January 2019 Archives

And it is just ankle slop out there

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No surf - see what comes out tomorrow. The liberal media usually release stories that are not complimentary to the liberal elite on Friday so the 48 hour news cycle runs out over the weekend when people are not really engaged. See what comes out then.

For now? YouTube and an early bedtime.

Back from the Hamster

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Had a bite to eat there and a couple pints on my way home. Another day of packing tomorrow.

Surf's up...

I am liking what Howard Schultz is saying. Got zero problem voting for a Democrat if they are a classical Dem like John Fitzgerald Kennedy. From PJ Media:

Howard Schultz Shoots Down Liz Warren Attack With Passionate Defense of the American Dream
On Wednesday, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz shot down an attack from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who said that because he is a billionaire, he is out of touch with America. He responded with a passionate defense of the American dream.

"Senator Elizabeth Warren said some pretty sharp words about me. She referred to me as a billionaire out of touch with the American people," Schultz said in a short video. He told his rags-to-riches story succinctly and in a patriotic way.

"I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in Canarsie, in federally subsidized housing, the projects. When I was 7 years old my father, who was a laborer, came home and had a serious accident. He was dismissed from his job, we lost our health insurance. I witnessed the fracturing of the American dream," the former Starbucks CEO began.

Schultz witnessed failure early, but he did not let that define him.

"I started with nothing and I made it in America because of the aspiration, the magnetism, and the spirit of our country," he declared. "I’ve always believed in the promise of the country. What is the promise of the country? What it is is regardless of your station in life, the color of your skin, your gender, your sexual orientation, whatever it might be, that everyone should have a chance in America."

A bit more:

"What we need right now in America is for the country to come together, and for the Democrats and Republicans who have been unwilling to work together, to finally realize that the American people deserve much more than political slogans and tweets," he said. "What we need is a government that can work for us, leadership that we can trust."

Stuff like that has got to have Pelosi and Schumer spitting tacks because Schultz is reminding Americans what the Classical Democratic party is all about and is showcasing just how out of touch the present incarnation has gotten.

On the road again

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Got a full load in the van so heading in to Bellingham. I was planning on going to Seattle tomorrow but plans have changed so spending another day or two here and then down to the island for my ham radio net on Tuesday morning. This will be the first time I do it all by myself so should be fun. Sitting at the adults table now...

Raining lightly - the forefront of what will be coming this weekend.

Done with lunch

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Time to get packing - literally...

I hate it when people go full Social Justice Warrior - they leave themselves open to the whole Get woke, Go broke thing. One of my favorite websites for recipies and cooking techniques has been J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's Serious Eats.

It seems he is also partner in a restaurant which brings us to this story from the New York City FOX News affiliate:

San Francisco area restaurant bans 'Make America Great' hats, compares to white hoods and swastikas
An award-winning cookbook author and California restaurant owner says anyone wearing a red "Make America Great Again" baseball cap will be refused service at his restaurant.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is a chef-partner of the Wursthall restaurant in San Mateo and says in a tweet Sunday that he views the hats as symbols of intolerance and hate.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday that Lopez-Alt's decision was met with mixed reaction by restaurant clients.

Diners interviewed by the newspapers said they understood Lopez-Alt's stance but questioned the hat ban and said he could have found a way to start a dialogue on the issue. On Twitter, many criticized the so-called tolerance of the liberal Bay Area.

Pity. I will certanly keep using his website - great content and it is free. I will not buy any of his books though - I will borrow them from the library and photocopy anything I want to keep.

Two days ago, I posted about the voter fraud in Detroit with more ballots than citizens. On January 27th, it was Texas which announced that they had 58,000 votes from illegals. Now, it is Pennsylvania's turn - from The Washington Times:

Pennsylvania admits to 11,000 noncitizens registered to vote
A top Pennsylvania lawmaker called on the state Wednesday to immediately expunge the names of 11,198 noncitizens whom the state confirmed are registered to vote, despite not being eligible.

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican and former chairman of a House government oversight panel, said the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, belatedly acknowledged the large number of noncitizens in communications over the past two months.

“I believe that we need to take action and have those people removed immediately from the rolls,” Mr. Metcalfe told The Washington Times. “They were never eligible to vote.”

And this is the tip of the iceberg. We need to clean the voter rolls before 2020. Requiring photo ID would be good too. You need photo ID for most transactions in the USA - why niot to vote?

Cliff Mass has the details:

Cold Wave to Hit the Pacific Northwest With Some Lowland Snow Possible
Some of us may have been feeling safe here in the Northwest, as extraordinary cold has hit the Midwest and the eastern U.S..

Soon we will be feeling the sting of cold temperatures and even the potential for lowland snow.

The coldest air of the winter will reach our area on Sunday, and Monday's temperatures in western WA may not get above freezing. Savage cold and wind will hit the Bellingham area. Eastern WA will make an icebox seem warm. The mountains will get plenty of snow and some of the lowlands we be whitened.

You might want to get prepared on Saturday--winterize your home (e.g., remove hoses from faucets),  gas up your car, make sure the antifreeze is up to snuff, and move your pets inside after Sunday AM.  Our region will have to pay extra attention to making sure our homeless folks are in warm places.

Just wonderful - more wind. The farm is in a valley that runs north/south so it will be getting the brunt of these winds. Already lost a couple of trees this winter.

I can smell the coffee

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Heading out for coffee and stopping in at the store.

Don Surber answers my question - PG&E

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Two days ago, I asked this question regarding California's Pacific Gas and Electric utility:

I wonder just how much of that $18 billion was wasted on alt.energy scams. 100% comes to mind. Bad management and no accountability.

This morning, Don Surber has the number and Just Wow:

Bankruptcy hurts alternative energy
Old taunt: Get woke, go broke.

New: Green energy leads to bankruptcy.

California's largest utility -- Pacific Gas and Electric -- is in bankruptcy court because the state found it liable for deadly forest fires.

This is bad news for green energy because the utility has subsidized that industry for years.

The utility wants to shed $42 billion in contracts with 350 energy suppliers, mostly solar and wind farms. In many cases, the utility is the sole revenue for the company.

Dumping the contracts would be a death knell to the Democrat Party's kooky plan to get energy solely from "renewable" sources in 25 years.

Ho. Li. Crap - $42 Billion spent on alt.energy? Christ on a Corn Dog. No accountability indeed - their executives were just play-acting with their customers money.

The aftermath of this will be interesting to watch.

How democracy works - France

The ruling elite do something to piss off the Normals. The Normals react by holding demonstrations. The elites pass a law to ban the demonstrations. Sounds like a nicely functioning representative Democracy to me. From Reuters:

Bill targeting 'yellow vest' 'hooligans' ignites French freedom debate
French lawmakers have backed a bill banning protesters from hiding their faces during demonstrations, reinforcing President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to push back against violent members of the “yellow vest” movement.

The bill, which is expected to secure approval next week, also grants police greater powers to extract potential trouble-makers from demonstrations.

Addressing the lower house National Assembly, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner urged members to “stop the brutes ... (who listen) only to their hunger for chaos”.

Opponents of the “anti-casseurs” (anti-hooligan) bill accused the government of impinging on civil liberties, with the debate exposing divisions within Macron’s party, which has a comfortable majority in parliament.

The tactics used by police around the country have come under scrutiny, in particular the firing of “flash ball” riot guns, which have caused serious injuries, including at least one person blinded in one eye.

Do not forget that this whole movement started because the French government wanted to raise taxes on gasoline. A French citizen must carry a yellow reflective vest in their car at all times. When I heard this, it made perfect sense to me and I now do the same thing. If I am stranded on the side of a busy road changing a tire after dark, I want all the advantages I can get. The French tax was going to raise the end price of gasoline by 70% over the next few years and it was being imposed to combat Global Warming. Stupid. No wonder their Elites have a problem.

Makes perfect sense to me

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Off to YouTube for a bit

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Full day tomorrow - going to try to do two runs in to Bellingham.

About that new potential cancer cure

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Great perspective from Karl Denninger:

White, Male Patriarchy.... Again
This may -- or may not -- be the breakthrough that is being alleged.

“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), which was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator in the Weizmann Science Park. AEBi developed the SoAP platform, which provides functional leads to very difficult targets.

Notice the protagonist's skin color and sex.

Of course there's no guarantee they really have it; that's yet to be proved. But really -- if they do, and if it's what they claim and works as they think it might the second largest scourge of mankind will be vanquished at a price-per-use that will be a tiny fraction of that currently charged for far less-effective treatments that frequently fail.

I get it -- social justice warriors need their foils to rail against, otherwise they have nothing. This garbage has polluted open source software, among other places. But you can't change history, and who has made -- and is making today -- the discoveries that have the potential to truly change the world.

I will note that white, Jewish men (and women) are a tiny minority of the world's population. Yet they are ridiculously over-represented in discoveries like this, and white men generally are ridiculously over-represented as well -- Jewish or not.

The claim of "discrimination" sounds good until you realize that in many parts of the world others are both the majority and in control of the government, so at best those other cultural aspects have majority status and, as has been seen in South Africa, said majority status, when it has come to power, has frequently turned a thriving economic landscape into a ****hole almost as fast as you can say the word "crap."

Should we try to find out why? I think a lot of people know where the truth lies; there's both a natural selection and cultural set of factors at play, and a dependency culture destroys whatever nascent capacity might exist.

A dependency culture that, I might point out, has been fostered and promoted by the government right here at home, and which prominently features in our political battles of today.

Do we want to discover cures for cancer, or do we want to descend into the ****hole environment of South Africa and Venezuela?

That's the choice folks.

I am reminded of Fred Reed's essay - I will let you go and read the whole thing yourself but here is a list that Fred compiled. All things invented by white people:

Euclidean geometry. Parabolic geometry. Hyperbolic geometry. Projective geometry. Differential geometry. Calculus: Limits, continuity, differentiation, integration. Physical chemistry. Organic chemistry. Biochemistry. Classical mechanics. The indeterminacy principle. The wave equation. The Parthenon. The Anabasis. Air conditioning. Number theory. Romanesque architecture. Gothic architecture. Information theory. Entropy. Enthalpy. Every symphony ever written. Pierre Auguste Renoir. The twelve-tone scale. The mathematics behind it, twelfth root of two and all that. S-p hybrid bonding orbitals. The Bohr-Sommerfeld atom. The purine-pyrimidine structure of the DNA ladder. Single-sideband radio. All other radio. Dentistry. The internal-combustion engine. Turbojets. Turbofans. Doppler beam-sharpening. Penicillin. Airplanes. Surgery. The mammogram. The Pill. The condom. Polio vaccine. The integrated circuit. The computer. Football. Computational fluid dynamics. Tensors. The Constitution. Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aeschylus, Homer, Hesiod. Glass. Rubber. Nylon. Roads. Buildings. Elvis. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. (OK, that’s nerve gas, and maybe we didn’t really need it.) Silicone. The automobile. Really weird stuff, like clathrates, Buckyballs, and rotaxanes. The Bible. Bug spray. Diffie-Hellman, public-key cryptography, and RSA. Et cetera.

Political activists talk about reperations and cultural appropriation? I am fine with that if they stop using the items on this list. Fred forgot Cell phones and Television (white men too). Diffie-Hellman cryptography is how we can shop online with security so say bye-bye to Amazon, online banking, &c.

From Breitbart:

House Gives Victims of Illegal Alien Crime Bipartisan Standing Ovation on Chamber Floor
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday gave victims of illegal alien crimes a bipartisan standing ovation on the floor of the chamber as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy read out the names of Americans killed by illegal aliens in a lengthy speech.

McCarthy began his speech bashing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s strategy on the government funding battle that has protected the “status quo” on immigration, a system that has led to serious consequences for American citizen victims of illegal immigration.

McCarthy said on the House floor:

At a time when the country expects its leaders in Washington to look forward, this House majority is looking backward. When our country expects solutions, they are using this chamber to settle political scores. As hundreds of thousands of Americans painfully experienced, portions of our federal government were shut down for 35 days. A shameful record under this majority’s watch. It was a shutdown that never had to happen.

McCarthy continued by recounting how the shutdown happened in large part due to obstruction from Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. He also walked through how President Donald Trump made a number of concessions and offers to Democrats to have an honest deal to end the shutdown and secure the border with a wall along the border but Democrats rejected them every time

This is good - get it out in public and make Pelosi and Schumer own this tragic problem. From McCarthy:

There have been 266,000 criminal aliens arrested the last two years. This includes charges or convictions of 100,000 assaults, nearly 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings. Three hundred Americans die every week from heroin. And More than 90 percent of heroin comes across the Southern border. And roughly 10,000 children are being smuggled into the U.S. every year to be sold for human trafficking.

We could put a stop to this if the Democrat party was not so craven and duplicitous. Time for them to listen to We The People instead of the corporate lobbyists.

Back home for the evening

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Tasted a new Cider company and they make a really good classical hard apple cider. Herb's Cider. Too many companies are making alco-pop - flavored ciders and some of them are OK. I like some ciders with berries added but I recently tasted a Pina Colada flavored cider that I spit out. No apple taste and just sickeningly sweet syrup taste.

I will have to stop in to their show room next run in to Bellingham. Good stuff.

A quick trot around the Internet, YouTube and then to bed - long day packing tomorrow.

Dinner was good

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Now it's time for a couple pints of cider. Back in a couple of hours. Spending tomorrow night up here doing some more packing - DaveCave this trip.

A town in Michigan

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Of course there is a Hell, Michigan. Screen-cap from AccuWeather


Yes, it has officially frozen over.

Off to Bellingham with a load

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But first, this weather map (satire):


Portland in the news

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Portland, Oregon is a gorgeous city but it has been dominated by liberals for way too long. It has become a parody of itself. This bit of news is not surprising. From Victoria Taft:

Docs Reveal Portland School Administrators Planned & Paid for ‘Student’ Anti-Gun Protest
Public documents obtained by a Portland attorney reveal that Portland Public School staff, planned, executed and paid for what the media and the school district branded as a ‘student’ anti-Second Amendment protest last March 14th.

Willamette Week reported at the time:

Portland students at Roosevelt High School in North Portland, Lincoln in Southwest, Cleveland in Southeast, Franklin in Mt. Tabor and Sunset High in Beaverton were a few of thousands around the state, and nation, protesting for an end gun violence.

Many of the morning’s demonstrations included sitting for 17 minutes in silence—one minute for every person shot in the Florida school shooting. At Lincoln High, where Mayor Ted Wheeler was present, 17 desks were situated with 17 roses on them.

It was followed up by another one in April in which students were given time off to protest.

And then there is this (PPS = Portland Public Schools):

The Oregon Firearms Federation, a civil rights and education group, said that the local attorney who obtained the records found that the district had orchestrated everything:

In response to a Public Records Act request, PPS has now released documents showing that the demonstrations were organized by PPS, and involved a massive dedication of school resources. From the School Board (which passed a resolution calling for a ban on the possession of all semi-automatic weapons) on down to the individual schools (which reprogrammed class bells to create a special protest period, so no one would have to be marked absent from class), the entire Administration organized itself to undermine the core of our Constitutional republic.

Attorney James Buchal, who also serves as the Chair of the Multnomah County GOP, told VictoriaTaft.com that the school staffs are using kids as political human shields:

“The Portland Public Schools exploited students to manufacture political pressure for gun control, camouflaging their own anti-gun agenda as private speech by students.”

They need to stick to their core tasks - delivering a good education to their charges and not waste their time with political posturing and indoctrination. I posted this yesterday but it bears repeating:

Vox Day said it best:

In academia there is no difference between academia and the real world; in the real world there is.

A good look at Global Warming

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From PJ Media:

Record Cold Forces Rethink on Global Warming
Headlines around the world are reporting exceptionally frigid conditions and unusually high levels of snowfall in recent weeks. They tout these events as records, but few people understand how short the record actually is -- usually less than 50 years, a mere instant in Earth’s 4.6-billion year history. The reality is that, when viewed in a wider context, there is nothing unusual about current weather patterns.

Despite this fact, the media -- directly, indirectly, or by inference -- often attribute the current weather to global warming. Yes, they now call it climate change. But that is because activists realized, around 2004, that the warming predicted by the computer models on which the scare is based was not actually happening. Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels continued to increase, but the temperature stopped increasing. So, the evidence no longer fit the theory. English biologist Thomas Huxley commented on this dilemma over a century ago:

"The great tragedy of science -- the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."

Indeed - where I am sitting was once buried under several hundred feet of snow and ice. It was also home to ferns 20 feet tall and a uniform 70°F over most of this planet (CO2 was up to 9,000ppm at that time) Our sun is a variable star and we are living in a post ice-age. We have been going through a brief modern warming period (late 1960's through 2010) and our sun is embarking on a grand minimum the likes of what we saw with the Maunder Minimum of 1645 through 1715.

Here is our sun's output this morning - the Planetary K-Index:


Out for coffee...

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Post office, store and then to work packing.

And that is it for me tonight

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Tired and a couple of very long days ahead of me.

30 minutes of YouTube and then to bed.

First, from Officer.com:

Body Camera Video Shows Fatal Oregon Police Shooting at School
Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow cleared Thursday the two Eugene police officers involved in the Jan. 11 fatal shooting of Charles Landeros in front of Cascade Middle School, saying there's "no clearer circumstance that the use of deadly force is justified than this."

Officer Steve Timm shot Landeros, 30, once in the head after Landeros moments earlier pulled out a handgun and fired twice in Timm's direction. Landeros was struggling on the ground with a second officer, Aaron Johns, when Timm, who had not been injured, fired the fatal shot, according to a news release from Perlow and accompanying body cam video footage released by her office.

Tragic that anyone would lose their life but Landeros pulled a gun and shot at the officer.
Now, some backstory from The Truth About Guns:

Antifa Member Shot To Death After Drawing Down on Eugene, OR Cops in School
Charlie Landeros, aged old enough to know better, loved his far-left activism. He belonged to an armed Antifa group we’ve covered, training “oppressed peoples” in armed self-defense. And now he’s no longer with us after drawing down on two Eugene, Oregon police officers who attempted to arrest him at a Eugene middle school there.

Police believe the radical Antifa activist showed up at his daughter’s school on January 11 intending to pick her up. Cascade Middle School administrators, however, knew that he had recently lost custody of his child and called police to remove him from school property. What they didn’t know was Charlie had a gun on his hip along with a backpack full of loaded magazines and more 9mm ammunition.

So once again, the truth is quite different from the narrative. Fancy that...

Out the door

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Getting a bite to eat at Hal's Drive In and then to the farm for a few days. More spew much later tonight.

Voter fraud - Detroit

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No surprises there - from The Detroit News:

Records: Too many votes in 37% of Detroit’s precincts
Voting machines in more than one-third of all Detroit precincts registered more votes than they should have during last month’s presidential election, according to Wayne County records prepared at the request of The Detroit News.

Detailed reports from the office of Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett show optical scanners at 248 of the city’s 662 precincts, or 37 percent, tabulated more ballots than the number of voters tallied by workers in the poll books. Voting irregularities in Detroit have spurred plans for an audit by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office, Elections Director Chris Thomas said Monday.

The Democrats have nothing to run on so they have to resort to fraud.

Universities - indoctrination factories

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Great essay from the founder of Home Depot. From Campus Reform:

Home Depot co-founder: Socialism 'comes right out of the universities.' He's not wrong.
Home Depot billionaire co-founder Bernie Marcus said Friday that the growing appeal to socialism in America comes out of the universities.

Marcus, during an interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto, discussed the deterioration of socialist Venezuela and Cuba, comparing the situations in those countries today with the realities there decades ago, pre-socialist rule. Marcus called the economic downturns in each of those countries, Cuba, in particular, a "perfect example of socialism gone wrong."

"They [Cuba] took a great country. They put it right down the drain in every way possible," Marcus said. "People are starving to death. Medical [care] is not available for them. And we have a group of people in Washington today, new representatives especially, that look at socialism as the way to go and if you don't think that's dangerous, I do."

The universities:

"It comes right out of the universities. You see students graduating today and a very high percentage...almost 50 percent of students coming out of universities today believe that socialism is the answer," Marcus said. "That's frightening to me because the things that made this country great, that created the wealth of this country, and I mean the wealth of every single person right down the line, the best medical care in the world, the best housing in the world, that's why people want to come here, is because of the system, and that's the free enterprise system."

Vox Day said it best:

In academia there is no difference between academia and the real world; in the real world there is.

Only in California - PG&E

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From Reuters:

Exclusive: PG&E to tap restructuring chief in final bankruptcy preparations - sources
California utility owner PG&E Corp is preparing to name a restructuring chief as it finalizes preparations for a bankruptcy filing expected to come as soon as early Tuesday morning, people familiar with the matter said.

PG&E plans to file for bankruptcy protection in a San Francisco federal court, the sources said, in part to address liabilities it expects to top $30 billion stemming from catastrophic wildfires in the last two years that have killed more than 100 people and destroyed numerous homes.

The San Francisco-based utility owner, which carries debt exceeding $18 billion, is in the final stages of discussions to appoint longtime turnaround specialist James Mesterharm as its chief restructuring officer to help the company navigate bankruptcy proceedings, the sources said.

The company is pressing on with its bankruptcy plan, which it announced earlier this month, even as some of its creditors proposed last-ditch rescue-financing packages to prevent such a move, some of the sources said.

I wonder just how much of that $18 billion was wasted on alt.energy scams. 100% comes to mind. Bad management and no accountability.

Vaccination - Oregon and Washington

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Goes to show what happens when a critical decision-making process is transferred from knowledgeable people to willfully ignorant people - from CNN:

Some states allow parents to get out of vaccinations. Then this happens
Two states experiencing a measles outbreak, Washington and Oregon, allow parents to opt out of vaccines simply because they want to.

And while they hate to say "I told you so," pediatricians, well, told them so.

"I've been saying now for the last couple of years [that] it's only a matter of time before we see a horrific measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest," said Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.

And the measles outbreak?

On Friday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency after 35 confirmed cases of measles and 11 suspected cases in his state. Since then, there's been another confirmed case in Washington, and one case in Oregon.

In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics took a stance that personal and religious exemptions should end.

"It's really a no-brainer," said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, chair of the academy's Committee on Infectious Diseases.

Pure child abuse plain and simple.

Our mainstream media

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Charles C. W. Cooke takes the press to the woodshed at National Review:

Bad, Press
Our national press is a national joke. Vain, languid, excitable, morbid, duplicitous, cheap, insular, mawkish, and possessed of a chronic self-obsession that would have made Dorian Gray blush, it rambles around the United States in neon pants, demanding congratulation for its travails. Not since Florence Foster Jenkins have Americans been treated to such an excruciating example of self-delusion. The most vocal among the press corps’ ranks cast themselves openly as “firefighters” when, at worst, they are pyromaniacs and, at best, they are obsequious asbestos salesmen. “You never get it right, do you?” Sybil Fawlty told Basil in Fawlty Towers. “You’re either crawling all over them licking their boots or spitting poison at them like some Benzedrine puff adder.” There is a great deal of space between apologist and bête noire. In the newsrooms of America, that space is empty.

