Say goodbye to Dodd-Frank

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One of the most pork-laden poor excuses for legislation to ever get voted into law. The Dodd-Frank bill was 2,300 pages long and was brought into being after the financial melt-down of 2007. It replaced the Glass-Steagall act of 1933 which prevented public banks from offering investment (risky) services to their customers and vice versa - brokerages were not allowed to act as banks. It was 37 pages long! The passing of the 1999 Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA) pulled the teeth of Glass-Steagall and was the root cause of the 2007 financial meltdown.

Today, no more - excerpted from President Trump's statements yesterday:

Remarks by President Trump at Signing of S. 2155, Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act

. . . 

Since its passage in 2010, Dodd-Frank has dealt a huge blow to community banking. As a candidate, I pledged that we would rescue these community banks from Dodd-Frank — the disaster of Dodd-Frank — and now we are keeping that commitment, and all of the people with me are keeping that commitment. Incredible group of people.

Dodd-Frank’s complex and costly regulations gave large banks an unfair competitive advantage at the expense of neighborhood banks all over the country. Since Dodd-Frank’s passage just eight years ago, 20 percent of small banks have been put out of business — they’ve disappeared — while banks that were considered “too big to fail” — we’ve heard that many time, “too big to fail” — had the resources to comply with Dodd-Frank’s brutal maze of costly regulations. And maybe we’re going to have to start looking at that also for the larger institutions because they also are put at a disadvantage in terms of loaning money to people wanting to open up businesses. So perhaps we’ll be taking a look at that. Many small banks were forced to shut down.

He also touched on the overall economy and unemployment in general:

Today’s legislation is the next step in America’s unprecedented economic comeback. There’s never been a comeback like we’ve made. And one day, the fake news is going to report it. (Laughter.) But that’s okay — you’ve been very nice, actually today. You’ve been extremely nice.

Republicans in Congress passed the biggest tax cut and reform in the history of our country. We passed and signed a record number of bills terminating job-killing regulations. In the history of our country, no President — whether it’s four years, eight years, or sixteen years, in one case — has ever passed more regulation cuts. And these were necessary cuts, because we’re leaving necessary regulations. Regulation is fine, but it’s got to be reasonable. And that’s what we’ve done.

Unemployment has reached its lowest level in nearly two decades. African American unemployment has reached its lowest level in history. And the same thing for Hispanic unemployment — lowest level in history. Women — lowest level of unemployment in 19 years. Small business optimism has never, ever been higher, according to polls and charts.

As a small business owner, I am seeing the results of this Presidency and am really liking what I see. MAGA

Lunch break

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Back from town and loading up for another run - time out for a sandwich first.

I still have my Mom and Dad's old condo in Bellingham so using that as a staging area for both the move and for having a professional estate sale person come in and sell off all my household surplus plus my parent's estate. - they both passed away almost ten years ago so it is time to lighten my load and go minimalist for this stage of my life.

New to minimalism? Here is a good place to start: The Minimalists

In to town today

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Out for coffee and then another run into town with a carload of boxes. Packing up the farm.

Also doing some banking and other errands - more spew later this evening.

President Trump is a master negotiator. His letter to North Korea this morning was totally spot on.

And, it had the desired effect (the headline is the link to the source article):

North Korea Comes Crawling Back: Stresses "Desperate Need" For Summit "Whenever, However"

This is how you do diplomacy - not with effite clueless jerks like J.F. Kerry or crooked jackasses like Hillary.

The word you are searching for is " Leadership "

Back at the farm tonight

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Drove about 300 miles today as well as loading and unloading a bunch of boxes and ham radio equipment.

Participating in a big relay race this Sunday - the Ski to Sea - and operate my radio for one of the legs. I work with a team of spotters about two miles out from where the road bicycles hand off to the canoe paddlers. They radio in the incoming bib numbers to me and I announce them on the public address system. This gives the canoe teams about ten minutes heads up to great their team-mate and get the timing bracelet from them. I also connect with the overall event network as well as monitor the Search and Rescue, Police and Fire frequencies for any events that might need to be brought to the race officials attention.

