four-fifths of global greenhouse-gas emissions. �Despite much talk by world leaders, and despite a boom in renewable energy over the last decade, the average unit of energy produced today is basically as dirty as it was 20 years ago.�
But of course, they fall back on that old marxist clap-trap:
�As world temperatures creep higher due to ever-increasing emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide � two thirds of which come from the energy sector � the overall lack of progress should serve as a wake-up call,� Ms. Van der Hoeven said. �We cannot afford another 20 years of listlessness. We need a rapid expansion in low-carbon energy technologies if we are to avoid a potentially catastrophic warming of the planet, but we must also accelerate the shift away from dirtier fossil fuels.�
Typical progressive mantra -- if their precious little plan fails, it was because they didn't work hard enough and spend more taxpayer dollars. Of course, there is zero mention of nuke or hydro -- the two practical and clean energy sources that we have available right now. And a tip 'o the hat to Brian Wang at Next Big Future for the link.
From National Review Online:
Senator to Introduce Legislation Requiring Background Checks for Sale of Explosive Powder
As a result of Monday�s bombing in Boston, New Jersey senator Frank Lautenberg will introduce legislation requiring background checks for the sale of explosive powder. Lautenberg is also filing the bill as an amendment to the gun legislation currently being debated on the Senate floor.

�It is outrageous that anyone, even a known terrorist, can walk into a store in America and buy explosives without any questions asked,� Lautenberg said in a statement earlier today. �If we are serious about public safety, we must put these common-sense safeguards in place. While the police have not revealed what specific explosive materials were used in Boston, what we do know is that explosive powder is too easy to anonymously purchase across the country.�

Americans can currently buy up to 50 pounds of explosive �black powder� and unlimited amounts of smokeless powder without submitting to a background check. Lautenberg�s measure would require them for all such purchases, allow the attorney general to stop a sale if a background check reveals the potential purchaser is a suspected terrorist, and make it illegal to assemble homemade explosives without a permit.
It will be interesting to see the prices for black powder over the next couple months. The idea that we can pass a law to guarantee safety is inane -- the issue is with mental illness and profiling, not the physical ownership of a firearm or pressure cooker (I own several of each).
The geekdom is off the charts with this one -- check out the video. From the project's Kickstarter page:
The Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer
The Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer is based on a key invention that enables accurate control of acoustic vibrations. I'm the inventor. My technology was behind the well-known Moog Guitar and the Moog lap steel -- instruments based on the same key principle. Since then I've been advancing this invention towards its full potential. Now I'm going ahead with the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer. It's my full 'inventor's version' product and will be produced by my design company Vo Inventions LLC.

The Vo-96 was never intended to be a retail type of product. It is a concept product that takes the technology to the max and demonstrates what's really possible with acoustic synthesis. It's the �inventor's cut� and it leaves nothing out -- which makes it impractical to sell through the standard retail channels with their customary price mark-ups. Making the Vo-96 available through Kickstarter allows us to maximize the value to you and provide the most powerful product for the price; and there is simply nothing else available at any price that does what the Vo-96 does.

Our goal is to launch Acoustic Synthesis technology with a bang. We want to put the most powerful instrument possible into the hands of as many forward-thinking guitarists as possible and listen to the new music you all create. This is where Kickstarter really shines! I'm thrilled to have found a way to offer the Vo-96 directly to you at the fairest price possible - about half what it would cost as a retail product!
More here and here.

Here we go again

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Doesn't anyone remember the past -- from The New York Times:
Wall St. Redux: Arcane Names Hiding Big Risk
The alchemists of Wall Street are at it again.

The banks that created risky amalgams of mortgages and loans during the boom � the kind that went so wrong during the bust � are busily reviving the same types of investments that many thought were gone for good. Once more, arcane-sounding financial products like collateralized debt obligations are being minted on Wall Street.

The revival partly reflects the same investor optimism that has lifted the stock market to new heights. With the real estate market and the economy improving, another financial crisis seems a distant prospect. What�s more, at a time when the Federal Reserve has pushed interest rates close to zero, the safest of these new investments offer interest rates almost double that paid by ultrasafe United States Treasury securities, according to RBS Securities, which was involved in such instruments in the past.

But the revival also underscores how these investments, known as structured financial products, have largely escaped new regulations that were supposed to prevent a repeat of the last financial crisis.
And it's us on the line when they "need" another bailout. Let them twist in the wind this time around -- they got themselves into it, they should pay the consequences, not us taxpayers.

Quote of the month

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From Denny. He was talking about the Boston scum: Suspect #1 (in hell enjoying his 72 white grapes of exceptional purity) and Suspect #2 (captured and recovering at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital -- a wonderful twist of fate for an avowed Islamonazi) and one of his readers commented:
I've been wondering all evening how long it'll be until suspect #2 is teaching at Columbia.
Sadly, this is a viable option.

The Cupcake Bubble

Looks like Cupcakes have jumped the shark -- from The Wall Street Journal:
Forget Gold, the Gourmet-Cupcake Market Is Crashing
The icing is coming off America's cupcake craze.

The dessert became a cultural and economic phenomenon over the last decade, with gourmet cupcake shops proliferating across the country, selling increasingly elaborate and expensive concoctions.

The craze hit a high mark in June 2011, when Crumbs Bake Shop Inc., a New York-based chain, debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol CRMB. Its creations�4" tall, with fillings such as vanilla custard, caps of butter cream cheese, and decorative flourishes like a whole cookie�can cost $4.50 each.

After trading at more than $13 a share in mid-2011, Crumbs has sunk to $1.70. It dropped 34% last Friday, in the wake of Crumbs saying that sales for the full year would be down by 22% from earlier projections, and the stock slipped further this week.
There have always been bubbles -- there was a huge one in 1637 in Holland with Tulips. We are building the foundations for another housing bubble, higher education seems to be severely overvalued. What is next?

A bit more than initially reported

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The initial report was that some transformers at a substation were shot. Now, it seems that the vandalism was a bit more widespread -- from San Francisco station KGO:
Vandals knock out communications in South Bay
South Bay authorities have announced that a coordinated act of vandalism that took down electricity and phone service on Tuesday.

One of those incidents happened at a PG&E substation in San Jose.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department is now conducting a criminal investigation.

"PG&E notified us that they had a breach in their security fence and that somebody had actually gained access to the substation and damaged, I believe, they're either transformers or radiators," said Kurtis Stenderup of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

At least five of the seven banks of transformers appear to have been shot, causing them to leak oil.

Authorities in charge of the state's power grid are asking South Bay customers to conserve electricity at least until midnight Wednesday morning. So far, PG&E says there have been no outages and the state's Flex Alert warning is just a precaution.

"As we conduct the investigation there may be equipment that may need to be taken offline or out of service," said Nicole Liebelt of PG&E.

Just a short distance from the substation someone cut an AT&T phone cable leaving people in the city of Gilroy unable to call emergency services like 911 from their landlines.

"Being that they can't access it on landline right now, we've put out information on our TV station, our website, our Facebook page and so forth; allowing them or instructing them to use their cell phones," said Joe Kline from the City of Gilroy.

Businesses in Gilroy also suffered from the outages.

"We have no phones today, no phones, no computers. There's no online anything so it's been very quiet," said Kimberlee Dorris Rossi of Leedo Art.

Because the two incidents involving two key utilities happened so close together, authorities believe they are connected.

"All of this occurred within a half mile radius so because of the time frame and because of the geographical distance that these things happened, we believe that it's related," said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.
Once again, shooting a power substation transformer can cause a very heavy impact on the area that it serves. The transformers handle a lot of power and need cooling (fans and radiators) to keep them running. Sending a bullet through the transformer allows the cooling oil to leak out and if this is not caught in time, the transformer can overheat, catch fire and be rendered inoperable. The key problem is that these are not C.O.T.S. (Commercial Off The Shelf) units and there is a lead time of several months to build a replacement. For this to happen as well as cutting a phone line makes this a probe -- a feasibility study for something much bigger. Going to be a long hot summer if crap like this starts happening on a regular basis...

The true cost of the Fiskar Karma

A sobering story from Bloomberg:
Fisker Spent $660,000 on Each $103,000 Plug-in Car
Fisker Automotive Inc. spent more than six times as much U.S. taxpayer and investor money to produce each luxury plug-in car it sold than the company received from customers, according to a research report.

The Anaheim, California-based company made about 2,500 of its $103,000 Karmas before halting production last year, disrupting its plans to use a $529 million U.S. loan to restart a shuttered Delaware factory owned by the predecessor of General Motors Co. (GM) The Karma was assembled in Finland.

Fisker was allowed to keep using money from its Energy Department loan after violating its terms multiple times, according to a report released April 17 by PrivCo, a New York- based researcher specializing in closely held companies. It said it based its report on documents, including the loan agreement, obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

"They made a mistake" in awarding the loan, PrivCo Chief Executive Officer Sam Hamadeh said of the Energy Department in an interview yesterday. "Should they have fought this sooner? Obviously -- as soon as it became evident that they had begun to default."
A bit more:
Fisker has spent $1.3 billion in taxpayer and venture capital money, or $660,000 for each car it sold, the report said.
The report is pretty damning -- a burn through other people's money with the FedGov and the stock shareholders getting screwed fast, hard and dry. All in all, the taxpayer involvement adds up to a couple Dollarettes per taxpayer -- where is my refund? I did not volunteer this money for that project. Who said that the federal government could do such a thing? Who represents us anymore? We are supposed to be represented by our states with a minimal incursion from the Feds...

Got the bastards

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The two 'suspects' for the Boston Marathon massacre were Chechen Islamofascists living in the United States. One was killed in a shootout last evening and the other was taken to a hospital. The FBI is handling the case which is cool -- Massachusetts does not have the Death Penalty; the FBI does. There is still a lot of smoke and mirrors in the media -- the true story will evolve over the next couple weeks...

No more Java for this geek for a while

Not that Java, this Java.

A couple of months ago, there were some very serious security flaws discovered in Java. Oracle scrambled to release a set of patches. When the problems were announced, I took the trouble (not much actually) of deleting Java from my computer and have not missed it at all. I am not a streaming media kind of guy so the loss of YouTube wasn't a big deal -- worst case scenario, I can use a downloader and play the video files locally. I was wondering when Java might be secure enough to reinstall and then I saw this at Slashdot today:

Oracle Fixes 42 Security Vulnerabilities In Java
"Oracle released its quarterly Critical Patch Update (CPU) for April, which addressed a whopping 128 security issues across multiple product families. As part of its update, Oracle released a Java SE Critical Patch Update to plug 42 security holes in Java, 19 with base CVE score of 10 (the highest you can go) and 39 related to the Java Web Start plugin which can be remotely exploited without authentication. According to security analyst Wade Williamson, organizations need to realize that Java will continue to pose a significant risk. 'The first step is for an organization to understand precisely where and why Java is needed,' Williamson wrote. 'Based on the rate of newly discovered vulnerabilities, security teams should assume that Java is and will continue to be vulnerable.' Organizations should to take a long, hard look at Java and answer for themselves if it's worth it, Williamson added. Due to the threat posed by a successful attack, Oracle is strongly recommending that organizations apply the security fixes as soon as possible."

I guess I'll stay Java free for another half year or so. Is it just me or has Oracle lost its edge -- their stuff used to rock but now? Meh... Tony Stark, please call your office...

The Ricin incident

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Turns out the moke who mailed the envelopes with the Ricin is a real nutter. From The Blaze:
Mind-Boggling Details Emerge About Ricin Letter Suspect: �I�m on the Hidden Front Lines of a Secret War�
Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, of Tupelo, Miss., has been arrested in connection with ricin letters that were sent to both Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and President Barack Obama,� The New York Times reports. Initial reports listed the suspect as �Kenneth Curtis,� however, the Times updated its report with the corrected name.

The letters, which were intercepted by sorting facilities before they reached their intended targets, were signed: �I am KC and I approve this message.�

�We have an investigation that is going on that has got local and federal authorities working together,� said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.

A few hours before federal officials announced the arrest, TheBlaze was contacted by bloggers at Lady Liberty 1885 who had noticed some key similarities between a �Kevin Curtis� from Tupelo, Miss. and the person suspected of sending the ricin letters.
I love that the Blogosphere is cracking cases like this. Crowdsourcing. A bit more:
�If it�s Kevin Curtis, we�ve had him in our jail about 4 times, mostly misdemeanors like simple assault. But in 2008 for telephone harassment and stalking,� Prentiss County Sheriff Randy Tolar said. �I think he has some very serious psychological issues from my dealings with him. In the past I had read some of his Facebook postings and it was very far out there. He�ll get down on you and bash you with everything he�s got, even making up stuff, and I�ve seen that side of him.�

Curtis uploaded the photo of the gun to his �singer/songwriter� page on Tuesday.
A legend in his own mind. Glad they caught him.

Busy day today

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Got some much needed sleep this morning and then headed into town to run some errands. Minimal posting today...

Word processing for Windows (and MAC)

I love Microsoft's Office 2003 -- I think that every version since then has added crap that is not needed for writing and the later user interfaces just get in the way of the words. I can type -- I do not like having to lift my hands off the keyboard, find the mouse, wiggle it until I see where the cursor is located and perform the action I need. Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man points to two applications that look really promising:
In praise of Jarte
You've never heard of Jarte? Neither had I, until this morning. It's an excellent (and free!) word processor for Windows, very small and compact, built on Microsoft's Wordpad kernel. It's garnered very good reviews from PC World, Gizmo, and users.

I came across it while looking for a text editor that would strip out all word processor formatting codes, including hidden ones, from the manuscripts for my first two novels. Miss D. and I have decided to format them for publication using Scrivener, a program that Marko enthusiastically recommends (and which he used to format his recently-published first novel). We've been playing with an evaluation copy for some time, and like it. Unfortunately, Microsoft Word, OpenOffice and many other word processors insert all sorts of extraneous code into one's documents. You can't see it with the naked eye, but it's there, and it can screw up formatting in other software - including Scrivener - like you wouldn't believe!
Scrivner is also available for MAC -- these apps look really interesting. Two downloads are in process...

Holy crap - major explosion near Waco Texas

Our prayers go out to these people -- from Dallas News:
Fertilizer plant explosion injures dozens in West, near Waco
A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant rocked the town of West, north of Waco, causing multiple casualties and leaving people trapped and buildings on fire.

Emergency personnel were bracing for the possibility of dozens of dead and many more injured in the blast, which occurred before 8 p.m. and could be heard 45 miles away in Waxahachie.

But after 11 p.m., the town�s mayor, Tommy Muska, said authorities still did not know how many people had been killed.

Firefighters were reported among the victims of the explosion, which occurred at West Fertilizer Inc., just off Interstate 35, about 80 miles south of Dallas.

A blaze had broken out earlier at the plant, and the explosion occurred while firefighters were trying to put it out.

