Tuesday, December 28, 2010

NJ US Senator Mendez is nuts

Oh, he was being funny while making a very serious allegation in factual error. Laugh at his humor and laugh at Senator Mendez. Wall Street Journal
Two days before Christmas, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey sent a bizarre open letter to the North Pole to warn Santa about the "dramatic melting of the Arctic sea ice" due to the effects of carbon emissions. "I am worried about your safety and your ability to deliver billions of Christmas gifts if the ice cap on the North Pole no longer stays frozen all year," the senator wrote. "What will happen to your house, your workshop, the elves' houses and your reindeer barns?" The senator's solution is for Kris Kringle to move to New Jersey. "Please know that I will work to mobilize the U.S. federal government to assist when you relocate," he wrote. "I am sure we can both agree that on a warming planet, we need to do all we can to save Christmas."
His constituents in Hoboekn, NJ, correct him:
"Sen. Menendez is apparently unaware that polar ice melting is a completely natural phenomenon and certainly not unprecedented—as various photos of submarines floating around the North Pole have attested for more than fifty years," said the Hoboken Republican Club in a statement. "We therefore seek to reassure nice children everywhere that Santa is just fine. They can happily look forward to Santa's presents for many years to come."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bozos are in charge - Incompetano version

Janet Incompetano, aka Napolitano, when confronted with 70 per cent failure rate on guns in carry-ons at major airports says "Let's just move on."

Napolitano dismissed a recent news report about major airports failing secret tests designed to get contraband such as guns and knives past security screeners. The report said some airports had a 70 percent failure rate.

"Many of them are very old and out of date and there were all kinds of methodology issues with them. Let's set those aside," she said. "We pick up more contraband with the new procedures and the new machinery."

She forces you and me to go through a naked scanner and/or get felt up, but she is not bothered by 70% failure of guns getting through screening?

Why are we putting up with this?

Fox News

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

We celebrate Jesus' coming to Earth today. Hallelujah!

We are at Lake Chelan in a condo at Wapato Point. It is gray and white. They got several inches of snow Wednesday, but it is overcast and gray. Still, we can't complain.

God bless you as you celebrate His birth today.

Photo: Snow on apple trees on a gray day like today. From esperanto.wunderground.com.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One guy beats UK's WX forecasters

A lowly, lonely independent weather forecaster has been beating the UK's national weather service. Sydney Morning Herald ... They [National Weather Service] said it would be mild and damp, and between one degree and one and a half degrees warmer than average. Well, I am now 46 and that means I have seen more winters than most people on this planet, and I can tell you that this one is a corker. Never mind the record low attained in Northern Ireland this weekend. I can't remember a time when so much snow has lain so thickly on the ground, and we haven't even reached Christmas. And this is the third tough winter in a row. Is it really true that no one saw this coming? Actually, they did. Allow me to introduce readers to Piers Corbyn, meteorologist and brother of my old chum, bearded leftie MP Jeremy. Piers Corbyn works in an undistinguished office in Borough High Street. He has no telescope or supercomputer. Armed only with a laptop, huge quantities of publicly available data and a first-class degree in astrophysics, he gets it right again and again. Back in November, when the Met Office was still doing its "mild winter" schtick, Corbyn said it would be the coldest for 100 years. Indeed, it was back in May that he first predicted a snowy December, and he put his own money on a white Christmas about a month before the Met Office made any such forecast. He said that the Met Office would be wrong about last year's mythical "barbecue summer", and he was vindicated. He was closer to the truth about last winter, too. ... How on earth does he do it? He studies the Sun. He looks at the flow of particles from the Sun, and how they interact with the upper atmosphere, especially air currents such as the jet stream, and he looks at how the Moon and other factors influence those streaming particles. He takes a snapshot of what the Sun is doing at any given moment, and then he looks back at the record to see when it last did something similar. Then he checks what the weather was like on Earth at the time - and he makes a prophecy. I have not a clue whether his methods are sound or not. But when so many of his forecasts seem to come true, and when he seems to be so consistently ahead of the Met Office, I feel I want to know more. Piers Corbyn believes that the last three winters could be the harbinger of a mini ice age that could be upon us by 2035, and that it could start to be colder than at any time in the last 200 years. He goes on to speculate that a genuine ice age might then settle in, since an ice age is now cyclically overdue.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Detroit Lions should use their quarterback

Huh? Our son-in-law Chris wrote a guest column in Detroit Free Press with advice for his favorite Detroit Lions: CHRIS MARSHALL / CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

"If only for one game, Matthew Stafford has to play" Detroit Free Press

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Viaje a Cabo

I am working on learning Spanish, so this post is in Spanish for practice. He estado estudiante español durante un año. Yo estuvé buen durante 13 dias. Perro habria estado malo, por que Dios me abandonó. Despues de 14 dias, tengomos que volver a nuestra casa en Seattle. A Cabo san Lucas, Baja California Sur, México, nosotros hacíamos un paseo a amanecer todos los dias. Por lo general a la playa; a veces al puerto. Todos los mañanas, yo estudié español durante 90 (noventa) minutos. La mayoría días nuestro hacíamos un paseo en el puerto o en el ciudad. Los tardes leímos y platicamos al piscina mientras buscábamos ballenas. Todos los días yo caminé para el ejercicio durante 45 (cuarenta y cinco) minutos. Nuestro cuarto tuvo un vista del puerto, le ciudad y las montañas. A la oportunidad yo hablá un poco español; - Una toalla por favor. -- Deja de molestarme¡ El fin Mas lejos -- viaje a La Paz; snorkeling; las focas y las aves. I welcome corrections. Leave a comment.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cruel Barbara Walters

Tell me how classy Barbara Walters is. Then watch The View. She is making fun of John Boehner because he sometimes cries. I hear she is well known for making her interviewees to cry. She says he has a mental problem. I am sure she is the expert. AmericaBlog links to the video:
"This guy, I'm sorry, he's gonna be Speaker of the House, and he's not gonna invite me to his Christmas party, but this guy has an emotional problem that every time he talks about anything that's not 'raise taxes' he cries. If this were a woman, if you saw Nancy Pelosi, who's been vilified, and I'm not taking sides, if you saw her getting up and crying... I hope he's a good Speaker of the House, but he's got a problem."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lower cancer rate in Erin Brokovich town

The 600 residents of Hinkley, California won $333 million in a settlement from Pacific Gas and Electric through the heroic efforts of legal aid Erin Brokovich, made famous in the movie named for her. PG&E paid because it polluted the water supply with chromium, which increases the risk of cancer. But Hinkley residents do not have higher rates of cancer. In a study over the period 1996 to 2008 their rate is 196 cases, which is lower than expected for the demographics and geography of Hinkley. Will they return the $333 million? Washington Post

Our ship again

The ship we didn't go to Antarctica on because it had an accident and got damaged was in the news again this week. Clelia II on its way north to Ushuaia, Argentina from the Shetland Islands off Antarctica, was smashed by a 35-foot wave and damaged.

Last January we had to scramble to change our travel plans because Clelia II hit a rock while sending passengers ashore in zodiacs. Travel Dynamics International thought it would be out of service for less than three weeks, but OK for us, so they didn't tell us at first. But the repairs took much longer and they had to move us to the other ship - Corinthian II.

Clelia II is a smaller ship than Corinthian II and its bridge is on the third deck, rather than the forth. A wave smashed a window on the bridge and wetted the electronics, resulting in loss of communications on Tuesday. One crew member was injured, but no passengers. The first reports said that an engine was lost, but that was not the case.