Been doing this for over five years but since I am moving away from the area, I am now handing it over to a new face - training them on what to do.

Fun and games - plumbing

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Down at the island home for a few hours.

Last time I was there (last Saturday) I had noticed a damp spot on the garage floor. It had been raining and I know that rainwater comes under the door if the wind is right so I chalked it up to that.

Came down this afternoon and that spot was still wet. Was hit by a drop of water, looked up and saw some very soggy drywall. Ruh Ro!!!

I have been removing the old hydronic heating system and installing mini-split heat pumps. Drained the pipes but there must have been a bubble that eventually let go. Nothing bad - probably only a gallon or two of water but it went right into the drywall. I had been planning to re-do the garage anyway - put in insulation and re-wire the electrical service but wanted to do this on my schedule. Tore out the affected areas so it can dry out.

Fun and games...

Busy day

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Got the dumpster full of stuff I had been hanging onto for no reason. They are emptying it tomorrow so the cycle starts all over again.

Packing stuff in boxes for the move - a good feeling!

President Trump's tax cuts have stimulated the economy. Workers are seeing about 4% more in their paycheck and unemployment is at the lowest it has been for more than 17 years. Of course, the Democrat party can't let this happen - from Business Insider:

A Democratic congressman is taking the first shot at a repeal of Trump's tax law
As the new tax cuts ushered in solely by Republicans begin to take effect, one Democratic congressman is unveiling a repeal plan, signaling that President Donald Trump's primary opposition is serious about reversing his signature legislative achievement.

Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado plans to introduce the Students Over Special Interests Act on Wednesday. The legislation, according to a summary viewed by Business Insider ahead of its introduction, would repeal the new tax law and redirect the taxpayer dollars toward erasing the $1.4 trillion in student-loan debt and investing in Pell grants. It will be the first piece of legislation aimed at unraveling the new tax law.

Why do the Democrats hate the common man so much - we get something good handed to us and they immediately want to take it away. This is someone who does not understand the Laffer Curve and it's effects on the economy.

Business as usual - from the Los Angeles Times:

Stalls, stops and breakdowns: Problems plague push for electric buses
When Chinese battery maker BYD Ltd. approached Southern California officials in 2008 touting ambitious plans to build electric cars, local politicians jumped at the promise of thousands of jobs and cleaner air.

In the nine years since, agencies have awarded BYD grants, subsidies and public contracts worth more than $330 million for its battery-powered buses, forklifts and trucks. The company is positioned to be a prime supplier of electric buses to the nation's second-largest system, as Los Angeles' Metro sets a 12-year deadline to abandon fossil fuels.

But largely unbeknownst to the public, BYD's electric buses are contending with a record of poor performance and mechanical problems.

A Times investigation found its buses stalled on hills, required service calls much more frequently than older buses and had unpredictable driving ranges below advertised distances, which were impaired by the heat, the cold or the way drivers braked.

And of course:

Thousands of pages of public records and interviews with those dealing directly with the company show BYD to be a skilled political operator. The company's business model involves hiring lobbyists and grant writers to secure no-bid purchases by public agencies, and it has invited public officials on foreign junkets and employed their close associates. Those officials then repeatedly came to the company's defense as concerns about the buses heightened.

Where it started:

The deep bond between Los Angeles and BYD, built on the promise of jobs, began at a cocktail reception in Tianjin, China, in September 2008.

Christine Antonovich, wife of then-Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, accompanied a Los Angeles delegation to a business forum where her husband was a guest speaker. It was there that regional business promoter Bill Allen said Christine Antonovich pulled him aside to meet an executive from a Chinese company looking to invest in the U.S.

And, guess what, Christine Antonovich is a Chinese national:

Christine Antonovich, a former Chinese actress who sidelined as a business consultant, shepherded Lancaster officials through private dinners and trips to China to meet with BYD executives.

A lot more at the site - the entire process was riddled with corruption. A few people are getting very rich and the taxpayers are getting screwed.

