Saturday, December 31, 2011

Margaret Thatcher's record as prime minister

The left is rewriting history of Margaret Thatcher's twelve years as Prime Minister of UK. Apparently the new movie about her continues this effort. (I will see it anyway.) Patriot Statesman
The Labour Party in Britain has for the last decade spread falsehoods about the period during which Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, riding the 1990 recession into four terms of parliamentary leadership. Labour tirelessly repeats myths about Thatcher’s impressive accomplishments. And now Hollywood screenwriters, intellectually lazy and most likely ideologically-driven, have assigned themselves the task of institutionalizing these myths via the vehicle of cinema. Oscar-winner Meryl Streep has lent her reputation to this demagogic enterprise.
Let's remember what the Iron Lady did. American Thinker
Her first accomplishment was challenging the then-regnant policy of accommodation with -- really, appeasement of -- the growth of the Soviet Empire. Even before Reagan was running for president, she held that NATO should increase its military strength to oppose Soviet expansion and roll back the USSR's control of Eastern Europe. 
Thatcher also instituted far-reaching free-market economic reforms, starting with facing down and defeating the communistic mine-workers' union. Here she was aided by the British classical economics think-tank known as the Institute of Economic Affairs, which provided her with much intellectual ammunition for her work. 
She brought the top income tax rates down from 98% to 40% during her time in office. She brought the national debt down and privatized key industries. In truth, she ended British socialism. She brought unions under control, with time lost to strikes down by an astounding 94% during her time in office, from 29.5 million working days lost to 1.9 million. 
... her policies increased real employment, decreased inflation, and made the poor and disabled better off. He also explains why her policies were not responsible for the problems experienced by the coal industry and those caused by the Exchange Rate Mechanism.
See the first link above for more.

The photo: from Telegraph UK.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Let's just skip tomorrow

Samoa, the Pacific island nation, has decided to skip December 30 and go straight to the 31st. Huh?

They decided to move one time zone to the west to make it easier to work with their neighbor nations. But that requires moving across the International Date Line. And skipping one day less one hour.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oregon science center blocks global warming discussion

OMSI in Portland cancelled a meeting about global warming. Prominent scientists were involved. But they didn't pass the PC test. They are asking questions. They doubt man-caused GW.

Victoria Taft

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas. Orbusmax has a page of Christmas videos, including some songs, which I call "still videos."

Orbusmax

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Religion of peace - 25 killed in Nigeria church bombings


Tell us again that Islam is a religion of peace. I do blame President Bush for pushing this major pile of nonsense on us. Nigeria again.


ABUJA — Islamist sect Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a wave of Christmas day bombings on Sunday, including an attack on a Catholic church that killed at least 25 people.

Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa claimed the bombings in a statement to the journalists' association of Maiduguri, capital of the group's heartland.

The Christmas Day attacks show the growing national ambition of Boko Haram, which is responsible for at least 491 killings this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. The assaults come a year after a series of Christmas Eve bombings in Jos claimed by the militants left at least 32 dead and 74 wounded.

The first explosion on Sunday struck St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, a town in Niger state close to the capital, Abuja, authorities said. Rescue workers recovered at least 25 bodies from the church

Friday, December 23, 2011

Your senators voted for Keystone XL pipeline

The much-talked-about US Senate version of the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011" includes the provision that the president must approve the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days or else determine that it is not in the national interest. Bill text

Both of our senators voted "yea" which requires making the decision within 60 days. That's a vote for the pipeline. An Obama move would delay the decision until after the next election, then after the next election, then... The vote

I am glad they supported the pipeline. They surely don't think it is not in the national interest. They both support getting the oil our economy needs from safe, friendly sources, like Canada. Not from Middle East dictators and/or through the Straits of Hormuz. Don't they?

Iran leaders say they will block Hormuz. Zawya Report. And Iran is practicing to block the Straits of Hormuz [Fox News] so this pipeline within Canada and the US is in our national interest.

Cantwell has a long record of efforts to make oil more expensive. Then holding the oil companies responsible when it happens. Her efforts: less foreign oil in 2006 - more regulation of oil markets in 2010 The Hill. And annual witch hunts to blame evil oil companies for manipulating the market for oil. In 2005 her hunt found... nothing:
"Absolutely. I just don't have the document to prove it," Cantwell said when asked if oil companies are price gouging. "It takes a lot to get the document to prove it and there's no way the (Federal Trade Commission) is going to produce that anytime soon." Seattle P-I
Some content via Amy Ridenour.

Monday, December 19, 2011

China will buy nuclear power tech. How about the US?

Bill Gates is taking his nuclear power project to China; he was welcomed. The US is fighting it tooth and nail, except for an occasional Obama photo op.

Gates and partner Nathan Myrvold are negotiating to sell their breakthrough traveling wave reactor technology to China's National Nuclear Corporation. TerraPower’s “fourth generation” nuclear technology promises to revolutionize the energy sector within two decades by making it possible to power a nuclear plant with depleted uranium for decades at a time, without the need for refueling or waste removal.

Washington Post
…TerraPower is one of a handful of nuclear power start-ups tagged as the future of the industry. What makes TerraPower so important is not the megawatt star power of Bill Gates — it’s the fact that the company has found a way to combine supercomputing technology with nuclear power technology to create a future vision of cheap, sustainable energy. Traveling wave reactor technology makes it possible - at least theoretically - to power a nuclear plant for decades without the need for re-fueling or waste removal. 
Imagine being able to power entire cities or industries with cheap, plentiful energy. If nuclear technology is still viewed with apprehension within the U.S., it’s much more attractive abroad, especially for governments like China that have massive population growth and the need to power immense new mega-cities. Even Japan, humbled by last year’s nuclear reactor core breakdown at Fukushima, has shown interest in the Bill Gates nuclear technology.

Add $4 million to US debt for another Obama vacation

Nile Gardiner at Telegraph UK

Around $4 million (£2.6 million) – the expected total cost to the US taxpayer of the Obama Christmas family vacation to Hawaii according to the Hawaii Reporter (hat tip: Rob Bluey at The Foundry). This is an astonishing amount of public money to be spending in an age of austerity – when the president is supposed to be leading efforts to cut the US budget deficit, the largest since World War Two, and a towering $15 trillion national debt:
Hawaii Reporter research shows the total cost for the President’s visit for taxpayers far exceeded $1.5 million in 2010 – but is even more costly this year because he extended his vacation by three days and the cost for Air Force One travel has jumped since last assessed in 2000. In addition, Hawaii Reporter was able to obtain more specifics about the executive expenditures. 
The total cost (based on what is known) for the 17-day vacation roundtrip vacation to Hawaii for the President, his family and staff has climbed to more than $4 million.
My photo of Diamond Head. Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

EPA wants to control every culvert of rain flow

We can't make this up. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has gotten desperate in trying to stop industry in the US. Now they claim that rain runoff is a point-source of industrial waste.
If an industrial pollutant covers the ground in an area the rain runoff will be polluted. Agreed. But the source is the industrial plant. Obama's big thinkers propose that every culvert the runoff goes through be considered a point source of the pollution. So? It would allow Obama to require paperwork and hearings for EVERY culvert the flow goes though

Why is Obama doing this? Because it would give him more control - over every culvert. Can you think of another Obama motivation for nonsense like this?

