Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Did Obama sign up for Obamacare?

President Obama says he signed up for Obamacare. Just because he said he did, you thought he really did? This time watch the magician:

Mark Thiessen's summary:

In other words, the president signed up for Obamacare coverage he does not intend to use,

- skipped the disastrous Web site he forced millions of Americans to navigate,

- had someone else do the paperwork for him,

- chose the cheapest possible plan to avoid the premiums he is imposing on others and

- waited until the last possible moment to decide whether he wanted to cough up $400 a month as a symbolic show of solidarity.

Washington Post

Monday, December 30, 2013

Obama ignoring the Constitution #7 Supreme Court arguments

President Obama's Justice Department under Eric Holder violating the US Constitution. #7

Outlandish Supreme Court arguments.

Between January 2012 and June 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Justice Department’s extreme positions 9 times. The cases ranged from criminal procedure to property rights, religious liberty to immigration, securities regulation to tax law.

They had nothing in common other than the government’s view that federal power is virtually unlimited. As a comparison, in the entire Bush and Clinton presidencies, the government suffered 15 and 23 unanimous rulings, respectively over eight years.

For example

Requiring that the attorneys staffing a case have the same racial breakdown as the group petitioning. Legal Insurrection

Avik Roy at Forbes

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Obama ignoring the Constitution #8 Appointments

President Obama swore to uphold the Constitution. Does he know what he promised? He taught Constitutional law at U Chicago, so of course he does. Then why does he continue to violate it? #8

Recess appointments.

Last year, President Obama appointed three members of the National Labor Relations Board, as well as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, during what he considered to be a Senate recess. But the Senate was still holding “pro forma” sessions every three days—a technique developed by Sen. Harry Reid to thwart Bush recess appointments. (Meanwhile, the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB, provides that authority remains with the Treasury Secretary until a director is “confirmed by the Senate.”) In January, the D.C. Circuit held the NLRB appointments to be unconstitutional, which ruling White House spokesman Jay Carney said only applied to “one court, one case, one company.”

Is the language not clear? The president is allowed to make recess appointments when the Senate is not in session. Honorable Harry Reid came up with a way to block President Bush from making appointments by arranging to have one senator present every three days to hold a pro forma session. That is, "Come to order," "Adjourn." So the Republicans did the same thing. No president, not even President Obama, can make a recess appointment dying a Harry-Reid pro-forma session of Congress.

Another violation of President Obama's oath of office.

Ilya Shapiro at Forbes

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Obama ignoring the Constitution #9

Continuing with Obama's violations of the US Constitution: Number 9:

Assault on free speech and due process on college campuses.

Responding to complaints about the University of Montana’s handling of sexual assault claims, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, in conjunction with the Justice Department, sent the university a letter intended as a national “blueprint” for tackling sexual harassment. The letter urges a crackdown on “unwelcome” speech and requires complaints to be heard in quasi-judicial procedures that deny legal representation, encourage punishment before trial, and convict based on a mere “more likely than not” standard.

Due process and being presumed innocent until proven guilty are parts of the bedrock of our legal system. But President Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder instructs colleges to deny legal representation to the accused and conviction on the very low standard of "more likely than not," while our standard is "beyond a reasonable doubt." See also the 14th Amendment. The Free Dictionary

Ilya Shapiro at Forbes.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sea turtles hatching every day

During our recent sojourn in Cabo San Lucas, BCS, Mexico, we saw baby sea turtles hatch almost every day! In our past five visits we have seen two mass hatches and the march to the sea. LINK But this trip surpassed all five previous ones.

On our first morning's sunrise walk we saw a group of people standing on the upper beach at the Solmar Beach Resort - the original Solmar resort. Sure enough a nest of eggs had hatched. A typical nest contains 85 to 110 eggs. They usually hatch just before sunrise. Resort employees (security employees are trained to watch for and handle the turtle hachings) gathered the hatchling turtles and stored them for release late. They choose a time when airborne predators are least likely to attack - sunrise or sunset. So we returned at sunset for the release. But, unfortunately the resort policy changed. In past years we were allowed to each take one turtle and launch him/her. Each one had a name! But this year they put up yellow police tape and wouldn't let us be involved.

The next day we saw a mass hatch at Playa Grande a couple hundred yards down the beach. Both these resorts face the Pacific Ocean; most Los Cabos resorts - both Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo - face the Sea of Cortez.

Another day there was no mass hatch, but we saw wandering tracks on the beach. Speaking to a woman nearby she said she had picked up five wandering babies and launched them in the sea. LOOKING FOR A PHOTO

The fourth of our first five days there we again saw wandering tracks. This time a resort employee was there. He looked around, then where the tracks were densest he put on gloves (¿Porque tienes guantes?) He dug in the sand and about 8 inches down found a turtle. It didn't move at first, but then he did. Hatches in unknown spots usually don't happen because when the mothers lay the eggs the resort marks where they are. And usually they move them to a common area to avoid disturbance.


One year we saw an adult sea turtle cross the very wide beach to the buildings. But we didn't check to see if it was a mother laying eggs; probably was.

Photos: My photos. First two are 2011 at Solmar Beach Resort, Cabo San Lucas, BCS, Mexico. The rest are at Playa Grande in 2013. Adult is Playa Grande in 2010.

Ten days of Obama violating the US Constitution

Has President Barak Obama violated the US Constitution? Yes!! Let's count the ways.

I am going to focus one violation of the Constitution by President Obama per day for ten days. There are certainly more. Number 10:

Mini-DREAM Act. Congress has shamelessly failed to pass any sort of immigration reform, including for the most sympathetic victims of the current non-system, young people who were brought into the country illegally as children. Nonetheless, President Obama, contradicting his own previous statements claiming to lack authority, directed the Department of Homeland Security to issue work and residence permits to the so-called Dreamers. The executive branch undoubtedly has discretion regarding enforcement priorities, but granting de facto green cards goes beyond a decision to defer deportation in certain cases.

From: Cato's Ilya Shapiro at Forbes

Via Allah at Hot Air.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Don't bail out Obamacare

Obama has created a mess; everyone can see the evidence. Thursday he even added a hardship waiver for those who suffer the hardship of their insurance being cancelled by Obamacare! Get it? The hardship caused by Obamacare.

What's coming? Not next week, but coming. A bail out will be "needed." A bail out of insurance companies due to the crisis created by Obamacare.

Say no. Just say "no bail outs."

CNS News re Charles Krauthammer

Government waste in 2013

Senator Tom Coburn (R, OK) provides a helpful focus on wasteful spending in the US government. He just released his annual Wastebook.

Wastebook (PDF)

At Politico a few top examples:

… 3. $17.5 million in brothel tax exemptions: Coburn says that through the tax code, $17.5 million has gone to brothels in Nevada that have claimed tax exemptions for everything from breast implants to “free passes” that were deemed part of promotional costs and eligible for deductions by the IRS.

4. $50 million “Google searches”: Coburn attributes $50 million to National Technical Information Services, an agency that charges for reports that often can be found for free through a Google search. Coburn calls NTIS, which is part of the Department of Commerce, antiquated, as it was created at a time when information wasn’t as readily available. He noted that about 74 percent of its reports had information available in public sources. Additionally, a CD-ROM for which the agency charges $79 contains information that is also available for free on the Internet.

… 7. $285,000 for rock ’n’ roll : For the first time, the federal government’s “trade arm” funded the music industry as the American Association of Independent Music received $284,300 this year from the International Trade Administration. The funding allowed 12 music label executives — joined by one government official — to travel to Rio to promote music in foreign markets. Coburn, calling it the “the Indie Rock Music Execs World Tour,” says the group also had a side trip to Sugarloaf Mountain.

