Saturday, March 31, 2012

Twins - one black the other white

Kian and Remee are seven years old. Their parents are both of mixed race. The random combining of genes from both parents always results in different mixtures. This unlikely combination is rare, but normal - that is, it is not from a mutation or anything strange. It is just from the random combinations.

The photo: From Daily Mail UK

Friday, March 30, 2012

Trails over water and not

I love to walk and find new places to walk. In the Seattle Times: two rail trails that go over water:
  • Tommy Thompson Trail in Anacortes and Taylor Avenue Dock in Bellingham.
And two that might cross some streams, but are just rail trails:
  • John Wayne Trail - wow, 100 miles long and a 2-mile tunnel - and Foothills Trail from Orting to South Prairie
Seattle Times

We have enjoyed the Thompson Trail in Anacortes. I walk a lot and explore new place to go. But I saw two things on our cloudy day walk here that I haven't seen elsewhere. On the bridge portion - as one person quoted in the article said - it was like being on a boat because harbor seals were hanging out. Just swimming back and forth!!

And sea gulls drop shells to break them and get the contents in huge numbers. So much that signs warn cyclists of tire damage.

I have ridden portions of the John Wayne Trail - from the western terminus near North Bend and near the Columbia River. But there are about 80 miles between plus the Milwaukee Railroad's two-mile tunnel under the Cascade crest.

I have walked the trail in Bellingham, but I didn't know there was an over-water portion, so I didn't get serious about it.

Check these out and enjoy exploring and getting exercise.

My photos: Shells on trail and the beginning of the trestle. The harbor seal is small; click to enlarge.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When will Kagan recuse herself?

Justice Elena Kagan is living a lie. She has conflicts with Obamacare, because she expressed opinions in favor of it and helped defend it. She know she should not be judging it in the Supreme Court.

When will Kagan recuse herself? (No one can do it for her. Our Constitution and laws assume a Supreme Court justice is honest enough to recuse him/herself when necessary.)

CNS News
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan showed up [Monday] to hear the arguments and gave no indication she would recuse herself from judging the cases even though she had cheered enactment of Obamacare as an Obama political appointee and had personally assigned her top deputy in the Obama Justice Department to defend the law in federal court. 
A federal law, 28 USC 455, says a Supreme Court justice must recuse from “any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned” or anytime he has “expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy” while he “served in governmental employment.” 
During her confirmation process in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kagan assured the committee in written responses to its questionnaire that she would follow the “letter and spirit” of 28 U.S.C. 455.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Where is Buffet's secretary's tax return

If we are making public policy based on two peoples' tax return how can we do it without some basic information, like seeing the tax returns?

The Democrats want a tax increase so they are basing their message on the tale that Warren Buffett pays taxes at a lower rate than many of his much-lower -paid staff. A tale? How do we know what Buffet says is true?

We do know the Democrats are panting for a tax increase.

Sen. Chuck Schumer is going to have a vote on his Buffet tax increase on April 15. Will you be ready for tax increases on tax suffering day?

Global Post
Billionaire Warren Buffett has called for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans, including himself, with a minimum 30 percent tax rate for anyone making more than $1 million per year. Currently, most investment income from capital gains and dividends is typically taxed up to 15 percent.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Santorum is campaigning for Obama

Santorum and Gingrich have been running against the Republican rather than Obama for months. But now Santorum has gone over:
[Santorum] told an audience that the country might be better off with President Obama than with a candidate who will shift his positions with ease and who he believes is not very different from the president.
Idaho News KBOI

Goodbye, Rick. Go with your buddy Arlen Spector to the Democrats. We have a battle for November and we can't use Obama sympathizers.

And "not paying attention or worse" demerits to everyone who thinks a misstatement from a campaign aid no one has heard of is the same as a misstatement from the candidate.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CBO says Obamacare will cost much more and ...

The CBO gave Obamacare two hits last week.

The amazingly low cost of $940 billion over ten years has doubled to $1,760 billion over ten years. Who is surprised? The window has slid forward so the current window is through 2022, which accounts for some of the increase. But that's uncovering one of Obama's tricks - to front-load revenues and delay the benefits. Well, not uncovering it, but watching it be implemented.

Washington Examiner
But now, two years later, a more accurate picture is coming into view. As the CBO’s 10-year budget window slowly expands to encompass all of Obamacare’s new spending, and as gimmicks like the CLASS Act are exposed as the Ponzi scheme frauds that they are, the cost of Obamacare keeps rising. Yesterday, the CBO released its latest cost estimate of Obamacare’s spending provisions showing that the law will cost $1.76 trillion through 2022. But even that doesn’t capture the law’s true price tag. 
Since Obamacare will not be fully implemented until 2014, we will not know until next year what a full 10-year cost estimate of the law looks like.
The second hit is "you will be able to keep the insurance you now have." Let's see. Employers are looking at huge cost increases due to Obamacare and some will drop covering their employees and pay the penalty instead. As we expected.