Powerline Blog

We have written repeatedly about the EPA’s war on energy and, more generally, on economic growth. But a case that may soon make its way to the Supreme Court is, critics argue, even more extreme than anything mandated by the Agency. The case is Georgia-Pacific West, Inc. et al. v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, reversing more than 35 years of practice and statutory interpretation, that runoff of rain water from forest roads that passes through one or more pipes or culverts constitutes point source pollution that must be permitted through the EPA’s NPDES program. 640 F.3d 1063. If this ruling is upheld, the EPA will be charged with regulating the runoff of uncontaminated rain water from vast areas of public and private land. It is not clear how many permits would need to be applied for and issued, but the number may be in the millions.

The defendants in the original action have now petitioned for certiorari in the Supreme Court, and the court’s response to that petition is expected tomorrow. SCOTUS Blog lists the case as one of the “Petitions We’re Watching,” and you can read the 9th Circuit’s opinion and the petition for certiorari here. The petition states the issue presented as follows:
Since the passage of the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency has considered runoff of rain from forest roads–whether channeled or not–to fall outside the scope of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) and thus not to require a permit as a point source discharge of pollutants. Under a rule first promulgated in 1976, EPA has consistently defined as nonpoint source activities forest road construction and maintenance from which natural runoff results. And in regulating storm water discharges under 1987 amendments to the Act, EPA again expressly excluded runoff from forest roads. In consequence, forest road runoff long has been regulated as a nonpoint source using best management practices, like those imposed by the State of Oregon on the roads at issue here. EPA’s consistent interpretation of more than 35 years has survived proposed regulatory revision and legal challenge, and repeatedly has been endorsed by the United States in briefs and agency publications.
The 9th Circuit decision conflicts with a ruling by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in Newton County Wildlife Association v. Rogers, 141 F.3d 803. In a decision written by my former partner Jim Loken, the 8th Circuit held that the claim that “culverts and other discrete sources and conveyances” of runoff associated with logging roads constitute point sources of pollution was “without merit.” Twenty-six states have joined with the petitioners in asking the Supreme Court to take the case and overturn the 9th Circuit decision.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Baby sea turtles march to the Pacific Ocean


I am a non-serious wildlife watcher. I pay attention (and own two books on birds), but I just take in wildlife while I am enjoying the walking, hiking, exploring I enjoy doing every day and everywhere I go.

I especially pay attention when I see wildlife I have never seen before, like a couple times per year. We had a unique sighting on Friday. We are at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in the middle of two weeks.

We went to the beach about 15 minutes before sunrise. Gini was ahead of me; in the lights of a dune buggy the resort uses on the beach she told me she was helping save the baby turtles. Huh? Baby sea turtles had hatched during the night and the employees had just discovered them. I joined her and two resort employees in picking them up to place them about 20 feet from the water so the tiny guys - about 4 inches long - could do the last part on their own. The hand-carry trip was to avoid people out for sunrise from stepping on them. Even without mysticism about their environment ruined by humans, it was a moving experience. But then a manager came along and told them to store them for the day to be released at sunset with cameras present. Some people also thought that the little guys have a better chance at avoiding predators if they take their first swim at sunset.

Despite our fears, the PR people didn't ruin it. They just let us gringos each grab one to set on the sand near the water. It was a lot of fun. Of course we all named our own turtle.

The restort has lots of bartenders and bar waiters, but no one who knows about and has time to tell customers about the wildlife. Surprising, since the area is abundant with it. The list of whales seen in the entry to the Gulf of Cortez/California area is every kind in the Pacific. There are employees who keep track of the turtles hatching and do what is possible to get them successfully in the ocean. They are helpful, but know little English. After a bilingual quiz about species of turtles I was told these are "Golfo" turtles.

My photos. Click to enlarge.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A stopped clock is right - Eleanor Clift

This has taken years! Eleanor Clift made a true statement on Sunday:
Q: What irritates the media about Newt Gingrich?
Newsbusters
"I think he is right about a lot of things. And I think that's even more irritating, the fact that he is right."
I haven't followed Clift's empty statements closely. But year after year Newsweek offered me their subscription almost free, but every year I wrote back that as long as they published her I found no value in reading their magazine.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving thanks

We thank God for the blessings He has given us.

¡Que tengan un buen Dia de Gracias!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Century link is Offline

Century Link - our ISP at home - has been down most of the day. I want to do a post on Pres Obama's heroic effort to raise the price of gasoline, but I need Internet to my Mac to do it right.

Oh green lights. Looks good.

Update: Red again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Obama blocks foreign investment & calls us lazy

President Obama told CEOs in Hawaii that we have been lazy in attracting foreign investment. Lazy? Who is he talking about? But he hasn't been lazy about it. He has been downright hostile. He dragged his heels forever on the trade agreements with Korea and Colombia; the Republicans got it through Congress after he added lead to it.

Investors Business Daily cites some examples:
Exhibit 1: In 2010 Japan's Toyota was humiliated over a safety issue. It wasn't enough to let the regulators deal with accusations about Toyota's brake pedals — as Ford and GM had been over comparable problems. The Obama White House had to publicly shame Toyota. 
Accusations, later proven false, that Toyota brakes were faulty became a special hell for Toyota. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who had a conflict of interest as a regulator and shareholder in Toyota's U.S. competitors due to the auto bailout, encouraged Americans to "stop driving" Toyotas. 
Obama's congressional allies hauled Toyota's president, Akio Toyoda, in from Tokyo for a Star Chamber hearing, compelling him to "apologize" before proving any wrongdoing. After a 10-month congressional investigation found Toyota wasn't at fault, none took back the comments or apologized 
Exhibit 2: U.K. oil giant BP was put through a similar wringer after the Gulf oil spill of 2009. Instead of treating BP as a domestic company, Obama proudly announced he had his "boot on the neck" of the British company and, in a move of questionable legality, demanded $20 billion.... 
Exhibit 3: In 2009, Obama signed off on the Democratic Congress' special "Buy American" provisions in the $900 billion stimulus package, shutting out foreign investors for U.S. government contracts. The language was all about "patriotism," but it signaled that the U.S. wasn't welcoming foreigners.
No, Obama hasn't been lazy. He has been very active in opposing foreign companies.