From the reports I can find it appears that communications were restored and Clelia II returned to Ushuaia in good time.


See the video. Our ship was in seas as rough - swells up to 10 meters - but no one wave hit with the impact that would smash through a window. I was on the bridge on our return trip when the officer at the wheel told me a wave that put water across the bridge windows (on the fourth deck) was 10 meters.

Photo: Seattle Times. Click to enlarge. Clelia II is 88 meters in length, which is 290 feet.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Islamic humor

Truth is stranger than fiction. In Pakistan a medical doctor was arrested for throwing away the business card of a salesman. Salesman calls on doctor; leaves business card. Doctor throws away business card. Salesman complains to the police. Doctor is arrested on the charge of defaming the prophet of Islam, Mohammed. Huh? The salesman's first name is Mohammed. So he claims that ignoring him is insulting the prophet, because he is named after Mohammed. And the police make an arrest. This took place in the southern city of Hyderabad and Dr. Naushad Valiyani is the victim of the Islamic police. Strange. Take these people seriously. Well, try to. Seattle P-I Well, that link leads to another story. Did they change it? Here is a good source: Asian Correspondent

Monday, December 06, 2010

Birds and beaches

We get to stay in Cabo San Lucas for another week. Last week we suffered through a time-share sales presentation to get some cash. We earned our pay. The salesman for Grand Mayan resort seemed to be insulted that we did not buy and he made sure he insulted us. We told a person in the resort business about this. She said the saying is that at that resort "You buy or you cry." We did some rock climbing and got to Lovers Beach which everyone has to travel by boat to get to. With my limited mobility due to hip socket injury in past trips I didn't verify the rumor that you can climb the rocks from the Pacific beach that our resort Playa Grande is on to famous Lovers Beach and its companion, Divorce Beach. It was rock scrambling, but less than 100 vertical feet. Our room looks over the harbor (at The Ridge) and I enjoy watching pelicans by the dozens all day. There is a group of at least a dozen frigate birds - large and black with deep forked tail and white breast for most, white head for some and red breast for a few. Once or twice a day, I hear the strange chirp of ospreys high overhead. There are a few seagulls, but they are shy compared to the pelicans. That is hard for a Puget Sounder to believe - a bird bolder than seagulls. When fish are being cleaned they walk among the people working and waiting - bold! And I saw a hawk who is not an osprey today - Wednesday. A few sea lions hang around the harbor entrance and sometimes off our Pacific beach. Today, Monday, is my lovely wife's birthday. Happy Birthday! Wednesday - We saw a bunch of beach walkers gathered around something, half an hour after sunrise today. A sea turtle was heading for the water. Not fast, but she kept at it.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Electric car? Powered by coal and gasoline

The call their electric cars, like the $41,000 Volt from Government Motors, zero emissions. Where does the electricity come from? American Thinker
Rush Limbaugh has coined some of the best words for saving our PC-corrupted public language, but I think this gem should be remembered: Rush says that electric cars are "coal-fired." Which is exactly correct, and it's funny, too. Millions of bubble brains in the media think the GM Volt is supposed to be the answer to our energy needs. It is of course a fraud, as GM actually admitted after it hyped the new Volt. It's not a "hybrid electric," as GM lied to the hearty applause of Obama and the New York Times. Rather it's a gas-powered car for 340 miles per tank, and you can run it for 40 miles on batteries that will have to be replaced when they stop taking a charge, as batteries do. That's why your laptop battery has to be replaced after a while. And it will cost you $ 41,000.00 to snoot out the other Green suckers.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Obamacare hypocrites

Hypocrites: Teachers union pushes Obamacare on all of us. Then asks for - and gets - a waiver. It would be a burden for NY United Federation of Teachers to be under Obamacare, so they got a waiver. Oh, you didn't? Sucker! NY Post
The United Federation of Teachers -- one of President Obama's key political backers -- is the biggest beneficiary of a White House sweetheart deal that will exempt certain outfits from complying with new health-care rules, officials revealed yesterday. The quietly approved federal waivers for 30 companies, health insurers, unions and other groups across the country means the UFT doesn't have to gradually phase out caps on annual health coverage like everyone else. The UFT was concerned that could have been a major financial hit on the union.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Why do we endure TSA? Update

I flew Saturday and endured the grope. It wasn't as bad as I feared in the most private parts, but overall it was invasive. HOw many people saw me being treated like a suspect and have every inch, but one or two, of my body touched? Dozens. That sort of search should only be conducted with just cause. Flying to Mexico from the US without other indicators is not just cause. But why does our government which rules by the consent of the people add invasive procedure to ones of limited sense (take off your flip flop)? First, they at the airport they are not looking for terrorists who would blow up an airplane. They are looking for things - liquids, shoe bombs, underwear bomb. Why? Because they/we won't face up to what the threat is. We need to identify what people, what groups, would want to blow up an airplane? Then figure out the profile of one of their attackers. Mulitiple groups and multiple profiles per group. Then look for them. You can even stop them from getting to the airport. Break up their rings, etc. Charles Murray of American Enterprise Institute agrees. American.com blog
Long before the new TSA policies were announced, it has been evident that Americans who fly are required to endure harassment because the U.S. government hasn’t the honesty to deal with threats to airplane terrorism sensibly. In conversations, I’ve suggested a thought experiment: Give people a choice between two airlines. One airline is secured by the current system. The other airline has its passengers walk down a corridor, at the end of which sit a couple of retired New York homicide dicks who occasionally point to someone and say, “You—I want to talk to you,” and pull him out of the line. Everyone else walks onto the plane. Which airline would you choose? Now make it a little more realistic. It’s not a couple of retired homicide dicks eyeing the people walking down the corridor, but many experienced law enforcement agents with special training on terrorist profiling, backed up by the unimaginably extensive real-time, anti-terrorism databases that U.S. intelligence maintains, linked with passenger lists and the same requirements for passenger identification that exist now. That’s good enough for me. I bet a large majority of passengers would agree with me, especially if the extent of the intelligence available to screeners were known.
SeaTac airport can kick out the TSA and contract directly for airline passenger security. Sound Politics Added 11/30: Demo in Congress shocks. Congressional audience had to look away when TSA groped two staffers. Politico I am in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in an internet cafe on the harbor promenade.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Snow to Cabo

We have four dark, wet months. Got to get away, even if only for a couple of weeks. Tomorrow we are off to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico, again for the third winter.

It's a beautiful place. But complex, being in Mexico. So you either spend a lot of money or figure things out on your own. I have been studying Spanish for a year now, so I have lots of words, verbs, and phrases swirling around my head. Some combination of them might come out in a coherent fashion. Last year our Spanish was so minimal it was almost funny.

The blue photo [has been removed] is the arch at the end of Baja California, which is less than a mile from our resort. Orange photo is Playa Grande, our resort, with its warm colors highlighted by the sunrise on the beach which is on the Pacific Ocean. Being on the Pacific side between the rocks is beautiful. But the water of the Pacific Ocean is not safe for swimming. The Sea of Cortez is safe. But from Playa Grande, even though the harbor is within a few blocks, the nearest swimming beach is a 4-mile drive or $5 boat ride across the harbor. This year I am going to explore the rumor that Lovers Beach, near the arch, can be reached by some elementary rock climbing.

