July 2017 Archives

Obamacare meltdown

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Looks like President Trump is taking Obamacare to the mat - three headlines:

Stick a fork in it - it is done and over with. Private insurance, free market competition. Those will drive down the costs - a centralized administration will drive up the costs.

Single Payer Healthcare in Vermont

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I really do not like anything about single-payer healthcare. The idea that a centralized government bureau will be able to run this efficiently beggars belief - just look at the Veteran's Administration for an example. Whenever it has been implemented, costs have gone up and quality of care has gone down - there is no financial incentive to do anything else.

The state of Vermont just dodged the bullet on this - from the Boston Globe:

Costs derail Vermont’s dream of a single-payer health plan
For decades, liberal activists yearned for a European-style, single-payer health system that they argued would lead to more affordable, efficient, and comprehensive medical coverage for all citizens. When Vermont four years ago enacted a landmark bill to establish the nation’s first single-payer health care system, they saw their long-sought dream about to be fulfilled.

But reality hit last month. Governor Peter Shumlin released a financial report that showed the cost of the program would nearly double the size of the state’s budget in the first year alone and require large tax increases for residents and businesses. Shumlin, a Democrat and long-time single-payer advocate, said he would not seek funding for the law, effectively tabling the program called Green Mountain Care.

I really feel sorry for these activists - they are so wrapped up in their narrative that they can not see the numbers for what they are. They are innumerate. The are so eager to do what sounds good as opposed to what does good.

One person's comment - a perfect example of being trapped in a narrative:

“The idea of single-payer, or a Medicare-for-all type program, has always been a cherished dream for many in the Democratic Party,” said Henry J. Aaron, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a liberal-leaning Washington think tank. “In truth, there had never been a hard, developed plan to implement such a dream. In Vermont, they finally developed a plan, and look what happened.”

Living in a bubble will do this to you.

And here is what I did today...

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A small piece of corrugated metal but it makes a big difference and will be even better when the shopping carts are re-located.

The top of the pieces of metal are a bit ragged but I am making a piece of wood trim to cover them - install that later this week. Plumbing the electrical outlet went rather well if I say so myself...


Here are the carts back where they were - the tan surface to the right of the new metal is some cardboard to prevent the carts from marking up our nice new slotwall.


A view from the new retail section out toward the front doors - we sell a lot of greeting cards and novelties


A couple of hours work and it came out looking really nice. We are moving the coffee service and the home for the shopping carts sometime next week.

Back to work

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Got the additional tools and hardware I need - forgot that there was an electrical outlet I needed to extend from the wall and make a hole for in the new covering.

Probably get a burger at Graham's when I am done - don't feel like cooking and tomorrow is a busy day with the Antique Tractor show plus some errands in town. One of the errands is in the town of Lynden - right near the tractor show so that will be convenient.

Back in a couple of hours...

And not in a good sense - from the San Francisco Chronicle:

'Green spots' on Oroville Dam raise concern that a leak could lead to a breach
"Green spots" on the back side of California's Oroville Dam have some engineers and scientists concerned.

A 15-member team at UC Berkeley conducted an analysis on the condition of the nation's tallest dam that caused a state crisis when its spillway failed earlier this year. The group issued a report through the university's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management identifying several design flaws and maintenance issues that contributed to the failure and that could cause future problems.

One of the worrisome conclusions reveals that a wet area on the dam where the grass is lush — and appear as green spots — might be the result of a slow leak that could lead the dam to breach.

More at the site - of course, the State Bureaucrats are saying that there is no problem. These were the same unelected and unaccountable morons who let the spillway deteriorate to such a degree.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Scaramucci Removed as White House Communications Director at Kelly’s Urging
Anthony Scaramucci was removed from his position as White House communications director, just 10 days after his appointment to the post.

Mr. Scaramucci, who is nicknamed “The Mooch,” was removed at the urging of former Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, who was sworn in as White House chief of staff Monday morning. Mr. Kelly is seeking to impose more discipline in the White House, two administration officials said.

After the swearing-in ceremony—which Mr. Scaramucci attended—Mr. Kelly returned to his office, where he informed Mr. Scaramucci in a one-on-one meeting that he was being forced to resign, a White House official said.

The ouster signaled Mr. Kelly’s authority over a White House that has been plagued by competing factions in the first six months of the Trump administration. President Donald Trump has told Mr. Kelly that all White House officials—including longtime advisers such as chief strategist Steve Bannon and family members such as son-in-law Jared Kushner —will report directly to the chief of staff, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at Monday’s news briefing.

Good - General Kelly is exactly who is needed. Mooch has close ties with too many banksters and crony capitalist types. I have zero problem with anyone wanting to make a dollar. I do have a problem if they try to destabilize the playing field to prevent anyone else from even competing. It is healthy competition that makes things so great for us consumers - someone will always come along with the better mousetrap.

Pssst - wanna buy a bridge?

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Have I got such a deal for you! From the WA State Department of Transportation:

For Sale: SR 167 Puyallup River/Meridian Street Bridge
For more than eight decades, the Meridian Street Bridge over the Puyallup River served as a portal for cities along the Puget Sound to the semi-rural, agricultural community of Puyallup, Washington. Now, this historic bridge is up for donation. Originally built in 1925, the bridge was decommissioned in 2015 after a new bridge was built and opened to the traveling public. It has been removed from its long-time location spanning the Puyallup River and is now sitting in storage on nearby WSDOT property.

Prior to removal from its original location, the Puyallup River/Meridian Street Bridge was the longest (371 foot) riveted steel Warren through-truss span built prior to 1940 remaining on the Washington state highway system. It is very likely unique, although similar to the “Turner Truss” patented in the 1920s.

Unlike the standard Warren truss, this bridge has parabolic top chords (allowing for a longer span length), alternating diagonal truss members, longitudinal braces between diagonals in alternating panels, and vertical struts adjacent to the portals. Its subdivided panels and the addition of longitudinal members at mid-panel heights in five truss panels achieved both strength and economy of steel. In 1991 the portal sway braces and interior panel sway bracing were modified to increase vertical clearance from 14 feet 7 inches to 18 feet 7 inches to accommodate oversized traffic.

Maury M. Caldwell, a Virginia native, designed the Puyallup River/Meridian Street Bridge for Pierce County. In addition to that bridge, Caldwell designed other significant bridges in Washington, including the 1,410 foot Pasco-Kennewick Bridge (1922). Caldwell practiced engineering in Seattle and Tacoma from 1905 until shortly before his death in 1942.

If you are looking for a unique way to preserve Washington’s history, relocating and restoring this historic bridge is for you! 

They are actually donating it if you can prove that you will:

    • Maintain the bridge and the features that give it its historic significance and continued eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places; and
    • Assume all future legal and financial responsibility for the bridge, including providing an agreement to hold WSDOT harmless in any liability action.

It would actually be really cool if I had a lake - put the bridge across it and build a restaurant or brewpub on the roadway.

Back home for a break

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Waiting for some glue to dry. Forgot a couple pieces of hardware but I only live less than two miles from the store - zero problem. I wanted to get some water on the garden anyway.

Photos later this evening when I am done. 

DARPA is the US Government's skunk works - the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. They get to build a lot of the fancy toys we hear about. They also deal with a lot of other diciplines. From this Request for Information:

Request for Information (RFI) DARPA-SN-17-57 Confidence Levels for the Social and Behavioral Sciences
"Confidence Levels" for the Social and Behavioral Sciences
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office (DSO) is requesting information on new ideas and approaches for creating (semi)automated capabilities to assign "Confidence Levels" to specific studies, claims, hypotheses, conclusions, models, and/or theories found in social and behavioral science research. These social and behavioral science Confidence Levels should rapidly enable a non-expert to understand and quantify the confidence they can have in a specific research result or claim's reliability, reproducibility, and robustness.

In lay terms, they are seeing if anyone out there has a reliable and automated bullshit detector for the social and behavioral "sciences". I love it!

Stopping off to pick up some tools

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Working at the store today - the retail section is coming along really nicely. Got three more big projects and it will be done (for now).

More blogging later this afternoon.

Coming to a head in Iceland

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Looks like they may have another eruption on their hands - from SHTFplan:

Iceland Could Be About To Experience A Major Volcanic Eruption
Iceland’s largest volcano, Katla, was just moved to yellow status.  But that isn’t all that’s concerning. There have also been over 500 earthquakes in Iceland in the last four days.

Experts now believe that a volcanic eruption that could be quite large, may soon occur in Iceland. A series of 40 small earthquakes occurred just North East of Mount Fagradalsfjall two days ago, with the final one felt in Reykjavik, measuring at almost 4 on the Richter scale.  Following tremors at Katla in South Iceland and a glacial river flood in Múlakvísl, the Icelandic Met Office has raised the status of the famous volcano on its “Aviation Colour Code Map for Icelandic Volcanic Systems” from green to yellow. People have even been warned to stay away from the Múlakvísl  River because of the odor of sulfur.

Gorgeous place - was there for two months in 1974 after the Eldfell eruption - backpacked around the island.

A few months ago, the Internal Revenue Service made a big show of firing incompetent employees. But, bureaucracies look after their own - from The Washington Free Beacon:

IRS Rehired Employees That Falsified Documents, Had Unauthorized Access to Taxpayer Information
The Internal Revenue Service rehired employees who were previously involved in agency misconduct such as falsifying documents or having unauthorized access to sensitive taxpayer information, according to an audit from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Considering that identify theft is a major concern, auditors wanted to inspect the agency to ensure the individuals they hire are of high integrity in safeguarding sensitive taxpayer information.

The auditors found there were 200 employees who were rehired between January 2015 and March 2016 that were terminated or separated from the agency that were either under investigation or had some misconduct that caused them to leave.

Some more swamp for President Trump to drain. Actually, I am very surprised to see that Koskinen is still the Chairman.

Back home again - dinner time!

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Good meeting but now it is time for dinner and finishing off the pantry.

Gotta run - time for the meeting

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Just noticed the time - the meeting is at 6:00PM so I am out the door. I run them pretty fast so I should be back home by 6:45 at the latest - have dinner then. My rice is not done anyway...

Radio network tonight too but I am going to play hooky and finish organizing the pantry - paint is finally 100% dry so I can put the jars and cans on the shelves without them sticking.

Newsweek - just the facts

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Hard hitting reporting there - from Newsweek:

Donald Trump’s presidency was written in the stars—at least that’s what astrologers are saying. He was born during a lunar eclipse, they point out, which makes him more susceptible to the power of eclipses. And if eclipses are monumental celestial events with real-world consequences, as astrologers believe, then the rare total solar eclipse happening in August could have major implications for Trump, especially given the growing drama around his administration.

“There’s been a lot of conversation about this eclipse in terms of what’s going on with Donald Trump,” says Wade Caves, an astrological consultant who earlier in July published a 29-page analysis of the coming eclipse. “The astrological world has been completely buzzing with this for quite some time, even more so since Donald Trump was inaugurated.”

In other words - oink, flap, oink, flap, oink, flap...


A return to paper ballots

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Voting machines are becoming more common but there is a large concern about them - their security is horrible. From Cory Doctorow writing at BoingBoing:

Defcon vote-hacking village shows that "secure" voting machines can be broken in minutes
Since the 2000 Bush-Gore election crisis and the hanging-chad controversy, voting machine vendors have been offering touchscreen voting machines as a solution to America's voting woes -- and security researchers have been pointing out that the products on offer were seriously, gravely defective.

Nearly 20 years later, the country's voting security debt has mounted to incredible heights, and finally, just maybe, the security researchers are getting the hearing they deserve.

This year's Defcon security conference in Las Vegas sports a "Voter Hacking Village" where surplus voting machines (purchased in secondary markets like Ebay) were made available to security researchers who'd never had an opportunity to examine them, who were then invited to hack them in a timed trial.

The winning team hacked their machine in minutes.

A sobering article - it was as simple as plugging in a keyboard and mouse and hitting [CTRL]+[ALT]+[DEL]. The machine was running embedded WinXP.

An easy day today

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Paid some bills, did a bit of bookkeeping and ran in to town for some stuff from Lowe's - fixing my box trailer. Picked up a rotisserie chicken from Costco and some shredded cabbage for coleslaw for a potluck next Saturday (I like to take a couple days to make it - use salt and vinegar to drive the moisture out of the cabbage. Makes it a lot more crunchy and flavorful).

I have a water board meeting tonight - I am the board's president so I do need to show up for these. Putting on a pot of rice to go with the chicken and getting some food to the pups.

Hot time in the old town tonight

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Going to get very hot later this week - from Cliff Mass:

Superheat Coming to the Northwest This Week
If you were thinking about buying a fan this summer, I would hit the stores soon.

If you were thinking of picking up an AC unit, I would take care of that right away.

Big heat is coming to the Northwest later this week, with record breaking temperatures for many, particularly on Thursday, the warmest day. We are talking about mid to upper 90s F around Puget Sound, and 105-110F near Portland.

The critters have places where the shade is deep and cool so not worrying about them too much. Will keep an eye out and set up a sprinkler if it looks like they are getting heat stress.

I wrote about this herehere, here, here, here. Now, from Squaker we see that this investigation is in the best of hands:

Steven Wasserman, Brother of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to Oversee Awan Family Investigation
In what may be one of the most remarkable conflicts of interest that we have seen in a long time, it appears that Steven Wasserman, Assistant Attorney for the District of Columbia who is the brother of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has been tasked with overseeing the investigation of DNC IT employee Imran Awan, who was arrested earlier this week while attempting to flee the US and charged with bank fraud.

Verily, the mind - it doth boggle. These people seriously think that they can get away with this?

Shepard tones

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Shepard tones are an auditory illusion - here is an excellent video on what they are, what they sound like and their use in movie soundtracks:

Good news re: gun control

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Keeping them out of the hands of convicted felons. From Breaking 911:

Federal Gun Prosecutions Up 23 Percent Under Trump, DOJ Says
Today, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that, following the memorandum from Attorney General Sessions to prioritize firearm prosecutions, the number of defendants charged with unlawful possession of a firearm increased nearly 23 percent in the second quarter of 2017 (2,637) from the same time period in 2016 (2,149).

“Violent crime is on the rise in many parts of this country, with 27 of our biggest 35 cities in the country coping with rising homicide rates,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Law abiding people in some of these communities are living in fear, as they see families torn apart and young lives cut short by gangs and drug traffickers. Following President Trump’s Executive Order to focus on reducing crime, I directed federal prosecutors to prioritize taking illegal guns off of our streets, and as a result, we are now prosecuting hundreds more firearms defendants. In the first three months since the memo went into effect, charges of unlawful possession of a gun – mostly by previously convicted felons – are up by 23 percent. That sends a clear message to criminals all over this country that if you carry a gun illegally, you will be held accountable. I am grateful to the many federal prosecutors and agents who are working hard every day to make America safe again.”

Good - Obama's racial divisivness was one of the root causes of this serious uptick in gun crime - time to nail the lid back on that vampire's coffin.

Illegals in the news

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Sanctuary cities - Portland, Oregon

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How's that sanctuary city thing working out for you Portland? From KGW-TV:

ICE not alerted when sex assault suspect released from jail in 2016, official says
A man accused of breaking into a 65-year-old woman's home, sexually assaulting her and stealing her car was arrested after allegedly assaulting another woman and running from police.

Sergio Jose Martinez, 31, was caught July 24 after officers chased him through a neighborhood.

According to court documents filed in March 2017, Martinez has a history of illegal entry into the United States. He has been a transient in the Portland area for more than a year and has been deported 20 times.

Sending nothing but their best and brightest. Time for the County to get some new leaders (and a new Sheriff):

Earlier this year, Multnomah County leaders and Sheriff Mike Reese wrote a letter to the community saying, "The Sheriff's Office does not hold people in county jails on ICE detainers or conduct any immigration enforcement actions."

Time for them to stop virtue signalling and to start enforcing federal law.

A pox on all people who think that government run medicine is a good thng. From the London Daily Mail:

'Our beautiful boy has gone': Little Charlie Gard's parents announce that their brave warrior whose plight touched the world has finally died after battling devastating genetic illness he fought for so long
Eleven-month-old Charlie Gard, whose short life captured the hearts of the world, has died a week before his first birthday.

Charlie suffered from a rare genetic condition which saw him in hospital for the majority of his short life.

His parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, fought a lengthy and emotional legal battle to take their severely ill baby son to the US for treatment, but were denied by judges.

Charlie's mother, Connie, said tonight: 'Our beautiful little boy has gone, we are so proud of you.'

Yesterday courts denied his parents the chance to bring their son home to die and he was taken from Great Ormond Street to a hospice.

First they denied him the chance of experimental treatment in the US even though it would have cost the National Health Service nothing - the Gard family had raised £1.35 million online for this. To do so would have been to admit that the National Health Service failed where a privately run medical business could have succeeded.

What really has me seeing red is the denial of the right for him to die at home and his transportation from his hospital to a hospice.

Words fail.

A really fun day

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Spent the morning helping to put up some new sheeting for the community garden greenhouse - about 10 people showed up so many hands made light work as they say.

Had two friends drive up for a visit a little before noon and we went up to Artist Point and hiked around for a bit and then had a picnic lunch on the shore of Picture Lake. It was a bit breezy so we didn't get the perfect reflection on the water but it kept the bugs away and off our lunch. Had sandwiches with local ham, local lettuce and local (eastern WA) peaches for desert. Drove down the mountain, stopped in at Nooksack Falls and then home. Gave them the tour of the farm and we popped a few beers and reminisced over the times we had and things we had done.

A lot of fun and it was so nice to reconnect with these two wonderful people.

Heating up some leftover spaghetti for dinner and surf for a bit.

And that is it for the night

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Our community garden is having a work party tomorrow morning - recovering our greenhouse with new plastic film. There is also a demonstration of the Cob Oven with pizzas being made for the occasion.

My two friends will be arriving sometime around Noon or 1:00PM and we will head up to Artist Point for the day - packing a picnic lunch.

Needless to say, an early bedtime - got to gather a bunch of tools for working on the greenhouse, make sure the batteries are charged.

Fun time-lapse video

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25 hours compressed into three minutes. The subject? A cheap plastic film camera suspended over some acetone - the fumes melt the plastic:

From the folks at Amazing Timelapse

From Legal Insurrection:

Adam Carolla and Ben Shapiro Testify Before Congress on Campus Free Speech
Congress held a hearing this week on the subject of free speech on college campuses, a topic we’ve covered extensively over the years.

Among those who offered testimony were conservative writer and radio host Ben Shapiro, and comedian and sometimes TV host Adam Carolla.

An excerpt of Adam's comments:

"Children are the future but we are the present” Carolla said. “We’re the adults.”

"We’re talking a lot about kids, and I think they’re just that—kids,” Carolla said. “We are the adults and we need to act like it.”

"These are 18- and 19-year-old kids that grew up dipped in Purell playing soccer games where they never kept score and watching Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, and we’re asking them to be mature,” he said. “We need the adults to start being the adults.”

Much more at the link - it is wonderful that this is finally getting the exposure it really needs. Useful idiots like Trigglypuff need to STFU and listen.

How about that Gun Control Chicago?

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From the Chicago Tribune:

More people dying from gunshot wounds as Chicago marks 400 homicides
Four years ago, Chicago didn't record 400 homicides until just before Thanksgiving Day. The city has already passed that mark this year.

Chicago is on pace to have a deadlier year than 2016, when gun violence reached levels not seen in 20 years, according to data kept by the Tribune. While fewer people have been shot this year, more of them are dying from their wounds.

An analysis of Tribune data shows the percentage of fatal shootings is running about 1.3 percent higher than last year. The percentage had been declining in recent years but started to rise last year.

There is a wonderfully named website that tracks the shootings - check out: Hey Jackass - Illustrating Chicago Values

The last time Chicago had a Republican mayor was William Hale Thompson who left office in 1931. Maybe it is time for a change?

Shakeup at the White House

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Reince Priebus is out the door. From the New York Times:

Reince Priebus Is Ousted Amid Stormy Days for White House
Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff who failed to impose order on a chaos-racked West Wing, was pushed out on Friday after a stormy six-month tenure, and President Trump replaced him with John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security and retired four-star Marine general.

Mr. Trump announced the change via Twitter while sitting aboard Air Force One on a tarmac outside Washington minutes after returning from Long Island. Mr. Priebus, who had joined the president on the trip and never let on to other passengers what was about to occur, stepped off the plane into a drenching rain, ducked into a car and was driven away without comment.

Mr. Trump then emerged under a large umbrella and praised his outgoing and incoming chiefs. “Reince is a good man,” Mr. Trump shouted to nearby reporters. “John Kelly will do a fantastic job. General Kelly has been a star, done an incredible job thus far, respected by everybody, a great, great, American. But Reince Priebus — a good man.”

Good man but ineffective - his job was to stop the leaks and backstabbing and he did not. General Kelly and Mooch (Anthony Scaramucci - the new White House communications director) will make a good team.

Back home again

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Went out for Mexican tonight - finished everything in town.

Got two friends coming to visit tomorrow - should be a lot of fun. Have not seen them in 15 years at least.

Busy day today

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Finished my daily chores at the farm so heading out for coffee, stop in at the store, pay a bunch of bills and then head in to town for a couple of hours.

Got some friends coming out for a visit tomorrow afternoon so that will be a lot of fun - have not seen them in almost 20 years.

And that is it for the night

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Switching to YouTube for a while - got to run in to town tomorrow too - paying bills, some banking and picking up stuff for two projects. Want to get an early start so heading to bed in a couple of hours.

Some interesting background to the people involved - from Forbes:

The 'Smoking Gun' Emails That Show Advocates, Academics Coordinated To Boost $15
The evidence is in, and it's not pretty.

This week, the City of Seattle provided a tranche of email records that my organization requested, related to its pro-$15 coordination with a research team at the University of California-Berkeley. (The back-story, for those who are not acquainted with the controversy over a University of Washington report on the city's $15 minimum wage experiment, is available here.)

Interested parties can download the entire email dump and relevant document attachments here.

The email trail provides conclusive proof of the close coordination between the Berkeley research team, the Seattle Mayor's office, and the PR firm promoting the Fight for $15.

Takeaways from the email trail include:

    • The Seattle Mayor's Office requested that Berkeley omit any mention of the forthcoming University of Washington report from its write-up. The original write-up of the Berkeley paper (available in the document dump) included a section critiquing the forthcoming University of Washington report. The Mayor's office requested that Reich remove it from the report and press materials, and didn't mince words on the reasoning: "Don't want your positive news to serve as a teaser for the UW study."  Reich later responded: "I am convinced. Here's an improved version of the release."
    • The press release for the Berkeley study was written by the same PR firm (and same PR executive) used by the Fight for $15. Economist Michael Reich sent an already-drafted press release to Berkeley's press shop and the Seattle Mayor's office. This release was authored by Daniel Massey of the PR firm BerlinRosen, who also handles media and has acted as a spokesperson for the Fight for $15. Reich also looped in Paul Sonn from the union-supported, pro-$15 National Employment Law Project (NELP) for his feedback. (The Berkeley team has closely coordinated with Sonn and NELP on past minimum wage testimony and media work.)

More at the site - why am I not surprised that there was serious money behind this. Most labor union contracts have their wages tied to the minimum wage. Boosting this gives a big pay-raise to all of the union workers out there, whether they deserve it or not. I wrote about the University of Washington study here: About that minimum wage - a new study

Awfully quiet out there

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The usual "news" sources are not churning out anything that catches my eye. No news is good news.

Just what the Doctor ordered

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Sometimes a bunch of flame grilled hamburger meat just hits the spot like nothing else. Corn on the cob, potato chips and raw sweet onions. A beer to go with that sitting on the deck looking out at Mt. Baker.

The dogs enjoyed their pup-burger too - they both waited very patiently until I had finished before starting to inquire if I might have a small taste for them as well.

Trump was vexed with all of the leaks in his administration so he hired a pit-bull to handle his communications -  Anthony Scaramucci. Great interview at The New Yorker:

Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon
On Wednesday night, I received a phone call from Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director. He wasn’t happy. Earlier in the night, I’d tweeted, citing a “senior White House official,” that Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with President Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity, and the former Fox News executive Bill Shine. It was an interesting group, and raised some questions. Was Trump getting strategic advice from Hannity? Was he considering hiring Shine? But Scaramucci had his own question—for me.