8. $10,000 “Pole” dancing: Through a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a group called PowerUP Project features the linemen and electrical technicians of an Austin, Texas, power company who engage in performance art in a choreographed “ninety minute dance with bucket trucks, cranes and field trucks, and a set of 20 utility poles, all set before a live audience.”

Sunday, December 22, 2013

North Korea slave-camp escapee asks Dennis Rodman

The only person to escape from a maximum-security slave labor camp in North Korea asks Dennis Rodman to think about the slaves suffering today.

Shin Dong-hyuk was born in Camp 14 in 1982. He knew nothing of life outside the camp - and of torture and killing on whim inside - until a high-level detainee was assigned to work with him. Shin's offense wash his father's brother escaping North Korea 25 years before he was born. The detainee told him of life outside and planned for both to escape. The electric wire surrounding the camp is designed, not to turn one back, but to kill. And it did kill the other detainee, but Shin climbed through over his body and got to China, then South Korea, then the US. His story is told in Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden.

Today Shin asks Dennis Rodman to look up Camp 14 on his phone to see it does exists. And to think about the slaves being starved and tortured there while he is partying with the dictator and his chosen few.

Seattle Times

Watch the pension crisis unfold

Unfunded pension liabilities have Puerto Rico near the edge and Detroit going over. Illinois is close and California has liabilities.

Fox News has a new news center bringing all the pension news into one place.

Fox: Pension Crisis: The gathering storm

(This is not a popcorn eating for policy nerds. It is one way to raise awareness on a problem we find easy to forget.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

But the tyrant gave us a great price - Ukraine

Ukraine, a former "republic" in the USSR, has been on the edge between the opportunities and risks of close relations with Europe versus the bear hug of Russia's emerging new empire.

Ukraine's President Yanukovich chose Russia. But huge crowds have been filling the streets in protest. So President-ex-President Vladimir Putin answered the charge of favoritism by granting favors. He announced this week a huge discount on natural gas with assured supply and loans of several billion $. Along with the benefits in energy and finance they got the overlordship of V Putin. He will treat Ukraine with all the respect given to every Soviet republic from 1918 to 1991 and the East Europe vassals from 1945 to 1989. That is none at all.

When you ride the tiger you go very fast. But you can't get off. You don't dare try.

Walter Russell Meade

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

China - smog has benefits

Everyone is so negative about smog. It is unhealthy and especially risky for kids, the elderly and those with asthma. It sometimes slows traffic and now is delaying flights in China. The American Interest

But look on the bright side. It protects a city from missile attack. And who doesn't need that? Reuters

In online commentaries on Monday, state broadcaster CCTV and the widely read tabloid the Global Times, published by the Communist Party's official People's Daily, both tried to put a positive spin on China's smog problem.

Those are official sites of the government of China. But the claim has since been removed.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

WA Obamacare debits accounts early

Washington's Obamacare system debited peoples bank accounts early. Would you like an $835 payment to hit two weeks early? Gov. Jay Inslees team did it.

KGW

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Progress? Yes

There has never been a better time to be alive than now. By most measures everyone is better off than ten years ago. Than 100 years ago.

Cato has a new web site following the trends.

Human Progress

Monday, December 02, 2013

How many times did Obama promise?

"If you like your healthcare plan you will be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period."

Watching the cancellations climb into the millions - and more next year - that statement has been proven false. A lie. How many time did President Obama or his White House spokespeople say it?

PolitiFact has collected 37 instances from June, 2009 to September 26, 2013. 

PolitiFact

Hat tip to Powerline Blog

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Halperin says Palin was right about Obamacare

Senior political analyst Mark Halperin this week found "death panels" in Obamacare. Ex-Governor Sarah Palin showed him the way.

The mainstream media erupted when Gov. Sarah Palin said Obamacare contained committees that decide who gets resources for their health care. On Facebook [don't have a link] she said:

[G]overnment health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.  

Monday Halperin on the Steve Malzburg show said death panels are there. There were built in. Newsmax

The Affordable Care Act contains provisions for "death panels," which decide which critically ill patients receive care and which don't, says Mark Halperin, senior political analyst for Time magazine.

"It's built into the plan. It's not like a guess or like a judgment. That's going to be part of how costs are controlled," Halperin told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV

And he is not negative about them at all.

"We do need to do some of that in this country, because we can't afford to spend so much on end-of-life care. A very high percentage of our healthcare spending is for a very small number of people at the last stages of their life," he said Monday.

"I'm not saying the system shouldn't allow that, but there's too much cost. There're judgments have to be made."

Halperin, coauthor of the bestselling book "Double Down: Game Change 2012," said the U.S. media was not effective in reporting about the effects of the Affordable Care Act on Americans.

Hat tip: Kristin Tate

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Killing the Thanksgiving Day holiday

I won't do Christmas shopping at any store/chain that opens on Thanksgiving Day. Here are the retailers present in the NW that I know of so far:

Macy's

J C Penney

Target Corp

Best Buy Co Inc

Toys R Us

KMart

Wal-Mart

Source: Reuters

The good guys known so far

Home Depot - I saw a lot of good stocking stuffers there.

Apple

Nordstrom

Costco

Patagonia

Quote of the day

I will get serious about Thanksgiving later. But first words from George Will yesterday in the Washington Post:

Human remains found beneath a Leicester parking lot were confirmed to be those of Richard III, missing for most of the 528 years since he lost the Battle of Bosworth. He remains buried beneath the bad reputation acquired at the hands of the Tudors’ talented PR specialist, William Shakespeare.

He has some interesting examples of the public display of stupidity in the same column:
A CNN anchor wondered if an asteroid that passed by Earth on Feb. 15 was “an effect of, perhaps, global warming.”

And:
The Bank of England is putting Jane Austen on a new 10-pound note because without a woman on some notes, British currency would “not command respect and legitimacy.” Queen Elizabeth II is on all notes.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Oregon Obamacare portal not live until March 31

Oregon's Obamacare portal will not go live until March 31. March 31! Six months late!

Cover Oregon will process applications manually until that date. Now its defenders might say: But people will be able to apply online. That might be; I can't tell from this article. But that is just the initial data collection. The process will be carried out manually until then.

And, as of Nov. 21, Oregon remains the only state that has not enrolled one person. Not one!

Oregon Live

Busy airports of the future

Gizmodo shows six airports that will be among the world's largest in the future. The first three are new airports, what we call "from greenfields."


  • Al Maktoum airport in Dubai one of the United Arab Emirates

  • Beijing Daxing - Beijing's third airport

  • Hamad Airport in Doha, Qatar

  • Abu Dhabi airport's Midfield Terminal. A new terminal, not a new airport, but it is planned to handle 20 to 40 million passengers per year.

  • Bao'an airport's International Terminal 3 - This Pearl River airport serves Hong Kong and Shenzhen

  • Incheon, Korea - not new. This is really a list of five, not six.

Photo: Bao'an Terminal 3. Click to enlarge.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

This week's Blame-the-Republicans award for creativity

Why did the press not report that the development of Obamacare was in trouble for the whole three and a half years from bill passage until October 1, 2013? There were signs all over that there were problems. But the press did little. The Republicans were complaining about it. And the press's called that obstructionism by poor losers. Not that they might be right.

Enter Times Magazine editor-at-large Mark Halperin. He admits the press didn't do their job, but blames Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney? Breitbart

To his credit, Halperin didn’t dodge the fact that the media failed to do its job. He did, though, rather bizarrely blame Mitt Romney and Republicans for it. [quoting him talking to Laura Ingraham]

Laura, there is no doubt that the press failed to scrutinize this program at the time of passage and during the context of the president’s re-election. Any reporter who would argue otherwise would be putting their head in the sand. As we write in “Double Down,” the problem for the Republicans in the re-election context was you nominated, Republicans nominated Mitt Romney, a guy who was not very well positioned, to say the least, to make the case against Obamacare because he passed the healthcare plan in Massachusetts. …

Barack Obama knew he wasn’t going to run for re-election defending the program. Part of the flaws of the way the media works. If the candidates aren’t talking about it gets less coverage. No doubt a disservice was done to the country and to liberals. It didn’t get scrutiny on passage and then again when the president was running for re-election. Our cover story in the magazine lays all this out just how deep the president’s predicament is now politically and substantively.