Click photo to enlarge.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mac OSX is now unstable

Max OSX has been stable as a rock for ten years. But the latest version, 10.6.5, has frozen up on me three times in the last three days - twice in the past 34 minutes.

Apple built OSX on a very stable version of Unix. But it looks like they let the kids play with it this year and they broke it

Unstable OSX.   I will hesitate to do the updates Apple insists are required right now!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Global warming? Cool It!

Bjorn Lomborg is not skeptical about global warming, but he has some questions. Does the value of doing drastic things exceed the costs? For example (choose one) to make drastic reductions in CO2 emission, to get everyone out of their cars and on public transit, reduce the standard of living of everyone in the US, or .... What is the gain versus cost? That's the arena Lomborg is playing in, not arguments and data about global warming. Is it worth it? Watch his movie: Cool It! in theaters now. It is showing in Seattle at the AMC Theater downtown.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Obama's minions and top congressmen skip naked scanners and the grope

Obama's minions and top congressmen can walk past the naked scanners and the grope. Yes, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. [George Orwell's Animal Farm] Sec Def Gates, tax evader Timothy Geithner and Janet Napolitano have a very good reason for not wasting their time on security measures of marginal or less value. But the reason they have for you and me to be humiliated every time we fly makes no sense. Janet Napolitano's people missed 6 (six) warning flags on the Christmas Day, 2009, bomber. They didn't need their naked scanner to keep him off that flight. They had the data, but didn't do what they were supposed to do. Follow your own procedures, Janet! No. Instead she victimizes you and me. But she exempts herself, of course. AP News at Yahoo
Cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-approved federal security details. Aviation security officials would not name those who can skip the controversial screening, but other officials said those VIPs range from top officials like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and FBI Director Robert Mueller to congressional leaders like incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who avoided security before a recent flight from Washington's Reagan National Airport. The heightened new security procedures by the TransportationSecurity Administration, which involve either a scan by a full-body detector or an intimate personal pat-down, have spurred passenger outrage in the lead-up to the Thanksgiving holiday airport crush. But while passengers have no choice but to submit to either the detector or what some complain is an intrusive pat-down, some senior government officials can opt out if they fly accompanied by government security guards approved by the TSA.

Three-to-seven-hour commute. WSDOT not concerned

You might have been concerned about taking forever to traverse Seattle in the snow. But it was no big deal to your state transportation officials. We took almost five hours to get from downtown Tacoma to Lake Forest Park, north of Seattle. But we lost much of it on the Alaska Way Viaduct; its tunnel was closed which slowed traffic so the climb from the surface to elevated got all frozen; that stranded about ten vehicles on the incline, making it treacherous to every car that passed - single file. No big deal - First, State DOT Director Linda Hammond says she caused much of the mess by not reversing the Seattle I-5 express lanes to northbound, as is done every day. Why? Because it would take a crew 60 to 90 minutes to de-ice on ramps, etc. And furthermore, they would just have to reverse them at night for the morning commute. Why bother? That's their reasoning to hugely cut the highway capacity out of Seattle. Why bother??? Because it cost thousands of people hours of their time. Duh. Seattle Times quotes their official position:
... Kris Olsen, a spokeswoman with the DOT, said Monday afternoon that officials weren't too concerned about affecting the evening commute because it seems many people are out of town for the holidays.
Read the comments there to learn of 3.5 hours commutes within the city limits, seven hours to Lynnwood and more.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Al Gore only forced ethanol for his personal gain

A rare speck of honesty from Albert Gore, Jr., who grew up in Washington, D.C. He admits that forcing ethanol on you and me was a mistake. But he did it for a reason - his personal gain. !! Believe it; he said it himself. Reuters
Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was "not a good policy", weeks before tax credits are up for renewal. [That's now.] U.S. blending tax breaks for ethanol make it profitable for refiners to use the fuel even when it is more expensive than gasoline. The credits are up for renewal on Dec. 31. Total U.S. ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year according to the International Energy Industry, which said biofuels worldwide received more subsidies than any other form of renewable energy. "It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol," said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank. "First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small. "It's hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going." He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions. "One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Napolitano considers excluding Muslim women from TSA feelers - correction

Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano is very sensitive to people's sensitivities. While you are being looked at naked and/or groped by TSA agents, Napolitano is going to allow considering allowing Muslim women to grope themselves. [corrected] If that doesn't make sense then ask Janet Incompetano, she can explain any hare-brained policy. Greeley Gazette [Correction: Islamist organizations have requested this policy change and Napolitano is considering, but not yet announcing if there will be a change.]

Friday, November 19, 2010

Attorney for Colton Harris-Moore threatens Island County government

How to get rougher treatment for your defendant? Attorney John Henry Browne threatened two of the many jurisdictions where he has charges pending. He will bankrupt them, he brags. Real smart.

Seattle Times

[Some cities and counties are waiting to see the outcome of federal charges]

... Others — in particular Island and San Juan counties — have balked at a consolidated resolution to the case, he said.
Browne said that if Island and San Juan counties insisted on going to trial, "they will go bankrupt" because of the trial costs.

"In Island County, they have budgeted $1,500 for the year for jury fees — for the year," Browne said. "I'll bankrupt them, that's fine with me."

Reached by phone, Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said, "He will bankrupt us? This guy is amazing. I think that's a preposterous statement."

Banks said the county prosecutes 300 to 350 felony cases a year, along with about 1,800 misdemeanor cases. He said it could handle the Harris-Moore case.

Browne said Harris-Moore would not take any of the money if his story was sold in a book or movie deal.
The young man who stole several airplanes and boats, stole firearms and transported them across international frontiers is so pure. He doesn't care about little things like money. Believe that!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We can kick TSA out of SeaTac - update

Update at the bottom. Janet Napolitano's Transportation Security Agency has assigned its agents to look at an image of you naked or to feel down your body and not miss one square inch. The feel down is for those who decline the naked image plus those who set off an alarm. I have a hip replacement with a huge amount of stainless steel, so every time I fly I get their hands on my body. People are reacting. John Tyner in San Diego. Odessa, Texas. Why did Napolitano do this on Obama's behalf? Because last Christmas her TSA people ignored six indications that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a threat. (He was flying to Detroit in winter without a coat; on a one-way ticket; his father contacted the US to warn that he had become a jihadist; and three more) But, even if they ignored those six indicators, this intrusive pat down would have caught him with explosives in his underwear. Therefore, you have to be insulted every time you fly. But local airports can kick out Janet Napolitano's feelers. They can provide their own security. Screening Partnership Program (SPP) at TSA's web site
The Screening Partnership Program, also known as SPP or Opt-Out, is a unique approach to providing security screening services for air passengers and baggage. Under the program, an airport operator may apply to have security screening conducted by personnel from a qualified private contractor working under Federal oversight. The program was designed to meet the requirement of the "opt-out" provision established by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, or ATSA. Airport operators have been able to apply to SPP to use private screeners since November 2004. Private contractor screeners are currently in place at nine airports across the country, combining private-sector operational expertise with TSA's technology, experience and resources. When a contract is awarded to an SPP airport, TSA works with the airport management and a qualified screening company to make a cost-effective and seamless transition from using TSA Transportation Security Officers to using private security screeners. Once the transition is complete, TSA's Federal Security Directors ensure all security standards are met and maintained
So the Port of Seattle that owns and operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport can send Janet Napolitano and her feelers away, far away, and hire their own people or hire a contractor to provide security. Will they have to do the same thing? If Janet Napolitano has her way. I fear it's one of "... ensure all security standards are met," but I don't know. But having them work for our elected Seattle Port commissioners would make them more accountable. Update: Congressman Ron Paul introduced legislation to remind TSA that Americans have rights. HR 6416, the American Traveler Dignity Act at Economic Policy Journal. It reminds TSA that they are subject to the law also. 2d Update: Thomas Lifson at American Thinker says Orlando's second airport, Orlando Sanford, is kicking out Janet Napolitano's feelers and going with private security. IBTraveler