The results: Up to 20 million people will lose their coverage by the CBO's estimate. Congressional Budget Office found that employers are expected to stop coverage for their employees - 5,000,000 per year expected - net of several factors. Last year the expected number was 1,000,000. So the picture got 5 times worse. Note: those estimates are for each year from 2019 to 2022 - 5 million per year for 4 years is 20 million!

The Hill

See also Free Beacon.

This is cross-posted at Sound Politics and has lots of comments.

Move to US; can't create it in Europe

Like Tricorder the scanner they used in Star Trek to analyze "life forms" aka living beings --  The health scanner is close to reality due to the work of Walter De Brouwer, the founder and CEO of Scanadu.
… most of the devices are either American-made or designed. And not European. De Brouwer himself, a Belgian national, recently moved to California in order to start work on the Tricorder. 
“People who decide to live in Silicon Valley are larger than life,” he says. “They are romantics, not afraid to take risks or to fail.” But most of all, he says, they are happy to listen to other people's ideas "with a willing suspension of disbelief,” citing English 19th-century poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 
… "In Europe," he says, "people are of the extreme cautionist school - they only do something if it has proven to work in the US.” De Brouwer takes the example of the VScan handheld ultrasound device, recently presented by General Electric. “In Europe, people would say: It can’t be done. In the US they say: It will be done.” 
And what about the Tricorder? Would it have been possible to build in Europe? 
“No,” says De Brouwer. “First in the US, then in Europe.”

Via No-Pasaran.

The photo: found at the Pirate Bay!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ObamaCare enforcer doesn't know what is going on

ObamaCare is a lot of law, but it also has huge blank areas that are to be filled in by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. We won't know what ObamaCare is until HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius tells us - until she fills in the blank areas.

But watch her! She was testifying before the US Senate on Wednesday March 7. When Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin asked her about the huge number of waivers that have been granted to large companies and unions (with a huge proportion in Nancy Pelosi's district). Daily Caller 

Sebelius responded: “I’ve no idea what waivers you’re talking about,"

Senator Johnson also listed a number of the president’s specific promises about the law, including claims it would reduce the deficit, cut health costs, and allow people to keep their coverage and their doctors

Sebelius's response: She either said she didn’t have those facts or said the law hadn’t had a chance to work yet.

She doesn't know what she is doing. She wouldn't tell the US Senate a falsehood? No, never.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Obama's source for Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes

Obama doesn't know much about history. He claimed that President R B Hayes saw a telephone and couldn't imagine a practical use for it. But, indeed, Hayes installed the first telephone in the White House.

See Fact Check.

Scott Johnson of Power Line Blog discovered Obama's source of info - Mystery Science Theatre 3000
The robot Crow T. Robot reads from his essay on President Hayes:
“In 1876, Hayes beat Bill Tilden in a three-set quarterfinal at Flushing Meadows, which caused the Electrical College to declare him President of the United States.”
Follow the link to see the video.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Distracted are smarter

Research finds - Distractable kids have more working memory and higher IQs. They take in more...

Adults, too. See! That explains me!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Discovery Institute to communicate moral capitalism

Discovery Institute launched a new program Tuesday:

The Center on Wealth, Poverty and Morality

Mission: To connect the practical truths of economics with the perennial truths of ethics. Building a sustained and accessible defense of free enterprise, entrepreneurship and stewardship in the moral categories consonant with most Americans.

Jay Richards (Ph.D.) is the director. He received a Templeton Prize for his book Money, Greed and God. His new book, Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family and Freedom Before It's Too Late has been the absolute number one bestseller on Amazon recently.

George Gilder is the Chair. George has a long, distinguished career. He took apart the sexual revolution in his book Men and Marriage in the 1970s. He has a long string of watching the technologies that are bringing about the massive increase in computer storage, processing power and data transmission and the even larger changes this combination makes possible. His recent book, The Israel Test, describes the explosive growth in creativity and entrepreneurship in tiny Israel that have made it a world technology giant.

Michael Medved - national talk-show host and author - is a senior fellow. Link

Scott Powell joins Discovery as a senior fellow from Hoover Institute at Stanford University.

During the Q and A an attendee asked if the greed of the financial institutions in the recent melt-down was enough to convince them that more regulation is now needed. I wish I was watching George Gilder's temperature rise during the question, because he was boiling when he responded. "The financial industry is the most regulated ... Sarbanes Oxley was to correct Enron, but it hit the whole industry ... Dodd-Frank hobbles our US industry ..."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Be very careful driving in snow

Very, very careful. From my former coworker Sabrina who grew up in Colorado

Friday, March 09, 2012

Pay your taxes, Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett wants everyone else to pay higher taxes. But his companies don't pay what they owe. Politico
“My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice,”
NetJets owes $366 million in taxes. Bloomberg

Pay up, Mr. Buffett.

