And that is it for the night

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A quck trot around the internet finds nothing. Time for a few videos and some sleep.

What do you know - tariffs actually work!

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This is my surprised face - from Market Watch:

China to slash tariffs on U.S. auto imports to 15%
China agreed to reduce tariffs on U.S. autos to 15%, down from 40% currently, during a phone call with U.S. officials that opened the latest round of trade talks aimed at settling a trade dispute festering between the world’s two largest economic powers.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He informed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer of the move in a phone call late Monday evening, Washington time, the person said, which restarted trade talks between the two nations. It wasn’t clear when the change would take effect, but Washington is pushing Beijing to make concessions as soon as possible.

They are not something to be used widely but when wielded with finesse, they can accomplish wonders.

Now that was a long day

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Back to the island home after spending seven hours on the road. Left the house at 10AM. Made four stops totaling about three hours (gas, picking up computer, 45 minutes at Fry's Electronics and Ham Radio Christmas Dinner) Total mileage was about 200 - Camano, Auburn, WA, Bellingham and Camano. Total time was nine hours. Six hours on the road so this averages out to about 33 miles/hour. Some of it was averaging 60 and 70 but a whole lot of it was being stuck in really bad traffic driving at a snails pace. I said fuckit and opted for the toll lane on I-405 North but even this was really bad.

Did not help that the rain was really pouring down.

The dinner was a lot of fun. Everyone just showed up at a local buffet restaurant and we chowed down. Chinese place - really good food with traditional American Buffet as well as Chinese.

Fry's was really sad - lots of empty shelving and a lot of product spread waaaay out to make it look like there was more of a selection than there really was. They are privately owned - hope they are doing OK. It was quite the place when I lived in Seattle - the concept of one-stop shopping for geeks was successful for a long long time.

Heading to Maple Falls to install the repaired server tomorrow.. Then, back to our usual schedule of Thursday meeting here and the rest of the weekend packing and moving.

From the White House:

Another day, another six hours in traffic

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Heading out for coffee, post office, bank and then down South of Seattle to pick up the store's server. Driving through stop and go traffic really reminds me why I hate large cities. I lived in them before I knew better but now do not like having to deal with the commotion.

No wonder large cities consistently vote Democrat. Living there makes you crazy (and not in a good sense).

The Mt. Baker ham radio club has their Christmas dinner tonight in Bellingham so heading to the store, getting the system installed and then to Bellingham and then down to the island - have a meeting down here Thursday.

Now this should be fun - the weather

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From the National Weather Service via weather.com:

Gale Warning for Northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands
...GALE WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 1 PM PST TUESDAY... * WIND AND WAVES...SOUTHEAST WIND RISING TO 25 TO 40 KNOTS, WIND WAVES BUILDING TO 4 TO 7 FEET LATE TONIGHT AND TUESDAY--EXCEPT COMBINDED SEAS BUILDING TO AROUND 10 FEET AT 10 SECONDS AT THE WEST ENTRANCE TO THE STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A GALE WARNING MEANS WINDS OF 34 TO 47 KNOTS ARE IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. OPERATING A VESSEL IN GALE CONDITIONS REQUIRES EXPERIENCE AND PROPERLY EQUIPPED VESSELS. IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT MARINERS WITHOUT THE PROPER EXPERIENCE SEEK SAFE HARBOR PRIOR TO THE ONSET OF GALE CONDITIONS. &&

Camano Island is one of the San Juan Islands. Should be interesting. Hope I wake up for this - heavy sleeper.

Plan B - today and tomorrow

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In my problems at the store post from this morning, I had mentioned that our POS program was having database "issues". Turns out to have been a hard disk crash. The two sale terminals  run the POS software but they also connect to a central server which stores all the transaction information, inventory, etc... The server or the network can go down and each lane can operate independently and they will all re-sync once connection is reestablished. Very nice and well thought out software.

The problem is that because this is not a commodity application like a spreadsheet or word processor, the cost to develop and maintain this software is high so they need to be careful that people do not pirate it. This is done through the use of an encrypted USB dongle. As long as that dongle is plugged in, everybody is happy. If the dongle is not visible to the system, each of the sales terminals will run for fifteen days and then cease to operate.

Since the software is proprietary, only the vendor can maintain it. Since we were running out of days of grace (and needing to access our inventory data), I spent six hours driving down from Maple Falls to Auburn (south of Seattle) through rush hour. The server should be ready sometime tomorrow so I get to drive down and back through the Seattle traffic again.

The software is really good but sheesh - I wish I could have simply swapped out the disk here. Since Camano is much closer, I am spending the night here and waiting for a phone call tomorrow.

At least, we will be fully online for Wednesday's opening at Mt. Baker

Surf for a bit, YouTube and then bedtime.

Snow prayers

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Great post from Seattle meteorologist Cliff Mass:

When Snow Prayers Work Too Well
The boundary between meteorology and religion has always been an amorphous one, with considerable overlap.

In ancient times, Gods were considered the prime movers of weather events, and societies were always looking for the proper supplication to the get rain, snow, or whatever else they hoped for.

But even today, with all our technology and science, folks desperately hoping for a specific weather outcome frequently turn to praying to the powers up high.

And so it was, last Friday, when a group of snow-hungry skiers, egged on by the management of Snoqualmie Summit ski area, held a prayer vigil in North Bend at Compass Sports. They prayed, drank libations to certain weather gods, and attempted well-rehearsed weather dances.