�It was a small fire and then water got sprayed on the ammonia nitrate, and it exploded just like the Oklahoma City bomb,� said Jason Shelton, a clerk at the Czech Best Western Hotel in West. �I live about a thousand feet from it and it blew my screen door off and my back windows. There�s houses leveled that were right next to it.�
Crap -- I know it was never intentionally planned but as a town grows, houses get built near industrial facilities. There should have been a buffer zone. There was even a nursing home within range of the blast. I know that Ammonium Nitrate is both a fertilizer and a component for an explosive -- never heard of it reacting this way with water. Hydrating it is a very strong endothermic reaction -- it is used in the instant cold packs...
Fom the London Daily Mail:
Obama administration has SLASHED budget for domestic bombing prevention by 45 per cent, says former Homeland Security Assistant Secretary
Barack Obama's administration has cut the budget nearly in half for preventing domestic bombings, MailOnline can reveal.

Under President George W. Bush, the Department of Homeland Security had $20 million allocated for preventing the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by terrorists working inside the United States. The current White House has cut that funding down to $11 million.

That assessment comes from Robert Liscouski, a former Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15 that killed three Americans and injured at least 173 others.

He told MailOnline that the Obama-era DHS is, on the whole, about as well-positioned as it was during the Bush administration to handle the aftermath of the April 15 bombings in Boston, 'but the Obama administration has continued to cut the budget for offices such as the Office for Bombing Prevention from $20 million started under Bush, to $11 million today.'
Department of Homeland Security is so effective what with all those 1.6 billion bullets, automatic weapons and armored vehicles. I wonder what else Obama is slashing -- all that money going to entitlement programs and none of it to defense. Building a permanent entitled under-class that the elites and masterminds can depend on for votes. Morlocks and Eloi...

Stayin' classy - Salon

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From David Sirota writing at Salon:
Let�s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American
As we now move into the official Political Aftermath period of the Boston bombing � the period that will determine the long-term legislative fallout of the atrocity � the dynamics of privilege will undoubtedly influence the nation�s collective reaction to the attacks. That�s because privilege tends to determine: 1) which groups are � and are not � collectively denigrated or targeted for the unlawful actions of individuals; and 2) how big and politically game-changing the overall reaction ends up being.
Needless to say, Sirota is getting some heat (over 1,100 comments). He responds here. Out of frying pan, into fire.

In about fifteen minutes - PhoneSat

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UPDATE - launch aborted More info here. A new satellite is scheduled to be launched in about fifteen minutes. Check out PhoneSat:
PhoneSat is a nanosatellite, categorizing the mass as between one and ten kilograms. Additionally, PhoneSat is a 1U CubeSat, having a volume of around one liter. The PhoneSat Project strives to decrease the cost of satellites while not sacrificing performance. In an effort to achieve this goal, the project is based around Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) electronics to provide functionality for as many parts as possible while still creating a reliable satellite. Two copies of PhoneSat 1.0 are being launched mid April 2013 along with an early prototype of PhoneSat 2.0 referred to as PhoneSat 2.0.beta.

Amateur radio operators
PhoneSat satellites are emitting packets on the amateur radio spectrum to report different types of message. The details of these packets can be found on the packets page. If you are an amateur radio operator and you can receive these packets, you have the great opportunity to contribute to the project by submitting them. The dashboard page will give you all the information you need to track the satellites in real time.

Brilliant - live in New York State?

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Talk about flooding the system -- from WyoThreeper:
You definently should not do this
Do not, whatever you do, print a bunch of these out and fill them with false info and send them in.

If I lived in NY State, I would be printing these out by the dozen and sending them in.

Terrorism in the news

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Do not know if this is just a copy-cat or something else. From Bob Owens:
Shock the system? Electrical grid, comms attacked near San Jose
any have tried to warn authorities of the fragility of of the electric grid�s substations including Herschel Smith and myself. Now someone in California seems to have taken it upon themselves to prove the theory, and then some:
California energy officials urged people in the South Bay to cut back on power use Tuesday after a PG&E substation was damaged by vandals overnight.

The California Independent System Operator issued a Flex Alert for Tuesday, asking Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley utility customers to cut down their electricity use until midnight, including by lowering lighting, turning off thermostats and powering down unnecessary appliances.

Vandals appeared to have shot up a bank of transformers at a PG&E transmission center just southeast of San Jose, a PG&E spokesman said. Crews were working to clean up an oil spill caused by bullet holes.
Could it have been vandals? That is a possibility. But this doesn�t seem like the kind of behavior I�d expect from random thugs, shooting over or through a fence. Instead, the facility�s perimeter fencing was breached and then key transformers apparently came under fire from inside the facility. The �vandals� also hit a secondary target:
The Santa Clara County Sheriff�s Department said there was a breach of the security fence at approximately 3:25 a.m., and five transformers at the substation were vandalized by the gunfire.

Meanwhile, AT&T has now also blamed a large telephone outage in southern Santa Clara County Tuesday morning on vandalism.

Cell phones and landlines were said to be impacted by apparent damage to a fiber optic line. That line, which runs relatively close to PG&E�s substation, was believed to have been cut.
A few bullets at a substation from beyond the wire is what I would consider vandalism. This was an attack on the electric grid and key communications lines, apparently by the same person or persons, and they seem to have gotten away clean.

The video at the link says the FBI is investigating.
Shooting the transformers will cause the cooling oil to drain out and will make them overheat and fail. Is another long hot summer brewing?
Excerpted from Commander Salamander:
In case you're wondering, here are a few things that are marinating in my nogg'n.
  1. Don't let others get away with, "Can you believe .... " type comments. We are at war, there will be more bombings, and not just by Islamic terrorists. Since I walked out of diapers we have had bombings from everyone from Communists to Eco-terrorists, to neo-naziesque wackjobs (CEN). The CEN attacks will be the exception, as we are in for at least a century of Islamic bombings regardless of who is in office and what their policies are. The weaker we are, the more bombings we will receive - but we can't stop them all. Accept it - and remind your neighbors.
  2. Anyone from any part of the political system who tries to use such events for tactical gain should be shamed and shunned. I don't care who they are. Ditto journalists.
  3. Any politician that once again uses terrorists attacks as an excuse to take away individual liberty should be shamed and shunned. I don't care who they are. This nation does not exist to be a police state.
  4. Think about where you live and where you go. If the event is something that even remotely from an international POV breaks above the news ambient noise - have a plan. If wearing your red hat you would make a strike where you are - have a plan. Brief your friends and family that if anything should happen, no reason to be dramatic you can simply say "if we get lost or thing get weird", have a plan on how to communicate and where to meet. Primary, backup and ready spare. Have a plan.
  5. Don't stress. Odds are, we will all go to our grave having a very ordinary uneventful life. You only get one run around the track, enjoy it.
The Federal Government has never been able to protect you when something as gruesome as this happens. Big central planning never works. Your key thing is to be personally responsible for the safety and well-being of yourself first, your loved ones (family and household) second, your neighbors third and your community fourth. If you lose your life trying to save someone, you have deprived the community of your skill-set and resources. This training is a great start: Community Emergency Response Team There is good follow-up training after that...

Kermit Gosnell - trial update

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Do not click this link if you are easily upset. CNN has a writeup on the conditions of "Dr." Gosnell's "clinic" The Doctor is turning out to be one of the worst serial killers in the history of the United States. His victims just happened to be newly born. One small taste:
"My grasp of the English language doesn't really allow me to fully describe how horrific this clinic was -- rotting bodies, fetal remains, the smell of urine throughout, blood-stained," Williams said.
My only wish is that Dr. Gosnell were in his 20's and not 72. That way, a life sentence without parole would have a bit more impact.

Oh just wonderful

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What with all that happened in Boston, now we have this -- from CNN:
Envelope tests positive for ricin at Washington mail facility
An envelope that tested positive for the deadly poison ricin was intercepted Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol's off-site mail facility in Washington, congressional and law enforcement sources tell CNN.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was told the letter was addressed to the office of Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi. A laboratory in Maryland confirmed the presence of ricin after initial field tests indicated the poison was present, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer said.

The letter had a Memphis, Tennessee, postmark and no return address, Gainer wrote in an e-mail to senators and aides. In a statement late Tuesday, the U.S. Capitol Police said more tests would be conducted at the Army's biomedical research laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Sen. Claire McCaskill told reporters after a briefing for lawmakers that a suspect has already been identified in the incident, but a knowledgeable source said no one was in custody Tuesday night.
Yet another asshat roaming around. Ricin is a nasty poison. Relatively easy to make if you know how. I looked it up a few years ago and found some stunningly bad methods; there are a lot of really bad chemists out there. There is a popular formula for making TNT that will guarantee a detonation if followed to the letter...

Offline for a couple of hours

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Lulu's son is out at the farm and we are working on a couple of projects. No real news from Boston -- the moke used ball bearings in the bombs. They have a person of interest -- I hope when they find the guy, he spends the rest of his life in jail.

Now this is downright heartless

Heartless, cruel and thoughtless -- a fine display of asshattery. From the London Daily Mail:
White House snub to Thatcher: Obama won't send envoy to funeral - and leaves it to her old allies from the Reagan era
Friends and allies of Baroness Thatcher expressed �surprise and disappointment� last night as it emerged President Obama is not planning to send any serving member of his administration to her funeral.

Whitehall sources have revealed that the U.S. delegation at tomorrow�s service in St Paul�s Cathedral will be led by two Reagan era secretaries of state: James Baker and George Shultz.

Though President Obama himself had not been expected to attend, there had been speculation that he would be represented either by Vice President Joe Biden or wife Michelle.

The Queen�s decision to attend Lady Thatcher�s funeral has effectively elevated it to a state occasion unprecedented for a political figure in Britain since the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

Other world leaders, including Canada�s Stephen Harper, Mario Monti of Italy and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, are attending the service in person.

President Obama paid tribute to Lady Thatcher�s towering achievements when her death was announced last week.

But a US embassy spokesman confirmed that no serving member of his administration would be present to pay their last respects, citing a busy week in US domestic politics.
"a busy week in US domestic politics" indeed. Domestic? That would be Gun control. They could have sent Ambassador Stevens -- Oh... Wait... The Narcissist in Chief is about as tone-deaf as I have seen on foreign policy. Hell, appointing first Hillary and then Lurch as Sec. State shows that to be plain fact. This regime has a history of snubs to our staunchest ally. The Churchill Bust, the gift of 25 DVDs of American Movies to Prime Minister Gordon Brown (they were the wrong region codes to play on UK DVD players) and Queen Elizabeth's nifty new iPod pre-loaded with some videos of her earlier 2007 visit to the United States. This administration is populated with self-absorbed masterminds. The sooner we get some adults in the room the better. This play-date is over...

Pro choice

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From an email list -- the progressive playbook:
The Liberal Ideology�
  • Can I choose a large drink? No it is not good for you.
  • Can I choose an incandescent bulb? No it is not good for the environment.
  • Can I choose low cost coal? No it is not good for the planet.
  • Can I choose to honor God? No that�s offensive.
  • Can I choose to eat fast food? No it is unhealthy.
  • Can I choose to own a gun? No, think of the children.
  • What can I choose? An abortion.

A job pre-interview

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From the ever wonderful Not Always Right:
A Taxing Interview
I�m supposed to be doing interviews for a new babysitter within the hour. I quickly run out to the local supermarket to pick up a few supplies, such as biscuits and coffee for the interviewees. There is a very long line. It�s my turn to be rung up, when another customer approaches me.)
Other Customer: �Hi, sorry, but can I just skip the queue in front of you? I�ve got a very important meeting soon.�
Me: �Sorry, but I�m in a bit of a rush myself you see, I��
Other Customer: �Now you listen here you ungrateful b****! You are not in as much of a rush as me! I have a very important meeting soon! Do you know what that means? It means I have the opportunity to get a job, unlike you, you lazy b****! You probably just live off of benefits; wasting tax-payer�s money, buying s*** that you don�t even deserve! I have a job opportunity that you will never have!�
Employee: �Excuse me, miss; I�m going to have to ask you to leave right now!�
Other Customer: �I will not leave! Kick her out; she�s the one wasting our taxes!�
(Security escorts her out.)
Me: �Thank you! What a b****!�
Employee: �Tell me about it! Are you okay?�
Me: �Yes, I�m fine thanks!�
(I return home half an hour later, just 10 minutes before my first interviewee is due. Lo and behold, it turns out to be the rude customer from the shop. It turns out that the important meeting she had was with me. Not surprisingly, she didn�t get the job.)
Talk about Instant Karma

Very cool news - growing your own kidney

From the UK Guardian:
Kidney grown in lab successfully transplanted into rat
Scientists have grown a kidney in a laboratory and shown that it works when implanted into a living animal. The work is an important step towards the longer-term goal of growing personalised replacement organs that could be transplanted into people with kidney failure.
A bit more:
In the latest work, Harald Ott of Massachusetts General hospital led a team of scientists who grew a kidney by using an experimental technique that has previously been used to create working hearts, lungs and livers.

Ott first took a rat kidney and stripped out its functional cells using a solution of detergent. That left behind a white cellular matrix, the collagen scaffold that gives the organ its three-dimensional structure.

His team then introduced kidney and blood vessel cells from newborn rats onto the scaffold and cultured the growing organ for 12 days, until the cells had grown to cover the scaffold. The team then implanted the organ into a living rat, where it successfully filtered the animal's blood and produced urine. The work is published on Sunday in Nature Medicine.

It builds on methods pioneered by the American bioengineer Doris Taylor, who first used it in 2008 to grow whole, beating hearts. She described the collagen structure left behind after the bleach had done its work as being like the "gristle" in a steak.
As soon as we can do this without requiring a stripped-down kidney for a support matrix, the faster we can be able to grow replacement organs for individuals. Although my artificial hip is fantastic, I would much rather have a replacement bone and cartelidge joint. More. Faster...

And it starts

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From Breitbart:
New York's assault weapon registration begins
Key measures of New York's tough new gun law kicked in Monday, with owners of firearms now reclassified as assault weapons required to start registering the firearms and new limits on the number of bullets allowed in magazines.

As the new provisions took effect, New York's affiliate of the National Rifle Association planned to file a court request for a federal injunction to immediate halt to the magazine limit.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls those and other provisions in the state's new gun law common sense while dismissing criticisms he says come from "extreme fringe conservatives" who claim the government has no right to regulate guns.
The comments are a mix of encouraging and dismay with a sprinkling of sheer moonbattery...

But taxes are for the little people

A D.C. two-fer. First, from the District of Columbia FOX News affiliate:
D.C. one of the most likely places for potential tax cheats
Worried the Internal Revenue Service might target you for an audit? You probably should be if you own a small business in one of the wealthy suburbs of Los Angeles.