Improper payments increased to $125 billion

That is an improvement President Obama is proud of. What? Yes. Improper payments from government entitlement programs increased to $125 billion and Slow Joe Biden claims it is an improvement. At the White House, paragraph six:
Now, because many of the targeted programs – such as Unemployment Insurance and Medicaid – are paying out more benefits as the economic downturn creates more demand for these benefits, the total number paid out in improper payments increased to $125 billion last fiscal year even though the overall error rate declined. This is an unfortunate result of the recession and of basic math: the more that is paid out, the more paid out in error even if the overall rate declines.
Now they need a tax increase to cover the increased costs. Pay up. More at American Spectator.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Farm implement parade

Don't miss the farm-implement parade in Sunnyside, Washington on December 5. That is, the Christmas parade of lighted farm implements. Unique.

You have time to plan to be in the Yakima Valley on December 5.

Sunnyside, WA

Photo from Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.

Hugh and Dennis back on the air

Two of my four favorite talk-radio hosts disappeared last year with the repurposing of KOL 1300 to business programming. But starting yesterday they are back: Hugh Hewitt - 3 to 6 pm - and Dennis Prager - 9 am to noon - are back on KLFE: KLFE AM 1590 And some other very good hosts: William Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Miller and Mark Levin. All the programming is national hosts, no locals. Third-tier AM stations often don't have good signal coverage. KLFE has online streaming and IPhone and Blackberry apps for listening online! It was very hard to have KVI disappear two weeks ago. A good local host is worth two excellent national ones, despite my complaints about Bryan Suits spending too much time with ABC reporters who were overly safe and uninteresting. The local talker can put the heat on local issues, point out nonsense, like Nickelsville becoming McGinnville this week, and generally help focus the heat on elected officials and the unelected ones.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Remembering George Shangrow

George Shangrow was a leader and key inspiration of/to the Seattle music community for over 40 years. We attended a memorial concert for him, since he died in a traffic accident in July while on his way to speak at a concert in the Methow Valley.

George had a broad knowledge of music, was an excellent performer and accompanist on harpsichord and the inspiration and driving force for the orchestra/chorus he founded:

Orchestra Seattle - Seattle Choral Society

His enthusiasm moved many people. My long-time work friend Fritz Klein has been the concertmaster of Orchestra Seattle for decades, working closely with George. He greatly enjoyed working with George, calling him The Energizer Bunny!

Tonight's concert was in the huge main hall of Benaroya Hall. How could OSSCS afford that? Because it was donated, since George filled it many times. The program was a sampler, because everyone wanted to do everything. With so many short pieces it was disjointed. Fortunately for the second half they focused on just two pieces.

I was astonished to learn that George died at age 59, because a year ago I went to the first concert of OSSCS's 40th season. 40 years! The only was to do that was to start it - at first just the chorus - when he was 18 years old. And he did.

The photo: George Shangrow with his concertmaster and my friend Fritz Klein in the background. From Seattle Times. Click to enlarge.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sajak appologizes for Olberman's crass act

Pat Sajak appologized for getting Keith Olberman his start on national TV. LA Times Pat Sajak is finally taking full blame for giving Keith Olbermann his start on national television. Historians note that civil discourse has never been the same in American politics. Sajak clearly feels guilty about launching the liberal lamenter into the nation's thought process like a virus. On his blog, the good-natured Chicago native and host of "Wheel of Fortune" says he liked the mustachioed Olbermann of the late 1980s, then one of those local hey-there sports guys in LA. Sajak found him entertaining and had Olbermann on his short-lived national talk show several times. Then, the noted TV barker notes, Olbermann moved on but "tended to wear out his welcome at stations and networks." He landed in several places before squatting over at MSNBC, where he found success ranting against the man who was the nation's president during 9/11. As everyone knows, however, that success has faded in more recent years, with Olbermann getting his keith kicked nightly by the ratings masters over at Fox News Channel. As one result, Olbermann has raised his hyperbolic volume. ... Sajak expresses puzzlement over Olbermann's transition to ranter. "I’m not sure how he morphed into the bitter-sounding, hate-mongering name-caller he’s become," Sajak writes, "but I’m sorry he did. I liked the guy, and he was always a good guest. Maybe it’s just show business and trying to find a place in it and building an audience."

Bill Gates wants government to fix capitalism

The most successful capitalist says capitalism failed. Bill Gates, are you still drinking your father's cool aid? You didn't succeed in getting the huge tax increase you wanted for other people; wouldn't hurt you but a speck. CNS News The CEO and Chairman of Microsoft Bill Gates said that capitalism’s “systemic" problems are not doing enough for research and “the needs of the poorest.”  “In general, the world underfunds research because the person who takes the risk of doing the research doesn’t capture the full benefit of having done it; and so you know, capitalism does amazing things but it has one systemic problem in terms of research -- that it won’t do enough,” Gates said at the mHealth summit in Washington on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Northwest Maritime Heritage

A resource site for Washington' maritime heritage sites and resources. But I just discovered that it is stagnant, so stagnant that they are going to shut it down. It is the [temporary] master link site to help us find the little ones, as well as the big ones - museums, ships, some historical sites/markers, lighthouses and "others." Temporary NW Maritime Heritage For the future: Fyddeye Washington State Dept of Archaeology, etc. Lake Union Park I will investigate these later. This is a placemarker for now.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Urban seals and deer

In the past 24 hours I have seen two baby harbor seals hauled out of Elliot Bay in West Seattle and a young buck deer on our own street in Lake Forest Park.

Mother harbor seals leave their babies on the beach, or on the rocks as as the second one I saw yesterday, while they goes fishing. It's not that rare to see a baby out of the water here. Of course people who know nothing about seals decide the little guy needs to be rescued and do stupid things to "help." But the wildlife lovers have gotten pretty organized in the past few years and get to the scene to put up signs and even yellow police tape to help people know it's hands off.

The deer is a first. There are wilder parts of LFP, but this is not one of them. My wife has lived most of her life within 3 blocks of where we are, but has never seen a deer here.

He was last seen traveling north on 39th Place NE, north of NE 165 St., which is just west of Bothell Way/Highway 522 and south of the LFP mall.

Click to enlarge.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

IMAX movie Legends of Flight

Legends of Flight 3D is an IMAX movie about developments in flight featuring the Boeing 787. It goes back on development to the albatross. gliders and biplanes. Spends some time on the Airbus A380. Then contrasts Boeing's development of the 787 (not the Sonic Cruiser).

It centers its 787 coverage on Chief Test Pilot Mike Carriker from concepts to flight. Its coverage of flight testing was simplistic - just the pilots driving the plane. But a flight test (except the first few flights of a new airplane type) has a couple dozen engineers and technicians onboard and all sorts of sensors and data gathering equipment set up for each flight plus lots of data crunching both during and after the flight.

The 3D is a lot of fun. A couple of times I thought I could feel the wind off the wing tip of a bird. Gimicky, yes. But it also adds a lot.