Ho Li Crap - quite the shipwreck

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From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution:

New Details on Discovery of San Jose Shipwreck
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) recently obtained authorization by Maritime Archaeology Consultants (MAC), Switzerland AG, and the Colombian government to release new details from the successful search for the three-century old San José —a 62-gun, three-masted Spanish galleon ship that sank with a cargo believed to be worth billions of dollars. The ship, which is often called the “holy grail of shipwrecks,” went down with a treasure of gold, silver, and emeralds in 1708 during a battle with British ships in the War of Spanish Succession.

The legendary wreck was discovered off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia, on Nov. 27, 2015, by a team of international scientists and engineers during an expedition aboard the Colombian Navy research ship ARC Malpelo led by MAC’s Chief Project Archaeologist Roger Dooley. It was found more than 600 meters below the surface during a search initiated by MAC and approved by The Colombian Ministry of Culture. The search was supervised by Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia (ICANH) and Dirección General Marítima (DIMAR).

WHOI used an autonomous underwater vehicle called REMUS 6000 to survey an area off Colombia’s Barú Peninsula:

“The REMUS 6000 was the ideal tool for the job, since it’s capable of conducting long-duration missions over wide areas,” said WHOI engineer and expedition leader Mike Purcell.

Finding high-profile wrecks is nothing new for REMUS, which played an instrumental role in finding the wreckage of Air France 447 in 2011. The airplane had crashed in 2009 several hundred miles off the northeastern coast of Brazil and landed deep in the ocean on some of the most rugged seafloor terrain on Earth. REMUS was also used to map and photograph the Titanic wreck site during a 2010 expedition.

The homepage for the REMUS 6000 is here. Some very nice specs... Amazing photographs:

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Happy 45th birthday - Ethernet

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The backbone of the internet - from Infogalactic:

Ethernet was developed at Xerox PARC between 1973 and 1974. It was inspired by ALOHAnet, which Robert Metcalfe had studied as part of his PhD dissertation. The idea was first documented in a memo that Metcalfe wrote on May 22, 1973, where he named it after the disproven luminiferous ether as an "omnipresent, completely-passive medium for the propagation of electromagneticwaves". In 1975, Xerox filed a patent application listing Metcalfe, David Boggs, Chuck Thacker, and Butler Lampson as inventors. In 1976, after the system was deployed at PARC, Metcalfe and Boggs published a seminal paper.

More at The Register:

Ethernet — a networking protocol name for the ages
In the beginning, Ethernet was optional. When Bob Metcalfe and David Boggs cooked up their network protocol at Xerox PARC in the early 1970s, it was meant to connect the research haven’s now famous Alto machines — but only if researchers felt the need. “Each scientist would get a kind of Alto order form,” Metcalfe remembers, “and you had to check a box if you wanted Ethernet.”

Then, one afternoon, with maybe ten Altos on the desks of ten PARC researchers, someone accidentally disconnected a networking cable. When ten people stood up to ask “What happened?,” Metcalfe realized his fledgling network protocol might be a keeper. “From then on,” he says, “Ethernet was not an option.”

More than thirty years later, Metcalfe went looking for a new Ethernet cable, strolling into an everyday American electronics retailer. “The woman at the cash register took me to a twenty-foot-wide wall filled with cables and said ’What color do you want?’”

Pervasive and foolproof. The backbone of modern computing.

A moving experience

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Got a good chunk of the kitchen and dining area packed up in boxes and ready to take out. Trying to get the farm listed with a realtor as soon as possible.

Moving is never fun but the place on the island is really sweet!

Earthquake prediction

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Some advancement in Earthquake Prediction - from Nature:

In Japan, small shakes presage big quakes
Clusters of tiny earthquakes that happen every three years could help to signal when the next big one will hit Japan, researchers report in Science.

Small, subtle quakes happen in many places where a slab of sea floor dives beneath a continent, such as in the US Pacific Northwest or off the coast of Chile. But the study of seismic activity in Japan is the first to show that they happen in regular episodes, and that those events can precede larger earthquakes.

