Friday, January 31, 2014

Are we snow wimps?

Are we snow wimps in Seattle and King County, Washington? Do we panic at one inch of snow? Well, two? Yes. A guy who calls himself atrubetskoy got the data on school closings. How many inches does it take to close school. He colors every county accordingly. We aren’t in the wimpiest category. No, in the second one - one to 3 inches. And we are the most northerly county in that category. Of course. Our marine climate: the salt water warms the winter and cools the summer.

More from the creator at Reddit

And the map fans gather to share their work at MapPorn at Reddit

Graphic from atrubetskoy at the Reddit link above. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thin defense of government coercion by Sen. Patty Murray

Our Senator Patty Murray came to the defense of government coercion in companies that provide health-care to their employees.

Obamacare requires companies to provide contraceptives - birth control - to their employees. Hobby Lobby’s owners say they cannot comply with Obama’s law because they would violate their consciences to do so. Sec. of HHS Sibelius is suing Hobby Lobby. The case will be decided by the Supreme Court. SCOTUSblog

Murray says Hobby Lobby wants to deny health care to their employees. Wrong. Hobby Lobby is not denying them health care, but is refusing to pay for one thing - contraception. They cannot stop an employee from stopping at Walgreens and buying a contraceptive or getting a prescription from her doctor. Murray says:
“Allowing a woman’s boss to call the shots about her access to birth control should be inconceivable to all Americans in this day and age, and takes us back to a place in history when women had no voice or choice,” according to Murray’s prepared remarks.
Honorable Senator Murray, hello? There is a difference between the employer not paying for something and denying it to the employee. They just don’t want to pay for it. Clearly you just can’t allow a difference of opinion. You have to force your choice on everyone.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Obama has his pen and his phone

Obama has his pen and his phone. And he will use them!

Cartoon from (Yes. That's an email address.) Click to enlarge.

Visualize travel times

Technical leaders are building trial tools to visualize travel times by transit. Getting and formatting the data is much of the challenge. At U Colorado someone (don’t know who) has the tool and data together for Seattle, San Francisco, Denver and Boulder, Colorado.

Click on Seattle on this map. Geoss at U Colorado

New York City has a trial tool.

Via Flowing Data.

The graphic: My screen capture at Geoss U Colorado. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Amazing Boeing 777 model built from manila file folders

A guy in India built a Boeing 777-300ER entirely from manila file folders?  You won’t believe the work he did. Everything is done in great detail - structural ribs, seats, lavatories, engines built with every fan blade, wheels and landing gear, cargo hold. (It looks like he is not finished with the painting.) Amazing.
It is 1/60 scale, so the fuselage is about 4 feet long.

Photos (c)  Luca Iaconi-Stewart


Virtual paintout

Virtual painting? Painters find scenes on Google Earth’s street view. Then they base a painting on the “virtual scene.” They get together - virtually - to post their paintings at

Virtual Paintout

Many of the painters include a link to the location. Right now they have lots of paintings of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Graphics: Painting of Arnold's Lobster truck in Eastham, MA, on Cape Cod and the original GE street view it was based on. This is the link to the GE street view: LINK. But I can't link to the painting. Currently you can search the painter's name - Eileen Black - at the Virtual Paintout main page.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Europe is easing climate goals

The European Commission is easing up on climate goals. They have not rescinded their goals. But they are stopping tracking each country. The goals are total for all members. But if you don’t track each one individually, they know there is no visibility and the pressure is off.

Der Spiegel “Green fade out"

Furthermore, the EC is going easy on regulations on fracking. No stringent controls. Only minimum health and environmental standards. I am sure they have heard the worst-case fears. Maybe they looked at the science before this decision.

Senators censor NBC

Four Democrat US Senators have taken action to censor NBC. During the broadcast of the Golden Globes on Sunday actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus was seen in the broadcast "smoking" an e-cigarette.

Senators Dick Durban, Sherrod Brown, Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey wrote to NBC to "take action to ensure that future broadcasts" don't make light of the health risks associated with tobacco. Uh… there is no tobacco in an e-cigarette.