It's showing in the Boeing IMAX theater - at 60 by 80 feet, the larger of the two - at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

Friday, November 05, 2010

$200 million PER DAY so Obama can celebrate - correction

Correction: The White House says the report by the India press is incorrect: the trip is not costing so much. Question, White House: How much will this 10-day trip cost? They won't say. But I have no correction on the trip's purpose: I quoted his own PR people. Yes. That's $200 million per day for 4 days. NDTV
Barack Obama, who became the first US president to personally celebrate Diwali in the historic East Room in 2009, wanted to "specifically" celebrate the festival of lights with Indians, the White House has said. "He (Obama) specifically wanted to have an opportunity to celebrate Diwali and to do so with the Indian people, getting beyond simply his official business,"
Isn't that nice? They want to party. At our expense.

Fed printing money will hurt international monetary system

Interest rates are 0.25% - pretty close to zero. So the Fed has announced it is printing $600 billion over the next eight months in order to LOWER long-term interest rates. OK, long-term is not the same as short-term. But does this make sense. One of China's leaders says this might help the US, but will hurt everyone else, except China. Daily Caller
... The Fed announced this week that it would sink $600 billion into government bonds over the next eight months to lower long-term interest rates in an effort to revive economic growth “If the domestic policy is optimal policy for the United States alone, but at the same time it is not an optimal policy for he world, it may bring a lot of negative impact to the world. There is a spill over,” Zhou said. “We have to solve this problem by reforming the international currency system,” Zhou said, who gave no details on policy reforms. Some governments have expressed concern that lower U.S. interest rates will result in more money flooding into their markets seeking higher returns, pushing up exchange rates and hurting exports by making their goods more expensive.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

$200 million PER DAY so Obama can celebrate

Yes. That's $200 million per day for 4 days. NDTV
Barack Obama, who became the first US president to personally celebrate Diwali in the historic East Room in 2009, wanted to "specifically" celebrate the festival of lights with Indians, the White House has said. "He (Obama) specifically wanted to have an opportunity to celebrate Diwali and to do so with the Indian people, getting beyond simply his official business,"
Isn't that nice? They want to party. At our expense.

Brit says US reversing decline

Nile Garner says the US in our election yesterday rejected decline due to over spending and defeatist foreign policy. Telegraph UK
Tonight’s emphatic conservative House victory in the US midterms is a powerful rejection of President Obama’s handling of the economy and his Big Government agenda, including his controversial healthcare reform plans. The conservative revolution has been largely spurred by disenchantment with the federal government, and a strong belief in limited government, lower taxation, and reduced public spending, as well as a desire to return to America’s Founding principles. It is also a powerful rejection of American decline, currently being fueled by massive debts at home, weakened defences and a defeatist foreign policy. The federal debt has jumped from 40 percent of GDP in 2008 to 62 percent by the end of this year, the highest percentage since World War Two.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Grizzly chasing buffalo - Yellowstone NP

Incredible photos of a grizzly bear chasing a buffalo/bison. The buffalo went into the woods and avoided the bear. BTW, the buffalo looks a bit strange because he is burned from falling into one of Yellowstone's thermal pools.

Great Falls, MT, TV

Monday, November 01, 2010

Voters saw what Obama's senior economists missed

We yokels understood that government getting much larger and taking much more of the economic pie is a problem. No big deal to Larry Summers and Christina Romer. They made a mess larger. Michael Barone Obama's Economists Missed What Voters Plainly Saw
Heading into what appears to be a disastrous midterm election, the Obama Democrats profess to be puzzled. The president's record, they insist, is moderate, accommodating -- if anything, overcautious. So why do most American voters seem to be angrily rejecting it? That's one way of looking at it. Another way is to say that the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress have increased government's share of gross domestic product from 21 percent, where it's hovered for the last several decades, to about 25 percent and have put the national debt on a trajectory to increase from 40 to 90 percent of GDP. Voters have noticed -- and don't like it. But, say the Obama Democrats, shouldn't ordinary people -- in particular, shouldn't the blue-collar working class -- be grateful to a government that tries to "spread the wealth" (Obama's words to Joe the Plumber) in difficult economic times? They used to be, the argument would go. In post-World War II America, voters regularly moved toward the Democrats in recession years. There's a difference, however, that has escaped Obama Democrats but perhaps not ordinary voters. In recessions caused by oscillations in the business cycle from the 1940s to 1970s, voters were confident that the private-sector economy could support the burden of countercyclical spending on things like unemployment insurance and public works projects. That spending would stimulate consumer demand, the thinking went, and once inventories were drawn down, manufacturers would call workers back to the assembly line. The recession would be over. But it's been a long time since we've had a major business cycle recession. The recession from which we've technically emerged, but which seems to most voters to be lingering on, is something different, the result of a financial crisis. And financial crisis recessions tend to be a lot deeper and more prolonged than business cycle recessions, as economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff argue in their 2009 book, "This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly." "The aftermath of systemic banking crises," they write, "involves a protracted and pronounced contraction in economic activity and puts significant strains on government resources." ...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Annual corgi costume walk

A group of Seattle corgi owners dressed their dogs in costumes for a walk around Green Lake this morning.

Our corgi Zeus missed this. We didn't know about it, but we don't walk around parks on Sunday mornings anyway.

The Seattle Times has eight photos.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Democrat melt down

The Democrat Party is melting down. We haven't seen it because, funny, the lame-stream media don't see the story. They refuse to look, so they don't see it. Open letter to Rush from Kevin DuJan at Hillbuzz.com
... a Civil War in the Democrat ranks has been raging since May 31st, 2008…a date every Hillary Clinton supporter knows well, because that was the date of the Democrat Rules & Bylaws Committee Meeting where Howard Dean (then-DNC Chair), Donna Brazile, and scores of other Kool-Aid slurping Obama flunkies took off their masks and revealed the full extent of the Leftist coup that had taken over the party. This was the day when the DNC took delegates Hillary Clinton won in Michigan away from her and handed them to Obama (despite the fact he wasn’t even on the primary ballot in that state, because he removed his name when his campaign realized he’d come in third in that race).
I was astonished at the tricks the Obamniacs played on Hillary. I remember Hillary delegates to neighborhood caucuses arriving at the meeting place early, being told they were in the wrong place, wandering around, then coming back, then being told they arrived too late and forced out. By force. He links to We Will Not Be Silenced video and text with examples and testimonials. Continuing...
... This is also when most of us stopped using the term “Democratic Party”, since there’s nothing “democratic” about these people. They are the “Democrat Party”, and even that is hard to acknowledge because they really and truly have proved themselves to be enemies of real democracy.
During the campaign, Donna Brazile famously said that the Democrat Party no longer needed the people Obama once described as “bitter, religion-and-guns-clinging, Midwesterners”. Brazile took this further and said, outright, that the Democrat party did not need blue-collar white voters, the Jacksonian voters, the Hillary voters, because the party was “Obamafied” and would win elections for generations with the Obama coalition of blacks, Leftist elites, Hispanics, low information gay voters, and self-hating Jews.
Called racists... Vote fraud...
Here in Chicago, just about everyone who was part of Team Hillary efforts with me on the ground has completely divorced themselves from the Democrat Party. Being called a racist repeatedly and hearing from Donna Brazile that we are not needed will do that to a person. But in a bigger sense, Democrats, by being so shameless and aggressive with the voter fraud in 2008 have opened too many eyes for us to ever go back to pretending that fraud and corrupt practices aren’t the hallmark of the Democrat Party.
I know for a fact that people I worked with on the Hillary 2008 campaign have been actively working against every single Democrat who supported Obama’s nomination.
And he asks Rush Limbaugh for help!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Future of Flight Museum

Future of Flight Museum (FFM) is a small aviation museum at Paine Field, Everett, Washington. It has a small collection, indeed, two other aviation museums at Paine Field have more flying planes than FFM has non-flying airplanes.