If the same patterns hold in other earthquake-prone regions, they could improve seismic risk estimates there, too.

A bit more:

Stress monitoring
Because the 2011 Tohoku earthquake relieved geological stress, Uchida says, that particular section of the fault is not likely to move in a large earthquake any time soon. But by monitoring slow slip to the north and south of Tohoku, seismologists may get a better idea of how much stress is building there and when a large earthquake is likely to strike again. “It means earthquake probabilities should be raised during times of accelerated [slow] slip,” says Gavin Hayes, a seismologist with the US Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado.

Slow slip has happened before other large earthquakes, such as the magnitude-8.1 Iquique earthquake in Chile in 2014. In 2014, off the coast of Guerrero, Mexico, a magnitude-7.2 earthquake occurred about two months after slow slip began, says Mathilde Radiguet, a seismologist at ISTerre Institute of Earth Sciences in Grenoble, France.

And slow slip is common along the Pacific Northwest coast, a spot thought to be ripe for a large earthquake in the zone known as Cascadia. For the past five weeks, in a fairly common occurrence, tiny quakes have been marching south from Vancouver Island and into Washington state. “It is key for us to know as much as possible about unsteady slow slip in Cascadia,” says Heidi Houston, a seismologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

More on the Cascadian Episodic Tremor and Slip Events at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network - new entries are at the bottom of the page.

More on the Texas School Shooting

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This tragedy could have been averted - from the London Daily Mail:

EXCLUSIVE: 'If he kills me I'll haunt him forever': Murdered teen who spurned besotted Texas school shooter's advances predicted he would try to hurt her
The murdered teen crush who spurned the advances of 'besotted' school gunman Dimitrios Pagourtzis was so scared of him she warned her family: 'If he kills me I'll haunt him forever.'

Shana Fisher, 16, made the chilling premonition just two weeks before she was shot dead along with seven other students and two teachers at Santa Fe High School.

Her family have revealed how 17-year-old Pagourtzis pestered Shana for dates for four months before she finally stood up to him a week before Friday's murderous rampage and said: ‘cut it out.’

The problem is not guns, it is how we deal with mental health issues. I own several spoons and I would like to loose 20 pounds of weight. I am not blaming the spoons for making me fat.

Yikes - Nipah Virus

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Hope it doesn't spread - an excerpt from this article at the Associated Press:

...At least 10 people have died of Nipah since an outbreak began earlier this month in Kerala, health officials say, and two more people are in critical condition. There is no vaccine for the virus, which can cause raging fevers, convulsions and vomiting, and kills up to 75 percent of people who come down with it. The only treatment is supportive care to keep patients comfortable...

A fairly recent development:

Nipah was first identified during a late 1990s outbreak in Malaysia. Later outbreaks have occurred in Bangladesh and India.

Stormy weather

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Looks like lawyer Michael Avenatti has a bit of a money management problem - from the Los Angeles Times:

Law firm of Stormy Daniels' attorney hit with $10-million judgment
The law firm of adult film star Stormy Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, was hit with a $10-million judgment Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court after he broke his promise to pay $2 million to a former colleague.

And it's not just the $2M

At the hearing, the U.S. Justice Department revealed that Avenatti has also defaulted on just over $440,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest that he had personally promised to pay the Internal Revenue Service under another bankruptcy settlement for his law firm.

This is the same attention-grabbing moke who gutted Seattle's Tully's Coffee - Seattle Times:

Before Stormy Daniels, her attorney faced allegations of dubious business dealings at Tully’s Coffee
He’s become famous as the brash lawyer for the porn star who purportedly bedded the future president, but before Michael Avenatti accused Donald Trump and his attorney of a payoff scheme to muzzle Stormy Daniels, he faced allegations of dubious business dealings as owner of a flailing coffee chain.

Since his investment firm bought bankrupt Tully’s Coffee for $9.15 million at auction five years ago, Avenatti’s company has been named in more than 50 state and federal legal complaints, including commercial lawsuits, breach of lease actions and warrants for unpaid taxes, court records show.