“Who leaked that to you?” he asked. I said I couldn’t give him that information. He responded by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. “What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over,” he said. I laughed, not sure if he really believed that such a threat would convince a journalist to reveal a source. He continued to press me and complain about the staff he’s inherited in his new job. “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” he said. “You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”

In Scaramucci’s view, the fact that word of the dinner had reached a reporter was evidence that his rivals in the West Wing, particularly Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, were plotting against him. While they have publicly maintained that there is no bad blood between them, Scaramucci and Priebus have been feuding for months. After the election, Trump asked Scaramucci to join his Administration, and Scaramucci sold his company, SkyBridge Capital, in anticipation of taking on a senior role. But Priebus didn’t want him in the White House, and successfully blocked him for being appointed to a job until last week, when Trump offered him the communications job over Priebus’s vehement objections. In response to Scaramucci’s appointment, Sean Spicer, an ally of Priebus’s, resigned his position as press secretary. And in an additional slight to Priebus, the White House’s official announcement of Scaramucci’s hiring noted that he would report directly to the President, rather than to the chief of staff.

Much more at the site - a fun read.

Trump = 1, Mainstream Media = 0

And hopefully many more victories like this to come - the level of the swamp seems to be dropping a bit.

Back from town

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Finished up early and didn't feel like waiting around to get dinner so got a pound of 80/20 burger meat and will be making two patties tonight - one for me and one for the dogs to share along with their usual food. Gorgeous day today - cooled off a bit with a light breeze - great for eating out on the deck.

Surf for a bit first...

Some paperwork and then town

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The couple I bought the boat from just received their copies of the titles for the boat and trailer so heading over there to sign and then in to town to get them licensed as well as run a couple other errands.

Back late today - may get dinner in town.

Got two friends from Seattle coming up for a day visit on Saturday - looking forward to that!

Could not happen to a nicer guy - from the New York Post:

De Blasio and company aren’t just bad liars — they’re dumb too
Read my lips: I don’t care. It’s an irrelevancy,” Mayor de Blasio declared yesterday.

Well, that’s a little cold.

De Blasio is back in the deep weeds, his minions having booted vagrants from a couple of Brooklyn subway stations so the bums wouldn’t spoil a weekend campaign photo-op.

And getting caught at it.

And then lying about it.

And then getting caught in the lie, which clearly has made the mayor a tad peevish. This is understandable, because the episode exposes him as a man who can’t even stage a four-subway-stop publicity stunt — even as he runs for a second term as chief executive of the world’s greatest city.

(God surely must love New York, given the people it manages to survive.)

Heh - this will roll off the back of most progressives. It is impossible to hold someone to a higher standard when they have no standards at all...

Spaghetti turned out really good

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Been adding olives to my sauce - basic marinara (olive oil, diced 'maters, sauteed carrots, celery, onion, garlic, etc...) with sauteed ground beef for some protein. A tablespoon of hot pepper flakes for a touch of heat and served over angel-hair pasta.

Heading in to town tomorrow - pantry shelves are done with the painting, fully assembled and masking stripped off but the paint is still a little too tacky to restock the bottles and cans so spending the day running errands will give them another day to dry hard.

Surf for a bit, some YouTube and then an early bedtime.

Red sprites and blue jets

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These are electrical discharges seen above large thunderstorms. They were first theorized in the 1920's and were observed by aircraft pilots but these reports were discounted until 1989. Now that we know what to look for, we are seeing them everywhere. This gorgeous creature was filmed by the Gemini Cloudcam on July  24, 2017. From the report at Spaceweather:

Gigantic Jet Lightning Near Hawaii
Taken by Frankie Lucena on July 24, 2017 @ Mauna Kea Observatory
These images were captured by the Gemini Cloudcam at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii on the night of July 24, 2017. This amazing lightning phenomena is known as Gigantic Jet Lightning. They are more powerful than sprites and are easier to see with the naked eye.

I downloaded these images from the Gemini cloudcam website and enhanced them by processing them in Adobe Premiere first and then in photoshop.

There were also ripples in the sky above the storm that is known as gravity waves. They are more noticeable in the right hand side of the video. These gravity waves could have been caused by the strong convection present in the thunderstorm. These gravity waves are very near the Ionosphere at about 85-90 Km. They can be seen in this video that I downloaded from the Gemini Cloudcam website and enhanced it to better show the color of the Gigantic Jets.


A special thanks to Steve Cullen for finding the gigantic jet at the beginning of the time-lapse.

Here is a snap from one of the frames:


Now this will be interesting to see

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From FOX News:

Iran poised to launch rocket into space, as North Korea readies another missile test, US officials say
Two enemies of America are poised for upcoming rocket launches, two senior U.S. officials told Fox News, with another North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile launch expected as soon as Wednesday night and Iran on the verge of sending its own vehicle into space.

Iran's Simorgh space-launch vehicle is believed to be carrying a satellite, marking the second time in more than a year that Tehran has attempted to put an operational satellite into orbit -- something the Islamic Republic has never done successfully, according to one of the officials who has not authorized to discuss a confidential assessment.

More at the site - my worry is not a re-entrant vehicle (ICBM), my worry is a satellite with an atomic bomb (however crude) in a polar orbit. The polar orbit revolves near each of the poles and every pass covers a different 'slice' of the planet. It is sometimes called a 'ball of string' orbit - looking at a wound ball of string gives you the idea. All Iran or North Korea has to do is detonate this bomb 200 miles over a large city and the resultant EMP will take out the power grid and most communications for a 500 mile radius.

Been shooting Nikon cameras ever since high school. I know there are other brands (and I actually own some of them - the Canon PowerShot G series is a nice small point and shoot) but for "real" photography, I always choose Nikon. It does not hurt that I have a 40+ year accumulation of lenses and optical adapters to play with.

Here is the Nikon website: Nikon 100th Anniversary - a lot of history there. Some fun videos too.

Searching back through the Wikileals email release we see this: Re: DWS MOVEMENTS - 5/12/2016

(DWS = Debbie Wasserman Schultz)

Pelosi is doing s closed door meeting. No staff or anyone allowed. Kaitlyn come to Rayburn room and get her iPad for Imran.

Pelosi's iPad was given to Imran?

Time to make a big bowl of popcorn, sit back and watch the whole scandal unravel...

Fusion GPS in the news again

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And it is not the kind of news that anyone would want unless you are trying to shine daylight on a business that enables corruption at the highest levels. Fusion GPS came into the news cycle back in 2015 when there was a "dossier" released about President Trump's doings in Russia - some links to media reports:

The last link goes to a NY Times article which says this in its first paragraph:

Last week, the explosive details — unsubstantiated accounts of frolics with prostitutes, real estate deals that were intended as bribes and coordination with Russian intelligence of the hacking of Democrats — were summarized for Mr. Trump in an appendix to a top-secret intelligence report.

Needless to say, this "dossier" was the poster-child for Fake News. Now this - from The Washington Times:

Anti-Trump dossier firm did work for corrupt regimes, rights group claims
Corrupt Russian and Venezuelan officials benefited from the work of the Washington-based firm that also commissioned the largely unsubstantiated anti-Trump campaign research dossier, according to testimony from a leading South American human rights campaigner submitted to a congressional panel probing the 2016 Russian election-meddling scandal.

Thor Halvorssen, head of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, said in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Fusion GPS operated a smear campaign against journalists who threatened to expose a multibillion dollar fraud involving faulty South American electric power plants, the laundering of its proceeds in U.S. banks, and a kickback scheme to pay off Venezuelan officials.

“Corrupt government officials in dictatorships would be powerless if they didn’t have cronies in the business world, and these cronies, in turn, would be useless allies without enablers like Fusion GPS, who are eager to whitewash and profit from their crimes,” Mr. Halvorssen wrote in testimony that he also published on Facebook.

And of course - from FOX News:

Co-founder of firm behind Trump-Russia dossier to plead the Fifth
Glenn Simpson, whose Fusion GPS firm has been tied to anti-Trump efforts and pro-Russian lobbying, will not talk to lawmakers in response to a subpoena, the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committe said Friday.

Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., confirmed in a statement that they subpoenaed Simpson to appear before the committee Wednesday as part of a hearing about the influence of foreign lobbying in last year's presidential election.

"Simpson’s attorney has asserted that his client will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in response to the subpoena," Grassley and Feinstein said.

I wonder if the Fifth Amendment can be invoked in cases of treason?

Coffee and the rest of the day

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Heading out to get some coffee, check in at the store for a while and then working at home today. Finishing off the pantry project, bringing my multi-meter back from the store to diagnose the dryer problems and working on something in the music room. Ripping more CDs too - about 1/5 of the way through - I have several hundred disks.

More posting in a few. Think I'll fix spaghetti for dinner tonight - haven't done that in a while.

Sweet schadenfreude - from the Foundation for Economic Education:

Government's $15 Minimum Wage Advocates Aren't Paying Their Interns
Almost all of the lawmakers who co-sponsored a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour also hired unpaid interns to supplement their staffs, a survey shows.

A report from the Employment Policies Institute reveals that 174 of the bill’s 184 co-sponsors, or 95 percent, hire interns who are paid nothing.

“It’s hypocritical to rally for a $15 minimum wage when these lawmakers don’t pay their own entry-level employees a cent,” said Michael Saltsman, managing director of the Employment Policies Institute.

Including everyone's favorite curmudgeon (and innumerate):

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, a leading voice in the calls for a $15 minimum wage, is the only senator to offer an hourly wage to interns, the study found. However, Sanders’ office offers $12 an hour while he proposes $15 in the private sector.

Do what I say and not what I do.

That Pakistani IT guy

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Goodbye Flash

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Adobe's multimedia platform - Flash - has been a security disaster and performance hog throughout its entire lifetime. Yesterday, Adobe published this on their website:

Adobe has long played a leadership role in advancing interactivity and creative content – from video, to games and more – on the web. Where we’ve seen a need to push content and interactivity forward, we’ve innovated to meet those needs. Where a format didn’t exist, we invented one – such as with Flash and Shockwave. And over time, as the web evolved, these new formats were adopted by the community, in some cases formed the basis for open standards, and became an essential part of the web.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, and then this:

Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.

Good riddance. I specifically uninstalled Flash on all of my computers and have not noticed any problems except for when I went to renew my County Food Handlers Permit - I had to reinstall Flash and then uninstall it after the transaction.

Back in 2010, Steve Jobs took Flash to the woodshed with this wonderful excoriating rant:

Thoughts on Flash
Apple has a long relationship with Adobe. In fact, we met Adobe’s founders when they were in their proverbial garage. Apple was their first big customer, adopting their Postscript language for our new Laserwriter printer. Apple invested in Adobe and owned around 20% of the company for many years. The two companies worked closely together to pioneer desktop publishing and there were many good times. Since that golden era, the companies have grown apart. Apple went through its near death experience, and Adobe was drawn to the corporate market with their Acrobat products. Today the two companies still work together to serve their joint creative customers – Mac users buy around half of Adobe’s Creative Suite products – but beyond that there are few joint interests.

I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. Let me explain.

Much more at the site.

Evergreen College near the WA State capital is a hotbed of liberal activism. A pity as they once had really good visual arts, music and some strong science programs. Now they are just about indoctrination. As a public institution, my tax dollars goes to support this foolishness. Reading this brings a smile to my face - from Campus Reform:

EXCLUSIVE: Weinstein files $3.8M claim against Evergreen State
Bret Weinstein, the Evergreen State College professor who was driven from campus by a mob of students earlier this year, is preparing to file a $3.8 million claim against the public institution.

According to documents obtained by Campus Reform, Weinstein and his wife, Heather Heying, have filed a standard Tort Claim form against Evergreen State for a sum of $3,850,000.

Much more at the site - looks like they have a solid case if they get a good Judge. And, as always, discovery can be a bitch (from the communication):

“Please be on notice that this demand covers not only those records covered by any public records acts but those which are or were communicated by private means of any type including but not limited to email and photography. This demand should be immediately distributed campus-wide to all faculty and staff.”...

“Take note that the destruction or alteration of evidence is a felony,” the document added. “This demand is made in contemplation of litigation. Please promptly acknowledge receipt of this communication and confirm that you will comply.”

I really hope they win - make it painful for the little snowflakes and their marxist enabling professors.

From The Daily Caller:

Wasserman Schultz’s IT Aide Arrested At Airport After Transferring $300k To Pakistan From House Office
Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s top information technology (IT) aide was arrested Monday attempting to board a flight to Pakistan after wiring $283,000 from the Congressional Federal Credit Union to that country.

He attempted to leave the country hours after The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group revealed that he is the target of an FBI investigation, and the FBI apprehended him at the airport.

A bit more about the level of access he had:

Imran Awan, a Pakistani-born IT aide, had access to all emails and files of dozens of members of Congress, as well as the password to the iPad that Wasserman Schultz used for Democratic National Committee business before she resigned as its head in July 2016.

Much more at the site including links to some other stories that make this a tale of deep corruption and rot at the top.

Good news on the river

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There is a major recreational river in these parts - the Nooksack River - and it is a very popular inner-tubing. From The Bellingham Herald

Three rescued after falling into Nooksack River
Three recreational inner-tubers – including a 10-year-old boy – who fell into the Nooksack River were saved in a multi-agency rescue operation Monday night west of Everson.

All three people are safe, after they were plucked from the river by a Navy helicopter crew and treated by firefighters for mild hypothermia at ambulances parked in a field near north of Nolte and Van Dyk roads. Firefighters found them clinging to tree branches in the fast-moving river, which is fed by summer glacial melt.

“We were able to work life jackets out to them using throw bags,” said Chief Mel Blankers of Whatcom County Fire District 1, a mostly volunteer department serving Everson and Nooksack.

“Our boats were still a ways out, and the Navy said they could be there in under a half-hour,” Blankers said. “I’ve really got to tip my hat to those guys. It was impressive.”

But the Navy came to the rescue in a holy crap that was fast way:

A rescue crew at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station went airborne at 7:45 p.m. and plucked the first victim out of the water at 8:05 p.m., said said Michael Welding, spokesman at NAS Whidbey. He said an “after-action report” documents the rescue, but no crew members were available to be interviewed Tuesday morning.

The air distance between Oak Harbor and here is a bit over 50 air miles (67 by road). To have gotten airborne, flown here, located the victims and to have one of them out of the water in 20 minutes is astounding. That is some fast flying and excellent teamwork!

This just in - Russia

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Shocking news from CNN:


Photoshop of course but I would not be surprised if they did run something like this...

Pulled the clothes dryer out from the wall and vacuumed some lint from the exhaust duct but it is still not heating up as it should - drat!

Googling to see if this is a common problem and call the dealer if it is not.

UPDATE: Found a website called repairclinic.com - it listed my exact model and pointed to the two things that could be wrong. The website has a store where you can buy the replacement parts but I will check in town first. Even has a video on how to take it apart and put it back together again - the latter being the most important thing...

I wrote yesterday about the three Pakistani IT brothers who were deeply embedded in the top ranks of the Democrat party and who abandonded their house and left behind piles of old computer equipment. Now this from Gateway Pundit:

BREAKING: Wasserman-Schultz IT Staffer Imran Awan Arrested at Airport While Trying to Flee U.S.
Chad Pergram of Fox News tweeted a breaking report on Dem Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Pakistani IT staffer Imran Awan was arrested at Dulles airport while trying to flee the United States.


This will be interesting to see - I hope whomever the Attorney General is in the next month or so takes a long hard look at their dealings and connections to the Democrat party. Heads need to roll to encourage everyone else to stay clean and legal.

Back home again

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Didn't take as long as I had thought it would. Picked up a Costco chicken for dinner - pot of rice, some sauteed veggies and dinner is served. Surf for a bit and then working on some projects - the clothes dryer is not getting things as dry as it should. Symptoms point to a clogged vent so hauling out the big shop vac and see what I find. Get another coat of paint on the pantry shelves too. Looking really good.

Surf first...

Nothing this morning

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Up earlier than usual for a 10:00AM truck service in town. Back around 3:00PM or so - running a couple errands while there.

Looks like China is stepping up to the plate - from The Wall Street Journal:

China Prepares for a Crisis Along North Korea Border
China has been bolstering defenses along its 880-mile frontier with North Korea and realigning forces in surrounding regions to prepare for a potential crisis across their border, including the possibility of a U.S. military strike.

A review of official military and government websites and interviews with experts who have studied the preparations show that Beijing has implemented many of the changes in recent months after initiating them last year.

They coincide with repeated warnings by U.S. President Donald Trump that he is weighing military action to halt North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, while exerting pressure on China to do more to rein in Pyongyang.

Recent Chinese measures include establishing a new border defense brigade, 24-hour video surveillance of the mountainous frontier backed by aerial drones, and bunkers to protect against nuclear and chemical blasts, according to the websites.

Good news indeed - that nation is batshit crazy and needs to be put in its place if not taken out entirely. A unified Korea would be an economic powerhouse.

I will have to add that to the menu here. I grilled the meat separately from the veggies so I could develop a nice crust and malliard reaction. Cooking the veggies separately meant that I could cook them perfectly (low and slow to caramelize the onions and peppers) and the combination was yummy. The original recipe only uses one frying pan so is simple to cook over a campfire - this way helps to develop the flavors a lot more.

Surf for a little bit - getting up early tomorrow as Thunderbunny (my truck) has a 10:00AM appointment at the car dealership for periodic maintenance.

Afloat again - USS Constitution

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Ready for another 200 years - from gCaptain:

America’s Oldest Commissioned Warship Refloated After Two-Year Restoration
America’s oldest commissioned warship, USS Constitution, was finally refloated on Sunday following a two-year, multi-million dollar restoration at the historic Charlestown Navy Yard, located at the Boston National Historical Park.

USS Constitution entered the yard’s Dry Dock 1 on May 18, 2015, and since then ship restorers and teams of Constitution Sailors have worked side-by-side to bring Old Ironsides back to her glory.

The restoration included the replacement of 100 hull planks and the required caulking, the re-building of the ship’s cutwater on the bow, as well as the on-going preservation and repair of the ship’s rigging, upper masts and yards. One of the biggest tasks in the restoration was the replacement of Constitution’s copper sheathing below the waterline. Copper sheathing has covered the lower hull since her launch in 1797, as protection against ship worms that could damage the wooden hull.

Quite the bit of American history. She was instrumental in the Barbary wars against the Muslim pirates and slave-traders.

Great story from Reuters:

Mattis bristles at Pentagon waste of $28 million on Afghan uniforms
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has criticized Pentagon officials for wasting as much as $28 million by making a questionable choice of forest camouflage-patterned uniforms for Afghan National Army soldiers.

The uniform pattern was selected without evaluating its effectiveness when only 2.1 percent of Afghanistan is covered by forests, the U.S. government's top watchdog on Afghanistan said in a report last month.

And the General's comments:

"Cavalier or casually acquiescent decisions to spend taxpayer dollars in an ineffective and wasteful manner are not to recur," Mattis wrote.

"Rather than minimize this report or excuse wasteful decisions, I expect all DoD (Department of Defense) organizations to use this error as a catalyst to bring to light wasteful practices - and take aggressive steps to end waste."

I would not want to be the person who ordered the wrong camo.

Looking like four coats, not three

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Put the second coat of paint on and still very much seeing the dark wood - I want it to pop with white so looks like another coat (or three) are in order.

Doing deconstructed fajitas for dinner tonight - grilling some flank steak, let it rest while I saute a bell and a jalapeno pepper with some veggies. Slice the steak thinly across the muscle grain and plate with the veggies. Thawing out some mashed potatoes frozen hash-browns to accompany.

Great performance:

Mike's website is here Puddles Pity Party

If there was nothing to hide?

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Why were the hard drives physically smashed. From Zero Hedge:

FBI Seized Crushed Hard Drives From Home Of Wasserman-Schultz' IT Aide
Over the past few months, the story of the Awan brothers has been largely ignored by mainstream media. However, the Pakistani-born brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan are at the center of a criminal investigation by U.S. Capital Hill Police and the FBI.  While official charges have not yet been filed, allegations of wrong doing vary from simply overcharging taxpayers for congressional IT equipment to blackmailing members of Congress with secrets captured from emails.

The Awan brothers were Pakistani IT specialists, whom worked for more than 30 house and senate democrats, as well as Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The substantial scandal has raised questions about who may have been passed data which the Awans had access to, given Pakistan's history of collaborating with a number of foreign countries who have demonstrated past willingness to influence U.S. politics.

Now, per an exclusive report from the Daily Caller, we learn that the twisted plot surrounding the Awan brothers has grown even more interesting as FBI agents have reportedly seized a number of "smashed hard drives" and other computer equipment from their former residence in Virginia.

FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s information technology (IT) administrator, according to an individual who was interviewed by Bureau investigators in the case and a high level congressional source.

Pakistani-born Imran Awan, long-time right-hand IT aide to the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman, has since desperately tried to get the hard drives back, the individual told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

The congressional source, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, confirmed that the FBI has joined what Politico previously described as a Capitol Police criminal probe into “serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network” by Imran and three of his relatives, who had access to the emails and files of the more than two dozen House Democrats who employed them on a part-time basis.

Capitol Police have also seized computer equipment tied to the Florida lawmaker.

I first posted about the Awan brothers back in February and May of this year. Nothing was ever done, nothing in the mainstream media. Rot at the central core of the Democrat Party and who did what to expose it? A big hush-up.

A bit more about the discovery and the money involved:

Apparently the hard drives were first discovered by a Marine Corps veteran after he rented a house in Lorton, Va. that belonged to the Awans.  Upon moving in, the Marine found a trove of abandoned computer equipment in the garage, much of which had been destroyed, and called the FBI to take a look.

One of the new tenants — a Marine Corps veteran married to a female Navy Officer — said he found “wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner.”

The tenants called the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and, not long after, FBI agents arrived together with the Capitol Police to interview them and confiscate the equipment. The Marine spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns for his wife’s naval career, saying she doesn’t want to be associated with a national security incident.

“It was in the garage. They recycled cabinets and lined them along the walls. They left in a huge hurry,” the Marine said. “It looks like government-issued equipment. We turned that stuff over.”

For those who have managed to avoid this story, Imran was first employed in 2004 by former Democrat Rep. Robert Wexler (FL) as an “information technology director”, before he began working in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office in 2005.

The family was paid extremely well, with Imran Awan being paid nearly $2 million working as an IT support staffer for House Democrats since 2004. Abid Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, were each paid more than $1 million working for House Democrats. In total, since 2003, the family has collected nearly $5 million.

And of course, these brothers and their families will be allowed to walk away scott free. Disgusting. All that is wrong with the deep state in Washington D.C.

Markets for everything - coal

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Obama declared a war on coal. President Trump has reversed this and we are now exporting tons of it. To where? Holier than thou Europe. From Oil & Gas 360:

U.S. Coal Finds Footing In European Markets
A report by the EIA indicated that coal exports—for both steam coal, used for power generation, and metallurgical coal, used for refining steel—have increased by 58 percent from Q1 of 2016 to Q1 of 2017. The majority of the increase was in steam coal, which grew by 6 million short tons (MMst).

Big U.S. coal customer: Europe
The majority of the coal was shipped from ports on the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast. The U.S. exported a total of 10.135 million short tons of steam coal during Q1. Steam coal exports were bound largely for European markets—which consumed approximately 50 percent of the U.S.’ total steam coal exports in Q1, 2017.

But wait - didn't the European nations do a whole bunch of virtue signalling saying that they were shutting down their coal-burning power plants to save the planet? Why the huge uptick in imports - could it be that smart numbers people are in charge?

Great news from the Department of Common Sense.

Back home again

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Everything fine at the store. Day two of painting the pantry shelving. Photos when done - looking really nice. Quick lunch first though...

The great state of California

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From the wonderful Victor Davis Hanson writing at Investor's Business Daily:

Victor Davis Hanson: Will California Ever Thrive Again?
There was more of the same old, same old California news recently. Some 62% of state roads have been rated poor or mediocre. There were more predictions of huge cost overruns and yearly losses on high-speed rail -- before the first mile of track has been laid. One-third of Bay Area residents were polled as hoping to leave the area soon.

Such pessimism is daily fare, and for good reason.

The basket of California state taxes -- sales, income and gasoline -- rates among the highest in the U.S. Yet California roads and K-12 education rank near the bottom.

After years of drought, California has not built a single new reservoir. Instead, scarce fresh aqueduct water is still being diverted to sea. Thousands of rural central California homes, in Dust Bowl fashion, have been abandoned due to a sinking aquifer and dry wells.

One in three American welfare recipients resides in California. Almost a quarter of the state population lives below or near the poverty line. Yet the state's gas and electricity prices are among the nation's highest.

This is only the start of a long list of woes - Victor continues:

In impoverished central California towns such as Mendota, where thousands of acres were idled due to water cutoffs, once-busy farmworkers live in shacks. But even in opulent San Francisco, the sidewalks full of homeless people do not look much different.

What caused the California paradise to squander its rich natural inheritance?

Excessive state regulations and expanding government, massive illegal immigration from impoverished nations, and the rise of unimaginable wealth in the tech industry and coastal retirement communities created two antithetical Californias.

One is an elite, out-of-touch caste along the fashionable Pacific Ocean corridor that runs the state and has the money to escape the real-life consequences of its own unworkable agendas.