You might also be wary if you're a small-business owner in one of dozens of communities near San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta or the District of Columbia.

A new study by the National Taxpayer Advocate used confidential IRS data to show large clusters of potential tax cheats in these five metropolitan areas. The IRS uses the information to target taxpayers for audits.
Second, from The Washington Post:
House bill would fire tax-delinquent federal workers
The House this week is scheduled to vote on two bills that would block federal employees, job candidates and contractors from working for the government if they owe back taxes.

One measure, sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), would require federal agencies to fire employees and reject potential hires with �seriously delinquent� tax debt, meaning those who have been hit with a tax lien. Democrats opposed that bill when it was considered by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last month.

A second measure, also sponsored by Chaffetz, would prohibit federal agencies from awarding large contracts and grants to contractors who are not tax-compliant. That bill passed the committee with bipartisan support.
Why would the Democrats block this bill? Ask Timothy Geithner. If I were king? Flat tax. Penalties for overseas accounts.


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Been following the horrible news coming out of Boston this afternoon. I used to live in Boston from 1970 through 1978 and know the affected area very well. My prayers go out to these people.

Aurora Borealis - update

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No joy in Mudville. It hit our timezone right around 5PM Saturday - broad daylight. Do not know what caused the intarwebs to be offline for three hours but must have been something else.

Signs of the times

We had three people show up to paint -- four brand new signs were made and the ones from last year were rehabilitated. Some surprising talent -- the signs are very playful and legible. I did a large sign saying "Market" with a big arrow -- this will be placed on the highway right at the market and the other signs will be placed along a half-mile in either direction. Lulu made some seared Ahi and I did a salad. Settling into some surfing and then an early bedtime. I do the buying run for the store on Mondays -- a local friend died a few months ago (ALS - horrible way to go) and her memorial service is tomorrow at 3PM. Starting the run two hours early so we can attend the service.

Busy day today

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We are doing a Farmer's Market again this year -- last year was fairly ad-hoc and it worked well. This year, we have organized. A group of people are coming over here in a couple hours to paint signs. Getting the space ready and making a large batch of Chocolate Chip cookie dough -- Lulu will bake while we are sign-painting. No posting until this evening...
Last March I wrote about how Dr. Don Easterbrook had testified to one of our Senators and because of that, some of his colleagues at Western wrote this little hit-piece that was published in the Opinion column at our local Bellingham Herald: His reply was published today:
Easterbrook disputes WWU faculty global warming opinions
"WWU faculty find overwhelming scientific evidence to support global warming." Of course there is overwhelming evidence of global warming! Everyone agrees! But that doesn't prove it was caused by carbon dioxide! The authors fail to understand:
  • Of the two periods of global warming this century, the first, and warmest, occurred before rise in carbon dioxide;
  • Twenty periods of global warming occurred over the past five centuries;
  • The past 10,000 years were warmer than present;
  • Multiple periods of intense warming (20 times more intense than recent warming) occurred 10,000-to-15,000 years ago. All of these happened long before rise in carbon dioxide, so could not possibly have been caused by carbon dioxide.
The Bellingham Herald opinion column is a diatribe against me personally (just read the slurs and innuendos) containing misrepresentations, no real data to support their contentions, and displays an abysmal ignorance of published literature. The reason becomes apparent when you realize that not a single one of the 13 Western Washington University authors has ever published a single paper on global climate change and none have any expertise whatsoever in climate issues.
There is more at the site including this wonderful little zinger:
The WWU faculty was challenged to debate the issues. The response from David Hirsh was: "I don't want the media to present both sides of an issue." "Well, the problem is it's not 'my' science. I do not now, nor have I claimed to be an expert in climate science. The question was would I support a debate-type forum to be hosted at WWU? I would not." He went on to say that he didn't want to debate because he had not addressed any of the scientific issues, but supported the personal attack.
The response from David Hirsh was: "I don't want the media to present both sides of an issue." Kind of sums things up right there...

Homeland Security in Seattle

No word if this was some kind of drill but it is chilling nonetheless. From an email to wirecutter at Knuckledraggin My Life Away:
Seattle is under Federal control
Via email from Montana Pike Hunter:
I'm writing to you today to bring light to share with you some curious things I noticed this weekend. In order to put them into perspective, I must let you know a little about myself. I was born in Seattle Washington and moved to Missoula Montana in July of 2001. I still have friends in Seattle and I go there to visit yearly.

I went last year and observed a lot of peculiar infrastructure put in place, but nothing more noteworthy than the extremely sophisticated camera systems on the state borders. This year I witnessed significantly more, a deterioration into an Orwellian setting that I never could have imagined.

Seattle is now informally under Federal Control. Whether the local police and sheriff's departments know it or not, they are being groomed to relinquish control to the Department of Homeland Security, it would appear that vast amounts of resources are being placed inside the city on standby. I would have gladly taken more pictures, but given the circumstances, which I will explain later, I was unable to.
Some photos of vehicles marked with large letters 'Police' and with much smaller letters 'Federal Protective Service' A bit more:
These vehicles are EVERYWHERE in Seattle, making rounds on any particular block about every 10 minutes, driving in caravans as long as 6 vehicles, but mostly in twos and threes, and always in an aggressive fashion. Speeding, sudden stops, unnecessary acceleration, and clear traffic violations. The frequency with which I observed these actions while eating a long lunch in a local restaurant as well as while walking through the streets was startling. I would say it might be a training exercise if it weren't for their interaction in insignificant events like drunk bums and medical emergencies.
I know that DHS considers everything within 100 miles of a border their turf and Seattle is a major port city but still, this is a bit curious to say the least. The DHS vehicles up here and in Bellingham are plainly marked as DHS and Border Patrol -- there is no attempt to look like a municipal or county Police vehicle. The word Police does not appear on their vehicles...

Aurora Borealis

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We may have a display this far south tonight. The sun burped big-time two days ago and the CME is headed straight for us. I have been outside every 20 minutes but cannot see anything. It is overcast but I can just see the outline of the mountains and some of the skyglow from Abbotsford but no blinkey lights dammit. The internet was down for three hours so something was going on (I read a gardening book from my slushpile). Will continue to monitor...

Easy money

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From Jim Quinn writing at Doug Ross @ Journal:
Stories of Government: 30 Blocks of Squalor
The joys of West Philly are multi-faceted. I�ve been getting off at the Girard Avenue exit of the Schulkill Expressway for six years on my way to work.

The Philadelphia Zoo parking lots are located directly in front of the exit ramp. I then proceed to 34th street and take my little shortcut through the hood.

About one year ago, a construction project began on the existing parking lot at 35th and Girard Avenue. I had no idea what they were building and why. Before long it became evident they were building a big ass parking garage. I was stumped. The zoo had multiple existing parking lots that were NEVER filled.

As the months went on I realized they were building the Shangri La of parking garages with a majestic glass tower in front.

I began to wonder who came up with the money for this monstrosity, because the Philadelphia Zoo is a money losing non-profit that depends on donations for its continued existence. As I was driving down 36th Street a couple weeks ago I noticed a brand new sign telling me I was entering the Centennial District. That�s funny because I thought I was entering the slums of West Philly where no one works and everyone has an iPhone.

It all began to make sense when they installed the enormous signage naming this parking garage the CENTENNIAL INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER. Orwell must be so proud.
A bit more:
Now that I had a name for this unnecessary albatross I was able to do a google search to find out how much this 683 space, union constructed parking palace amidst squalor actually cost. I was flabbergasted to find out it cost $24 million. You can be sure it could have been built for $16 million if it had been built non-union. For some perspective, IKEA builds 300,000 square foot retail stores for $18 million. Now for the best part. YOU paid for 30% of this porkulus project. Your Federal tax dollars funded a major portion of this project.
Read the whole thing and weep. The idiots in charge are building these monuments to their own greed. These are nothing that anyone wants or needs or has any practical use. Light rail - useless and is guaranteed to be a money rat-hole, trolleys - the same. These masterminds think that they can 'nudge' us into a behavior that is best for us -- we just do not know it yet. Excuse me but fuck you. Like I said, read the whole thing and see the very predictable outcome and ponder that it is our tax dollars that went to fund projects like this. If these morons were operating in the real world, they would have been fired and probably would be facing jail time. They are otherwise unemployable...


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I put out a lot of bird feeders (suet and seed) during the winter and we are rewarded with our personal aviary. A couple weeks ago, I noticed a hummingbird flying around so set out a feeder with some nectar. Today, there are five birds feeding. Ordering two more feeders from Amazon. Last summer, it was insane with clouds of birds swarming our one feeder so this time, we will be ready... I have tried other feeders and the one at the link works the best. It may not be as 'artsy' but it takes a good fill of nectar and really attracts the birds. For nectar, use one cup white sugar to four cups water. Bring to a simmer, let cool down to room temp and then refrigerate. Hummingbirds actually eat quite well and get their protein from insects -- their metabolism is borderline so they need all the carbohydrates they can get and sugar is the best. The feeders have an interesting history themselves -- from Hummingbirds.net:
A Little History...
The device pictured at left is an example of the first commercially-available hummingbird feeder. It was designed by Laurence J. Webster of Boston for his wife, who had read a 1928 National Geographic story about feeding hummers from small glass bottles. Sometime between 1929 and 1935, Webster had his design produced by an MIT lab glassblower (possibly James Ryan). In 1947, National Geographic ran an article by Harold Edgerton about his newly-invented strobe flash, which included photos of hummingbirds at Webster's feeder. Interest was aroused, and in 1950 the Webster feeder was offered for sale by the Audubon Novelty Company of Medina, NY.
Fun stuff -- back when I was living in Boston, I had the opportunity to work for the aquarium there and 'Doc' Edgerton was on the board and was over there quite a bit. Since I was into photography, he invited me over to his lab at MIT and I borrowed some of his high-speed flash equipment. We often had marine critters hatching out of their eggs and it was fun to photograph them.

I love Texas

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From The Hill:
Rep. Steve Stockman: �If babies had guns, they wouldn�t be aborted�
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) on Friday tweeted out the slogan for what he said would be his new campaign bumper sticker, which combines two hot-button conservative issues into one controversial sound bite.
I would put one of those on my truck...

Dr. Kermit Gosnell - update

Conor Friedersdorf has a wonderful article at The Atlantic:

Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell's Trial Should Be a Front-Page Story
The grand jury report in the case of Kermit Gosnell, 72, is among the most horrifying I've read. "This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy - and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors," it states. "The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels - and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths."

Charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, Gosnell is now standing trial in a Philadelphia courtroom. An NBC affiliate's coverage includes testimony as grisly as you'd expect. "An unlicensed medical school graduate delivered graphic testimony about the chaos at a Philadelphia clinic where he helped perform late-term abortions," the channel reports. "Stephen Massof described how he snipped the spinal cords of babies, calling it, 'literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.' He testified that at times, when women were given medicine to speed up their deliveries, 'it would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place.'"

One former employee described hearing a baby screaming after it was delivered during an abortion procedure. "I can't describe it. It sounded like a little alien," she testified. Said the Philadelphia Inquirer in its coverage, "Prosecutors have cited the dozens of jars of severed baby feet as an example of Gosnell's idiosyncratic and illegal practice of providing abortions for cash to poor women pregnant longer than the 24-week cutoff for legal abortions in Pennsylvania."

Until Thursday, I wasn't aware of this story. It has generated sparse coverage in the national media, and while it's been mentioned in RSS feeds to which I subscribe, I skip past most news items. I still consume a tremendous amount of journalism. Yet had I been asked at a trivia night about the identity of Kermit Gosnell, I would've been stumped and helplessly guessed a green Muppet. Then I saw Kirsten Power's USA Today column. She makes a powerful, persuasive case that the Gosnell trial ought to be getting a lot more attention in the national press than it is getting.

The media criticism angle interests me. But I agree that the story has been undercovered, and I happen to be a working journalist, so I'll begin by telling the rest of the story for its own sake. Only then will I explain why I think it deserves more coverage than it has gotten, although it ought to be self-evident by the time I'm done distilling the grand jury's allegations. Grand juries aren't infallible. This version of events hasn't been proven in a court of law. But journalists routinely treat accounts given by police, prosecutors and grand juries as at least plausible if not proven. Try to decide, as you hear the state's side of the case, whether you think it is credible, and if so, whether the possibility that some or all this happened demands massive journalistic scrutiny.
This article is getting some traction - over 2,000 comments. Paging Ms. Sanger, Ms. Margaret Sanger to the white courtesy phone please...

State Gun laws

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Several states have issued draconian gun regulations. There has been some wonderful push-back with firearm companies moving out of the states and city and county police forces writing to the State saying that they will not enforce an unconstitutional law. Other firearm companies? Not so much. From Opposing Views:
Remington Opts to Stay in NY State After Securing $80M Government Contract
Remington Arms, a gun manufacturing company, will remain in New York after landing a hefty contract with the US government.

There have been waves in the world of gun industry recently as politicians pass stricter gun control laws. Just recently, Beretta announced that they would move out of Maryland following new gun control legislation. Similarly, rumors abound that HiViz and Magpul will leave Colorado in favor of more gun friendly states.

New York certainly doesn�t top the list for pro-gun states, so there was uncertainty surrounding the fate of Remington Arms. Based in Herkimer County, Remington potentially faced legal complications after Legislature passed a law banning the sale of military-style rifles.

Remington CEOs have decided to stay in New York, however, following a meeting with Sens. James Seward, Hugh Farley and Joseph Griffo, as well as Assemblymen Marc Butler, Claudia Tenney, and Anthony Brindisi. Shortly after the meeting, Congressman Richard Hanna announced that the Pentagon would award Remington an $80 million contract to make 5,000 sniper rifles over the next decade for the US Special Operations Command.
Enjoy your thirty pieces of silver -- sad that you were bought for so cheap a price. I own one Remington rifle and I will now be selling it at an upcoming gun show -- take advantage of the bubble. That will be the last piece of Remington that I will ever buy. A big tip of the hat to Firehand at Irons in the Fire for the link.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell

Heard of him recently? If not, call your Newspaper's editor and ask why the hell not. Over at The Gormogons, The Czar of Muscovy has been covering it with this two-fer. Some interesting implications. First - The Importance of the Gosnell Horror Story:
By now, you already know way too much about the Kermit Gosnell horror story�and you heard about it from conservative blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. You certainly have seen or heard little coverage from the MSM.

Let us be certain�they are intentionally blacking out the story, using a variety of deceptive explanations, non-answers, and look-over-there runaway schemes.

And why shouldn�t the major media outlets black out the story? The Kermit Gosnell trial is utterly devastating to abortion supporters on the Left. In a world where we have been assured abortions are safe, legal, and rare, we learned that Gosnell was not only a cold-blooded monster (who still complains he does not understand all the charges against him), but that this might be par for the course. Good rumor has it that another abortion clinic a short distance away from Gosnell�s might harbor additional horrors.