The moke tends to have a bit of a track record:

Nold’s complaint contends that while Avenatti ran the company, he fleeced nearly $6 million in federal and state tax withholdings — money meant to be held in trust for payment of quarterly taxes — from the paychecks of Tully’s employees.

The complaint also claims Avenatti fraudulently transferred $100,000 from the Tully’s operation last year to retain lawyers for his California law firm’s unrelated bankruptcy.

Well Michael - enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame. Jail is beckoning...

Found on the web

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Presented for your enjoyment:

20180522-robots.jpg

Back from coffee

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Packing stuff up into cartons - big yard sale shortly...

Got nothing this evening

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Went in to Bellingham to run a few errands this afternoon. Had dinner in town and been back for two hours.

Still clearing crap out of the house and boxing up belongings - I am doing a major downsizing and have way too much stuff. It creeps up on you.

Feeling a bit sleepy so probably no posting tonight - early bedtime.

Working at home today

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Out for coffee and then back home to pack up my belongings.

From Russia Today:

Multiple explosions reported at Syrian military base near Hama
Syrian state television has reported a series of explosions at a military base near Hama in the west of the country.

Local sources are reporting hearing four explosions at the site. No casualties or injuries have been reported.

Syrian journalist Mousa Alomar tweeted a video showing a large plume of smoke in the aftermath of the explosions.

A short time later another explosion was heard inside the airport, according to Syrian state media.

My only questions are who and how - infiltration? Drone?  USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia?
Regardless, this could not be happening to a nicer group of people.

Handy Chrome tips and tricks

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Been using Google's Chrome browser for quite a few years now. Here are some handy tips you might not know.
From Fast Company:

27 Incredibly Useful Things You Didn’t Know Chrome Could Do
These days, a browser is more than just a basic navigator for the web. It’s effectively a second desktop—a gateway to countless apps, sites, and services. And optimizing that environment can go a long way in increasing your efficiency.

Google’s Chrome in particular is full of hidden shortcuts, features, and power-user possibilities. Take the time to learn these tips, and watch your productivity soar.

Going to incorporate these in my daily browsing...

A bit of local news

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Scary - from the Tacoma, WA News Tribune:

Cougar kills man, injures another near North Bend
One man was killed and another injured in a mountain lion attack near North Bend on Saturday, the King County Sheriff's Office reported.

The injured victim, 31, was transported to Harborview Medical Center's emergency department in Seattle.

"He is currently awake and alert and in serious condition," the hospital tweeted at 2:26 p.m. The man was upgraded to satisfactory condition just before 5 p.m. Saturday.

The two men were mountain biking when they were attacked before noon, according to the Sheriff's Office.

A rural area but still a public driveable road. Fortunately, these are very rare:

According to several sources, the last fatal cougar attack in the United States occurred in 2008 in New Mexico.

Was looking to see if there was any additional information about the Texas School shooter. Turns out the Los Angeles Times had a good write-up on the event:

Texas school shooter killed girl who turned down his advances and embarrassed him in class, her mother says
As he heard the gunshots approaching down the hall Friday morning, Santa Fe High School student Abel San Miguel, 15, hid with a few classmates in the art class storage closet.

He wasn't sure if he was going to survive. Through the door, he could see the barrel of a shotgun. Then the shooter began shooting through the door, killing at least one student inside, and grazing Abel's back.

When the shooter left the room briefly, Abel and others left the closet and tried to barricade the door. But the shooter pushed it open, spotted a student he knew, and with anger said, "Surprise!" before shooting the student in the chest.

Unreal. And of course, the parents:

"We are gratified by the public comments made by other Santa Fe High School students that show Dimitri as we know him: a smart, quiet, sweet boy," the family statement said.

Unrequited love:

One of Pagourtzis' classmates who died in the attack, Shana Fisher, "had 4 months of problems from this boy," her mother, Sadie Rodriguez, wrote in a private message to the Los Angeles Times on Facebook. "He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no."