US News on NBC News

Censorship is often misidentified. This is the real thing. Censorship is not editors deciding not to print something. It is the government making prior restraint of speech. That is, to prevent the speech from occurring by government force, as the four brave senators tried to do in their letter.

PJ Media has extended text of the letter.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Welcome Ben Shapiro to Seattle

We welcome Ben Shapiro to the Seattle airwaves - on KTTH AM 770, weekdays 3 to 6 PM. And streamed over the internet.

Ben gained national fame when he calmly took apart Piers Morgan on live CNN in January, 2013, over motivations of people after the Sandy Hook massive shooting. See Ben’s previous column at Townhall.

When you read more about young Shapiro you will see he has a remarkable track record of books and media appearances. Also his own web site.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Democrats block restoring military pensions

Senate Democrats voted for illegal immigrants and against military retirees. Yes. They voted FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS Thursday.

People who are in the US illegally were paid $4.2 billion - that’s $4,200 million - in Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). Why pay them? Ask Sen. Patty Murray. Ending that ridiculous loophole can restore the cut to military retirees. An audit by the Treasury Inspector General found that the credit was being claimed and paid for children not in the country! And it encourages more illegal entries. Yes.

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R, NH) proposed an amendment #2603 (or S. 1869) which would favor our military retirees over the illegals. Senator Marie Cantwell voted for the illegals.

Senator Barbara Boxer lead the opposition.

Free Beacon

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Inslee unilateral low-carbon requirement would raise gas $1 per gallon

Governor Inslee is serious about carbon. He plans to unilaterally begin a carbon cap and trade system and low-carbon gasoline. Really? When asked to deny it he won’t. He promised other governors he would do this. Washington State Wire Of course, he won’t break his promise to his peers. His promise to the voters about taxes? Oh, the voters! He says it’s not a tax.

The cost: Inslee's new standards requiring low-carbon gasoline would raise the price by $1.00 to $1.20 per gallon. He doesn’t see why that would bother anyone.

“I find that very surprising,” he said when told of the lawmakers’ concerns. “We’ve had dozens of meetings over many months about these things, and not once has anyone come to me and said we have to make a choice between people getting to work every day and failing to deal with the problem of climate change.” Olympia Report

The legislature is trying to get a transportation package together and is talking about a gas tax increase of 10.5 cents per gallon. They know the voters will object to that. But Inslee is sure it will be worth pay $1.20 per gallon to end global warming, I mean, climate change. Not that it will make a difference in the whole world. But he wants to lead by example.

He can’t imagine a problem for his big dream.

Does the governor have the authority to do such a huge change all by himself?

See also Washington State Wire.

Gut Obamacare - Obama is doing it - then what?

Jennifer Rubin at Wash Post


Saturday, January 11, 2014

If you knew who was behind closing Gitmo

Who wants to close the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba?

Fox News

On Saturday, January 11, a coalition of "Close-Gitmo" forces is expected to march on Washington to commemorate the 12th anniversary of detention and interrogation operations. Though the march from the White House to the National Museum of American History is purportedly about advancing "human rights" and "stopping torture," a closer look at the key participants reveals a more troubling, some might say hidden, agenda.

If more Americans knew who is behind this campaign, there would be nationwide outrage.
While everyone is for “human rights” and “stopping torture,” Americans should not be fooled by these false flags meant to damage U.S. power and prestige.

Just dig a little deeper into who has been driving the anti-Gitmo disinformation campaign these past 12 years, and we discover an international, fervently anti-American, far-left coalition attacking the nation through a savvy propaganda effort.  

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Walmart health plan cheaper and offers more than Obamacare

Surprise! No? Walmart's health plan is cheaper and offers more than Obamacare.