It’s getting worse. Despite presenting an opportunity for sobriety and excellence, the election of President Donald Trump has been an unmitigated disaster for the political media, which have never reckoned with their role in Trump’s elevation and eventual selection, and which have subsequently treated his presidency as a rolling opportunity for high-octane drama, smug self-aggrandizement, and habitual sloth. I did not go to journalism school, but I find it hard to believe that even the least prestigious among those institutions teaches that the correct way to respond to explosive, unsourced reports that just happen to match your political priors is to shout “Boom” or “Bombshell” or “Big if true” and then to set about spreading those reports around the world without so much as a cursory investigation into the details. And yet, in the Trump era, this has become the modus operandi of all but the hardest-nosed scribblers.

Heh - a long and wonderful essay. Charles closes with this:

The greatest service that Donald Trump has rendered these United States is to have exposed the many ailments of which he is a symptom but not a cause. We had political division and cultural alienation before him. We had overbearing government and an imperial executive branch before him. We had media that were arrogant, parochial, and impenitent before him, too. Alas, they have grown yet worse since he arrived.

Much worse.

Also the reference to Florence Foster Jenkins.

My thoughts exactly - coffee

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Found at Peter's


Great news - Antifa

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Give those thugs a good long jail sentence - from The Daily Caller:

Washington, D.C. Antifa leader Joseph “Jose” Alcoff, also known as “Chepe,” was arrested and charged with multiple felonies in Philadelphia on Jan. 10 in connection to the Antifa mob attack against two Marines in November.

Alcoff faces 17 charges, including multiple counts of aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, conspiracy and terroristic threats, and one count of robbery while inflicting serious bodily injury.

And the incident in question?

The Marines, Alejandro Godinez and Luis Torres, testified in December that a group of 10 to 12 Antifa members called them “Nazis” and “white supremacists” and attacked them on the street despite their denials that they had no association with the right-wing group demonstrating nearby.

During the attack, Godinez said he shouted “I’m Mexican” at the mob, which allegedly led the attackers to call him a “spic” and “wetback.”

Nice guys - isn't it always interesting that when you get under the veneer of these tolerant and socially accepting people you find prejudice of the worst order. Their use of the word Nazi is especially ironic as the full name of Hitler's Nazi party was Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or National-Socialist German Workers' Party - the very same socialism that these idiots advocate.

Antifa is a toxic organization which began in the 1920's - from Infogalactic:

Antifa (from Anti-fascists) is the name of dozens of loosely bound and informally organized direct action protest groups that claim to be opposed to fascism. However, they largely exist to engage in violent anti-free speech demonstrations targeting right-wing opponents.

Just a bunch of brain-dead thugs.

The Polar Vortex

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It is about to hit big-time. The Chicago CBS affiliate has this:

Chicago Weather: It’s So Cold That You Shouldn’t Talk Too Much–Or Breathe
It will be so cold outside that you shouldn’t talk.

That’s the warning from the National Weather Service as potentially record-breaking cold slams Chicago and the Midwest.

In addition to the usual dress in layers and cover your mouth warnings, the NWS in Des Moines said, “to protect your lungs from severely cold air, avoid taking deep breaths; minimize talking.”

A wind chill advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a wind chill warning through noon Thursday, as temperatures are expected to reach as low as 23 below zero Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, with wind chills ranging from 30 to 55 below.

Meanwhile from England's Daily Express:

BBC Weather: Europe braced for 'cold Arctic air' to bring 'HEAVY SNOW' to the continent

And, the EU's Severe Weather Europe site has this:

Latest model guidance for mid/late January winter weather across Europe
If we take a look at stratosphere maps, a quite impressive and textbook Polar Vortex split is present this weekend. Notice the strong ridge over the Arctic region, centered over Alaska and Russia. Two well-defined vortices can be seen – one over the eastern Canada and another, larger one, over Europe.


Quite the Polar Vortex there... Global Warming anyone?

Another day

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Nothing notable on the internet. Heading out for coffee, post office, back here to do some paperwork and then to the farm for a couple days of packing.

Autonomous sensory meridian response

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I love inducing ASMR in myself - better than meditation. Here is a video of things that fit together:

They could do without the cheesy music though. Wonder what evolutionary pathway allowed ASMR to be a thing.

Aaaaand - it's back on the island

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Did a dump run and took care of some things and it was 5PM by the time I was done.

Been getting a bunch of music CDs from the library. Exact Audio Copy and LAME and I am now building up my music collection. Easy to do as a background task. Also have a couple hundred of my own disks still to process.

Surf for a bit and then YouTube

Dead clear skies - halfway tempted to bring the scope out. Interesting that the seeing is so much better here than in Maple Falls. Being near the water really makes a difference. Going to be cold tonight though.

Ho Li Crap - Cancer cure?

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Nobel Prizes all around if this turns out to be real - from The Jerusalem Post:

A small team of Israeli scientists think they might have found the first complete cure for cancer.

“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), which was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator in the Weizmann Science Park. AEBi developed the SoAP platform, which provides functional leads to very difficult targets.

“Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,” Aridor said. “Our solution will be both generic and personal.”

A lot more at the site - sounds legit. Even if it does not cure all kinds of cancer, this will be a game changer.

The downside to #MeToo

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Political activism has its repercussions - always. From The New York Times:

Another Side of #MeToo: Male Managers Fearful of Mentoring Women
Men attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this year were worried about a lot of things. A global economic slowdown. Threats to cybersecurity. Populism. War.

And, several acknowledged at the meeting this past week, mentoring women in the #MeToo era.

“I now think twice about spending one-on-one time with a young female colleague,” said one American finance executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the issue is “just too sensitive.”

“Me, too,” said another man in the conversation.

The #MeToo movement, which burst into the spotlight in the fall of 2017, bringing down powerful figures in Hollywood, the media, politics, sports and more, continues to reverberate 15 months later. It has empowered women to speak up about harassment in the workplace and forced companies to take the issue more seriously. More than 200 prominent men have lost their jobs, and nearly half of them were succeeded by women.

But in one unintended consequence, executives and analysts say, companies seeking to minimize the risk of sexual harassment or misconduct appear to be simply minimizing contact between female employees and senior male executives, effectively depriving the women of valuable mentorship and exposure.

A variation on Get Woke, Go Broke. It seemed the right thing when it started out but now it - like most other progressive liberal ideas - is eating itself. Sowing the seeds of its own destruction.

No State of the Union address tomorrow

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Speaker Pelosi blocked it even though President Trump reopened the government for a couple of weeks.

From Stilton Jarlsberg:


Labor v/s Capital in 3:39

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Great explanation from Ben Shapiro:

Kid needs to move to Venezuela. Fit right in.

Out the door in a few

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Coffee, post office and then a dump run. Heading to the farm today for reals.

A breath of fresh air

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100% in agreement - from Philip K. Howard writing at the New York Post:

It’s time to blow up the bureaucracy that’s killing America
For decades now, Americans have slogged through a rising tide of idiocies. Getting a permit to do something useful, say, open a restaurant or fix a bridge, can take years. Small businesses get nicked for noncompliance of rules they didn’t know. Teachers are told not to put an arm around a crying child. Doctors and nurses spend up to half the day filling out forms no one reads. Employers no longer give job references. And, in the land of the First Amendment, political incorrectness can get you fired.

We’d all be better off without these daily frustrations. So why can’t we use our common sense and start fixing things?

But common sense is illegal in Washington. Red tape has replaced responsibility. No official has authority even to do what’s obvious. In 2009, Congress allocated $800 billion, in part to rebuild America’s infrastructure. But it didn’t happen because, as President Obama put it, there’s “no such thing as a shovel-ready project.” Even President Trump, a builder, can’t get infrastructure going. The entire government was shut down in a spat over one project, the Mexican border wall, that the parties don’t agree on. How about fixing the broke rail tunnel coming into New York?

Much more at the site - a big AMEN on this one! Philip offers a three-point solution that would really cut through the crap. Great ideas.

Chicago climate change

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Talking about the weather - from The Chicago Tribune:

Chicago’s record for coldest temperature ever could fall as polar vortex has city ‘in the crosshairs’
One of the coldest air masses in years will envelop the Midwest and the Northeast this week bringing potentially life-threatening low temperatures to the Chicago area that will feel even harsher in tandem with strong winds.

In Chicago, the coldest temperatures of the year will arrive midweek. After seeing a high around 34 on Monday at O’Hare International Airport, temperatures will drop to near zero before the end of the day, according to the National Weather Service. By Tuesday night, temperatures are expected to take another plunge, to 23 below zero, flirting with Chicago’s coldest temperature ever: minus 27 on Jan. 20, 1985.

Yikes - more people die from the cold than from the heat. Time to retire the whole global warming scam and concentrate our activities on the truth.

About that climate change - Chicago

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From the New York City FOX affiliate:

People robbed of Canada Goose coats at gunpoint in Chicago
Chicago police are reporting gunpoint robberies targeting people wearing pricey Canada Goose jackets as temperatures plunge in the city.

Over the past two weeks, police say there's been a spate of the thefts in which people wearing the luxury coats have been targeted and forced to give up the jackets. The coats can cost upward of $1,000 and are often seen on celebrities.

Six people had their Canada Goose coats stolen last week and two more were targeted Wednesday.

Police say two men jumped from a Mercedes, showed a gun and punched a 54-year-old man before forcibly taking his coat and wallet Wednesday. The same night, two men showed a gun to a 23-year-old man walking with a friend and demanded his Canada Goose coat.

Got to love Chicago - draconian gun laws and in January alone, 124 shootings with 20 homicides. Yeah - gun control really works...

And there is nothing out there.

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More spew tomorrow.

Back home again

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Had a good workout - been using the resistance machines. Next time I am down here for a slug of time, I will schedule a trainer to get me started on free weights and basic squats and burpees. Want to learn how to do these without any bad habits.

The Chinese restaurant suffered a grease fire a few days ago so they are down for the next week or two. Plan B? Two tacos.

See what is out there and then YouTube.

Another case of SIS

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Sticky Island Syndrome - finished what I wanted to do today and it is now too late to drive to the farm. Heading out to the gym to work out for a bit and then a couple Chinese appetizers for dinner (already had a big breakfast). A few beers and I will be back for the night.

An interesting application - MP3Gain

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Check out MP3Gain

From their website:

Tired of reaching for your volume knob every time your mp3 player changes to a new song?
MP3Gain analyzes and adjusts mp3 files so that they have the same volume.

MP3Gain does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear.
Also, the changes MP3Gain makes are completely lossless. There is no quality lost in the change because the program adjusts the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding.

Lifewire has a nice tutorial on using MP3Gain

How to Normalize MP3 Files to Play at the Same Volume
If you listen to MP3 files on your computer, iPod, or MP3/media player then there's a good chance that you've had to adjust the volume between tracks because of varying loudness. If a track is too loud then clipping can occur (due to overload) which distorts the sound. If a track is too quiet, you'll normally need to increase the volume; audio detail can also be lost. By using audio normalization you can adjust all your MP3 files so that they all play at the same volume.

The following tutorial will show you how to use a freeware program for the PC, called MP3Gain, to normalize your MP3 files without losing audio quality. This lossless technique (called Replay Gain) uses the ID3 metadata tag to adjust the "loudness" of the track during playback rather than resampling each file which some programs do; resampling typically decreases sound quality.

I was looking for this as, over the years, I have accumulated several hundred thousand tracks of various music and a lot of them have varying levels of gain. Playing them necessitates reaching for the level control when a new track comes on. With MP3Gain, I can batch process all of the files - let it run overnight if need be.

An interesting look at minimalism

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From a different perspective - from The Art of Manliness:

Sunday Firesides: Tidying Up Our Gilded Cages
“Minimalism” has been a popular trend over the last decade or so, and has only reached a fever pitch of late. People are downsizing their possessions, decluttering their homes, throwing away anything that doesn’t “spark joy.”

It’s possible to see something positive in this trend, to believe it bespeaks a greater desire for discipline and a lessening attachment to material possessions. Would it be that modernity’s drive towards minimalism truly grew out of some deep, well-considered philosophical shift.

But, it is arguably emanating from a much less laudatory source.

Historically, whenever people feel they cannot exercise much influence in the public sphere, they retreat to the private one; if they cannot control things outside themselves, they focus instead on self-control — on the discipline of their feelings (hence the parallel rise in the contemporary popularity of Stoicism) and the arrangement of their personal affairs.

“I cannot seem to alter the political landscape, but I can transform that of my bedroom; I cannot seem to control the trajectory of my career, but I can regulate the number of things I own; I cannot seem to healthily arrange my relationships, but I can organize my possessions; I cannot seem to reduce the evils present in the world, but I can purge my closet of an excess number of sweaters.”

An emphasis on minimalism rises in proportion to our overall feelings of impotence. It’s an attempt to bring order to a world that otherwise feels chaotic. While there’s nothing wrong with the practice itself, it often merely papers over our anxieties without directly addressing them. What we truly crave is the ability to influence the world around us — real efficacy.

“What is happiness?” Nietzsche asked. “It is the feeling of power increasing.” We would do better to look for joy there, than in tidying up our gilded cages.

An interesting take on the whole movement. I am currently decluttering and shedding some of my possessions but I am not going for the whole minimalist thing. I had started too many projects and was pursuing too many interests to fully engage in them and to complete the projects. I am scaling back to just metal working, music and photography with ham radio, emergency prepping and electronics on the periphery.

The idea of enforcing zero clutter is neurotic and not practical. The idea is to not let the clutter develop to the point where it impedes your life. Develop an understanding of how the clutter develops and build tools to assist you to minimize it. Landing zones are a great one for me. Shop. Kitchen. I bring something in, it goes to a landing zone and I do not have to deal with it immediately but at some point, I will clear the landing zone and put the new stuff where it needs to go.

Journalism - a tweet

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Measles - Roald Dahl

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Roald Dahl was the author of many wonderful children's books. He lived quite an interesting life and passed away in 1990. The Infogalactic entry is a fascinating read.

What is not commonly known is that his daughter Olivia caught measles and died in 1962. He wrote this in 1988:

Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.

“Are you feeling all right?” I asked her.

“I feel all sleepy,” she said.

In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her.

On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it.

It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness. Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk. In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out.

Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunised, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year. Out of those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of one kind or another. At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections. About 20 will die.


Every year around 20 children will die in Britain from measles.

So what about the risks that your children will run from being immunised?

They are almost non-existent. Listen to this. In a district of around 300,000 people, there will be only one child every 250 years who will develop serious side effects from measles immunisation! That is about a million to one chance. I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.

So what on earth are you worrying about? It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go unimmunised.

The ideal time to have it done is at 13 months, but it is never too late. All school-children who have not yet had a measles immunisation should beg their parents to arrange for them to have one as soon as possible.

Incidentally, I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was ‘James and the Giant Peach’. That was when she was still alive. The second was ‘The BFG’, dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children.

I think about those idiots in Portland and Southern Washington who "choose" to not vaccinate their children and are now paying the price. This is pure child abuse.

Wheels within wheels - FBI and CNN

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When the FBI sent a team of people to arrest Roger Stone, CNN was there in the pre-dawn hours to report.

First, the arrest - from The Hill:

Special counsel's office wrong to arrest Roger Stone instead of letting him self-surrender
A swarm of armed federal agents wearing bullet proof vests and equipped with battering rams and other riot gear arrested Roger Stone before sunrise Friday morning. Video cameras from CNN were present to capture the show of force.

There was absolutely no good reason to arrest Stone instead of letting him self-surrender like others who have cooperated with the investigation such as Michael Flynn.

The primary CNN reporter there that morning was Josh Campbell - from The Daily Caller:

CNN’s decision to hire former FBI Director James Comey’s assistant disturbs veteran members of the bureau, former agents told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The relationship between former FBI agent Josh Campbell, the cable news network and Campbell’s seemingly close history with former boss James Comey, have raised a number of questions from these agents over the propriety of Campbell’s new job.

“What can [Campbell] contribute? I don’t think that he would be someone who could offer any type of, really, knowledge about what law enforcement analysts are, because, what is his experience?” said former Special Agent Jack Garcia, a 26 year FBI veteran.

“Something smells so bad about this whole thing.”

Much more at the site - it seems Mr. Campbell padded his resume quite a bit:

Garcia and another 25 year veteran of the FBI noted to TheDCNF that Campbell’s mere 10 year career was largely marked by time spent at headquarters and that he lacked field knowledge to accurately represent the bureau. Campbell’s last job in the FBI was spent in a media relations role out of the Los Angeles field office.

And this:

Since joining CNN, Campbell deleted his personal website, which included numerous photos of himself with Comey. In the sites featured image, it shows a photo of himself sitting behind the director during congressional testimony which Comey delivered after President Donald Trump fired him.

Campbell appears to have attended the testimony with his future CNN colleague and former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Emphasis mine - silly human, the Internet is forever. From this archived copy of his website:

Josh Campbell is a CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, providing insight on crime, justice, and national security issues.

Prior to joining the network, Campbell was a Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI and served as Special Assistant to the FBI Director. During his 12-year career, he conducted numerous high-profile terrorism and kidnapping investigations, served overseas in multiple diplomatic and operational assignments, and managed the Bureau's interagency communication response strategy following crisis incidents. He received four FBI Combat Theater Awards for his work embedded with military special operations and CIA teams abroad.

Emphasis mine again. Continuing from The Daily Caller article:

Individuals who worked at the FBI during Campbell’s time greatly dispute this characterization.

One former 25-year veteran agent, who asked TheDCNF to remain nameless, said Campbell, 34, “did the minimal amount of time he could before retiring. Any idea that he is some seasoned agent … is ludicrous — he just isn’t that.”

“He sees himself as a star. He hasn’t been part of our brotherhood, he doesn’t understand how we feel.”

Mr. Campbell and CNN are made for each other. FAKE NEWS but a great story. Follow the narrative, do not bother with the reality. Much more at The Daily Caller - well worth reading. Pure Deep State.

Back home again

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Stopped off for breakfast. Doing some laundry and picking up the house a bit - dump run.

Time to clean up the voter rolls

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From FOX News:

Texas says it found 95,000 non-citizens on voter rolls; 58,000 have voted
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Friday that the state has discovered 95,000 non-citizens on the voter rolls going back to 1996, 58,000 of whom have voted in at least one Texas election -- an announcement likely to raise fresh concerns about the prospect of voter fraud.

Texas has some of the toughest voter ID laws in the nation and has been one of the main battlegrounds in the Republican-led fight against alleged voter fraud. The office, in a statement, said that 33 people were prosecuted for voter fraud last year, and 97 were prosecuted between 2005-17. There are 16 million people in Texas registered to vote.

“Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice,” Paxton said in a statement.

If Texas has such problems with tough voter ID laws, I shudder to think about states like California.

Out for coffee

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Post office too - even though it is Sunday, they sometimes don't get the mail sorted until late evening so yesterday's mail will be in the box today.

Knocking out a couple of things here and then up to the farm for some more packing.

There goes the ski season

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Article from Cliff Mass:

U.S. Extremes: Big Warm Ridge over the West and Deep, Cold Trough over the East
There is a lot of talk about extreme regional differences in politics these days, but during the next week, we will see amazing differences between the western and central U.S. in temperature:

A very strong ridge of high pressure will prevail over the West, with very warm temperatures aloft, while the east will be dominated by a deep trough of low pressure, that will bring extreme cold down to the surface.

Let me start by showing you some very colorful maps created by Alicia Bentley (a NOAA/NWS employee!) These show the upper level maps (500 hPa pressure level, about 18,000 ft ASL), with the heights of the pressure level shown in black, and a measure of the differences (or anomalies) from normal shown in colors (orange/red are above normal, blue/purple below) normal.

Today at 10 AM (1800 UTC) there is a big ridge of higher heights (think high pressure) over the West Coast and a trough (lower heights/pressures) over the east. Major anomalies, with the purple colors indicating very usual low heights.


Continued freezing temps for the Midwest and East. Mild winter for the Pacific Northwest. We are really going to start feeling this around Wednesday the 30th. Wonder if Al Gore is in Chicago?

Seriously WTF - Hillary

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From Breitbart:

CNN’s Zeleny: Hillary Clinton Telling Friends She Has Not Closed the Door on 2020 Run
Sunday on CNN’s “Inside Politics,” senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny said former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is telling people she has not yet closed the door to running for president in 2020.

Zeleny said, “Hillary Clinton is telling people that she’s not closing the doors to the idea of running in 2020.”

He continued, “I’m told by three people that, as recently as this week, she was telling people that, look, given all this news from the indictments, particularly the Roger Stone indictment, she talked to several people, saying look, I’m not closing the doors to this.”

Someone please do this planet a favor and drive a stake through this person's heart.

Well crap - RIP Michel Legrand

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I love film music and have a couple favorite composers - Michel Legrand was one of them. From the Los Angeles Times:

Michel Legrand, Academy Award-winning composer, dies at 86
Oscar-winning composer and pianist Michel Legrand, whose hits included the score for the '60s romance "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" and the song "The Windmills of Your Mind" and who worked with some of biggest singers of the 20th century, has died at age 86.

Legrand last performed on stage just last month, and was still composing and practicing piano an hour a day even as fatigue increasingly forced him to restrict his schedule, said Claire de Castellane, a musician and producer who organized a series of recent solo piano concerts by Legrand. De Castellane confirmed his death Saturday, without providing details.

"MICHEL LEGRAND Feb. 24, 1932-Jan. 26, 2019," read the home page of his official website Saturday, followed by photographs of Legrand with Barbara Streisand, Miles Davis, Yves Montand and others. Tributes poured in on Twitter and Facebook, and French radio and television replayed songs from his vast repertoire.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced condolences to Legrand's wife and children, hailing him as an "indefatigable genius." ''His unique tunes that run through our heads and are hummed in the streets have become like the soundtracks of our lives," he said.

A great voice has been stilled.

Nothing out there

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YouTube and to bed.

Now that was fun - Ursulmas faire

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It was about a 30 minute drive down. First time I had been to the Evergreen Fairgrounds - driven past a lot on my way to hikes and tourism but first time I had stopped. The place is HUGE.

The event was hosted by the local chapter of SCA - Society for Creative Anachronism - the Barony of Aquaterra in the Kingdon of An Tir. I had been to some of the SCA events in Bellingham but the group up there didn't really attract me. This group does. The vendor area had the usual merchants selling KSOs but they also had three really good actual blacksmiths / bladesmiths. One of whom I had seen several times at our local blacksmith guild meetings doing demonstrations and Tim was also a winner on Forged in Fire. Here is the website: Fa’el’s Forge & Metalworks

A KSO is a Knife Shaped Object and refers to knives made of unknown metal, made in China and acid etched to show a similar pattern to a true Damascus Steel. They look like this:


and cost $11 USD. With shipping and customs and everything, you are looking at about paying about $18-$20 per blade. The vendors were selling these for $40 each so they were making a fair profit. They were very honest to a fault and saying that this was not Damascus Steel, it merely looked like Damascus. This way, a beginning collector could get a cool looking blade for just some pocket money. A link to the Ali Baba website for this blade. For comparison, a hand forged blade usually runs around $90 and one made from Damascus starts around $180-$240.

Damascus steel is steel that has been layered and welded together - usually alternating layers of high-carbon steel with layers of low. The high-carbon steel will take a much sharper edge but it is brittle. The low carbon steel is more ductile and offers a perfect backing for the high, preventing it from flexing too much and cracking.