The Left has no defense for this without opening a barn door of exceptions. He was just a one-off lunatic who chose to disobey the law? Well, so was Adam Lanza. It�s okay, ethically, to kill humans we don�t want? Thanks for legalizing capital punishment. Abortion is a Constitutional right and this ugliness is sometimes the cost we must bear? The Czar is on his way to conceal a dozen firearms on his personage.

No matter how the Left attempts to explain away Gosnell, the more they expose themselves as hypocrites. And they know it.

It is by no coincidence or obsession that the Czar mentions firearms in the same thought as abortion; as our own Ghettoputer sagely posited years ago, the Left can make no argument for abortion that does not undermine gun control arguments at the same time. But there is more: just as the Left is being forced to watched the horrors they allowed with abortion, they are being forced to admit that gun control does not work at the same time.

This is truly a dark age for the enlightened liberal religion: both abortion and gun control have been two of their biggest fetishes, and they are losing both. Their third hysteria�government control�is on very wobbly knees as well, given how much Americans are hearing and reacting to spending, debts, deficits, and control. And you only need to kick out one leg of a stool to make the whole thing collapse.

Why is the Czar not encouraged? Why a lack of optimism? After all, the big three pillars of modern progressive liberalism are cracked, crumbling, or tumbling.

Because the Czar knows that the Left will shortly realize they are cornered. And this won�t be pretty.
Swiped in full. Next up, some excerpts from this post -- Tipping Points: Why Gosnell Matters:
Once again, liberals in the media emphasize that they are absolutely lost as to what goes on in the conservative news media whereas conservatives are acutely aware of just about everything going on in theirs.
The Kermit Gosnell story is probably a game-changer whose effects�seemingly small in terms of news coverage�will have long-range implications for the Left.
The Great and Powerful Czar then goes on to list some of the implications:
As the President of NARAL indicates��This is exactly what happens when you place undue restrictions and you try to shame women to keep them from exercising their constitutional right to safe and legal abortions.��liberals still believe that Roe v. Wade never happened and that every criminal act that comes out of abortion is the result of forcing women to hide their decisions. What a load of crap: folks, this is abortion under Roe v. Wade. It was never going to get better: you have been lied to since the early 1970s.
The Left continue to assume that anything whatsoever that embarrasses them or exposes their activities must be conservatives� fault. The non-news Salon.com management declared Bush worse than Gosnell because...well, George W. Bush. And that conservative news is responsible for the Gosnell cover up. When all you have is a hammer, you see every problem as a nail.
More at the site -- an excellent examination of the liberals rallying in support of this horrible excuse for a human being. The Business Insider has a good report. There is more on the trial coverage at Gateway Pundit -- the video is heartbreaking. Breitbart also has this story of a second abortion clinic:
Media Ignore: Second Abortion Clinic Horror Story Surfaces
As the media enters day 257,685 openly pushing for gun control, the almost total national-media blackout on the murder trial of Dr. Gosnell, an abortion doctor accused of murdering seven babies, marches on.

Wednesday, in the state of Delaware, a very similar story surfaced in local media, naturally:
A series of emergency calls made from the Planned Parenthood of Delaware this year are raising concerns about what's happening behind the closed doors. �

Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich, former employee said, "It was just unsafe. I couldn't tell you how ridiculously unsafe it was."

Werbrich alleges conditions inside the facility were unsanitary.

"He didn't wear gloves," said Werbrich. �

The former nurses claim that a rush to get patients in and out left operating tables soiled and unclean.

Werbrich said "It's not washed down, it's not even cleaned off. It has bloody drainage on it."

"They could be at risk of getting hepatitis, even AIDS," added Vasikonis.
According to this report, since January 4, "five patients allegedly have been rushed from the facility to the emergency room[.]"

More proof the media is not about ratings, profits, truth, or even sensationalism -- it is all about pushing and protecting the left-wing Narrative.
If Dr. Gosnell gets the death penalty, he should be executed by a pair of scissors -- snipped...

Our political elite - alien life

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Hunter Thompson said: When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. From The Detroit News:
Next frontier for Cheeks Kilpatrick: Panel exploring existence of alien life
A group hoping to prove alien contact with Earth has tapped former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick to help convince the federal government to acknowledge the existence of extraterrestrials.

The Detroit Democrat and mother to former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will help preside over 30 hours of congressional-style hearings April 29 to May 3 at Washington's National Press Club. She did not respond to calls for comment.

Dubbed the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, the public panel pledges to expose evidence of "extraterrestrial vehicles" and a government effort to deny sightings of such craft commonly called UFOs.

Stephen Bassett, executive director of the Bethesda, Md.-based Paradigm Research Group that is hosting the hearings, said he sought former members of Congress to interview dozens of witnesses in a style that harkens back to their work peppering witnesses in congressional hearings.

"I had invitations out to about 50 former members who I thought were likely candidates to participate, and Congresswoman Kilpatrick was the first one to respond," Bassett said.

Kilpatrick became a U.S. representative in 1997 but lost her seat to Hansen Clarke after a 2010 primary challenge.

Kilpatrick will be joined by five other former members of Congress for the hearings. Each will be paid about $20,000 and their expenses will be covered, Bassett said.

Joining Kilpatrick on the bipartisan panel are ex-Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska (Democrat and more recently Libertarian), as well as former Reps. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., Darlene Hooley, D-Ore., Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., and Merrill Cook, R-Utah.

The chosen panel members weren't required to believe in aliens or a government cover-up, but pledged to keep an open mind.
'Scuse me? For a long time, I participated in Project SETI and for four years was actually able to bring some real horsepower to the project (with the full approval of my boss at the time). If they are out there, they are sitting back chortling and waiting for us to grow up. The massive government cover-up that the Paradigm Research Group claims is bogus. $20K plus expenses for 30 hours of work is sweet -- I would suspend my suspicions for a bit of this schwag... The comments are a fun read especially this rant from Bill Hartnell:
Breaking News: This panel DOES have evidence of alien life. Cheeks-Killpatrick has already formed a coalition with Joane Watson and various local Preachers and Ministers to protest the alien race as not only wanting to take over Detroit and steal it's jewels, but also that since the aliens are green, the color of money, and not black, these aliens are clearly racist and the huge gatherings of 5-15 protestors need to scream from the mountaintops, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, these racist ETs have got to go...Hey, hey..."...Charles Pugh has asked that a panel be established to determine if these 5-armed, 3-eyed, green-skinned aliens are indeed aliens and not just from Flint...Steven Shonfeld has commented that the local government needs to tax these aliens until they move into the city limits to solve Detroit's cash-flow problems, while Jeff Ligan has gone silent and is wearing his favorite tin foil hat after a series of bizarre posts where he states the aliens are "rethuglicans", "viceroys" and members of "ALEC", then responding to his own post with "What? They really ARE real?" and finding a nice, warm, safe corner to don the aforementioned renolyds wrap headgear and rock silently back and forth in embryonic position...In other words, just another day here on the detnews.com feedback...enjoy...
What he said.

How about that Sequestration

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Was listening to David Webb this evening and he brought up this story -- from FOX News:
State Department approves $700G gardening contract in Belgium despite sequester warnings
Around the same time the State Department was warning the public about the painful pinch from sequester cuts, it was also signing off on a $700,000 gardening contract at the home of a U.S. ambassador in Belgium, federal documents show.

The March 11 contract for the U.S. Mission in Brussels includes $134,744 in the first year for grass cutting, weeding, trimming and other landscaping services at Truman Hall. It also calls for planting nearly 1,000 violas, begonias and tulips at NATO Ambassador Ivo Daalder�s home.

The total amount of the contract awarded to Brussels-based landscaping company Iris Greencare stretches to up to $704,198 over a four-year period.
We can afford this but not security for the embassy at Benghazi? How about swinging by Home Depot on any Saturday morning, gather up a bunch of undocumented Democrats and fly them over to do the work...

Survival seed packages

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I have heard advertising for these and have seen them for sale at various stores. The universal claim is that they will yield a half-acre of Non-GMO nutrition and in their sealed can, the seeds will be viable for up to ten years. They generally retail for about $60. I have a real problem with these... First of all, some seeds do last a long time but some (corn, leek, onion, parsnip) are notoriously short-lived while others (broccoli, cabbage, celery, cucumber, kale, lettuce, radish and spinach) will remain viable for a long time. Yes, there are some techniques that you can use to greatly extend these storage times but when you are talking about a #10 can full of seeds retailing for $60 bucks, I would bet that these techniques have not been practiced. My other gripe is that these are one-size-fits-all. Within each species of plant, there are variations that work better in warmer / cooler / drier / wetter climates and you will get a much better yield by choosing the varietals that are suitable for your own climate. I purchased 80% of my seeds from a Uprising Organics. They are about 20 miles away from me so things that grow well for them will grow well for me. We are in a solid Zone 7a whereas other parts of the United States enjoy much warmer or colder winters. What grows well for me will not work for other locations. If you are interested in planting a survival garden, understand these two things: #1) - When the shit hits the fan, it only has a 25% chance of hitting during the spring. Any other season will be much less than optimal for starting a garden. If you want to start a garden, start it now. #2) - Talk to local gardeners, nurseries, etc... and find out what works for your area. See if there are local community gardens, seed exchanges -- you can get a lot of really good seeds and plant starts for a lot less than $60. Also, if you are using the resources of an established community garden or seed exchange, show up at their work parties -- you will burn off some calories, learn a lot and pay it back. Here is an excellent article on seed saving -- the magazine in question is one of the best for practical knowledge.
Lashing out after their bluff got called on the Sequester, Democrats are now cutting very public functions to cause as much pain as possible. White House tours, the Blue Angels and now Fleet Week. From the New York City CBS affiliate:
Sequester Budget Cuts Likely Mean The End Of New York City�s �Fleet Week�
In a surprising announcement, the U.S. Navy has informed New York City officials that federal budget cuts may keep aircraft carriers and destroyers from sailing into New York Harbor for Fleet Week.

The Navy�s jets are expected to be grounded too, ending a 26-year tradition, CBS 2�s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.

�No branch of the armed forces which, in our case, includes the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard team may participate in community relations or outreach efforts that come at additional cost to the government,� Navy Mid-Atlantic Region spokeswoman Beth Baker told WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond.

In his 12th and final year as mayor, Michael Bloomberg will have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to find a way to celebrate Fleet Week without the fleet.
Just as a reminder, the Sequester does not cut Federal Spending, it is a 4% reduction in the growth of Federal Spending. Our spending is still going to increase $1.65 Trillion over the eight-year course of the program (as opposed to $1.80 Trillion without Sequestration).
From Investors Business Daily:
Sebelius Tries To Blame GOP For Coming ObamaCare Failures
As Democrats grow increasingly worried that ObamaCare will explode on the launch pad just as midterm elections get going, the Obama administration seeks to pin blame on Republicans. Good luck with that.

Earlier this week, Health and Human Services head Kathleen Sebelius admitted that she didn't realize how complicated getting ObamaCare off the ground would be.

Sebelius complained that "no one fully anticipated" the difficulties involved in implementing ObamaCare, or how confusing it would be with the public.

She wasn't talking about the massive and impossible task of imposing central planning on one-sixth of the nation's economy.

Instead, she was trying to find a way to blame Republicans for ObamaCare's failures when the inevitable problems start emerging.

Rather than say "let's get on board, let's make this work," recalcitrant Republicans have forced her to engage in "state-by-state political battles," Sebelius said at a Harvard School of Public Health forum. "The politics has been relentless."

So let's see if we get this. Democrats shoved an unpopular, expensive, ill-conceived and poorly written law down the country's throat with no Republican support, and without bothering to see whether states would want to take on the thankless and costly task of helping the feds implement it.

And now that many of these states are rebelling, it's the Republicans' fault?
Pure Schadenfreude -- the Democratic majority Senate and House rammed this thing through without anyone being able to read it beforehand. Now that it is coming home to roost, they are trying to backpedal as fast as they can...

Staying classy - the Democrats

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From The Heritage Foundation:
Democrats are Blocking Resolution to Honor Lady Thatcher
One would naturally think it impossible that anyone would hesitate � even for an instant � to honor the woman who tackled communism head on as prime minister of Great Britain. Lady Margaret Thatcher was a principled politician who helped to foster the special relationship between Great Britain and the United States that we all benefit from today.

A Senate resolution to honor Lady Thatcher was supposed to pass last night. However, per well placed sources on the Hill, Democrats have a hold on the resolution.

To refuse to honor a woman of such great historical and political significance, who was deeply loyal to the United States, is petty and shameful. One truly has to wonder, what is it about Lady Thatcher that gives them pause? Her unfaltering commitment to freedom? Or perhaps the way she fought for individual liberty and limited government?
Shameful. The irony is that Thatcher will be remembered for a long long time while these posturing bureaucrats will be forgotten in five years after their last term of office. After all, how many people are 'remembering' the 'greatness' of Senator Ted Kennedy who died in 2009. If we do remember him, it is for Chappaquiddick.
Dr. Martin Luther King was a Republican. Malcom X was a Republican. The Jim Crow laws and Segregation were passed by Democrats. The Ku Klux Klan was a Democratic organization and one of it's leaders - Senator Robert Byrd was a member, serving as a recruiter and leader for his chapter. The Democrat party of old has morphed into the Progressives. President Woodrow (spit) Wilson was an early adopter of this mental illness. One hundred years ago today, this happened. From National Review Online:
Progressive Racism
One hundred years ago today, Woodrow Wilson brought Jim Crow to the North. He had been inaugurated on March 4, 1913. At a cabinet meeting on April 11, his postmaster general, Albert S. Burleson, suggested that the new administration segregate the railway mail service; and treasury secretary William G. McAdoo, who would soon become Wilson�s son-in-law, chimed in to signal his support. Wilson followed their lead. He had made a bid for the African-American vote in 1912, and he had attracted the support of figures such as W. E. B. Du Bois, but, as he put it at the meeting, he had made �no promises in particular to Negroes, except to do them justice.� Burleson�s proposal he welcomed, but he wanted �the matter adjusted in a way to make the least friction.�

Today, self-styled progressives are wont, with considerable abandon, to label as racists those who object to their attempts at social engineering. They would do well to rein in their rhetorical excesses and curb their enthusiasm for the administrative state � for the Progressives of yesteryear, on whom they model themselves, really were racists in the precise and proper sense of the term, and in formulating public policy they were true to their principles.
And the meat of the matter:
Wilson, our first professorial president, was a case in point. He was the very model of a modern Progressive, and he was recognized as such. He prided himself on having pioneered the new science of rational administration, and he shared the conviction, dominant among his brethren, that African-Americans were racially inferior to whites. With the dictates of Social Darwinism and the eugenics movement in mind, in 1907, he campaigned in Indiana for the compulsory sterilization of criminals and the mentally retarded; and in 1911, while governor of New Jersey, he proudly signed into law just such a bill.