The other is a huge underclass in central, rural and foothill California that cannot flee to the coast and suffers the bulk of the fallout from Byzantine state regulations, poor schools and the failure to assimilate recent immigrants from some of the poorest areas in the world.

A lot more at the site - a perfect example of what socialized government looks like in its sunset years. Nobody has the courage to dial back on the bread and circuses even though everyone - in some measure - knows that they are unsustainable. Just kick the can down the road for another four years. Pass the collapse and debt on to our children.

Off for coffee and the store

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Took care of a bunch of stuff at home - venturing out into the real world to see what is happening.

Back home and painting the pantry and starting to work on two other projects - music room.

Fixed the last of the pulled pork for dinner tonight. Tacos. Delicious as always but for two weeks - a bit too repetitive. Next time, I'll vacuum pack and freeze half of it.

Heading in to town Tuesday for truck maintenance - working here tomorrow painting the pantry and a couple other things. Been averaging about 10 to 15 CD's a day - digitizing them to MP3 files. A lot of wonderful music that I used to listen to a lot.

Check out the Social Justice Warrior Insult Generator - click on the New Insult button for another one.

Describes me to a 'T'

  • You're a racist, close-minded, nationalistic Nazi!
  • You're a chauvinistic, male, homophobic Republican!
  • You're a white, fat-shaming, anti-semitic colonialist!
  • You're a racist, elitist, intolerant traditionalist!

Like I said, good for about fifteen seconds of fun...

From the US Naval Institute:

Trump: Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford ‘100,000-ton Message to the World’
President Donald Trump made a case for continued American military dominance and congressional support for his pending defense budget against the backdrop of the entrance of the world’s largest warship into service on Saturday.

In a speech during the commissioning ceremony of the next-generation aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), Trump proclaimed the ship would be a message of strength and deterrence while praising the crew and Newport News Shipbuilding shipbuilders in the ceremony in Ford’s hangar bay.

“American steel and American hands have constructed a 100,000-ton message to the world,” Trump said. “American might is second to none and we’re getting bigger and better and stronger everyday in my administration. That I can tell you.”

Trump quoted the ship namesake President Gerald R. Ford’s position on military readiness and Ford’s belief that U.S. lack of preparation before World War II encouraged enemies to fight harder.

Yesterday's two hour ceremony can be watched here: VIDEO: Aircraft Carrier Gerald R. Ford Commissioning Ceremony

Back in January of this year, the European Galileo satellite program experienced failures in several of their atomic clocks - here and here. Of particular interest is the following from the second link:

Particularly worrying is that both types of clocks are affected – six Hydrogen Masers and three of the Rubidium devices are currently out of commission. The issue is further complicated by the fact that clock failures occurred on two different satellite platforms, one built by Airbus and Thales Alenia as part of the In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellite series and the other by OHB Systems that is the prime contractor for the operational Galileo satellites.

These satellites are designed to provide location and timing services much like our GPS and Russia's GLONASS. This report indicates that they have found the problem although details are very skimpy - from the Galileo website:

Problem behind failing clocks identified
Investigators have uncovered the problems behind the failure of atomic clocks onboard Galileo satellites, the European Commission said.

For months, the European Space Agency has been investigating the reasons behind failing clocks onboard some of the 18 Galileo navigation satellites.

Each Galileo satellite has four ultra-accurate atomic timekeepers, two that use rubidium and two hydrogen maser. But a satellite needs just one working clock for the satnav to work, the rest are spares.

Three rubidium and six hydrogen maser clocks were not working, with one satellite sporting two failed timekeepers.

“The main causes of the malfunctions have been identified and measures have been put in place to reduce the possibility of further malfunctions of the satellites already in space,” commission spokeswoman Lucia Caudet said.

I am sure that the details will be released in some quiet paper in about six months or so - long enough for some engineer's face to no longer be quite the shade of beet red that it is now. An orbiting satellite is not something you can call back to the shop for a repair...

Genetics and Petunias

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I like Petunias and usually have them in a basket outside my store along with some other flowers - makes the place look inviting. Did not know about this - from Science Magazine:

How the transgenic petunia carnage of 2017 began
Two years ago, plant biologist Teemu Teeri was walking by a train station in Helsinki when he noticed some vivid orange petunias in a planter. The flowers reminded Teeri, who has studied plant pigments at the University of Helsinki, of blooms created in a landmark gene-engineering experiment some 30 years earlier. As far as he knew, those flowers never made it to market. But he was curious, and he stuck a stem in his backpack.

Now, that chance encounter has ended up forcing flower sellers on two continents to destroy vast numbers of petunias. Teeri ultimately confirmed that the plants contained foreign DNA, and he tipped off regulators in Europe and the United States, who have identified other commercial strains that are genetically engineered (GE). Although officials say the GE petunias pose no threat to human health or the environment—and likely were unknowingly sold for years—they’ve asked sellers to destroy the flowers, because it’s illegal to sell them in the United States and Europe without a permit.

Ironically, proposed revisions to U.S. biotechnology rules now under discussion might have exempted the harmless petunias from regulation. But the petunia carnage highlights the growing complexity of regulating GE plants, which have a long history of showing up where they aren’t allowed and can be hard to track.

Much more at the site. Harmless to humans and more a problem of overarching regulations. Common sense should have prevailed but not in this bureaucratic world... Here is the page from the United States Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Painting fun

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Getting around to putting on the first coat. These two sets of shelves were built from a decent grade of furniture plywood and were stained dark. Looks lovely but difficult to see in a dark pantry. I am painting the surface of the shelves with a white semi-gloss but masking around them so the uprights and faces remain the nice stained finish.

I have a tape gun but it still takes time to do it right. Taking a soda break between finishing the masking and starting to paint.

Yesterday's memorial service

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There is a nice writeup about the memorial service at The Bellingham Herald:

Lynden says goodbye to Fire Chief Spinner
The funeral for Lynden Fire Chief Robert Spinner was held in Saturday, a little more than a week after his death.

Spinner, 50, suffered an apparent heart attack jogging while on duty and died on July 14, becoming the 56th U.S. firefighter to die in the line of duty this year. He became the interim fire chief in April after joining the department in 2010 as assistant chief.

He was a 25-year veteran of the fire service. It is the first line of duty death in the Lynden Fire Department’s 107-year history, and the second on-duty firefighter death in Whatcom County – the other line of duty firefighter death was in March 1950, when Whatcom County Fire District 7’s Chief Clyde Eaton suffered fatal burns as a barrel of fuel exploded at a fire.

Hundreds of firefighters and police officers from across the state along with border patrol authorities attended the memorial in the Expo Building of the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds, 1775 Front St. in Lynden.

Spinner was given a memorial reserved for firefighters who die in the line of duty. A procession led by members of the Bellingham Firefighters Pipes and Drums escorted Spinner’s family to the service.

Speakers included Spinner’s son Austin, former Lynden Fire Chief Gary Baar and Kurt Langstraat, pastor at North County Christ the King in Lynden.

A recorded song sung by Spinner’s daughter Emma brought even the most stoic firefighters to tears. Spinner is survived by his wife Tammy, son Austin, daughter Emma, brother Russell and his mother Shirley.

Another science paper sting

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This is delightful and I should mention that these are not the frontline publishing houses, this guy sent his paper in to second tier journals. From Discover Magazine:

Predatory Journals Hit By ‘Star Wars’ Sting
A number of so-called scientific journals have accepted a Star Wars-themed spoof paper. The manuscript is an absurd mess of factual errors, plagiarism and movie quotes. I know because I wrote it.

Inspired by previous publishing “stings”, I wanted to test whether ‘predatory‘ journals would publish an obviously absurd paper. So I created a spoof manuscript about “midi-chlorians” – the fictional entities which live inside cells and give Jedi their powers in Star Wars. I filled it with other references to the galaxy far, far away, and submitted it to nine journals under the names of Dr Lucas McGeorge and Dr Annette Kin.

Four journals fell for the sting. The American Journal of Medical and Biological Research (SciEP) accepted the paper, but asked for a $360 fee, which I didn’t pay. Amazingly, three other journals not only accepted but actually published the spoof. Here’s the paper from the International Journal of Molecular Biology: Open Access (MedCrave), Austin Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Austin) and American Research Journal of Biosciences (ARJ) I hadn’t expected this, as all those journals charge publication fees, but I never paid them a penny.

So what did they publish? A travesty, which they should have rejected within about 5 minutes – or 2 minutes if the reviewer was familiar with Star Wars. Some highlights:

    • “Beyond supplying cellular energy, midichloria perform functions such as Force sensitivity…”
    • “Involved in ATP production is the citric acid cycle, also referred to as the Kyloren cycle after its discoverer”
    • “Midi-chlorians are microscopic life-forms that reside in all living cells – without the midi-chlorians, life couldn’t exist, and we’d have no knowledge of the force. Midichlorial disorders often erupt as brain diseases, such as autism.”
    • “midichloria DNA (mtDNRey)” and “ReyTP”

Heh - I bet some faces are red - this damages the credibility of these journals. The papers are supposed to be reviewed before they are accepted for publication, not just slapped up on their websites.

This is big - from Stanford University:

An experiment proposed by Stanford theorists finds evidence for the Majorana fermion, a particle that’s its own antiparticle
In 1928, physicist Paul Dirac made the stunning prediction that every fundamental particle in the universe has an antiparticle – its identical twin but with opposite charge. When particle and antiparticle met they would be annihilated, releasing a poof of energy. Sure enough, a few years later the first antimatter particle – the electron’s opposite, the positron – was discovered, and antimatter quickly became part of popular culture.

But in 1937, another brilliant physicist, Ettore Majorana, introduced a new twist: He predicted that in the class of particles known as fermions, which includes the proton, neutron, electron, neutrino and quark, there should be particles that are their own antiparticles.

Now a team including Stanford scientists says it has found the first firm evidence of such a Majorana fermion. It was discovered in a series of lab experiments on exotic materials at the University of California in collaboration with Stanford University. The team was led by UC-Irvine Associate Professor Jing Xia and UCLA Professor Kang Wang, and followed a plan proposed by Shoucheng Zhang, professor of physics at Stanford, and colleagues. The team reported the results July 20 in Science.

“Our team predicted exactly where to find the Majorana fermion and what to look for as its ‘smoking gun’ experimental signature,” said Zhang, a theoretical physicist and one of the senior authors of the research paper. “This discovery concludes one of the most intensive searches in fundamental physics, which spanned exactly 80 years.”

A lot more at the site including a description of the experiment. Very clever idea and implementation. The abstract and paper are here (paper is behind a paywall): Signatures of Majorana Fermions in Hybrid Superconductor-Semiconductor Nanowire Devices

Coffee time - working at home today

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Heading out for coffee and checking in at the store for a while. Painting the last of the shelves in the pantry today and tomorrow.

So far, the coming week looks pretty uneventful - truck goes in for an oil change Tuesday and there is a community work party at the garden on Saturday but that is it.

Hispanic families tend towards being very conservative. Religious, honor the family, small business owners, that sort of stuff. Target tried to virtue signal when it announced in April of last year that: "it would welcome transgender customers to use any bathroom or fitting room that matched their gender identity" This went over like a lead balloon - from my blog post of March 7, 2017:

We The People in the news again - Target
I don't shop at Target - was in there a couple times maybe ten years ago but they do not have anything that I like. This is interesting news though - from the Investment Watch Blog:

Target Teetering On The Brink Of Financial Collapse
The boycott against Target over its bathroom policy is costing the retailer more than anybody expected, as a record share price plunge and weak sales drive the big-box retailer to the brink of financial collapse.

In April last year after Target announced that it would welcome transgender customers to use any bathroom or fitting room that matched their gender identity.

My comment in that post was this:

The thing that gets me is that the real gays - that 3% of our population who live out their lives quietly and who just happen to prefer same-sex mates or cross-dressing or whatever floats their boat; they have been using the bathrooms that they prefer for years and years without anyone being the wiser (or if they are the wiser, they have the common grace to keep their big yap shut). The people making the problems are the new generation of politically-correct . virtue-signaling . activists who feel compelled to rub every aspect of their lives in the faces of the other 97% of us.

A quick word to the newbies: take a good look at the damage you are doing to your own cause and please just STFU. We are very tolerant but we have a very low threshold for hypocrisy.

Well, it seems that customers disgust with Target is still very active and people are staying away in droves. So what do they do as a business? Re-calibrate their marketing efforts? Make a public apology? Fire the management who let the private sanctuaries open to any pervert who wants to claim social justice? No.

They have been looking at their previous sales and have noticed that they have been shedding their hispanic customers. Why? See above. From MSN Money / Bloomberg:

Target's Chief Sounds Alarm on Pullback by Hispanic Shoppers
Target Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell is sounding alarm bells over the state of Hispanic shoppers in the U.S. -- a key growth demographic for many retailers and consumer brands.

“The Hispanic consumer in the U.S. is shopping much less,” Cornell said at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech event Tuesday in Aspen, Colorado. “They are staying home. They are going out less often.”

Cornell didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name, but he talked about a shift in behavior this year and mentioned “border towns” -- where retailers for years have depended on shoppers from northern Mexico for higher revenue. Trump took office in January after promising to crack down on undocumented immigration, especially from Mexico.

Cornell was appointed CEO for Target in 2014 so the 2016 LGBT bathroom kerfuffle is squarely on his watch. He has the temerity to think that his policies are not affecting sales. Talk about a classic case of confirmation bias - to whit:

Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations).

From the wit and wisdom of George Washington Bunny:

One of the key problems with the Democrat party is that they spend their life in a bubble and deal with perception, optics and narrative. This is why they had their collective asses handed to them last November. Seven months later, this is the best they have come up with. From Axios:

Dems want to rebrand as the economic party
Senate and House Dems, after an intensive process spanning seven months, on Monday will unveil a new economic agenda, Axios has exclusively learned, meant to counter the perception that Democrats are only the anti-Trump party, with no message of their own.

Top Dems see the new message as the key to turning things around after their losses in the presidential race and this year's House special elections.

An opening theme/frame: "excessive corporate power and its impacts."

Pollster Geoff Garin writes in a memo kicking off the project: "[T]he Democratic policies related to curbing excessive corporate power that are being highlighted in the first day of the rollout have real resonance with voters and are strongly supported by a significant majority of Americans."

The agenda's big idea: "Too many families in America today feel that the rules of the economy are rigged against them. Special interests have a strangle-hold on Washington — from the super-rich spending unlimited amounts of secret money to influence our elections, to the huge loopholes in our tax code that help corporations avoid paying taxes."

"If the government goes back to putting working families first, ahead of special interests, we can achieve a better deal for the American people that will raise their pay, lower their expenses, and prepare them for the future."

It would be good to remember that these are the morons who caused the nation debt to skyrocket over the last eight years. Two things:

  1. - the national debt is paid either by us or by our children. The Federal government makes little money outside of tax revenues.
  2. - In only six months, President Trump has added about four trillion dollars to our economy.

Tell me again, who is good for the economy and for working families?

Here are three photos from today:


The pipe band - I am half Scottish so this music is in my blood.


A couple of the CERT crew taking a much deserved break. We borrowed the Sheriff's Communications van for the day - nicely set up and it had air conditioning (the day started off cool but became very muggy).


A fraction of the engines present today - several rows.

Easily over 2,000 people in attendance and about 100 fire and police vehicles - everything from huge ladder and tanker trucks down to the basic staff cars. Districts from all over were in attendance.

We had about 30+ CERT team members there over the course of the day so everyone got the chance to operate in different positions - I directed traffic for a little while but was moved over to logistics after an hour. This comprised of distributing hand held radios and reflective vests to volunteers as they came in, assigning radio call signs as well as tactical calls for team leaders as well as coordinating with the person functioning as Net Control to tell them who was available for what position and help them with assignments. Valuable training for me and I guess I must have done OK because I was stuck doing this for the next five hours. The tactical signs were for the inidividual group leaders - the person directing parking was called "parking" on the radio. Traffic control was "traffic". My favorite was the person stationed at the front entrance who directed civilians, fire vehicles, honor guard, support (caterers, etc) - their call sign was "sorting hat"

I did not attend the actual service but from the reactions of everyone leaving, it was very moving. His death affected a very large community. There is a Fire Department pipe band and they played - about 12 bagpipes and a couple of drummers - gorgeous music. 21 gun salute (he had served in the Navy).

Took some photos and will post them later tonight.

Spending tomorrow sleeping in and getting two coats of paint on the remaining pantry shelves.

Off to town - memorial service

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The local CERT teams will be out directing traffic and helping out at a memorial service for the fallen fire chief. Service is over at 4:00 so back a bit later.

Road trip - The Isle of Sark

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When I moved from Seattle to here, I was really happy. One reason being that finally, I lived away from the big city and would have dark skies to indulge a long-time hobby of mine - astronomy. Got the first really clear night and was treated to a view of the skyglow from the conurbation around Abbotsford, British Columbia - less than 20 miles to my Northwest. Population of 150,000. I can practically read a newspaper from the light pollution.

A friend of mine turned me on to this Island - from The Guardian:

Sark is world's first 'dark sky island'
The Isle of Sark draws its fair share of visitors in the warm months of summer. The rock is a haven for rare wildlife, a landscape where pretty hedgerows and quaint villages are bordered by a breathtaking, craggy coastline. There is plenty to do. The events calendar is full with wildflower walks, scarecrow competitions and sheep races that last a weekend.

Today, the inhabitants of Sark, the smallest of the four main Channel Islands, celebrate a unique addition to their list of attractions, one they hope will bring more visitors in the cold, dark winter season. Lying 80 miles off the south coast of England, Sark has been declared the first "dark sky island" in the world.

The award is in recognition of the exceptional blackness of the night sky that makes for spectacular stargazing on the island. On a cloud-free night, countless stars and hurtling meteors are visible against a backdrop of the Milky Way that reaches across the sky from one horizon to the other.

The announcement, by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), a US-based organisation devoted to preserving the darkest and most beautiful night skies on Earth, follows more than a year of work with the island's 600-strong community to ensure as little light as possible spills upwards into the sky, where it can blot out starlight.

"You get spectacular views from lots of places in the UK, but there are few very special sites that are world class in terms of how dark they are," said Steve Owens, an astronomer who led Sark's application to the IDA.

Time for a road-trip! A couple more great stories at the link - well worth visiting and reading the whole thing.

Fascinating comparison between polling numbers and the number of media articles for a list of current topics. From Questions and Observations using recent data compiled from Bloomberg and Media Research Center:


One of the main things this nation needs is a representative media - not one driven by urban population center ratings. A lot of other folks out there that do not fit this mold. And, it is well beyond time to put a sock in the whole Russia narrative - it always was a nothing-burger, still is a nothing-burger and will remain a nothing-burger. Fake News - repeat after me...

A tetherball in the forest

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Tip of the hat to Maggie's Farm

A great man for the job

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From Radio Iowa:

Iowan Sam Clovis nominated to be USDA undersecretary
President Trump has nominated an Iowan who was a top policy adviser on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to serve as the USDA Undersecretary for research, education and economics. Sam Clovis, formerly of Hinton, Iowa, has been working in the USDA since Trump took office, serving as a liaison to the White House.

“This may be the last rodeo I ever have. I can’t believe I’ve had this experience,” Clovis said a year ago during an appearance in Iowa. “But I will tell you this: I can’t imagine anything more important than what I’m doing right now because it’s about the country.”

His nomination to be the top science adviser in the USDA has sparked controversy, as Clovis has said he’s skeptical of climate science.

“I have looked at the science and I have enough of a science background to know when I’m being boofed and I think a lot of what we see is ‘junk science’, so I’m a skeptic,” Clovis said during a 2014 interview on Iowa Public Radio.

Another quote:

“What we see about a lot of this…is really about income redistribution from rich nations that are industrialized to nations that are not and it comes down to this false premise…that we ought to consume based on population rather than on the strength of our economy,” Clovis said. “If we have 20 percent of the world GDP, it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that we consume 20 percent of the energy of the world.”

He served in the Air Force and was an Economics Professor at an Iowa college so the guy is no slouch. Cue up the lamentations of the liberals....

Great quote

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The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
--Dorothy Parker

So wonderfuly true!

Back home again

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Got almost everything accomplished (forgot one item on my shopping list).

My CERT team is being deployed tomorrow for this memorial service:

Public invited to funeral for Lynden fire chief
Heavy traffic is expected Saturday in Lynden as firefighters from around the state and nation gather for the funeral of Lynden Fire Chief Robert Spinner, who died while on duty last week.

As many as 1,000 people are expected to attend the 1 p.m. ceremony in the Expo Building at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds, 1775 Front St. The memorial, with full fire service honors, will last about 90 minutes. A reception will follow.

Both are open to the public.

Spinner, 50, was a 25-year veteran who became Lynden’s interim chief in April after joining the department in 2010 as its assistant chief. He suffered an apparent heart attack while exercising Friday, becoming the 56th U.S. firefighter to die in the line of duty this year.

Way too early to go.

We will be directing traffic and cleaning up after the event. My ham radio group will be there too but I am set up more for stationary base-station  operation than mobile hand-held so I'm wearing my CERT hat tomorrow.

Dinner tonight will be more pulled pork but dressing it up as taco meat - change of pace...

Pork in the news

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First, it is the Joint Strike Fighter - the F-35 which is hamstrung because it was designed by a committee. It cannot do any one thing well because it tries to do too much of everything. More here, here, here and here.

Now, it seems that the US Navy is having its own share of problems. From Popular Mechanics:

The Navy Is Looking for a New Frigate to Replace the Troubled Littoral Combat Ship
The U.S. Navy has solicited industry for a new frigate design, reflecting widespread dissatisfaction with the troubled, frigate-sized Littoral Combat Ships. The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) fell victim to a combination of technological overreach and a changing geopolitical environment that made the ships minimally capable, unreliable, and obsolete in a world of variable global threats. In its place, the Navy wants a more traditional guided-missile frigate design capable of tackling larger, more complex roles.

I love that phrase "technological overreach" - translated, it means that this was designed - yet again - by a committee and cannot do any one thing well because...

We need to build our military but we should first start by cutting these pork projects.

A long day ahead

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Heading in to town for some stuff. Posting will resume this evening.

Interesting publisher eLand

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Specalising in travel books including reprints of older ones. From their website:

Eland houses an unrivalled collection of books about the world and its societies. The titles explore the magic of our cultures, their humour, their common humanity and their inspiring differences. For the price of a good bottle of wine our travel books offer inspiration for passionate exploration – in the company of authors who really know, and who know how to tell it.

Will have to explore their collection.

48 years ago this evening

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I had just graduated from High School and was in Massachusetts working for a pipe organ builder. My parents were spending the summer in Rockport, Mass (they alternated years between Rockport and the area near Estes Park, Colorado)  so I drove over to their cottage and watched the moon landing. Always been a science nerd and this was pure nerdgasm for me.

We need to get back to space - NASA has become diluted with climate foolishness - time to return to its roots.


A tip of the hat to Grouchy Old Cripple

More rain on the horizion

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Forecasts are either for showers or cloudy - we will see.

Still working on the pantry - I kept my herbal medicine raw materials in there and they were feasted on by the mice. These supplies are something I only work with a couple times/year so I did not see that there were problems until now - placing some orders on Amazon and figuring out a better - more mouse proof - method of storage. The volume is large enough that glass jars are not really practical.

Christ on a corn dog - just how irrelevant is this guy - from The Washington Examiner:

Bill Nye: Older people need to 'die' out before climate science can advance
Bill Nye specifically targeted the elderly this week as he spoke out against climate change deniers, saying that climate science will start to advance when old people start to "age out," according to a report.

The "Science Guy" said that generationally, the majority of climate change deniers are older.

"Climate change deniers, by way of example, are older. It's generational," Nye told the Los Angeles Times. Nye said that he is calling them out with "due respect," acknowledging that he is "now one of them."

"We're just going to have to wait for those people to 'age out,' as they say," Nye went on, adding that "age out" is a euphemism for "die." "But it'll happen, I guarantee you — that'll happen."

The problem here is that it is very easy to indoctrinate young people - older people have really good bullshit detectors and use them regularly. When the recorded data fails to back up the claims of the warmers, the tendency is to treat the warmers with a healthy dose of skepticism. They hate that as they know that their "studies" are a scam.

Going after the darknet - from The Hill:

DOJ takes down dark net marketplaces
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday said it had shut down the online criminal market AlphaBay and one of its chief competitors, Hansa.

"This is likely one of the most important criminal cases of the year," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a press conference.

Sessions said the DOJ had seized the infrastructure and arrested the criminal market's owner, ending speculation about why AlphaBay had recently disappeared.

And this about Hansa:

After AlphaBay went dark, many of its patrons moved to Hansa, a competitor, not knowing that law enforcement had taken control of that site as well.