But FFM has two big pluses and a small one.

First, the Big View. FFM is across Paine Field from the Boeing flight line. It has a clear view of most aircraft from the time they come out of the big doors of the largest building in the world, while they get final preparations for flight testing, and every take off and landing, until the final take off to fly away to the customer. Believe me. If you are a "trust and verify" kind of person then take a look at KPAE Paine Field blog. Matt Cawby posts photos of aircraft at Paine Field almost every day. He takes his photos from the FFM parking lot. (I was hoping to meet him, but he wasn't on the geek tour.) And FFM has a third-story balcony overlooking the runway and flight line.

Second, The Party. Boeing's plant tour starts at FFM. Indeed, that is why FFM exists, in my opinion. FFM provides the parking, gathering area, theater, store and other necessities for hosting the public, restaurant, etc. So people from around the world come to see the Boeing production line and get to see FFM as a bonus.

Third, the small one. When Boeing wants input from the public they do their interviewing at FFM. So you might get the chance to have a very small input on Boeing's direction. I got a small flashlight that I used for years for one of these public feedback sessions.

Aviation Geek Fest

I am not the kind of aviation fan who is a private pilot, nor one who spends his vacations traveling to airports to take photos, like my New Jersey friend Art. But I greatly enjoy flying. I am the guy who sits by the window and won't close the shade for the movie. I can see a movie anywhere, any time, but flying is a treat. I have always been proud of Boeing's aircraft and paid attention to what is going on in their marketplace (sales of the aircraft), their production and operation by the airlines. Being retired from Boeing I can no longer just drive to one of the production sites - Renton and Everett - then park and walk inside right beneath airplanes being built, like I could for 39 years, 10 months. So I jumped at the opportunity to spend an afternoon with other "Aviation Geeks" touring the Boeing Everett plant. Saturday, October 23, was the one-year anniversary of my last day working at Boeing and it was the date of the Aviation Geek Fest at Future of Flight Museum (FFM), a small aviation museum at Paine Field, Everett, Washington. It has a small collection - two other aviation museums at Paine Field have more flying planes than FFM has non-flying airplanes. More on FFM in a later post. The Geek Fest: First of all, it was a social time for people who love commercial aircraft. People traveled from Arizona, Denver, Colorado, Toronto, Canada and closer places including Eastern Washington. Almost everyone attending uses Twitter, so people introduced themselves by their Twitter handles. Boeing's official historian came from Chicago to give us the 45-minute version of Boeing's history from 1970 to today, by decade. He managed to not even mention the name of ex-CEO Phil Condit. It's pretty fast to go through 40 years of such a large company and McDonnell-Douglas and the part of Rockwell that Boeing bought. There was time for shopping in the FFM/Boeing store and/or the third-story balcony overlooking the runway and flight line. Then off to the factory. Fitting for "Ever Wet, Washington" it was drizzling, not rain, just a drizzle, as we boarded the bus. We drove through the flight line, but not pausing on our way to the factory. At the largest building in the world we entered through a regular-size door, picked up safety glasses then had a short safety orientation. Then to the production line. We got to see all of them: 747, 767, 777 and 787. The last 747-400 went through about five months ago. About ten 747-8's - the cargo model - have been built. We saw the first 747-I - passenger model - in parts, getting ready for wing/body join. It's quite a view to walk under the wing tip of the (new) longer wing of the 747-8. Photo We walked past one 787, but it was already built. It had finished the production process, gone outside, then came back in for some sort of rework. Our grand finale was the 787 production line. But, of course, access was restricted. So we went up a freight elevator for the view from a mezzanine - like the ordinary public tour. As well as the 777 and 767 (about 50 orders) production lines we saw the static-test 787. It is all strung and wired and inside a huge scaffold structure. Ugly, but interesting. It was been loaded to 50% above its maximum load without failure. Leaving the factory building we turned in our stylish safety glasses (some were) then the bus slowly drove past every airplane on the flight line - two of the monstrous Dreamlifters, several 747-8s, one or two 767s and several 777s, including 3 EVA Air 777s that are waiting for interiors! Then back to FFM for more time in its gallery and store. The museum has a small model helicopter that is powered by a laser. Think of Sunshine that's ten time more intense; it has a solar cell that powers its electric motore. And pizza, Coke and Red Hook. This second Aviation Geek Fest was put on and sponsored by FFM. But I wouldn't have known about it without David Parker Brown's AirlineReporter.com blog, which is also at the Seattle P-I (former newspaper). Photos: If you don't believe I was there see this photo. The white hair is me. And a group photo under the GE-90 engine of a 777. I am third from the left. Yes, the group is small. Attendance was limited to one bus load. Boeing did not allow cameras or phones in the factory. But the Boeing senior manager took these photos and shared them with us. But even he couldn't take photos of the 787 production line, of course.

Republicans must sit in back

Obama will allow Republicans on the bus. But we must sit in back. Picture that MediaIte:
Has President Obama’s tone become increasingly partisan? Megyn Kelly seems to think that it has, though one wonders what tone should he take during a political campaign of his own party. But it was one recent comment made by the President during a recent stop in Woonsocket, Rhode Island that, according to the America Live host, “is raising a lot of eyebrows.” Mr. Obama said about the GOP joining Democratic efforts for reform “they can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.” One can only imagine the imagery conjured up by this comment by all parties involved.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Landing at Honolulu with a great view

I love flying to Honolulu and getting the full view of Diamond Head and Waikiki on the approach. This guy captured it all on a direct approach the offshore Reef runway on an AAL 767-300 flight. He has a steady hand and a good Sun angle. First you see Diamond Head close with the east end of Oahu in the background - Hawaii Kai and Coko Crater. Then Waikiki; I wish he had zoomed in a bit. Then the main part of downtown, then the industrial area of Sand Island before landing. Notice the Koolau Mountains behind the city. For a hiker like me there is a trail on every ridge (and a few valleys) and most have public access.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Illegal immigrants get out the vote for Democrats

Illegal immigrants are getting out the vote for Democrats. Seattle Times
When Maria Gianni is knocking on voters' doors, she's not bashful about telling people she is in the country illegally. She knows it's a risk to advertise this fact to strangers — but it's one worth taking in what she sees as a crucial election. The 42-year-old is one of dozens of volunteers — many of them illegal immigrants — canvassing neighborhoods in the Seattle area trying to get naturalized citizens to cast a ballot for candidates like Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who is in a neck-and-neck race with Republican Dino Rossi. Pramila Jayapal, head of OneAmerica Votes, says the campaign is about empowering immigrants who may not feel like they can contribute to a campaign because they can't vote. "Immigrants really do matter," Jayapal said. "If we can't vote ourselves, we're gonna knock on doors or get family members to vote." So far, the illegal immigrants going door to door aren't meeting opposition...