Washington Examiner
Walmart furnished employee benefit information to the Examiner. Neither Obamacare advocate Families USA nor the United Food and Commercial Workers, which backs anti-Walmart campaigns, responded to Examiner requests for comment. 
Walmart offers its employees two standard plans, a Health Reimbursement Account and an alternative it calls "HRA High" that costs more out of employees' pockets but has lower deductibles. Blue Cross Blue Shield manages both plans nationally. 
Also offered is a Health Savings Account plan that includes high deductibles but allows tax-free dollars to be used for coverage. 
For a monthly premium as low as roughly $40, an individual who is a Walmart HRA plan enrollee can obtain full-service coverage through a Blue Cross Blue Shield preferred provider organization. A family can get coverage for about $160 per month.
Unlike Obamacare, there are no income eligibility requirements. Age and gender do not alter premium rates. The company plan is the same for all of Walmart's 1.1 million enrolled employees and their dependents, from its cashiers to its CEO. 
A Journal of the American Medical Association analysis from September showed that unsubsidized Obamacare enrollees will face monthly premiums that are five to nine times higher than Walmart premiums.
Method: Independent insurance agents affiliated with the National Association of Health Underwriters and health policy experts compared the two at the request of the Examiner.

Go to the article for an excellent graphic.

Monday, January 06, 2014

UW leads in arctic warming study

The University of Washington will now lead the US outside of Alaska in arctic research - and global warming? Seattle Times says it well "Arctic 101: UW degree to prep students for a melting world” UW has formed a new Future of Ice program, which will offer an Arctic Studies minor.

Is Australian Professor of Climate Change Chris Turney to be on the faculty? His Spirit of Mawson expedition was researching climate change and the loss of sea ice in Antarctica. Well, that was their stated intent. (Turney is known to be a warming scienist by his being a “carbon entrepreneur” according to The Australian registration required) But they found the increase of sea ice. Actually, the sea ice found them and made their host ship stuck in the ice.

Now their ship and the Chinese ice breaker sent to rescue them are waiting to be rescued by (ta ta!) the United States of America’s Polar Star icebreaker.

More details on the Spirit of Mawson - Clarice Feldman at American Thinker.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Antarctic - least ice melt ever recorded

Register UK

Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey say that the melting of the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf in Antarctica has suddenly slowed right down in the last few years, confirming earlier research which suggested that the shelf's melt does not result from human-driven global warming.

The Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica and its associated sea ice shelf is closely watched: this is because unlike most of the sea ice around the austral continent, its melt rate has seemed to be accelerating quickly since scientists first began seriously studying it in the 1990s.

Many researchers had suggested that this was due to human-driven global warming, which appeared to be taking place rapidly at that time (though it has since gone on hold for 15 years or so, a circumstance which science is still assimilating).

However back in 2009 the British Antarctic Survey sent its Autosub robot probe under the shelf (famously powered by some 5,000 ordinary alkaline D-cell batteries on each trip beneath the ice, getting through no less than four tonnes of them during the research). The Autosub survey revealed that a previously unknown marine ridge lay below the shelf, over which the icepack had for millennia been forced to grind its way en route to the ocean. However in relatively recent times the ice had finally so ground down the ridge that the sea could flow in between shelf and ridge, freeing the ice to move much faster and warming it too.

As we reported at the time, this caused BAS boffins to suggest that the observed accelerating ice flow and melt seen since the '90s was actually a result of the ridge's erosion and sea ingress, rather than global warming.

Now, the latest BAS research has revealed that rather than accelerating, "oceanic melting of the ice shelf into which the glacier flows decreased by 50 per cent between 2010 and 2012".

The BAS goes on to explain:

Observations made in January 2012, and reported now in [hefty boffinry mag] Science, show that ocean melting of the glacier was the lowest ever recorded. The top of the thermocline (the layer separating cold surface water and warm deep waters) was found to be about 250 metres deeper compared with any other year for which measurements exist.

This lowered thermocline reduces the amount of heat flowing over the ridge. High resolution simulations of the ocean circulation in the ice shelf cavity demonstrate that the ridge blocks the deepest ocean waters from reaching the thickest ice ...

In January 2012 the dramatic cooling of the ocean around the glacier is believed to be due to an increase in easterly winds caused by a strong La Ninã event in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Dr Pierre Dutrieux of the BAS adds, bluntly:

"We found ocean melting of the glacier was the lowest ever recorded, and less than half of that observed in 2010. This enormous, and unexpected, variability contradicts the widespread view that a simple and steady ocean warming in the region is eroding the West Antarctic Ice Sheet."