"Make no mistake, the forces of law and justice face a new challenge from the criminals and transnational criminal organizations who think they can commit their crimes with impunity by 'going dark,' " said Sessions.

"This case, pursued by dedicated agents and prosecutors, says you are not safe. You cannot hide. We will find you, dismantle your organization and network. And we will prosecute you."

Busted. The darknet is nothing to protect - it sells illegal goods. Good that the various world governments (AlphaBay was run from Thailand, Hansa from the Netherlands) are waking up to the dangers of these organizations. Security expert Brian Krebs once had a black-hat hacker buy heroin and have it shipped to his home - the intent was to call the cops when it arrived. Here is his tale (February 17, 2017):

Men Who Sent Swat Team, Heroin to My Home Sentenced
It’s been a remarkable week for cyber justice. On Thursday, a Ukrainian man who hatched a plan in 2013 to send heroin to my home and then call the cops when the drugs arrived was sentenced to 41 months in prison for unrelated cybercrime charges. Separately, a 19-year-old American who admitted to being part of a hacker group that sent a heavily-armed police force to my home in 2013 was sentenced to three years probation.

And here is Brian on the Hansa bust:

Exclusive: Dutch Cops on AlphaBay ‘Refugees’
Following today’s breaking news about U.S. and international authorities taking down the competing Dark Web drug bazaars AlphaBay and Hansa Market, KrebsOnSecurity caught up with the Dutch investigators who took over Hansa on June 20, 2017. When U.S. authorities shuttered AlphaBay on July 5, police in The Netherlands saw a massive influx of AlphaBay refugees who were unwittingly fleeing directly into the arms of investigators. What follows are snippets from an exclusive interview with Petra Haandrikman, team leader of the Dutch police unit that infiltrated Hansa.

Quite the story at his site - good work all around!

Two different stories, two different cities:

Not like this is a new event either. From 2015. From 2016. From 2017.

Back home again

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Coffee and some time at the store.

As part of the remodel, we are moving the shopping carts and an ice cream freezer. Building a nest for the carts - 1.5" by 1/4" steel strap fastened to the floor - low enough to not be a tripping hazard but high enough to prevent the carts from self-deploying - a little speed bump for them. Also putting up some galvanized roofing metal where the carts used to be - they chewed up the drywall and this will cover the damage but look really nice. Pick up stuff for that tomorrow.

Ripping CDs and doing a load in the dishwasher. Organizing the pantry.

Delicious rainfall

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It sure sounded good on the metal roof this morning while dozing in bed. Got a bit over two tenths of an inch. Much needed - mitigate some of the fire danger and watering the garden.

Off to coffee and then spending the day working at home.

True dat!

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From the internet:


The fire is contained

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It was some grass that was burning over a 2-3 acre space. DNR got a dozer up there and dug in a fireline.

No word as to cause but my guess is a campfire got out of control. This is state land and we usually get a bunch of vagrants coming through for the summer in various states of mental health. Number of these who have actually put down roots in the area? Zero.

CNN - Fake News

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CNN continues to beclown itself as a purveyor of Fake News. Case in point - from ABC News / The Associated Press:

Germany: G-20 riots caused up to $13.8 million insured damage
A group representing German insurers says the rioting that accompanied the Group of 20 summit earlier this month could cost insurance companies up to 12 million euros ($13.8 million).

Host city Hamburg saw three nights of violence amid anti-globalization protests as leaders of the world's biggest economic powers met July 7-8.

And this from The Daily Caller:

‘Life-Threatening Situation’: 130 Police Officers Injured In G20 Riots
Police officers deployed at the G20 summit in Hamburg admitted Friday that they “completely underestimated the situation” and are now calling on reinforcement from every German state to take on left-wing activists.

Police estimate that around 8,000 demonstrators took part in the “Welcome to Hell” protest Thursday. At least 130 police officers out of the 20,000 working during the conference were injured in the riots. Twelve of them will not be able to return to duty, according to newspaper Welt.

And now, CNN's reporting of the riots:

Protesters flood streets of Hamburg as G20 wraps up
An eclectic and international mix of demonstrators peacefully tramped through the streets of Hamburg on Saturday, a show of anti-capitalist muscle in earshot of the world's top leaders who were finishing up at the G20 summit.

Talk about being out of touch with reality - either their collective heads are up their posteriors or they are willfully spreading lies to promote an agenda.

An interesting spin-off

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The loss of  Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 with 239 people is one of the greater aviation mysteries but there is one good thing to come from it - from gCaptain:

MH370 Search Data Unveils Fishing Hotspots, Ancient Geological Movements
Detailed sea-floor maps made during the unsuccessful search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, released by Australia on Wednesday, could help increase the knowledge of rich fisheries and the prehistoric movement of the earth’s southern continents.

The Indian Ocean search ended in January after covering a lonely stretch of open water where under-sea mountains larger than Mount Everest rise and a rift valley dotted with subsea volcanoes runs hundreds of kilometers long.

The data that was collected:

...information gathered during painstaking surveys of some 120,000 sq km (46,000 sq miles) of the remote waters west of Australia should provide fishermen, oceanographers and geologists insight into the region in unprecedented detail, said Charitha Pattiaratchi, professor of coastal oceanography at the University of Western Australia.

“There are the locations of seamounts which will attract a lot of international deep sea fishermen to the area,” Pattiaratchi told Reuters by phone.

High-priced fish such as tuna, toothfish, orange roughy, alfonsino and trevally are known to gather near the seamounts, where plankton swirl in the currents in the inhospitable waters.

Pattiaratchi said the location of seamounts would also help model the impact of tsunamis in the region, given undersea mountains help dissipate their destructive energy, and potentially change our understanding of the break-up of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana.

46,000 sq. miles is about the area of the state of Pennsylvania - a big area to be gathering such crystal clear data. Quite the addition to the world's body of knowledge.

“It is estimated that only 10 to 15 percent of the world’s oceans have been surveyed with the kind of technology used in the search for MH370, making this remote part of the Indian Ocean among the most thoroughly mapped regions of the deep ocean on the planet,” said Stuart Minchin, chief of Geoscience Australia’s environmental geoscience division.

Here is the website for the project at Geoscience Australia: MH370 - Phase One Data Release

Yikes - local forest fire

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On the radio - a couple acres are burning in back of the post office. District 14 is there fighting it.

Must suppress that which does not fit the narrative. From Breitbart:

MILO: NPR Killed Book Interview ‘Because I Sounded Too Reasonable’
Former Breitbart Senior Editor MILO flew to New York specifically to take part in an extensive interview with NPR about his bestselling book, DANGEROUS. During the July 10 interview, which MILO has provided exclusive footage of, the host stated that the interview would be going live the next day. MILO was then reportedly contacted by an NPR producer that clarified that the interview would be published the following week.

When the interview was still not published, leading MILO to question why it had not gone live, he was reportedly informed that a short version of the interview would be published “sometime in August.”

When asked for comment, MILO said, “It’s perfectly obvious from the constantly shifting deadline from NPR producers and the line of questioning from the host that they were expecting a low-rent troll — someone who would assure the broadcaster’s ossified audience that anyone sympathetic to the President must be a redneck or an idiot.”

“What they got was me: an articulate, New York Times bestselling author in complete command of his material,” he noted. “If America were finally to hear a provocative, intelligent, fabulous but eminently reasonable gay free speech crusader who leans to the Right — yes, I’m still talking about myself — it would be devastating to the Left’s speech codes and dedication to political correctness and identity politics. So NPR did the only thing they could in the circumstances to protect the narrative: they nixed the interview.”

And this is not the first time for NPR:

NPR previously spiked an interview with podcaster Adam Carolla after an attempt to portray the comedian as a racist backfired.

It is certainly within National Public Radio's charter to air what they want to but stories like this really show their bias. Considering that NPR is funded with our tax dollars, they should be more in line with the interests of the general public.

Here is the interview - have not listened to it yet but will later tonight. Also picked up a copy of his book.

The alt.energy bubble

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A couple of headlines regarding alternative energy - a lot of the subsidy programs are ending. Shoveling taxpayer money to foreign companies in order to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels (of which we have a great abundance) and production of CO2 (otherwise known as plant food).

The last link is especially interesting. Any research done with public funding (Government grants, etc...) is in the public domain and the general public has the right to see the data, to see the work and to see the results at no cost. Most of today's climate research is based on computer models and recreations of climate history. Whenever these have been examined, they have been shown to be biased towards rising temperatures - the so-called Hockey Stick of Michael Mann is a perfect example. Totally discredited.

It is no wonder that the climate scientists are backpedaling as fast as they can and trying to keep their data to themselves - they know that there is no correlation between their numbers and the real world.

From the Smithsonian:

A Newly Discovered Diary Tells the Harrowing Story of the Deadly Halifax Explosion
We turn out of our hammocks at 6.30am and lash up and stow in the usual way,” a Royal Navy sailor named Frank Baker wrote in his diary on December 6, 1917. “We fall in on the upper deck at 7am and disperse to cleaning stations, busying ourselves scrubbing decks etc. until 8am when we ‘cease fire’ for breakfast.” Baker was pulling wartime duty as a ship inspector in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the lookout for spies, contraband and saboteurs.

But there were no ships to be inspected that day, so after breakfast he and his crewmates aboard HMCS Acadia went back to their cleaning stations. “We...had just drawn soap and powder and the necessary utensils for cleaning paint work,” he wrote, “when the most awful explosion I ever heard or want to hear again occurred.”

What Frank Baker heard was the biggest explosion of the pre-atomic age, a catastrophe of almost biblical proportions. The 918 words he wrote for December 6 make up the only eyewitness account known to be written on the day of what is now called the Halifax Explosion. After World War I, his diary sat unread for decades. Now, it has been included in an exhibit on the explosion’s centennial at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, across the harbor from Halifax. It is published here for the first time.

“The first thud shook the ship from stem to stern and the second one seemed to spin us all around, landing some [crew members] under the gun carriage and others flying in all directions all over the deck,” Baker wrote. Sailors 150 miles out to sea heard the blast. On land, people felt the jolt 300 miles away. The shock wave demolished almost everything within a half-mile. “Our first impression was that we were being attacked by submarines, and we all rushed for the upper deck, where we saw a veritable mountain of smoke of a yellowish hue and huge pieces of iron were flying all around us.”

Unseen by Baker, two ships had collided in the Narrows, a strait linking a wide basin with the harbor proper, which opens into the Atlantic to the southeast. An outbound Belgian relief ship, the Imo, had strayed off course. An inbound French freighter, the Mont-Blanc, couldn’t get out of its way. The Imo speared the Mont-Blanc at an angle near its bow. The freighter carried 2,925 tons of high explosives, including 246 tons of benzol, a highly flammable motor fuel, in drums lashed to its deck. Some of the drums toppled and ruptured. Spilled benzol caught fire. The Mont-Blanc’s crew, unable to contain the flames, abandoned ship.

The ghost vessel burned and drifted for about 15 minutes, coming to rest against a pier along the Halifax shore. Thousands of people on their way to work, already working at harborside jobs, or at home in Halifax and Dartmouth, stopped in their tracks to watch.

Then the Mont-Blanc blew.

Quite the story - more at the site. Another big explosion in Canada was the 1958 intentional demolition of Ripple Rock in British Columbia.

Ten rules for life

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Great list from terribleminds:

Everything is dumb right now.

From nose to tail, we have become the dumbest, saddest pig at the county fair. Historians will not refer to this period as THE DARK AGES, but rather, THE DUMB AGES. The greatest question I get, right now, is how to simply persist creating art and staying motivated and creative in this epoch of syphilitic dipshittery, so I thought I’d bop in here and try my hand at answering that.

1. Stop staring at the news and at social media. This is hard, because presently the news is a series of constantly crashing cars right outside your window. One after the next, bang, smash, crash. The symphony of shrieking metal is very, very hard to turn away from. In many eras, the news is only marginally relevant to you on a day to day basis but, to me it seems that ratio is going up, up, up. The healthcare debacle alone affects me, um, rather significantly. If I don’t have access to healthcare via health insurance, then this thing that I do gets a whole lot harder. Just the same, I gotta know to turn away from it. The news is a vampire. It’ll bleed you dry and leave you a desiccated husk on the carpet. You can look at it, but pick your times. Write or make art first, then go and stare into the unswerving gaze of Sauron himself.

2. Writing is an act of resistance. Art is an act of resistance. Shit, just living your life in the maelstrom is resistance. Here’s how you know when something is a act of resistance: would the Shitty People, the Petty Men with Axes, want you to do it? No? Then do it. They want you showing your belly. They want you to stop contributing your ideas. They want you to shut the fuck up. So, don’t. Don’t get sad. Get mad. Get fucking pissed. And then —

3. Put that piss and vinegar into the work. Pour it right in. Glug, glug, splish-splash.

Seven more at the site - rules to live by.

About those Russians

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With all the Democrats claiming Russian influence on the elections putting President Trump in office, it is good to read a bit of history. From Forbes of Feb 18, 2017:

No One Mentions That The Russian Trail Leads To Democratic Lobbyists
K Street lobbyists are the symbol of Washington influence-peddling as they push government for favors, subsidies, exemptions, and other special treatment for their clients. Their customers include, in addition to domestic clients, foreign governments, oligarchs, fugitive speculators, and a rogue’s gallery of questionable figures. Washington lobbyists trade on their access to power. Many are former administration officials or members of Congress. If Trump fulfills his promise to “drain the swamp,” these influence peddlers would have nothing to sell. They are under attack.

The media has focused not on K Street but on the Russian ties of President Donald Trump’s associates. They list the reprehensible Kremlin-associated figures for whom members of his inner circle worked, the most notorious being Viktor Yanukovich, the deposed president of Ukraine, and fugitive oligarch, Dymtro Firtash. But both of these “repulsive” figures were also advised by Democratic top dogs, who likely earned large multiples of what the “small fry” Trump associates took home.

In pushing its Manchurian-candidate-Trump narrative, the media fail to mention the much deeper ties of Democratic lobbyists to Russia. Don’t worry, the media seems to say: Even though they are representing Russia, the lobbyists are good upstanding citizens, not like the Trump people. They can be trusted with such delicate matters.

More at ths site - an interesting read.

Back home again

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Heading in to town tomorrow. Stuff to do here today.

Heading out the door

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Took care of some stuff at home and now heading out for coffee and maybe a quick run in to town.

Continuing the remodel at the store - installing the slatwall has turned out to be a big success with the new retail area looking really good. Now, we are moving the shopping carts, an ice cream freezer and putting a panel of galvanized metal roofing on part of the wall at the entry way. Picking up the roofing and the "wiggle wood" backing strips for it.

Got all of the hardware sorted out last night (only took two hours for over 1,000 pieces all the while watching TV and ripping audio CDs). A quick surf and then out the door.

Great quote

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There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
-- Albert Einstein

Just wonderful - Seattle

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Seattle is spending tons of money on SJW programs but zero on infrastructure. From The Seattle Times:

West Point treatment plant ill-prepared for growing Seattle region, says post-flood report
The West Point sewage-treatment plant, the region’s largest, is ill-prepared to handle an emergency during heavy rains, a contractor hired to investigate a catastrophic flood at the plant last winter has found.

The contractor, AECOM, reported: The plant lacks redundant treatment capacity and systems backup; workers don’t have proper training to manage an emergency such as the flood that swamped the plant; and the new $40 million automated control system fully implemented just days before the flood actually made managing the emergency worse.

The computerized system is intended to monitor operations throughout the plant to alert managers in control rooms to anything amiss. Instead, as the flooding disaster unfolded, the system overwhelmed them. “The shift supervisor was faced with more than 2,100 alarms in less than one hour and it was not clear which were critical and which were of lesser significance,” the report states.

Yet during the flood, the alarm system also provided no automatic alert to the disaster itself; managers didn’t know flooding had occurred until they saw it, and then had to eventually manually turn off pumps still surging sewage into the crippled plant.

Ahh yes - the result of years of progressivism. Management by committee and nobody is held accountable. The fools that signed off on the new system are not elected and they just accepted whatever was handed them and they paid through the nose for the privilege.

Stuffed and happy

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Had a big burger with all the fixin's - the pups each got a dog burger so we are all happy.

I was running low on some basic hardware used in PCs and small electronics so I ordered two kit assortments of screws, bolts, spacers, washers, etc... They came in a nice plastic box with dividers but they got walloped enough in transit that all of the dividers popped out of their slots. Spending the evening with over 1,000 bits in a baking tray, the TV on in the background, ripping music CD's and sorting hardware. Fun fun fun...

Back home early

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Bagging the meeting in town - too nice a day. Been eating pulled pork too many times (I know - a first-world problem) so picked up a pound of 80/20 in town and will be firing up the grill for hamburgers tonight.

Had a royal fuster-cluck this morning. Drove about 50 miles from here in to Blaine, WA to return some merchandise that was not selling well. Found the address from their website and it turned out to be a private residence. OK - knock on door and a teen-age boy came out and did not know what I was talking about. Called the number and they were at a different address but the guy that handles returns had gone for the day (this was at noon). Turns out the residence was the business owner's home - why the kid didn't say as much is making me wonder how well mom is communicating with her kids. Wasted three hours.

Took care of a few things in town - was planning to hang out, have dinner and attend the meeting but around 3:30 I just said screw it and headed home. Get the dogs fed, unload the truck and fix dinner - posting later.

Productive day - digitized a lot more of my CD collection. I had a dedicated music computer at one time but the software was a pain to use so I re-purposed it for some other stuff and eventually gave it away to a local family for their kids' school work. There are a lot of nice media applications for the Raspberry Pi so that is $50 for one of those plus box plus power supply. I have monitors, mice and keyboards lying around, fill up an old hard drive and I will have a nice system.

Plus, like I said, Thunderbunny takes SD cards so I can have a greater variety of tunes on the road.

Got the third and final coat of paint on the pantry shelves - it will have all day tomorrow to dry and Wednesday, I start putting everything back in place.

Putting the stuff away from the pot-luck catering. The hotel pans are awkward to store so trying to figure out a good (and compact) way to store them. Also, running the smaller stuff from the food trailer through the dishwasher to get them sanitized and get the crud knocked off - glad I never ate from the previous owners.

The second coat of paint is drying on the pantry shelves - put the third and last one on tonight and start assembling the wire can racks Wednesday - Tuesday will be an all-in-town day. Vendor before noon, some shopping and a meeting at 7:00PM so dinner in town.

Coffee, store, post office and then town.

Probably pick up some Chinese for dinner tonight - love the pulled pork but four nights in a row? Time for a break.

We lost two biggies

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From the movie and television arena:

I was in my penultimate year at high school in Pittsburgh when Night of the Living Dead was released. An actual movie filmed in Pittsburgh? What an idea and it was a lot of fun to watch - recognised the locations. Single-handedly kicked off the whole zombie meme.

Another day at the farm

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Getting Buttercup the tractor ready to be loaned out - maybe the water engineer was thinking of today to pick her up. Was using her last night to clear some stuff out of the garage.

After that, I will get another coat of paint on the pantry shelves and then head in to town for a few things. Back home around 3:00PM or so and the final coat. Big difference already with just the one coat!

Just wonderful - northern lights

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A bust - we need to get a six or above to get displays at this latitude.20170716-K-index-01.gif

Doing coat 2 tomorrow

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Still a little bit tacky so waiting until tomorrow to do coat #2 - shoot for the morning and then #3 when I get back from town.

Pulled pork (and two more ears of corn) was delicious - keep forgetting just how good it is, need to make it more often.

Switching to YouTube and ripping CD's

Sir Richard Branson seems to be putting words in President Trump's mouth - from Yahoo News / The Guardian:

Trump regrets 'bizarre mistake' of Paris climate pullout, Branson claims
Donald Trump regrets the “bizarre mistake” of withdrawing the US from the Paris climate agreement, Sir Richard Branson has said. The British billionaire also urged the president to help phase out the ailing US coal industry.

Speaking in Brooklyn on Friday, the Virgin Group founder said businesses and cities were firmly behind a transition to low-carbon energy, which made Trump’s decision to exit the Paris deal “very, very strange”.

“With climate change, it’s America first and our beautiful globe last, and that seems incredibly sad,” said Branson. “I’ve got a feeling that the president is regretting what he did. Maybe his children and son in law [adviser Jared Kushner] are saying, ‘Look, I told you so.’ Hopefully there is a positive change of mind.”

The wheels are coming off the global climate scam and the progressives are trying every trick in the book to forestall the crash. For a really interesting article on this (with links to inconvenient data), cehck out the following: Research Team Slams Global Warming Data In New Report: “Not A Valid Representation Of Reality… Totally Inconsistent With Credible Temperature Data”

First coat on

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Shelves look a lot better - the original paint was fairly thin (the cheap stuff) and got worn and stained. This is a better grade of semigloss so it should be able to be wiped down easily. Doing three coats just to make sure.

Fixing some of the pulled pork for dinner - also resuming ripping my CD's - I had done a bunch of them a couple years ago but getting tired of the selection and want some new tunes. Thunderbunny (my truck) has an MP3 player integrated into the dashboard so I load up an SD card and I get a couple days of tunes. Only works with 32GB cards though so can't go too crazy.

Using the wonderful Exact Audio Copy to rip the disks along with the LAME MP3 codec (they play very well together). I use the version that is recomended by the Audacity team - I run Audacity as well and nice to have just the one codec on my hard drive. Perfect thing to multi-task at - paint a shelf or two, put in another CD and click a few buttons, go back to painting, unload some more radio stuff from the truck, lather, rinse, repeat...

Seen on Faceb**k

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Says it right there:


Look to the North this evening

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Our sun had a flare a few days ago and the CME is hitting Earth right now - the K-Index is high enough that we should be getting aurora borealis tonight.


Great video of an electrical fire when a car hit a power pole:

Shot in London, Ontario

Painting the pantry shelves - a fresh coat of white does wonders. Unloading the radio equipment from the truck - dropping some stuff in Blaine, WA on Tuesday so need the cargo space.

Pulled pork again for dinner tonight...

Coffee and then Bellingham

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The engineer has not shown up yet - said he would call me at 9:00AM and it is almost 11:00AM. Leaving the tractor keys on the seat and heading out.

Back in a few hours...

The 13th Doctor

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A teaser from the Beeb:

Hanging out at the farm today

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The engineer for our water district is coming by in a few minutes to borrow my tractor. It is time to clean one of the reservoir tanks and the road up the hill is too narrow for a truck.

Heading in to town after that to get some white paint for the pantry shelves - got a couple other projects I am working on too so it will be a busy few days.

Doing battle at the farm

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Got a bit of a mouse problem and it has been going on for some time. Started seeing mouse poop on the kitchen counters so set out three traps and caught a couple mice every evening. The pantry had not been cleaned out in a while and there were several bags of grains that had been chewed through and completely emptied - all through a little hole about a half-inch in diameter.

Got the shelves cleaned off - tossed some expired food and washed the shelves with TSP and hot water. Going to bleach it tomorrow and then put on a fresh coat of paint. Picked up some nice wire racks for storing canned goods at Amazon so installing those once the paint drives - should make things a lot easier to keep organised.

Fixing some left-over pulled pork for dinner with two ears of corn. It is now Pirate Corn as my local grocery store is selling them for $1.00 per ear. A Buck-an-ear... (rimshot) Can't wait for the local corn to come in - that is an August thing.

Now this looks interesting

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Don't have an application for it but it looks like a fun technique - wonder how it would do with continuous tone (photographs) - the examples they show are all line art.

More here: Hydro dipping

Great news from Red State:

Military Judge Gives Bowe Bergdahl A Lot Of Bad News
When Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released by the Taliban in 2014 he was feted by the Obama administration despite ample evidence that he was actually a deserter. His parent were guests at a Rose Garden ceremony with Obama, himself. Habitual and reflexive liar Susan Rice took to the Sunday shows to reprise her bravura performance after Benghazi, in this case she told a lie so monstrous that even CNN’s Jim Acosta, who never saw an Obama-related knob shoe he couldn’t polish, was shocked:

RICE: I realize there has been a lot of discussion and controversy around this. What I was referring to is the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That in itself is a very honorable thing.
ACOSTA: But ‘honor and distinction?’

Because of the omelet sizzling on the face of Obama and Rice and others, there seemed to be an initial attempt to fix the case so Bergdahl could just go away.

The case was swept under the rug and out of sight of the mainstream media thanks to Obama's influence but last week:

Last week, the military judge overseeing the trial rendered two adverse decisions. First, he decided that Bergdahl will stand trial on all charges. Most damaging, though, was his decision that if Bergdahl is convicted that the jury would be allowed to hear about the injuries suffered by an Navy SEAL and an Army NCO while specifically searching for Bergdahl.