Senator Patty's football analogy

She bores the excited students Battle 10 at National Review

Finally the big media see... Black Panthers interfered with voting

Armed Black Panthers blocked white people from voting in Philadelphia in 2008. Obama's Justice Department convicted them of the crime and won. Then Attorney General Eric Holder decided to let them off. Despite winning! Why did Holder refuse victory? Because he says civil rights laws don't apply to whites. What? Our anti-race laws are racist? Wrong. Holder's action took place about seventeen months ago. But the big media never noticed. Until now. Andrew Breitbart gives an overview of the Washington Post article. BigGovernment
The Post has a major revelation, the first on the record confirmation of the attitude inside the Civil Rights Division that whites should not necessarily be protected by the civil rights laws:
“The Voting Rights Act was passed because people like Bull Connor were hitting people like John Lewis, not the other way around,” said one Justice Department official not authorized to speak publicly, referring to the white Alabama police commissioner who cracked down on civil rights protesters such as Lewis, now a Democratic congressman from Georgia.” This is a startling admission. It is part and parcel of a wide hostility to protecting whites who are victims of racial discrimination, as Christopher Coates and Adams alleged all along. That admission is a major mistake for the administration and should be made well known before the upcoming election.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

James Cameron, Hypocrite

He demands we live with less - that impoverished, 3rd-world people stay impoverished. In Malibu, California, his compound has three huge homes. He also has a 100-acre ranch near Santa Barbara. And a Humvee and a helicopter and submarines... But he is green, that is, he says he is green. So you and I have to live with less. Not James Cameron. Watch this 2-minute film clip. Film
James Cameron is still hiding and refusing to debate Global warming. But that doesn't stop him from wanting to tell the rest of what to do. Last March Cameron said he wanted to call the "deniers" out to a high noon debate and he even invited me to a debate in Aspen. Cameron kept putting barriers in the way, but even when I agreed to all his conditions he bailed out at the last minute. He may be scared to debate, but he is not scared to spend money so that others can hear about his opinions. And he is not afraid to spend money to tell the rest of us we have to live with less. Cameron has just given $1m to help defeat California's Prop23 which will overturn the Global Warming Bill. If Cameron succeeds and Prop 23 is defeated energy bills will go up - prices will increase and yet more jobs will flee the state. Cameron has already told us that we are "going to have to live with less" but it seems that living for less is just for us and not for him. Nothing has or will change in James Cameron's lifestyle.

ObamaCare raised the cost of my health insurance

ObamaCare is costing me. I am short on time, but my cost of health care is taking a large jump in 2011, due to ObamaCare requirements. Plus, Mr. Obama, you said it would lower my costs? Lower? My copays and deductibles go up next year. But the big cost is coinsurance which goes up 10% on every dollar. And 10% more in 2012. Seattle Times And Senator Patty claims she wrote the bill (in the last debate).

Stimulus money used in Africa etc.

Stimulate Africa and Nepal. Joe Biden promised he would audit Obama Giant Stimulus projects to make sure every dollar went to help Americans. Travel to Nepal? That might stimulate some student or researcher a bit and Nepal a lot. Joe, you promised. Senator Patty, are you asleep? Detroit News University of Michigan scientist is getting $500,000 for a study on people's impact on the environment — in Nepal. In the Upper Peninsula, a professor will get $145,000 to take students to Africa. Both research projects, as well as scores of others across the country, are under fire by conservatives for being funded by federal stimulus money, funds intended to boost the U.S. economy and create jobs. Critics say the money has been lavishly extended to questionable projects, pointing to hundreds across the nation that they believe don't create jobs or invest in long-term economic growth. The issue has become a cause celebre for Republican and tea party activists heading into the November election. While campaigning for Republicans in California last week, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin called the stimulus package "the biggest boondoggle in U.S. history." "Some of these projects may or may not have merit, but these are not stimulus projects," said U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, one of the most vocal critics of the stimulus package and a candidate for re-election. "We have not seen the job creation that we need to see in our economy: 48 out of 50 states have lost jobs since stimulus was passed." But supporters counter that the stimulus funds have had a major impact. Out of $7.6 billion awarded, Michigan has received $3 billion for projects that have led to 70,000 jobs, according to the Michigan Economic Recovery Office. Much of that funding was aimed at saving jobs, unemployment, protecting health care and modernizing schools. "We know very well that the recover act has helped Michigan," said Vicki Levengood, spokeswoman for the Michigan Economic Recovery Office. Since the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was approved last year, about $13 billion of the funds have been awarded to the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation for scientific research grants. Facing some of the harshest scrutiny has been funding to university researchers, who counter that their work funded by the stimulus is creating jobs now, or in the future. U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has issued three reports since June 2009 on projects he deemed wasteful, along with U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Grants criticized include $221,355 to Indiana University professors to study why young men do not like to wear condoms, $210,000 to the University of Hawaii to study how honeybees learn and $144,541 to Wake Forest University to study how monkeys act under the influence of cocaine. Highlighted projects in Michigan include stimulus funds awarded to universities for international travel for students, including a $145,000 grant for Michigan Technological University engineering students for travel to Tanzania ...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Saudi officer opposes Cordoba mosque

A former military officer who has worked with Americans and in the US says in the Saudi press that he thinks the Cordoba mosque is a big mistake - that unnecissarily upsets a stable situation, because New York's Muslim community lives in peace and prosperity. Abdulateef Al-Mulhim was a Royal Saudi Navy commodore and former Saudi Royal Navy liaison officer at Pensacola Naval Air Station (1991-95). What is really happening in the Arabic-speaking world? It's hard to know since our news media don't speak Arabic. But there is a way: Midle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) works busily in the background to translate the news and important documents into English. M.E.M.R.I.
"[T]he U.S. is the most tolerant country regarding building an Islamic center," he writes, adding, "but why [did] Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf choose Ground Zero [as a location for build Cordoba House]?"   He concludes by saying, "We Muslims have to carefully consider the place where the mosque will be built... The Muslim community in New York is living in peace and prosperity and has a lot of places for worship. Let us not have them encounter unneeded confrontations with the people from the great and beautiful Big Apple City."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Great sequence of Mt. St. Helens

NASA's Earth Observatory web site features interesting views of the Earth from space. They have images from space of Mt. St. Helens since before the 1980 eruption. On the following page they overlay each year from 1979 to 2010. Click on the year number below the image to see how it looked in that year. Unfortunately the earlier images are false colors - what is green shows as red. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldOfChange/sthelens.php Also read the text below the image for their description.

An old friend is departing - 757

Friend? My favorite Boeing airplane for a couple of decades, the 757. British Air (BA), one of the launch customers of the 757, is retiring their last three 757 aircraft. British was a launch customer, along with Eastern Airline, and introduced theirs in 1983 and bought 54 of them.

Pilots loved the 757. I had a friend who was an airline pilot and he loved the 757. It was overpowered, so in a few situations the pilot could get out of trouble by "hitting the gas."

To commemorate the occasion later this month BA painted one of the three last aircraft, G-CPET, in the original livery (paint job). Though being retired from BA service these aircraft will serve many more years in cargo service or in a 3d-world country that operates old aircraft.

Via Seattle P-I Airline Reporter blog.