Prior to the segregation of the civil service in 1913, appointments had been made solely on merit as indicated by the candidate�s performance on the civil-service examination. Thereafter, racial discrimination became the norm. Photographs came to be required at the time of application, and African-Americans knew they would not be hired. The existing work force was segregated. Many African-Americans were dismissed. In the postal service, others were transferred to the dead-letter office, where they had no contact with the general public. Those who continued to work in municipal post offices labored behind screens � out of sight and out of mind. When the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Independent Political League objected to the new policy, Wilson � a Presbyterian elder who was nothing if not high-minded � vigorously defended it, arguing that segregation was in the interest of African-Americans. For 35 years, segregation in the civil service would be public policy. It was only after Adolf Hitler gave eugenics and �scientific racism� a bad name that segregation came to seem objectionable.
Yeah -- public policy. And then in 1916, a woman named Margaret Sanger opened an illegal abortion clinic in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York. In 1922, this morphed into a legal entity called the American Birth Control League. 1929, they opened an abortion clinic in Harlem -- a largely black section of New York City. There is a lot of history concerning this very nasty person (here, here and here). She started a number of organizations -- her last one is still with us today: Planned Parenthood. A long post I know but I must finish off with an excerpt of this wonderful essay by Dr. William Briggs:
The Return of Eugenics
It�s beginning to look a lot like 1913, a decade before the peak of the Social Darwinism movement, a time when educated and concerned people joined the Race Betterment Foundation and looked to the settled science of eugenics to save civilization from the growing horde of the genetically inferior.

Events have since made the word eugenics distasteful, but not the notion. The idea of human perfection via managed procreation is back and stronger than ever, at least in the academy. Now instead of forcible sterilization, the call is for fetal genetic testing and selective abortion. Race is no longer the marker of unfitness; having incorrect thoughts or unwelcome moral attitudes and genetic unworthiness are.

Early eugenicists embraced contraception. In 1921 Margaret Sanger argued birth control was �not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal, with the final aims of Eugenics.� Two such aims were �racial regeneration� and �to improve the quality of the generations of the future.� She said the �unbalance between the birth rate of the �unfit� and the �fit�� was �the greatest present menace to civilization.� She thought �Birth Control propaganda is thus the entering wedge for the Eugenic educator.� If undesirables didn�t voluntarily stop making babies, steps would be taken. �Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupidly cruel sentimentalism.�
The origins of racism are never talked about in the Mainstream Media or the Progressive Left. Pot meet kettle...
If you want to find out phases of the moon, rise and set times, solar angles, etc... then The Photographer�s Ephemeris is for you. Windows/MAC desktop is free; five bucks for Android or iOS Just found out about it -- will be trying it out in the next couple of months...
The EPA has done it again. From the London Daily Mail:
EPA nominee to get tough questions about why she approved new car air-conditioning refrigerant that caused ENGINE FIRES in Mercedes-Benz tests
Gina McCarthy, who faces a hearing Thursday morning on her fitness to serve as EPA administrator, was primarily responsible for EPA's promotion of an automotive air conditioning refrigerant that caused engine fires in Mercedes Benz testing, MailOnline can report.

McCarthy, EPA's current air regulation chief, 'provided the real forward motion' for a plan to reward US automakers who used the new climate-change-friendly refrigerant known as 'HFO-1234yf,' according to an EPA staffer with knowledge of the agency's internal processes who spoke on condition of anonymity.

When her EPA subagency, the Office of Air and Radiation, approved HOF-1234yf, McCarthy said that the chemical 'helps fight climate change and ozone depletion.'
But a test in Germany:
A Daimler engineer told Reuters in December that his team was 'frozen in shock' when they saw test after test of HOF-1234yf turn a car's engine compartment into an inferno after small leaks were simulated.

'I am not going to deny it,' Stefan Geyer said. 'We needed a day to comprehend what we had just seen.'

Mercedes has released a video showing the conflagration, and comparing it to a nonflammable leak of the industry's standard refrigerant, known as R134A.

The fireball that engulfed their precision engines was caused by a mixture of the refrigerant and air-conditioning compressor oil spraying across the engine block, producing a quick-heated mixture of toxic gas, including hydrogen fluoride - a corrosive compound that can destroy skin after the briefest of exposures and quickly cause blindness.
The article goes into the background -- DuPont and Honeywell share most of the patents for this refrigerant and are lobbying Washington. Crony Capitalism at its finest. Rope. Tree. Some assembly required. If people do not want to go that far, some serious jail time would be in order. If this was done in the private sector, these people would be facing 30 years behind bars.

A measure of respect

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Morrissey may be a little asshat but I'm going to have to dig out my Sex Pistols CDs and start playing them again. From the London Daily Mail:
Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten attacks hate mobs celebrating Baroness Thatcher's death as 'loathsome' and calls for respect
Former Sex Pistol John Lydon says those now celebrating Margaret Thatcher's death are 'loathsome'.

Lydon, famously known as Johnny Rotten when he was the singer in Punk icons The Sex Pistols back in the 1970s as Maggie was rising to power, added: 'I'm not going to dance on her grave.'
Good on him.

Do you run a linux server?

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Specifically, Mandriva Business Server 1.0? You have some patching to do -- over the last six days, they have released patches for over 100 utilities, applications and libraries. Major stuff like apache, bash, automake, openssh, bind and dhcp, emacs, perl, php, python, ruby. A lot of major libs too. Run sysmonkey run!

GoreSat to be launched finally

Talk about a useless project -- from the Associated Press:
Satellite shelved after 2000 election to now fly
President Barack Obama is proposing dusting off and finally launching an old environmental satellite championed by Al Gore but shelved a dozen years by his 2000 rival George W. Bush.

Obama proposed Wednesday spending nearly $35 million in his 2014 budget to refurbish a satellite, nicknamed GoreSat by critics, that's been sitting in storage after it was shelved in 2001, months after Bush took office. It cost about $100 million by then with NASA's internal auditors faulting its cost increases.

In 1998, Gore, then vice president, proposed the idea of a satellite that would head nearly 1 million miles out in deep space in a special gravity balancing area between Earth and the Sun. The satellite would gaze at Earth, beam down a continuous picture of our planet and take what scientists said was needed climate change measurements.
I remember it well -- it was stupid science then and is stupid science now. It will sit at the L1 Lagrange point and beam hi-resolution photos back to Earth. L1 is between the Earth and the Sun so the image will always be fully illuminated. The joke of it is that the Earth observing instruments are being taken out and solar instruments are being installed. The upshot is that Gore will not get his precious screensaver...

E.O. Wilson - wrong

Great commentary from Edward Frenkel (professor of mathematics at UC-Berkeley) at Slate:
Don�t Listen to E.O. Wilson
E.O. Wilson is an eminent Harvard biologist and best-selling author. I salute him for his accomplishments. But he couldn�t be more wrong in his recent piece in the Wall Street Journal (adapted from his new book Letters to a Young Scientist), in which he tells aspiring scientists that they don�t need mathematics to thrive. He starts out by saying: �Many of the most successful scientists in the world today are mathematically no more than semiliterate � I speak as an authority on this subject because I myself am an extreme case.� This would have been fine if he had followed with: �But you, young scientists, don�t have to be like me, so let�s see if I can help you overcome your fear of math.� Alas, the octogenarian authority on social insects takes the opposite tack. Turns out he actually believes not only that the fear is justified, but that most scientists don�t need math. �I got by, and so can you� is his attitude. Sadly, it�s clear from the article that the reason Wilson makes these errors is that, based on his own limited experience, he does not understand what mathematics is and how it is used in science.

If mathematics were fine art, then Wilson�s view of it would be that it�s all about painting a fence in your backyard. Why learn how to do it yourself when you can hire someone to do it for you? But fine art isn�t a painted fence, it�s the paintings of the great masters. And likewise, mathematics is not about �number-crunching,� as Wilson�s article suggests. It�s about concepts and ideas that empower us to describe reality and figure out how the world really works. Galileo famously said, �The laws of Nature are written in the language of mathematics.� Mathematics represents objective knowledge, which allows us to break free of dogmas and prejudices. It is through math that we learned Earth isn�t flat and that it revolves around the sun, that our universe is curved, expanding, full of dark energy, and quite possibly has more than three spatial dimensions. But since we can�t really imagine curved spaces of dimension greater than two, how can we even begin a conversation about the universe without using the language of math?
Wilson should stick to his ants and not his political science and social fear-mongering. A kindred spirit with David Suzuki (fruit flies).
With all the 'sequestration' going on, something like this should be cut. From the Federal solicitation website FedBizOpps:
Bagpipe and Drum Supplies
Solicitation Number: PR20074261
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Office: Customs and Border Protection
Location: Procurement Directorate - DC

This is a combined synopsis/solicitation for commercial items prepared in accordance with the format in FAR Subpart 12.6, as supplemented with additional information included in this notice, yadda, yadda, yadda...
A bit more:
The DHS Customs and Border Protection requires the following items, Brand Name or Equal, to the following:
LI 001: Carbon Bagpipe Drone Reed Set, 5, EA;
LI 002: Bagpipe Chanter Reeds-Easy, 12, EA;
LI 003: Bagpipe Chanter Reeds-Medium, 12, EA;
LI 004: Deluxe Bagpipe Bag Covers w/ Non-slip Grap Patch and Zipper, 5, EA;
LI 005: Drone Cords, 5, EA;
LI 006: Highland Bagpipe Tuner and Metronome with cases, 2, EA;
LI 007: Combination Tuner and Metronome, 6, EA;
LI 008: Black Polypenco Bagpipes w/ cases, 10, EA;
LI 009: Polypenco Bagpipe Chanter, 10, EA;
LI 010: Bellows Blown Blackwood Smallpipes in "A" w/ cases, 4, EA;
LI 011: Black waxed bagpipe hemp, 4, EA;
LI 012: Real Beeswax, 4, EA;
LI 013: Long Polypenco Practice Chanters, 10, EA;
LI 014: Bagpipe Tutor Book - VOL 1 C.O.P., 10, EA; yadda, yadda, yadda... (it's a long list)
Looks like someone wants to start a pipe band with our money.

Gun salesman of the year

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We all know that there has been a serious uptick in gun buying, this article illustrates the magnitude. From CNS News:
FBI Conducting 32 Gun Purchase Background Checks Per Minute Under Obama
During Barack Obama's presidency there have been 32 background checks for gun purchases every minute.

Since February of 2009, the first full month of Obama's presidency, there have been 70,291,049 background checks for gun purchases, according to data released by the FBI.

Using February 1, 2009 as our starting date, and March 31, 2013 as our end date, (the latest data from the FBI) Obama has been president for 1,520 days.
That's one gun purchased every two seconds.

The 2013 hurricane season

Joe Bastardi predicted a big season for this year. Now, the Weather Channel is agreeing:
UPDATED: 2013 Hurricane Season Outlook
The Weather Channel released its first 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook on April 8, 2012, calling for another active season.

The forecast calls for a total of 16 named storms, 9 of which are expected to become hurricanes, including 5 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).

These forecast numbers are above the long-term average from 1950-2012 (12 named storms, 7 hurricanes, 3 major hurricanes) and slightly above the averages for the current active era from 1995-2012 (15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes).
If you live on the East Coast, buy a generator and stockpile a couple weeks of food and water.

50 years ago today - USS Thresher

50 years ago today, the US Ship Thresher was lost with all hands. A couple of websites -- Thresher Base, USS Thresher, the US Navy page, and WikiPedia. This happened while I was in High School in Pittsburgh. I wanted to major in Marine Biology when I went to college (Boston University) so followed this story very closely. I later got to know the sister of one of the crew-members.

The Police on gun control

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From PoliceOne comes some interesting results from a survey of over 15,000 law enforcers:
Police Gun Control Survey: Are legally-armed citizens the best solution to gun violence?
ceOne has scored a major scoop in police journalism by conducting a survey of more than 15,000 law enforcers regarding their thoughts on gun control in America.

These men and women � most of whom actually work the street � have a front row seat to see gun violence in America. They put their lives at risk when they do their jobs, actually coming face-to-face with violent encounters involving firearms.

And when it comes to finding ways to reduce gun violence and large scale shootings, most cops say a federal ban on so-called �assault weapons� isn�t the answer.

More than 91 percent of respondents say it would either have no effect or a negative effect in reducing violent crime. This is an overwhelming response by those whose job it is to actually deal with this issue on the front lines.

Instead, it is interesting to note that armed citizens show up frequently as a deciding factor in reducing the carnage from a mass murder situation; proactive choices dominate over gun and magazine restrictions and bans.
A bit more:
More than 91 percent of respondents support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or not been deemed psychologically/medically incapable.

A full 86 percent feel that casualties would have been reduced or avoided in recent tragedies like Newtown and Aurora if a legally-armed citizen was present (casualties reduced: 80 percent; avoided altogether: 60 percent).
This push was never about keeping us safe -- it's about keeping us unarmed and dependent on a large government.

Now this is curious

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From the Washington Post:
Thunderstorms contain �dark lightning,� invisible pulses of powerful radiation
A lightning bolt is one of nature�s most over-the-top phenomena, rarely failing to elicit at least a ping of awe no matter how many times a person has witnessed one. With his iconic kite-and-key experiments in the mid-18th century, Benjamin Franklin showed that lightning is an electrical phenomenon, and since then the general view has been that lightning bolts are big honking sparks no different in kind from the little ones generated by walking in socks across a carpeted room.

But scientists recently discovered something mind-bending about lightning: Sometimes its flashes are invisible, just sudden pulses of unexpectedly powerful radiation. It�s what Joseph Dwyer, a lightning researcher at the Florida Institute of Technology, has termed dark lightning.

Unknown to Franklin but now clear to a growing roster of lightning researchers and astronomers is that along with bright thunderbolts, thunderstorms unleash sprays of X-rays and even intense bursts of gamma rays, a form of radiation normally associated with such cosmic spectacles as collapsing stars. The radiation in these invisible blasts can carry a million times as much energy as the radiation in visible lightning, but that energy dissipates quickly in all directions rather than remaining in a stiletto-like lightning bolt.
Fun times -- we have only recently (1989) found out about sprites, jets and elves -- who is to say that we will not find even more curious phenomena down the road...

A ruckus indeed

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From USA Today:
National science standards likely to raise 'ruckus'
Academic standards out Tuesday promise to revive simmering debates about how to teach science in the USA's public schools.