Pagourtzis continued to get more aggressive, and she finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, Rodriguez said. "A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn't like," she wrote. "Shana being the first one."

The goblin had also brought several IED but they malfunctioned. He was seen weeks earlier:

Pagourtzis, a football player who had allegedly posted images of guns and a T-shirt with the words "Born to kill" on social media in the weeks before the shooting.

The problem is not guns, it is mental health - recognizing and dealing with the signs.

Offline for a bit

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Been busy with life - getting the house cleared out so we can put the farm on the market.

Some wonderful changes!

Got nothing this morning

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School shooting with fatalities but we know nothing about the goblin - more later.

T is coming up to help me pack another couple of loads from the farm. Heading out for coffee and then doing a run to the dump.

Good meeting tonight

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Went to our local ham radio group meeting on the island. Very vibrant club - well organised and the group is well managed financially too. They just expanded their repeater and are doing a lot of outreach to non-hams in the area.

Been waking up early because of the window people working at the house so watching a couple of YouTube videos and heading to sleep. Busy day tomorrow - T and I are heading to the farm to pack more of my stuff and get things ready for the estate sale. Down to Seattle for a few days and then back to the farm to do more packing.

People tout alternative energy as being good for the environment. Here is one story with a different outcome - from PV Tech:

‘Countless piles of dead batteries’ are testament to lead acid’s toxic legacy in Africa
Providers of solar-plus-storage into the continent of Africa have said that it is a misconception that lead acid batteries used in off-grid systems are recycled efficiently back into the supply chain.

PV Tech's sister title, Energy-Storage.News spoke with Powerhive and Offgrid Electric, two US-headquartered providers of solar which have both focused on the off-grid sector in Africa to date. Powerhive provides community microgrids and in essence acts as a utility, selling 240V AC power by the kilowatt-hour, while Offgrid Electric leases or sells solar home kits to individual households. The former is active in Kenya, with Rwanda and Nigeria expected to be its next ports of call, while Off Grid Electric is focused on Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and the Ivory Coast at the moment.

The article links to a report that goes into much more detail. There is no infrastructure to recycle the lead acid batteries so they end up as waste.

South of Seattle in the State capitol of Olympia is Evergreen State College - quite the hotbed of liberal and progressive thinking. It has long been my thought that any curriculum with the word "studies" in it is worthless and should be shut down. Evergreen offers courses in Community Studies, African American Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, International Studies, Maritime (WTF?) Studies, Queer Studies, Environmental Studies, Language Studies, Sustainability Studies, Media Studies, etc. etc. etc.

Well, these chickens are coming home to roost - from The Olympian:

Evergreen looks to cut $6 million from its budget, raise fees due to enrollment drop
The Evergreen State College will look to cut more than 10 percent from its operating budget for 2018-19 and raise student fees because of declining enrollment.

In a memo to the college’s board of trustees, Evergreen President George Bridges wrote that cuts totaling $5.9 million are needed because of lower-than-expected tuition revenue. This will require “some” layoffs and eliminating “many positions that are currently vacant,” according to Bridges.

And not just budget cuts:

Officials have recommended a combined increase of $236 per year in student fees for 2018-19.

A bit more backstory on Evergreen here, here and here - fscking hippies. Spoil it for everyone. Used to be a nice small college until the social justice warriors took it over.

Windows - day three

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Got the window people out again - coming in a few minutes. They found some rot in one of the frames so bringing some stuff to fix it. Above and beyond. Renewal by Andersen - very happy with the company and with the product.

Heading out for coffee and post office - back home to resume taking out drywall and removing the electric hydronic heating system. A wonderful source of heating but horribly expensive to run in this day of "cheap" renewable energy. Switching over to mini-split heat pumps.

Got a ham radio meeting tonight.

Heading over to YouTube for a bit and then to sleep - window people are coming at 8:00AM again tomorrow and need to get my coffee and post office fix first.

Daniel Greenfield explains a bit about what is actually happening there - Hamas is a terrorist organization funded by Iran which has been funded by President Obama.