Photo from AirlineReporter.com. Click for a larger image.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

This is what Obama's Stimulus was for

To get Democrats reelected... Why put together a package of borrowed money to save the economy in 2009, then not spend it? $787 billion became $862 billion*. Why sit on much of it? So Senator Patty Murray could dole it out right before the election. She had to take time off her campaigning... To make a show of how generous and powerful she is. Seattle Times
With the unfurling of a large banner reading "Thank You South Park," residents of the South Seattle community cheered the news Friday that there is enough money to replace the troubled South Park Bridge. Sen. Patty Murray announced King County is receiving $34 million in TIGER II (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) stimulus money to replace the bridge, which closed last summer. After missing out on two earlier stimulus rounds, King County applied for $36.2 million to complete a funding plan to build a new $131 million bridge. It received almost the entire amount. "You can hear the cheers all the way to Washington, D.C.," ...
The cheering in D.C. is the Democrat establishment hoping to keep their power with tricks like this. Senator Murray said the schedule for announcing these grants was set months ago. To be right when ballots were mailed to voters. She denies the connection, but verifies the; very convenient timing. Sure looks like D.C. politics as usual. As Charles Krauthamer said last week, this is a failure of competence. The economy was faltering, but Harry Reid and Patty Murray didn't help get it moving. They had huge resources available, but they used them to reward their supporters and help their reelections rather than to help the US economy. Incompetent. I used to cross the South Park Bridge going to and from work. I am glad to that it will be rebuilt. But I am glad for Seattle jobs and the life of that neighborhood, not Patty's "generosity." * Afterward they tell us that $787 billion was an estimate, not the limit. Obama added $75B later which made it $862 billion.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The education of our experience-free president

Our President is as naive as Albert Gore, Jr. He actually believed there were projects that could start in 60 days? That's what he says now. Do I believe him? His top priority was to fund his buddies and big-money supporters.
He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works
He also talks about how to manipulate the Republicans so it appears there was a bipartisan compromise. But not to really work with them. Just to manipulate them. And he learned that it's not enough to be supremely sure you are right. Wow. He is learning fast. Most of us learned that in grade school. Oh, by the way, top priority for Peter Baker of NYT was the new carpet and furniture in the Oval Office. That's how he leads his story based on his exclusive interview. NY Times
... He let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.” He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works. Perhaps he should not have proposed tax breaks as part of his stimulus and instead “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts” so it could be seen as a bipartisan compromise. Most of all, he has learned that, for all his anti-Washington rhetoric, he has to play by Washington rules if he wants to win in Washington. It is not enough to be supremely sure that he is right if no one else agrees with him. “Given how much stuff was coming at us,” Obama told me, “we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right. There is probably a perverse pride in my administration — and I take responsibility for this; this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.” That presumes that what he did was the right thing, a matter of considerable debate. ...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Obamacare: Waivers for the chosen companies not the others

Obama has been caught with the gross unfairness of his health-care takeover Obamacare and his lies. He said he would lower costs. Companies find that it is raising their costs. So what does he do? Does he fix the law? If he fixes the law it will apply to everyone, to every company. No. He plays favorites and allows his chosen favorites to opt out, but everyone else gets hurt. Our founders designed "A nation of laws, not men" so it didn't matter who was ruling: everyone got the same treatment by the law. But all Obama knows is power and favoritism. Yahoo News
The White House on Thursday defended granting waivers to some employers from a key provision of the new health care law, saying it was the best way to keep people insured until the law fully takes effect. At issue is a new requirement banning annual caps on benefits, which began phasing in last month. Many employers and insurers that offer low-cost, low-benefit insurance plans known as "mini-med" plans would not have been able to comply with the new requirement without raising monthly premiums to virtually unaffordable levels. So the administration has granted 30 waivers to date exempting companies from the requirement for a year. Waivers went to companies including Jack in the Box, Cigna and the company that insures some McDonald's workers, and another 114 applications for waivers are under review by the Health and Human Services Department. One waiver request has been denied, but HHS declined to identify which company was involved. "The waivers are about ensuring and protecting the coverage that people have until there are better options available to them in 2014," when the health law is fully implemented, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters. "We want to ensure that in the time that it takes to implement the law and to give people better options, that they don't find themselves at the mercy of an insurancecompany jacking up their rates. And that's why those waivers were granted." Another issue is a different provision in the law that will require that a specified percentage of healthplan expenditures — 80 percent to 85 percent — be spent on medical as opposed to administrative costs. That provision doesn't take effect until next year, but it got attention last week when the Wall Street Journal reported that McDonald's had alerted the administration it would not be able to comply. The administration subsequently indicated it would be flexible in applying the regulation. Both complications arise because of the decision by lawmakers and the White House to trigger certain protections in the legislation before the bulk of the law takes effect. After the contentious debate around the health care bill, policymakers didn't want the public to wait until 2014 to see any benefit. Once 2014 rolls around, nearly everyone will be required to carry insurance, and insurance marketplaces called "exchanges" will be established in which individuals will be able to shop for comprehensive insurance plans with government subsidies. Before that transformation takes place, new rules applied to the current system require the government to show flexibility in some cases.
More at Jewish World Review by Arnold Ahlert

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Liberal Senator Feingold is a tea partier

Leftist Senator Feingold, who took away my Constitutional right of speech in political races (McCain-Feingold), explains how much he has in common with the tea partiers. He carries a copy of the Constitution in his pocket!! How things have changed. Last week Tea Party people were extremist nuts. Now he cherishes them. Ann Althouse I guess this follow my observation of "You are a racist bigot, now vote for me."

War on our sleepy Key Peninsula

The Key Peninsula is out of the way - you don't "drive through" a peninsula, because they are all dead ends - and quiet. Little culture - a lavender farm or two, a winery, one sculptor, but no other artists of note, and the down home Longbranch Improvement Club.

But war broke out Thursday night. An armed robbery of a marijuana grow/drug selling operation. One dead, at least two wounded, some thugs on the run, probably armed. We assume those on the run are looking for homes to break into to find keys and steal vehicles or to hide out until things cool off.

Our little cabin is about two miles away, so hopefully the thugs will find what they want without going so far. And they would be inclined to go east, the way they came, rather than west, toward our place. Although help is coming from the east... might avoid going that way.

I sincerely hope none of our neighbors is robbed or burglarized.

Seattle Times

Thursday, October 07, 2010

787 test drags tail on runway

This video shows a 787 test aircraft dragging its tail on runway. This is an important test, among the tests that go beyond normal operations. They test takeoffs where the aircraft is going too fast and too slow, where the aircraft rotation at takeoff is too fast and too slow - which is this one - plus every other thing that can be done wrong by pilot error or different conditions. Boeing's video at Flightblogger at Flight Global magazine. It also shows landing on a wet runway and in high cross winds. I am not an expert on flight testing, but my last six months before retiring I worked in Boeing's flight text organization.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Antarctica in Google Earth Street View

This gives an idea what it is like to be in Antarctica on a beautiful day. About two of our five and a half days were like this, plus one with filtered sunlight.

This is one of the closer views of people. And this might be one of Travel Dynamics two ships - Corinthian II and Clelia II - because the people are wearing the same bright red parkas and navy blue inflatable life jackets. We know its not us because we didn't go to this island - Half Moon Island.

View Larger Map

You can "turn around" by clicking and dragging left or right. When you hover over the photo a yellow line appears with chevron marks on it. Click on a chevron to move along the "street" that Google's camera was following. Before following the yellow line you might want to turn your view so you are looking along it. The current view is to the side.

The photo part shows fuzzy; I don't know why. Click the "View Larger Map" link for a much larger, sharper view.

Street View requires Google Earth plug-in for Google Maps.

Update Bonus: A guy has set up a large window of one of the same views, so it pans (rotates right) automatically. It's worth a view. Keir Clarke Update: The guy who took the photos for Google Street View says he was the ship Minerva the week of January 23, 2010, just one week ahead of us.