Cartoon from ? Lisa@2011 ?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Michael Moore is in the one per cent


Michael Moore goes around the country telling how humble he is. He is just one of us.

But now we can see photos of his 10,000 sq.ft. lake-front mansion on Torch Lake in Michigan. Google Map But it's only worth $2 or $3 million. How about his residence in Manhattan? And I have heard eye-witness reports of his private jet - not a small one. 

The Daily Mail in the UK reports.

Photo: Daily Mail UK

Obamacare - people are losing their healthcare plans

President Obama promised over and over "if you like the healthcare plan you have, you will be able to keep it." But People are losing their employer-based healthcare plans. Already, by the thousand, in 2010 and 2011.

You promised, Mr. Obama. What happened? Obamacare passed and it is doing what it intended to do? Or is this unintended? In which case they didn't know what they were doing.

Weekly Standard
Now, Gallup reports that from the first quarter of 2010 (when Obama signed Obamacare into law) to the third quarter of this year, 2 percent of American adults lost their employer sponsored health insurance. In other words, about 4.5 million Americans lost their employer-sponsored insurance over a span of just 18 months.
Is it doing what it intended to do. Or is this an unforeseen accident?
This is not what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had predicted would happen. Rather, the CBO had predicted that Obamacare would increase the number of people with employer-sponsored insurance by now. It had predicted that, under Obamacare, 6 million more Americans would have employer-sponsored insurance in 2011 than in 2010 (see table 4, which shows the CBO’s projected increase of 3 million under (pre-Obamacare) current law and an additional 3 million under Obamacare). So the CBO’s rosy projections for Obamacare (and even these paint a frightening picture) are already proving false.
(For analysis of the CBO report's "frightening picture" see Pacific Research Foundation PDF)

Friday, November 11, 2011

We honor those who served our country


We honor those who died and also the many more who risked their lives to protect us - to protect our lives and our liberty.

Veterans Day, the holiday, began as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of The Great War - World War I.


Though the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, November 11 remained in the public imagination as the date that marked the end of the Great War. In November 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. The day's observation included parades and public gatherings, as well as a brief pause in business activities at 11 a.m. On November 11, 1921, an unidentified American soldier killed in the war was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.; the U.S. Congress had declared the day a legal federal holiday in honor of all those who participated in the war. On the same day, unidentified soldiers were laid to rest at Westminster Abbey in London and at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.


Photo: Welcoming soldiers returning from World War II. From History.com

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The sky tonight

I was looking for the Moon tonight. It is full (one day short if it). And there is something very bright next to it. Has to be bright to be seen.

Jupiter!! It is magnitude minus 3. Only Venus is in the ballpark. Enjoy.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Why tax rate cuts sometimes increase revenue - part I

Art Laffer in the late 1970s shook up the world of tax economics and policy with his observations - that decreasing a tax rate can result in more revenue. And, more importantly, that it does so by giving earners incentive to be more active and productive. Which causes growth and many benefits. But... that is cutting the marginal rate of taxing - the amount paid on the next dollar earned. Most tax changes don't do this - child credits, green-energy credits - and do not have the beneficial effect on revenue and growth.

Dan Mitchell at Cato Institute on the Laffer Curve

First Lesson

Part two will cite real-world examples of the Laffer Curve. Coming.

Daniel J Mitchell's own blog is excellent - International Liberty.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Lucky TU-154 aircraft

Bad luck first, then better.



The Russian aircraft overran the runway on landing. The left wing hit brush and small trees. The owner paid $650,000 to get it in the air again. The photos are extensive and tell the story.


Location: Izna, Russia


English Russia - not a site I usually recommend.


Photo: unattributed at English Russia. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Richard Epstein - economic opportunity benefits everyone


Richard Epstein of NYU Law School was allowed on PBS. Oops! The semi-informed public TV watcher heard and saw a clear 7-minute explanation of the benefits of opportunity in our economy. He was asked if income inequality is bad. No, he responded:

He explained how, even though increased opportunity might allow people at the top to gain, it allows everyone to gain. And the statistics prove it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thailand flooding


Our friends in Thailand have a terrible problem with flooding. Rains in the north months ago caused huge runoff that, flowing to the south, started hitting Bangkok a few days ago. Bangkok is low and flat. Runoff can affect the whole city. For better or worse the city has some canals. But the authorities don't know if allowing the runoff into them will help or not. But they are using them.

News -- Hard disk drive prices rising. Huh? Thailand make parts for around half the world's production. Reuters
-- Ancient city of Atthaya flooded (Oct. 23) Earth Observatory

Google has set up a resource center for just this event: Google

Google shows areas of flooding, closed roads and highways... Shelters... Where one can park - hey it's a problem when the your city is low and flooding - "I don't want my car ruined, but the ground is near sea level for miles. Where can I park my car on higher ground? "

Our friends: The House of Glory Church in Bangkok. Pastor Kritiya Sawatkaew. We call her Note. Our church, New Hope International Church in Mercer Island, WA, (also Mountlake Terrace, WA) has about thirteen more "daughter" churches in Thailand (plus some in the US).


Photo: This method of escape is not recommended. From DraftExcellence.com.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Alaska Way Viaduct destruction - time lapse

Five days of demolition in time lapse; they are not yet finished. This doesn't show work at night, though I think they are. Maybe it doesn't show very well. Set to techno music.

Seattle Business Journal & TechnoFlash

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Obama hires Wall Street lobbyist

For his reelection campaign Obama is making plans to again suck megabucks from Wall Street. He hired a big-gun lobbyist who opens the doors in D.C. for Wall Street. Broderick Johnson in recent years has worked for JP Morgan Chase, Fannie Mae and Bank of America.

While he was a registered lobbyist he visited the White House seventeen times since Obama's crowning in 2009. Source: Matthew Boyle at Daily Caller

And big energy. He helped to bring lower oil prices to the US by working the doors for the Keystone XL pipeline. That pipeline will help reduce US dependence on the kingdoms and dictators of the Middle East. Source: Huffington Post
Broderick Johnson, a former Bryan Cave LLP lobbyist registered on the Keystone XL account, reported lobbying President Obama's legislative affairs staff in 2010,
Friends of the Earth have noticed Obama's acceptance of this Wall Street lobbyist. Will the kids at "occupy Wall Street" notice? Will they call Obama on it?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Belated parental advice for "occupy" protesters

Their parents didn't teach important lessons about life to the superannuated children "occupying" Wall Street and Seattle and everywhere. Washing is so obvious. But the kids say that they think everything in life should be free - all the things they want. And that they should be relieved of the commitments they made, such as student debt. You have some learning coming, kids.