Anyway, spent about three hours there talking to the smiths and watching the combat and knife and hatchet throwing. Went to Snohomish and spent about an hour walking through the old part of town by the river. There are a lot of antique shops there so it was fun to poke around. Dinner there and two pints at my local.

All in all, a fun day. Up to the farm tomorrow for a couple days of packing.

Heading out for the day

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Nothing on the web. Coffee and then down to this: Ursulmas Medieval Faire

The Wall

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A great essay at Sultan Knish:

How the Wall Became America's Dividing Line
America is full of visible and invisible walls. In the first half of the last century, our politics had been dedicated to tearing down the walls between classes, races and genders. And then in the second half of the century, radicals terrified of what that meant for their plans, began building them up again while adding new divisions until every city, workplace and even family is divided by many invisible walls.

Ah yes - identity politics and social justice warriors - enslaving liberals on the Democrat plantation. Here is what to think. Here is what to say. More:

Walls represent divisions. Whether you support or oppose a particular wall depends on whether you believe a division is legally, morally or philosophically legitimate. The walls that the radicals want to tear down are the walls distinguishing and defining concepts that they don’t believe in, such as nations and genders, while building walls of segregation to separate races and classes.

When Speaker Pelosi calls a border wall immoral, it’s not because she believes that physical structures of steel and stone are immoral, but that the concept that a wall protects, that of the nation and its citizenry, is immoral to the radical mind.

That's an important debate worth having because the rejection of America as a distinct nation, as opposed to a distinct idea, gets at the heart of the opposition to so much of Trump's agenda from both parties.

And some more:

When there is no wall, then physical and moral security both become precarious. Walls don’t just lock in physical geography, but also moral geography by maintaining definitions, separating fact from fiction, and preventing the slippage of moral and physical territories into states of physical and factual anarchy.

A breakdown in border security is not only a physical breakdown, it’s a moral collapse. We aren’t lacking in the physical resources that are needed to construct a wall and to secure the border. America was able to secure the border in lower tech times with fewer resources and less money. And we regularly waste far more money on useless things than the cost of that “immoral” wall.

What we lack are the moral resources to secure the border. The struggle over the shutdown is not a battle over resources, but a struggle over morals. President Trump understands that and has fought it that way for a reason. He has already made the case for self-interest. But the inconveniences of the shutdown require being able to tolerate immediate pain for the eventual relief of greater suffering. Only a moral argument can be used to sell delayed gratification.

A great essay and it really speaks truth to power. Build the damn thing already.

The shutdown - an update

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From our President:

Good - taking care of business. After three weeks, if no progress, back to square one. Pelosi and Schumer own this.

Great dinner

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Soup came out really good - another keeper recipe. Will have to tweak it a bit though - it calls for creamed corn and what I got at the store tasted a lot different than what I remember from my childhood. I have a good sense of taste and today's was a lot different from the corn of my yoot. Looked at the label and it was corn, corn starch and sugar. No wonder. Next time I make the soup, I will incorporate this from Thomas Keller.

Heading out to the medieval faire tomorrow. Stopped at the auction house and there was nothing that caught my eye for tomorrow's auction.

Time for dinner

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Soup should be done now - house smells wonderful. Picked up a baguette at Costco today so toasting that with some good butter. Probably not going out for a pint tonight - been going out a lot and beer is not free. More later.

State of Emergency - Measles

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Bad news indeed - stupid parents are at fault for this. From Yahoo/Agence France-Presse:

State of emergency declared in US measles outbreak
A state of emergency was declared on Friday in the western US state of Washington following a measles outbreak that has affected more than two dozen people, the majority of them children.

The disease was declared eliminated in the US in 2000 but has since made a comeback that is tied to imported cases and the rise of the anti-vaccine movement.

"Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children," Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement. "The existence of more than 26 confirmed cases in the state of Washington creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties."

The outbreak began near Portland, Oregon, at the start of the year and quickly spread to nearby Clark County and King County, both in Washington.

What really gets me is that the guy who started the anti-vax movement is still around spewing the same bullshit and it is having a major effect. From The Independent:

Andrew Wakefield: How a disgraced UK doctor has remade himself in anti-vaxxer Trump’s America
It has been 20 years since the gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield co-authored a now notorious and debunked medical paper that claimed to have found a link between autism and the use of a common children’s vaccine.

The paper, later retracted by The Lancet, helped lead to a drop-off in vaccination rates and an increase in outbreak diseases such as measles, not only in Britain and Europe, but in the US. The doctor was subsequently found guilty by the British General Medical Council (GMC) of three-dozen charges, including dishonesty and abuse of children, and struck off the medical register.

Of course, The Independent being a faithful member of the liberal media had to get their digs in on President Trump. Some more:

Last year, the 61-year-old was directly linked to an outbreak of measles among the Somali American community in Minnesota – the largest in the state for many years – after he visited and shared his views with them.

And a bit more:

The overwhelming majority of experts in the field say Wakefield is wrong and point to as many as 17 studies showing no link between autism and the MMR vaccine, which was first introduced in the UK in 1988. Those same experts claim his campaign to try and prove a link continues to have hugely damaging consequences.

“Despite the fact that his findings were found to be fraudulent, that the paper was later retracted and that Wakefield was struck-off the medical register for dishonesty, the damage was done,” Seth Berkley, the chief executive of Gavi, a private-public organisation previously known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, wrote recently.

Disgusting - preying on gullible people.

About that Global Warming

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Three headlines and a chill chart:

The Pacific Northwest is "enjoying" a moderate winter with higher than normal temps and minimal precip. I put quotes around the "enjoying" because this is really bad for our ski season. Business is off at the store. This is caused by the ENSO or El Niño - Southern Oscillation and is one of the many cycles which govern our weather. CO2 is not one of them.

Also, Europe is having problems of it's own with record low temperatures.

President Trump blinked this afternoon. From FOX News:

Trump, Democrats reach temporary deal to end shutdown
Both chambers of Congress passed the short-term spending bill to re-open the government, temporarily ending the 35-day partial government shutdown on Friday, sending the measure to President Trump’s desk for him to sign into law.

Trump and congressional Democrats arrived at an agreement Friday to support a short-term spending bill to re-open the government, temporarily ending the partial government shutdown that has dragged on for 35 days, in a move to separate the controversial issue of border security from funding of the government.

From the White House Rose Garden Friday, the president announced that the administration and Congressional Republicans and Democrats had “reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government." Trump said the deal would keep the government open for three weeks until Feb. 15. The measure passed the Senate on Friday afternoon on a voice vote. It passed the House of Representatives via unanimous consent later Friday, and Trump is expected to sign it tonight.

We will see what happens in three weeks. Pelosi and Schumer own the shutdown for their intransigence. From one point of view, it can be said that President Trump was taking pity on the poor Federal employees and giving them a respite. He will see how cooperative the Dems are over the next week or two and plan his strategy from there.

My dogs

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Coming back from shopping this afternoon, I swung by Del-Fox meats to get the bacon for dinner and a bag of dog bones. They know that I come out of there with the bag of bones so they get very excited. My last stop before home was an auction house to see what was being sold tomorrow. I accidentally left the bag on the passenger's seat. I was in there for less than five minutes and when I got back in, I saw that the bag had been moved. Inside was the bacon but not the bones.

Found the bones in the far back of the car - Grace was curled around them and there were just a few punctures in the plastic. "Just tasting to see if they were all right" was the expression on her face. Bear was very sheepish - betting that it was him that fished the bones out of the shopping bag and brought them to the back of the car for both of them to enjoy.

They are now downstairs munching away happily.

Productive day

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Puttered in the garage a bit and then went out to do some shopping and spent about an hour at the YMCA.

Gordon Ramsay released this video yesterday so this is dinner for me tonight (minus the cheese biscuits):

Out for coffee

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Post office, breakfast and a couple of errands and then working at the house. Have two things I want to do Saturday so staying on the island for a few more days.

This is what a leak looks like - CNN

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Interesting timing on this one - from Hot Air:

How Did CNN Get Tipped Off To The FBI Raid At Roger Stone’s House?
I had the same thought this morning as Jazz when I saw the footage. It is … curious that the president’s least favorite network, which obsesses daily about Russiagate and its implications for him, got a hot tip to have cameras pointed at Roger Stone’s front door before dawn this morning. What better way for the feds to maximize the humiliation to Stone and, by extension, Trump than to make sure their raid was carried to millions of TV viewers? Whether it was Mueller’s office that tipped CNN or the FBI that tipped them, someone obviously did.

This is nothing more than a witch hunt. Meuller has nothing on President Trump and the Russians so he is just dragging his feet.

Two from Representative Ilhan Omar

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Learn to code

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This was the advice the media gave to working class people back when our economy was not doing that well and manufacturing jobs were going away. Now, thanks to our President, that trend has been reversed and the pendulum is swinging in the other direction.
From Information Liberation:

Journos Meltdown After Being Told 'Learn To Code' In Wake Of Mass Layoffs At HuffPo, Buzzfeed
After news came out about mass layoffs at HuffPost, Buzzfeed and Gannett -- in the midst of the media's relentless smear-job against the Covington Catholic students -- right-wing Twitter had a field day.

Tons of leftist journalists announced they were laid off on Twitter and the top meme was telling them to "learn to code" -- which is the same advice the media gave middle Americans whose jobs are being taken in traditional industries.

A lot of screen-caps of tweets from editors and writers who were laid off. Makes for some delicious reading. The left eats their own.

The prices of eyeglasses

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An interesting look from the Los Angeles Times:

Why are glasses so expensive? The eyewear industry prefers to keep that blurry
It’s a question I get asked frequently, most recently by a colleague who was shocked to find that his new pair of prescription eyeglasses cost about $800.

Why are these things so damn expensive?

The answer: Because no one is doing anything to prevent a near-monopolistic, $100-billion industry from shamelessly abusing its market power.

Prescription eyewear represents perhaps the single biggest mass-market consumer ripoff to be found.

The author talks to an independent group about this and they decline to comment - here is why:

What the Vision Council probably didn’t want to get into is the fact that for years a single company, Luxottica, has controlled much of the eyewear market. If you wear designer glasses, there’s a very good chance you’re wearing Luxottica frames.

Its owned and licensed brands include Armani, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ray-Ban, Tiffany, Valentino, Vogue and Versace.

Italy’s Luxottica also runs EyeMed Vision Care, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Sunglass Hut and Target Optical.

Just pause to appreciate the lengthy shadow this one company casts over the vision care market. You go into a LensCrafters retail outlet, where the salesperson shows you Luxottica frames under various names, and then the company pays itself when you use your EyeMed insurance.

A very sweet deal.

I had cataract surgery ten years ago and the inserts corrected my eyesight to 20/20 but I do need readers. The cost of the readers has gone up quite a bit over the last five years or so. I used to get good ones from WalMart for under ten bucks but now they are $15 and up for cheap ones. I like having a large field of view too but they have been shrinking the size of the lenses. I have a few treasured aviator-style ones for computer and closeup work but the new ones really limit my vision. Ok for reading but not for looking at a whole screen or taking a photograph.

Back home again

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Ran into some people I know at the local so stayed for a bit talking.

Saw a flyer for Urselmas - this weekend. Looks like it might be fun and this year is their 37th year.

Out for a bite

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Heading up to the food coop, Costco and then the Asian buffett for dinner. Couple of pints and that is my evening.

Mike Rowe is a national treasure

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He was speaking at this year's SHOT Show in Vegas - from The Federalist:

At SHOT Show 2019, Mike Rowe Shares Three Life Lessons He Learned From Gun Owners
Using lessons he learned from his time hosting the show “Dirty Jobs,” popular TV personality Mike Rowe promoted common sense and personal responsibility at SHOT Show 2019, the nation’s largest annual gun industry convention. Organized by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), SHOT Show attracts upwards of 60,000 people each year.

Rowe, who made a name for himself showcasing the work ethic of blue collar workers on the show “Dirty Jobs,” told the audience of three major lessons he learned from people he met on the show–lessons that all came from people who owned guns.

A couple of nuggets:

“Be wary of experts,” he told the group. “Don’t dismiss them out of hand, but don’t always assume they know what they’re talking about.”

“A pig farmer might know more than an MBA. A farmer might know more about being kind to animals than a self-appointed expert.”

“The country has a skills gap,” he said. “We have seven million jobs available that can’t be filled because people in this country no longer have the skills to do them.”

“We have lent over $1.5 trillion to kids who can’t pay it back so they can spend four years trying to get jobs that don’t exist.”

Great article and so true. Mike speaks truth to power.

A bit of corruption and an astonishingly poor judgement call - from PJ Media:

Ilhan Omar Endorsed Somalia’s New President. Four Days Later, Omar’s Brother-in-Law Had a Powerful Job in His Administration
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) became the first Somali-American legislator in United States’ history when Minnesota’s House District 60B elected her on November 8, 2016. The distinction won Omar immediate fame and influence in Somalia, which was entering the final stretch of a critical presidential election of its own.

According to prominent federal security clearance defense attorney Sean Bigley (read below), Omar's documented actions in the weeks that followed would almost certainly prevent any applicant with such a background from obtaining or keeping a U.S. security clearance.

Ilhan Omar is now a U.S. congresswoman, however. Elected federal officials are exempted from the arduous security clearance process; they hold de facto clearances once sworn in to office. Further, Omar will likely be privy to a significant amount of classified national security information this term. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has granted Omar's request for a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Pelosi's action here is incredibly naive. Omar became a US citizen in 2000. She served two years in the Minnesota House of Representatives (elected in 2016). She is a political newbie with not very much experience. That she would be given a seat on the Fireign Affairs Committee is unreal.

What follows is a story of corruption and nepotism which has been playing out since a few months after her 2016 election. This is not about representing we the people - this is political power pure and simple. The story is so long and well documented that it is difficult to excerpt - go and read it for yourself and then, remember that this woman is going to be on the committee which sets middle eastern policy.

And here is a good article on her rabid antisemitism at Commentary Magazine

Of course - it's all about the narrative. To be a Vietnam Veteran sounds good. From The Lid:

Video Proof Of Nathan Phillips’ Lying By Saying Was Vietnam Vet
Nathan Philips the Native American Tribal Elder involved in the Covington Catholic High School incident this weekend has a track record of dishonesty and crime. The most recent and most visible lie was that Philips’ initial story of his supposed confrontation with the High School kids. That story was thoroughly discredited once a more extended version of the incident video was found and released.

And the specifics - referencing a video in the post:

Below is part of a video he made for the  Native Youth Alliance, He definitely says he was a Vietnam Vet and that he was “in the theater.”  If he served in Vietnam it had to be with fellow Vietnam combat fraud Connecticut Senator Blumenthal, and the only “theater” Mr. Philips was in during his Marine years had sticky floors, sold popcorn and Raisinets, and showed a movie.


Military Times received a statement from the Marine Corps explaining that Philips did not serve in Vietnam. Per the USMC he spent four years in the Marine Corps Reserve and left in 1976 with the rank of private, or E-1, and never left stateside.

His duty status says “discharged,” not “honorably discharged ”Jennifer Van Laar explains it probably has to do with his multiple stints in confinement after being AWOL.

And outside the military?

According to the Washington Examiner, Nathan Philips was no angel outside the USMC. He has a violent criminal record and escaped from jail as a 19-year old and was also charged with alcohol-related crimes.

Typical liberal bullshitter. The narrative and not the facts. These people live in their own special little world.

Out for coffee

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Working at home today.

More posting later...

Climate change - a wonderful conference

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From Mother Jones so there is a lot of negative bias:

Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Sponsored a Conference That Promoted Climate Change Denial
Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have publicly acknowledged the dangers of global warming, but last week they all sponsored a conference that promoted climate change denial to young libertarians.

All three tech companies were sponsors of LibertyCon, the annual convention of the libertarian group Students for Liberty, which took place in Washington, DC. Google was a platinum sponsor, ponying up $25,000, and Facebook and Microsoft each contributed $10,000 as gold sponsors. The donations put the tech companies in the top tier of the event’s backers. But the donations also put the firms in company with some of the event’s other sponsors, which included three groups known for their work attacking climate change science and trying to undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Oh the humanity. I can just see poor Stephanie (the author of this piece) running around with her hair on fire. Someone who is not conforming to the party line. Someone who has (shudder) independent thoughts and ideas. Someone who (the horror) actually looks at numbers instead of listening to the narrative.

It is not denial if the facts are on your side. Here is the website for the CO2 Coalition. From their ABOUT page:

The CO2 Coalition was established in 2015 as a 501(c)(3) for the purpose of educating thought leaders, policy makers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy. The Coalition seeks to engage in an informed and dispassionate discussion of climate change, humans’ role in the climate system, the limitations of climate models, and the consequences of mandated reductions in CO2 emissions.

In carrying out our mission, we seek to strengthen the understanding of the role of science and the scientific process in addressing complex public policy issues like climate change. Science produces empirical, measurable, objective facts and provides a means for testing hypotheses that can be replicated and potentially disproven. Approaches to policy that do not adhere to the scientific process risk grave damage to the economy and to science.

All indications point to another Maunder Minimum period of cooling for the next couple hundred years. We are doing nothing to prepare for this. Unfortunately, there is no way to hold the chicken-little scientists accountable for their predictions of catastrophic warming. The truth is going to hurt.

Out for coffee and breakfast

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Doing a recycling and dump run later this afternoon. Up to the farm tomorrow.

The elites at Davos and climate change

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They certainly do not act as though there was any emergency. From the UK Guardian:

Record private jet flights into Davos as leaders arrive for climate talk
David Attenborough might have urged world leaders at Davos to take urgent action on climate change, but it appears no one was listening. As he spoke, experts predicted up to 1,500 individual private jets will fly to and from airfields serving the Swiss ski resort this week.

Political and business leaders and lobbyists are opting for bigger, more expensive aircrafts, according to analysis by the Air Charter Service, which found the number of private jet flights grew by 11% last year.

“There appears to be a trend towards larger aircraft, with expensive heavy jets the aircraft of choice, with Gulfstream GVs and Global Expresses both being used more than 100 times each last year,” said Andy Christie, private jets director at the ACS.

This is partly due to the long distances travelled, he said, “but also possibly due to business rivals not wanting to be seen to be outdone by one another”. Last year, more than 1,300 aircraft flights were recorded at the conference, the highest number since ACS began recording private jet activity in 2013.

The last paragraph is especially interesting as this sort of peacocking is not sound business judgement and reinforces these numbers from The Economist:

And after all the inflated expenses and egos, what has been the fate of the companies that sent delegates at least three times in the past five years? Those 104 firms underperformed both the S&P 500 and MSCI World Index. Time to get back to work.


Heh - the Covington students

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48 hours indeed - from PJ Media:

Lawyer for Covington Catholic Families Gives Media 48 Hours to 'Retract and Correct' Smears
Robert Barnes, the lawyer representing the Covington Catholic High School kids who were smeared by the media, is warning reporters, celebrities, and others with large media platforms that they have until Friday to correct the record, or they will be sued.

Because of their sloppy reporting of what transpired in Washington, D.C., when two groups of protesters confronted a group of Catholic high school students who were waiting to catch a bus last Friday, the teens and their families have become the subjects of ongoing threats and harassment from a hateful online outrage mob.

On Fox and Friends Wednesday morning, Barnes, who is representing the families at no cost, explained that because the kids are private citizens and minors, anything someone says about them that is false can be libel, according to the law. Rather than proving malice, "all you have to prove is negligence," he said.

A bit more - from Barnes:

"Everybody now is on 48-hour notice. So by Friday everybody needs to retract and correct any false statements they have issued about these kids. That includes any major member of the media, that includes any major celebrity, that includes anybody with a substantial social media platform. If you've said anything false about these kids, they are willing to extend you a 48-hour time period — a period of grace consistent with their Christian faith — for you to, through confession, get redemption and retract and correct and apologize."

As the left media continues to devour itself. What will be left at the end? Interesting times indeed...

It was only a couple inches higher than previous king tides. Heading back to bed for another hour or so of sleep.

Hacking fun - construction cranes

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Turns out that these are now controlled with wireless links using off-the-shelf hardware with ten year old security.
From Forbes:

Exclusive: Hackers Take Control Of Giant Construction Cranes
Federico Maggi will never forget the first time he saw a crane being hacked.

Last March, he was on a strange kind of road trip. Travelling the Lombardi region of Italy with his colleague Marco Balduzzi in a red Volkswagen Polo, the pair hoped to convince construction site managers, who they’d never met or spoken with before, to let them have a crack at taking control of cranes with their hacking tools.

Surprise, surprise: They weren’t having much luck. But one such manager, who Maggi fondly remembers as Matteo, was game. Armed with laptops powered by the VW’s battery, scripts for running their hacks and some radio hardware to beam out the exploit code, Maggi and Balduzzi got to work.

Matteo was asked to turn off his transmitter, the only one on-site capable of controlling the crane, and put the vehicle into a “stop” state. The hackers ran their script. Seconds later, a harsh beeping announced the crane was about to move. And then it did, shifting from side to side. Looking up at the mechanism below a wide blue sky, Matteo was at first confused.

“I remember him looking up and asking, ‘Who is doing that ?’ Then he realized the test was successful,” Maggi recalls.

A really thorough (82 page PDF) analysis of the problem can be found at Trend Micro Research:

A Security Analysis of Radio Remote Controllers for Industrial Applications
Radio frequency (RF) remote controllers are widely used in manufacturing, construction, transportation, and many other industrial applications. Cranes, drills, and miners, among others, are commonly equipped with RF remotes. Unfortunately, these devices have become the weakest link in these safety-critical applications, characterized by long life spans, high replacement costs, and cumbersome patching processes. Given the pervasive connectivity promoted by the Industry 4.0 trend, we foresee a security risk in this domain as has happened in other fields.

Our research reveals that RF remote controllers are distributed globally, and millions of vulnerable units are installed on heavy industrial machinery and environments. Our extensive in-lab and on-site analysis of devices made by seven popular vendors reveals a lack of security features at different levels, with obscure, proprietary protocols instead of standard ones. They are vulnerable to command spoofing, so an attacker can selectively alter their behavior by crafting arbitrary commands — with consequences ranging from theft and extortion to sabotage and injury.

A tech savvy ex-employee with a grudge could cause a lot of trouble. This is the same problem that caused (and is still causing) so much trouble with industrial SCADA systems.

Out for a bite to eat

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and some pints. Been getting dark later and later in the day. The sun set at 4:20PM on the Winter solstice. It now sets at 4:55PM. Noticeable difference.

Getting a bite to eat. Not too hungry so probably just an appetizer and a pint or two.

More spew later. Early bedtime though - want to be up for that 7:00AM high tide. There is a great vantage point on a bridge near here.

The 2019 State of the Union address

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This will be a lot of fun. I bet that President Trump is enjoying this immensely. From the London Daily Mail:

Trump could give Texas RALLY speech instead of the State of the Union address if Pelosi insists president isn't welcome in Congress during government shutdown
The White House is working on a 'Plan B' if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't want President Trump to deliver his annual State of the Union address next week: a campaign-style rally that would take place outside Washington, D.C.

A White House official told DailyMail.com on Tuesday that the president has considered holding a rally near the Texas-Mexico border to highlight the illegal immigration crisis and his promise of a border wall. Trump's demand for funding sparked the standoff that shuttered one-quarter of the government 32 days ago.