Obama is taking action to raise the price of gasoline

President Obama said he wants higher oil prices, just not so fast. He is acting on his wishes. Cut down oil exploration. Cut down oil production. Don't allow crude oil to be transported to the refineries.
He wants higher prices and is causing them. Senator Cantwell is with Him on higher oil and gasoline prices.

Yesterday he worked hard to kill a Senate vote for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Mario Loyola at NRO
And as I reported at The Weekly Standard recently, the president’s policy of choking off oil production under federal leases will prevent another 1 million barrels of oil per day this year, and even more next year. 
Obama will soon be personally responsible for preventing some 2 million barrels per day of possible North American crude oil production from reaching the American economy. The U.S. currently produces only about 6 million barrels of domestic crude oil, so that would be more than a 30 percent increase in domestic production. 
The president likes to say that America is producing more oil than ever before, but that’s due entirely to shale oil (e.g., fracking) and oil sands. The boom in production from private sources is currently shielding the administration from the political consequences of taking such a huge amount of oil off the market. 
Two millions barrels per day of oil production would affect not just the price of gasoline in North America, but also the economics of world oil production: The president is preventing the U.S. from increasing oil production by an amount nearly equivalent to Iran’s total oil exports. He insists that gasoline prices are rising because of “fears” about a disruption in Iranian supply, but he wants you to believe that gasoline prices would be unaffected by a 30 percent increase in domestic U.S. oil production in the next two years. 
If you’re gullible enough to believe that, consider this: The recession drove world oil demand from a peak of 86 million barrels per day in 2007 to a low of 85 million barrels per day in 2009. In the same period, the price of gasoline fell by half. We are once again entering a period of scarcity, where slight fluctuations in demand or supply will have a disproportionate impact on gas prices — but this time the scarcity is largely the product of Obama’s policies. 
— Mario Loyola, a senior analyst at the Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment, is director of the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Gray whales near Everett in March and April

Gray whales spend March and April in the area around Everett and the Snohomish River and along the east side of Whidbey Island - Possession Sound, Saratoga Passage and Port Gardner Bay. The viewing is so good that the tour company that takes passengers from Anacortes to see orca/killer whales moves its boat to Everett for the gray whale season.

Everett Herald
Like a secret roadside restaurant known only to the select few, the rich, muddy tidal flats between Everett and Whidbey Island have become a traditional spring stop for a very select group of hungry mammals.

About a dozen California gray whales, known as the Whidbey grays, make their way into this region seeking snacks of ghost shrimp, experts say.
Island Adventures is doing tours on weekends and two to three week days. The whales are so common that they guarantee you will see at least one or your next trip is free.

The map is from Island Adventures.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Lame-stream ABC notices Obama'a many Solyndras

Obama's Solynrda formula. Get $40 to $400 million or more tax money from Obama's Steve Chu, pay your executive 6-figure bonuses, go bankrupt, lay off all employees. Then Repeat for Beacon Power, repeat for Joe Biden's EnerDel, repeat for Nancy Pelosi's pet, repeat until Obama gets reelected.

Now even the lame-strem media can no longer pretend that this is just one rotten company. It is one rotten administration.

ABC News
President Obama's Department of Energy helped finance several green energy companies that later fell into bankruptcy -- but not before the firms doled out six-figure bonuses and payouts to top executives, a Center for Public Integrity and ABC News investigation found. Take, for instance, Beacon Power Corp., the second recipient of an Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009. In March 2010, the Massachusetts energy storage company paid cash bonuses of $259,285 to three executives in part due to progress made on the $43 million energy loan, Securities and Exchange Commission records show.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Senate budget passed by Republicans and three Democrats

The powers in the Washington Senate were shocked when their inability to write a budget that addresses the realities of 2012 was superseded by the Republicans with three Democrats. After midnight Friday the Republicans pulled procedural moves to get their budget on the floor. It hadn't had one of the required hearings, so they had a clerk read it!

The Republican budget cuts spending - duh - and does not do the stupid, irresponsible trick of delaying payments to the next fiscal year.

The Seattle Times doesn't say one word about the content of the budget until they give the floor to one of their Seattle Democrats.

Seattle Times
The Senate Republican proposal closes a roughly $1 billion budget shortfall, in part by reducing state spending more than the Democrats' proposal. Net cuts include: $44 million to K-12 schools and $30 million to higher education, according to nonpartisan staff. The Democratic budget contained no education cuts. 
The GOP plan also would reduce bonuses for teachers and eliminate a program known as Disability Lifeline, a welfare and health-care program for unemployable adults who aren't covered by federal Social Security benefits. 
It would leave $502 million in reserves to handle unexpected expenses. Democrats had proposed leaving $369 million.
The GOP budget also would not rely on a $330 million delay in payments to school districts to help close the shortfall and avoid cuts. The Senate Democrats had proposed to make the delayed payments permanent, meaning school districts that typically get a major disbursement at the end of June would instead get it in early July.