Marybeth Hicks has some advice at Washington Times.
• Life isn’t fair. The concept of justice - that everyone should be treated fairly - is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want.” 
No matter how you try to “level the playing field,” some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they’re dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the Hamptons. Is it fair? Stupid question.
Add effort to that list. The "lucky" people are often those who work twice as hard as their peers. And she has four more points.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Harry Reid tells the truth - public unions not jobs

Senator Harry Reid got caught telling the truth Wednesday: He cares about government workers, not jobs for the rest of us. Obama kept saying his bill is about jobs. Wrong. Harry told the truth:
“... private sector jobs are doing just fine. It's government workers that need help."
He got his facts wrong. He doesn't seem to be concerned about facts interfering with politics. Fox News
Since Obama took office in January 2009, the public sector has lost 607,000 jobs while the private sector lost 1.6 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The numbers show the big problem is the private sector. But he made his priorities clear - the public-sector union jobs which means bodies and  cash for the Democrat Party.

Austan Goolsbee, the formerly prominent economist, continues to chip away at the respect I had for him. He could not say he disagreed, just that he "would disagree a little."

I don't know my way around the employment statistics well enough to verify the jobs numbers. They are somewhere at Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Photo via Sweetness and Light

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Steven Beren on radio for three days

Steven Beren, our favorite ex-congressional candidate, will be on the radio Wednesday thru Friday. KUIK in Portland. 3 to 6 pm.

We can listen online at KUIK.com. IPhone users can get the excellent app TuneIn and browse Portland Oregon. AM 1360.

Beren's own website

Saturday, October 15, 2011

ObamaCare is sent into the red by canceling long-term care part


The Obama administration faced the numbers on a provision of ObamaCare and killed it - a long-term care provision called CLASS. But it was one of the budget tricks that made ObamaCare "lower the deficit." Not that they could say that with a straight face.

CLASS never made any sense. Obama's person in charge of estimating such things, Richard Foster, head of long-range economic forecasts for Medicare, warned in 2009 - before ObamaCare passed - that CLASS would never work out as planned.

So Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebelius announced Friday that CLASS was canceled.

But it started collecting premiums now and didn't pay out for five years. That made it add $80 billion of black ink to ObamaCare of the next 10 years. ObamaCare is now more obviously than ever a huge drain on the US budget for years into the future.

Hey, President Obama, how will you balance ObamaCare?

Read at AP
 
... After months insisting that could be fixed, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finally acknowledged Friday she doesn't see how.

"Despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time," Sebelius said in a letter to congressional leaders.

 
The law required the administration to certify that CLASS would remain financially solvent for 75 years before it could be put into place. [Wow! There was one piece of common sense hidden in the ObamaCare 2,000-page bill.]

 
But officials said they discovered they could not make CLASS both affordable and financially solvent while keeping it a voluntary program open to virtually all workers, as the law also required.

 
Monthly premiums would have ranged from $235 to $391, even as high as $3,000 under some scenarios, the administration said. At those prices, healthy people were unlikely to sign up. Suggested changes aimed at discouraging enrollment by people in poor health could have opened the program to court challenges, officials said.

 
"If healthy purchasers are not attracted ... then premiums will increase, which will make it even more unattractive to purchasers who could also obtain policies in the private market," Kathy Greenlee, the lead official on CLASS, said in a memo to Sebelius. That "would cause the program to quickly collapse."

 
That's the same conclusion a top government expert reached in 2009. Nearly a year before the health care law passed, Richard Foster, head of long-range economic forecasts for Medicare, warned administration and congressional officials that CLASS would be unworkable. His warnings were disregarded, as President Barack Obama declared his support for adding the long-term care plan to his health care bill.

 
The demise of CLASS immediately touched off speculation about its impact on the federal budget. Although no premiums are likely to be collected, the program still counts as reducing the federal deficit by about $80 billion over the next 10 years. That's because of a rule that would have required workers to pay in for at least five years before they could collect any benefits. ...

 
"The CLASS Act was a budget gimmick that might enhance the numbers on a Washington bureaucrat's spreadsheet but was destined to fail in the real world," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. ...



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jobs will be leaving China for US


Higher costs in China at the same time as higher productivity in the US (which lowers costs). These jobs are expected to go to the states that have lower costs, of course.


"Reshoring” trend expected to bring more factory work back to States over next 5 years
A big shift of manufacturing from China to the U.S. and other parts of North America will create up to 3 million U.S. jobs in coming years, says a study from Boston Consulting Group. 
The report says labor costs in China are rising so fast, while U.S. productivity continues to climb, that the cost advantage of sourcing many types of goods production in China is rapidly shrinking.
“Factor in shipping, inventory costs and other considerations,” and for many types of goods “the cost gap between sourcing in China and manufacturing in the U.S. will be minimal,” according to the report. 
The report, titled “Made in America, Again,” cites various examples of companies already shifting work back to the U.S. and says that process will quickly speed up.
The move of jobs and production back to this country is often called “re-shoring,” and some organizations are promoting policies to spur greater returns of factory jobs from overseas.
In just five years, BCG said, “the total cost of production for many products will be only about 10 to 15 percent less in Chinese coastal cities than in some parts of the U.S. where factories are likely to be built,” before counting shipping costs.
But the report said ocean shipping rates have risen in recent years, mainly because of spiking bunker fuel prices since the depths of the recession in 2009, while a shortage of container port capacity projected in 2015 and a falloff in shipbuilding could push rates higher.
The authors said the steady appreciation of China’s currency against the U.S. dollar is another factor raising the cost of goods made there, while trade disputes continue over many products made in China and the ocean supply chain is subject to threat of disruptions. 
BCG said several southern U.S. states “will turn out to be among the least expensive production sites in the industrialized world.” Mexico is also getting some of the output shifting from China, and can deliver goods into the U.S. in one or two days compared with 21 by ocean. But BCG officials said Mexico would not benefit as much as some expect because U.S. expertise in many goods would draw the work back here instead.

Monday, October 10, 2011

There have been 26 deaths following attacks on Coptic Christian churches in Egypt recently.  Most of the deaths have been Christians.