Heh... Chuck and Nancy own the shutdown. Holding the rally near the border will only rub their noses in this fact.

Great news - Covington High School

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From PJ Media:

Lawyer for Covington Catholic HS Families Threatens Lawsuits Against Media Unless They Retract False Stories
Thanks to the sloppy, one-sided reporting of the malicious, agenda-driven media, a group of Catholic high school teenagers and their families have become the subjects of threats and harassment from a hateful online outrage mob. Their only sins? Being white, Catholic, and supporters of the president.

The full story has emerged in the wake of the fake news blitzkrieg over the weekend, and the media outlets that spread defamatory smears against the kids are now being warned to correct and retract their stories or face a lawsuit. Contrary to the media's malicious narrative, the kids were not racist rednecks mobbing a Native American elder with hateful slurs. It was quite the opposite.

I think a couple of high-profile lawsuits would be a very good thing. The media and the left (but I repeat myself) took an out-of-context snippet and ran with it. Unfortunately for them, the reality was something completely different. Some news outlets have published retractions but most have not.

Must be nice - Nancy Pelosi

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From The Daily Caller:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s congressional delegation (CODEL) to Belgium, Egypt and Afghanistan garnered extra attention after President Donald Trump banned her from using military aircraft, but the trip would not have been the first time she used Air Force money to travel the world.

Pelosi’s trip to Italy and Ukraine from July 30 to Aug. 6, 2015, cost the Air Force $184,587.81, according to documents released Saturday under a 2015 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by Judicial Watch. Her delegation was made up of other Democratic members of Congress, including California Rep. Anna Eshoo, after “token” Republican Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner pulled out last minute, reported The Washington Post in 2015.

That is yours and my tax dollars being spent there. Shamless.

Now that was fun

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The radio net was a lot of fun this morning. Lastged about an hour. There were actually two nets - the first was run by the WA State EOC (Emergency Operations Center) and they called out to about 30 of the localized EOCs in Northwestern Washington from Blaine down to  near Lynwood. The State EOC is in Camp Murray near Tacoma. Camano Island Fire and Rescue calls in to this net every week. We also participate in large excercises.

The second network was just local responders - Red Cross, various Fire and S&R teams.

I get to do the whole thing by myself on February 5th - should be fun...

Spent a couple hours after that getting some breakfast and running a few errands. Planning to stay down here tonight as I got this in my inbox from the Island County Public Works:

High tide in the morning
Winds are predicted to be light from the north. NASWI predicted with north winds at 10 and gusts to 17.
Tides at about 0700:
Port Townsend 10.36'
Seattle 13.69

Theses are above the HAT (High Astronomical Tide)

Expect minor saltwater flooding at this tide level.

Want to be here to see what it looks like - the mother of King Tides...

A counter to the toxic Gillette video

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Spot on:

More at The Western Journal:

Exclusive: Meet the CEO Who Put His Company on the Line To Stand Up to Gillette’s ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Ad
Editor’s note: The following was written by Ilan Srulovicz, the CEO and founder of Egard Watch Company, explaining why his company produced an ad to counter Gillette’s recent commercial on masculinity.
The story behind making the video is interesting. I made the ad completely alone. The voice in the video is mine and the editing is my own.

I was told by most people around me and in my company that making this video was a terrible idea and could not only hurt my brand but me personally as the CEO.

I used my personal funds on the video because I was worried about the backlash.

The main feedback was, “This will draw attention away from women’s issues,” “The political climate right now won’t support a film like this,” “Ask yourself why no other company is doing it,” etc.

He concludes with this:

The Gillette ad rubbed me the wrong way. I, like the overwhelming majority of men, am absolutely disgusted by sexual assault, rape, bullying, so why throw it in my face as if my “gender” as a whole is toxic? Using terms like “toxic masculinity” is using too broad a stroke to address specific issues — issues which I agree very much need to be addressed, especially after all the crazy stuff we’ve seen in Hollywood.

I am not against Gillette trying to start a conversation about assault, but I do have an issue with how they went about it.

Great call - pity I do not wear a watch. They make some nice ones. The overall response to the video has been impressively favorable too - they are back-ordered on many of their watches.

And, of course, the YouTube Thumb-O-Meter:


I love it - 161K to 2.1K - 76 times greater.

Fun afternoon

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Went to the YMCA for 90 minutes- used some of the machines and got good and tired. Definitely feel it tomorrow. When I signed up, they gave me a $50 gift certificate (as well as waiving the initial fee) so I will hire a personal trainer to get me started on weight lifting. That and cardio are the two areas I need the most work on.

Had a vegetarian burrito for a light dinner (already kinda full from breakfast) and then went over to my other local for two pints of beer. Ran out to the food coop too.

Early morning tomorrow - doing another ham radio emergency drill. I am on my own for this drill in three weeks so want to get another practice session in under my belt.

Surf for a bit...

Clueless - The New York Times

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But they get the narrative correct anyway. From The New York Times:

Brace for the Polar Vortex; It May Be Visiting More Often
Find your long johns, break out the thick socks and raid the supermarket. After a month of relatively mild winter weather, the Midwest and the East Coast are bracing for what is becoming a seasonal rite of passage: the polar vortex.

The phrase has become synonymous with frigid temperatures that make snowstorms more likely. A blast of arctic air heralded the vortex’s arrival on Monday.

If it seems as if these polar freezes are happening more often, you’re right. “They are definitely becoming more common,” said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. “There have been a couple of studies that have documented that.”

The Polar Vortex is a purely natural phenomenon - it has happened before, it will happen again.

It is funny too as when you go to the link that Dr. Francisposted, it goes to a single paper that talks about the Polar Vortex but connects it to the variability of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. No mention of global warming. The ENSO is also a natural phenomenon - it has happened before, it will happen again.

Just wonderful - measles outbreak

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From The Bellingham Herald:

22 confirmed cases of measles in Clark County
VANCOUVER, WASH. -- Health officials now say they have 22 confirmed measles cases in Clark County since the start of the year.

And of course:

Clark County Public Health said Monday is also investigating three suspected cases of the infection. Officials say 19 of those infected were not immunized, while the three others are not verified to have had the vaccine.

The anti-vax movement is one of the most horrible things ever perpetrated. The poor children. The guy who started it all - Andrew Wakefield - had his license to practice medicine revoked over this.

DaVinci Resolve - control surfaces

Been having a lot of fun with the DaVinci Resolve video editing software. Totally free for individual use and very feature packed. Stiff learning curve but well worth it.

Couple of things that are very cool - they offer some dedicated control surfaces that give you a lot more tweaking ability than can be done with a keyboard and mouse. The downside is that the absolute cheapest of these - the Resolve Micro is $987 at Amazon:


Fortunately, since I have been doing electronic music for a long long time, I have an older version of this dedicated controller surface for my music software (was Sonar, now Cubase and Ableton):


This was made by Mackie and can be used to stop and start the recording process. There are knobs for setting parameters and sliders for adjusting the volume.

Turns out that it is possible to use the internal scripting language of Resolve to run this surface. The scripting language in question? My favorite: Lua  I consider Python to be overrated.

Very nice software!

Adapt or die - J. C. Penny

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Another business dinosaur is thrashing its last - from The Wall Street Journal:

J.C. Penney Struggles to Avoid Same Fate as Sears
J.C. Penney Co.’s sales are falling, its stores are stuck in malls and the turnaround strategy keeps changing. Now, three months after the embattled retailer hired a new chief executive, a handful of senior positions remain vacant.

The series of events is prompting analysts and other industry experts to question whether Penney can avoid the fate of fellow department-store operator Sears Holdings Corp., which filed for bankruptcy and barely staved off liquidation.

“Penney is a broken business,” said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia Business School. “They are looking at a very problematic 2019. It’s the mistakes of the past coming home to roost.”

Many factors - Walmart drank some of their milkshake. Online shopping did not help. They could have compensated but did not. Their management was out of touch. Same thing with Sears.

The article goes on to say that problems are also brewing for Macy’s and Kohl’s.

Staying another day

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Got some stuff to work on here plus a large radio network tomorrow morning. Spending tonight down here and head up to the farm tomorrow.

Another company is leaving CA for Texas - from Space.com:

SpaceX to Shift Starship Work From California to Texas
Less than a week after laying off 10 percent of its employees, SpaceX said Jan. 16 that it plans to shift work on at least prototypes of its next-generation launch system from Los Angeles to Texas.

In a statement, SpaceX said it was now planning to build prototypes of its Starship vehicle, the upper stage of its next-generation reusable launch system, at its site in South Texas originally designed to serve as a launch site. An initial prototype version of that vehicle has been taking shape in recent weeks at the site in advance of "hopper" tests that could begin in the next one to two months.

"To streamline operations, SpaceX is developing and will test the Starship test vehicle at our site in South Texas," company spokesperson Eva Behrend said in an emailed statement. The news was first reported by the Los Angeles Times after a pair of tweets early Jan. 16 from Joe Buscaino, a member of the Los Angeles City Council whose district includes the Port of Los Angeles. 

High cost of doing business, poor infrastructure, impermeable bureaucracy, liberal politics making it hard to run a business. The laundry list goes on and on and on...

Advertising placement

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I had been using Gillette razors but I am switching over to old-school safety razor. Because of their disgusting video, I am switching to a different brand (dropping Crest toothpaste too - same owners). These are what I first shaved with so should not be much of a re-learning curve.

Saw several sites recomending Feather Razor Blades as being very good (and only 20¢ each). Went on to Amazon and did a search. Here is what I saw in the top row of advertising:


Looks like Gillette is feeling some pain and spending some bucks on advertising. That placement has to be expensive. By the way, the video is now at 669K Thumbs Up and 1.1M Thumbs Down - more than 1.5 times difference.

The world economy - China

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A very thoughtful observation from al fin next level:

China’s Decline Hits Positive Feedback Territory
Chinese economic growth continues to decline and it is feared China might even suffer a major recession because of the continued economic problems.
__ Source

Positive Feedback Decline in China?
Slower growth in China means slower growth for the rest of the world…. with the headwinds from cooling global growth China’s economy is likely to weaken further before growth stabilizes in the second half of the year.”
__ https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46941932

You see the cyclic nature of China’s predicament: A slowing economy in China causes a slowing of economies in the rest of the worldAt the same timea cooling of the global economy is likely to further weaken China’s economy. A simple, straightforward positive feedback cycle of decline.

Read the whole thing - China needs us more than we need China. The trade war is working.

Driving Californians crazy

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Peter Grant found this on the web - thought I would share:


Brazil at Davos

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I would love to visit that nation - they finally have someone really good as a leader and they are going to show up all the corrupt socialist South American states by example. From France24 / Agence France-Presse:

Bolsonaro to present 'new Brazil' in Davos
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Monday he will present to the world leaders gathering in Davos the "new Brazil" he and his new government are working on, one that will be friendlier to investors and agribusiness.

"We want to show... that Brazil is taking measures so that the world re-establishes confidence in us," Bolsonaro told reporters as he arrived in the Swiss ski resort hosting the World Economic Forum meeting.

The new far-right leader of Latin America's biggest economy is the star attraction of Davos in the absence of US President Donald Trump and several other prominent heads of state.

On Tuesday, he said that he will present a "very short" speech setting out the pro-market direction Brazil will take with him at the helm -- a path "without being guided by ideology," he promised.

Emphasis mine - yes!!! Faster please!!!

Dietary Fiber - more good news

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Dietary Fiber is very good for you. I have been really watching my carbohydrate intake - keeping it to a minimum with the exception of the occasional past binge. Dietary Fiber counterbalances carbs so it is a good thing to have in your diet.

This from British medical journal The Lancet by way of Eureka Alert:

The Lancet: High intake of dietary fiber and whole grains associated with reduced risk of non-communicable diseases
People who eat higher levels of dietary fibre and whole grains have lower rates of non-communicable diseases compared with people who eat lesser amounts, while links for low glycaemic load and low glycaemic index diets are less clear. Observational studies and clinical trials conducted over nearly 40 years reveal the health benefits of eating at least 25g to 29g or more of dietary fibre a day, according to a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in The Lancet.

The results suggest a 15-30% decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality when comparing people who eat the highest amount of fibre to those who eat the least. Eating fibre-rich foods also reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24%. Per 1,000 participants, the impact translates into 13 fewer deaths and six fewer cases of coronary heart disease.

In addition, a meta-analysis of clinical trials suggested that increasing fibre intakes was associated with lower bodyweight and cholesterol, compared with lower intakes.

I currrently eat about 10 grams/day - have to figure out a way to increase that. I do eat a lot of whole grains and beans so coming from a good start.

Slow news day

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Nothing much happening - out for coffee and breakfast.

No eclipse photos this time

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Got a nice view of the eclipse starting but then, the clouds moved in. Bummer...

Out for coffee in a few, breakfast and then up to the farm for a few days.

And that is it for me

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I'll be working with DaVinci Resolve learning it - wonderful application for editing videos. Also watching some YouTube videos. Planning to head up to the farm tomorrow for a couple days of packing.

Spring is coming and I want to get the properties listed for sale.

Back home again

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Had two pints at a local and watched a bit of the football game. Talked with a couple people - nice to socialize for a bit after working at home all day.

Patchy clouds so will be shooting the moon tonight. Surf for a bit first.

Time for dinner

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Kicking back for dinner - heading out for a pint or two to relax after.

FAKE NEWS again - from Reason:

The Media Wildly Mischaracterized That Video of Covington Catholic Students Confronting a Native American Veteran
Partial video footage of students from a Catholic high school allegedly harassing a Native American veteran after the anti-abortion March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday quickly went viral, provoking . widespread . condemnation of the kids on social media. Various media figures and Twitter users called for them to be doxed, shamed, or otherwise punished, and school administrators said they would consider expulsion.

But the rest of the video—nearly two hours of additional footage showing what happened before and after the encounter—adds important context that strongly contradicts the media's narrative.

Far from engaging in racially motivated harassment, the group of mostly white, MAGA-hat-wearing male teenagers remained relatively calm and restrained despite being subjected to incessant racist, homophobic, and bigoted verbal abuse by members of the bizarre religious sect Black Hebrew Israelites, who were lurking nearby. The BHI has existed since the late 19th century, and is best describes as a black nationalist cult movement; its members believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites, and often express condemnation of white people, Christians, and gays. DC-area Black Hebrews are known to spout particularly vile bigotry.

But the real story did not fit the media narrative. Nothing to see here folks - just keep moving.

These outbreaks keep gettting bigger and bigger - from Vox:

The Ebola outbreak in Eastern Congo is moving toward a major city. That’s not good.
At least 680 people have been infected with the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history, with 414 deaths so far, and the first Ebola outbreak in an active war zone, DRC’s eastern North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

But it could get worse: Health officials this week are concerned that Ebola appears to be spreading in the direction of Goma, a major population center in DRC.

Just this week, DRC’s health ministry confirmed four cases of the deadly virus in Kayina, a town in North Kivu, where fighting among rebel and militia groups has repeatedly interrupted the painstaking work of health workers who are responding to the outbreak.

Kayina happens to be halfway between Butembo, currently one of the outbreak’s most worrisome hotspots, and Goma, where a million people live.

Victims are contagious for about two days before the symptoms manifest. All it takes is for one victim to fly to the USA on a large airplane and all hell will break loose. We do not have the ability to deal with an outbreak of this scale.

Very scary.

Done for the day - very productive

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Paid bills and got a bunch of filing done - seperated my 2018 stuff out so can start 2019 afresh and start with my taxes.

One aspect of tonight's Super Blood Wolf Total Lunar Eclipse is that the tides are much higher than usual. About 10" higher than I have ever seen it here. The sky is pretty cloudy but I am putting a camera with telephoto lens and tripod in the living room in case there is an opening.

Fixing a salad and heating up some of the soup for dinner tonight.

Out the door

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Headiung out for coffee and post office. Probably get some breakfast too.

Working at home today - paperwork and more puttering in the garage. Farm tomorrow for a couple of days.

A good speech - President Trump

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He hit my talking points:

Quite the new law - Canada

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Not well thought out at all - from Foundation for Economic Education:

Canada’s New Drunk Driving Law Will Make You Thankful for the 4th Amendment
Imagine going out to dinner with your wife on a Saturday night. She orders a nice bottle of pinot noir. You pour yourself a splash, but just half a glass since you’re driving. Your wife, who had a long day, drinks the rest.

After dinner, you drive home, park the car, and go inside. While watching Bird Box, you knock back a couple Scotches to catch up. The movie done, the two of you begin to retire upstairs when there’s a knock at the door. It’s the police. Someone reported seeing you driving erratically, they say, and they want you to take a breathalyzer. You decline to blow, but relent when officers threaten to arrest you. The machine says your blood alcohol concentration is 85 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood, .085 percent. The night ends with you in handcuffs, arrested for drunk driving.

This scenario sounds far-fetched, but it would be perfectly legal under Canada’s new drunk driving laws, which the federal government recently revised to reduce traffic fatalities.

Not a good law at all - classic case of something that Sounds good as opposed to something that Does good. Silly liberal...

Tomorrow's eclipse of the Moon

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Nice post from Cliff Mass about tomorrow's total eclipse:

Will you be able to see the Super Blood Wolf Total Lunar Eclipse on Sunday Evening?
There will be a total lunar eclipse on Sunday night that potentially could be quite a sight.

The shadow of the earth will start covering the full moon around 6:36 PM (actually the penumbra, where the light from the sun begins to be reduced). The total lunar eclipse will begin at 8:41 PM and end at 9:43 PM. The eclipse will be over at 11:48 PM.

Much more at the site - timings and weather forecast for the Pacific Northwest. Going to keep a camera handy.

A long day

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The auction was a lot of fun. Maybe 100 people there and several hundred lots to bid on. The one item I wanted (badly) was also wanted (badly) by someone else. We were the only two people bidding on it and I ran the bids up over $150 and dropped out. He shot me dagger-eyes as I think he was hoping to pick it up for $10 or so. Still, this is an auction and I bid as high as I could afford.

The unit in question was a fairly large krytron switch (here and here) complete with packaging and labels from the Atomic Energy Commission. Krytrons were used a lot in nuclear weapons development. The same table (same vendor) also had a nice directional coupler for antenna tuning ($6) which I will use for my ham radio. I also got a box of really nice leather straps - perfect for knife sheaths ($27).

Planning to be there next Saturday as there is some possible wrought iron for sale - need to bring some acid and a magnifying glass to make sure. The auctioneer was a good one - he and his wife were from a Pennsylvania small town about 50 miles from where I grew up. Fun stuff.

The gun show was a great mix of people and various ordnance. Lots of ammunition for sale and the prices were a lot higher than I would have thought. I was looking for a tactical communications vest but didn't see anything. I upgraded my hand-held radio a couple years ago and it does not fit in my old vest. I tried ordering one online but it doesn't fit well - the weight of the radio makes it hang lop-sided and the nylon strap rubs against my neck - wanted to try something on before I buy it.

Headed to Mt. Vernon to get some stuff at the coop and to the Burlington Costco (about three miles apart) for gas for the van and some other stuff. A burger on the way back down and home for the night.

Out the door - auction

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Bidding on one item, possibly a second. Coffee first.

Nothingburger - wind storm

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No power outages this morning. The maximum wind last night was a 35MPH gust.

Yes, there was the potential for a large blow but thankfully, it did not materialize.

And it's YouTube for 30 minutes or so.

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Early alarm tomorrow. Coffee, breakfast and then 10:00AM auction.

Interesting news - President Trump

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This should be good:

A long day

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Was puttering in the garage and storage locker and filled up another couple of totes for the garage sale. Sorting through the tools I brought down from the farm and realizing that I didn't need that, I didn't need this, etc... Spent a couple of hours staging the sale.

Picked up a couple of things from Hardware Sales (this place is epic!) while there, had dinner at the food coop in Mt. Vernon (great deli) and stopped for a couple of pints on the way home.

Early morning tomorrow - there is an auction starting at 10:00AM with some scientific instrumentation and then the gun show.

Also spent some time going around to the three fitness centers and taking tours. Signed up at the YMCA - a bit more expensive but a lot more facilities and training options. I am out of shape and need to reverse this trend...

Surf for a little bit.

Wind is unsettled and mostly coming out of the East - gusting to about 25. Light rain and 48F

Heading out for the day

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Usual routine - coffee and post office.

Working at home today - paying bills and general paperwork. There is a gun fun show this weekend. Not planning to buy anything but I enjoy the technology and it is always interesting to see what is out there.

Last night's meeting was interesting - good people.

More wind in the offing - Cliff Mass has the details:

Modest Winds Tonight, Stronger Winds Tomorrow Night
After a period of warm, benign weather, storms are now moving towards our region. Tonight a modest, elongated low center is moving northward up our coast, as illustrated by the sea level pressure map at 7 PM tonight

A very mild winter except for the winds.

Our cooling Earth

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Another major cold snap will hit the East Coast - from AccuWeather:

Snowstorms to be followed by Arctic outbreak in eastern half of nation
Following a pair of snowstorms into this weekend, the coldest air so far this winter season has its sights set on the eastern half of the nation.

The second in this pair of snowstorms will bring heavy snow and, in some cases, blizzard conditions, to the central Plains and Midwest from Friday into Saturday before impacting the mid-Atlantic and Northeast this weekend.

“Temperatures from the central Plains to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley will plummet from the 20s, 30s and 40s Fahrenheit during the storm to the single digits, teens and 20s immediately behind it,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

Meanwhile, our sun is still very very quiet - NASA's Spaceweather website shows us as being 11 days without a sunspot. 61% of 2019. Sunspots are a proxy of solar activity - fewer sunspots, lower solar output. Lower solar output, cooler climate.

Silent Night - wind

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This morning, Puget Sound Energy has 1067 accounts without power, all in the South Sound area near Tacoma / Olympia and Snohomish PUD is five just North of Shoreline.

Gusts here got to 35-40 MPH - pretty mild. Still, we are not out of the woods yet - from weather.com

Gale Warning for Northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands

Spending tonight down here and then up to the farm for a few days for more packing. Fun times...

Out the door in a few minutes

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Heading out for tonight's meeting.

Wind is picking up - variable direction with gusts to around 15MPH. I will probably head out for a pint or two after the meeting so this is my last post of the day.

From American Thinker:

California set to seize 1,100 miles of coastline
The California Coastal Commission is set to empower local government to take thousands of properties through eminent domain along 1,100 miles of coastline to prepare for sea level rise.

Despite California being battered by 4-8 inches of torrential rain and flooding from an El Niño weather cycle, E&E News reported that the State of California in late January will authorize eminent domain authority for local jurisdictions to implement a "managed retreat" policy that will allow taking and demolishing coastal homes and businesses.

The California Coastal Commission circulated an 87-page "Draft Residential Adaptation Guidance" in March regarding how communities could proactively address sea level rise impacts through Local Coastal Programs (LCPs). Although the CCC draft did not adopt specific retreat guidance, the California Special Districts magazine expects that the CCC will predict a sea level rise of 2.5-5.5 feet and the elimination of 31-67 percent of Southern California beaches by the year 2100.

CCC retreat guidance is expected to also entail dismantling and relocating of dozens of wastewater treatment and power plants; 250 miles of highway; 1,500 miles of roads; and 110 miles of railways, according to the latest California Special Districts magazine.