Serious wounds to a soldier and a Navy SEAL who searched for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl can be used at the sentencing phase of his upcoming trial, a judge ruled Friday, giving prosecutors significant leverage to pursue stiff punishment against the soldier.

The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, ruled that the service members wouldn’t have wound up in the firefights that left them wounded if they hadn’t been searching for Bergdahl, so their injuries would be relevant to his sentencing if he’s convicted of misbehavior before the enemy at trial in October.

I suspect we are heading for a guilty plea and Bergdahl taking his chances with a military judge. Any court-martial panel Bergdahl draws will be composed of officers with combat tours. Bergdahl can demand that a third of his jury be composed of noncommissioned officers senior in rank to him–but he’d have to have a profoundly incompetent defense team for them to think that senior NCOs are going to be very sympathetic to his case.

Good - throw the book at the guy as a lesson to others.

Two more cases of Arkanside

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People who are troubling to the Clinton family tend to commit suicide - two more examples:

First - from the Miami Herald:

Former Haiti government official shoots himself in the head in Miami-area hotel
Klaus Eberwein, a former Haitian government official, was found dead Tuesday in a South Dade motel room in what the Miami-Dade medical examiner’s office is ruling a suicide.

“He shot himself in the head,” said Veronica Lamar, Miami-Dade medical examiner records supervisor. She listed his time of death at 12:19 p.m.


Bailly said he last spoke to Eberwein, 50, two weeks ago and he was in good spirits. They were working on opening a Muncheez restaurant in Sunrise, he said.

And this:

Eberwein was scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Haitian Senate’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the head of the commission, Sen. Evalière Beauplan confirmed. The commission is investigating the management of PetroCaribe funds, the money Haiti receives from Venezuela’s discounted oil program.

He was scheduled to testify against the Clinton Foundation - from YourNewsWire:

Eberwein, who had acknowledged his life was in danger, was a fierce critic of the Clinton Foundation’s activities in the Caribbean island, where he served as director general of the government’s economic development agency, Fonds d’assistance économique et social, for three years.

According to Eberwein, a paltry 0.6% of donations granted by international donors to the Clinton Foundation with the express purpose of directly assisting Haitians actually ended up in the hands of Haitian organizations. A further 9.6% ended up with the Haitian government. The remaining 89.8%  – or $5.4 billion – was funneled to non-Haitian organizations.

The Clinton Foundation, they are criminals, they are thieves, they are liars, they are a disgrace,” Eberwein said at a protest outside the Clinton Foundation headquarters in Manhattan last year.

Second - from Circa:

A Republican operative searching for lost Clinton emails committed suicide
Republican donor and operative Peter W. Smith committed suicide in a hotel room on May 14 in Rochester, MN near the Mayo Clinic there, according to the Rochester Police Department.

Days before his death Smith told the Wall Street Journal about his attempts to find 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's missing emails from her private server that had acquired by Russian hackers.

Smith also implied during emails and interviews with the Journal a connection between himself and President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

For more on this subject, check out the Arkancide website - lots of links.

Happy palindrome days

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Almost missed it - a couple of days in July are palindrome days. They read the same forward as they do backward.

m-dd-yy (Month, Day, Year)

  • 7-10-17 - 71017
  • 7-11-17 - 71117

up to and including 

  • 7-19-17 - 71917
  • 7-20-17 - 72017 (dang!)

Crap - RIP Maryam Mirzakhani

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From The Wire:

Maryam Mirzakhani, First Woman and Iranian to Win Fields Medal, Dies at 40
Maryam Mirzakhani, the world’s first woman as well as the first Iranian to win the Fields Medal, one of the most prestigious prizes for mathematical research, passed away on July 15 after a four-year battle with breast cancer. She was only 40. News of her death on Saturday was confirmed by her relatives. Mirzakhani is survived by her husband Jan Vondrák, a theoretical computer scientist, and their daughter.

Mirzakhani had been teaching mathematics at Stanford University. Before that, between 2004 and 2008, she had been a research fellow at the Clay Mathematics Institute, Peterborough (North Hampshire), and an assistant professor of mathematics at Princeton University, New Jersey. Mirzakhani had been awarded the Fields Medal in 2014 alongside Artur Avila, Manjul Bhargava and Martin Hairer. The citation for her medal singled out her work in “the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces”.

Her work overall dealt with such areas of mathematics as topology, dynamical systems and hyperbolic geometry (some of her papers are available to view here).

A brilliant mind taken from us too soon.

Cyberdyne Systems is hard at work

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Skynet is coming online as we speak. From Co Design:

AI Is Inventing Languages Humans Can’t Understand. Should We Stop It?
Bob: “I can can I I everything else.”

Alice: “Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to.”

To you and I, that passage looks like nonsense. But what if I told you this nonsense was the discussion of what might be the most sophisticated negotiation software on the planet? Negotiation software that had learned, and evolved, to get the best deal possible with more speed and efficiency–and perhaps, hidden nuance–than you or I ever could? Because it is.

This conversation occurred between two AI agents developed inside Facebook. At first, they were speaking to each other in plain old English. But then researchers realized they’d made a mistake in programming.

“There was no reward to sticking to English language,” says Dhruv Batra, visiting research scientist from Georgia Tech at Facebook AI Research (FAIR). As these two agents competed to get the best deal–a very effective bit of AI vs. AI dogfighting researchers have dubbed a “generative adversarial network”–neither was offered any sort of incentive for speaking as a normal person would. So they began to diverge, eventually rearranging legible words into seemingly nonsensical sentences.

An interesting article and a curious development in AI - we are now at the baby-steps stage. AI was much hyped 15 years ago but it is now coming into its own.

I'll try their products - Brandless

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Sounds like a great idea - from their About page:

Everyone deserves better.
We've created a thoughtful, irresistible selection of the food and household products you reach for every day. Searching far and wide for high-quality materials and healthy ingredients, everything that's Brandless is also bad-stuff-less and goodness‑ful.

Who says better needs to cost more?
BrandTax™ is the hidden costs you pay for a national brand. We've been trained to believe these costs increase quality, but they rarely do. We estimate the average person pays at least 40% more for products of comparable quality as ours. And sometimes up to 370% more for beauty products like face cream. We're here to eliminate BrandTax™ once and for all.

Just What Matters™
At Brandless, we put people first. That means you. We know your values are important and you look for better-for-you products in every aspect of your life. So do we! Around here we focus on “just what matters.” That starts with offering products that match your values, preferences, and at times requirements—where it matters our products are non-GMO, sometimes organic, fair trade, kosher, gluten free, no added sugar and more. It’s different for everyone.

Basically, their products are packaged in plain white boxes with zero branding - makes perfect sense for bulk staples like sugar, corn flakes, soap, etc... Forbes has a nice profile of the founders. I wish them well - like I said, a great idea and I will buy their products.

Delicious sleep

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It always feels better to sleep in when I go to bed really tired the night before. Woke up around 6:00AM and rolled over for another couple of hours - fully rested, took care of some stuff around the house (watering garden and checking stock tank for the critters. itting down to a quick surf and then out for coffee and spending some time at the store.

I need to pick up some things from town so heading in - back around 5:00PM or so.

Falling down the rabbit hole

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Here is what happens when you get so wrapped up in a narrative that you lose all grasp of reality - from Medusa Magazine:

Don’t Gender your Pets
You may think it is of no importance whether you gender your pets but why would you do such a thing to such an important member of your life? Pets cannot speak for themselves. They cannot tell you that they are being misgendered. It’s important not to make assumptions about what gender your animal is based off of its sex.

Sex and gender are separate things and are in no way intertwined. The sex of your pet is irrelevant. The only time you need to concern yourself with the sex of your pet is when you spay or neuter it (and this begs the question of whether or not we should perform operations on our pets without their consent). Animals can have diverse genders just like humans, and they can have diverse sexualities also. Sexuality and gender are separate issues also but as an example of how animals can be incredibly diverse, there are in fact gay animals and even animals capable of changing their sex.

If you love and care for your pet it is important not to misgender them. Try to give them a gender-neutral name instead and calling them gender neutral pronouns like they and them. You may be thinking “why is this important? This is just an animal?” Well it is important because typically pets are more important to their owners than just “animals.” Also, it’s an important way to practice getting rid of gender norms all together.

Christ on a Corn Dog - talk about a Word Salad of epic proportions. This author's brain is so wrapped up in their narrative and cult of identity that they have zero traction on the real world. They willfully live in a self-indulgent bubble of their own making rather then just get on with life like the rest of us. Talk about someone who went to a University and got an Indoctrination instead of an Education. It used to be that Universities taught a person how to think - now they just tell you what to think.

Forget getting fifteen minutes of fame, this in-DUH-vidual needs to be publicly mocked for fifteen minutes - it might stir them out of their cerebral malaise.

Too many of the proponents for global warming use "data" excreted from their computer models. Very few of them actually stick their heads outdoors and look at what is happening - inconvenient numbers for them if they did.

E. M. Smith has one such metric:

Mid-July & No Tomatoes
One of the first things that tipped me off to the temperature record being a bit bogus (“over adjusted” to put it kindly…) was my tomatoes. Were I live, it is marginal for many types of tomatoes. They must be consistently above 50 F at night for fruit set. When I first moved here, it was “iffy” on the tomatoes. With proper placement, some black mulch, etc. etc. you can reliably grow them. Simple “garden square” with medium sun exposure and white cement border, well, you get late tomatoes, but don’t expect to be eating any on the 4th of July.

Now IF “Global Warming” had validity, it ought to have been getting easier to grow a tomato crop each year and I ought to have been harvesting earlier. It wasn’t… So when I looked at GIStemp (the NASA GISS temperature fabrication program) I adopted the “tag line” of “GIStemp- Dumber than a Tomato!”

I got a nice crop, modestly early, about 1998 and using some Russian low temperature selected vines. Other cherry tomatoes and some heirlooms did OK that year, but mostly harvested a bit late.

Some more historical crop records and this money shot:

Now my Dad always taught me that you knew you had timed your garden well (In Iowa and Central valley California, at least) if you had fresh corn on the cob and ripe tomatoes on the 4th of July. It’s now a couple of week past that.

Not only do I NOT have any ripe tomatoes; but I have no tomato set at all. I’ve inspected the vine. Lots of flowers. Some places flowers had been but had blossom drop when fruit set failed. It is NOT a warm summer when you can’t even get fruit SET by July 4th…

Anecdotal? Yes. Can’t say what limit of fruit set temperature is for this variety? Yes. Yet any ‘special’ set temperatures are to the cold side… it is the 50 F that is the “normal” and I don’t know of any that are selected for a warmer fruit set temperature. So, IMHO, this is a valid indicator.

It just is not warmer. I’ve had about 30 years of growing tomatoes here, on and off. Maybe 40 if you count “near here” about 15 miles away a bit closer to the mountains. Had we been warming for 30 to 40 years the “just barely enough” fruit set temperatures would have turned into “reliable” by now. Instead I’ve got “complete failure to set”. There are pollinators around (at least 2 kinds of bees). Evenings have felt quite cool.

Not warming, we have been having a 19+ year cooling trend and the output of our sun is very very quiet. I would prepare for an extended period of cooling, not warming.

A very long and very fun day

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Actually very uneventful and that is just the way I like it. The medical tent had one mild case of heat stroke, a couple of small wounds (a cut and some road rash) and a couple of small sprains but outside of that, things were pretty easy. Running the radio was fun as always - I had a helper for the first two hours who was still very new to amateur radio so I handed him the mike and coached him on what to say - he did really well and will be a welcome addition to our little tribe. We were using tactical call signs instead of our FCC-assigned signs so there is an order to how you relay information in your communication.

Also, we were using a Net Control - think of a star with a center and then points radiating from the center. The center is Net Control and the points are the individual operators out in the field. This can slow things down a bit if you want to talk to another operator but it basically eliminates confusion.

  • Me: Net Control, this is Exchange Six - I have traffic for Exchange Four
  • Net Control: OK Exchange Six, switch to XYZZY channel.
  • Me: - I change channels and talk with Exchange Four then switch back to the primary channel
  • Me: Net Control, this is Exchange Six returning to the net
  • Net Control: Rodger that - this is Net Control, (their FCC callsign) standing by
  • Me: this is K3DGH (my FCC call sign) standing by

Like I said, a  little more complicated but everyone knows what is happening and there is no confusion. This was a great drill for any future emergency situation as we had over 60 radio operators in three different counties and over five different radio organizations all talking together, passing traffic and working seamlessly. We will be better prepared when the big one hits us...

Off to the races!

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Almost done loading up the truck - heading out the door. The Wake 'n Bakery opens in 20 minutes so getting my usual cuppa and then heading in to the big city to do the radio for the race. Back later this evening - looooong day!

Yummy - hagfish

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Glad I do not work for the Depoe Bay Fire Department - this was their call earlier today:

Highway 101 at milepost 131 between Otter Rock and Depoe Bay got slimed! A flatbed truck with tanks full of live hagfish rolled, spewing water and hagfish all over the highway and beyond. No injuries, fortunately!

NOTE: Post corrected at 4:22pm when we learned that what we thought were eels were hagfish. Learn more about them from the Oregon Coast Aquarium.


Now that just plain gives me the shivers...

Back home again - long meeting

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The radio group meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month so this was our regularly scheduled meeting but we also went over plans for tomorrow race. This is my third year running a radio for this leg - since the race spans two counties and 200 miles, there are over 60 ham radio operators from several groups participating so it is a nice large exercise. Good practice for when the next disaster happens - remember, it is not IF, it is WHEN.

Fixing lunch for tomorrow, having a glass or three of wine and got the alarm set for 6:30AM - minimal posting tonight and nothing until very late tomorrow - this particular leg will have me there for about ten hours.

Another busy day

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Unpacking the truck and running the cooking utensils through the dishwasher. Coffee next and then a 1:00PM meeting in town.

7:00PM ham radio group meeting and then working with the Ragnar Relay race tomorrow morning.

Minimal posting today and tomorrow.

Senator Rock?

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This could be interesting - I like everything I have heard from and about him - seems to be a regular guy. From The Wrap:

Don’t Worry, America: Kid Rock Says He’s Running for Senate From Michigan
His name is Kiiiiiiiiiiiid — err, Senator Rock?

Musician Kid Rock said Wednesday that he plans to run for U.S. Senate in 2018 in his home state of Michigan. The bid was first launched as a website, kidrockforsenate.com, which the singer just validated and shared on Twitter. He also tweeted, “I will have a major announcement in the near future.”

Rock, whose birth name is Robert Ritchie, has been suggested as a possible Republican candidate to challenge Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who was first elected in 2000.

A bit more about him:

Rock, who initially supported Ben Carson in last year’s presidential race before switching his allegiance to Donald Trump, performed last August at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Like I said, I like what I have heard about him. I would have preferred either Dr. Carson or Ted Cruz but when Trump became the leader, I switched my support. Stabenow seems to have quite the wiff of taint surounding her - here and here. Time to clean house - and Senate.

From Alec Jones and Infowars but don't hold that against this - it is great fun and you know that this is just the opening salvo in the meme-wars. Someone, somewhere is a few days from releasing one even funnier.

Back home - 50 people fed

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Had about 50 meals go out today. Pulled pork and grilled salmon. The sauces I made were a big hit - Fire (tomato/molasses/ chipotle & cayenne peppers) was an even heat with Earth (the generic tomato/brown sugar sauce).

It was at the fire station and one poor firefighter was called out twice just as he was getting his dinner. The first time he and a partner took the aid car to an incident a couple miles away. 45 minutes later, they came back and I was just dishing him some salmon when a car pulled into the fire station lot and the passenger had hurt her arm. He got his dinner eventually but it took a while.

Have an appointment in town at 1:00PM tomorrow and then a meeting at 7:00PM.

Big race on Friday - doing the radio link for one of the sections. Surf for a bit and then fall into bed. Tired.

Packing up and heading out

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Everything prepped and ready - heading out to the site to set up and be ready to sling food.

Back around 8:00PM or so...

Great idea - a public debate

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The science on climate change is not "settled" (scientific theories are never settled), the 70% consensus was a cooked number from one researcher in Australia and roundly debunked within the first week of publication. Time to air out the facts and to step away from the models that warmists seem to love so much (as their results fit their narratives as opposed to those pesky facts).

From Reuters:

EPA chief wants scientists to debate climate on TV
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in the early stages of launching a debate about climate change that could air on television – challenging scientists to prove the widespread view that global warming is a serious threat, the head of the agency said.

The move comes as the administration of President Donald Trump seeks to roll back a slew of Obama-era regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, and begins a withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement - a global pact to stem planetary warming through emissions cuts.

"There are lots of questions that have not been asked and answered (about climate change)," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.

"Who better to do that than a group of scientists... getting together and having a robust discussion for all the world to see."

Nice that this is coming on the heels of Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann's wonderful court trial where he is being held in contempt. Hide the decline indeed.

Now this is funny - Andy Serkis

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Reading President Trump's tweets as Gollum: "The FAKE NEWS media has never been so wrong. Or so DIIRRRRRRTY!"

The house smells wonderful

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Heating up the pulled pork for tonight's potluck - house smells delicious. Dropping off some for the crew at store too.

President Trump = Russia

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Anyone remember the President Clinton Asiagate scandal? From CNS News:

Remember Bill Clinton's Asiagate Scandal?
The talking heads at CNN and MSNBC are positively giddy. Aha! A Russia connection. Donald Trump Jr. met with Russians! It's best when they can find a liberal guest to say what they're thinking, and they have plenty from which to choose.

Here's a sentence of hyperbole from Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., on CNN: "I think we are seeing an unprecedented amount of contacts, personal, political and financial, that Trump, his family, his team, his business had with Russia prior to the election."

The use of the word "unprecedented" displays amnesia, or ignorance, or simply a rewrite of recent American history. Liberal journalists would like everyone to forget how then-President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee engaged in a blatant strategy to solicit illegal foreign contributions from Asian sources before the 1996 presidential election. Their contacts included Liu Chaoying, daughter of the senior commander of Red China's People's Liberation Army, who met with President Clinton.

The Washington Post reported in 1998, "Evidence gathered in federal surveillance intercepts has indicated that the Chinese government planned to increase China's influence in the U.S. political process in 1996." Doesn't that sound like a precedent?

Much more at the site - the author cites chapter and verse outlining the major aspects to the scandal as it evolved from 1996 through 2000 and then took off again with the formation of the Clinton Foundation in 2013.

Nothing new under the sun - the media only calls attention to it when it fits their agenda.

In full - too good to excerpt - from Billlls Idle Mind:

Making Crime Pay - Madison WI
The city of Madison is looking to implement a new gun buyback program that could make gun crime pay off twice.

The bounty program would specifically seek firearms that have been used to shoot into homes and vehicles or that were used in assaulting individuals, Soglin said. It would also allow informants to be paid confidentially and would not require an actual conviction to be made to receive the $1,000.

Let's say you're a reputable dealer in recreational pharmaceuticals, and your livelihood is being put at risk by some upstart who has moved his operation onto your favorite street corner. So you buy a gun from a burglar for $200, use it to reclaim your street corner, and give it to a confederate with no direct connection to your business, who then turns the "found" gun in to the cops for the $1000 bounty which he splits with you 60/40 which gives each of you $400 and covers your cost of the gun as well.

The cops are presumably happy as they have taken a crime gun off the streets, the original owner might be happy if the cops return the stolen gun to him, you and your confederate are happy, and the only unhappy person is the upstart drug dealer, but being dead, you can't really say if he's happy right now or not. A win all around, no?

Makes perfect sense to me - yet another case of passing a law that sounds good as opposed to passing a law that does good.

From Maine's Bangor Daily News:

Maine state rep suggests in Facebook rant he would harm Trump
State Rep. Scott Hamann, D-South Portland, has said he regrets a Facebook rant in which he seemed to imply he would harm President Donald Trump if given the chance.

“Trump is a half term president, at most, especially if I ever get within 10 feet of that p—-y,” Hamann wrote in a lengthy Facebook post.

A screenshot of the post, in which Hamann writes that Trump was “installed by the Russians” and seethes against the president, his supporters and Republicans more generally, was widely circulated on social media beginning Tuesday evening.

Why do so many Democracts suffer from such derangement? Mental illness? Getting their way for too long and throwing a royal tantrum when the voters finally say enough?

A fun project for August's eclipse

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Check out EclipseMob (from George Mason University) - there is not a succinct "About" entry on the website but the basic idea is that several hundred people have built kit receivers and will be monitoring two frequencies during the total solar eclipse to check propagation through the ionosphere during totality. Looks like a fun project - I will build the antenna and use my SDR to receive.


Another busy day today

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Finishing off some BBQ pulled pork for tonight's pot luck. Heading out for coffee and stopping in at the store for a while - event starts at 4:00PM with service starting at 6:00PM

I got this...

Will post some tomorrow - day doesn't get busy until around 4:00PM - have food prep in the AM but everything is staged so just a matter of heating it in the oven.

BBQ sauces done

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Got four BBQ sauces prepped for tomorrows event. I developed these when I was running the bakery in 2010 and 2011 - had a lot of fun and fed a lot of people.

These are called Earth, Water, Fire, and Air

  • Earth - traditional tomato and brown sugar.
  • Water - Eastern Seaboard cider vinegar sauce.
  • Fire - traditional but with molasses, a hint of vinegar and some smoked chipotle peppers and some cayenne.
  • Air - Appalachian mustard sauce. A lot of Germans moved into Appalachia and they love their mustard.

Came out pretty tasty and will be even better tomorrow after they sit in the fridge overnight.

The reality of the situation

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Mayor Warren Wilhelm, Jr. (oops - he changed it to Bill de Blasio) got put on notice by the policemen attending the funeral of one of their own. From Hot Air:

Hundreds Of Cops Turn Their Backs On Mayor De Blasio At Slain Officer’s Funeral
Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the funeral service of Officer Miosotis Familia who was shot to death last Wednesday by a man who targeted her simply because she was a police officer. But hundreds of police officers outside the church where the service was taking place turned their back when the Mayor spoke.

NYPD officers were upset that de Blasio left the city the day after Officer Familia was shot to speak at a G20 protest rally in Germany. As Jazz pointed out earlier today, the city funded the mayor’s trip on the grounds that opposition to President Trump is a legitimate city interest. But de Blasio’s departure meant he missed an NYPD swearing in ceremony and also a vigil held for Officer Familia. Patrick Lynch, President of the NYPD Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association criticized de Blasio on Fox and Friends this morning.

Excuse me but the mayor of a city - even the city of New York - has zero place at the G20 conference. Partisan politics has zero place at the G20 conference. It makes you look out of touch and sort of stupid. This is not the first time:

There was a similar response to de Blasio in 2015 after Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were killed while sitting in their police car. Even the NY Times is pointing out the disturbing pattern.

de Blasio does not need to learn from the rank and file - he knows better. That is why he is so fit to lead New York City. Self-centered putz.

No sign of the guy

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The farrier is very reliable - must have been something that really held him up. No phone call either.

If this were 20 years ago and I was using a dial-up internet service, it would be a case of this:

40t ;12 G⎼␋A87└└z44▒┤┌␍ze443 P┌▒└ **** oP(*YNO8QP8Ya3NO FARRIER

Looks like Rocky is not going to get his mani-pedi today...

These morons never learn - they keep doing things that SOUND good and not doing things that DO good. From guns.com:

Oregon gun confiscation bill creeps past legislature
The Oregon House gave a slim nod to gun control legislation on Thursday that would establish extreme risk protection orders, forcing subjects to surrender their firearms.

The measure, SB 719A, will allow police, or a member of a subject’s family or household, to file a petition with the court which could lead to an order prohibiting firearms possession if it is believed they pose an imminent risk to themselves or others. The bill passed the Senate 17-11 in May and the House 31-28 this week, picking up only one Republican supporter along the way.

Backers argue it could help address the number of suicides in the state, with the bill’s author, Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, crafting it after the loss of his stepson in 2016.

I feel terrible about Mr. Boquist's stepson but if guns were not available, the stepson would have found another way out. Firearms are used in 49.8% of suicides as per this 2017 report by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Next up at 26.8% is suffocation including hanging. What are you going to do there? Ban plastic bags and rope? I am having way too much fun to even contemplate suicide but if I were going to, I would reach for a firearm - quick and total destruction of the brain. Got to be painless.

And of course, as a law that sounds good but is not well thought out, there are zero checks and ballences:

Gun rights advocates with the Oregon Firearms Federation called the measure, “one of the most dangerous, hateful and mean-spirited pieces of legislation ever introduced,” noting that it provides no structure for those deemed at risk to receive help, or those dangerous to be taken into custody.

“Now a vindictive family or household member has the power to have your rights and property stolen from you simply because they chose to make an accusation against you,” said the group in a statement.