Associated Press vis Seattle Times
The spiritual leader of the Coptic Christian minority, Pope Shenouda III, declared three days of mourning, praying and fasting for the victims starting on Tuesday and also presided over funerals for some of the Christians killed. Sunday's sectarian violence was the worst in Egypt since the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in February. 
"Strangers got in the middle of our sons and committed mistakes to be blamed on our sons," the Coptic church said in a statement. It lamented "problems that occur repeatedly and go unpunished." 
The clashes Sunday night raged over a large section of downtown Cairo and drew in Christians, Muslims and security forces. They began when about 1,000 Christian protesters tried to stage a peaceful sit-in outside the state television building along the Nile in downtown Cairo. The protesters said they were attacked by "thugs" with sticks and the violence then spiraled out of control after a speeding military vehicle jumped up onto a sidewalk and rammed into some of the Christians.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Huge, beautiful lighthouse lens in Westport


Westport Maritime Museum in Westport, Washington, has a new display of the huge, first-order Fresnel lens that was in the lighthouse at Destruction Island 50 miles north of Westport. The lens is huge - eight feet plus pedestal. But it was efficient: it warned mariners for miles around with a kerosene lamp (later a 1,000 watt bulb).

Westport was given it in 1998, refurbished it and built a special building to display it.

Westport also has the Grays Harbor lighthouse south of town, which is still active. The site is maintained by the community and the light by the Coast Guard.

This is my kind of fun! (The license plate on my car has a lighthouse on it.) I will go see it... and the beautiful area of south Grays Harbor and the coast south of Westport - Grayland, etc. I always like to explore places.

Source: Seattle Times has two excellent photos.


Friday, October 07, 2011

Inspired by Steve Jobs


We are inspired by super-capitalist Steve Jobs. He dropped out of college. He built his company from nothing to a multi-billion dollar (sales per year) company. He suffered the public humiliation of being fired from the company he built. From the ashes he started two more companies, NeXT Computer and Pixar. When Apple bought NeXT he returned to be CEO of foundering Apple.

Then he was stunned by having pancreatic cancer and being told "to get his affairs in order." In other words, you don't have long to live.

Read or listen to/watch the video of his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005. Stanford

Question for the Wall Street protesters. Do you wish Steve Jobs had never started Apple and created the IPod and IPhone?

Question: Who did Steve Jobs hurt by being successful?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Election 2011

The 2011 election is only initiatives and local offices.

For the statewide initiatives see the Washington Policy Center's guide web page. Here is my quick take:

I-1183: I favor ending the government's monopoly on liquor sales. More competition will lead to lower prices. Washington Research Council did an analysis.


I-1125 Tolling. I am split on this one. I like the revenue being controlled by the Legislature, not passing the buck to a special board. But Tim went too far. The level of toll should vary by the time of day. We build more highways and lanes for the peak traffic. The big cost is the peak traffic; make them pay. But a lower charge for off-peak travel makes sense. On balance, I will support it.


I-1163: The SEIU can't get the Legislature to overspend for the union's interest. Indeed SEIU won't go through the give-and-take of law making. No, they go back to the voters to increase training requirements for long-term care workers. I oppose it.

The Seattle Times says it is a combination of bad policy and cynicism.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Demo Reid blocked Obama's jobs bill - Obama then said Republicans did

How can President O look in the mirror? Blaming the Republicans for his new stimulus not being passed.

Tuesday in the Senate Sen. Harry Reid blocked Obama's $47 billion "jobs bill" stimulus from a vote. Republican Leader McConnell had moved that the bill be voted on. National Journal Then Reid blocked the vote. Reid the Democrat killed Obama's jobs bill.

Then President O's campaign manager Jim Messina sent out an email saying that Republicans blocked it.

Weekly Standard

About ten minutes later [after the vote], Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, emailed this message to supporters:
President Obama is in Dallas today urging Americans who support the American Jobs Act to demand that Congress pass it already. 
Though it's been nearly a month since he laid out this plan, House Republicans haven't acted to pass it. And House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is out there actually bragging that they won't even put the jobs package up for a vote -- ever. 
It's not clear which part of the bill they now object to: building roads, hiring teachers, getting veterans back to work. They're willing to block the American Jobs Act -- and they think you won't do anything about it. 
But here's something you can do: Find Republican members of Congress on Twitter, call them out, and demand they pass this bill.
So will the Obama campaign be asking its supporters to "call out" Harry Reid and "demand" he and Senate Democrats pass the bill?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Government employees paid for not working

Tacoma, Washington teachers refused to work for 8 school days, causing great disruption for the families of 28,000 students. They defied a court order to return to work. KING-5

After the strike they were worried they would not be paid "on time" for the days they didn't work. Huh? "Paid on time" surely means paid next June when they work the days they refused to work. No. The Tacoma School District bent over backward to find a way to pay them now.

If you refuse to work do you get paid? Get paid when you would have been paid had you worked?
Tacoma News Tribune

[At Washington Policy Center Liv Finne says the WEA union gambled and lost; they caused the strike, but didn't get what they wanted for it.]


FAA workers were furloughed for two weeks. They did not work. But they are receiving "back pay" now that the authorization bill is in place. It's not back pay; it's a gift. They are government workers and "it wasn't their fault." Elsewhere in government and industry they would be happy to be called back from furlough.
Anchorage ADN


There must be more cases of paying for not working in the public sector. Any private examples?

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Elected chief education bureaucrat Dorn refuses to do his job

Oh, schools are so efficiently run that they couldn't cut one dollar of their spending. Yeh...
Seattle Times
In a symbolic showdown between Gov. Chris Gregoire and Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, Seattle education officials are not surprisingly taking Dorn's side.
Dorn is refusing to give the governor a list of potential ways state education funding can be cut to help close a projected $2 billion revenue shortfall. He sent a letter to Gregoire this week saying that doing so would violate the state constitution and his oath of office. 
"I cannot, in good conscience, submit a budget ... that is consistent with (your) requirements," he wrote. 
It's a symbolic move: All parties, including Dorn, have acknowledged education funding will be cut when the Legislature convenes in November to deal with the shortfall. The only question is where the cuts will be. 
And by not submitting a list of ideas to guide the Legislature — as all of the other agency directors have — Gregoire spokesman Cory Curtis says Dorn is making it harder for the state to make "the best decisions for the kids."
...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Census Bureau corrects overstated gay households

Obama's Census Bureau admitted that it overstated the number of gay households - married and unmarried. They are 0.55% of all households.