What is missing from this picture is some numbers. They have the narrative, they do not have the numbers.
NASA has the numbers here:


This is the sea level rise as measured from 1880 through 2013. Notice the huge acceleration starting around 1970 when the whole Global Warming thing started ramping up. Yeah - me neither.

Science requires numbers, not narrative, not computer models tweaked to yield the desired results.

Speaker Pelosi was all set to use military airplanes to fly to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan. A nice political junket paid for by us taxpayers. President Trump sent her a letter - screen cap at Sarah Sanders' twitter account.

And, it gets better - from The Washington Free Beacon:

PICTURE: Trump Returns CODEL Luggage to Pelosi’s Office
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's luggage has been returned to the halls of congress by cart, according to a picture sent to the Washington Free Beacon by a snap-happy tipster.

The picture shows the luggage were returned to Pelosi on "military liaison" marked carts.

Pelosi's bags were packed for a congressional trip to Belgium and Afghanistan, but the trip was canceled just before the delegation was set to leave by President Donald Trump, who let her know in a letter that she would have to fly commercial if she still wanted to make the trip.


CODEL stands for Congressional Delegation - sweet!

Instant Karma - snowman

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Classic - from Petersburg, Kentucky station WLWT:

'Frosty had the last laugh': Vandal tries to run over giant snowman, hits tree stump instead


A would-be vandal was stumped after they tried to run over a 9-foot snowman in Kentucky, only to find it had been built over a large tree stump.

Cody Lutz told KCCI that he, his fiancee and his soon-to-be sister-in-law made the oversized snowman in Petersburg, Kentucky, while enjoying the winter weather this past weekend.

Lutz said his fiancee’s sister was “elated to experience the biggest snowfall she’s ever seen.”

Lutz said he decided to use a tree stump as the base for the snowman. After coming home from work, Lutz said he found tire tracks leading up to the snowman, leading him to believe that someone tried to run over the giant snowman, which they had named Frosty.

There’s now a massive stump now exposed, with a snowy imprint of a bumper stuck to it.

That dent in the bumper is going to be hard to explain...

Soup for dinner tonight

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Good stuff - even better tomorrow.

Ham radio club meets tonight at one of the local fire stations. These meetings are well run and a lot of fun - some great people live here.

Surf for a bit while eating - so far no real wind but the warning is for 12 hours.

Heading out for the day

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Got onto the island late yesterday - unpacked at the condo and got a bite to eat in Bellingham before driving down.

Nothing much planned for today - putter around in the garage, retrieve some camera stuff from the storage locker and of course, starting it off with the usual coffee and post office routine.

I'll be paying some bills later today and then a meeting of the amateur radio group this evening. Think I'll make some more of the bacon and bean soup for dinner. That stuff is delish...

Forecast calls for rain and we still have that gale warning for later this afternoon.

That is it for me for today

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Done loading up the van. Also got the dumpster super full - it will be emptied tomorrow or Friday.

During the extended pre-Christmas power failure, my freezer thawed out so had to dump about 100 pounds of food. I was up a couple of times as I had a bunch of totes already packed but didn't stay the night. Five days without power.

Heading to Bellingham and then down to the island. Get a bite to eat on the way.

And here we go again - wind

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From the Washington Emergency Management Division twitter feed:

Going to be on the island then.

Crap - a third one

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There was another fatality on I-5. From The Bellingham Herald:

Pedestrian on I-5 struck and killed by semi driven by Deming man in Skagit County
A pedestrian on Interstate 5 was struck and killed by a semitruck driven by a 42-year-old Deming man in Skagit County north of Burlington Tuesday night.

According to the Washington State Patrol release on the incident, which occurred at approximately 7:16 p.m., the pedestrian was in the left lane of southbound I-5, just north of milepost 229.

There was one accident that I had to drive through on December 30th and another one about five days prior to that. I do hope that this was not suicide by truck - what a horrible thing for the driver to have to deal with for the rest of his life.

Just wonderful - cheap televisions

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One reason why they are so cheap - from Tech Dirt:

Vizio Admits Modern TV Sets Are Cheaper Because They're Spying On You
If you've shopped for a TV recently, you may have noticed that it's largely impossible to just buy a "dumb" TV set without all of the "smart" internals. More specifically, most TV vendors don't want to sell you a bare-bones set because they want you to use their streaming services. Even more specifically, they want you to buy their sets with their specific streaming functionality because they want to spy on you. Poorly.

That's always been fairly obvious to most folks, but it was nice to see Vizio CTO Bill Baxter acknowledge that the reason you pay a discount is because your viewing habits are being collected and sold to the highest bidder

Just wonderful - wonder if anyone has developed a Raspberry Pi utility that monitors and blocks this? Probably and probably very easy to set up.

Just looked: here, here, here and here for starters...

Heh - hoist with his own petard

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Fun times - from The Washington Examiner:

Pelosi only gives Trump a bigger audience by canceling State of the Union
It would be an excellent way to snub any other president, but by calling for President Trump to reschedule the State of the Union, Nancy Pelosi has only given him a bigger stage.

It is a remarkable unforced error.

Citing national security, and specifically the difficulties facing the Secret Service and Capitol Police amid the government shutdown, House Speaker Pelosi, D-Calif., is asking Trump either to select a later, post-shutdown date or to submit his comments on State of the Union in writing, which presidents used to do commonly before the television era. But no one should be fooled — the real concern here is that Trump is going to stand up in front of a gigantic audience and literally point the finger at congressional Democrats in the House chamber, blaming them for shutting down the government.

Pelosi has the power to stop Trump from walking into the House of Representatives and delivering a speech, but she can’t stop him from making his case for the border wall in prime time. Just consider the address he delivered from the Resolute Desk last week.

Trump talked for roughly eight minutes and 43.3 million tuned in to watch, according to the AP’s count. Compare that to Trump’s very first joint address to Congress, right after his election, which 48 million watched. No congressional podium last week, and arguably far less interest in the novelty of his presidency, yet Trump drew an audience nearly as large.

If Pelosi insists, then Trump can speak from the Oval Office again if he likes. He could even march down the National Mall and deliver the speech on Pelosi’s doorstep. There could be a band. There could be fireworks. No matter what venue he chooses, there will be an audience, and it will probably be bigger now, thanks to Pelosi.

Like I said, fun times. The State of the Union address is specified as such in our Constitution (Article II, Section 3, Clause 1) (Article II outlines the duties, powers and responsibilities of the President and the Executive Branch)

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient...

Nothing in there that says it has to be presented in the halls of Congress. Behind the Resolute Desk would be fine. He could hire out the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and invite 50,000 of his friends.

Infogalactic page for: "hoist with his own petard"

Fake News - the government shutdown

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Cliff Mass runs some numbers and looks at the government shutdown and weather forecasting:

Is the U.S. Government Shutdown Hurting Weather Model Accuracy?
My phone has been ringing from media asking whether the partial government shutdown is degrading the skill of the National Weather Service model, the GFS.

What is driving this interest? First, a number of media outlets, including the well-known Washington Post Capital Weather Gang, have made the claim of worsening U.S. forecasts (see examples below).



These stories describe a situation in which important observations, the input data streams for numerical weather prediction, are not being used or are degraded because of changes in coding of data formats. As a result, the initialization (starting point) of U.S. global forecasts are degraded, lessening the skill of the predictions.

Our National Weather Service:

One of the first things I did was to check with some very well connected colleagues in NOAA and they confirmed these stories are nonsense. Yes, many NOAA/NWS employees are not working, but since the models are considering essential for national security some staff are working--monitoring the global forecast system doing whatever it takes to keep it working smoothly. Those NOAA/NWS staff are a dedicated lot!

And Cliff's conclusion:

I have looked at many other fields and the answer is the same: there is NO EVIDENCE that the initialization of the U.S. global model has been degraded as a result of the partial government shutdown.

In contrast, the predictions of the University of Washington regional prediction systems HAVE been hurt, because one of the important data streams we get from NOAA--the NOAA/NWS RAP model grids--has been cut off during the government closure. The shutdown is a disaster for weather prediction and weather research, but degradation of the U.S. global forecasts is really not an issue.


Sure, some localized issues but the overall big picture? Just fine. That old FAKE NEWS again...

Back home now

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Quick surf while having lunch - great photo regarding Justice Ginsburg's health:


Isn't that sweet - Senator McCain is saving her a seat.

Out for an hour or two

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Coffee, post office and then the store for a while. Spending tonight here and then back to the island for a Thursday meeting.

Progress is being made - Clinton

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Great news from Judicial Watch:

Federal Court Orders Discovery on Clinton Email, Benghazi Scandal: Top Obama-Clinton Officials, Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes to Respond to Judicial Watch Questions Under Oath
Judicial Watch announced today that United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides will now be deposed under oath. Senior officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap — will now have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The court rejected the DOJ and State Department’s objections to Judicial Watch’s court-ordered discovery plan. (The court, in ordering a discovery plan last month, ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)

Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:

    • Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;
    • whether the State Department’s efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; and
    • whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

Discovery is scheduled to be completed within 120 days. The court will hold a post-discovery hearing to determine if Judicial Watch may also depose additional witnesses, including Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.

More at the site - this is wonderful news.To think that this harpy was once a legitimate candidate for the Office of The President of the United States. Makes me shudder to think about it.

About that cold weather

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Not seeing it here but it certainly hit the rest of the United States. Now, it is Europe's turn - from The London Daily Mail:

RED ALERT issued across Europe as heavy snow continues while a 16-year-old German-Australian boy is killed in an avalanche while skiing with his parents in Austria
Europe's snow chaos has deepened again with hundreds of people trapped after roads were buried by avalanches.

The highest red warnings are in place in Germany and Austria with up to six more feet of snow expected before the weekend.

At least 17 people have died amid the weather chaos including a 16-year-old German-Australian boy who was killed on a ski slope in Austria.

It is the jet stream - same as in the US:

Europe's cold weather is the result of the jet stream forcing cold air from the Arctic over the continent, but blocking it from the UK which has experienced mild conditions.

And, lest we forget, here is a headline from the UK Independent from Monday, March 20, 2000:


Meanwhile, our sun is enjoying another day without sunspots:


And that is it for the evening

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Early wakeup this morning and a long day tomorrow.

YouTube for a bit and then to bed.

A song for our times

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Tip of the hat to Vanderleun

YouTube channel for the performer: Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq

At the farm

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Stopped for a burger at Hal's Drive In in Sedro Wooley. Drive past there whenever I go from farm to island and finally stopped in tonight. Really good food. A pint of cider at the North Fork - would have stayed for two but there is a guy who comes in from time to time who talks in a really loud voice and just talks about himself. Would not be so bad if his life was not so crashingly boring. He comes into the store and has a very normal speaking voice - I guess he turns up the volume when he gets drunk.

Doing some packing from the equipment barn tomorrow - more totes of tools. Brought the camera up so will take photos of the big equipment if I get the time. Got a nice old South bend lathe, a higher end Grizzly mill (each with a lot of tooling) and a Delta contractors saw with the extended table. Downsizing on these three so selling the originals and buying smaller units.

On the road again - Maple Falls

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Got the van warming up - heading North for two days. Got a meeting down here on Thursday so just a short stay.

Yes, there really is a Maple Falls - a nice small waterfall but the trail to it is not maintained and is very steep and slippery. Usually, we send the curious to Nooksack Falls further up the road. Much more interesting to see.

Interesting times in England - Brexit

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Looks like PM Theresa May is having a spot of trouble. From The Beeb:

Brexit: Theresa May's deal is voted down in historic Commons defeat
Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has been rejected by 230 votes - the largest defeat for a sitting government in history.

MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal, which sets out the terms of Britain's exit from the EU on 29 March.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, which could trigger a general election.

That is a wide margin. A bit more:

The defeat is a huge blow for Mrs May - who has spent more than two years hammering out a deal with the EU.

The plan was aimed at bringing about an orderly departure from the EU on 29 March, and setting up a 21-month transition period to negotiate a free trade deal.

In other words, she wanted to pass the bill before we knew what was in the bill. Shades of Obamacare. She wanted to placate the general public by saying: "Look - I support Brexit" while on the back-end, she wanted to cut deals with the elite bureaucrats in Brussels. BINO - Brexit In Name Only. Brexit Light.

First the fire, then the flood

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California is not having a good year. The lands denuded by the wildfires are now moving with no vegetation to hold the soil back. From the Los Angeles CBS affiliate:

Get Out: Deputies Go Door-To-Door To Evacuate Woolsey Fire Burn Area
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for several areas of Malibu and Ventura County hit hard by the Woolsey Fire that are now in danger of mudslides.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies went door-to-door Tuesday to tell residents they should get out before the next round of rain hits Southern California Tuesday. Heavy rainfall sent mud and debris into the lanes of Pacific Coast Highway, causing it to be closed for several hours.

Authorities are particularly concerned with areas near steep slopes or drainage areas.

If only they managed their infrastructure more carefully. But that would take away from all the billions being spent on welfare for illegals, the homeless, the bullet train, subsidizing alt.energy and electric cars. You know - the important stuff.

That Gillette video

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Boy did they get a reaction - just not what they were expecting. Gillette released a video that is 100% pure virtue signalling. You can watch it here if you want. As we can see, the overall reaction has not been kind:


421K Thumbs Down as opposed to 129K Thumbs Up. More than three to one. That has got to hurt. The 115,670 Comments are a fun read - some weapons grade snark...

Supersize that - LHC

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The LHC is the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. It discovered the Higgs Boson and has pioneered basic particle physics for the last eighteen years. Now, they want to build a bigger one. From Motherboard:

CERN’s New Collider Design Is Four Times Larger Than the LHC
The 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson particle at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is widely considered to be one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in history. It validated a half-century of research about the basic building blocks of matter, and remains the crowning achievement of modern particle physics.

Now, CERN wants to follow up on the LHC’s smashing success with a super-sized structure called the Future Circular Collider (FCC). This next-generation particle accelerator would boast 10 times the observational power of the LHC and would stretch across 100 kilometers (62 miles), encircling the Swiss city of Geneva and much of the surrounding area.

CERN published its first conceptual design report for the FCC on Tuesday. The four-volume roadmap was developed over five years by 1,300 contributors based at 150 universities, according to a statement.

Very cool but we could have had it a long time ago - the history of the Superconducting Super Collider is a tragic one (here, here, here and here)

Got the cart finished - I love welding and working with metal in general.

Having a bowl of the soup and doing some paperwork and then heading to the farm.

Picked up some fresh dog bones yesterday so the pups are very happily crunching away downstairs.

Starting to cool off a bit but the air temp went from 28 to 54 in the span of three hours. Warm front moving in - rain forecast. The garage heater was wonderful - really took the morning's chill away. Was able to work in a sweatshirt and not get my jacket or sweater dirty.

An interesting post - plausible

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No confirmation that this is for real but it does sound plausible - from The Daily Caller:

The Daily Caller is taking the rare step of publishing this anonymous op-ed at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose career would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

As one of the senior officials working without a paycheck, a few words of advice for the president’s next move at shuttered government agencies: lock the doors, sell the furniture, and cut them down.

Federal employees are starting to feel the strain of the shutdown. I am one of them. But for the sake of our nation, I hope it lasts a very long time, till the government is changed and can never return to its previous form.

The lapse in appropriations is more than a battle over a wall. It is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.

On an average day, roughly 15 percent of the employees around me are exceptional patriots serving their country. I wish I could give competitive salaries to them and no one else. But 80 percent feel no pressure to produce results. If they don’t feel like doing what they are told, they don’t.

Why would they? We can’t fire them. They avoid attention, plan their weekend, schedule vacation, their second job, their next position — some do this in the same position for more than a decade.

They do nothing that warrants punishment and nothing of external value. That is their workday: errands for the sake of errands — administering, refining, following and collaborating on process. “Process is your friend” is what delusional civil servants tell themselves. Even senior officials must gain approval from every rank across their department, other agencies and work units for basic administrative chores.

Much more at the site - powerful stuff. Worth your time to read and I really hope that this is President Trump's plan.


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Got down to 28 last night.

Got the new heater running in the garage - finish off a project there and then head up to Maple Falls for a few days.

An interesting book - Toxic Pearl

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Saw this on Cliff Mass' website:

An Important New Book Describes How the WA Shellfish Industry is Poisoning our Shoreline Environment
In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote a book, Silent Spring, that documented the profound harm of the pesticide DDT on the natural world. This book led to the of banning of DDT and energized the U.S. environment movement.

During the past week, an important new book has been published, one that may well join the ranks of Silent Spring. The book, Toxic Pearl, describes the poisoning of Washington State's shorelines by a politically connected and highly irresponsible shellfish industry. Toxic Pearl documents the spraying of herbicides and pesticides over State shorelines from Puget Sound to Willapa Bay, the careless spread of plastic pollution, and the physical destruction of shorelines areas by a shellfish industry more concerned with profit than the environment.

A lot more at the site - this will be big.

Crooked family - from The Washington Times:

Company co-founded by Nancy Pelosi's son charged with securities fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged a company cofounded by Paul Pelosi Jr. with fraud on Wednesday after learning that two convicted criminals were running the business.

Paul Pelosi Jr., the son of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), was the president and chief operating officer of Natural Blue Resources Inc., an investment company he cofounded that focuses on “environmentally-friendly” ventures.

The SEC charged four individuals with fraud, including former New Mexico Gov. Toney Anaya, and suspended trading in the company’s stock. Pelosi owned over 10 million shares in the company in 2009.

The SEC said Wednesday the company was “secretly controlled” by James E. Cohen and Joseph Corazzi, both of whom had previous fraud convictions. Corazzi violated federal securities laws and was barred from acting as an officer or director of a public company. Cohen was previously incarcerated for financial fraud.

Cohen and Corazzi said they were “outside consultants,” but according to the SEC, they actually controlled Natural Blue’s business decisions “without disclosing their past brushes with the law to investors.” The pair made hundreds of thousands of dollars off the company.

Time to drain the swamp. I have zero problem with making money but it should be done legitimately - people should not be fleeced.

Pea Soup

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Woke up a few minutes ago and looked outside - thick fog. From the National Weather Service:


The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a Dense Fog Advisory, which is in effect until 9 AM PST Tuesday.
* VISIBILITY...A quarter mile or less.
* TIMING...Through 9 AM Tuesday.
* IMPACTS...A reduction in visibility will make travel slower and potentially more difficult.

Heading out for coffee and breakfast in 20 minutes or so. Taking it very easy...

And it is off to YouTube

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Early day tomorrow.

Hard frost

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Lots of low-lying fog driving home tonight but very very clear skies so perfect conditions for black ice on the roads. Took the dogs out for a bit and the back deck is already covered with frost. Air temp is 34 - got up to 53 this afternoon. Do not know what the ground temp is (weather station down here is a cheap one - looking forward to moving the farm station down and getting it set up).

Going to be careful tomorrow when I go out for coffee...

The Great Undoing

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Really nice essay by Scott Johnson writing at PowerLine:

In his great undoing of the “accomplishments” of the Obama administration, President Trump has withdrawn the United States from the humiliating and destructive Iran nuclear deal. The deal funded a terrorist regime that remains at war with the United States and that continues to avow its dedication to our destruction. The Trump administration has also reimposed sanctions on the Iranian regime.

There was no bridge too far for Obama in seeking to align the United States with the mullahs of Iran. Michael Doran explained the “secret strategy” driving this policy. Whatever the explanation, Obama’s appeasement of Iran represented part of the “fundamental transformation” of the United States that he proclaimed in the days before the 2008 election. I am grateful for the intercession of President Trump and his national security team in its great undoing of Obama administration foreign policy.

Secretary Pompeo is in the Middle East. His trip has been obscured in the news by events at home. The great undoing continues.

Yesterday Pompeo gave a speech at the American University in Cairo. The speech was a sort of counterpart to Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo. Obama’s speech was a nauseating exercise in fake history, destructive diplomacy and strategic self-destruction. By contrast, Secretary Pompeo represents the voice of sanity. In substance he repudiated Obama’s speech and related strategic vision. Pompeo could not have been more blunt:

Remember: It was here, here in this city, that another American stood before you.

He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from an ideology.

He told you that 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East.

He told you that the United States and the Muslim world needed, quote, “a new beginning,” end of quote.

The results of these misjudgments have been dire.

In falsely seeing ourselves as a force for what ails the Middle East, we were timid in asserting ourselves when the times – and our partners – demanded it.

We grossly underestimated the tenacity and viciousness of radical Islamism, a debauched strain of the faith that seeks to upend every other form of worship or governance. ISIS drove to the outskirts of Baghdad as America hesitated. They raped and pillaged and murdered tens of thousands of innocents. They birthed a caliphate across Syria and Iraq and launched terror attacks that killed all across continents.

America’s reluctance, our reluctance, to wield our influence kept us silent as the people of Iran rose up against the mullahs in Tehran in the Green Revolution. The ayatollahs and their henchmen murdered, jailed, and intimidated freedom-loving Iranians, and they wrongly blamed America for this unrest when it was their own tyranny that had fueled it. Emboldened, the regime spread its cancerous influence to Yemen, to Iraq, to Syria, and still further into Lebanon.

Our penchant, America’s penchant, for wishful thinking led us to look the other way as Hizballah, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Iranian regime, accumulated a massive arsenal of approximately 130,000 rockets and missiles. They stored and positioned these weapons in Lebanese towns and villages in flagrant violation of international law. That arsenal is aimed squarely at our ally Israel.

When Bashar Assad unleashed terror upon ordinary Syrians and barrel-bombed civilians with sarin gas, a true echo of Saddam Hussein’s gassing of the Kurdish people, we condemned his actions. But in our hesitation to wield power, we did nothing.

Much more at the site. President Obama's legacy is in tatters. What people will remember him for is just like Jimmy Carter gave us President Reagan, Obama gave us President Trump. Obama made enough people sick of his crap that the majority of Americans voted for the Orange Man. Pompeo is the right man for the job. Much better than J. F. Kerry and Hillary? Don't get me started...

And back home again

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Loaded up the van with some stuff (coolers, older lawnmower and tools) for the sale at the condo and drove to Bellingham. On the island tonight and heading up to Maple Falls tomorrow.

Coming back down, the light was gorgeous so I hit the back roads and took my time driving back. Got two out of three tonight - great light, the geese were in a perfect position but they were just feeding - they were not flying around looking for a place to settle even though it was the proper time of day. Shot some footage anyway and will be processing this through DaVinci Resolve in the next day or two. I am really really liking this software - I will go into more detail in a later post but it really speaks to my workflow and there are some things under the hood that make me smile big-time.

Got a bite to eat on the road, skipped the pints at the local as I want to get an early start tomorrow. Finish the stand for the oven and then get to MF while I still have light to pack.

Not surprising at all - from the Merced Sun-Star:

PG&E calls bankruptcy ‘only viable option’ in California wildfire crisis
Overwhelmed by billions of dollars in claims from the Camp Fire and the 2017 wildfires of Northern California, PG&E said Monday it plans to file for bankruptcy, but insisted it will not go out of business.

The embattled utility gave 15-day notice of its intent to file for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code, as required by a state law enacted last fall to deal with utility fire liabilities. The company made the announcement less than 12 hours after announcing the resignation of its CEO, Geisha Williams.