One wonders how many moons Halperin can see from his planet.

Romney did hit on ObamaCare, once during the most high-profile of all presidential election events -- a presidential debate. But he was immediately pummeled by elite media fact-checkers.

In fact, the media played whack-a-mole with Romney, repeatedly hitting him again and again and again whenever he dared criticize ObamaCare. By loudly screaming liar! every time he brought it up, the media intentionally turned ObamaCare into a liability for Romney to run on. And you can bet that was the plan.

According to Halperin, just how many times did Romney have to bring up ObamaCare in order for the media to do its job? Was he just one mention away? Two? Four?

Regardless, the biggest election of the last three years without Romney's name on the ticket was Republican Scott Brown's January 2010 Senate win in Massachusetts; a startling upset caused almost completely by the public's growing concern over ObamaCare.

Still, the media did not scrutinize.

It is also nonsense that Republicans as a whole didn't make an election issue of ObamaCare. Dozens of Republican lawmakers ran on ObamaCare in 2010. Their victories were historic.

Still, the media chose not to scrutinize.

But there is just no excuse -- other than bias -- for the media not scrutinizing ObamaCare as it was being proposed, written, and passed. Still, throughout all of that, including a grueling legislative process, the media refused to investigate the legislation or to take New Media's reporting seriously.

In many cases, over the last few years, the media pushed back against ObamaCare critics as motivated by race...

If the press can't blame the Republicans they might have to do some investigative reporting and … that's work. So their assignment is to find a way, any way, to blame the Republicans for every shortcoming of President Obama and his well paid, underperforming government minions.

I thought Mark Halperin (confused with highly accomplished novelist Mark Helprin*) was one of the more reliable mainstream journalists. But everyone has to suspect every word he writes after they read this creative fiction.

* Mark Helprin is an ivy-league educated American who has served in the Israel military. His novels, Winter's Tale, A Soldier of the Great War and others are very highly regarded.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Obama changes the dictionary

Words can't mean the same when applied to Obamacare. You didn't hear what you thought you heard. "Who are you going to believe - me or your own ears?"

Victor Davis Hanson at National Review

The Obama administration once gave us “man-caused disasters” for acts of terrorism and “workplace violence” for the Fort Hood shootings. Now it has trumped those past linguistic contortions by changing words to mask the Obamacare disaster.

The president and his advisers apparently knew long ago that millions of the insured would face cancellations or premium hikes once Obamacare was fully implemented. Yet to get the 906-page bill passed, they had to convince the public of the very opposite scenario. So they repeated ironclad guarantees that no one would lose their coverage or doctors — “period!”

Now the administration explains the deception by going after both the ethics of the insurers and the intelligence of the previously insured. That task required language to be altered. The newly canceled health plans are suddenly rebranded by the administration as “subpar.” Only in autumn 2013 is the supposedly unaware public told that, years ago, “bad apple” insurance companies sold them “substandard” plans.

According to Obama, millions of Americans were once ignorant or uninformed, and thus will soon be pleased about their cancellations: “So the majority of folks will end up being better off. Of course, because the website’s not working right, they don’t necessarily know it.”

Congressional aids complain loudly about Obamacare

Congressional aids are complaining loudly about Obamacare. But… This is different… It's one thing to mess up everyone else. But this is going to cost ME, a well paid senior staff member. Hypocrites!

Not all Congressional staff was put under Obamacare - slimy people - but some were. And though it levels most people. But older people do spend more on health care and Obamacare does allow charging more - up to 3 times more.

Politico

… older congressional staffs may leave their jobs because of the change to their health insurance.

Under the Affordable Care Act, and federal regulations, many congressional staffers — designated as “official” aides — were forced to move out of the old heavily subsidized Federal Employees Health Benefits program and into the District of Columbia’s health insurance marketplace exchange. Others designated as “unofficial” were allowed to stay in the FEHB program. Managers had to choose whether aides were “official” or “unofficial” by Oct. 31, and Ta said that wasn’t enough time to make an informed decision about who would benefit and who would lose out by going into the new system.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Obama says he is not stupid

No one else suggested he was. But he did. Notice he is not saying he is not stupid, but just his degree of it.

Hyperliberal Mediaite

“You know, I’m accused of a lot of things but I don’t think I’m stupid enough to go around saying this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity a week before the website opens if I thought that it wasn’t going to work,” the president continued.

As they dig deeper he looks worse. Not him, you say, but the people who he appointed to represent him.

While the president may have been telling the truth – that he was not “informed directly” that the ACA exchanges web portal would not function on its October 1 launch date – recently uncovered details of the ACA website’s design and construction phase indicate that members of his cabinet were.

A report which surfaced in the Washington Post as a result of the work done by congressional investigators shows officials with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Department of Health and Human Services, including Sec. Kathleen Sebelius, were informed of the scale of the problems plaguing the website’s construction as early as April.

The president’s credibility has already been gravely, possibly irreparably, damaged by the unraveling of his oft-repeated promise that anyone with health insurance would be able to keep those plans if they liked them. It has already been shown that the president was informed as early as February of 2010 that the law would, indeed, force people off their current plans. But a report which surfaced on Monday night indicated that the president’s own Justice Department authored a brief in October showed that most of the country’s insured will have to seek new plans.

They knew his promise was not a promise, but a non truth.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Obama Labor Department falsified unemployment data before 2012 election

President Obama's Labor Department falsified unemployment data before 2012 election. And they knew it. An employee was caught entering false data, then management continued the practice.

So a false improvement of unemployment was publicized at a very convenient time for President Obama.

New York Post

Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy.

And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.

“He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.

The Census employee caught faking the results is Julius Buckmon, according to confidential Census documents obtained by The Post. Buckmon told me in an interview this past weekend that he was told to make up information by higher-ups at Census.

Update:
Congressman Darrel Issa (R, CA) is asking questions of the director of Census Bureau. He is asking about the person reported to have begun the fudging. And who he worked for and what they did. Good.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Green policy trap

Bjorn Lomborg of Copenhagen is still evaluating green policies - their benefits and their costs. He doesn't oppose reducing CO2. He just asks "what will you get per dollar spent?" And often the answer is very little. Like 10 cents on the dollar.

Project Syndicate
… Consider the European Union’s 20-20 policy, which targets a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions below 1990 levels by 2020. It is important to examine this approach, not only because the EU is pursuing the world’s largest and most ambitious climate policy, but also because other climate policies suffer from similar shortcomings.
The most cost-efficient way to achieve the 20% target would be to operate a single, EU-wide carbon-market, which would cost the EU about $96 billion annually by 2020. But the benefits to the entire world would be much lower. Indeed, the only peer-reviewed overview of EU climate policy estimates that it can avoid climate-related damage of about $10 billion per year. So, for every dollar spent, the EU stands to avoid about ten cents of damage.
Who wants a payoff of 1 for 10 invested? Actually when he rounds up more costs the payoff is 0.5 for 10 invested. He is encouraging everyone to take a hard look and find more cost-effective ways.

Graphic from ecobase21.net. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ethanol mandate causing environmental damage

I haven't been hearing the greenies talking about the damage caused by the huge increase in acreage of corn, due to the mandated use of ethanol.

Daily Caller quoting AP

… Yet the federal government’s biofuel mandate, the Renewable Fuel Standard, has raised corn prices and incentivized farmers to grow corn on environmentally fragile land once set aside for conservation. The AP reports that 5 million acres of conservation land has been put into service since President Obama took office.