No planning, just virtue signalling. Claiming to do something when all they are doing is adding another layer of bureaucracy to an already overburdened system. Oregon - what do you expect...

Farrier fun

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He usually shows up around 4:00PM or so but it is now 6:00PM and no sign of the guy. Postponing dinner as long as we can but hungry!

Back home again - major whoops

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The dog grooming is Thursday and not today. Still, I got a lot of stuff done and this got me back home early so I can prepare for tomorrow's potluck. Thursday will work fine as I have a meeting at 7:00PM - get the critters groomed, get  abite to eat in town and then the meeting. We are doing radio for a large race that next day so the meeting will be an important one.

Work for a bit and then hamburgers for dinner. Surf later.

That moke will not be flying for a long long time - from San Jose, CA's The Mercury News:

Exclusive: SFO near miss might have triggered ‘greatest aviation disaster in history’
In what one aviation expert called a near-miss of what could have been the largest aviation disaster ever, an Air Canada pilot on Friday narrowly avoided a tragic mistake: landing on the San Francisco International Airport taxiway instead of the runway.

Sitting on Taxiway C shortly before midnight were four airplanes full of passengers and fuel awaiting permission to take off, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the “rare” incident. An air traffic controller sent the descending Air Canada Airbus 320 on a “go-around” — an unusual event where pilots must pull up and circle around to try again — before the safe landing, according to the federal agency.

FAA investigators are still trying to determine how close the Air Canada aircraft came to landing and potentially crashing into the four aircraft below, but the apparent pilot error already has the aviation industry buzzing.

“If it is true, what happened probably came close to the greatest aviation disaster in history,” said retired United Airlines Capt. Ross Aimer, CEO of Aero Consulting Experts. He said he’s been contacted by pilots from across the country about the incident.

“If you could imagine an Airbus colliding with four passenger aircraft wide bodies, full of fuel and passengers, then you can imagine how horrific this could have been,” he said.

Ho. Li. Crap. The Air Canada pilot was coming in for a landing and lined up on the taxiway instead of the runway - completely different markings and lighting. The pilot remarked on seeing some airplane lights on the ground and the controllers sent him on a go-around. Thank God!

Off to town - pups get groomed

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Taking my dogs in to the groomers. Grace is a plush coat and has just finished blowing it for the season. Having her shaved down to 1/2" - keep her cool for the summer months. Bear (the new puppy) is a flat coat so he will just be getting a mani-pedi and a shampoo.

The farrier is scheduled to come out today too so all three critters will be lookin' good tonight.

Coffee first and stop in at the store.

Good news - baby Charlie Gard

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Baby Charlie was born with a genetic disorder and will not live unless he receives an experimental treatment in the United States. His parents raised over $1.5 million but England's National Health Service (their version of government single-payer health care) is insisting that Charlie die with dignity at home. This case is really demonstrating the failure of the single-payer system plus the fact that when a single-payer system is installed, the available funding to do basic research dries up - there are no experimental treatments in England, only in America.

But, some good news from CNS News:

Judge Rules Against London Hospital--In Favor of Charlie Gard's Parents
A judge at London's High Court ruled against the hospital and in favor of the parents of baby Charlie Gard--who is suffering from a rare genetic disorder--that they may present new scientific evidence concerning their son's treatment, which will be reviewed this Thursday and could possibly lead to Charlie receiving treatment in the United States. But the outcome is still uncertain and Charlie's fate is precarious.

Charlie Gard is 10 months old. He lives on life support in the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. His genetic disorder is destructive to muscles and organs, and most people who have the problem die in infancy. The baby's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, want their son to undergo an experimental treatment, which has been helpful in some cases. An online campaign has raised more than $1.5 million for the baby's treatment.

Under the health care laws in Britain, however, the parents are not allowed to pursue this option. The hospital contends Charlie is brain-damaged and beyond medical hope, and the hospital wants to shut off his life support. This denial of the parent's desire to seek treatment for their son elsewhere led to several court rulings -- in favor of the hospital. On Monday, July 10, the judge who previously ruled against the Gards agreed to review whatever new evidence they can present to him for a reevaluation.

Iowahawk on Journalism

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So true:


Very cool geek-fu

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Receiving satellite signals from some old TV rabbit ears, a cheap (under $100) receiver and some software:

Prince Charles the buffoon

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I understand why Queen Elizabeth is hanging on to the Throne. Her son, the next in line - Prince Charles - is a barmy idiot. From this article at The Independent, Wednesday 8 July 2009:

Just 96 months to save world, says Prince Charles
Capitalism and consumerism have brought the world to the brink of economic and environmental collapse, the Prince of Wales has warned in a grandstand speech which set out his concerns for the future of the planet.

The heir to the throne told an audience of industrialists and environmentalists at St James's Palace last night that he had calculated that we have just 96 months left to save the world.

And in a searing indictment on capitalist society, Charles said we can no longer afford consumerism and that the "age of convenience" was over.

Mmmm-kay now. That was July 2009, it is now July 2017 - eight years later. Now 8 * 12 = 96. Future of the planet? No more time to save the world?

Blithering idiot. Willfully stupid. He is not fit to be King.

Good - throw the book at her

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From Philidelphia, PA's The Metro:

Philly counterprotest woman charged with allegedly striking police horse at conservative rally
A Philadelphia woman attending an ACT for America rally in Harrisburg was arrested last weekend when she allegedly struck a Pennsylvania State Police horse in the side of the neck with a flag pole.

According to police, Lisa Joy Simon, 23, was arrested on Saturday after she “used a flag pole with a silver nail at the top of the pole” to strike a police horse named Sampson in the neck at about 11:32 a.m.

Emphasis mine - heinous. Mentally ill - most of the extreme liberals are.

Not him personally but his appointees are doing the work he campaigned on - from CBS News:

Hundreds of VA officials fired since Trump's inauguration
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that more than 500 officials have been fired for misconduct since President Trump took office earlier this year, according to data posted online. (PDF file)

In an effort for more transparency and accountability within the VA, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin announced that a public list of employee "accountability actions" will be posted online and updated weekly.

The list outlines a total of 747 disciplinary actions including 526 employees who were fired since January 20. The actions affected a myriad of positons ranging from a tractor operator to VA attorneys.The list does not include employee names due to privacy reasons but does note the employee's position and VA region.

"Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we're doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent," Secretary Shulkin said in a statement.

Great news - until now, there was zero accountability. If someone royally screwed up at the VA, they would be put on administrative leave and they would then quietly show up at a different office in a different city and get back to "work" often with a pay raise for their troubles. This is the direct outcome of the law that Presidident Trump signed in June

Washington State does not have a state income tax. Instead, they have a high sales tax - starting at 6.5% for the state with more depending on the greed needs of the individual county and city in question. Bellingham is 8.7%

There have been calls to implement a state income tax but they have always been shouted down as we already get a lot of revenus from the sales tax adn if more money is needed, the state sould manage itself better.

This odious little bit of legislation just shoved its nose under the tent - from The Seattle Times:

Seattle City Council approves income tax on the wealthy
The Seattle City Council unanimously approved an income tax on wealthy residents Monday, a move widely expected to draw a quick legal challenge.

The measure applies a 2.25 percent tax on total income above $250,000 for individuals and above $500,000 for married couples filing their taxes together.

“Seattle should serve everyone, not just rich folks,” software developer Carissa Knipe told the council before the 9-0 vote, saying she makes $171,000 per year.

The problem is that this sets a prescident and it will be that much easier to have both a large sales tax and an added income tax. A bit more:

Opponents have argued the tax would violate state law and the state constitution, while proponents have said it would make Seattle’s tax structure more fair and they want to test the legality of taxing income.

Neither Washington nor any city in the state now collects an income tax. That’s partly why the state’s tax system has been called the most regressive in the country, meaning people with less money pay a much greater percentage of what they have.

The system we have is very fair - people who do not make that much money are not buying expensive items and they are not paying that sales tax. People who are wealthy are buying expensive cars, boats, houses, etc... and pay their fair share. It is a use tax and not an income tax.

From the proponents:

Under the legislation sponsored by council members Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant, money from the tax could be used by the city to lower property taxes and other regressive taxes; address homelessness; provide affordable housing, education and transit; replace federal funding lost through budget cuts; create green jobs and meet carbon-reduction goals; and administer the tax.

Of course this will happen - the city of Seattle will lower property taxes. Riiiight and I have some oceanside property in Colorado you might be interested. The pigs are flying over Seattle tonight.

Done with the project

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Got there late but worked for a couple of hours and the Store's retail space is looking wonderful this afternoon. Photos once it gets set up. A local woodworker worked on the project too - he is an amazing craftsman.

Ran in to town for some last minute items for Wednesday's pot luck. My two dogs get groomed tomorrow - I was planning to drive down to Seattle, spend the night and preview an auction but the bids are already at nosebleed level so I will sit this one out. Pot luck Wednesday, WECG meeting Thursday and spending ten hours on the air for the Ragnar Relay on Friday.

Brought home a Costco roti-chicken and cooking some bow-tie pasta for the side. Cooking the pasta al-dente, chop up some broccoli and put that in the pasta water for the last three minutes to get tender, drain and then toss over heat with loads of garlic, olive oil and fresh ground black pepper. Yummy! Making up a big batch and will take what we do not eat tomight and make a pasta salad - adding good olives, artichoke hearts, maybe some tuna fillets in oil, roasted red peppers, etc...

Crap - overslept big-time

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Set the alarm for 7:00AM - usually wake up around 8:00 - sat up in bed bolt upright at 9:30. Slept right through the alarm.

No morning coffee for this kid and just a wonderful harbinger for the rest of this week...

Time for some Tube of You

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Early morning tomorrow as we are renovating the retail section of the store. It will not be finished tomorrow, we are just hanging slatwall and doing a gorgeous live-edge wooden shelf at the base of our windows.

There were two items out of stock for Wednesday's BBQ pot luck so I will then head into town to pick them up. Got to have coleslaw to go with the BBQ and the commercial food vendor was out of shredded cabbage and I do not feel like slicing ten pounds by myself.

The people streaming into our country represent the best and the brightest of what the rest of the world has to offer. Here are just a few headlines from the last few days - the headlines are links to the actual news item:

And this is from a cursory skim of the news - about two or three incidents each and every day. Sex crimes, assault, burglary, voter fraud, shooting - like I said, their best and brightest...

Oops - James Comey

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Interesting bit of news - from The Hill:

Comey’s private memos on Trump conversations contained classified material
More than half of the memos former FBI chief James Comey wrote as personal recollections of his conversations with President Trump about the Russia investigation have been determined to contain classified information, according to interviews with officials familiar with the documents.

This revelation raises the possibility that Comey broke his own agency’s rules and ignored the same security protocol that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton for in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election.

Comey testified last month he considered the memos to be personal documents and that he shared at least one of them with a Columbia University lawyer friend. He asked that lawyer to leak information from one memo to the news media in hopes of increasing pressure to get a special prosecutor named in the Russia case after Comey was fired as FBI director.

“So you didn’t consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document?,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) asked Comey on June 8. “You considered it to be, somehow, your own personal document that you could share to the media as you wanted through a friend?”

“Correct,” Comey answered. “I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president. As a private citizen, I thought it important to get it out.”

He had to know that these leaks contained classified materials - he was the Director of the FBI after all. If he was not sure, he should have had an office lawyer check them over. The Wheels of Justice turn slowly but grind exceedingly fine.

Everyone was hyperventilating about his tweets - from Investor's Business Daily:

Trump Launched An Energy Revolution While Everyone Was Obsessing On His Tweets
Last week President Trump announced plans to make the U.S. not just energy independent, but a global energy powerhouse. Too bad everyone was hyperfocused on his tweets.

On Thursday, Trump said he was ushering in a new energy policy that marked an end to decades of fretting about an alleged "energy crisis" brought on by supposed limited domestic supplies and an insatiable demand for fossil fuels.

"We now know that was all a big, beautiful myth," Trump said in remarks at the Department of Energy. "The truth is that we have near-limitless supplies of energy in our country."

Trump had already taken several steps toward unleashing domestic energy supplies, but he announced six more that he plans to take, including reviving nuclear energy, lifting barriers to building coal plants overseas, building more energy pipelines — including one into Mexico — increased natural gas exports, and creating a new offshore-leasing program.

"The golden era of American energy is now underway," he said.

It was cheap abundant energy that lifted humanity out of the feudal middle ages. Energy has done more for absolute equality than anything else. It used to be that only the royals had books and music, now everyone can have them - just a very small example.

A short excerpt  of the 144 items from this website:

Ink, Floor Wax, Ballpoint Pens, Football Cleats, Upholstery, Sweaters, Boats, Bicycle Tires, Sports Car Bodies, Fishing lures, Dresses, Tires, Dishwasher parts, Tool Boxes, Motorcycle Helmet, Caulking, Petroleum Jelly, Transparent Tape, Faucet Washers, Antiseptics, Clothesline, Curtains, Soap, Vitamin Capsules, Antihistamines, Cortisone, Deodorant, Footballs, Putty, Life Jackets, Rubbing Alcohol, Skis, Electrician's Tape, Tool Racks, Mops, Roofing, Toilet Seats, Fishing Rods, Ice Cube Trays, Electric Blankets, Glycerin, Nylon Rope, Candles, Trash Bags, House Paint, Water Pipes, Hand Lotion, Roller Skates, Surf Boards, Shampoo, Paint Rollers, Shower Curtains, Guitar Strings, Luggage, Aspirin, Safety Glasses, Antifreeze, Football Helmets, Awnings, Eyeglasses, Clothes, Toothbrushes, Ice Chests, Footballs, Combs, CD's & DVD's, Paint Brushes, Detergents, Balloons, Sun Glasses, Tents, Heart Valves, Crayons, Parachutes, Telephones, Pillows, Dishes, Artificial limbs, Bandages, Dentures, Model Cars, Folding Doors, Hair Curlers, Cold cream, Movie film, Soft Contact lenses, Drinking Cups, Fan Belts, Car Enamel, Shaving Cream, Ammonia, Refrigerators, Golf Balls, Toothpaste

Can you guess the common denominator with all of these items? From the website again:

A partial list of products made from Petroleum (144 of 6000 items)
One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest (over half) is used to make things like:

Americans consume petroleum products at a rate of three-and-a-half gallons of oil and more than 250 cubic feet of natural gas per day each! But, as shown here petroleum is not just used for fuel.

I find it odd that there are people out there who labor under the delusion that petrolium is evil and we must stop using it. Fools!

From The Jerusalem Post:

Just a week and a half before they’re scheduled to perform at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park, English rock band Radiohead continued to battle the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. During the band’s Friday night concert at the TRNSMT Festival in Glasgow, Scotland, several activists raised Palestinian flags as well as a “Radiohead: #canceltelaviv” sign, and held demonstrations outside the venue, causing lead singer Thom Yorke to respond.

According to Consequence of Sound, prior to the band’s performance of “Myxomatosis,” Yorke reportedly exclaimed, “Some f#cking people!” while staring out into the crowd. He was also caught giving the middle finger to the flag wavers.

Great move - mock them until they go away. Those protesters have been indoctrinated with lies about the history of palistine. The real history is fascinating in that the idea of the "Nation" of palestine was a Russian KGB plot involving the first palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat who went to college at Moscow's Patrice Lumumba University for nine years. Russia feared that Israel was going to be a very strong nation and wanted to destabilize them so they could not take over the Middle East and the oil.

Some people indeed.

Worked at the store, ran a couple of errands in town and then drove up to Glacier for a burger at Graham's.

Whoops!!! Power line was down so no power. 1,074 customers affected. No problem, I went further up to Chair 9 (I know that they have a backup generator). Whoops - they were just serving pizzas and salads because they were on limited power. Cheeze does a number on my gut so that option was out. Back home thawing out some hamburger and will do some chili-mac - easy to make, tasty and lots of leftovers.

Good to see that she has (metaphorically) a pair of big brass ones - from Breitbart:

Nikki Haley: If China Does Not Stop North Korea, We Will ‘Start Looking at Trade Relations With China’
Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” when asked about North Korea recently successfully testing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially reach Alaska, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said if China did not help stop North Korea’s aggressive behavior President Donald Trump has said he would “start looking at trade relations with China.”

Haley said, “I think there are a lot of options on the table when it comes to dealing with China. The ball is in their court. They’re either going to go along with us and the rest of the international community and say, yes, we think that what North Korea did was wrong or they’re not. The president knows what all his options are. All the options are on the table, as always with President Trump. And I think we’ll handle it accordingly. Ammunition comes in multiple forms. And I think we always have to look at what those options are ahead of what the actions are going to be by China.”

She added, “I think there will be a response if they don’t go along with that. The president has made it clear that he will start looking at trade relations with China.”

Good - the Norks are not operating in a vacuum. They are strongly supported by the Chinese government and China could shut them down in a heartbeat if they wanted to. Time to make that the best option for them.

Somewhat busy day today

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Was gathering some tools and now heading out for coffee. Taking down the molding at the store - putting up some slatwall tomorrow and revamping our retail area - going to be really nice when done!

Calling it an early night - assembling the ingredients list for Wednesday's pulled pork. Someone else is doing salmon BBQ so we will eat well that night.

When I was managing the bakery in 2010 and 2011, I did pulled pork and had four sauces, Earth, Water, Fire and Air - Earth was your generic tomato/brown sugar-based sauce, Fire was the same but with molasses and a kick, Water was Carolina vinegar-based and Air was mustard based (Eastern seaboard). Looking at what I need to buy for the event.

Nothing much happening on the internet so surfing a bit, processing emails and watching YouTube.

Ran a couple of errands in town and just for shits and giggles I stopped into two boat supply dealers looking for some charts of Puget Sound, a tide table, some stuff for the electrical work (this model of boat is known to have too small a wire gauge for its electrical service - everyone who posts on the Bayliner forum has rewired theirs).

Got two books of charts for $40 each - reasonable considering that these have been printed on 11" x 17" waterproof paper and can be marked up with a pencil and subsequently erased. Nice spiral lay-flat binding too. Tide table was Captn' Jack's with 400 small pages of tide and current (most important) data for the whole area for 2017. $18 - a no brainer.

But, the electrical stuff is grossly over priced. I am in the wrong business. Circuit breakers that I can buy from a commercial electronics retail vendor for about $10 are retailing for over $30. Waterproof panels retailing for $120 that are made of $10 worth of molded ABS plastic. Right, they are engraved and have some features to them but way over priced. I own a retail store and fully understand that you need to build in a margin to keep the retail store happy but we are talking about profit margins in the nosebleed territory.

Had Mexican in town and back home for the evening. SPending tomorrow here working on stuff and then Monday rolls around...

From Jake Fuller by way of Vanderleun:


Nothing much today - coffee and in to town for some errands.

Busy week next week though. Doing some remodeling at my store on Monday. Dogs get groomed on Tuesday and I may be driving down later that evening to preview an auction (see how the bidding is going first). Second Anniversary of our local prepper group is Wednesday and there is the usual 2nd Thursday meeting of our emergency communications group and finally, on Friday, providing assistence to the Ragnar Relay race.

Whew! Today and tomorrow are the calm before the storm.

From the Give The Enough Rope playbook - NBC News:

Maine Gov. Paul LePage Suggests He Makes Up Fake Stories to Mislead Reporters
Maine's controversial Gov. Paul LePage appeared to suggest on Thursday that he makes up fake stories to mislead reporters — before adding that society would be better off without print media in general.

"I just love to sit in my office and make up ways so they'll write these stupid stories because they are just so stupid, it's awful," LePage told local radio station WGAN-AM on Thursday.

"I'm sorry, but I'd tell you the sooner the print press goes away the better society will be," he added.

LePage's office did not immediately respond to request for comment.

LePage, a Republican, also called Maine's media "vile and inaccurate" over reports earlier this week that he planned to take an out-of-state vacation during tense budget negotiations and a state government shutdown.

I love how NBC calls him "controversial" when, in fact, he was elected by a majority of Maine's citizens to administer their State. He was first elected in 2010 (inaugurated in January of 2011) and has won each election since.

"The sooner the print press goes away" - I love it and it is so true. There is a place for local media to serve news and announcements but the majority of the national print media are dying. The New York Times had to rent out eight of their floors in its spiffy new headquarters (opened in 2007) and recently laid off a bunch of editors.

Programming maxims

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One of the things to strive for in programming is the wonderfully named Principle of least astonishment - from Infogalatic:

Principle of least astonishment
The principle of least astonishment (POLA), sometimes also referred to as Principle of Least Surprise, applies to user interface and software design, from the ergonomics standpoint. It is alternatively referred to as the law or rule of least astonishment, or of least surprise. "If a necessary feature has a high astonishment factor, it may be necessary to redesign the feature." In general engineering design contexts, the principle may be taken to mean that a component of a system should behave in a manner consistent with how users of that component are likely to expect it to behave.

A textbook formulation is "People are part of the system. The design should match the user's experience, expectations, and mental models." The choice of "least surprising" behavior may depend on the expected audience, e.g. end users, programmers or system administrators.

In more practical terms, the principle aims to exploit users' pre-existing knowledge to minimize the learning curve, for instance by designing interfaces that borrow heavily from "functionally similar or analogous programs with which your users are likely to be familiar." User expectations in this respect may be closely related to a particular computing platform or tradition. For example, Unix command line programs are expected to follow certain conventions with respect to switches, and widgets of Microsoft Windows programs are expected to follow certain conventions with respect to key bindings. In more abstract settings like an API, the expectation that function or method names intuitively match their behavior is another example. This practice also involves the application of sensible defaults.

Closely related to the OhNoSecond

Great Ronald Reagan joke

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In light of President Trump having the very long and fruitful meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin here is this from President Ronald Reagan:

"...the story about the two fellows in the Soviet Union who were walking down the street and one of them says: Have we really achieved full communism? Is this it? Is this now full communism?  The other one said: Oh no, things are gonna get a lot worse."
-- Ronald Reagan

This would have been fun to watch

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Two very alpha males meeting for the first time - from the London Daily Mail:

'No, I didn't hack your election': Trump challenges Putin over meddling in first face-to-face meeting at G20 summit that went on for TWO HOURS and resulted in Syrian ceasefire deal
President Donald Trump raised the simmering issue of Russian election interference in a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin – and Putin denied it, according to secretary of state Rex Tillerson.
- - -
Tillerson, who was in the meeting, said the Russians pushed Trump for proof and evidence of a claim the president himself doubted as recently as Thursday.

'The president at this point pressed him and felt like at this point, let’s talk about how do we go forward,' Tillerson said. He said the issue may simply be an 'intractable disagreement.'

A bit more - the deep state in the US:

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Putin was behind a Moscow-backed effort to interfere in the presidential elections. 

Zero evidence for this - Fake News all over the place. The Dems could not accept the fact that they lost so badly so they went looking for an outside agent to blame.

The face-to-face meeting with Putin stretched on for more than two hours – and was quickly followed by news the U.S. and Russia had reached an agreement on a cease fire in Syria.

It was slated to last a half-hour.

After the first hour had gone by, a polite but insistent Melania Trump was sent in to try and break it up, a senior administration official told DailyMail.com.

But it was to no avail. The two leaders and their foreign ministers stayed in the room for two hours and 16 minutes.

Great - this is fantastic - they had a real meeting of the minds. Putin is not our friend - he only has Russia's interests at heart but he understands leadership and recognises that President Trump is as much a leader as he is and is giving him ever measure of respect.

Good times ahead for everyone.

This is interesting to see how this story is being reported

First, from the New York Times:

Hackers Are Targeting Nuclear Facilities, Homeland Security Dept. and F.B.I. Say
Since May, hackers have been penetrating the computer networks of companies that operate nuclear power stations and other energy facilities, as well as manufacturing plants in the United States and other countries.

Among the companies targeted was the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, which runs a nuclear power plant near Burlington, Kan., according to security consultants and an urgent joint report issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week.

Were any systems compromised? Any damage? No? End of story. Case in point:

In a joint statement with the F.B.I., a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said, “There is no indication of a threat to public safety, as any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks.”

How did they do this?

Hackers wrote highly targeted email messages containing fake résumés for control engineering jobs and sent them to the senior industrial control engineers who maintain broad access to critical industrial control systems, the government report said.

The fake résumés were Microsoft Word documents that were laced with malicious code. Once the recipients clicked on those documents, attackers could steal their credentials and proceed to other machines on a network.

This was a Word Macro attack - this threat has been around for a long long time with the first instance being the Melissa virus in 1999 - they entered the public awareness in 2006.

Second is from Bloomberg. They do Fake News and go full Russian on the story:

Russians Are Suspects in Nuclear Site Hackings, Sources Say
Hackers working for a foreign government recently breached at least a dozen U.S. power plants, including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, according to current and former U.S. officials, sparking concerns the attackers were searching for vulnerabilities in the electrical grid.