In the works for two years, the "next-generation" standards push schools to teach fewer topics, but in a more integrated, coherent way. They prescribe a healthy dose of engineering and ask schools to rely less on rote memorization and more on critical thinking, constructing arguments and building demonstrations.
Sounds OK so far but:
The standards � a 71-page set of guidelines developed by scientists and educators in 26 states � assert that "human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth's mean surface temperature (global warming)." Slowing climate change and its risks, the authors say, depends "on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior, and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities."
So even though the wheels are dramatically falling off this bus, we are still forcing this marxist hooey on our children. Shame on you -- absolute shame...

I wish him well

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If Mr. Steyer wants to dump his money down a rat-hole, fine with me... From The Hill:
Greens get billionaire ally, money
A California billionaire is pledging to spend as much of his fortune as necessary to make climate change �the defining issue of our generation.�

Tom Steyer, who made his riches as a hedge fund manager, told The Hill on Tuesday that he wants to make climate change a campaign issue for years to come and Democratic support for environmental protections as widespread as support for gay marriage and immigration reform.

�The goal here is not to win. The goal here is to destroy these people. We want a smashing victory,� Steyer said of candidates he judges to be on the wrong side of the climate change debate.
Mr. Steyer is failing to grasp the simple dictum that if you are really really good at something (say... managing a hedge fund ferinstance), this does nothing to convey the ability to do other things equally well. Mr. Steyer needs to get out of his personal echo-chamber and take a good hard look at the numbers on the Climate. Things do not look good for the warmistas and as a numbers guy, he should have the math chops to be able to go through the basic science. It is simply not that hard... He is worth $1.4 billion -- wonder how much he will burn before he wises up to the reality (or gets tired of the chattering classes hogging his free ride).

Time to make a big bowl of popcorn

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From The Washingtonian:
Trial Date Set, Bob Woodward Subpoenaed in Sidwell Friends Sex Counselor Case
The exceedingly messy lawsuit between Arthur �Terry� Newmyer and Sidwell Friends School is headed for trial�and the circle of high-profile Washingtonians wrapped up in the case is expanding. At a hearing last week, DC Superior Court judge Michael Rankin set a trial date of November 18, 2013.

Newmyer first filed suit against Sidwell and its former psychologist in May 2011. He claims the psychologist had an affair with his wife while treating his daughter, then five, and that Sidwell took �flagrant and outrageous actions� that allowed the �open sexual relationship.�

For Sidwell�an elite private school in DC with an annual tuition of around $34,000�the lawsuit is an embarrassing airing of dirty laundry, something it normally goes to great lengths to avoid. The school�s parents, students, and alumni include many members of Washington�s most prominent families. President Obama�s two daughters attend Sidwell, as do Vice President Biden�s grandchildren; Chelsea Clinton and Al Gore III both attended the school, as did the children of cabinet secretaries, journalists, business leaders, senators, and congressmen, among others.

Newmyer�s lawsuit always had the potential to rope in some of the high-profile families who knew of the affair or whose children had been in the care of the accused psychologist, James Huntington, who also taught sex education to sixth-grade students during the year one of the Obama daughters was in that grade. That potential turned into a subpoena for Elsa Walsh, wife of journalist Bob Woodward.

Last April, Newmyer subpoenaed all of Walsh�s communications involving Huntington and Sidwell�especially those related to Huntington�s handling of a bullying incident. Walsh and Woodward have resisted the subpoena.

At a hearing last month, Newmyer�s lawyer, Kerry Scanlon, argued that the Woodward/Walsh e-mails would show that Sidwell administrators knew Huntington was conducting himself unprofessionally.

Judge Rankin has ruled that Woodward and Walsh have to turn over some of their e-mails.
Much more at the article -- discovery can be a bitch...

Obama and guns - staying classy

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A two-fer. First from Agence France-Presse / France24:
Obama slams Republicans for gun reform 'stunts'
President Barack Obama accused Republicans of stooping to political stunts to block gun reform, in a fervent appeal delivered close to the site of the Newtown school massacre.
Next from Yahoo / ABC:
Obama, With Newtown Families, Demands Gun Control Vote
Speaking before families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, President Obama made an impassioned and urgent plea for stricter gun laws, as he accused Republicans of threatening to use "political stunts" to block reforms.
And a bit more:
Before his remarks, the president met privately with several families of children who died in the Sandy Hook shooting. Many of those families then boarded Air Force One on their way to Washington to lobby Congress.
And Obama has the unmitigated gall to call the Republicans listening to their constituents a political stunt?

An odious little man

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Was never a fan of his 'singing' -- now he shows himself to be the class act that he is. From the UK Telegraph:
Margaret Thatcher was 'barbaric' and 'a terror', says Morrissey
Morrissey has released a statement attacking the personality and political beliefs of the late Margaret Thatcher.

The singer, 53, said that Baroness Thatcher, who died yesterday from a stroke aged 87, was "barbaric", "hated the arts" and "hated the English poor".
Out of touch dipshit -- he of the one name would not recognize greatness if it bit him on his ass.

Light posting today

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We have a break in the rain so working outside in the garden and around the property. More later this evening...

The electric car renaissance - NOT!

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I would love an electric car -- most of my driving is two miles from my home to the post office and the store. A perfect application. The idea of driving for more than 10-20 miles would give me the willies though -- especially in cold weather. Any monies spent developing an electric car are monies dumped down a rathole. Case in point -- from Business Insider:
The Electric Car Is Dead All Over Again
The dream of an electric car that's both affordable and practical has eluded automakers, and will likely do so for another decade.

The problem is a lack of cheap, powerful battery technology that keeps ranges limited, charge times long, and prices high.

A much better battery is the "holy grail," says Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and market analyst at Kelley Blue Book. While lots of parties are working on it, "nobody's got there yet."

Until someone does, the story of the electric car in the United States will continue to be one of high expectations and consistent letdowns.

Fisker, a startup funded in part by nearly $200 million from the Department of Energy, just fired three quarters of its workforce and is in the process of imploding. It has not produced a single Atlantic, the model designed to be the "volume car that begins to build growth."
It is a simple matter of not being able to circumvent the basic laws of physics. From here: Energy Fundamentals (PDF) -- please note. Yes, this was written in 2002 but again, the basic laws of Physics do not change. Page two, right column: One liter of Gasoline has 9,000 Watt/Hours (a Watt/Hour is a unit of delivered work). One liter of Lead/Acid batteries has 40 Watt/Hours. One liter of Lithium batteries has 250 Watt/Hours. So a vehicle with a 20 gallon gasoline tank will require 720 gallons of Lithium batteries to have an equivalent range (all other things being equal). That is 96.25 cubic feet or a box slightly larger than four feet by four feet by six feet. Yes, the new crop of Lithium batteries are better then the ones in 2002 but only by 20% at best. Electric cars -- great for villages, golf courses and under ten mile round-trip commutes. Anything else? Not so much. For our present government to "invest" in these shows that a large central government can not pick and choose winners, they can only pick losers. It is the job of the marketplace to pick winners. It is as simple as that...

Aww crap - RIP Margaret Thatcher

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One of the very very great ones -- from the UK Guardian:
Margaret Thatcher dead at 87 following stroke
Margaret Thatcher, the most dominant British prime minister since Winston Churchill in 1940 and a global champion of the late 20th-century free market economic revival, has died.

Her spokesman, Lord Bell, said on Monday: "It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning. A further statement will be made later."

Downing Street announced that she would receive a ceremonial funeral with military honours at St Paul's Cathedral.

David Cameron, who is cutting short his trip to Europe to return to London following the news, said: "It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher's death. We've lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton."

He told the BBC: "As our first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn't just lead our country, she saved our country, and I believe she will go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister."

Cameron later said parliament would be recalled on Wednesday "for a special session in which tributes will be paid" to Lady Thatcher.
A sad day today...

Bitter clingers

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The ammo shortage shows no sign of abating. From Central California's Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. (Ontario, CA is about 40 miles due East of Los Angeles)
Lines for ammo long at Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Ontario
Ammunition was the hot item Saturday as gun enthusiasts from around Southern California converged on the Ontario Convention Center for the first day of the two-day Crossroads of the West Gun Show.

The Ontario Convention Center was busy with some people arriving and others leaving with such purchases as walking sticks to firearms cases. But of all the items available, ammo was at the top of many shopping lists.

At one point, a line to purchase ammunition was snaking around the exhibit hall, said Bob Templeton, the owner of the gun show. It was taking about three hours for shoppers to make their way to the head of the line, he said.
Of course, it's all the manufacturer's fault -- from the Hornady website:
A Word on Availability
The current political climate has caused extremely high demand on all shooting industry products, including ours. Empty retail shelves, long backorders, and exaggerated price increases on online auction sites � all fueled by rumors and conjecture � have amplified concerns about the availability of ammunition and firearms-related items.

If the information you hear doesn�t originate from Hornady Manufacturing, don�t believe it.

Here are some of rumors we�ve heard, and questions we�ve received:
  • Have you stopped production, or has the government forced you to stop? -- Not at all.
  • Did you stop selling bullets so you could only make loaded ammunition? -- Absolutely not.
  • Since we can�t find your product you must be selling it all to the government. -- Nope, less than 5% of our sales are to government entities.
  • Why can�t you make more? Ramp up production? Turn on all the machines? -- We�ve been steadily growing our production for a long time, especially the last five years. We�ve added presses, lathes, CNC equipment, people and space. Many popular items are produced 24 hours a day. Several hundred Hornady employees work overtime every week to produce as much as safely possible. If there is any question about that � please take a tour of the factory. You�ll be amazed at what you see.
We are producing as much as we can; much more than last year, which was a lot more than the year before, etc. No one wants to ship more during this time than we do.

We appreciate everyone�s understanding and patience. We don�t know when the situation will improve, so please bear with us a little longer. And remember, when it comes to Hornady Manufacturing, if you don�t hear it from us, please don�t believe it.
From CNS News:
Jeff Hoffman, president of Black Hills Ammunition told GunsandAmmo:
"We have a little bit of the hunting calibers on hand, like .270, but everything else is gone. It's only skipping once on its way out the door."
Keith Enlow, senior vice president and ammunition manager at Freedom Group, said:
"Even though we're in the middle of panic buying, we don't see the demand for ammunition going away any time soon."
And, according to Guns&Ammo, Remington's official statement on ammo production is:
"Remington is at full capacity at this time in a majority of categories of ammunition. We are continuing to look at how to increase capacity and supply our ammunition products to the various channels of distribution/sales that we support."
Just picked up a CO2 powered BB Gun that is about the same size and heft as one of my pistols. Not the same but nice for target training -- a lot cheaper to run.

Zombie Dead Blog

Heh -- a site that catalogs old dead blogs that haven't been touched in several years but are still running in cyberspace.

Many of these are just an initial entry and then... nothing... Check out Zombie Dead Blog

From FOX News:

Hundreds of Texas educators take free concealed handgun class
A concealed handgun training class envisioned by former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle before his death drew hundreds of educators to a Texas school auditorium Saturday.

More than 700 teachers and administrators attended the all-day session on gun laws and safety at Kennedale High School in Dallas-Fort Worth area, The Dallas Morning News reported.

A bit more:

Teachers from across the state and at least one representative from each school district in North Texas attended the class, which was organized in response to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., according to the report.

Participants who complete the required live-ammunition firing training will be eligible for concealed-handgun licenses, the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported.

Last week, the Texas Senate Education Committee approved a plan to train armed teachers for gunfights in classrooms or at campus sporting events or board meetings.

Good news. This will go a long way to cut down on school shootings. The shooters may be sick in the head but they are not stupid and will be disinclined to try anything where there is the chance of an armed response. The Aurora 'Batman' shooter picked the only theater near his apartment that was posted as a Gun Free Zone. It was neither the closest to his apartment nor was it the largest auditorium -- it was the only one posted No Guns.

From CNS News:
ATF Seeks 'Massive' Database of Personal Info: 'Assets, Relatives, Associates and More'
A recent solicitation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) reveals that the agency is seeking a "massive" online database capable of pulling up individuals' personal information, connections and associates.

On March 28, ATF posted the notice on FedBizOpps.gov, entitled "Investigative System." The solicitation was updated on April 5 with a few minor changes.

The document says that the system will be utilized by staff "to provide rapid searches on various entities for example; names, telephone numbers, utility data and reverse phone look-ups, as a means to assist with investigations, and background research on people, assets and businesses."

The system is described as a "massive online data repository system that contains a wide variety of data sources both historically and current that can be utilized in support of investigations and backgrounds."
So it does not matter what laws our legislators are going to pass, we will have some form of gun registration regardless. I wonder how they are going to populate the database -- any potential violation of the Fourth Amendment? The 1,000+ comments are pretty strong and aligned toward more freedom and smaller government.

The Streisand Effect writ large

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From this entry at WikiPedia:
Military radio station of Pierre-sur-Haute
The military radio station of Pierre-sur-Haute is a 30 hectare (0.3 square kilometre) site used for French military communications. It is located on the Sauvain and Job communes, with the boundary between the Rh�ne-Alpes and Auvergne regions passing through the site. A civilian radio relay has also been built at this location by the telecommunications company T�l�diffusion de France.
The entry goes into some detail and then concludes with the following:
French language Wikipedia article
In April 2013, the radio station attracted attention after the French interior intelligence agency Direction centrale du renseignement int�rieur (DCRI) attempted to have the article removed from the French language Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation asked the intelligence agency what precise part(s) of the article were a problem in the eyes of the intelligence agency, noting that the article closely reflected information in a freely available television broadcast. The DCRI refused to give these details, and repeated its demand for deletion of the article. The Wikimedia Foundation refused to delete the article, and the DCRI pressured a volunteer administrator of the French language Wikipedia and resident of France into removing the article. The administrator, an employee of the state-owned Biblioth�que nationale de France, obeyed. According to a statement by Wikim�dia France:
The DCRI summoned a Wikipedia volunteer in their offices on April 4th [2013]. This volunteer, which was one of those having access to the tools that allow the deletion of pages, was forced to delete the article while in the DCRI offices, on the understanding that he would have been held in custody and prosecuted if he did not comply. Under pressure, he had no other choice than to delete the article, despite explaining to the DCRI this is not how Wikipedia works. He warned the other sysops that trying to undelete the article would engage their responsibility before the law. This volunteer had no link with that article, having never edited it and not even knowing of its existence before entering the DCRI offices. He was chosen and summoned because he was easily identifiable, given his regular promotional actions of Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects in France.
� Wikim�dia France
Later, the article was restored by another Wikipedia contributor. The French ministry of the interior told the Agence France-Presse that for the moment it did not wish to comment on the incident. As a result of the controversy, the article became the most-read page on the French Wikipedia. It was translated into multiple other languages. The French newspaper 20 minutes and Ars technica noted it as an example of the Streisand effect in action.
Heh. The DCRI needs to remember that the core design of the internet was to route around damage. Once something is posted, it cannot be unposted...