Furthermore, the AP identified more than 1.2 million acres of valuable “virgin land” in Nebraska and the Dakotas alone that has been plowed into corn and soybean fields since 2006 — the year after the RFS was first signed into law.

More corn means more nitrogen fertilizer. This type of fertilizer is toxic when it seeps into drinking water and has been known to cause “blue baby” syndrome in children. Communities across the Midwest are feeling the effects of increased fertilizer use.

Nitrogen fertilizer use shot up by one billion pounds between 2005 and 2010, and the AP estimates that another billion pounds of fertilizer have been used for corn production since then. Nitrates travel down rivers and into the Gulf of Mexico where they boost algae growth, which consume huge amounts of oxygen when they die, making the sea zone unlivable for other creatures.

“On the one hand, the government is mandating ethanol use,” said Larry McKinney, the executive director of the Harte Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, “and it is unfortunately coming at the expense of the Gulf of Mexico.”

The Des Moines Water Works supplies drinking water to 500,000 people and is used to high nitrate levels in their water. DMWW gets its drinking water from one of two rivers — when nitrate levels are too high in one, they pull from the other. However, this year nitrate levels were high in both rivers, and workers with massive machinery had to work around the clock for three months over the summer to clean the water. ...

McDermott says Republican bill is socialism

My Congressman Jim McDermott is on the front line in Congress today. During the floor vote on Rep. Upton's You Can Keep Your Healthcare Act H.R. 3350, McDermott spotted socialism at work and stood up to call it out.

McDermott:

"… I can't believe what I'm hearing."

"I thought the Republicans believed in the free enterprise system," he continued. "This is socialism. This is government saying to insurance companies, you must sell a policy to somebody next year that you sold to them this year. When did we shift on the Republican side to the Congress telling an insurance company who they have to sell a policy to or what's in the policy?"

Did big Jim read the bill? Liberal Talking Points Memo says the bill allows, but does not require, insurance companies to continue offering policies that do not meet ObamaCare's new restrictions. How is that forcing the companies? See H.R. 3350.

And McDermott praised Gov. Inslee and Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler for denying the people of Washington the choice that President Obama promised over and over: “if you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan, period.” And it looks to me they will be able to stick us with higher-cost Obama insurance because H.R. 3350 allows, but does not require, companies to continue the policies and state insurance commissioners are involved in what insurance is offered in their state. Daily Caller Sound Politics

Mayor forces unions on preschools

Mayor McGinn is forcing preschool operators - not to unionize - but to sign an agreement with the unions. He says he is not forcing them to have contract negotiations with the unions which do not represent their employees. But just sign a "teacher stabilization agreement." A what?

The unions will certainly arrive at the talks energized by the strength of their position with the mayor behind them. What if the preschool doesn't agree with the union's prewritten agreement? Well, they have to sign.

The stabilization agreement will be one that "lays out the framework for organizing the workplace and ensures that day-care centers stay open in the event of a strike or other labor action."

Forced unionization. On what basis? The contract under which they serve the City? Not the old one, but with the new one - yes.

If having a union were good for the employees they would ask for it. The whole process: Union gets employees to sign request cards. Have an election. Did the unions and employees do this? No.

This is a power play by the lame duck. "A spokesman for Mayor McGinn said there wasn't any political motivation." They claim to be only interested in quality teachers and stability. Sure.

There is one ray of hope. Councilman Tim Burgess is asking if it's legal. Assuming nonpolitical Mayor McGinn is constrained by the law.

Seattle Times

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kerry's lousy Iran deal in one slide

Sec. of State John F Kerry is bragging about how he got Iran to make an agreement with ut. But some people say it's not much of a deal.

Senator Kirk of Illinois put it together. Iran gets to continue developing nuclear weapons. The rest of the world gets nothing except a piece of paper with a signature that John F Kerry can wave around.


Via Breitbart. See Senator Kirk.

The graphic - from Senator Kirk. Click to enlarge.

Apparent fraud by ObamaCare Navigators

Obama hires people to help the public sign up for ObamaCare. Would he imagine being nonpolitical in hiring? Obama political?

What is happening - The Navigators are telling people to lie on their applications. And they are acting like employees of the Democrat Party. Indeed, some say they are working for Democrats. How do we know? Video!

Video by James O'Keefe. He sends actors with hidden video cameras to ask for help. They admit to wrong-doing. What do the helpers do? Tell them to lie.

John Fund reports at National Review with video.

… The events of O’Keefe’s video of a Texas navigator site run by the National Urban League are a familiar sight to viewers of his past efforts exposing Medicaid and voter fraud. Government-paid workers supposedly trained to uphold the law advise clients on how to lie on government forms, evade legal requirements, and ignore proper procedures.

“You lie because your premiums will be higher,” one navigator advises an investigator for O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, who tells the worker he sometimes smokes. “Don’t tell them that. Don’t tell ’em.

O'Keefe's Project Veritas

Thursday, November 07, 2013

ObamaCore

I haven't studied the new "federal but not centralized" Common Core standards for K-12 - no pre-K to 12 - education, but it doesn't seem aligned to my values.

I have an idea how to push its defenders like Jeb Bush back. Label it ObamaCommonCore, no make it ObamaCore.

UK NHS failed central computer system

Glitches in a web site? The history of governments building computer systems to take care of everything is littered with failures. The failures not only cost a lot, but also take the time of key people, disrupt normal operations and delay the start of the less ambitious replacement that succeeds.

King County Washington has suffered a few, as I recall.

In the UK the National Health System decided to simplify work life by centralizing much patient information. After years of effort and $1 billion spent they decided to DEcentralize records.

Independent UK

Farm cash for billionaires

Why give cash to billionaire Paul Allen? You thought checks for farmers were to help struggling families to keep their farms. Paul Allen, Charles Schwab and other billionaires are supported by you and me.

Seattle Times
The federal government paid $11.3 million in taxpayer-funded farm subsidies from 1995 to 2012 to 50 billionaires or businesses in which they have some form of ownership, according to a report released Thursday by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based research organization.

The billionaires who received the subsidies or owned companies that did include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen; investment titan Charles Schwab; and S. Truett Cathy, owner of Chick-fil-A. The billionaires who got the subsidies have a collective net worth of $316 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Four pinocchios for Obama insurance promise

“That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

– President Obama, speech to the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009 (as the health-care law was being written.)

“And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t happen in the future.”

– Obama, remarks in Portland, April 1, 2010, after the health-care law was signed into law.

Now they are saying he said something different. But we see here what he said. Many times. Both before and after the law was passed in March, 2010, as we see above.

Four pinocchios - Washington Post's Glenn Kessler digs in and gives Obama his most damaging rating. Washington Post Obama would not have gotten such a bad rating if he had said it only before the law was passed. But he continued after it was passed and the regulations were going into place that would force massive cancellations.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Preparing Kathleen Sibelius for the job she already has

Tennessee state senator Brian Kelsey (R) presented the invaluable book "Websites for Dummies" to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius. She needed it in 2010. Better get started.

Photo found at  American Thinker.

People ran from their cars on storm-pounded 520 bridge

The wind storm in Western Washington was so strong that people ran from their cars on the 520 bridge, Watch the video. Being taken from a video cam mounted on the windshield it doesn't give the big picture. But it does show people out of their cars on the bridge, some walking and some running!

KING TV

Godlike Productions also has raw video from a WS DOT camera showing why people would not/could not drive across. Fuzzy, but stunning. GodlikeProductions

In Lake Forest Park our power went out at 10 am and back on a 10 pm. Our home is near very busy Highway 522. Fortunately the state provided the traffic light nearest us with emergency power, so traffic was able to flow. But seeing our neighborhood shopping mall completely black was stunning.