CNS News
(CNSNews.com) - The Census Bureau admitted Tuesday that it had “artificially inflated the number of same-sex couples” in the United States, initially reporting a number that was about 40 percent higher than what it now believes is accurate. 
The original data published by the 2010 Census set the number of same-sex households in the U.S. in 2010 at 901,997, including 349,377 same-sex married couple households and 552,620 same-sex unmarried partner households. 
But the Census Bureau said in a Tuesday conference call with reporters that it has revised these numbers downward “because Census Bureau staff discovered an inconsistency in the responses in the 2010 Census summary file statistics that artificially inflated the number of same-sex couples.” 
The Census Bureau now says the 2010 Census found that there were 131,729 same-sex married couple households and 514,735 same-sex unmarried partner households in the United States--for a total of 646,464 same-sex-couple households.
Given that the Census Bureau says there were 116,716,292 total households in the United States in 2010, that means same-sex households made up only 0.55 percent of the total.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

NC Democrat Governor Perdue proposes suspending election

North Carolina Democrat Governor Beverly Perdue proposed suspending elections. And she was not joking.

Daily Caller
As a way to solve the national debt crisis, North Carolina Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue recommends suspending congressional elections for the next couple of years. 
“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover,” Perdue said at a rotary club event in Cary, N.C., according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “I really hope that someone can agree with me on that.” 
Perdue said she thinks that temporarily halting elections would allow members of Congress to focus on the economy. “You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things,” Perdue said.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

WEA teachers union gambled in Tacoma and lost

The parents and kids really lost. But the union could have had the same agreement in August and not messed up two weeks for 28,000 kids.

Liv Finne is the education specialist at Washington Policy Center; she reports:

Earlier this year, leaders at the statewide teacher union, the WEA, developed a plan to go on strike in local districts that didn’t agree to union demands. In passing New Business Item #6 at their May 12th meeting, union executives outlined a plan for closing schools on days that create maximum disruption for families and children. 
The purpose was to show union power – pick a school district and make an example of it.
At the time no one knew which school district would be targeted. By late August however, it was clear a strike was planned at Tacoma schools, depriving 28,000 children of access to a public education. 
The union closed the schools and, as parents scrambled to make childcare arrangements, a judge ordered teachers back to work. Union executives ignored the order and, along with district officials, were ultimately summoned to the Governor’s office. The strike ended up punishing school children because the adults couldn’t agree on the details of the district’s personnel policy.
The final agreement represents an important victory for students. By gaining flexibility in work assignments district officials will be better able to place the best teachers in the classroom, not just the ones with the most seniority. But the entire conflict could have been avoided. 
What did the strike accomplish? Nothing. Union executives agreed to a proposal they could have accepted months ago, when they were talking with district officials over the summer. Children in Tacoma would have gone to school on time and without incident, just as they did in 294 other school districts. The same result would have been achieved peacefully, without closing schools and without disrupting the lives of thousands of Tacoma families. 
Tacoma union executives gambled and lost. They followed the plan laid out in May in WEA New Business Item #6. They lost in court, lost the unquestioned backing of the Governor, lost the respect of many parents and, most importantly, they needlessly embroiled Tacoma students and their teachers in a public, high-stakes fight that no child should have to witness.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fact check: Obama wrong on income taxes

President Obama is wrong when he says millionaires are paying federal taxes at lower rates than middle income earners. The fact checker:

Seattle Times

"On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.

"The 10 percent of households with the highest incomes pay more than half of all federal taxes. They pay more than 70 percent of federal income taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office."

Energy saving ideas by young UW professor

New ideas, inventions and a start-up company... at age 29... University of Washington Asst. Prof. Shwetak Patel...


Seattle Times


At Georgia Tech, Patel was researching how to monitor the health and safety of elderly people living at home. Realizing that wiring a home with cameras was too expensive and invasive, Patel came up with a unique solution.

He figured out how to disaggregate the "voltage noise" of a home's electrical system to determine if specific devices or light bulbs were on. Each device, when turned on, sings a specific electric tune, and Patel developed algorithms to be sensitive ears.

Instead of a home festooned with cameras to monitor Grandma, Patel developed a single sensor that plugs into an outlet, and decided the technology could be applied to home-energy conservation as well.
Instead of a once-every-two-month lump statement of energy consumption, Patel's sensor gives a homeowner "a readout that tells you exactly what's going on with each device, each light bulb, and so the feedback can make you smarter about your usage," said Ed Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates professor in the computer-science department. "The goal is to make it so dirt simple that any consumer can use it."

After Patel and his wife, Julie Kientz, also a UW professor, were hired in 2008, Patel applied the same concepts to water usage — with a diagram detecting the sonic resonance of each faucet — and natural gas. He also has worked with insurers to develop a moisture and carbon-monoxide sensor, using a home's electrical wiring as an antennae, to reduce power consumption.

"[Patel] is just unbelievably creative," Lazowska said. "He thinks about this stuff a mile a minute. And he's totally the nicest guy in the world."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Coverup of first computer-projected election

Walter Cronkite was on the air in the first election whose results were projected by a computer in 1952 and he lied. With 5 per cent of election returns the UNIVAC computer projected a landslide by Eisenhower. But Cronkite wouldn't say that; he said it projected a close victory... Why? The New York elite expected Stevenson to win. Where did Cronkite get his reputation a the straight-shooting news reporter?
Ars Technica
... On that night they witnessed the birth of an even newer technology—a machine that could predict the election's results. Sitting next to the desk of CBS Anchor Walter Cronkite was a mockup a huge gadget called a UNIVAC (UNIVersal Automatic Computer), which Cronkite explained would augur the contest. J. Presper Eckert, the UNIVAC's inventor, stood next to the device and explained its workings. The woman who actually programmed the mainframe, Navy mathematician Grace Murray Hopper was nowhere to be seen; for days her team had input voting statistics from earlier elections, then wrote the code that would allow the calculator to extrapolate the contest based on previous races.

To the disquietude of national pollsters expecting a Stevenson victory, Hopper's UNIVAC group predicted a huge landslide for Eisenhower, and with only five percent of the results. CBS executives didn't know what to make of this bold finding. "We saw [UNIVAC] as an added feature to our coverage that could be very interesting in the future," Cronkite later recalled. "But I don't think that we felt the computer would become predominant in our coverage in any way."

And so CBS told its audience that UNIVAC only foresaw a close race. At the end of the evening, when it was clear that UNIVAC's actual findings were spot on, a spokesperson for the company that made the machine was allowed to disclose the truth—that the real prediction had been squelched.

"The uncanny accuracy of UNIVAC's prediction during a major televised event sent shock waves across through the nation," notes historian Kurt W. Beyer, author of Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age. "In the months that followed, 'UNIVAC' gradually became the generic term for a computer."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Arab winter in Cairo

The thirty year peace between Egypt and Israel has been unilaterally breached by the "new Egypt."