The Science paper can be read by subscribers to the journal here. The BAS announcement of the results can be read here. Readers unfamiliar with the rules of the climate game should note that the term "climate variability" as used in those documents means for this purpose "climate effects not caused by humans".

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Obama versus the Constitution #4 Privileges for Congress

Congress put itself under the same law causing misery to so many of us. Right? Up to a point.

Exemption of Congress from Obamacare.

A little-known part of Obamacare requires Congressmen and their staff to get insurance through the new healthcare exchanges, rather than a taxpayer-funded program. In the quiet of August, President Obama directed the Office of Personnel Management to interpret the law to maintain the generous congressional benefits.

Senator Vitter introduced a bill to end Congress's exemption. Then senators started shouting. The didn't want to show their faces on a vote to retain their privileges. So Obama told the OPM to reverse its ruling on the clear wording of the law to favor Congress. As John Fund reports at National Review online:

Under behind-the-scenes pressure from members of Congress in both parties, President Obama used the quiet of the August recess to personally order the Office of Personnel Management, which supervises federal employment issues, to interpret the law so as to retain the generous congressional benefits.

OPM had previously balked at issuing such a ruling. Even without OPM, Congress could have voted to restore the subsidies or ordered a salary raise to compensate for the loss of benefits, but that would have been a messy, public process, which everyone wanted to avoid.

Congress finding a way to exempt itself from laws it passes? In the dark? Who is surprised?

Via Ilya Shapiro at Forbes

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Obama versus the Constitution #5 IRS violating Obamacare

The list of Obama's administration's violations of Obamacare is long. He doesn't even follow his own law!!

After Obamacare became law there were complaints. From his allies. So he said - Eh. Do whatever, to the IRS.

Expansion of the employer mandate penalty through IRS regulation. Or call it "IRS violation."

Obamacare grants tax credits to people whose employers don’t provide coverage if they buy a plan “through an Exchange established by the State”—and then fines employers for each employee receiving such a subsidy. No tax credits are authorized for residents of states where the exchanges are established by the federal government, as an incentive for states to create exchanges themselves. Because so few (16) states did, however, the IRS issued a rule ignoring that plain text and allowed subsidies (and commensurate fines) for plans coming from “a State Exchange, regional Exchange, subsidiary Exchange, and federally-facilitated Exchange.”

The IRS was following its boss. He probably didn't have to tell them to violate his own Obamacare law.

Ilya Shapiro at Forbes

Government waste - new C27J planes go directly to bone yard

The Air Force didn't want any more Alenia C27J aircraft. Ohio congressmen and senators forced the purchase into the budget. So the Air Force has to take them.

The new aircraft will go directly to desert storage near Tucson, Arizona.

Obama violating the Constitution #6

President Obama claims he and his White House have nothing to do with it. But the tracks lead there. #6

Political profiling by the IRS

After seeing a rise in the number of applications for tax-exempt status, the IRS in 2010 compiled a “be on the lookout” (“BOLO”) list to identify organizations engaged in political activities. The list included words such as “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” and “Israel”; subjects such as government spending, debt, or taxes; and activities such as criticizing the government, educating about the Constitution, or challenging Obamacare. The targeting continued through May of this year.

Arvik Roy at Forbes

IRS employees didn't just "watch" the applications of these organizations. They blocked them. The IRS repeatedly asked for more data. Then again. USA Today

the Internal Revenue Service held up their applications for tax exemptions, harassed them with questions and leaked their donor lists to political opponents.

The questioning included requests for copies of Facebook postings, the content of prayers, political beliefs of members, résumés of board members and dealings with the media.

That was the testimony of six conservative groups to the House Ways and Means Committee,

Was it a coincidence that the IRS took so long on their filings that many just gave up? Gave up so they weren't involved in the 2012 election cycle. A coincidence? Hot Air

The Senate investigated. Hot Air

Cincinatti wash blamed, but tracks led to IRS headquarters in DC. ABC News

And recently: Obama responded to the IRS abuse of taxpayers by… adding more regulations for IRS employees to abuse. Mary Katherine Ham at Hot Air