Seattle City Light has a real-time map showing the areas of outage. Seattle Light. Sunday morning there are "only" 2099 homes and businesses without power. Too bad it doesn't have a historical archive. Yesterday there were huge areas of red.

Obamacare - Disdain for the peasants

Obamacare roll out:

1. Incompetent website
2. We remember Pres. Obama promised "If you like your health insurance you will able to keep it. Period." As we see hundreds of thousands cancelled. If he was telling the truth then why isn't he working now to fulfill it?
3. What are they trying to hide? It's ugly. Read Manhattan Comtrarian

Especially the list of ten required services in EVERY plan. See the original at HealthCare.gov

Yes. You have to be insured for pediatric oral care - that's dental care for children - even if you have none or your sons/daughters are grown.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Coffee is good for the health

Of course; I can taste it. Coffee has several health benefits. Lower risks of bad things including Type II diabetes and liver failure. And antioxidants and some vitamins.

Authority Nutrition

Cash for clunkers created jobs at cost of $1.4 million each

President Obama's "cash for clunkers" program created few jobs and those cost $1.4 million each. And those were not permanent jobs, only for one year. Obama and VP Biden claimed it would create 70,000 jobs. It created 3,676 of those one-year jobs. Jobs could have been bought by other methods much, much cheaper. Duh.

Did it increase car sales? No. IT just moved them forward (earlier). Sales did go higher, then cratered when the program ended.

It helped higher-income people at the cost of lower-income people. After all, what happens to not-new cars? They are bought by people who need transportation who can't afford new. But Cash for Clunkers caused 700,000 cars to be junked. Some really were clunkers, but many could have served for another decade.

"But it was intended to improve the environment by getting gas guzzlers and polluters off the roads," you say. It did reduce gasoline consumption - by about 3 days worth for the country. Wow. And carbon emissions? See Detroit News:

The study found the costs for reducing carbon emissions was similar to the $3,400 hybrid tax credit, but more cost effective than the electric vehicle tax credit, excise tax credit for ethanol or renewable fuel standard.

“The cost per ton of carbon dioxide reduced from the program suggests that the program was not a cost effective way to reduce emissions,” the study found.

UK NHS £11B health-care computer system fails

If you want to simplify health care by going to a single payer - the government - then learn from the UK. The NHS - National Health System - is their health care for everyone, except for private care purchased by wealthier people. It must be nice to have everything run by one outfit = no difficult decisions for everyone. How is it working?

NHS decided to have one computer system for everyone. Ending having some records here and some there. They undertook an £11 billion development effort, which is about $20 billion. After ten years they gave up. They failed.

Independent UK

A plan to create the world's largest single civilian computer system linking all parts of the National Health Service is to be abandoned by the Government after running up billions of pounds in bills. Ministers are expected to announce next month that they are scrapping a central part of the much-delayed and hugely controversial 10-year National Programme for IT.

Instead, local health trusts and hospitals will be allowed to develop or buy individual computer systems to suit their needs – with a much smaller central server capable of "interrogating" them to provide centralised information on patient care. News of the Government's plans comes as a damning report from a cross-party committee of MPs concludes that the £11.4bn programme had proved "beyond the capacity of the Department of Health to deliver".

The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that, while the intention of creating a centralised database of electronic patient records was a "worthwhile aim", a huge amount of money had been wasted. ...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Warnings given re Fannie and Freddie before housing meltdown

Warnings were given against the federal giants Fannie and Freddie before the 2008 meltdown. They were allowed to do dangerous things. Congress was warned that they were too large - too much risk in two "companies," acting dangerously and ultimately didn't have enough capital for their bets. Warned repeatedly. Then it all blew up and there were part of the giant mess.

But Congress didn't listen. Rep. Barnie Frank and Senator Chris Dodd ignored the warnings by Sec. of Treasury John Snow in 2003, Chairman of Council of Economic Advisers Greg Mankiw in 2003 and Ben Bernanke in 2005. And more…

Indeed, Rep. Maxine Water and Rep Gregory Meeks chewed Snow out for wasting their time:

I have sat through nearly a dozen hearings where, frankly, we were trying to fix something that wasn't broke. [sic] ...These GSEs have more than adequate capital for the business they are in: providing affordable housing. As I mentioned, we should not be making radical or fundamental change... If there is anything to fix or improve, it is the [regulators].

Rep. Gregory Meeks, Democrat of New York, agreed with Rep. Waters and rabidly stated,

...I have to go to another hearing, I will try to be just real quick... I am just pissed off at [the regulator] because if it wasn't for you I don't think that we would be here in the first place. ...we are faced with is maybe some individuals who wanted to do away with GSEs in the first place, you have given them an excuse to try to have this forum [to change the] mission of what the GSEs had, which they have done a tremendous job... There has been nothing that was indicated is wrong, you know, with Fannie Mae... The question that then presents is the competence that your agency has with reference to deciding and regulating these GSEs.

That's just one; there were many more warnings. But, hey, all those people worked for President Bush.

Aaron Rodriguez shows the timeline at Conservative Hispanic.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Three cheers for Chuck from Friday Harbor

Chuck had an ambitious goal. And made it.

American Thinker

Every so often an ordinary man does something extraordinary that delights the rest of us, and keeps us smiling as we go about our own mundane business. Let me tell you the story of Chuck Bailey's bike ride:

Chuck is a semi-retired gentleman who works summers at our local bike shop here in Friday Harbor, which is in the San Juan Islands north of Seattle...

I leave the happy ending at the link.

Obamacare has failed too soon

Obama said multiple times that he wanted single-payer healthcare. That is, the government runs everything. Some think that Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act was to set up coverage through private insurance companies that would fail. Then people would say "The private approach failed. Let the government have control." You see? It was designed to fail!! This author, James Edwards, thinks so. But Obamacare failed too soon.

Washington Times

President Obama’s legacy may include a stake in the heart of a cherished dream of the progressive left: complete government control of healthcare in America.

Obama has always wanted a single-payer, government-run healthcare system, and he set out a complicated but achievable path to get to that goal through Obamacare. The eventual failure of Obamacare would set the stage for single-payer healthcare.

Unfortunately for him, he designed Obamacare to fail in the wrong ways at the wrong times, making it harder, not easier to achieve his goal of completely socialized healthcare.

If Obamacare dies an early and spectacular failure, it will be at least another 100 years before the American people will consider government-run healthcare again. This is why Obama will fight tooth and nail to impose this lead balloon on the American people.

Obama’s progressive “fundamental transformation” of this country was to revolve around a single-payer, government run and controlled healthcare system. He realized that he would have to sell a Trojan Horse to the American people; America would not stand for an immediate and open takeover of 1/6th of the economy. He therefore planned to gradually ruin and demonize the private insurance industry until it was fully destroyed, leaving full government control as the only option.

Obama, speaking to the Illinois AFL-CIO, on June 30, 2003 said, “I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program.”

Read the whole thing.

"They say it will be working by the end of November," you say. If they had done the redesign and had the coding finished today, one month might be enough time to test it and get it to handle unforeseen combination, etc. Might be. But it's likely they would need even more time JUST TO TEST IT.

Stopping Obamacare - Humor

Now we have proof that Obama is in trouble. Even NPR is making jokes on Him.

"The Republicans spent weeks trying to stop Obamacare. They wasted a lot of energy. All they had to do was wait for Obama to try to start it."

"During his Rose Garden defense of Obamacare this week Obama gave an 800 number to call. Then when he gave the number a second time he threw in an offer for Ginsu knives and Chop Magic."

I heard this on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.

Friday, October 25, 2013

White House promised no sObamacare problems

The White House was excitedly previewing the Obamacare website in the days before it went (supposed-to-be) live on October 1.

They had inside knowledge. They were showing that it was elegantly designed, simple to use and ready for the crushing masses.