Joey 'ashtray' Biden in the news

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From Nicholas Ballasy at PJ Media:
Biden: �Affirmative Task� Before Us Is to �Create a New World Order�
Vice President Joe Biden called the U.S. economic figures for March �disappointing� on Friday but said America �remains better positioned than any country in the world to be the leading economy� of the 21st century.
And this gem:
In Biden�s view, the �affirmative task we have now is to actually create a new world order because the global order is changing again and the institutions of the world that worked so well in the post-World War II era for decades, they need to be strengthened and some have to be changed. So we have to do what we do best. We have to lead.�
Sounds like a clear message to me. Time for a game of buzzword bingo?
From Christopher Booker writing at the UK Telegraph:
Beware the wrong kind of Leafs on the road
Listeners to last Tuesday�s Today programme might have been baffled by a strange little item presented by Evan Davis, which seemed to be yet another of the BBC�s regular puffs for those supposedly planet-saving electric cars. Apart from the pleasure of hearing Mr Davis repeatedly tell us, as he was driven around in one of these vehicles, how �comfortable� it was and how �smoothly� it drove, one wondered what was the occasion for this item � unless it was somehow connected with the recent visit by David Cameron to the Nissan car plant in Sunderland, to acclaim these �cars of the future� as he celebrated the launch of the first all-electric Leaf made in Europe. Nissan hopes to sell these vehicles to British drivers at �24,460 a time, plus a �5,000 subsidy from us taxpayers.

What would never have been guessed from either Mr Davis or the Prime Minister was that lurking behind all this is a huge story, involving one of the most dottily fanciful schemes even the EU has ever put its hand to. We are all familiar with what makes this obsession with electric cars so curious. For up to �30,000 or more you get a battery-operated vehicle which, if driven quite slowly with the lights and heating off, can travel up to 100 miles before its battery needs several hours of recharging. Two years ago, after the BBC broadcast yet another of its propaganda puffs � showing how it had taken four days to drive an electric car from London to Edinburgh, involving recharging stops of up to 10 hours � I noted that in the 1830s, a stagecoach could do the same journey in half the time.

Considering that their lithium batteries need replacing every few years at a further cost of up to �20,000, it is hardly surprising that last year, only 1,262 new all-electric cars were registered in Britain, despite the �400 million the Government has put aside in subsidies. As for their supposed saving on CO2 emissions, what too often gets left out of the picture is that almost all the electricity used to charge those batteries comes from fossil fuels, so that, once transmission losses to the charging points are factored in, savings on CO2 emissions can easily be zero.
And one reason that the EU government is so hot on the idea?
So why are the Government and the BBC so keen on these absurd vehicles? The answer, astonishingly enough, can be dug out from a sheaf of EU documents showing that one of the chief reasons why it and the European Investment Bank are pouring five billion euros into research and development of electric vehicle technology, is the fond belief that this can provide a miraculous solution to one of the major drawbacks of that other obsession of the EU, the need for Europe to generate ever more of its electricity from those equally useless and ludicrously expensive wind turbines.

A major problem with wind energy, of course, is that the wind blows so intermittently, and often at times when demand is lowest, that the windmills pile up large amounts of what is called �wrong time� electricity, which cannot be stored until demand rises again. So enter those electric cars, and the concept known as �V2G� or �vehicle to grid�. The idea is that, if millions of electric vehicles can be sold, not only can their batteries be charged during the 95 per cent of the time they are on average off the road, absorbing much of that surplus wind energy at night, they can also be used, by way of �smart meters�, to reverse the flow, providing back-up for the windmills by feeding power back into the grid when needed.

Quite how commuters will react when they want to drive their car to work, only to find that its battery has been drained to meet the morning surge in demand, is not explained. Everything about this mammoth project recalls Swift�s Academy of Lagado, and Gulliver�s meeting with the man who wanted a hefty subsidy for extracting sunbeams from cucumbers. But an equal mystery is how much of all this Mr Cameron was aware of when he flew up to Sunderland the other day to acclaim these �cars of the future�. Not, I suspect, very much.
Absolutely unreal -- more here (with lots of additional links to sources) and here. A perfect example of out-of-touch cultural 'elites' trying to manage a real-world issue and falling short.

Things one learns from Shooting

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Great list from Brigid:
.45 Things I Have Learned From the Shooting Sports
(1) Don't buy a new type of gun until you've had a chance to fire one of them.
(2) Never try to keep more than 200 separate thoughts in your head during that first shot.
(3) The less skilled the shooter, the more likely he is to come up to you at the range and criticize your grip.
(4) No matter how bad that first target is, it's possible to be worse.
(5) That new gun at the incredibly low price will come with the only magazine of its kind in existence.
Forty more at the site -- fun (and true) stuff...

The 2013 hurricane season

Joe Bastardi weighs in with his 2013 Hurricane Season predictions:
2013 Hurricane Season Forecast
A wild season is on the way, and the "major hit drought" on the US coast should end. In fact, multiple major hits are likely this year with the cold PDO, warm AMO decadal signal favoring the East Coast, as in the 1950s.
Joe is calling for 16 storms, 4 tropical storms, 12 hurricanes with five major hurricanes. Glad I moved to the Pacific Northwet...

Just wonderful - bird flu

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From Bloomberg comes this little bit of joy:
New Bird Flu Seen Having Some Markers of Airborne Killer
The new bird influenza that�s killed six people in eastern China has some of the genetic hallmarks of an easily transmissible virus, according to the scientist who showed how H5N1 avian flu could become airborne.

The H7N9 strain, which is a new virus formed as a result of two others merging their genetic material, has features of viruses that are known to jump easily from birds to mammals, and a mutation that may help it attach to cells in the respiratory tract, said Ron Fouchier, a professor of molecular virology at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, in a telephone interview yesterday.

�That�s certainly not good news,� said Fouchier, who reviewed a gene sequencing of H7N9 published by Chinese health authorities. �This virus really doesn�t look like a bird virus anymore; it looks like a mammalian virus.�
Fun times ahead...
From the UK Telegraph -- note that author Geoffrey Lean has been a major proponent of Anthropogenic Global Warming and this article represents a major shift in his position:
Global warming: time to rein back on doom and gloom?
All right, I accept that this Arctic April may seem an incongruous time to address global warming. But there are important, and possibly hopeful, developments in the complex, contentious world of climate science that might finally give us all a sense of spring. For some recent research suggests that climate change might not be as catastrophic as the gloomiest predictions suggest.

The research, moreover, comes at a time when many experts are beginning to despair that warming can be prevented from running out of control. Six weeks ago, for example, Prof Sir Robert Watson � the deeply respected former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) � said he believed the world had now missed its chance to keep the average rise in global temperature to less than 2C � the level at which dangerous effects are thought inevitable. But if the new research is right, it might be held below this ominous threshold after all, if determined worldwide action is taken.

Prediction, as they say, is tough, especially when it�s about the future � and that�s especially true when it comes to the climate, whose complexity we only partially understand. It is, as we all know, naturally immensely variable. And the effect of human intervention is subject to long timelags: it will be decades, even centuries, before the full consequences of today�s emissions of carbon dioxide become clear.

As a result, scientists and policymakers draw on the past to predict the future. Until now, they have therefore placed much weight on the rapid temperature increases in the Eighties and Nineties. But for at least a decade, these have dramatically slowed, even as carbon dioxide emissions have continued to increase.

None of this justifies the frequent claim by climate sceptics that global warming has stopped, and may now reverse. Long lulls have occurred before, only for temperatures to resume their relentless rise. And eight of the nine hottest years on record have still all occurred since 2000. But it does suggest that the rapid recent warming may have been as anomalous as the present pause.
More at the site -- this is a major shift in thinking and wonderful to see. More faster please!

DERP - Coral Reefs can regenerate

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From the London Daily Mail:
The reef that regenerated: Researchers find corals in Northern Australia healed themselves in just 12 years
A coral reef in Northern Australia severely damaged by warming seas has managed to completely heal itself in just 12 years, stunned researchers have found.

The team found that being left alone to breed on its own was key.

The discovery raises hope that other damaged reefs could 'regenerate'.
DOH! -- the warmists want to paint CO2 as a bad gas but people who have salt-water aquaria and who raise corals know better. A Calcium Reactor takes gaseous Carbon Dioxide and bubbles it through seawater. The acidity dissolves the calcium in the aragonite ore and provides materials for the coral polyps to use to grow their home. The acidity (another warmist rallying cry) is buffered by this process -- the entire system is self-regulating.

Hell no - The Writer's Almanac

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From Garrison Keillor - April 5th:
Today is the birthday of Thomas Hobbes, born in Westport, Wiltshire, England (1588) who witnessed a chaotic time in English politics, with two civil wars and the execution of the king. He wrote his most famous book, Leviathan, in the midst of it, in which he argues that people need a strong central authority to keep them from collapsing into war and chaos, a world with "no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." He believed that because we don't share the same ideas about what's right and wrong, we need a sovereign to enforce a set of laws.
Hobbes was a Utopian -- history has a long record of these ideas failing miserably. Hobbes needs to be returned to the dustbin of history...
From Real Clear Politics:
The End of an Illusion
Many years ago, I remember thinking that it would take many years to refute the panicked claims about global warming. Unlike most political movements, which content themselves with making promises about, say, what the unemployment rate will be in two years if we pass a giant stimulus bill�claims that are proven wrong (and how!) relatively quickly�the environmentalists had successfully managed to put their claims so far off into the future that it would take decades to test them against reality.

But guess what? The decades are finally here.

At Forbes, Harry Binswanger dates the beginning of the campaign to 1979 and puts it in an amusing perspective:
"Remember 1979? That was the year of 'We Are Family' by Sister Sledge, of 'The Dukes of Hazard' on TV, and of Kramer vs. Kramer on the silver screen. It was the year the Shah was forced out of Iran. It was before the web, before the personal computer, before the cell phone, before voicemail and answering machines. But not before the global warming campaign.

"In January of 1979, a New York Times article was headlined: 'Experts Tell How Antarctic Ice Could Cause Widespread Floods.'...

"So where's the warming? Where are the gondolas pulling up to the Capitol? Where are the encroaching seas in Florida? Or anywhere? Where is the climate change which, for 33 years, has been just around the corner?"
He concludes that "I've grown old waiting for the promised global warming." Literally: "I was 35 when predictions of a looming ice age were supplanted by warmmongering. Now I'm 68, and there's still no sign of warmer weather."

He puts the issue in terms of common-sense observation. But it can also be measured in terms of hard data. We're reaching the point where the predictions have been around long enough to allow for significant comparison against the actual data, and we are now able to say definitively that the predictions were horribly exaggerated.
What he said -- what we are measuring is a normal climate variation and a possible cooling period similar to the Maunder Minimum in the near future. Our sun drives our climate and it is entering a quiet phase.

Racism in the South

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From Washington, D.C. station WNEW:
Police: Va. Minister Painted Racial Slurs on House Before Setting It On Fire
A minister at a Virginia church faces charges of setting his house and car in Chesterfield County on fire.

Chesterfield County police had investigated the fires as a possible hate crime because a racial slur had been painted on the house. Police believe 41-year-old Olander D. Cuthrell, who is black, painted the slurs on his home before he set it on fire.

Police charged Cuthrell on Tuesday with two felony arson counts following a joint investigation with the FBI.
Talk about setting a good example. What a maroon...

Bad collective memory - not just us

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Looks like the Japanese government is stuck on stupid too -- from Reuters:
BOJ to pump $1.4 trillion into economy in unprecedented stimulus
The Bank of Japan unleashed the world's most intense burst of monetary stimulus on Thursday, promising to inject about $1.4 trillion into the economy in less than two years, a radical gamble that sent the yen reeling and bond yields to record lows.

New Governor Haruhiko Kuroda committed the BOJ to open-ended asset buying and said the monetary base would nearly double to 270 trillion yen ($2.9 trillion) by the end of 2014, a dose of shock therapy officials hope will end two decades of stagnation.
Governor Kuroda needs to understand that John Maynard Keynes' ideas are toxic to large economies. Suck it up hippies -- capitalism works, nothing else does as well over the long term. The history books are very clear on this...

Obama on Pelosi

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With all that is going on in North Korea and Egypt, Barry is on the road fundraising. From USA Today:
Obama seeks reprise of Speaker Pelosi
President Obama wants to work with congressional Republicans and all that, but he is also making it clear he wants Democrats to retake control of the U.S. House and re-install Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"My job is to make sure we move the country forward, and I think we can best do that if Nancy Pelosi is speaker of the House once again," Obama said Wednesday night during one of two Democratic fundraisers in Pelosi's hometown of San Francisco.

Obama, who spent the night in the city by the bay, has another pair of fundraisers in the area on Thursday before heading back to Washington.

While Obama outlined an ambitious agenda for his second term -- including gun control, immigration, energy, and climate change -- he also cited the fact that Republicans control half of Congress, the House. The Democrats run the Senate.
About that: "cited the fact that Republicans control half of Congress" -- Hey Barry, the Republicans were voted into office by the citizens of the United States. More than 50% of US states have Republican governors. We are coming for the Senate in 2014. Get used to it -- it's called Democracy.
From The Washington Post:
Obama administration pushes banks to make home loans to people with weaker credit
The Obama administration is engaged in a broad push to make more home loans available to people with weaker credit, an effort that officials say will help power the economic recovery but that skeptics say could open the door to the risky lending that caused the housing crash in the first place.
We just crashed six years ago for the same damn reason. We do not need to do this again. Time to drain the swamp -- throw all the buggers out and start over. Senatorial term limits would be a wonderful idea...

Happy forty-fifth birthday - 2001

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From IMDb:
2001: A Space Odyssey
"2001" is a story of evolution. Sometime in the distant past, someone or something nudged evolution by placing a monolith on Earth (presumably elsewhere throughout the universe as well). Evolution then enabled humankind to reach the moon's surface, where yet another monolith is found, one that signals the monolith placers that humankind has evolved that far. Now a race begins between computers (HAL) and human (Bowman) to reach the monolith placers. The winner will achieve the next step in evolution, whatever that may be.
And: Release Date: 6 April 1968 (USA) Also from IMDb -- a collection of 2001 trivia including the complete text of the sign: ZERO GRAVITY TOILET PASSENGERS ARE ADVISED TO READ INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USE Graduated High School in 1969 -- that movie had an incredible impact on us proto-geeks...

Fun times in North Korea

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From Tyler at Zero Hedge:
Two North Korean Submarines "Disappeared"
Chosun TV is reporting that South Korean military have lost contact with two North Korean submarines that left their naval base in Hwanghae Province a few days ago.

There has obviously been a lot of changes between last week and now and South Korean military officials suggested that while maneuvers in February were nothing meaningful, now it is provocation.