Attacking Israel for $100, Defending it for $13
Hamas supporters in Gaza held the world’s first peaceful protest with hand grenades, pipe bombs, cleavers and guns. And Israeli soldiers peacefully defended their country leaving multiple Hamas attackers at peace. The Great Hamas March of Return came with instructions to, "bring a knife, dagger, or handgun, if you have one, and to leave them under your clothes and not use them or show them, except if you identify one of the soldiers or settlers."

"We will tear down the border," Hamas Prime Minister Yahya Sinwar had peacefully vowed. "And we will tear out their hearts from their bodies."

Why do these people put themselves into harms way? Follow the benjamins:

Hamas had offered $100 to every rioter. During previous violent assaults back in April, the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group had been offering $200 to anyone shot by Israelis, $500 for severe injuries and $3,000 to the dead.

$100 a day may not seem like a lot, but the Israeli teen soldiers they’re trying to kill, earn $13 a day.

The Hamas supporting thugs are depicted as helpless, starving victims who can barely lift the firebombs they’re throwing at Israelis, but they make ten times as much as the Israeli soldiers they are there to kill.

Hamas can write all those checks to its aspiring killers because the cash is coming from Iran.

And Barry?

With as many as 50,000 Hamas supporters in Gaza participating in the day’s attacks at $100 a head, over 1,000 allegedly injured at least $200 each, and another 52 allegedly killed at $3,000 each (there is no reason to treat Hamas casualty figures coming out of Gaza as anything other than propaganda), the whole thing cost Hamas and Iran $5.3 million. The unmarked cargo plane filled with foreign currency that Obama dispatched to Iran carried $400 million. That was part of a known $1.7 billion cash payment.

But the total Obama terror payments to Tehran may go as high as $33.6 billion.

Like they say, if you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.

Crossfire Hurricane

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Interesting - the never Trumpers at the FBI knew that this information was going to surface so they leaked it to the New York Times trying to put the best possible spin on it.

Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation
Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the F.B.I. dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.

Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an F.B.I. interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of F.B.I. officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane.

The spin is so thick that they must have used a trowel to lay it on. The upshot is that the FBI had nothing of consequence to go on. Australian ambassador Alexander Downer's meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos is described as follows:

Lastly, there was Mr. Papadopoulos, the young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation.

So George was inexperienced, somewhat drunk and said something inapropriate and the FBI built this whole secret investigation on it? This is big, very very big.

Liberals protecting their own

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Figures as much - from the Miami Herald:

BSO deputy who froze during Parkland shooting is getting $8k monthly pension
Despite resigning in disgrace after the Parkland school shooting, former Broward Sheriff's Office deputy Scot Peterson is receiving a generous state pension that will pay him more than he made in his last year on the force.

Peterson's monthly pension, which began in April, clocks in at $8,702.35, according to a report from the South Florida Sun Sentinel published Tuesday evening. That's $104,428.20 per year in pension payments, compared to the $101,879.03 he was paid last year, the Sun Sentinel reports.

"The thing he was supposed to do — protect these children — he didn’t do," Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine told the Miami Herald Tuesday. "Now he’s going to be paid by taxpayers for the rest of his life? It seems disgraceful."

Disgusting - once you get on the public teat, the fellow bureaucrats will move heaven and earth to make sure you are "treated right". These things happen again and again and again with no oversight. Remember the Veterans Health Administration scandal of 2014? Jerry Pournelle summed the problem up perfectly with his Iron Law:

The Iron Law of Bureaucracy
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

So sadly true...