NY Times

Now they say they had no idea there might be a problem. Why not? Maybe because they didn't ask?

Quietest Atlantic hurricane season in 45 years

2013 is the quietest Atlantic hurricane season in 45 years. What did scientist Albert Gore, Jr. predict?

This year only two hurricanes formed and both were category 1, the lowest of five degrees of severeness. And no hurricane made landfall in the US. Though Andrea hit the Florida panhandle, but it was only a tropical storm at the time. (Yes, I know a tropical storm is powerful, but it's not a hurricane.)

Yahoo News Canada

It has also been a year marked by the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982 and the first since 1994 without the formation of a major hurricane. [Major is category 3.]

In terms of so-called "Accumulated Cyclone Energy" (ACE), a common measure of the total destructive power of a season's storms, 2013 ranks among the 10 weakest since the dawn of the satellite era in the mid-1960s, said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.

"The ACE so far in 2013 is 33 percent of normal," he said.

Al Gore warned us in his so-called documentary An Inconvenient Truth

Now I'm going to show you, recently released, the actual ocean temperature. Of course when the oceans get warmer, that causes stronger storms. We have seen in the last couple of years, a lot of big hurricanes. Hurricanes Jean, Francis and Ivan were among them. In the same year we had that string of big hurricanes; we also set an all time record for tornadoes in the United States. Japan again didn't get as much attention in our news media, but they set an all time record for typhoons. The previous record was seven. Here are all ten of the ones they had in 2004.

The science textbooks that have to be re-written because they say it is impossible to have a hurricane in the South Atlantic. It was the same year that the first one that ever hit Brazil. The summer of 2005 is one for the books. The first one was Emily that socked into Yucatan. Then Hurricane Dennis came along and it did a lot of damage, including to the oil industry. This is the largest oil platform in the world after Dennis went through. This one was driven into the bridge at Mobile.

And then of course came Katrina. It is worth remembering that when it hit Florida it was a Category 1, but it killed a lot of people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. And then, what happened? Before it hit New Orleans, it went over warmer water. As the water temperature increases, the wind velocity increases and the moisture content increases. And you'll see Hurricane Katrina form over Florida. And then as it comes into the Gulf over warm water it becomes stronger and stronger and stronger. Look at that Hurricane's eye. And of course the consequences were so horrendous; there are no words to describe it. . . .

[Page 10 of this unofficial transcript TeacherWeb (pdf)]

Paging Al Gore. Paging Al Gore. I have a question.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tom Foley's Leadership of the US House

Long-time Washinton Congressman and Speaker of the House of Representatives Tom Foley died this week. He led the House for six years and led his Democrats in the House to thorough defeat in the election of 1994. He even lost his own seat when the voters in Spokane and rural eastern Washington told him to come home. And he did, but they didn't see him. He continued to live in Washington, DC, his home.

This is the place to say he is remembered for working across the aisle, etc. But I have no memory of him being other than a Democrat partisan who talked conservative in his Eastern-Washington district and was an establishment power player inside the beltway. For instance:

He sued the voters of Washington!!

And he expected them to reelect him? The voters of the state passed Initiative 573 to limit Congressmen to 6 consecutive years in the House and Senators to 12 years. Someone had to put us in our places. So Foley bravely sued us. Christian Science Monitor - Ballot Pedia

He led the defense against investigation of the House Post Office. Examiner

The Capitol Police investigated embezzlement charges in the House of Representatives Post Office. Originally, they targeted a solitary employee, but the investigation quickly expanded to include many workers. The Democratic leadership quickly moved to stop the investigation. Clearly, they feared what the police would discover.

The U.S. Post Office took up the case and issued a scathing report. Speaker of the House Tom Foley did his best to censor the report, but elements leaked to the press. In 1992, news of embezzlement and money laundering trickled out to the public. Congress launched an investigation designed to whitewash the affair. In July, the Democratic report claimed an end to the scandal. The Republican report disagreed and raised serious questions about the House Post Office.

What Post Office scandal? Say you were a Congressman and got a check for $1,000 from a lobbyist. You had use for that money; you didn't want to put it into your reelection account. So you would take it to the House Post Office and buy a sheet of stamps for $5.00 and get $995.00 in cash back. Nice, eh? Illegal? Yes. One of the House's most powerful Democrats, Dan Rostenkowski, went to jail for his involvement.

The House Banking Scandal

There was a similar privilege in the House's own bank. If Congressman XYZ overdrew his checking account they let it slide. Say he overdrew it by $10,000. The bank could wait until pay day, or the next pay day or the one after that. I don't find any fingerprints of House Speaker Foley on a cover up of this. But he was the leader of the entire House; it was on his watch. Examiner

That's the Tom Foley I remember.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Challenged kids learn

Kids are learning when they are challenged. In this example the problem is open-ended. After what turns out to be the first round even the best performers can improve. And those farther down have the chance to improve.

Joanne Jacobs

Friday, October 11, 2013

SeaTac area unions don't pay the $15 they are demanding

The city of SeaTac will be voting to establish $15 per hour as the minimum wage.

If $15 per hour should be the minimum wage why don't local unions pay their employees $15? They don't according to Generic Freedom Foundation

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

There is a way for successful policy change

There is a way to pass and implement successful policy change. Yes, changes that can be implemented.

Nobel economist James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock studied public decision processes - all of them - and found successes and called their method Public Choice Theroy. (PCT) In PCT policy changes are made when there is there is unanimous consent. Unanimous? That's impossible? No. During the process you ask the would-be losers what they need. And the end decision gives them something to offset what they would have lost. So everyone is satisfied.

If you need to build a road you give generous relocation to those displaced and lessen the impact on the closest neighbors by fences or plantings.

But how could President Obama use this? By listening to his elected opponents - the House and the Senate Republicans. Obama listen? He is the master of "my way or the highway" and endless straw men. [A straw man is exaggerating your opponent's case beyond recognition, then saying "I disagree with those who say we should push all grandmothers over high cliffs." Then he shows he is much more reasonable than his hyper-fiction opponents.]

For absolute contrast look at how Obamacare was passed. Written in back rooms. With many, many blanks: "The Secretary of HHS will decide." Then after the House passed the 2700-page mess, they intended to correct it in the Senate. "What's the rush?: But Sen. Kennedy died and was replaced by Sen. Scott Brown, as Republican. So they couldn't fix the mess they knew they had created. But after passage they had to line up and say it was what they wanted.

Where were the Republicans? The Senate had a bipartisan study group, but nothing the Republicans suggested was accepted. And former Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn't allow normal hearings through the committee process.

Public Choice Theory works. How about it, Mr. President?

Public Choice Theory was first explained in the book The Calculus of Consent by Buchanan and Tullock in 1962. Wikipedia The book is online at Library of Economics and Liberty

Via Christoper Chantrill at American Thinker.

Monday, October 07, 2013

President Spiteful Obama

We understand President Obama is using the "Washington Monument" tactic. You do the cuts to affect the maximum number of people. But He is carrying it farther than seen before in my lifetime.

Congress's blame is limited to not passing a budget. Only part of that, because the president has to accept the budget. But with the funds available it is the executive branch that sets the priorities. Obama's appointees decide. The Obama administration decided to block the highway shoulders by Mt Rushmore, so one cannot pull over and look. Sioux Falls News And Obama forced Mt Vernon (Washington's home) to close despite being totally privately funded. You see, the parking lot is federally owned, so the National Park Service was directed to lock it. The Inquisitor What does it cost to allow Mt Vernon to use the parking lot? Doesn't matter. This is for spite.

But… missing kids? Missing kids? Obama closed the Amber Alert website. Washington Examiner

Saturday, October 05, 2013

How Apple innovates

This video about how Apple innovates - by waiting and watching, by buying, and … - is interesting enough that I am providing a free ad for an online MBA outfit.