“We believe a court-supervised process under Chapter 11 will best enable PG&E to resolve its potential liabilities in an orderly, fair and expeditious fashion,” said interim CEO John R. Simon in a prepared statement. He pledged to “continue providing our customers with safe service and investing in our systems and infrastructure.” Simon had been the utility’s general counsel.

Sounds like a well-run utility - not just the fires:

The first tangible financial impact of PG&E’s troubles will come Tuesday, when the company plans to skip a $21.6 million bond payment that’s due, according to the SEC filing. The bonds are unrelated to the wildfire crisis.

The company is facing other pressures, including a federal judge’s threat to order PG&E to inspect its entire electric grid.

I feel sorry for the poor bond holders - they are going to get screwed out of their savings.

And that is it for tonight

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YouTube and then bed. The project in the garage needs another five hours to finish (a stand for my heat-treat oven) plus doing some organization.

Rethinking Vitamin D

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Not surprised but very interesting. From Outside Magazine (which publishes solid science articles - I like them)

Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?
These are dark days for supplements. Although they are a $30-plus billion market in the United States alone, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, beta-carotene, glucosamine, chondroitin, and fish oil have now flopped in study after study.

If there was one supplement that seemed sure to survive the rigorous tests, it was vitamin D. People with low levels of vitamin D in their blood have significantly higher rates of virtually every disease and disorder you can think of: cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, heart attack, stroke, depression, cognitive impairment, autoimmune conditions, and more. The vitamin is required for calcium absorption and is thus essential for bone health, but as evidence mounted that lower levels of vitamin D were associated with so many diseases, health experts began suspecting that it was involved in many other biological processes as well.

A bit more:

Yet vitamin D supplementation has failed spectacularly in clinical trials. Five years ago, researchers were already warning that it showed zero benefit, and the evidence has only grown stronger. In November, one of the largest and most rigorous trials of the vitamin ever conducted—in which 25,871 participants received high doses for five years—found no impact on cancer, heart disease, or stroke.

A bit more:

These rebels argue that what made the people with high vitamin D levels so healthy was not the vitamin itself. That was just a marker. Their vitamin D levels were high because they were getting plenty of exposure to the thing that was really responsible for their good health—that big orange ball shining down from above.

A bit more:

It was already well established that rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and overall mortality all rise the farther you get from the sunny equator, and they all rise in the darker months. Weller put two and two together and had what he calls his “eureka moment”: Could exposing skin to sunlight lower blood pressure?

Sure enough, when he exposed volunteers to the equivalent of 30 minutes of summer sunlight without sunscreen, their nitric oxide levels went up and their blood pressure went down. Because of its connection to heart disease and strokes, blood pressure is the leading cause of premature death and disease in the world, and the reduction was of a magnitude large enough to prevent millions of deaths on a global level.

And a really interesting study:

Still, Weller kept finding evidence that didn’t fit the official story. Some of the best came from Pelle Lindqvist, a senior research fellow in obstetrics and gynecology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, home of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Lindqvist tracked the sunbathing habits of nearly 30,000 women in Sweden over 20 years. Originally, he was studying blood clots, which he found occurred less frequently in women who spent more time in the sun—and less frequently during the summer. Lindqvist looked at diabetes next. Sure enough, the sun worshippers had much lower rates. Melanoma? True, the sun worshippers had a higher incidence of it—but they were eight times less likely to die from it.

So Lindqvist decided to look at overall mortality rates, and the results were shocking. Over the 20 years of the study, sun avoiders were twice as likely to die as sun worshippers.

A bit more:

Meanwhile, that big picture just keeps getting more interesting. Vitamin D now looks like the tip of the solar iceberg. Sunlight triggers the release of a number of other important compounds in the body, not only nitric oxide but also serotonin and endorphins. It reduces the risk of prostate, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. It improves circadian rhythms. It reduces inflammation and dampens autoimmune responses. It improves virtually every mental condition you can think of. And it’s free.

This is a fairly long article - I have been excerpting small chunks. It is well worth reading in full if you are concerned for your health and longevity. Fascinating stuff. Been taking modest Vitamin D supplements for years. Think I will stop now. Already spend a lot of time outdoors without wearing sunscreen so I am fine there.

And I am back

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The soup was fantastic - made enough for another 3-4 servings. Taking it up with me to Maple Falls Tuesday.

Went out to a different local for a couple pints - had a fun discussion with a guy in his early 30's about the environment and nuclear power specifically. He did not know about the newer liquid salt reactors - I may have a convert...

The Government Shutdown

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Heh - found this on the web:


USA Today is reporting on some polling numbers:

Americans blame shutdown on Trump over Democrats by wide margin, poll finds
By a wide margin, Americans blame the longest government shutdown in U.S. history on President Donald Trump, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll published Sunday.

The partial shutdown affects about a quarter of the U.S. government and approximately 800,000 federal workers. Now in its fourth week, the shutdown is the result of an impasse between the president and congressional Democrats over funding for a border wall, which Trump promised during the 2016 campaign.

Sounds pretty bad but this is just rhetoric (or narrative). Let's look at the numbers cited in this news article:

When asked, "Who do you think is mainly responsible for this situation?" 53 percent of Americans told pollsters they blamed Trump and congressional Republicans.

Since when is three points a "wide margin"? Most people don't read beyond the headline and the first paragraph or two. If they did, they would get a completely different story. Buried at the very end of the article is this little gem:

The poll of 788 Americans was conducted Jan. 8-11 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent. 

So the margin of error in the poll was larger than the 3% result. That is in the category of statistical noise. There is no clear answer when your error is larger than your result. USA Today is guilty of biased reporting. They are setting themselves up to be a source of accurate news and they are not doing their job.

Well that was a bust

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A fun wild goose chase but a bust. There were lots of them in one field but this field was not lined up with the sun the way I wanted. The light was coming in from the side and I want it to come in from the rear so I get the best contrast against the darkening sky.

Oh well - the video is out there, I just have not gotten it yet. A quest if you will.

And it was a gorgeous drive through some very pretty farmlands. The Skagit Valley is a delight.

Time for some dinner...

Heading out - wild goose chase

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Breakfast was good - nothing better than scrambled eggs, bacon and hash brown potatoes. Nice to have some ballast in your belly for a day's work.

Spent the afternoon doing two loads of laundry, working on some stuff in the garage and cleaning up the kitchen area a bit.

Swung by the store and picked up the ingredients for a mirepoix  for tonight's soup. Got that all sauteed and the meat browned and stock and barley in. Should be ready in 90 minutes.

The light is turning out gorgeous so heading out with the video camera hopefully to get some snow geese flying as they settle in for the night.

Out for a little while

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Cofee, post office, breakfast and then back home to do a project.

Nice weather today so will head out later for a wild goose chase if the light looks good.

Beef barley soup for dinner tonight.

Must be nice to live off the taxpayer's dime like this - from The Washington Examiner:

30 Democrats in Puerto Rico with 109 lobbyists for weekend despite shutdown
Some 30 Democratic lawmakers left the government shutdown behind Friday on a chartered flight to Puerto Rico for a winter retreat with 109 lobbyists and corporate executives during which they planned to see the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” and attend three parties including one with the show’s cast.


Some 109 lobbyists and corporate executives are named in the memo, a rate of 3.6 lobbyists for every member. They include those from several big K Street firms, R.J. Reynolds, Facebook, Comcast, Amazon, PhRMA, Microsoft, Intel, Verizon, and unions like the National Education Association. 

And of course, no mention of who made the trip. Must be nice...

North Korea - progress

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I had written on the 8th of this month that Kim Jong-Un was making a surprise visit to China at the same time that a US envoy was there to discuss trades and tariffs. Today, from The Korea Times:

Kim Jong-un committed to denuclearization, 2nd US summit: Chinese media
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reaffirmed his commitment to the denuclearization and vowed efforts to produce good results from his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese state media said Thursday.

Kim made the pledge during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday, according to Xinhua News Agency. Kim was in China for a four-day trip, his fourth visit to the neighboring ally in about 10 months.

"The DPRK will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearization and resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation, and make efforts for the second summit between DPRK and U.S. leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community," Xinhua quoted Kim as saying during talks with Xi.

And the old carrot and stick:

Kim's trip to China, which was made at the invitation of Beijing, came amid speculation that a second summit between the North's leader and U.S. President Donald Trump is imminent.

Pyongyang and Washington have been locked in a stalemate over how to carry out the agreements they reached in their first-ever summit in June, at which Kim promised to work toward complete denuclearization in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.

Progress has been slow ever since as the North wants sanctions relief, while the U.S. remains firm that sanctions will remain in place until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons program.

Emphasis mine. Obama would have sent John Kerry over there to "negotiate" from a "strong position" and "send a strongly worded message" and things would be same as it ever was. The Norks would keep their nukes and we would roll back the sanctions "in good faith". President Trump understands the reality and is keeping the pressure up until they completely denuclearize. Kerry is this generation's Neville Chamberlain.

Slow news day

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YouTube and then to bed.

Dinner tonight

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Just got back - the local American Legion hall does a really nice roast beef dinner on the second Saturday of each month. Went to the one in December and really liked it. Tonight was really good too.

Portions are huge and wasn't super hungry tonight so got some nice leftovers. I have some pearled barley so will do beef barley soup for dinner tomorrow.

Two pints at my local and then home for the evening.

Oh wonderful - California

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Perfect example of something that sounds good as opposed to something that actually does good. From CNBC:

California bill would curb use of paper receipts to reduce waste, push digital alternative
A California lawmaker introduced legislation this week that would make the state the first to bar retailers from giving out printed receipts unless a customer requests them.

The proposed measure — Assembly Bill 161 — would require stores to use electronic receipts as the default option. Stores that give out printed receipts without first being asked by the customer could be subject to fines. If passed, the bill could have implications far beyond California, according to experts.

“There’s a negative impact on the environment with these receipts and the inability to recycle them,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, who introduced the legislation.

Christ on a corn dog - most businesses I shop at already do this. They offer me the option of a receipt if I want. I hate emailed receipts because  registering for these invariably brings in "promotional" emails from the company. I do not like spam and try to keep it at a minimum. My store does this - we are happy to print out a receipt for the customer if they want but the default setting for the printer is OFF.

Doing something that sounds good as opposed to something that actually does good is the hallmark of progressive ideologues everywhere. They are out of touch with reality and do not see that the additional layer of legislation does nothing except drive up the cost of government - the cost of which is borne by We The People.

Oh wonderful - Seattle

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Low information voters is the problem. From The Seattle Times:

The Seattle City Council may be up for a big shift all right — further to the left
It’s been conventional wisdom since last summer, when that drive for a “head tax” targeting Amazon collapsed, that our super-progressive City Council had finally gone ’round the bend. Too far, even for lefty Seattle.

The theory went that it was sure to face corrective action now from voters — to move it back more toward the political center.

“With Seattle’s head tax dead, business lobbyists set sights on City Council elections,” headlined a Seattle Times story about efforts to flip the council to a less-activist body.

But noooooo:

Already Democratic Socialist members are running vigorous campaigns for two of those empty seats. Community organizer Tammy Morales is the early favorite in Harrell’s South End district, as she nearly defeated him in 2015. And Shaun Scott, a Black Lives Matter activist and local writer, is vying for Johnson’s seat.

An upcoming meeting will feature Morales, Scott and Seattle’s one current elected socialist, Kshama Sawant, talking about how it’s they who are really going to take back the city.

“Socialists have a different idea of what Seattle should look like,” the announcement says. “How can working class people use the 2019 Seattle City Council elections to build grass roots movements to tax big business and fight for basic needs like publicly owned housing and world class, free mass transit?”

In other words - hand out free government shit and use the infrastructure of the city to pay for it all. Works great until the roads collapse and they run out of money. Oh yes, and raise property taxes. Maybe even try for a state income tax as well (WA State has a high sales tax instead of a State Income Tax).

Socialism has never ever worked - people only advocate for it because they want to be in the elite group with all the money and political power. They are not in it for the common working man.

Nice essay from Conrad Black

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Some thoughtful observations at Canada's National Post:

Conrad Black: America's resurgence is reshaping the world
Almost indiscernible in the endless tumult about President Donald Trump is the objective return of American might, right on our doorstep. A casual sampler of the Canadian, and even the American, media, might think that the United States was so far along in its decline that the entire process of government and normal public discourse had broken down in that country, and that the much-discussed process of national decline was accelerating in a climate of virtual chaos.

In fact, the economy of the United States is astoundingly strong: full employment, an expanding work force, negligible inflation and about three per cent economic growth. And it is a broad economic recovery, not based on service industries as in the United Kingdom (where London handles most of Europe’s financial industry, while most of British industry has fled), and not based largely on the fluctuating resources markets as has often been Canada’s experience. In the eight years of president Obama, the United States lost 219,000 manufacturing jobs; in the two years of Trump, the country has added 477,000 manufacturing jobs. This was not supposed to be possible, and this time, unlike in the great Reagan boom, it cannot be dismissed by the left (and it was false in the eighties) as a profusion of “hamburger flippers, dry cleaners and people delivering pizza,” (all necessary occupations).

Our President is a businessman - he knows how to run things effectively be it a hotel or a nation.

His take on the European Union is spot on:

The problem with the European Union is both practical and theoretical. As a practical matter, it is governed by a bureaucracy of Dutch and Belgian scribes and functionaries that is answerable neither to the ludicrous European Parliament in Strasbourg, the ultimate irrelevant talking shop, nor to the principal member states, and is exacting its revenge for centuries of deference to France, Germany and Britain.

Global issues?

Canadians may not like it; the world may try to pretend otherwise, but however the domestic political tides of America may flow, North Korea is on its best behaviour, the ayatollahs are quaking in their voluminous raiment, and all America’s trade partners, including Canada and China, are accepting what amounts to unilateral renegotiation by the U.S. No other country in the world has any appreciable influence at all more than a few hundred miles from its borders (an area that includes 95 per cent of the population of Canada).

All true and all good for everyone. Some excellent observations and it is worth your time to read the whole essay.
Baron Black of Crossharbour is a very interesting person. He has done a lot and writes well.

The wall - tranquility

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Tucker Carlson takes CNN's Jim Acosta to the woodshed:

Wall now.

Two weather headlines - same website

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Eighteen years apart - same newspaper website:

How's that whole global warming climate change thing working out for you? Hmmmmm?

That cold snap - the midwest

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I had written about a potential cold snap happening two days ago. Looks like it is starting in the midwest - from Accuweather:

Major snowstorm to snarl travel from St. Louis to Cincinnati this weekend
Motorists along the Interstate 64 and 70 corridors of the Plains and Midwest can expect a slow and dangerous journey as a major snowstorm continues through Saturday evening.

For many areas, this will be a long-duration winter storm event that lasts more than 12 hours and perhaps as long as 48 hours in some cases. Over the Central states alone, snow will fall on more than a 1,000-mile-long west-to-east swath.

From The Weather Channel:

Winter Storm Gia Is Spreading Snow and Ice From the Plains and Midwest to the East This Weekend
Winter Storm Gia is spreading a swath of snow and some ice from parts of the Plains and Midwest to the mid-Atlantic, making travel a challenge in these areas this weekend.

An area of low pressure is tapping into cold air from Canada as it tracks eastward this weekend. There will be accumulating snow and some ice along and to the north of where the low tracks.

Snow continues to fall from the front range of Colorado eastward into Ohio. Snow will also begin to reach the ground in the mid-Atlantic later today. Some areas are seeing freezing rain and sleet mix in in parts of southern Missouri, southern Illinois and Kentucky.

So nothing for the Pacific Northwest as yet but the jet stream is definitely dipping down a lot more than usual.

Well crap - restaurant closing

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Not just any restaurant - my very favorite one in Boston. Durgin Park
From the Boston Business Journal:

Durgin-Park to serve last customer
One of Boston's most historic restaurants is closing its doors.

Right now, Durgin-Park in Faneuil Hall is still open for business. There are no signs the place is closing. But the workers have been told their last shifts will be next week, and now, many disappointed customers are trying to get in their final meals.

Like an under-cooked steak, long time customer Jonathan Berg says the news is leaving a bad taste in his mouth.

"This is another passing of a great institution," said Berg.

Rachelle Mazzone is Durgin-Park's bartender and says dozens of long-time workers were told the restaurant would be closing next weekend. She was told it's no longer profitable.

A bit more about the place:

Outside, the restaurant's slogan proudly hangs above the entrance, reading, "Established Before You Were Born." Inside, it's a blast from the past. The menu has traditional "Yankee cooking," like prime rib, clam chowder, Boston baked beans and shepherd's pie.

Since 1827, the business attracted faithful diners and tourists to its Faneuil Hall location, winning several culinary awards. And the wait staff was always encouraged to be rude — in a good way.

"When you saw the same people everyday, you were like, 'Joe, eat your beans. Harry, eat your hot dog, get away from me.' Nothing offensive, though," said Mazonne.

You read that correctly - it opened its doors in 1827 and was owned by the same family until they sold out in 2007. I went to college in Boston (Boston U - Marine Biology) and dropped out when personal computers became a thing. Durgin Park seated you at long tables and I was sitting next to a couple who were discussing their work with an IP21 photomultiplier tube (a very sensitive light detector). I was taking some astronomy classes and had been working with the same RCA IP21 tube (PDF) and I introduced myself and we had a wonderful conversation. Turns out that the guy worked for New England Aquarium and asked me if I was interested in volunteering and helping him out with his project. Got hired full-time soon after and had a wonderful five years there.

Durgin Park was about five blocks from the Aquarium so I had lunch there often. It is another victim of the higher minimum wage movement as well as the gentrification of what was once a working district. Really sad to hear this.

Well that was fun - internet

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Came back from coffee yesterday to find the internet down. Worked here for a while and then went up to Mt. Vernon for some groceries, a couple of errands and then a bite to eat at the Asian Buffet there - much better than the Bellingham one. More selections plus they have a Mongolian Grill.

Heading out for coffee soon - nice day so planning to take the pups to the off-leash park for a while.

Curious times - Magnetic Field

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From Nature:

Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why
Something strange is going on at the top of the world. Earth’s north magnetic pole has been skittering away from Canada and towards Siberia, driven by liquid iron sloshing within the planet’s core. The magnetic pole is moving so quickly that it has forced the world’s geomagnetism experts into a rare move.

On 15 January, they are set to update the World Magnetic Model, which describes the planet’s magnetic field and underlies all modern navigation, from the systems that steer ships at sea to Google Maps on smartphones.

The most recent version of the model came out in 2015 and was supposed to last until 2020 — but the magnetic field is changing so rapidly that researchers have to fix the model now. “The error is increasing all the time,” says Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Centers for Environmental Information.

Not a crisis - the poles have wandered a lot before, gotten stronger, gotten weaker. They have even flipped with the "north" pole being in Antarctica. Still, very curious and worth study. Glad that GPS is so prevalent - compasses are going to be dodgy for navigation.

Two headlines

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And its YouTube

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Planning to putter around here tomorrow (and maybe Saturday) and then back to the farm for a good slug of time. Finish sorting the equipment barn. Time to get my lazy a** in gear for the final push.

Seattle of course

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From Todd Herman (station KTTH) writing at My Northwest:

Q13 FOX editor fired over doctored Trump address video
A Q13 editor was fired Thursday, after it was revealed that they had doctored a clip of President Trump’s Tuesday Oval Office address.

A listener to my program sent me a video that appears to show a deceptively edited video of President Trump’s speech from the Oval Office. We performed a side-by-side comparison of the video from our listener, apparently taken by a smart phone recording of Q13, to the raw video of Trump’s speech from CNN.

That comparison revealed the Q13 video creating a loop of the President licking his lips — making it seem bizarre and unbalanced — it also seems that someone distorted the President’s face and may have added an orange tone to his skin.

Less than a day after placing the editor responsible on leave pending an investigation, Q13 terminated his employment.

“We’ve completed our investigation into this incident and determined that the actions were the result of an individual editor whose employment has been terminated,” said Q13’s news director in a Thursday update.

Video at the site - that is not just orange, the guy put our President firmly into oompa-loompa territory.

Good meeting

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It was the preparedness group and the guest speaker talked about Hypothermia. Good information for cold weather.

Long term indicators look to have a marked cold snap in about three weeks or so. Jet stream &c...

Got nothing for now

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Nothing catches my eye on the internet. Heading out for coffee, the post office, library and then back home to pay some bills, do some filing and work in the garage.

Looks like the worst of the wind was last evening when I was driving. Nothing woke me up and no major utility outages this morning.

Meeting tonight - Preparedness Group

And it is off to YouTube

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That's all folks!

Life in the "nation" of palestine

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Could not happen to a nicer bunch of 9th century bigots. Two stories from The Times of Israel:

Hamas arrests 5 suspects in raid on PA television offices in Gaza
Authorities in the Gaza Strip arrested five men on Saturday on suspicion that they trashed the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority’s television station in the territory a day earlier, the Hamas-run interior ministry said.

A bit more:

The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation is funded by the West Bank-based PA, which has a longstanding dispute with the Hamas terror group, and the building houses offices for Palestine TV and the Voice of Palestine radio station.

During the raid, workers were assaulted and equipment destroyed, Wafa reported.

“At least five people broke into the building, broke the radio door and completely destroyed the main studio, including cameras, equipment, furniture and broadcasting equipment,” a staffer at the radio station said.

AFP correspondents at the scene found a number of video cameras and computers badly damaged, with chairs and doors destroyed

They have been given so much by Israel but all they know how to do is destroy. They smash what they do not understand and there is much that they do not understand. The $14million Gaza greenhouses in 2005 for example.

And the workplace accident - delightful:

Separately on Saturday evening, five people were injured in an explosion in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run health ministry said.

Local media reported the blast emanated from the home of Mohammed Talal Al-Ajani, the Rafah Brigade commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza terror group. The explosion, apparently triggered by explosives, was said to have caused a fire and damage to neighboring buildings.

So close to those white raisins of incredible purity. Golda Meir said it best:

"Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us."

So true. Islam needs a reformation. Christianity used to be a cruel religion but we saw the errors of our ways and reformed. They need to do the same thing. Well overdue.

Clients from Hell

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This is one of my favorite IT / Business / Geek websites - Clients from Hell

One story from today:

Client: I set up the router like you told me but I still don’t have any internet.
Me: Is the router’s WAN light on?
Client: No.
Me: Are any lights on?
Client: No, it’s all black.
Me: Did you plug the router in?
Client: Why should I? It’s wireless, isn’t it?

I can only imagine the author's epic facepalm. Sometimes people are just that clueless. Keeps us IT geeks paid though...

Island life

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Pulled in a few minutes ago. Brought a lot more stuff to the condo in Bellingham. Planning on spending a week or so in MF packing up the last of it and then taking photos of the large tools to display at the garage sale. Getting ready to lighten my load and it feels wonderful.

Barn is actually emptying out!

Surf for a bit and then YouTube

It was blowing pretty strongly on my way down here - around 6PM or so. The van was buffeted pretty intensely - guessing gusts in the 45MPH range. Quiet down here now but we will see if it picks up later.

And I am outta here

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Heading back to the farm - took care of some paperwork at the store.

Island tonight for a couple of days and then back to the farm this weekend.