The two 'torpedo' subs are small 130-ton, 30-meter, 10-man machines that can stay submerged for three-to-four days.
Curiouser and curiouser. I would not rule out a Red October scenario, life is pretty brutal in the workers paradise. So nice that Barry Obama has been gutting our military for us. We really need to be brought down a couple notches in the world's view. Yeah, and I have some oceanfront property in Montana to sell you...

Happy fortieth birthday - Cell Phone

The Cell Phone turns forty this month.

From The Verge:

The Verge Interview: Marty Cooper, father of the cellphone
Marty Cooper quite literally invented the cellphone during his tenure as a division manager at Motorola, demonstrating it for the first time in April of 1973 when he famously called his chief rival - Bell Labs' Joel Engel - to personally deliver the news that he'd been beaten.

A really nice interview.

A little misunderstanding

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From Theo:
Nuke the Chinese
Columbia University has always been a radical leftist institution but this just takes the cake. From the New York Post:
Outrage 101: Radical jailed in slay now Columbia prof
Former Weather Underground radical Kathy Boudin � who spent 22 years in prison for an armored-car robbery that killed two cops and a Brinks guard � now holds a prestigious adjunct professorship at Columbia University�s School of Social Work, The Post has learned.

Boudin, 69, this year won another academic laurel � being named the Sheinberg Scholar-in-Residence at NYU Law School, where last month she gave a lecture on �the politics of parole and re-entry.�

Boudin�s bounce-back into respectability after her 2003 parole comes to light a week before the release of Robert Redford�s movie �The Company You Keep,� loosely based on the $1.6 million heist.

Boudin�s status of perp-turned-prof outraged the widow of one of her victims, Brinks guard and dad of three Peter Paige, who was gunned down by her accomplices from the Black Liberation Army on Oct. 20, 1981, in Rockland County.
This is disgusting. I am not surprised by this from Columbia but it is still disgusting. What makes me really sick is that the children she teaches will never know the truth. As for Redford�s new movie -- on the 'do not watch' list. I refuse to give people like this my money, only encourages them...

Business as usual in New York

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From the New York Post:
�Grea$e� is the word for pols
Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith and GOP City Councilman Dan Halloran were caught on damning FBI wiretaps bribing GOP bosses in order to �grease the wheels� for Smith�s mayoral run on the Republican ticket, authorities revealed yesterday.

Smith, Halloran and four others were arrested in predawn raids on a slew of federal conspiracy and bribery charges that could send them to prison for up to 45 years.

The FBI used a confidential informant and an undercover agent � both posing as real-estate developers � to secretly record the pols hatching their plot.
Bunch of other people were named in the article. No shame at all...

A branding problem

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From the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch:
'Illegal immigrant� struck from AP Stylebook
The Associated Press will no longer use the term �illegal immigrant,� its executive editor said Tuesday, a decision that comes as negotiations over a deal on comprehensive immigration reform are continuing.

The AP � which has about 1,400 daily U.S. newspaper members � made the change to reflect labeling of behavior, not people, executive editor Kathleen Carroll wrote.

�The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term �illegal immigrant� or the use of �illegal� to describe a person,� she wrote. �Instead, it tells users that �illegal� should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.�
I love Jay Leno's comment:
�And in a groundbreaking move, the Associated Press, the largest news gathering outlet in the world, will no longer use the term �illegal immigrant.� That is out. No longer �illegal immigrant.� They will now use the phrase �undocumented Democrat.� That is the newest � �undocumented Democrat.��

Busy day today

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Heading into town to pick up two printers I bought at yesterday's auction. Bulbs that we planted last fall are starting to come up. More posting later today...
From Australian website news.com.au:
Fat fliers DO pay more on Samoan Air
No, this is not an overdue April Fool's Day joke. It is real.

Samoa Air started operating in the Pacific last year. Chief Executive Chris Langton said paying per kilo is the fairest way.

"People have always traveled on the basis of their seat but as many airline operators know airlines don't run on seats they run on weight and particularly the smaller the aircraft you are in the less variance you can accept in terms of the difference in weight between passengers," Mr Langton told ABC radio.

"There is no doubt in my mind that this is the concept of the future. We always weigh the mass that is on an aircraft. And that always has to pay for the transportation, it doesn't matter whether you are carrying freight or people. Anyone who travels at times has felt they have been paying for half of the passenger next to them. The standard width and pitch of the seat are changing as people are getting a bit bigger wider and taller than they were 40-50 years ago."

Under the pay by weight system passengers input their weight into the online booking section of the Samoa Air website and pay the "pay-per-kilo" rate for that sector.

The rates range from $1 a kilogram � for the weight of the traveler and their baggage � on the airline's shortest domestic route to about $4.16 per kilogram for travel from Samoa to American Samoa.

Mr Langton told the ABC he believed many passengers would be pleasantly surprised by the cost of pay by weight.

"We have worked out a figure per kilo. This is the fairest way of you traveling with your family or yourself. You can put your baggage on, there is no separate fees because of excess baggage - it's just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo.
I have had the great pleasure to meet and to get to know a couple Samoans in Boston, Hawaii and Seattle. They are all wonderful family oriented conservative people. They are also, to the man, very large -- you could make me three times larger and I would be a small Samoan. Still, it makes sense and this significantly lowers the cost for a family with small children.

A rational mind in Canada

Who'da thunk it eh?

Penticton is about 230 miles to our Northeast. From the Penticton Western News comes this wonderful rant:

Taxpayers burned by carbon trust
"Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings. For there is none worthy of the name but God, whom heaven, earth and sea obey"

King Canute, in an effort to demonstrate his mortality, is said to have commanded the tides to go out, even as the tides come in. He knew he was only human and had no more power over nature than did his sycophant supporters.

Our leaders, like Canute, cannot control nature, but we stand idly by while they waste billions of our tax dollars in an attempt to do just that.

There has not been, in recent times, a better vehicle for government and big business to conspire to steal tax dollars, than 'climate change'.

Anyone who believes in the notion of CO2-induced climate change is willfully ignorant of observed science. Anyone who believes that it is 'big oil' reaping billions as they destroy the climate is reality challenged. The opposite is the case, as big energy colludes with government and big green groups to profit from climate change at the expense of taxpayers.

The recent questionable judgment associated with the operation and administration of the Pacific Carbon Trust should be all we need to demand the government get out of the climate change business. The PCT was set up as a Crown corporation, expressly to use taxpayer money to buy carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are like papal indulgences, absolving corporations' sins of 'emitting carbon' on one hand, by financing 'carbon reduction' projects that 'offset' carbon dioxide being emitted on the other. These projects can include forests, or grassland.

Papal indulgences indeed. More at the site. This is so true -- we are taking money from Schools and Medical facilities and Highway repair and upgrading our infrastructure all in the name of a colorless gas that makes our crops and marine life grow better.

Living on the dole -- England

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Suddenly almost 900,000 people in England are feeling a lot better. From The UK Telegraph:
900,000 choose to come off sickness benefit ahead of tests
The 878,300 who decided not to have an official assessment of whether they were fit for work was more than a third of the total number of people claiming sickness-related benefits.

The statistics also revealed that some claimants cited conditions such as �blisters�, �sprains and strains� and �acne� as preventing them from having a job.

More than 46,120 people claimed incapacity benefit because of �behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol� while 29,130 claimants cited drug use.

Ministers said the figures showed the full extent of how millions had been �trapped on welfare� for decades.
Emphasis mine -- the Ministers can not say anything else because it would bring to light the plain and simple fact that their "Social Justice" has de-incentivized the workforce and people found it easier to lay about on the Dole instead of getting off their fat bums and finding a real job. The Ministers are the ones that need to be at the head of the unemployment lines. The rest of the article goes into some detail on the reforms that are coming into practice. We need to do a bunch of these here but the Democrats would never let it happen; they are building up their voting base of the institutional poor and the illegal immigrants with free stuff -- this would throw a monkey-wrench into the works... And a tip 'o the tam to Lucianne for the link.

Back from the wars Auction

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The cool stuff was at the end (the auction was over 480 lots) so I had to stay for a while. Art Collins was a genius when it came to amateur radio design and his radio sets are still top of the line. I see them for sale from time to time in the $100 to $300 range. Since there were so many radios at this auction, I figured that there were enough for everyone and the prices would be (nudge-nudge wink-wink) fairly low. Unfortunately, a couple of collectors showed up. The first Collins set up for sale (a 75-S3B) went for One Thousand Two Hundred Freaking Dollars!!! I was looking for five pieces (Transmitter, Power supply, Receiver, Speaker console, and Directional Wattmeter) to take home and put on the air. Now, it will languish on someone's shelf next to other forlorn pieces of underutilized equipment. It has become some rich man's fetish piece... I did get some tools as well as a large copy machine with document scanner and storage. Taking the trailer in tomorrow. I am stiff and tired so going to decompress for an hour or two -- more later...

That is it for the evening

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Getting up at 6AM to be at the auction site by 8AM. Spending the next hour researching the current values of the HAM Radio equipment being sold at tomorrow's auction. None of the stuff is available to me at my level of licensing but I plan to upgrade to a General in May and that will give me time to set it up. Again, these can be a crap-shoot with people spending more than the used (or new!) price on a clapped-out piece of junk but, there is always the gem that makes the whole trip worthwhile. The large items (plastic injection molders) are at the middle of this 440+ lot auction so watching the theater will be a lot of fun. There is also a lot of antique recording equipment -- ohhh sooooo glad I do not have that 'bug' anymore...
From The Washington Times:
Lawsuit against EPA seeks evidence of hidden messages
Top Environmental Protection Agency officials used computer instant messages to try to circumvent open-records laws, according to a lawsuit filed by a researcher who has been hounding the agency to comply with the law.

Christopher C. Horner, the researcher who earlier uncovered that EPA officials were using private email addresses to conduct official business, said that in going over some of those earlier records he discovered that the agency was using instant messages, too.

He is now suing to get a look at those records, which he said the EPA has been stonewalling.

�It seems we have uncovered yet another major transparency scandal in that either EPA is destroying instant messages against the law, or it is withholding them in defiance of its legal obligations to produce,� Mr. Horner said.

The lawsuit says EPA �has never produced an instant message in response either to a request under FOIA, or in response to a congressional oversight request, despite numerous requests from both for �records� or �electronic records.��
A bit more:
Several House committees launched investigations into how the EPA is complying with open-records laws after Mr. Horner revealed that Ms. Jackson used a private email address under the alias �Richard Windsor� for much of her official correspondence. Mr. Horner also reveals that another high-level employee used his private email to conduct agency business � a violation of the law.
Someone needs to have their budget cut by 80%. If they want more, they have to come before Congress with a plan and accountable transparency.
From the New York Times:
Climate Maverick to Quit NASA
James E. Hansen, the climate scientist who issued the clearest warning of the 20th century about the dangers of global warming, will retire from NASA this week, giving himself more freedom to pursue political and legal efforts to limit greenhouse gases.

His departure, after a 46-year career at the space agency�s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, will deprive federally sponsored climate research of its best-known public figure.

At the same time, retirement will allow Dr. Hansen to press his cause in court. He plans to take a more active role in lawsuits challenging the federal and state governments over their failure to limit emissions, for instance, as well as in fighting the development in Canada of a particularly dirty form of oil extracted from tar sands.

�As a government employee, you can�t testify against the government,� he said in an interview.

Dr. Hansen had already become an activist in recent years, taking vacation time from NASA to appear at climate protests and allowing himself to be arrested or cited a half-dozen times.

But those activities, going well beyond the usual role of government scientists, had raised eyebrows at NASA headquarters in Washington. �It was becoming clear that there were people in NASA who would be much happier if the �sideshow� would exit,� Dr. Hansen said in an e-mail.
The article cites the usual crowd. A bit more:
�He�s done the most important science on the most important question that there ever was,� said Bill McKibben, a climate activist who has worked closely with Dr. Hansen.

Around the time Dr. Hansen switched his research focus, in the 1970s, a sharp rise in global temperatures began. He labored in obscurity over the next decade, but on a blistering June day in 1988 he was called before a Congressional committee and testified that human-induced global warming had begun.

Speaking to reporters afterward in his flat Midwestern accent, he uttered a sentence that would appear in news reports across the land: �It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.�
Guilt by omission. What the article fails to mention is that the 1988 Congressional testimony was about as pure a piece of theater as you can get. From this June 23, 2008 article by Chris Horner at National Review Online:
As Ed Craig notes below, the �muzzled� James Hansen is unloading today through the media and in Capitol Hill testimony about how people who disagree with him need to be tried for crimes against humanity.

First, this bodes ill for Gore producer Laurie David. Second, his legal counsel is proving as sound as his science advocacy.

Today�s unhinged exhibition occurs in the context of commemorating Hansen�s testimony 20 years ago, which kicked off the modern global-warming alarmist movement ten years into the warming spell � on the heels of 30 years of cooling � and ten years before that warming peaked.

And Ed is right to look to Hollywood for parallels, since the Left media has openly celebrated Hansen�s dog-and-pony show as well-managed �stagecraft� � a story I chronicle in my forthcoming book, �Red Hot Lies� (a volume that surely guarantees my own trial for enviro-war crimes).

Specifically, the PBS series Frontline aired a special in April 2007 that lifted the curtain on the sort of illusions that politicians and their abettors employed to kick off the campaign.
From the Frontline transcript (Sen. Tim Wirth was in collusion with Sen. Gore):
Sen. TIMOTHY WIRTH (D-CO), 1987-1993: We knew there was this scientist at NASA, you know, who had really identified the human impact before anybody else had done so and was very certain about it. So we called him up and asked him if he would testify.

DEBORAH AMOS: On Capitol Hill, Sen. Timothy Wirth was one of the few politicians already concerned about global warming, and he was not above using a little stagecraft for Hansen�s testimony.

TIMOTHY WIRTH: We called the Weather Bureau and found out what historically was the hottest day of the summer. Well, it was June 6th or June 9th or whatever it was. So we scheduled the hearing that day, and bingo, it was the hottest day on record in Washington, or close to it.

DEBORAH AMOS: [on camera] Did you also alter the temperature in the hearing room that day?

TIMOTHY WIRTH: What we did is that we went in the night before and opened all the windows, I will admit, right, so that the air conditioning wasn�t working inside the room. And so when the- when the hearing occurred, there was not only bliss, which is television cameras and double figures, but it was really hot.
I rest my case. Theater and not Science. Power grab, looking for easy funding for shoddy research.

Off to town

Store buying run and will also scope out the site for tomorrow's auction. Think Geek has their usual wonderful new products available just for today:
Eye of Sauron Desk Lamp

Batman Family Car Decal Set

Bane Mask Walkie Talkies

Death Star Trench Toss and

Minecraft Marshmallow Creeps
More at Think Geek (along the right column)

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Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?

Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog

Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
The Online Photographer

A Western Heart
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Power Line
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Weasel Zippers

Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2013 is the previous archive.

May 2013 is the next archive.

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