Online MBA

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The ancestry of every county in the US

Daily Mail - UK

The ancestry of every county in the US in one map. Surprising. Germany predominates?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

New island formed off Pakistan

The coast of Pakistan had a 7.8 earthquake Monday. Half an hour late in the town of Gwadar  people were astonished to see something in the ocean - an island. It is less than 300 feet long and sticks up 50 feet. Brave souls have already landed on it and walked around.

BBC

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mega bird migration

Watch the bird migration at night.

The weather radar that detects rain can also detect birds. When there is no precipitation the operators set the radar in a very sensitive mode that detects birds. I don't know how to directly access the radar. But Cliff Mass of U of W captured the bird activity on Saturday, September 7. The birds mostly fly at night to avoid predators. He has a series of radar captures from the new Langley Hill radar near Ocean Shores, Washington, showing little activity before sunset, heavy activity at night, then a sharp drop at sunrise.

Cliff Mass describes this at his CM Weather Blog.


Here are a radar image before sunset and one only an hour later, after sunset. It's amazing the leap in activity. Images from Cliff Mass.

Monday, September 23, 2013

U Cal says deny care to nonbelievers of Obamacare

An official of the U Cal San Francisco medical school says that "nonbelievers" in Obamacare should be denied medical care. Stephanie Handler is in the development office of UCSF. She cannot handle policy disagreement, because this is war for her.

How does UC President Janet Napolitano feel about her employee's action?

Thomas Lifson at American Thinker

In Kenya Muslims targeted Christians

Seattle Times and New York Times explained all about the group that killed about 70 in the attack on the mall in Kenya. But in all their detail they didn't notice that the attacking group is Muslim. And in their attack they told Muslims to leave and killed Christians and non-Muslims. Reported by CNN

And Al-Shabbab, the attackers' group, claims their attackers escorted Muslims out safely. CNN

Our trusted news source just didn't notice. Inconvenient facts.

Now behind a pay wall Seattle Times. The story is titled "Why Somali militants attacked Kenya mall" and leaves out a primary reason.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stupid and clever

Great quote from G. K. Chesterton:

“The whole point of the Eugenic pseudo-scientific theories is that they are to be applied wholesale, by some more sweeping and generalizing money power than the individual husband or wife or household. Eugenics asserts that all men must be so stupid that they cannot manage their own affairs; and also so clever that they can manage each other's.” --G. K. Chesterton

Found at Shoreline-LFP Patch.

Clinton terrorist

A recent employee of William J. Clinton Foundation has been arrested in Egypt for inciting violence. But don't worry. Working for Clinton didn't cause him to be this way. He was a jihadist before Clinton hired him.

Why did Bill Clinton hire a Muslim jihadist to represent him?

Andrew C McCarthy at PJ Media explains.

He quotes Washington Free Beacon:

A senior Muslim Brotherhood official who, until recently, had been employed by the William J. Clinton Foundation was arrested in Cairo on Tuesday and charged with inciting violence.

Gehad el-Haddad served as one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s top communications officials until Egyptian security forces seized him as part of a wider crackdown on officials loyal to ousted former President Mohamed Morsi.

Before emerging as a top Brotherhood official and adviser to Morsi, el-Haddad served for five years as a top official at the Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit group founded by former President Bill Clinton.

El-Haddad gained a reputation for pushing the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist agenda in the foreign press, where he was often quoted defending the Brotherhood’s crackdown on civil liberties in Egypt

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Climb stairs for exercise and views

The Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle is up and down from sea level to 456 feet in a compact area just north of Seattle Center and the Space Needle.

Neighbors have built a web page of the 121 public stairs. QA Public Stairs. It is very well done.

More sources

Seattle All Stairs

Public Stairs

A book - Seattle Stairway Walks - by Jake Jaramillo - Mountaineers Books

Monday, September 16, 2013

Raising Costa Concordia cruise ship

Today they are going to raise the Costa Concordia that sank off Giglio Island, Italy, after hitting rocks when passing close for the captain to show off in January, 2012.

Telegraph (UK) has detailed sketches of how they are doing it. Needless to say, their process is very elaborate, since the ship is 950 long and is 114,000 tonnes - twice the size of Titanic.

More after the first day's effort. Daily Mail (UK).

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Expensive delay for Seattle tunnel

Work on the tunnel in Seattle to replace the ugly Alaska Way Viaduct (elevated) is stopped. Big Bertha, the huge drilling machine, is idle; it hasn't moved one foot in over two weeks. Three? It is some union battle over dirt that is near water.

How much is it costing every day? Who is paying the bill?

I called my three legislators. I got two courteous promises to investigate and get back to me and one never-responded-to message. The courteous "get back to you" calls have never come, despite several days and follow-up calls from me.

I called Governor Inslee and was told "He is working with the key parties, buts I can't tell you anything." Q: How much is it costing per day? A: Ask Office of Financial Management (OFM).

OFM: How much does it cost? Ask Labor Relations.

Labor Relations: Why would anyone send you to us about costs? Call Dept of Transportation (DOT).

DOT: Call the Seattle project office. Seattle office: Voice mail.

So after several days, no one has any idea about how much it is costing us taxpayers.

Seattle Times about the source of the dispute.

… The ILWU signed a contract in April with tunneling firms that included the four waterfront jobs, but an arbitrator said in July the building-trades pact takes precedence.

Testimony at the NLRB resumes Tuesday. The record will be forwarded to Washington, D.C., where the five-member board would issue a ruling within weeks, said regional director Ronald Hooks.

The board will be urged to act promptly, because of the stoppage, he said.

Between 20 and 30 longshoremen a day have walked the picket line at T-46, said Cam Williams, president of ILWU Local 19 in Seattle.

Why didn't the unions accept the decision of the arbitrator?

Danny Westneat observes that Governor Inslee doesn't have the guts to tell a union to get out of the way. Westneat thinks the Longshoremen will compromise. Longshoremen compromise? Seattle Times

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The shameful record of Eliot Spitzer

Conrad Black looks over the record in elected office of Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace as Governor of NY. As New York's Attorney General he harassed innocent people and caused them great expense and ruined careers. He lost the big cases; they had little merit. And, even today, he is resisting the release of his emails; he has a lot to hide.

Good news. He was rejected Tuesday in his bid for a renewal. The voters of NY City rejected him for the office of controller.

NY Sun (Conrad's article is mostly about our president; Spitzer is farther down the page.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Is Obama administration most corrupt ever?

The liberal establishment Huffington Post asks the question! Ariana's crew is way, way off the farm.

Original sources: -1- World Bank's Worldwide Governance Index

The US has dropped since the last report during President George W Bush's term.

-2- World Economic Forum's  The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 (pdf)

That report rates 144 countries, on a wide range of factors concerning global economic competitiveness; and the U.S. scores below all other industrialized countries (of which there are about thirty) on most of the corruption-related factors. (Furthermore, that rating has likewise declined while Obama has been in office.)

Quoiting Huff-Post on the latter report:

[Competitiveness, of course, includes corruption.] On "Diversion of Public Funds [due to corruption]," the U.S. ranks #34 (down from #28 in their 2009-2010 report). On "Irregular Payments and Bribes" (which is perhaps an even better measure of lack of corruption) we are #42 (not rated in 2009). On "Public Trust in Politicians," we are #54 (down from #43 in 2009). On "Judicial Independence," we are #38 (down from #26). On "Favoritism in Decisions of Government Officials" (otherwise known as governmental "cronyism"), we are #59 (down from #48). On "Organized Crime," we are #87 (down from #72). On "Ethical Behavior of Firms," we are #29 (down from #22). On "Reliability of Police Services," we are #30 (down from #21). On "Transparency of Governmental Policymaking," we are #56 (down from #31). On "Efficiency of Legal Framework in Challenging Regulations," we are #37 (down from #35). On "Efficiency of Legal Framework in Settling Disputes," we are #35 (down from #33). On "Burden of Government Regulation," we are #76 (down from #53). On "Wastefulness of Government Spending," we are also #76 (down from #68). On "Property Rights" protection (the basic law-and-order measure), we are #42 (down from #30)

The U.S. is down on 19 of these WEF factors, up on 2, and unchanged on 1, during the period while Obama has been in office. This overall finding, of declining U.S. performance, is entirely in line with the similar findings from the World Bank: Corruption in the United States is increasing significantly during Obama's Presidency.