From Nature Microbiology:

Characterization of a filovirus (Měnglà virus) from Rousettus bats in China
Filoviruses, especially Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV), are notoriously pathogenic and capable of causing severe haemorrhagic fever diseases in humans with high lethality. The risk of future outbreaks is exacerbated by the discovery of other bat-borne filoviruses of wide genetic diversity globally. Here we report the characterization of a phylogenetically distinct bat filovirus, named Měnglà virus (MLAV). The coding-complete genome of MLAV shares 32–54% nucleotide sequence identity with known filoviruses. Phylogenetic analysis places this new virus between EBOV and MARV, suggesting the need for a new genus taxon. Importantly, despite the low amino acid sequence identity (22–39%) of the glycoprotein with other filoviruses, MLAV is capable of using the Niemann–Pick C1 (NPC1) as entry receptor. MLAV is also replication-competent with chimeric MLAV mini-genomes containing EBOV or MARV leader and trailer sequences, indicating that these viruses are evolutionally and functionally closely related. Finally, MLAV glycoprotein-typed pseudo-types transduced cell lines derived from humans, monkeys, dogs, hamsters and bats, implying a broad species cell tropism with a high risk of interspecies spillover transmission.

No word as to just how contagious it is - Ebola is a nasty piece of work.

You do not try to bullshit someone like President Trump. He has seen it all before, he has done it all before. You do not piss on his shoes and try to tell him that it is raining.
From CNBC:

Trump calls meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi a 'total waste of time' after he storms out
President Donald Trump on Wednesday stormed out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over an ongoing partial government shutdown, calling it "a total waste of time."

The breakdown in already fraught negotiations over border wall funding, which have kept nine federal agencies shut down for 19 days and counting, appeared to heighten the possibility that Trump might declare a national emergency.

"I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO," Trump explained in a tweet as Pelosi and Schumer described the walk-out to reporters.

"I said bye-bye, nothing else works!" Trump added.

Those two are a serious liability to the Democratic Party. I have said before, if John F. Kennedy were running for President today, he would get my vote in a heartbeat. The party has lost its way trying to pander to every special interest group out there. It has eaten itself.

Both bastions of liberalism and both destined to fail miserably.

From the NYC NBC affiliate:

NYC Mayor Guarantees Comprehensive Health Care for All in Historic Surprise Announcement
New York City will begin guaranteeing comprehensive health care to every single resident regardless of someone's ability to pay or immigration status, an unprecedented plan that will protect the more than half-a-million New Yorkers currently using the ER as a primary provider, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. 

And from the Los Angeles CBS affiliate:

California Governor Newsom Vows ‘Sanctuary To All Who Seek It’ In Inauguration Speech
California’s new governor is promising the most populous state will be a “sanctuary to all who seek it” in a direct affront to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom challenged the Trump administration repeatedly as he was sworn in to office Monday, particularly on immigration.

The former San Francisco mayor became the state’s 40th governor, succeeding the term-limited Jerry Brown.

These are both very good sentiments but the one question lingers - who is going to be paying for these two very expensive projects? These will cost many billions of dollers to fund - out of whose pocket are these funds coming from? Do they expect the Federal government (our tax dollars) to kick in for their hairbrained projects?

Done with store meeting

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We do these every quarter - see where things are going and what we want to do for the next couple of months.

Heading back to the farm, load up the van and then to Bellingham and Island. Got a big wind and lots of rain coming in tonight so want to be there for it. Back to the farm this weekend though.

Chuck and Nancy - the wall

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Sarah Sanders talks about Chuck and Nancy's rebuttal to President Trump's speech last night

Heading out for the day

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Got a meeting at the store - coffee first. Heading back to the farm to pack up stuff and then to Bellingham and then to the island. Meeting down there tomorrow and want to be there for the wind storm tonight.

Nothing on the web caught my eye.

A good speech

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It will be interesting to see the Democrat rebuttal:

From Cliff Mass:

Huge Storm Offshore
A huge, deep midlatitude cyclone is parked off our coast right now, with very strong winds over the Pacific and large easterly flow in the Columbia Gorge, the Strat of Juan de Fuca, and within east-west passes in the Cascades.

The sea level pressure forecast for 1 PM is impressive and huge, with the low center spread over much of the NE Pacific, with a deep 974 hPa low center due west of the CA/OR border.

The latest visible satellite image illustrates the large scale of the storm, a very long cold front, and the cold, unstable air circling into the low center.


This has been a winter to remember for the wind. May head to the island a day earlier to watch.

From Signs Of The Times:

Nancy Pelosi's father Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. was as crooked as they come
Nancy Pelosi's father Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. allegedly was a "constant companion" of notorious mobster Benjamin "Benny Trotta" Magliano and other underworld figures during his political years in Baltimore, MD. D'Alesandro was a Congressman for five terms from 1938 to 1947, and Baltimore mayor for three terms from 1947 to 1959. Magliano was identified by the FBI as one of Baltimore's "top hoodlums," and he widely was acknowledged as the representative for New York's Frankie Carbo who made his bones with Murder, Inc. and later became a made guy in the Lucchese family. The allegations are included in D'Alesandro's recently-released FBI files which Friends of Ours has obtained pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. 

A lot more at the site including this interesting bit of history:

Meanwhile, the allegations against D'Alesandro continued to pile up. Finally, in January 1961 President John F. Kennedy requested the G-men to address "allegations of D'Alesando's involvement with Baltimore hoodlums; with favoritism in awarding city contracts; [and] protection for political contributors and the prosecution of local cases." President Kennedy wanted to appoint D'Alesandro to the United States Renegotiation Board which was a government watchdog against profit gouging by defense contractors. A February 6, 1961 memo from Hoover to the Baltimore and Washington Field Offices cautiously advises: "The White House has requested that we proceed with a special inquiry investigation but that if substantial derogatory information were developed, we should report this and discontinue any further inquiries because substantiation of any of the allegations would eliminate D'Alesandro."

The FBI inquiry was a perfunctory exercise with little digging which vainly attempted to address two decades of allegations in less than two months, and of course some witnesses had lost their memories and others had died or otherwise disappeared.

And the FBI has not gotten any better in the intervening years. Deep state.

Settled in for the night

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Packed a lot. Only made one trip in to the condo but have enough for two trips tomorrow. Have a meeting on Island Thursday so should get another run or two in Wednesday. Bite to eat in town (Asian buffet (and no, I do not touch the seafood or sushi)) and then two pints of cider.

Surf for a bit - long day tomorrow.

Well crap - The Geek Group

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No news beyond this article - from Michigan Live:

Tech center, once the ‘Geek Group,’ shuts down for good after raid
After a federal raid at its Leonard Street NW business, the National Science Institute, formerly known as The Geek Group, said Friday, Dec. 31, it has shut down.

The non-profit agency, dedicated to science and technology, provided hands-on educational opportunities, including use of high-tech equipment and facilities by students, inventors and others.

It periodically handed out used computers at little or no cost to help children of struggling families.

In a Facebook post, president Chris Boden said the institute – in the former West YMCA building at 902 Leonard St. NW - was a labor of love but it could not generate enough funding to pay its bills.

The Dec. 21 raid by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the IRS, among others, was the last straw.

I love to experiment with high voltage (hell - voltage of any kind) and have built Tesla coils, Jacobs Ladders, lots of stuff. The Geek Group was this shining city on a hill where large-scale experimentation was the norm of the day. I always had it in my mind to do a pilgrimage to Grand Rapids. Sad to see them be shut down and I look forward to when they can tell the story of what really happened.

Funding a wall

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Great reactions from clueless people:

Mexico is defending their border

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With Guatamala - from The Seattle Times:

Mexico to regulate 370 illegal crossings on Guatemala border
The Mexican government has pledged to put guards at some 370 illegal crossing points along the country’s southern border with Guatemala.

The crossings “will be guarded and controlled to prevent the entry of undocumented people,” Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero said Monday.

A bit more - another "grass roots" caravan:

“We have information that a new caravan is forming to enter our country in mid-January,” Sanchez Cordero said. “We are already taking the necessary steps to ensure the caravan enters in a safe and orderly way.”

Again, we are looking at some major logistic hurdles and a lot of money. Who is funding these operations?
Classic Cloward-Piven.

No surprises there - smartphones

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I keep mine in the car most of the time. It is handy but I am not plugged in to it 24/8 (Beatle weeks)
From The Moscow Times:

Russian Patriarch Warns ‘Antichrist’ Will Control Humans Through Gadgets
The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has said that humans’ dependence on modern technology will result in the coming of the Antichrist.

In an interview with Russian state media, Patriarch Kirill explained he does not entirely oppose gadgets, but warned against “falling into slavery” to smartphones.

Patriarch Kirill said that the collection of user data including “location, interests and fears” will make it possible for humans to be controlled by external forces.

“Control from a single point is a harbinger of the coming of the Antichrist,” Kirill told the state-run Rossia-1 TV network on Orthodox Christmas Monday.

“The Antichrist is a personality that will be at the head of the world wide web controlling the entire human race. Thus, the structure itself presents a danger,” he said.

Makes a lot of sense - Facebook, etc... Time to leave the Goolag.

Journalist Don Surber noticed two headlines and did some analysis - the headlines are links:

And here is Don's take:

Kim is in China during trade talks
One and one make two. Trust me on this.

President Trump imposed tariffs on Red China, and the Fake News media cried trade war, and then told us no one wins a trade war.

President Trump imposed sanctions and bluster on North Korea, and the Fake News media cried nuclear war.

Now we just happen to be discussing a new trade deal in Beijing, and Kim just happens to travel to Beijing to celebrate his birthday.

A criminal lawyer once told me that 35 years in the courts had taught him there is no such thing as a coincidence.

Excellent news for everyone. Art of the deal indeed.

At the farm for a few days

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Heading out for coffee and then packing up totes and taking them in to Bellingham.

The 2016 election - back story

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Excellent post mortem on the Democrats attempts to get Hillary into the Presidentcy - from The American Spectator:

Democrats get away with a much worse crime than Watergate.
Since Watergate, the Washington wisdom has always held that it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup that sinks a politician. But that’s only the case when the coverup fails.

But what if the coverup succeeds?

It’s horribly simple. The crimes are never uncovered and the perpetrators are never brought to justice no matter how serious their crimes may be. That is precisely what has happened because of the FBI and Justice Department’s coverup of their abuses of power and illegal actions during the 2016 election.

In this case, the FBI and the Justice Department have succeeded in the most significant coverup in American political history. The abuses of power and crimes they have succeeded in covering up are not only against the law: they are crimes against our system of law and government. They were perpetrated by employees of the government, under color of law, with the intention of affecting the outcome of an election.

For almost two years an investigation into the abuses of power — and probable crimes — committed by the FBI and Justice Department during the election has been conducted by House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes (R-Cal). Rep. Bob Goodlatte — chairman of the Judiciary Committee — and Trey Gowdy — chairman of the Oversight and government reform committee — tried to investigate other aspects of the FBI and DoJ actions.

These investigations have been stonewalled by the refusal of the FBI and Justice Department to produce the documents and provide access to witnesses that would, in all likelihood, prove that the major abuses of power and crimes had been committed.

A lot more at the site - very well researched and documented.

Back from cider

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Ran into a couple people I knew so had some fun catching up on Maple Falls gossip.

The ham came out perfect - it was a 6oz pre-cooked steak for $3.99 so perfect for one portion. I nuked some vegies as a side. The chutney was a nice addition. I have usually just done a glaze with the marmalade and rice vinegar but adding the fruit brought it up a couple of notches and was very easy to do.

Surf for a bit as well as crunch through 200+ emails.

Great comment from Whoopi Goldberg

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Found at Ann Althouse's site:

Whoopi Goldberg to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "Before you start pooping on people and what they’ve done, you got to do something too."
On "The View" today.

My favorite thing about this is, Abby Huntsman immediately intones in the flattest possible voice, "That's well said. That's really well said." She knows her place, Huntsman does. Unlike some people. Pooping people.


Makes perfect sense to me

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From Big Think:

Does manual labor boost happiness?

The author detours to set up a story and then, a few paragraphs later, gets to his thesis.

As Luddites were raging against machines, neuroscientist Kelly Lambert says doctors were prescribing knitting to anxious women. Medical professionals sensed that the act of working with their hands calmed housewives. It appears that using our biological inheritance, a wonderful adaptation of bipedalism—dexterous and flexible hands featuring opposable thumbs—is necessary for optimal mental health.

Sure, the Luddites were concerned about feeding their family, not weaving cotton per se, but losing such an integral part of your identity forces you to confront your value as a sentient being. The combination of repetitive movement (of say, knitting) and the production of a tangible product (a hat or scarf) can be therapeutic. Lambert coined the term "behaviorceuticals" to honor this valuable drug.

In her most recent book, Well Grounded, Lambert notes the devastating effects automation technologies wreak on our brains:

Our view of prosperity in contemporary Western societies with creature comforts such as lush surroundings and various personal services to avoid physical effort may suffocate our neural functions.

Matthew Crawford agrees. He was "always sleepy" while employed at a D.C. think tank. Though earning more money than ever before, he felt a valuable piece of himself being lost. He left the lucrative position to become an auto mechanic, which resulted in his 2009 book, Shop Class as Soulcraft.

In it he posits the idea that as a society we've gotten the role of work backwards. Instead of championing manual labor, which he says is more intellectually engaging than his desk job, we choose to financially and socially reward careers that rely on computers to work for us. With industrialization came automation as warehouse owners sought to maximize capital while minimizing labor costs. In this two-century-long process, an essential part of our humanity is gone.

A lot more at the site - I totally agree with this. I am a lot more fulfilled when working with my hands.

At the farm

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Finally made it up here. Of course, on the way up, there was the most perfect light for photographing the snow geese - warm low-angle sunlight and dark storm clouds for a background. Perfect for emphasizing the white of the geese. The video camera was down on the island. Next time...

Here for  few days - got a Thursday meeting down there. Planning on hauling a** for the next week or two and getting the first garage sale ready and done with.

Picked up a nice small ham steak for dinner - Duroc. Doing a chutney with orange marmalade, rice wine vinegar and a chopped apple and pear.

Out for a couple pints of cider after.


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Talk about a bad spell of weather. From the Stanwood Camano News:

Parade of storms marching toward NW Washington
On the heels of short-but-powerful burst of wind and rain early Sunday morning, the foothills around the Stanwood-Camano region could see a dusting of snow Sunday night and Monday morning.

The National Weather Service office in Seattle issued a winter weather advisory for the central and southern Cascades and foothills through 10 a.m. with 1-4 inches of snow possible above 500 feet and 5-8 inches at pass level.

And this coming week:

However, the next storm arrives Tuesday into Wednesday. That blast will be followed by another low pressure system that will drop in from Alaska.

From the National Weather Service:


Meanwhile, most of South Puget Sound is dealing with power outages:


The EU has been a mistake. From Desmond Lachman writing at the American Enterprise Institute:

An unhappy 20th birthday for the euro
It is disappointing that your editorial “ Challenging times lie ahead for the eurozone” (January 2), commemorating the euro’s 20th anniversary, glosses over how miserably the single currency has failed to deliver on the high economic and political expectations of its founders.

Whereas since the 2008 crisis, the US economy has grown by some 15 per cent, the eurozone economy has barely regained its 2008 pre-crisis peak. At the same time, economic disparities between the eurozone’s north and south have widened, as exemplified by Germany’s economy now being more than 10 per cent above its 2008 level while that of Italy remains 5 per cent below that level.

Far from promoting European political harmony, the euro seems to have done the opposite. Those countries in the eurozone’s economic periphery deeply resent the austerity that has been imposed on them, while those in the north increasingly resent having to bail out those in the south. More disturbing yet, especially since 2008, Europe’s poor economic performance has undermined public confidence in its political elite, thereby contributing to a wave of populism across the eurozone.

A key factor underlying the eurozone’s poor economic and political performance was the locking in a monetary union of a poor productivity performer like Italy with a productivity powerhouse like Germany. Without the ability to devalue, Italy was bound to progressively lose competitiveness to Germany, which has resulted in the disparate economic performance between those two countries.

A perfect indictment of socialism and globalism. Some nations are more productive than others. By hamstringing everyone together to a common currency, there is less incentive for the productive members to be - productive. There is also less incentive for the less productive nations to work to become more productive as they know that their more productive partners will float them along.

This has been tried so many times and has failed every time it is amazing that people can still consider this to be a viable option. Occasional-Cortex needs to get a refund from Boston University for her Economics degree.

RBG - health issues?

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Interesting - from Associated Press:

Ginsburg missing Supreme Court arguments for 1st time
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is missing arguments for the first time in more than 25 years as she recuperates from cancer surgery last month, the Supreme Court said.

Ginsburg was not on the bench as the court met Monday to hear arguments. It was not clear when she would return to the court, which will hear more cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, and again next week.

Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the 85-year-old justice is continuing to recuperate and work from home after doctors removed two cancerous growths from her left lung on Dec. 21.

If she wanted to continue her progressive legacy, she should have retired during Obama's term. Now, will President Trump get to appoint a third Originalist to the Supreme Court? Sure looks like it now.

Heh - border deniers

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Lieutenant Commander Dan Crenshaw (Retired) is the Congressman-elect to replace retiring Congressman Ted Poe as the Representative for Texas’ 2nd Congressional District. In a crowded primary Dan overcame the odds and emerged from a nine candidate field by 155 votes. He earned the Republican nomination by winning almost 70% of the vote in the run-off..

Two from his twitter account:

I love the way he is flipping the narrative - climate deniers? Border deniers.

Long day yesterday

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Ran some errands - got a nice propane space heater for the garage so it will be a lot more comfortable to work in there. The bacon / bean soup was great for dinner and then went out to my local to see a dissapointing Seahawks loss to Dallas. So close and yet so far.

Woke up at 1:00AM with the howling wind - swells in the bay were about two feet high. Still showing a small craft advisory until Monday AM. I used to love these when I owned a sailboat - great weather for sailing.

Looks like most of the power outages are South near Tacoma, Seattle and Everett. Heading up to the farm today - got a lot of stuff to do up there. Coffee and breakfast first.

Two headlines - arctic ice

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Each headline links to the parent story:

Hint - one headline is from a pop culture magazine and one is from a science based website.

From Instapundit:

Ocasio-Cortez tells reporter ‘gotta run’ when asked about shutdown paycheck. “New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is still mum on whether she will follow her own advice to lawmakers to ‘have some integrity’ and give up their salary during the government shutdown. ‘I’ve gotta run,’ the Democratic Socialist told the New York Post on Thursday after being asked about her salary, rushing for a mock swearing-in with newly elected House Speak Nancy Pelosi. The questions follow Ocasio-Cortez’ comments on social media during the early days of the shutdown, urging members of Congress to give up their salaries during the government shutdown just like federal workers.”

From The Tennessee Star:

U.S. Rep. Mark Green Refuses Salary During Partial Government Shutdown
Freshman U.S. Rep. Dr. Mark Green (R-TN-07) has asked that he not be paid during the partial federal government shutdown.

Green sent a letter Friday to the U.S. House of Representative’s Chief Administrative Officer, Philip Kiko, requesting his salary be suspended until a deal is reached and the partial government shutdown ends:

Dear Mr. Kiko,

I am writing today to ask you to withhold my salary as long as the government is partially shut down. I do not believe it is appropriate for Members of Congress to be paid during a lapse in appropriations while hardworking border security agents and other civil servants are furloughed.

Please accept this letter as notice that I will refuse any salary until the government is funded.


Fun times ahead

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Cliff Mass has this to say today:

Major Wind Event For Western Oregon and Washington
A major wind event is now probable for western Oregon and Washington, potentially the strongest windstorm so far this winter.

Very strong winds, with gusts to 50-80 mph, will move up the Oregon coast this evening and then pummel western WA in the morning hours, ending with a powerful surge of westerly winds in the Strait.

This is serious, so I would be prepared (batteries, don't drive around during strong winds, etc.). There will be power outages.

The 8 AM GOES-17 weather satellite imagery shows the storm west of northern CA and southern Oregon (you can see the swirl of the clouds).


Thinking about staying down on the island tonight - the power is more stable down here and I have a bunch of stuff I can be doing - sorting papers and working in the garage.

This is getting downright tiresome...

You guessed it - YouTube

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Nothing else catches my eye on the net...

Out of copyright - where to download

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Great practical article at Motherboard:

How to Download the Books That Just Entered the Public Domain
Starting at midnight on January 1, tens of thousands of books (as well as movies, songs, and cartoons) entered the public domain, meaning that people can download, share, or repurpose these works for free and without retribution under US copyright law.

Per the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, “corporate” creations (like Mickey Mouse) can be restricted under copyright law for 120 years. But per an amendment to the act, works published between 1923 and 1977 can enter the public domain 95 years after their creation. This means that this is the first year since 1998 that a large number of works have entered the public domain.

A lot of links at the article - here are just a handful:

For instance, ReadPrint.com, as well as The Literature Network (mostly major authors), and Librivox (audio books), Authorama (all in the public domain), and over a dozen other sites all have vast selections of free ebooks.


 More at the site - lots of very cool writing - audio books too!

If I lived in the mid-west, I would definitely be a storm chaser. Have always been fascinated by the weather and love big storms - always have, always will. One of the few disappointments on moving to the Pacific Northwest is the lack of really hard weather.

Check out Chasercon - nothing much on their website but they have some really good people giving presentations.

From CNN (note the bias in the headline):

Can Trump's new science adviser convince him that climate change is real?
In the eleventh hour of the outgoing Congress' term, the Senate confirmed one of President Trump's nominees that could have a profound impact on the future of our planet.

Kelvin Droegemeier, a meteorologist and former University of Oklahoma professor, was confirmed to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy on Wednesday-- a role commonly referred to as "science adviser" and the top scientific office in the country.

The position has sat vacant since Trump's presidency began nearly two years ago.

Droegemeier, an expert on extreme weather that has served as The University of Oklahoma's vice president of research since 2009 and has conducted atmospheric research for over 35 years. His extensive background in weather provides some hope among the science community that he can influence the administration, which has disputed the scientific community's view that the planet is warming and that humans are the primary cause of the change.

Emphasis mine - there is no consensus. The "scientific community" has a lot of different opinions about what is happening. The sun is the primary driver of our climate and it is slowing down / cooling off. The idea that humans are the primary cause of the modern warm period is pure hubris on our part.

Anyway, Droegemeier is a strong atmospheric scientist and is a numbers guy, not a narrative guy. He does not tweak the computer models to forecast what he wants, he tries to model what is actually happening. Great choice for the position!

Dinner was really good

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Think I got this recipe nailed down. Really savory and filling. Got enough for three days of leftovers too!

Went out for two pints after - been reading the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. Police procedural and really well written. Hung out at the bar and read for a while. Simple pleasures - good book, cold beer, nice wait staff.

Smelling good - bacon/bean soup

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Got a pot of it simmering away. I use the pressure cooker feature of my Instant Pot so it only takes about 30 minutes to go from dry bean to delicious soup.

House smells delicious. Dinner in about 30 minutes.

Maybe a winter visit - Siberia

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I have always been fascinated by the extreme cold regions of this planet. Found this great photo online:


In 1965 (the year after the great Alaska earthquake) my mom, dad and our church minister flew to a small town in Alaska. The earthquake caused the river they were on to shift its bounds. Our church brought up a sawmill and a movie projector.