The Sinai desert was crossed to attack undefended Eilat, Israel two weeks ago.

Saturday Egyptians sieged then ransacked the Israel embassy in Cairo.

What changed? The rapid overthrow of President Mubarak. We rushed him out. We could have thought about what might happen and let the process go longer.

The Islamist government of Turkey is also threatening.

For an overview. Fox News

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Washington pensions

Smart people who are following what Washington State has promised in pensions for legislators and employees say that we are committed to an exploding bill. The state is using unrealistic assumptions on interest rates. This "saves" money now but the bill will come later and it will really hurt. We need to face the music now and set more aside. And lower the promises.

Seattle Times

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Remember the attack on 9/11 - newspaper front pages

To help us remember the aftermath of 9/11/2001 the Seattle Times has a page with nine front pages - seven for the days immediately following, one in October, 2011 and the first anniversary edition. The pages show as small replicas and they enlarge when you click one of them. Nice feature.

Seattle Times

I am looking for something that captures the uncertainty of the first hours. After the FAA ordered all aircraft to land at the nearest airport, something like eight commercial flights were missing. We knew the next day that United 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, but for around two hours those other flights were also unaccounted for and we didn't know what might happen - how many more aircraft might have been hijacked.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Wealthy Chinese want to leave

This is not sustainable. The wealthy people of China want to leave their country; many already have. Could oppressive policies of the Communist leaders of China be motivating them? Yes, they say.

They can only have one child. They have to stifle their opinions. It is not "the land of the free." And they are worried about protecting their assets. Translation: they know their authoritarian government can arbitrarily take their assets. In China one cannot buy property, but only a 70-year lease, according to the article. And its leaders are known for favoritism - favoritism to the relatives of the most powerful leaders. How do you compete with one of them?

Houston Chronicle

... Despite more economic freedom, the communist government has kept its tight grip on many other aspects of daily life. China's leaders punish, sometimes harshly, public dissent and any perceived challenges to their power, and censor what can be read online and in print. Authoritarian rule, meanwhile, has proved ineffective in addressing long standing problems of pollution, contaminated food and a creaking health care system.

"In China, nothing belongs to you. Like buying a house. You buy it but it will belong to the country 70 years later," said Su, lamenting the government's land leasing system.

"But abroad, if you buy a house, it belongs to you forever," he said. "Both businessmen and government officials are like this. They worry about the security of their assets."

But it's beyond individual freedom and wealth. They are also worried about social unrest.

... There is also a yawning gap between rich and poor in China, which feeds a resentment that makes some of the wealthy uncomfortable. The country's uneven jump to capitalism over the last three decades has created dozens of billionaires, but China barely ranks in the top 100 on a World Bank list of countries by income per person.

Getting a foreign passport is like "taking out an insurance policy," said Rupert Hoogewerf, who compiles the Hurun Rich List, China's version of the Forbes list.

"If there is political unrest or suddenly things change in China — because it's a big country, something could go wrong — they already have a passport to go overseas. It's an additional safety net."

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Remember the attacks on 9/11 - TV news archive

How can we review and relive the events of that terrible day and week, September 11, 2001? A nonprofit had started archiving television news shows about three years before. So on 9/11 they doubled their efforts to get more.

Announcing the archive: Internet Archive

The archive: Understanding 9/11 Go toward the bottom of the page for a set of video clips in clock sequence. (There is a link to exhaustive TV footage, but it's not easy to use. They show everything but commercials, so there is a lot of time on stock market reports and everything under the Sun.

And a news article about it and some of their own direct links: Houston Chronicle

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Irene was a TS not a hurricane


Irene was a tropical storm, not a hurricane when it made landfall in the US. It was a hurricane in the Caribbean, through the Bahamas (Cat 3, then 2, then 1) and as it approached the coast of the US. But it was not a hurricane when it hit land. It was Tropical Storm Irene that crossed the coast of North Caroline, New Jersey and New York.

A hurricane has sustained winds of 64 knots, which is 74 mph.

WattsUpWithThat has time graphs of the winds at places the eye passed over. In North Carolina it was a strong tropical storm. In New York it was barely a TS.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Let's drive down to the pier to see if the hurricane has flooded it

Let's drive down to the pier to see if the hurricane has damaged or flooded it. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, you want to drive back, like not get your van stuck in the water?

News Observer (NC) with photo of driver running to escape. She didn't earn the Darwin award, but there must be an award for this level of stupidity.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Too many lawyers - pay the burglar

The burglar is shot, so the burglary victims have to pay $300,000. We have too many lawyers in this country.

Colorado Springs Gazette:

An El Paso County jury on Friday awarded nearly $300,000 to the daughter of a burglar who was fatally shot in 2009 while breaking into an auto lot.

Parents of the victim, Robert Johnson Fox, embraced their attorneys after a judge announced the jury’s verdict, capping a two-week-long civil trial in which business owner Jovan Milanovic and two relatives were painted as vigilantes...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Statistician Meier saved millions of lives

Paul Meier was the one who insisted that fully (as much as possible) test on randomized groups of patients in testing drugs. Everyone else thought it unnecessary because the new drugs were obviously better. What an assumption.

Significance Mag
Today it is standard that such drugs and treatments are tested by a randomised clinical trial. Some patients are given the new treatment, some are given the old; and the decision as to who gets which treatment is made randomly. That tells us whether the new treatment is better than the old one or not. It is also the only real way of finding out. The randomisation part of it is key; without that, it can give unreliable results.

Yet in the 1950s the usual technique was to give a new treatment to the patients whom it was thought would most benefit from it. It frequently happened that those were the patients whose chances of recovery were the best in any case, under the existing treatments as well as the new one. The result was all too often that new treatments were thought to be better than old ones but in fact were not.

‘When I said “randomize” in breast cancer trials I was looked at with amazement by my clinical colleagues’ said Meier in an interview in 2004. ‘ “Randomize? We know this treatment is better than that one” they said. I said “Not really…” ’ That drugs are now rigorously tested, and that those tests give good and unbiased evidence for or against their effectiveness, is in very large part due to Meier.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Krugman proposes false space alien invasion threat

Update at bottom. Prof. Paul Krugman has the answer: if only there were a threat of an invasion by space aliens, we could our economy moving by taxing and borrowing to prepare for the invasion. And it doesn't matter if the warning is false: the spending will cause growth even if wasted. Harvard Prof. Kenneth Rogoff is on the same page.

Just a problem or two. It's a waste of money and there are opportunity costs of what else could have been done. How would we us all that "infrastructure"? It would be a waste of the money spent. And that money could have been spent in productive ways, such as not taking it as taxes, but allowing the people who would pay the taxes to decide how they can best use it = on home improvements, on education for themselves or for their kids, on... whatever is best for them!