And Eric Zuess at Huffington has several more sources. Read it.

Hat tip to American Thinker.

Monday, September 09, 2013

ILWU Longshoremen leave AFL/CIO due to Obamacare

Breitbart

… In an August 29 letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, ILWU President Robert McEllrath cited quite a list of grievances as reasons for the disillusion of their affiliation, but prominent among them was the AFL-CIO's support of Obamare.

"We feel the Federation has done a great disservice to the labor movement and all working people by going along to get along," McEllrath wrote in the letter to Trumka.

The ILWU President made it clear they are for a single-payer, nationalized healthcare policy and are upset with the AFL-CIO for going along with Obama on the confiscatory tax on their "Cadillac" healthcare plan.

The Longshoreman leader said, "President Obama ran on a platform that he would not tax medical plans and at the 2009 AFL-CIO Convention, you stated that labor would not stand for a tax on our benefits." But, regardless of that promise, the President has pushed for just such a tax and Trumka and the AFL-CIO bowed to political pressure lining up behind Obama's tax on those plans.

(Link only.)

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Steyn - Can't say anything about Islam

Mark Steyn observes that ten years ago the Muslims objected to saying anything less than full praise about Islam. Now the British establishment is doing their work. Chilling.

National Post of Canada

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Our tax $ paid to known terrorists

The Palestinian Authority paid cash to convicted terrorists recently released from Israeli prisons. The same day the PA received $148 million from the US. So we know where PA got the cash.

We are paying bombers who target civilians. Why?

Breitbart

Thursday, September 05, 2013

My favorite webcams - NW - Tropics - Arctic and

My favorite webcams:

Puget Sound: The Space Needle in Seattle
- Seattle Times

Mt Vernon, WA, Skagit bridge repair and detours. The temporary repair reopened about June 20.
- WSDOT

Anacortes, WA. Beautiful island city surrounded by water and islands. Cams to south and east; WS ferries and airport.
- Port of Anacortes

Mountains

Mt. St. Helens from Johnston Rid
ge - This generates a warning message. Select either standard or high-def, then you see a larger window.
- US Forest Service

St. Mary, Glacier National Park
- Glacier NP

Yellowstone live video at Old Faithful Upper Basin. The camera direction changes, because there is a lot to see in this small area.
- YNP

Hawaii Volcanos NP - active, very active volcano. Today it looks amazing at night.
- HVNP

Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Grand Canyon NP
Big Sky Fishing's maintained directory of Montana web cams (and a few others)

Arctic

Greenland - Icebergs in fjord at Hotel Arctic
- Hotel Arctic Via Watts Up With That "Good news from Greenland."

Tropics

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Villa PeƱasco - Looking down along the beach on Pacific Ocean. Playa Grande resort is the prominent orange complex of buildings. Slow-frame video.
Villa Bellissima - Another view with Pacific beach on the right, Land's End is the last rock.

Thailand - Time zone difference makes these interesting when most of the others go dark.
Chaweng Beach on Ko Samui Island - Poppies Hotel (but very small image)
Cho Phraya River in Bangkok - Live around the clock.

This is for my own daily convenience. Recreated 9/5/13.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Obama denies he drew the red line

Now Obama denies he drew the red line on chemical weapons use in Syria. New York Times:

“I didn’t set a red line,” Mr. Obama said during a news conference here in Stockholm. “The world set a red line.”

You know what you said, Mr. President. Everyone knows of your red-line challenge. What do we call it when you say you didn't do what everyone knows you did?

Red Line Example: Law breaker Rep. Rangel says Obama should not have drawn the red line. CNS News

Monday, September 02, 2013

Can you see sunken ships on Google Earth/Maps?

Of course you can see sunken ships on Google Earth and Maps. But you have to know where they are?

First, here is the Google Earth image of one that I am going to walk past today on my epic walk of every foot of beach from Seattle past Shoreline, past Edmonds, past Lynnwood and now finishing Mukilteo. It is in the Harbor Pointe area of Mukilteo.

MyReadingMapped has several long lists of sunken ships with links to the location in Google Maps. And for fun they note which ones can be seen. This page is their first of two pages on singings in the Atlantic and shows hundreds.

I can spend hours on this; love it!

Via Google Earth Blog.

Image: Captured by me at Google Earth. Described in text. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Festivals Labor Day weekend

This weekend:

Seattle Times Community Calendar

Highlights:

Corgis - like our dog Zeus. 10 am Saturday at Cedar River Park in Renton. See Cascade Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club

Vintage Aircraft Weekend at Paine Field, Friday and Saturday

Bothell Blues Festival Saurday

This coming week lots of museums have their "first Thursday" events. See the Community Calendar, farther down.

The weekend of Sept 6-8:

Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival

Puget Sound Bird Fest in Edmonds

And I didn't know the Duwamish INdians have a cultural center and longhouse on Marginal Way SW in West Seattle.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hike to Meadowdale Beach

Seattle Times features Meadowdale Beach in Lynnwood today. It is one of just a few public access beaches in Snohomish County. The reporter fails to mention what makes it unique. It is no stroll in the park. Getting to the beach is a hike; it's over a mile each way and 300 or 400 feet elevation gain on the return. (For the disabled there is direct access via a locked gate.) But there is a payoff. It's pretty quiet several miles of beach and few people. It's not wild; railroad mainline and nearby houses - but they don't have access, so it is quiet.

I recommend it; I have hiked it several times. Just be aware that it's a hike, not a stroll in the park.

Sea Times

Why should I believe the traffic man?

The traffic reporter says I should watch Al Jazeera TV. For "new perspectives" and such. Al Jazeera TV is owned by the government of Qatar which is a big sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood and the mess in Egypt.

Do I trust Muslim Brotherhood for news? No. If Harmon Shea on KTTH tells me in his traffic report I should trust AJ TV for news why would I trust him to tell me the truth about the traffic? ;-)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fight tax by adding a new tax

Senator Patty Murray has never fought a tax. Today the headline said she was, but no, not true.

Headline: Fix the tax that sends our shipping to Canada

Container ships unloading in Seattle or Tacoma pay a "harbor maintenance tax" based on value that averages bout $109 per container. The ports in British Columbia, Canada pay no such tax. Unloading 5,000 containers the bill is $545,000. (That's average. Much worse for high-value cargo.)

So Senator Murray wants to even the playing field. She would want to reduce the tax, right? Senator Patty reduce a tax? She has a 20-year track record of tax, tax, tax.

No. She wants to add a new tax to stop the unequal treatment caused by the first tax. She would impose the same tax on containers arriving in the US by surface transportation - by truck or rail. Will her new tax raise prices to consumers? That's what always happens to taxes placed on industry.

Tacoma News Tribune

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Obama not above the law?

The DC Court of Appeals says even Obama must obey the law. He must continue in permitting the US's only nuclear waste site.

Associated Press

Friday, August 09, 2013

Kenya airport terminal burns. Responders rob

The main terminal at the Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport burned Wednesday because the first responders were busy robbing the bank, the ATM machine and electronics. How could they take time to fight the fire? They have their priorities; doing their job is down the list.

Washington Post