Problems with the media

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Look at any demonstration anywhere in the world and most of the signs are in English. Why? Because they are playing to the American media which gobbles up anything that makes America or her allies look bad. Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz had this to say:

Hamas is a terrorist group - their charter is virulently anti-semetic. This quote from Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League pretty much sums it up:

"The Hamas credo is not just anti-Israel, but profoundly anti-Semitic with racism at its core. The Hamas Charter reads like a modern-day 'Mein Kampf.'" According to the charter, Jewish people "have only negative traits and are presented as planning to take over the world." The charter claims that the Jews deserve God’s/Allah’s enmity and wrath because they received the Scriptures but violated its sacred texts, disbelieved the signs of Allah, and slew their own prophets. It quotes a saying of Muhammad from a hadith: "The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslim, O servant of God, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.' Only the Gharkad tree would not do that, because it is one of the trees of the Jews."

Nice people - they want a state? Let's give them one - PLASMA

I hate PowerPoint with a passion. It allows users to creat a nice looking presentation with zero content. It seems that Jeff Bezos at Amazon feels the same way. From Barfblog (they usually food safety related issues):

Storytelling is more effective than PowerPoint
Food safety training and effective communication involves a myriad of techniques and behavior-based solutions in order to be compelling. The power of narration or story-telling is underrated and should be used more often as a way to inform the public on food safety than simply using PowerPoint. The CEO of Amazon has eliminated the use of PowerPoint in their executive meetings as a means to be more productive.

In his 2018 annual letter, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos repeated his rule that PowerPoint is banned in executive meetings. What Bezos replaced it with provides even more valuable insight for entrepreneurs and leaders.

In his letter, and in a recent discussion at the Forum on Leadership at the Bush Center, Bezos revealed that “narrative structure” is more effective than PowerPoint. According to Bezos, new executives are in for a culture shock in their first Amazon meetings. Instead of reading bullet points on a PowerPoint slide, everyone sits silently for about 30 minutes to read a “six-page memo that’s narratively structured with real sentences, topic sentences, verbs, and nouns.”

After everyone’s done reading, they discuss the topic. “It’s so much better than the typical PowerPoint presentation for so many reasons,” Bezos added.

The author (Robert Mancini) then goes on to give three reasons why narrative is much better than bullet points. Excellent analysis and great call by Amazon leadership.

And that is it for me

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The window people are coming back tomorrow at 8:00AM to finish this stage of the installation. The work they have done so far is stellar - very happy with them.

I will be spending tomorrow scraping and caulking the siding prior to primer and then a good coat of house paint.

It will be interesting to see the repercussions of the head tax:

20180515-seattle.jpg

The city council is pissing off a lot of Seattleites who will be hurt if Amazon or Starbucks either relocates their corporate headquarters (like Boeing) or lays off workers. It will be interesting to see the results of the next election. People are pissed.

An explanation of his plan from David Catron writing at The American Spectator:

Trump’s Excellent Plan to Reduce Drug Prices
Last Friday, President Trump caused consternation among Democrats and their media allies by introducing an eminently sensible blueprint for reducing drug prices. The 50-point “American Patients First” plan addresses four broad challenges: High list prices for drugs, government programs overpaying for drugs, rising out-of-pocket costs for consumers, and foreign governments free-riding off American innovation. The blueprint relies on free market competition and private-sector negotiation rather than regulatory coercion and price controls. And, assuming his plan works as designed, President Trump will have succeeded where his predecessor proved utterly impotent. Consequently, the plan drew immediate criticism from the left.

The most common liberal complaint about the President’s blueprint involves his decision, as the New York Times laments, “not to have the federal government directly negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare.” Trump alarmed conservatives during his presidential campaign by flirting with that exceptionally bad policy idea, but sensibly abandoned it when working with his advisors to formulate a concrete plan. The term “negotiate” has no real meaning in the context of federal dealings with the drug industry. It is nothing more than a pseudonym for price controls. Allowing the government to “negotiate” with drug companies for lower Medicare drug prices would inevitably create shortages of badly needed pharmaceuticals.

Much more at the site - President Trump's plan seems to be effective and well thought out.

Back to work

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Took a break for lunch and back to caulking the siding on the house.  Overall, it is in very good shape except for the South wall. Planning to remove a window there (for the kitchen remodel) so will replace a bunch of it anyway.

The window people are here doing excellent work on their install. The difference in clarity is night and day. Let's hear it for modern technology!

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