As we were coming in for a landing in the bush plane, we saw a bunch of people by the runway (grass strip) waving at us. I thought that they were incredibly friendly until I stepped off the plane and was met with a swarm of mosquitos. They were trying to keep them off.

A bit of Karma in North Carolina

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From CNN:

Cops say a would-be kidnapper chased a woman -- into a karate studio. That was a bad move
A man tries to kidnap a woman by forcing her into his car, in north Charlotte. She breaks free, and runs into a nearby karate studio pleading for help.

You can already see how this ends: with the suspect being carried out on a stretcher after a fight with a karate head instructor.

The incident happened at 9 pm Thursday outside Bushiken Karate Charlotte Dojo, according to CNN affiliate WSOC and the head instructor, Randall Ephraim.

Heh - sucks to be him...

An interesting bit of labeling

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I was at the food coop today and checked out their bulk foods. I like Israeli Couscous. They had it but it was labeled Perl Couscous (and in very small print: "also known as Traditional Israeli Couscous")

A little bit of subtle antisemitism? Virtue signalling to their liberal customers? I am still shopping there - I like the food - but one day, I will have to wear a MAGA hat when I go shopping and watch people's reactions.

And it is another day on the island

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Had a couple of errands to run and it got late. Time to surf for a bit and then fix dinner. Stopped at Del-Fox and got some bacon to do bacon-bean soup. Also got a bag of dog bones so Grace and Bear are very quiet munching away at their treats.

Nice warm day today - got up to 57°F at the house. Still have the Small Craft Advisory for this area and Thunderstorms forecast for Sunday.

Nothing much out there

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Don't see anything that catches my eye - heading out in about an hour to get coffee, post office and then up to Maple Falls.

The wind has passed - we are now at Small Craft Advisory through this evening and a Winter Weather Advisory for up North - snow level is down to 3,500 feet.

If they succeed, the liberals will wish that they had not. From Breitbart:

Rashida Tlaib’s First Day in Congress: ‘We’re Gonna Impeach the Motherf**ker.’
On her first day as a new member of the United States House of Representatives, Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) called on her colleagues to begin taking steps towards impeaching President Trump.

Tlaib was fetted at a raucous reception later in the day by left wing advocacy group MoveOn.org. Her closing remarks there were, “We’re gonna impeach the motherfucker.”

If these people do succeed in removing President Trump from office - what happens? Vice President Mike Pence becomes President. Trump may be a boor but he is a damn good businessman and has been great for America. Mike Pence is like DJT on steroids. Pence is a lot quieter but he is even more of a force for Constitutional Conservatism than Trump has ever been.

Those poor snowflakes will not know what hit them...

Back on the island

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Maple Falls tomorrow for sure. This time. For real.

Had an interesting phone call from my store - someone I used to know in High School in Pittsburgh, PA called the store trying to reach me. They must have searched the public records to see that I was the owner and found the phone number. Interesting.

I graduated from that High School in 1969 so this would be the 50th anniversary - maybe they are doing some reunion. Do not think that I will do a reunion as I have set down roots here and do not like to travel that much. Maybe write something if they ask. Besides, as Andy said: "Pittsburgh is a great place to be from."

Productive day - quick bounce around the internet, a few videos and then to sleep.

Probably back to the island for the night. Like I said before, this place is sticky...

Maple Falls for sure tomorrow!

Wind is starting to pick up - got 322 households without power on the island and scattered outages around Maple Falls. Thank God that the other storms lining up are heading South of us.

Out the door now

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Shaved, showered and ready for my morning coffee. Running a few errands down here, stopping off in Burlington and then up to Maple Falls for a few days.

Yesterday's briefing at the White House

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Pathetic. The equivalent of a little kid holding his hands over his ears and yelling I can't hear you. I had written about this briefing yesterday: Now this would be interesting to see. President Trump was hosting a session with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and various members of Congress. From The Daily Caller:

Democratic lawmakers brought a border security briefing at the White House to a screeching halt Wednesday, refusing to even listen to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, a White House official tells The Daily Caller.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy echoed this version of events to reporters outside the White House immediately after the briefing, saying, “Once the secretary started, Schumer interrupted her and didn’t want to hear it.”

Republican and Democratic lawmakers after the meeting indicated little progress was made toward ending the partial government shutdown and that they agreed to reconvene Friday. The White House official says there was a consensus in the room that negotiations would be put on hold until Pelosi officially assumed her expected role of Speaker.

The White House official told TheDC that both Pelosi and Schumer refused to hear out Nielsen’s briefing and instead advocated for two solutions to end the government shutdown. Neither of the Democratic options would provide the additional funding for border security requested by The White House.

This is not leadership. This is thuggery pure and simple. Schumer is a perfect example of the reason for Term Limits.

Seattle meteorologist Cliff Mass clues us in to what will be happening in the next week or so. Hint: Wind and Rain

Forget El Nino, StormFest is about to Hit the West Coast
Things often calm down after January 1 during El Nino years....but not this year...with the U.S. West Coast from central California to Washington State about to be pummeled by a series of storms. Rain, snow, wind? Plenty for everyone.

A view of the latest infrared satellite imagery shows an amazing line-up of one storm after another stretching way into the Pacific. A traffic jam of storms.

Let's examine our stormy future, using a series of sea level pressure forecasts from the UW WRF weather forecast models (solid lines are sea level pressure, shading in lower atmosphere temperature).

At 10 PM today, a strong low is just off the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

10AM Saturday brings an energetic low center into northern CA.

10 PM Sunday?   Another storm hits central Oregon!  And another system is in the wings.

I am not copying the images - you can go to Cliff's site and see the coming carnage. The bright side?

There is a silver lining of all this action of course:  it will provide an immense amount of water to fill our reservoirs and enhance our snowpack, a snowpack that is now in pretty decent shape (see latest summary below).  Water resources should be fine next summer.

Classical reference in the title: Turtles all the way down

And I am off to YouTube

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Want to head up to Maple Falls tomorrow so early bedtime tonight. Busy couple days of packing - got a tool sale in the near future.

President Trump just sold rice to China. Talk about art of the deal. From farm website ProAg:

For First Time Ever, China Begins Purchasing U.S. Rice
China is buying U.S. rice for the first time. The “South China Morning Post” reported Chinese customs officials cleared American rice for import on Thursday.

It’s not clear how much China will buy, but the U.S. rice industry calls China the 800 pound gorilla for the industry, and a market barrier it’s been trying to break for decades.

Johnny Sullivan of Producers Rice Mill, Inc. says “China is a monster of a market. The facts are based on the consumption rate of rice in China, the short story is China could chew through the entire U.S. crop in 14 days, so it’s unreal.”

Tell me again how the tarrif war is hurting American business?

First photos of Ultima Thule

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From NASA's Space Weather:

FIRST IMAGES OF ULTIMA THULE: The first high-resolution images of Ultima Thule have reached Earth following New Horizons' historic flyby on New Year's Day. Hot off the presses, the photos reveal a pair of roughly spherical planetestimals stuck together in the middle. The contact binary strangely resembles BB-8:


"This flyby is a historic achievement," says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "Never before has any spacecraft team tracked down such a small body so far away in the abyss of space. We're getting our first close-up look at ancient planetesimals."

Planetesimals are the building blocks of planets. Here in the inner solar system, no pristine examples remain for us to study. They have been swallowed by planets, hammered by asteroids, and scorched by solar radiation. Ultima Thule, however, has been preserved in the deep freeze of the outer solar system for more than 4 billion years. It is truly a relic of the genesis of planets.

Mission scientists believe that Ultima Thule formed by accretion. A swarm of smaller planetesimals gathered under the pull of their own meagre gravity to form two spherical bodies, medium-sized planetesimals which themselves slowly bumped together and stuck. The result was Ultima Thule.

These are just the first thumbnails - resolution is about 140 Meters per pixel. Much higher resolution (much larger and longer to transmit) files are going to be arriving over the next couple of weeks. An amazing mission.

Fortunately it is directly out of the South and I am facing North. Lots of trees moving but nothing but squirrely gusts at ground level.

Southern parts of the island are showing 322 households without power now (and we are just getting started)

Puget Sound Electric is showing just a few outages - 83 households out near Bellevue but the cause of that was an accident.

Meeting was good - run really well.

Out for a couple of hours

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Heading out for some errands, an early dinner and then a 6:00PM meeting.

That was Zen - this is Meow

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From here.

Copyrights - great news

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A good explanation of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act at Ars Technica:

Mickey Mouse will be public domain soon—here’s what that means
As the ball dropped over Times Square last night, all copyrighted works published in 1923 fell into the public domain (with a few exceptions). Everyone now has the right to republish them or adapt them for use in new works.

It's the first time this has happened in 21 years.

In 1998, works published in 1922 or earlier were in the public domain, with 1923 works scheduled to expire at the beginning of 1999. But then Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. It added 20 years to the terms of older works, keeping 1923 works locked up until 2019.

Many people—including me—expected another fight over copyright extension in 2018. But it never happened. Congress left the existing law in place, and so those 1923 copyrights expired on schedule this morning.

And assuming Congress doesn't interfere, more works will fall into the public domain each January from now on.

And some examples:

Next January, George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue will fall into the public domain. It will be followed by The Great Gatsby in January 2021 and Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises in January 2022.

On January 1, 2024, we'll see the expiration of the copyright for Steamboat Willie—and with it Disney's claim to the film's star, Mickey Mouse. The copyrights to Superman, Batman, Disney's Snow White, and early Looney Tunes characters will all fall into the public domain between 2031 and 2035.

The expiration of copyrights for characters like Mickey Mouse and Batman will raise tricky new legal questions. After 2024, Disney won't have any copyright protection for Mickey's original incarnation. But Disney will still own copyrights for later incarnations of the character—and it will also own Mickey-related trademarks.

Good - these works have had their run. Let the general public enjoy their use rent-free.

I bet that this is going to be an awesome party.

Now this is beautiful

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Music From The Fibonacci Sequence

Performed by aSoungScout

More on Fibonacci numbers - quite a beautiful series and found very often in nature.


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Talk about over the top - almost sprayed coffee over my laptop. Pitch perfect:

He had way too much fun with this.

Toto - Africa

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Played on sweet potatoes and squash:

Pupsi's YouTube channel is here

Now this would be interesting to see

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I hope C-SPAN is recording this meeting - from Associated Press:

Shutdown Day 12: Lawmakers to hear wall plea at White House
President Donald Trump said his Homeland Security officials will “make a plea” for the border wall with Mexico during a briefing for congressional leaders Wednesday at the White House as the partial government shutdown over his demand for wall funding entered its 12th day.

The president made his case anew ahead of the afternoon session with Democratic and Republican leaders about the migrants arriving at the border in recent days. He said the border is “like a sieve” and noted the tear gas “flying” overnight to deter them. He called the border “very tough” at keeping immigrants out.

“If they knew they couldn’t come through, they wouldn’t even start,” Trump said at a meeting joined by Cabinet secretaries and top advisers, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

We need the security - it is costing us taxpayers way too much to give them a free ride. The Democrats see these invaders as a steady source of votes and as a way to build the welfare system. Get people dependent on it so they do not vote to remove it.

Ho. Li. Crap. Amazing video and audio editing software. Check out DaVinci Resolve 15 from BlackMagic. Got turned on to it a few days ago and been playing with it.

Best part? Free. There is a paid version ($299) that adds a few features but the free version is pretty amazing for what it does. A lot better than Pinnacle in my opinion - suits my workflow better, easier to grok.

Propaganda - North Korea

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave his usual New Year address - from South Korea's The Korea Herald:

NK leader talks of denuclearization, economic development in New Year address
The North Korean leader on Tuesday reiterated his determination to achieve complete denuclearization and also called for economic development in his annual New Year’s address, stressing the need to strengthen the North’s defense.

In the address, Kim Jong-un highlighted last year’s developments in inter-Korean and US-North Korea relations, while calling on his country to seek economic development and modernize its defense industry.

Kim delivered the address while sitting on a sofa in an office with portraits of his father, Kim Jong-il, and grandfather Kim Il-sung in the background. His previous New Year’s addresses had taken place in more formal settings, with Kim standing at a podium.

While Kim’s address included conditions for further talks with the US, Seoul welcomed the speech as a sign of the North Korean leader’s willingness to improve inter-Korean relations and achieve denuclearization.

Regarding relations with the US, Kim said he was ready to meet with US President Donald Trump again at any time, but warned he would “find a new path” if the US were to test North Koreans’ patience with sanctions and pressure.

“I am ready to sit face to face with the US president again at any time going forward, and will make efforts to produce an outcome the international community would welcome,” he said in an apparent response to a series of conciliatory gestures from the US. Trump has said he would like to hold a summit with Kim in January or February.


Now, compare and contrast - CNN:

Kim Jong Un says North Korea isn't making nukes, warns US on sanctions

Here is NPR:

Kim Jong Un Wants New Summit With Trump, But Also Issues A Veiled Warning

How about just listening to the guy and taking what he says at face value. He is gradually easing tensions between the two Koreas: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here aaaand I got a lot more but you get my drift...

Winter winds - upgraded

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Now with more suck blow - Weather.com again:

High Wind Watch for Admiralty Inlet Area, Washington

Here is my neck of the woods:


The red A is Admiralty Inlet - go through that restriction and you get to Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia. The blue C is about where my house is on Camano Island. Looks like it will be time to batten down the hatches tomorrow evening.

Now this will be fun - hackers

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From tech website Motherboard:

Hackers Threaten to Dump Insurance Files Related to 9/11 Attacks
On Monday, New Year’s Eve, a hacker group announced it had breached a law firm handling cases related to the September 11 attacks, and threatened to publicly release a large cache of related internal files unless their ransom demands were met.

The news is the latest public extortion attempt from the group known as The Dark Overlord, which has previously targeted a production studio working for Netflix, as well as a host of medical centres and private businesses across the United States. The announcement also signals a slight evolution in The Dark Overlord’s strategy, which has expanded on leveraging the media to exert pressure on victims, to now distributing its threats and stolen data in a wider fashion.

In its announcement published on Pastebin, The Dark Overlord points to several different insurers and legal firms, claiming specifically that it hacked Hiscox Syndicates Ltd, Lloyds of London, and Silverstein Properties.

“Hiscox Syndicates Ltd and Lloyds of London are some of the biggest insurers on the planet insuring everything from the smallest policies to some of the largest policies on the planet, and who even insured structures such as the World Trade Centers,” the announcement reads.

And this is not an idle jape:

A spokesperson for the Hiscox Group confirmed to Motherboard that the hackers had breached a law firm that advised the company, and likely stolen files related to litigation around the 9/11 attacks.

Time for a bowl of popcorn, sit back and watch the sparks fly. They released a 10GB file of the texts but it is encrypted. They are threatening to release the key if not paid.

Great compilation at The Daily Caller:

Despite increasingly apocalyptic warnings from U.N. officials, 2018 has seen a number of high-profile defeats for policies aimed at fighting global warming. Politicians and voters pushed back at attempts to raise energy prices as part of the climate crusade.

It started in June with election of Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Ontario residents overwhelmingly voted Ford’s conservative coalition into power on a platform that included axing the Canadian province’s cap-and-trade program.

Ford said his first priority upon taking office would be to “cancel the Liberal cap-and-trade carbon tax.” Ford then joined a legal challenge led by Saskatchewan against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s policy of a central government-imposed carbon tax on provinces that don’t have their own.

Carbon tax opponents called Trudeau’s plan an attempt to “use the new tax to further redistribute income, which will increase the costs of this tax to the economy.”

Roughly ten thousand miles away in Australia another revolt was brewing. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saw his power base crumble within days of failing to pass a bill aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

And in my own state, $45million was spent to push a carbon tax initiative spearheaded by our governor Jay Inslee:

However, Washington voters rejected the carbon tax measure in the November election despite Inslee’s support. It was the second time in two years that Washington voters rejected a carbon tax ballot initiative.

In the House of Representatives:

The November elections also saw the defeat of a group of Republican lawmakers in the House Climate Solutions Caucus. Among those defeated was caucus co-chair Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who introduced carbon tax legislation in July.

In France:

It backfired. Angered over the new carbon taxes on fuel, tens of thousands of protesters, called “yellow vests” for the vests drivers are required to have in their cars, took to the streets calling for an end to the taxes and for Macron to resign.

Nice to see that the Normals are waking up. Global Warming - yes. We are heading out of a brief Modern Warm Period from 1960's to present. Every indication shows us heading into a very long period of cooling.

The idea that we humans are completely responsible for the warming is pure fscking hubris. We are simply not that big compared to all of the other natural variables - the biggest of which is our Sun which is a variable star. NASA's wonderful Space Weather website closes out this year with 2018 having 61% sunspot free:

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2018 total: 221 days (61%)
2017 total: 104 days (28%)
2016 total: 32 days (9%)
2015 total: 0 days (0%)
2014 total: 1 day (<1%)
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
2012 total: 0 days (0%)

Heh - the caravan

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A bit of backlash for the faceless "organizers" of this - from Monica Showalter writing at American Thinker:

Sure enough, caravan migrants turn on their organizers
It had to happen. As we suspected would happen.

The caravan migrants, still cooling their heels out of sight of tourists in an isolated redoubt of Tijuana, in line awaiting for their U.S. asylum claims to be adjudicated, have finally turned on their rabidly left-wing organizers – namely, Pueblo Sin Fronteras.

The Associated Press has a pretty good report about the scope of the migrant disgust:

Thousands are now in Tijuana on the U.S. border, where they are likely to be camped for months or longer with no easy way to get into the United States, creating what is fast becoming a humanitarian crisis in this overwhelmed city.

Many blame Pueblo Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, made up of about 40 U.S. and Mexican activists.

Critics, including former allies and some of the migrants themselves, say Pueblo Sin Fronteras downplayed the dangers of such treks, especially for families and small children, and misled the participants about how long they would have to wait on the Mexican side to apply for asylum.

They were Chavistas, and as Chavistas, they were offering up the big goody-style free-stuff packages, except that they wanted Uncle Sam, not Hugo's oil money, to pay for them. When that fell through and the migrants ran into a U.S. president with a serious interest in border laws meaning what they say they mean, they got left high and dry, as stiffed on the promises as Venezuela's fleeing refugees are. The goody pot never materialized, though it might for some of them as they wait their turns in line. With 90% of the migrant caravan composed of military- and gang-aged young men, don't hold your breath.

More at the site. My question through all of this is who was funding the whole operation. They had buses, food depots, etc... It was well organized and funded but billed as a local grass-roots movement.

From The Times of Israel:

69 years after joining, Israel formally leaves UNESCO; so, too, does the US
As the new year began, Israel officially left the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, despite recent efforts by the agency’s head to combat its politicization and alleged anti-Israel bias.

The withdrawal went into effect at midnight Paris time (1 a.m. in Israel). The US departure also took effect at the same time.

“UNESCO is a body that continually rewrites history, including by erasing the Jewish connection to Jerusalem,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told The Times of Israel on Monday.

“It is corrupted and manipulated by Israel’s enemies, and continually singles out the only Jewish state for condemnation. We are not going to be a member of an organization that deliberately acts against us.”

In October 2017, mere days after the US administration announced its withdrawal from UNESCO due to, among other things, its alleged obsession with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he was following the US lead.

“We hope that the organization will change its ways but we are not pinning hopes on this; therefore, my directive to leave the organization stands and we will mo

Fantastic move for both the United States and for Israel. UNESCO was first considered in 1921 and was founded in November of 1945. A great idea but it fell victim to Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

Maybe if enough nations leave, the unelected governing board of UNESCO will be forced to police themselves and become relevant again. They do some good work, the problem is that they pump out a lot of bad ideology too.

On island for two more days

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Remembered that one of my groups has a meeting this Wednesday evening so spending today and tomorrow on island. Got stuff to do so my time will be spent productivly.

Heading out for coffee and breakfast.

Winter winds

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BOHICA - has a nice sort of Carribean sound to it. Actually, Bohica is an acronym for Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.

From Weather.com:

Gale Watch for Northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands

I know this is normal weather for this area and this time of year but sheesh...

Quote of the day - academia

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From Vox Day:

In academia there is no difference between academia and the real world; in the real world there is.

Awakenings around the world - Austria

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Interesting news from the New York Times:

Austria Closes 7 Mosques and Seeks to Expel Imams Paid by Turkey
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of Austria on Friday ordered the closing of seven mosques and the scrutiny of the right of dozens of Turkish imams to remain in the country, citing suspected violations of an Austrian law that bans “political Islam” or foreign financing of Muslim institutions.

A bit more:

“Parallel societies, politicized Islam or radical tendencies have no place in our country,” Mr. Kurz said at a news conference announcing the measures in Vienna on Friday.

Not afraid to speak his mind - I like that! More at the site. The basic problem is that the mosques are supposed (Austrian law) to be locally funded - grass roots. The mosques that are being closed are funded by radical Islamic groups from outside Austria. The congregants of these mosques are not assimilating into Austrian society.

Used to work for them - they used to be science based but for the last 30 years, they are just political and narrative driven.

From The Daily Caller:

Greenpeace quietly admitted in November one of its “Rainbow Warrior” boats was “scrapped on a beaching yard in Bangladesh” — a method it spent years campaigning against.

“We have made a mistake, one that we have tried to correct,” Greenpeace International, based in Amsterdam, admitted in mid-November, adding it allowed Rainbow Warrior II “to be scrapped on a beaching yard in Bangladesh, in a way that does not live up to the standards we set ourselves and campaigned with our allies to have adopted across the world.”

However, the embarrassing admission from one of the world’s largest and most prominent environmental groups flew under the radar of major news outlets. Greenpeace quietly put out a press release on its international website, which few noticed.

Seems that they are not doing that well - a bit more:

Indeed, Rainbow Warrior II’s fate is only the latest in a string of embarrassments and scandals to plague Greenpeace in recent years, including admitting in 2014 it had lost millions in donations betting on currency speculation.

That same year, Greenpeace came under fire from the Peruvian government for damaging the ancient Nazca Lines. Activists damaged the world-famous site with giant protest banners advocating for solar energy and calling for countries to fight global warming.

Lots of asbestos and carcinogenic PCBs in the environment now - thanks Greenpeace. Here is Greenpeace's co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore talking about the organization:

The organization I co-founded has become a monster. When I was a member of its central committee in the early days, we campaigned – usually with success – on genuine environmental issues such as atmospheric nuclear tests, whaling and seal-clubbing.

When Greenpeace turned anti-science by campaigning against chlorine (imagine the sheer stupidity of campaigning against one of the elements in the periodic table), I decided that it had lost its purpose and that, having achieved its original objectives, had turned to extremism to try to justify its continued existence.

Now Greenpeace has knowingly made itself the sworn enemy of all life on Earth. By opposing capitalism, it stands against the one system of economics that has been most successful in regulating and restoring the environment.


Happy new year from President DJT

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Says it all:

January 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Environment and Climate
Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Climate Depot
Ice Age Now
Jennifer Marohasy
Solar Cycle 24
Space Weather
Watts Up With That?

Science and Medicine
Junk Science
Life in the Fast Lane
Luboš Motl
Next Big Future

Geek Stuff
Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF

The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
User Friendly
What The Duck

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

Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog

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

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

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

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2019 listed from newest to oldest.

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