The chief suspect is Russia, according to three people familiar with the continuing effort to eject the hackers from the computer networks. One of those networks belongs to an aging nuclear generating facility known as Wolf Creek -- owned by Westar Energy Inc., Great Plains Energy Inc. and Kansas Electric Power Cooperative Inc. -- on a lake shore near Burlington, Kansas.

The possibility of a Russia connection is particularly worrisome, former and current officials say, because Russian hackers have previously taken down parts of the electrical grid in Ukraine and appear to be testing increasingly advanced tools to disrupt power supplies.

Completely unfounded - the authors - Michael Riley , Jennifer A Dlouhy , and Bryan Gruley - are running on speculation here as the original report does not mention Russia or any other nation as being suspects, it merely factually describes the attempt. In addition, the "aging nuclear generating facility known as Wolf Creek" is in top operating condition. It first came online in 1985, 31 years ago. These reactors have a fifty year design life so it is only middle-aged, not aging. More about the plant here: Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation.

Bloomberg = Fake News. So sad.

Slept in this morning - heading out for coffee, stop in at the post office, the store and then back home for a bit. Picking up the boat in about three hours.

Photos when I get back.

Another reason to shop at Lowe's

If this previous story was not bad enough - this just takes the cake. From Bored Panda:

Employee Saves Child From Kidnapper, Instead Of Promotion Gets This Letter Saying He’s Fired
This guy from Portland, Oregon just lost his job at Home Depot for violating company policy, which doesn’t sound like such a big deal until you realize that the reason he broke the rules was because he was stopping a child from getting kidnapped!

“At the time, the only thing I was thinking about was the child’s safety,” said 32-year-old Dillon Reagan, who had worked at the Mall 205 store for four years before he was bizarrely dismissed for his heroics. “I stepped outside and sure enough, there’s this lady who’s frantic and crying, ‘Somebody help me please! He’s stealing my kid, he’s kidnapping my child!’”

Reagan and a colleague called the police and then, on the advice of the dispatcher, they followed the man on foot until the police arrived. After giving their statements, Reagan said they returned to the store around 10 minutes later, but the next day he was surprised when his supervisor scolded him for “doing the wrong thing.” A month later the company fired him for breaking the company’s safety policy, and even though they’ve since reversed their decision (possibly in light of media attention), Reagan says he isn’t sure if he wants to reclaim his job given the unfair treatment he’s received. What would you do? Let us know in the comments below. (h/t: KGW)

Someone needs to get their head out of their ass and start treating their customers and their employees like human beings. Story number one was just a bad manager. Following up with a second story indicates a sick corporate culture. Heads need to roll. I was in Lowe's just today getting some paint. Not shopping at Home Depot until I hear a profound and sincere apology.

More CNN memes

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These are fun - perfect way to mock the purveyors of Fake News:

And the labor unions but I repeat myself. Minimum wage was never intended to be a living wage. The very idea that it was minimum is supposed to provide an incentive to the worker to acquire skills that are of value to the employer and thereby get paid more because they are worth more.

Looks like some politicians are seeing the light - from the New York Daily News:

Missouri set to reduce St. Louis minimum wage from $10 to $7.70
Missouri’s governor will allow a bill to pass that rolls back St. Louis’ minimum wage from $10 back to $7.70, the standard across the state.

Gov. Eric Greitens announced that he won’t sign a bill that blocks cities and counties from setting their own minimum wage, enforcing the Missouri standard statewide.

A lot of labor union contracts peg the workers wages at some multiple of the minimum wage. Petitioning for an increase of the minimum wage slipstreams a nice fat raise into the rank and file which means more sweet $$$ for the union dues funding the bureaucracy. This is why you see so many union signs at the demonstrations. The minimum wage grunts are not union but their getting a raise puts gold into the union management coffers.

Back home again - successful trip

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Drove about 270 miles today from home to Lynnwood, to Bellingham and back home again. Picked up some stuff I needed from the Costco business center, visited Ed's Surplus (great place) and TAP Plastics (a disapointment - the Seattle store had a huge selection while this one had just some basic sheet and tube stock and some fiberglass supplies).

Decompressing over a beer and doing tacos for dinner tonight again - good stuff.

While I was in Costco, I was walking down an aisle and there was a man and a woman walking ahead of me. The man had some kind of harness and there was a backplate with MOLLE webbing on it. It looked like an armor plate carrier and I wondered who this guy was. I sped up a bit and saw that they had a newborn and said newborn was ensconced in a tactical baby carrier. Too frickin' cute!

It was something like this from these people: Mission Critical


From The Atlantic:

Power Causes Brain Damage
If power were a prescription drug, it would come with a long list of known side effects. It can intoxicate. It can corrupt. It can even make Henry Kissinger believe that he’s sexually magnetic. But can it cause brain damage?

When various lawmakers lit into John Stumpf at a congressional hearing last fall, each seemed to find a fresh way to flay the now-former CEO of Wells Fargo for failing to stop some 5,000 employees from setting up phony accounts for customers. But it was Stumpf’s performance that stood out. Here was a man who had risen to the top of the world’s most valuable bank, yet he seemed utterly unable to read a room. Although he apologized, he didn’t appear chastened or remorseful. Nor did he seem defiant or smug or even insincere. He looked disoriented, like a jet-lagged space traveler just arrived from Planet Stumpf, where deference to him is a natural law and 5,000 a commendably small number. Even the most direct barbs — “You have got to be kidding me” (Sean Duffy of Wisconsin); “I can’t believe some of what I’m hearing here” (Gregory Meeks of New York)—failed to shake him awake.

What was going through Stumpf’s head? New research suggests that the better question may be: What wasn’t going through it?

A lot more at the site with links to several research projects - this would go a long way to explain people like Chris Christie, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, etc... Heh - even man-bear-pig suffers greatly from this.

Points South

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Heading down to Lynwood this morning - picking up a few things at the Costco business center as well as an initial visit to TAP Plastics and an Army Surplus store I saw down there on a previous visit.

Back sometime around 4:00PM

Shooting the Anvil

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This is a long-standing blacksmith tradition only this time, one of the anvils had its base milled out to take a full pound of black powder:

This is from Essential Craftsman - one of my favorite YouTube channels. The guy doesn't post often but they are always well worth watching.

I love it - going to have to steal this design for the farm - the audio right at the end (the logo) is a bit loud.

Colin Kaepernick was in the news for refusing to stand for the National Anthem before a game. Now this - from The Gateway Pundit:

Colin Kaepernick Travels ‘Home’ to Ghana to Trash US on Independence Day
The former NFL quarterback, who no one wants to pick up this year for some reason, tweeted out his disgust for America on Independence Day.

Kaepernick: “How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs? To find my independence I went home.”

Kaepernick released this video on Independence Day. It has over 53,000 likes.

Kaepernick made headlines last year when he attacked police officers, trashed America and praised Marxist tyrant Fidel Castro.

Maybe we should all give Kaepernick a bit of slack - he came from a messed up home environment. From InfoGalactic:

Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Heidi Russo, a 19-year-old woman who was single and destitute at the time. His birth father, an African American, was out of the picture before he was born. Russo placed her son for adoption with Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, a white couple who had two children—son Kyle and daughter Devon—and were looking for a boy after having lost two other sons to heart defects. Kaepernick became the youngest of their three children.

White teenage mom, black baby-daddy who ran away before he was born. Adopted into a loving white family, raised Christian and still practicing. Just not that strong a player and with his anti-American rhetoric, it is no wonder that no major team wants him on their side. At least he hasn't turned Muslim like some of the other disaffected blacks. That would be the ultimate irony as it was the Muslims that sold the blacks into slavery in the first place.

Another video released - CNN

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James O'Keefe just released another undercover video of executives at CNN - from his Project Veritas:

American Pravda Follow-Up: CNN Producer Doubles Down on "Stupid as Sh*t" Comments About Voters
A follow-up to Project Veritas' American Pravda: CNN video again exposes Jimmy Carr, the Associate Producer for CNN's New Day saying he doesn't think he "said anything wrong."

Carr was recently featured in Project Veritas' American Pravda: CNN video series, stating that CNN thinks Trump is "f*cking crazy," that Kellyanne Conway looks like she was "hit with a shovel,' and that the American voters are "stupid as sh*t."

After seeing the first and second Project Veritas video which exposed CNN employees admitting the Russia narrative was "bullsh*t" and a "nothing burger," Carr says he "had a moment of panic." He elaborates:

"[W]e're all going holy sh*t, how is this guy so stupid, he's talking to everyone and telling... Saying X, Y, Z about CNN. Then I went... Well, I talked to a couple of guys at a bar on Friday afternoon and I said things that we wouldn't normally say..."

Heh - this is what our elites think of us. Let us show them a thing or two - emailing their advertisers would be one way. Also, just stop watching. FOX News is already doing much better in the ratings than CNN - there is a reason for this.

Fun times at the Vatican

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Sounds like Pope Francis has some house-cleaning to do - from England's The Sun:

ROMAN ORGY Vatican police ‘broke up gay orgy in leading cardinal’s apartment owned by the church’s sexual abuse taskforce’
THE Vatican police reportedly broke up a gay orgy in an apartment belonging to the department charged with tackling sexual abuse within the church.

The occupant of the flat – in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – is said to be a secretary of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio – a key adviser to the Pope.

The cardinal is reported to have recommended his aide at one stage for promotion to the rank of bishop.

However, those career plans are likely to be disrupted by news of the orgy and by a period spent recovering from a drug overdose in a Rome hospital and another in an Italian monastery.

The shocking allegations – in Il Fatto Quotidiano – come just a week after Australian Cardinal George Pell was charged with a string of historic sexual offences in his homeland piling pressure on the Pope.

This is the antithesis of spreading God's love. Sounds like some people have been enjoying a very self-indulgent lifestyle and needs to have a Come To Jesus moment. Priests do take a vow of poverty and celebacy - let's enforce this.

A good weekend - border patrol

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From The Daily Caller:

Border Patrol Captures 13 Fugitives, Seizes $5.2 Million In Drugs Over July 4 Weekend
Border Patrol agents over the Fourth of July weekend seized $5.2 million worth of narcotics and captured 13 fugitives along the California border with Mexico.

More than 300 pounds of methamphetamine, 223 pounds of cocaine, 45 pounds of heroine and other narcotics were seized by Border Patrol agents from Friday through Sunday, according to a press release issued Monday night by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Great news - these are not legitimate immigrants. They do not have America's interests at heart.

Long day but back home

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Had to go into town for some banking, picking up two dozen packages of hot dog buns (we were sold out at the store) and some stuff from the hardware store.

Picking up the boat on Friday so needed to get the cash to pay the current owner. Looking forward to this winter's project - the engine is damaged, I know that, but the rest of the hull and cabin is in decent shape and the trailer is worth $1,800 by itself. The hull was hand laid instead of chop-gunned so a lot more solid construction. Not fast but very seaworthy - my kind of rig exactly.

Fixing up last night's steak as tacos for tonight's dinner - cooking the meat in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes with a tub of salsa, some dehydrated garlic and onion and half of a small can of chipotle peppers. Works great - fall-apart tender.

My cat Koshka has been slacking off and there has been mouse poop in the kitchen. Set out my two rat zappers last night and woke up to 2 for 2. Picked up a 3rd unit today and have that one in the pantry.

Now that was a lot of fun!

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Got there around 9:45 or so and the fireworks ran for about an hour with some wonderful displays. I do not know what the contributions were this year but they certainly seemed to have a bigger budget. Very family friendly with lots of kids running around - one little girl (about 3 or 4yo.) had fairy wings and lighted shoes - cute as a bug.

We arrived home dusted with fine ash and pieces of paper mache and smelling of gunpowder.

Surf some YouTube and head to bed.

Ka Boom

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Heading out to watch the fireworks - every year, a couple people put out collection bins in the various local businesses and on the afternoon of the 4th, they go around to the various fireworks stands and offer to buy their remaining inventory at a steep discount. The end result is a very nice 45+ minute display with much merriment and spectacularly close detonations.

Starting to get dark so heading out the door in a few minutes.

Fireworks and drones - XKCD

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Heh - from Randall Munroe at XKCD:

4th of July

Fun website - text to speech

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Type in some text and you can then download an MP3 file with that text converted to speech.

Check out From Text To Speech

The original National Space Council was formed during the Reagan years and was lacklusterly carried forward by Bush1 and subsequently killed off by Clinton - it's back again. From the New York Post:

Trump signs executive order reviving National Space Council
President Trump will form a National Space Council to enhance America’s leadership in space exploration.

The president signed an executive order Friday to revive the council, which was last active
in 1993.

“Today’s announcement sends a clear signal to the world that we are restoring America’s proud legacy of leadership in space,” he said.

“Our journey into space will not make us stronger and more prosperous but will unite us behind grand ambitions and bring us all closer together. Wouldn’t that be nice? Can you believe space is going to do that? I thought politics was going to do that,” he added, as the room erupted in laughter.

Think that SpaceX's reusable rocket boosters are cutting edge engineering? The Douglas DC/X was built under budget and ahead of schedule and did ten sucessful flights. It was not just a booster that could be recovered, it was an entire single-stage-to-orbit rocket ship. This was about 25 years ago.

Glad that we are finally picking up where we left off.

She thought it would be funny to hold up a prop looking like the decapitated head of President Trump. Other people did not think so - from the Independent Journal Review:

Federal Agents Just Paid a Visit to Kathy Griffin — And Grilled Her for Over an Hour
When Kathy Griffin posed for a photoshoot holding a fake decapitated, bloody head of President Donald Trump in June, she likely didn’t think about the wide-reaching implications of her so-called “joke.”

While her controversial stunt resulted in some serious professional consequences, it also earned her a lengthy visit from the U.S. Secret Service.

Secret Service agents reportedly tracked down Griffin and interviewed her in person for more than an hour. Further, the investigation into the bloody head debacle remains open.

Actions have consequences.

Anderson Power Pole

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Ham radio operators use these connectors for 12 volt wiring. Really nice, a positive connection and the connector is hermaphroditic - they serve both as plug and socket so you only need one style of contact and one style of housing.

I was wiring some of them today to add a 12 volt connection to Buttercup the Tractor (for running a sprayer) and looked into the history of the company. Fascinating - they were founded in 1877

From Anderson Power Products:

Anderson Power Products began when the company converted an old brewery in downtown Boston into a foundry. One of the first projects was to cast various parts for the Boston Trolley Transit System. Product development and inventions such as the trolley pole, invented by Johan M. Anderson in 1890, put us on the map. The trolley pole was used in the overhead system of electric railways, providing a simple compact, efficient and durable supporting mechanism. APP received multiple awards for the Anderson brothers’ innovative trolley and railway designs.

There is another company whose products I use for grounding - ERICO - they are also an old company with a long history:

In 1903, the Electric Railway Improvement Company (ERICO) was created to supply power bonds, signal bonds and related welding equipment to railroads, mining and street railway industries. And for the next 112 years, the company expanded and flourished by adding capabilities and brands relevant to their core business as well as by promoting growth with forays into some new business arenas.

Five years ago today - San Diego

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Lazy day

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Puttering around the farm today working on a couple of small projects. Doing tri-tip steak for dinner tonight with baked potato and corn (frozen kernals - no local fresh yet).

Planning a trip in to town tomorrow - need to get some dry ice and do a deep defrost of the fridge again. Less than two months ago, it iced up so badly that the refrigeration side stopped working and I had to do a 48-hour defrost cycle to fix it. I remember when household appliances used to just work forever. The unit in question is a Kitchen Aid - they are supposed to have decent build-quality. I bought that brand because I wanted to get something that would last.

From Michigan's MLive.com:

Man tries to use fireworks to take out bees' nest, burns garage down instead
A Grand Blanc-area garage was reduced to a pile of ashes this evening after a homeowner attempted to use fireworks to remove a bees' nest from the building, fire officials said.

Fireworks shot into the sky from the burning garage on Monday, July 3, as crews from Grand Blanc, Burton and Mundy Township arrived at the scene on the 6000 block of Grove Avenue in Grand Blanc Township.

"The homeowner was doing something with a smoke bomb trying to get a bees nest out of the garage," said Grand Blanc Fire Chief, Bob Burdette.

No one was injured and the fire was contained to the garage and a neighboring fence, sparing the home on the property, officials at the scene said.

Should have called his county extension office and asked for names of a couple local beekeepers. They would love to rescue a swarm - more bees for them.

You have different levels of competency at different stores so this story may be an isolated instance but still...
From Quora:

How do Lowe's and Home Depot differ?
I have a fresh and steamy story to tell you about which is better.

I have a week off of work and I've been bored around the house so I decided to build a fence partitioning my backyard, with one half being a giant garden. This project was going to cost me around $1,500-$2,000 and I was going to get my supplies at the local Home Depot in Puyallup, Wa.

Jacob proceeds to tell his story - it does not end well:

Manager: “I don't care who loaded them for you or who said it was okay. I'm the manager and I say that you can't buy these.”

Me: “Look. I've loaded about $2,000 of stuff onto these pallets and I'm willing to pay the $15 for them. It was a hassle putting all of this stuff on them. What do you expect me to do?”

Manager: “Unload your items and return the pallets to Recieving.”

Me: (after about 10 seconds of staring into this kid’s soul) “You can kiss my fucking ass.”

And I walked out, vowing never to shop at Home Depot ever again.

Right behind Home Depot is a Lowes, which I've never shopped at.

The first thing I see INSTANTLY makes me a lifelong customer there:


And the shopping experience?

So, I park in this amazing spot and ask to see the manager before anything else so I can see if the pallets will be a hassle. She laughs and tells me that she'd be dumb not to GIVE me 3 pallets for all of that stuff and I continue to have an amazing shopping experience. That and what would have cost me $2,000 at Home Depot cost me $1,154.73 at Lowes.

So again, Home Depot can kiss my fucking ass.

Save money, more fun shopping and Lowe's takes care of our Veterans - talk about win/win.

We have both stores in Bellingham - Home Depot has a better selection of tools and hardware but Lowe's has a better selection of everything else and I like the people there.

A nice distinction by Niall Ferguson at Hot Air:

“Your Worst Nightmare: A Successful Donald Trump Presidency”
But politics, after all, is often a battle of perceptions. Niall Ferguson, a British historian and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California, said in May: “I think one of the things Guardian readers, and their counterparts on the American coasts, don’t want to think about is the possibility that despite his obvious ineptitude, Trump might actually be successful.

“I said last summer to a bunch of liberal friends, ‘Your worst nightmare is not a Trump presidency; it’s a successful Trump presidency.’ The successful Trump presidency scenario is one in which, despite it all, the economy does better thanks to deregulation and tax cuts, foreign policy delivers some big wins on North Korea, the Middle East.

“It doesn’t take an awful lot for a president to start looking good. If the expectations start really low, which they have done, it may be one win, and I definitely don’t rule out a kind of ‘success in spite of himself’ scenario. And then you begin to wonder if a left-of-Clinton Democrat in 2020 would be blown away. We’ll see. The fun thing about doing history is you really can’t tell at this point which way it will go. It could quite easily go Jimmy Carter and he could be a lame duck.”


Happy Independence Day

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The day that we declared our independence from government tyranny and non-representation.

Spending the day at home (after coffee and store of course). Later, we are cooking a steak and heading out to the town of Glacier to watch fireworks.

India building a breeder reactor

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Different from the LFTR that I like but still a great thing. From Power Technology:

India set to commission nuclear reactor in Tamil Nadu this year
India plans to commission its first fast breeder reactor (FBR) by the end of this year at Kalpakkam in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Making India the second country worldwide to commercially produce power through a fast-breeder reactor, the unit is claimed to be “ultra-modern, indigenously designed, and locally mastered', reported Press Trust of India.

Russia owns the other commercially run FBR, the Beloyarsk Nuclear Plant. Countries such as the US, France, and Japan have also experimented with fast breeder technology programmes.

India’s Prototype Fast Breed Reactor will produce 500MW of power. FBRs are claimed to generate more nuclear power than they consume.

They can also burn the leftover nuclear waste from conventional uranium reactors. Win/win. These designs use liquid sodium for coolant meaning that they operate at normal air pressure - no pressure vessel needed. Being walk-away safe is also a nice feature.

Way to go - New Jersey

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Major props to the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness - just declared Antifa to be a terrorist organization:

Anarchist Extremists: Antifa
Anti-fascist groups, or “Antifa,” are a subset of the anarchist movement and focus on issues involving racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism, as well as other perceived injustices.

    • Self-described Antifa groups have been established across the United States and in several major cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco. A majority of New Jersey-based anarchist groups are affiliated with the Antifa movement and are opposed to “fascism,” racism, and law enforcement. Antifa groups coordinate regionally and have participated in protests in New York City and Philadelphia. There are three loosely organized chapters in New Jersey, known as the North Jersey Antifa, the South Jersey Antifa, and the HubCity Antifa New Brunswick (Middlesex County).
    • In December 2016, a group known as the Antifascist Action-Nebraska engaged in a doxing campaign against a prominent member of American Vanguard, a white supremacist organization. The group published his personal information on several social media platforms and posted fliers on the University of Nebraska Omaha campus, calling for his expulsion.
    • On March 28, a small fight occurred between Antifa members and supporters of the US President during a rally in Seaside Heights (Ocean County).  Because of advance publicity about the event on social media, local and state law enforcement officers were able to keep altercations to a minimum.

More at the site - Oregon and Washington need to do this. Getting out of hand here.

Socialism in the news

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Single-payer health care is just another manifestation of socialism - big central government in control of every aspect of our lives. From Eileen F. Toplansky writing at American Thinker:

The Death Spiral of Socialism
The total abrogation of personal autonomy for the parents of baby Charlie Gard as courts in the United Kingdom and in Europe simultaneously and arbitrarily decided what his parents can and cannot do for their extremely ill child is another symptom of the chilling or, should I say, killing world of socialism.

In his 2004 collection of readings for the humanities titled Being Human, editor Leon Kass writes about Russian dissident Vladimir Bukovsky who was held in the USSR as a political prisoner from 1963 until his release in 1976. Kass writes that "Bukovsky reflects on the 'soul of man under socialism,' this 'new type of man' who is subject to totalitarian rule." Bukovsky ponders what it "means to retain one's human dignity as a citizen of a state" when socialists demand a dream of universal equality while ensuring the "suppression and ultimate destruction of the individual, in body and in spirit."

And while the pervasive rallying cry of socialists is “equality,” Bukovsky writes that "the defining characteristics of a socialist regime is that 'the individual may not possess the least inalienable right' and that the system requires 'slaves, not conscious citizens.'"

Thus, "the regime is immovable, infallible, and intransigent, and the entire world is left with no choice but to accommodate itself to this fact."

And she brings up the point I have been makling all along:

In fact, "socialized medicine's killing isn't just about money, but power." As Daniel Greenfield explains, "it would have cost the NHS less to allow his parents to take Charlie to America" but this would have sent the "message that socialized medicine is flawed." It would expose the horrible underbelly of the socialist regime.

More at the site - required reading for anyone contemplating single-payer.

Saving our money

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President Trump shows that he knows how to run an organization - from The Daily Caller:

Trumps Spend $5 Million Less Than Obamas On White House Salaries
An analysis of White House salary data reveals that President Donald Trump’s administration is spending $5 million less of taxpayer money on his staff than his predecessor.

Trump employs 377 people at the White House, with a total of $35.8 million, while former President Barack Obama paid $40.9 million for 476 employees in 2015, according to data analyzed by Open The Books.

Another key difference between the Obama and Trump White House is the first lady’s staff. Michelle Obama retained 24 staffers in the first year of the Obama White House. Melania Trump currently employs four — a chief of staff who is also listed as adviser to the president, a deputy chief of staff, a communications director, and a scheduler.

“Projected four-year savings on the White House payroll could top $22 million,”  Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of Open The Books, writes for Forbes. Those projected savings include Trump’s promise to accept one dollar in salary and give the remainder back to the U.S. Treasury.

He is doing what he said he would. Nice to have that happen for a change.

Do not use gasoline as an accelerant:

Diesel fuel is much better - low vapor pressure so it starts calmly. Don't ask me how I know this...

President Trump was right - the Paris Climate Accord is nothing. It is just a bunch of brain-dead virtue signaling and a financial shakedown of large nations by non-governmental organizations. Nobody is going to give up their cheap energy - it seems that Coal is having quite the renaissance. From the New York Times:

As Beijing Joins Climate Fight, Chinese Companies Build Coal Plants
When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, even as President Trump vowed to “bring back coal” in America, the contrast seemed to confirm Beijing’s new role as a leader in the fight against climate change.

But new data on the world’s biggest developers of coal-fired power plants paints a very different picture: China’s energy companies will make up nearly half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade.

These Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal, according to tallies compiled by Urgewald, an environmental group based in Berlin. Many of the plants are in China, but by capacity, roughly a fifth of these new coal power stations are in other countries.

Over all, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, according to Urgewald’s tally, which uses data from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. The new plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent.

A bunch more at the site - renewables are all well and good but they do not provide baseload power to the grid - they are too variable. Coal will be fine until we get thorium nuclear power. Fusion is a nice idea but commercial production has been just 30 years 'round the corner for the last 60 years.

Single-payer health care - Canada

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Single payer does not work. There is no competition so costs escalate. When the costs get too high, rationing happens. When rationing happens, delays occur. From Canada's Frasier Institute:

Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2016 Report
Waiting for treatment has become a defining characteristic of Canadian health care. In order to document the lengthy queues for visits to specialists and for diagnostic and surgical procedures in the country, the Fraser Institute has—for over two decades—surveyed specialist physicians across 12 specialties and 10 provinces.

This edition of Waiting Your Turn indicates that, overall, waiting times for medically necessary treatment have increased since last year. Specialist physicians surveyed report a median waiting time of 20.0 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment—longer than the wait of 18.3 weeks reported in 2015. This year’s wait time—the longest ever recorded in this survey’s history—is 115% longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks.

There is a great deal of variation in the total waiting time faced by patients across the provinces. Ontario reports the shortest total wait (15.6 weeks), while New Brunswick reports the longest (38.8 weeks). There is also a great deal of variation among specialties. Patients wait longest between a GP referral and Neurosurgery (46.9 weeks), while those waiting for Medical oncology begin treatment in 3.7 weeks.

The full report can be found here (PDF). No wonder so many Canadians come down here for healthcare.

Bad taste and then he lies about it - from New Jersey's NJ.COM:

PHOTOS: Christie, family soak up sun on N.J. beach he closed to public
People hoping to visit Island Beach State Park this holiday weekend were not allowed in because of the state government shutdown Gov. Chris Christie ordered amid the state budget standoff in Trenton. 

But there was one family there: Christie's. They are using the summer beach house provided by the state for a weekend down the Shore.

And here are exclusive aerial photos by NJ Advance Media showing Christie surrounded by wife, Mary Pat Christie, and others. (You can open the photo gallery here to see all the photos.)

And the lie:

At that news conference, Christie was asked if he got any sun Sunday.

"I didn't," he said. "I didn't get any sun today."

When later told of the photo, Brian Murray, the governor's spokesman, said: "Yes, the governor was on the beach briefly today talking to his wife and family before heading into the office."

"He did not get any sun," Murray added. "He had a baseball hat on."

Wearing a baseball hat. Indeed. This is how not to do leadership.

From The Vinyl Factory:

One of electronic music history’s rarest synths has been rediscovered
A one-off synthesizer made by Peter Zinovieff’s Electronic Music Studios (EMS) in 1971 has been rediscovered by UK company Digitana Electronics.

Only one prototype of the EMS Synthi KB1 was made, for prog rock band Yes. It’s not clear how it relates to the more famous EMS Synthi A, but it appears to be a portable keyboard version of the synth.

“The synth never went into production,” Digitana said on Facebook. “It has remained essentially unused for 46 years, though Steve Howe (Yes guitarist) did use it on a track in the first of his ‘homebrew’ demo recordings, some of which featured on the band’s albums.”

Digitana Electronics, which builds custom interface modules for EMS’s Synthi A, AKS and VCS3 synths, has acquired the synth, and plans to release more photos and audio demos documenting the synth in the near future.

Not a big fan of the EMS designs but it is a fascinating bit of history - one of the more curious backwaters of Electronic Music design.

Back home again - boat

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Back home again. I had been emailing someone who had a 21' Bayliner boat for sale and looked at it today. The engine is blown - salt water damage - so they were selling it for $4,000 complete with trailer. The rest of the boat is really solid so I went ahead and shook on the deal. Rebuilding the engine will be a fun winter's project. Perfect size for potting about the San Juan islands and Salish Sea - when living in Seattle, I had several sailboats so it will be good to get back on the water again.

If I can find a small outboard engine, it will be perfect for Silver Lake too (County parks require 10 horsepower or less).

A couple of days ago, I posted about baby Charlie in England where their single-payer healthcare system's Doctors sugested that he should be able to ‘die with dignity’ even though his parents had raised £1.4million so he could come to America and try some experimental treatments.

Today, our President weighed in - from The Hill:

Trump offers help for critically ill British child
President Trump on Monday offered to help a critically ill British child who has become a flashpoint in the U.K. debate over whether the government should have a say in individual matters pertaining to life and death.

Trump tweeted his support for Charlie Gard, a 10-month-old infant on life support due to complications from a mitochondrial disease. The controversy around Gard has engulfed the Vatican, which infuriated some on the right by not immediately siding entirely with the parents, who want to seek experimental medication in the U.S. or bring their child home to die.

“If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so,” Trump tweeted.

This is leadership - plain and simple. A refreshing change.

Off to town - coffee and such

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Quick run into town today.

Bill Whittle - Media Bias

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Great video showing what media bias can accomplish:

Laurel and Hardy - Big Business

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Great comedy from the masters - Organist Justin LaVoie accompanies the Laurel and Hardy 1929 comedy movie Big Business during the Festival of Silent Comedies organized by the American Organ Institute at the University of Oklahoma, March 4-5, 2016. This is a live performance.

The American Organ Institute not only teaches all kinds of organ performance, they also teach building and restoration. I have always been fascinated by pipe organs - built one as a teenager and worked for an organ builder before entering college. This would have been a great place to go to school. Other things called to me though and I am very happy where I am now.

From The Seattle Times:

How tax cuts for business showed up — quietly — in state budget as homeowner taxes increased
With little notice, a major tax cut for manufacturing businesses in Washington state was inserted into the state budget deal in the waning hours of all-night negotiations last week.

Under the measure approved by the Legislature on Friday, business-and-occupation (B&O) tax rates for manufacturers will be reduced 40 percent over four years, starting in 2019.

By 2022, manufacturers will be taxed at the lower rate that lawmakers gave to Boeing and other aerospace companies in 2003 and later extended as part of a record-setting $8.7 billion tax-break package.

The move came even as lawmakers raised state property taxes as part of a plan to boost state public-school funding by $7.3 billion over the next four years.

The cry to raise school funding reminds me of this graph from CATO Institute - and yes, it is adjusted for inflation:


It comes from page two of this PDF report: State Education Trends - Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years

Happy 23rd birthday - FreeDOS

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A few days late but still worth celebrating - from the FreeDOS blog:

Happy 23rd birthday to FreeDOS!
Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, I was a big DOS user. I used DOS for everything: writing papers for class, doing lab analysis, dialing into the campus computer lab. I loved the DOS command line. I considered myself something of a DOS "power user" at the time, and I even wrote my own utilities to expand the MS-DOS command line.

So I was a bit irritated in 1994 when Microsoft announced, by way of doing interviews with tech magazines of the time, that MS-DOS would soon go away. The next version of Windows, they said, would do away with MS-DOS. The world was moving to Windows. At the time, "Microsoft Windows" meant Windows 3.1, which was not that great.

I certainly didn't want to be forced to use Windows, not if version 3.2 or 4.0 looked anything like Windows 3.1. I believed I could be more efficient by typing at the command line, not by clicking around with a mouse.

So I decided to do something about that. We could create our own version of DOS, something that worked with programs meant for MS-DOS, but our DOS would be free for everyone to use. Other developers had done the same with Linux, I reasoned, so surely we could do it with DOS.

Twenty-three years ago today, on June 29 1994, I announced to an Internet discussion group what would become the FreeDOS Project:

DOS (acronym for Disk Operating System) has been with us for a long long time and still continues to be very useful. Most of my work with Linux is done with the command line except for some of the mapping software for digital ham radio.

Climate Denial

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A great essay from Ted Nordhaus:

Demons Under Every Rock
The Ever-Expanding Definition of Climate Denial

Ted leads in with a story about a clinical case of false memories shared among a group of people and then launches into this:

This disturbing and memorable story has kept coming back to me the last few years, as a cadre of climate activists, ideologically motivated scholars, and sympathetic journalists have started labeling an ever-expanding circle of people they disagree with climate deniers.

Climate change, of course, is real and demons are not. But in the expanding use of the term “denier,” the view of the climate debate as a battle between pure good and pure evil, and the social dimensions of the narrative that has been constructed, some quarters of the climate movement have begun to seem similarly unhinged.

Not so long ago, the term denier was reserved for right-wing ideologues, many of them funded by fossil fuel companies, who claimed that global warming either wasn’t happening at all or wasn’t caused by humans. Then it was expanded to so-called “lukewarmists,” scientists and other analysts who believe that global warming is happening and is caused by humans, but either don’t believe it will prove terribly severe or believe that human societies will prove capable of adapting without catastrophic impacts.

As frustration grew after the failure of legislative efforts to cap US emissions in 2010, demons kept appearing wherever climate activists looked for them. In 2015, Bill McKibben argued in the New York Times that anyone who didn’t oppose the construction of the Keystone pipeline, without regard to any particular stated view about climate change, was a denier.

Then in December 2015, Harvard historian and climate activist Naomi Oreskes expanded the definition further. “There is also a new, strange form of denial that has appeared on the landscape of late,” Oreskes wrote in the Guardian, “one that says that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs. Oddly, some of these voices include climate scientists, who insist that we must now turn to wholesale expansion of nuclear power.”

Oreskes took care not to mention the scientists in question, for that would have been awkward. They included Dr. James Hansen, who gave the first congressional testimony about the risks that climate change presented the world, and has been a leading voice for strong, immediate, and decisive global action to address climate change for almost three decades. The others—Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira, and Tom Wigley—are all highly decorated climate scientists with long and well-established histories of advocating for climate action. The four of them had travelled to the COP21 meeting in Paris that December to urge the negotiators and NGOs at the meeting to embrace nuclear energy as a technology that would be necessary to achieve deep reductions in global emissions.

Much more at the site - author bio: Nordhaus is a leading global thinker on energy, environment, climate, human development, and politics. He is the co-founder and executive director of the Breakthough Institute and a co-author of An Ecomodernist Manifesto.

Extensive list of free apps and websites for business development - 400 Awesome Free Resources You Can Use To Grow Your Business

Website building, Graphics, Boilerplate documents, Idea management, Blogging/Writing tools, Email/Social Media, Stock Photography/Images and a lot lot more.

Above Bellingham

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Gorgeous drone footage from Bellingham photographer Kjell Redal:

From his website:

The city of subdued excitement. Just like Bellingham, this video starts with a slow fuse, but if you stick with both of them, you get epic as your payoff.

Tucked into the far northwest corner of the United States, Bellingham reps its location well. Within arm’s reach of town you’ll meet big peaks, empty beaches, hard-charging mountain bikers, harder-charging skiers, and enough microbreweries to satisfy even the snobbiest of beer snobs. Bellingham’s character is steeped in the wet weather that shapes its outdoor pursuits. Everything from bottomless powder at Mt. Baker to rolling whitewater over Whatcom Falls provides a silver lining to the clouds that characterize the Pacific Northwest.

And yes, this area really is that gorgeous.

Illegal immigrants - one example

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The cream of the crop is crossing our borders to live here - from Texas' My San Antonio:

Seven life sentences for ex-Zetas boss who took part in slaughters
A former regional boss for the Zetas was sentenced Wednesday to seven life terms for his role in 18 gory deaths, and for participating with the cartel in drug-trafficking operations that included a rampage in which more than 300 people in northern Mexico were slaughtered.

Marciano "Chano" Millan Vasquez stood straight-faced as U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez pronounced life sentences for seven charges, and ordered them to run consecutively, then stacked another five years for a separate count. The prison terms for two other counts were ordered to run concurrent.

At least we are finally getting tough with them. The murders all happened in Mexico - a bit more:

All of the killings, including the 18 pegged specifically on Millan, took place in Mexico between 2009 and 2015.

Millan was arrested in 2015 while living under a fake name in San Antonio, where he had settled with some relatives. He was tried here last year and convicted on all 10 charges he faced, including killing in furtherance of drug-trafficking crimes. U.S. law allowed the federal government to prosecute him for killings in another country as long as those violent acts were part of a drug conspiracy with connections to the U.S.

More at the link - the murders are especially horrid. About the Zetas:

The trial also revealed that the Zetas controlled law enforcement and other local or regional officials by bribing them or threatening them. Explosive testimony also alleged that the Zetas paid millions of dollars in cash bribes to officials of the Mexican state of Coahuila, including a previous governor, Humberto Moreira, and his brother Rubén Moreira, the current governor. Both brothers have denied the allegations.

In exchange for the bribes, witnesses testified, the Zetas were protected as they took over the state of Coahuila, which borders Texas from just west of Laredo to the Big Bend region. Witnesses said state police helped gang leaders evade federal authorities, the gang was able to invest in construction and coal mining and the Zetas took control of state jails, where they had freedom to carry out an array of crimes.

Gee wiz - if there was some way to block the border so they could not cross - like a wall or something. Makes me really wonder why our legislators do not build the wall. Who is paying them off...

And then, we have stories like this one - also from My San Antonio:

San Antonio man freed by Obama pleads guilty to another drug charge
A San Antonio man who was freed from life in prison by President Barack Obama pleaded guilty Thursday to another drug charge he received after crashing his car while fleeing from officers.

Robert M. Gill, 68, whose life sentence for cocaine and heroin distribution conspiracy was commuted by Obama in 2015, was profiled last year in the San Antonio Express-News about his readjustment to life on the outside.

And what led up to the car crash:

In February, back in San Antonio, he picked up a backpack with a kilo of cocaine at a supermarket parking lot on the West Side from a confidential source working with Homeland Security Investigations. Gill sped away from Bexar County sheriff’s deputies who tried to pull him over, crashing into another car at Callaghan and Bandera roads, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Bettina Richardson.

A kilo is not a personal stash - this is possession with intent to sell. Lock him away and throw away the key.

Yesterday was a record day for the store for the first weekend in July. Just keeps getting better and better. Yesterday's huge bread purchase is about 2/3rds gone out the door - we get another lot in tomorrow so things are good. The 15 pounds of bannanas that I bought yesterday are sold out.

Back home to work on a couple of projects - Lulu is done visiting with her friend and will be coming out tomorrow for the 4th.

Coffee time!

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Heading out for coffee and to check in at the store - working on a couple of projects at home today.

Barry just needs to S.T.F.U.

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Go home and spend time with your kids - from Kyle Olsen at The American Mirror:

Obama warns Americans about too much patriotism — on July 4th weekend!
While most Americans are gathering with family and community this weekend to celebrate the most exceptional country in the history of the world, Mr. Hope and Change is halfway around the world talking doom and gloom — and criticizing his successor.

Barack Obama visited Indonesia this weekend, and in a series of appearances, attacked love of country and the policies of Donald Trump.

The Guardian reports:

The former US president said some countries had adopted “an aggressive kind of nationalism” and “increased resentment of minority groups”, in a speech in Indonesia on Saturday that could be seen as a commentary on the US as well as Indonesia.

“It’s been clear for a while that the world is at a crossroads. At an inflection point,” Obama said, telling a Jakarta crowd stories of how much the capital had improved since he lived there as a child.

But he said that increased prosperity had been accompanied by new global problems, adding that as the world confronts issues ranging from inequality to terrorism, some countries – both developed and less developed – had adopted a more aggressive and isolationist stance.

Just go home and leave the public stage.

Michael Ramirez puts it into perfect perspective:


I mean really - who in their right minds would believe that anyone from outside the United States would be able to influence an election. It's not like our administration would do anything like that. Oh. Wait.

Fauxcahontas has a challenger

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From The Gateway Pundit:

Hah! Liz “Pocahontas” Warren’s Senate Challenger Sends Her 23&Me DNA Kit for Her Birthday
Entrepreneur and inventor of Email V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai announced his candidacy for the US Senate seat currently occupied by Elizabeth Warren in February.

Last week V.A. Shiva sent Elizabeth Warren a 23&Me DNA kit for her birthday. The liberal senator claimed she was American Indian to push her ahead in her career. She isn’t.

And her GOP opponent called her on it.

Perfect troll... I hope he wins. Warren is not that smart and is bad for Massachusetts.

I have zero problems with using taxpayer money (ie: my money) to provide help to those people who, through bad luck (in the Robert A. Heinlein sense), are unable to take care of their own needs. Unfortunately, when a such a program is offered to the general public, there are always people who will take advantage of it and try to get their own "free stuff" - case in point - Obamaphones. From Fortune Magazine:

The Federal Government’s Phone Subsidy Program Is Apparently Rife With Fraud
One of the federal government's low income phone subsidy programs is bedeviled by fraud, a watchdog agency investigation concluded.

The Federal Communications Commission's Lifeline program paid at least $1.2 million to duplicate or deceased recipients and more than one-third of participants out of 3.5 million reviewed appeared not to be eligible, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released on Thursday.

The agency also uncovered problems with the way phone companies were charging their customers fees to cover the cost of the program. The non-profit group that oversees the program, called the Universal Service Administrative Company or USAC, audited only 74 carriers over the past six years out of more than 6,000 that collect fees, the GAO noted. Reviewing the audits, GAO said only 10 carriers reported their revenue correctly while 48 underreported revenue and 16 over reported revenue.

"A complete lack of oversight is causing this program to fail the American taxpayer—everything that could go wrong is going wrong," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of the lawmakers who requested the study, said in a statement. "We’re currently letting phone companies cash a government check every month with little more than the honor system to hold them accountable, and that simply can’t continue."

Knock me over with a feather - corruption in a government program? Added bonus - a Google search for government free stuff turns up 17,700,000 results. Just sayin'

Tip of the hat to a local friend and ham radio person for the link.

So sadly true

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It is sometimes a real boon that there is no cell service out here - the scenery is gorgeous and people need to stop spending so much time glued to their phones. get out and enjoy life!


Choose the form of the Destructor

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Great scene from Ghostbusters. It is happening again - from Glenn Reynolds writing at USA Today:

Glenn Reynolds: Liberals have chosen The Donald as their 'Destructor'
“Choose the form of the Destructor,” says the demon in Ghostbusters. Bill Murray, et al., got the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Our political and media elites, on the other hand, got Donald Trump.

Everyone is aghast at Trump’s latest plan, to suspend all immigration by Muslims. But it’s no coincidence that Trump’s announcement came less than a day after a limp, toneless speech by President Barack Obama on terrorism, one that left Americans feeling much less safe.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, then-president George W. Bush made clear that Muslims weren’t our enemy: Radical Islamists were. Because Bush took steps against those radical Islamists that made people feel safer, there was no significant anti-Muslim backlash, though all the bien-pensant types thought it certain that those rubes in flyover country would get violent.

Obama, on the other hand, responded to an attack by Islamic State-linked Muslims with a mixture of pablum and an effort at distraction by talking about gun bans for people on the no-fly list. (Even lefty publications like the LA Times and Slate thought that idea dumb). Before that attack took place, Obama was already polling terribly on terror: According to a CNN/ORC poll taken between 11/27 and 12/1, only 33% of Americans approved of Obama’s handling of ISIL; 64% disapproved. I doubt that Obama’s ratings will improve when the post-San Bernardino polls come in.

Spot on.

Long day - another run to town

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Got coffee and went to the store to check in on things. Slammed! Canada Day as well as the run-up to the Fourth.

One of my employees was looking at getting a new lawnmower for the store (our old one is just worn out) but hadn't been able to get into town. Also, our bread racks look like they had been picked over by locusts. We get bread in Monday and Friday and we had upped our bread order to compensate for the expected extra business but Friday's (yesterday's) bread order was almost all sold out - one pack of hot dog buns left, pan breads were almost all sold out - ditto bagels.

Went into town and picked up a couple hundred bucks worth of bread from one of our vendors as well as a nice new Honda lawnmower - spent a bit more than I was planning but got one with a five year warranty. There is a company north of here in Blaine, WA that makes a gasoline additive (Opti-mizer Max) and if you purchase some of that when you purchase your implement (listed on the invoice), they will double the engine warranty so this mower is now covered for ten years. Have heard very good things about this company and their products - that they have been in business for 35 years.speaks a lot.

Went up to Graham's for dinner and a couple of pints and home for the evening. Watering the plants and the pups got the last of some leftovers with their dinner and are now rumbling around outside. Finally cooling off a bit. Got up to 83.5°F this afternoon but is down to 58.8°F. Making up some more hummingbird nectar so it can cool overnight.

Surf for a bit, some YouTube and then to bed.

Off for a while

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Heading out for coffee and then back home for a while - got a couple projects to work on here.

Lulu's friend is arriving in Seattle at 4:00PM so they will not get through the I-5 rush hour for a good five hours or so. Looks like dinner with them is not on the table for today.

Back in an hour or so... Grgeous weather but a bit on the hot side. Forecast is for the low 70's but it is already almost 80°F

Expecting a very big week at the store - today is Canada's 150th birthday (we get a lot of Canadian tourists), Artist Point is open - gorgeous destination for a drive in the country and we have the Glorious Fourth in a couple of days.

Jake Brakes

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Jake Brakes are used on trucks as an adjunct to the standard wheel brakes. On long downhill runs with a heavy load, the wheel brakes can heat up and fail - the Jake Brakes work directly with the engine to slow the truck. They can also be very loud and are banned from some communities. Here is a great expplanation of what they are and how they work.

From Straight Dope:

What are "jake brakes" and why are they prohibited in some locations?
Turns out this is a rather hot issue with the company who holds the trade name for Jake brakes, but more on that later. First an introduction to the world of engine brakes.

Unlike the wheel brakes you have on your car, the Jacobs Engine Brake (TM) is a "compression release" engine brake used by large diesel trucks, especially on steep downgrades. To understand how it works, remember that a diesel engine has much higher compression than a gasoline engine, typically 15:1. The jake brake slightly opens the exhaust valves when the piston is near top dead center (where ignition normally occurs). On the upstroke, the piston compresses the air in the cylinder to 1/15th its original volume. This creates a lot of drag on the engine. The Jacobs Engine Brake then releases the compressed air, and the energy stored in it, before it can push back on the piston during the downstroke. In addition, releasing the compression prevents any fuel in the cylinder from igniting. (Remember, diesels don't have spark plugs like gasoline engines - they rely on compression alone to ignite the fuel.) So, you've got drag on the upstroke, no power on the downstroke.

Much more at the site - a bit of fascinating history as the manufacturer of the Jake Brake is the Jacobs Manufacturing Company, established in 1903 by A.I. Jacobs, makers of the world famous three jaw Jacobs Drill Chuck. That would be the same chuck that is on 99.9% of all drills today.

The squeeky wheel gets the grease

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Evergreen State College is a publicly funded Washington State school and gets about 50% of its money from WA State taxpayers. There was a big kerfuffle recently about so-called "free speech" with the Marxist liberals there wanting to shout down anyone who disagreed with their narrative. No open discussion, no trade of ideas, no dialog, just a straight shut down of any speech they deemed to be offensive to their virginal ears.

One of our State Representatives is sponsoring a wonderful bill - from The Fourth Corner:

Solving the Evergreen College “Intolerance” Problem
Fourth Corner: I’m here today to get your thoughts on the free speech issue at Evergreen State College.

Rep. VanWerven: What’s happening at Evergreen is just a microcosm of what’s happening on all college campuses. We’ve had this at WWU: students thinking they can limit free speech of people they might disagree with…So there’s just a total lack of respect for other people’s opinions, for other peoples ideologies and other people’s political expression.

Fourth Corner: How, in fact, are you involved in legislation… What are the major pieces in the legislation and who are the sponsors?

Rep. VanWerven: First of all Whats happening at Evergreen is just way beyond the pale so we think its time for them to become a private college. Currently ½ their budget comes from the taxpayers of Washington. It is time for them to raise all their own money then they can be as Marxist as they want to be. We shouldn’t charge the taxpayers for their(Evergreen College’s) intolerance; for their lack of diversity; for them brainwashing our kids.

Spot on - places like Evergreen do not do education, they do indoctrination. There is a big difference.

A bit more:

Rep VanWerrven: My bill still being drafted would add political expression to their diversity statements. Colleges have diversity statements. We believe that people on college campuses should respect political expression just like they would respect gender expression. The other part is that they allow speakers on college campuses of all ideologies at the same price.

The Fourth Corner: So, in fact, you want legislation not to limit but to enhance the diversity of political views on college campuses in the State of Washington. Right?

Rep VanWerven:And that political expression of all sectors must be respected and welcomed.

Hoist by their own petard. Make a lot of noise and get noticed off-campus, your issues will be dealt with and it might not be to your liking. If you want to act out, you need to do it on Mommy and Daddy's nickle and not the State Taxpayers'.

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