Krugman is the star of the "I have a great idea: let's just waste money" crowd.

From Ed Morrissey at HotAir



Update:

NASA too! Global warming will demonstrate to extraterrestrials that we are killing ourselves off. And this will embolden them... Oh! We now know how to save ourselves. Al Gore! Guardian UK

Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa's Planetary Science Division and his colleagues compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity "prepare for actual contact".

In their report, Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis, the researchers divide alien contacts into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful.
Go to the source... Well, I wouldn't waste my time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Warm Beach has no beach

We just spent four great days at Warm Beach Conference Center just south of Stanwood - for the twevlth-straight year. It's a great location and a great facility. But it has no beach! There is a long, skinny arm of Port Susan, which is salt water. It has some fresh flow, but is dominated by salt water. There is canoeing when there is a high tide at during afternoon hours, but not this year.

I like to walk/hike down the 100-foot bluff then out into the delta. Along a dike past the arm I just described and farm lands. Most years I see bald eagles and geese - snow geese in winter and Canadians year-round.

It's a great feeling. There is open space/sky all around. A few birds singing. Actually I was surprised I didn't see more of them - one bald eagle and one great blue heron (I was too far from salt water for them) in two days.

Beach? The village of Warm Beach has a tiny street-end beach. You can tell you are getting close to it when you see the "no parking" signs. It is just the street-end wide - like 80 feet - and has clearly marked private property on both sides.


Photo: Apparent new flood control structure and vegetation in delta of Stillaguamish River.

Friday, August 12, 2011

La Route des Phares - lighthouses in Quebec


Quebec has major maritime geography and culture along the St. Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which is the salt water body protected by Newfoundland island and the north part of Nova Scotia. And there are a lot of lighthouses.

Sue Frause made a 1,000-mile trip along the coasts and islands to see the many phares, that is, lighthouses. She had photos at her blog Closet Canuck blog. And a newspaper article: Dedham, Mass., Daily News Transcript

Quebec's light house site which is in French. Welcome! Canada is bilingual except in the French areas. Maritime Quebec in English.

And for Madeline: The very remote Iles de la Madeleine.

Photo by Sue Frause. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tax cheat Geithner should sell organic vegetables


Sec. of Treasury Timothy Geithner will do less damage in another - any other - line of work. Arnold Ahlert at Canada Free Press reports on an expose of organic food.

Comedians Penn and Teller have a show call “Bulls**t!” which runs every so often on the Showtime cable network. The purpose of the show is to expose fraudulent ideas or thinking in an amusing way. The one I watched was about organic vegetables and whether or not they were any better than non-organic ones. The show, using both anecdotes and scientific evidence demonstrated pretty convincingly that they’re not. But the anecdotes revealed something profound about the way people think—or more accurately how some people allow feelings to completely over-ride reason.
... But all of the science paled in entertainment value to the taste test segments of the show. That’s the part where the dedicated “save the earth” crowd was asked to choose between two plates of vegetables or fruit and tell the presenter which one was organic. Time after time, people convinced organic foods were better, chose non-organic foods as their preferred choice in terms of looks and more importantly taste, by an 80-90 percent margin. Yet when asked by the presenter if this new information would cause them to re-consider their buying habits, virtually every one them said they would continue to buy organic products.
But it gets even better. In one hilarious segment, the presenter cut a banana in half, told people one half was organic and asked people which half tasted better.
One woman who claimed her entire diet consisted of raw fruit and vegetables, was especially effusive regarding how much better the organic half of the banana tasted. When the truth was revealed, the tester asked the woman if she still thought organic food was superior. She answered yes—and somewhat belatedly admitted such feelings might be “psychological.” In other words, facts be damned, I just like feeling good about what I believe in.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Japan street camouflage

Can you camouflage yourself on the street? See two examples. You might need it, so get ready now.

Just Cool Pics site

Friday, August 05, 2011

His crossword puzzles published in NY Times at age 14

Whoa! This kid is just 14 and a crossword puzzle he created was published in the NY Times June 16, 2011.

NWCN
EDMONDS, Wash. -- An Edmonds teen became so good at crossword puzzles, he decided to build them himself. It landed him in the New York Times at just 14-years-old.

On the outside, David Steinberg looks like any teen, but inside, there are many words to describe him.

"I've always loved words," says Steinberg. "I use to play Scrabble a lot."

His parents, both English majors, no longer play with him.

"We never win, never win anymore," says his mother, Karen Steinberg. "It's just sad!"

David started doing crosswords at the age of 12.

"I guess I was getting bored of all the same puzzles all the time," he says.

Soon he started making his own crosswords.

"Then I was hooked," he says.

Just as he was finishing 8th grade at Lakeside School, David got to see the fruits of his labor in black and white. Not just any newspaper, but the New York Times, June 16, 2011 edition.

"The New York Times is not only the most well-known, kind of the cream of the crop, but the themes are the most unusual and creative," David says.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Obama proposed cutting Social Security, not Republicans

Tell the truth: It was President Obama who proposed cutting Social Security in the budget/debt deal, not the Republicans. So says prominent Democrat Representative John Conyers.

CNS News

"Now, whether they still made it wisely or they still stick to it remains to be seen but I say we’ve got to educate the American people at the same time that we educate the president of the United States because the Republicans, the Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader Cantor did not call for Social Security cuts in the budget deal – the president of the United States called for that and my response to him is to mass thousands of people in front of the White House to protest this."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

ObamaCare taxes are causing loss of American jobs

ObamaCare includes many taxes - many. Today one of those is costing American jobs.

Boston Scientific, the maker of medical stents for clogged arteries, is cutting 1200 jobs - Boston.com

When ObamaCare passed people expected the tax on medical devices to impede production and jobs. Wall Street Journal - Today we see evidence.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Adults work on solution while children play games

While the adults are working on a solution....

I don't like how the current plan by Speaker John Boehner puts all the spending cuts in the future, but it's the best plan that has a chance. Thomas Sowell agrees in IBD...

The children mess around:
What did the people of Minnesota expect when they allowed Al Franken into the US Senate? They expected nastiness and dumb antics. What else? So we all suffer. Distinguished Senator Franken held up a sign "Welcome Terrorists" in the US Senate yesterday, July 27, as covered by CSPAN-2 - Pajamas Media

Senator Patty has also been doing empty gestures - name calling in her case.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Kelsey Excelsior Mercury Printer

Kelsey Co. Excelsior Mercury 3x5 hand-powered printer

Information about and parts for Kelsey printers