And it worked.  It appears that the gods heard the plaintive cries, and snow has begun to fall in the Cascades.  Before the week is up, there will be feet of white stuff in the mountains and most ski areas will be open for business.

Heh - more at the site. Looks good for the ski season.

Out for the day - problems at the store

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Our Point Of Sale program is having database problems. Happy happy joy joy - just in time for the ski season. Mt. Baker is planning to open in two days. From their Snow Report:

Quote of the day from the forecaster at the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center: “ It’s about to get real.”

The first in a series of significant storms has begun! Mountain forecasts are calling for a series of Baker style storms to roll through in the next 5 days starting with 10+ inches of snow through Monday morning with a bit of a break for Monday. Then it really moves in! We are looking at HEAVY SNOWFALL for Tuesday with up to 20 inches of new snow possible. A bit of a break is expected Wednesday then it cranks in again with low snow levels Wednesday night into Thursday morning with 13 inches of new snow expected Wednesday night, another 2 feet of new snow expected Thursday, and another 12 inches of new snow for Friday morning. Yes, you read that right:

EXPECTED SNOWFALL ACCORDING TO FORECASTS:
10 inches - Sunday night
20 inches - Tuesday
13 inches - Wednesday night
24 inches - Thursday
12 inches - Friday

I have had a little over 0.4" of rain in the last 24 hours and I can see snow on Black Mountain at the 3,000 foot level. Temp is 39°F outside my house so no danger of snowfall as yet. A lot of rain in the forecast. When Mt. Baker opens, we get slammed. Our second busiest time of the year - first is summer when families go camping.

Heading out for coffee and then to the store to see what I can do. Might be driving the server down to Seattle to have them work on it.

YouTube

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It's late and I am a bit sleepy (that third pint of hard cider). Watch some videos and then busy day tomorrow.

Pharmaceutical price fixing

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Interesting and not unexpected. I have bad skin and use a lot of products from Teva. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Probe of generic 'cartel' grows to 300 drugs
Executives at more than a dozen generic-drug companies had a form of shorthand to describe how they conducted business, insider lingo worked out over steak dinners, cocktail receptions and rounds of golf.

The "sandbox," according to investigators, was the market for generic prescription drugs, where everyone was expected to play nice.

"Fair share" described dividing up the sales pie to ensure that each company reaped continued profits. "Trashing the market" was used when a competitor ignored these unwritten rules and sold drugs for less than agreed-upon prices.

The terminology reflected more than just the clubbiness of a powerful industry, according to authorities and several lawsuits. Officials from multiple states say these practices were central to illegal price-fixing schemes of massive proportion.

The lawsuit and related cases picked up steam last month when a federal judge ruled that more than 1 million emails, cellphone texts and other documents cited as evidence could be shared among all plaintiffs.

What started as an antitrust lawsuit brought by states over just two drugs in 2016 has exploded into an investigation of alleged price-fixing involving at least 16 companies and 300 drugs, Joseph Nielsen, an assistant attorney general and antitrust investigator in Connecticut who has been a leading force in the probe, said in an interview. His comments in an interview with The Washington Post represent the first public disclosure of the dramatically expanded scale of the investigation.

The unfolding case is rattling an industry that is portrayed in Washington as the white knight of American health care.

"This is most likely the largest cartel in the history of the United States," Nielsen said. He cited the volume of drugs in the schemes, that they took place on American soil and the "total number of companies involved, and individuals."

And a bit more:

Among the 16 companies accused are some of the biggest names in generic manufacturing: Mylan, Teva and Dr. Reddy's. Mylan denied wrongdoing in an emailed statement. Sun, Teva and Dr. Reddy's did not respond to requests for comment. In a court filing, Teva said allegations of a price-fixing conspiracy "are entirely conclusory and devoid of any facts."

Mylan does albuterol (asthma med) which has gone from 13¢ to $4.70 per pill. They also manufacture the EpiPen which has gone from $94 to over $700 for the kit of two pens.

I have zero problem with making money. Rigging the market to gouge the customer is another thing. What is especially heinous is that these are generic drugs. The cost of Research and Development has already been borne by the inventor and been recovered by their monopoly patent rights. This is just gouging plain and simple.

And Ed was right again

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Ed Vallee has a good string of predictions under his belt and he was right again. Prediction from 12/06/2018 (at the bottom of the post here). The headlines link to parent articles:

Falling Tree Kills One Person as Winter Storm Diego Leaves More than 385,000 Without Power

Snow totals: Raleigh-Durham area sees 'entire winter average in one day'

Global what?

And I am back

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Fun evening - ran into a couple people I have known for a long time - good evening and excellent cider.

Done with dinner, dishwasher loaded up and ready for a couple pints of cider at the North Fork

Fixing dinner

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Doing a tuna noodle dish I have evolved over the years.

Boil half a box of bow-tie pasta - half way through the cooking process (while it is still quite hard), toss in a bag of frozen peas and continue cooking.

In a large bowl, combine two cans of good tuna (Costco Albacore) and a lot of ground pepper and a lot of toasted sesame oil. Use more oil and more pepper - really lather it on.

Drain the noodles and peas and toss into the tuna mixture - stir and you are good to go.I find it tasty, lots of protein and quick to make.

You may want to scale back down and use one can and a quarter box and half the bag of peas. I usualy make a bunch so I have it for lunch tomorrow.

Some great news - new oil

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A new oil find - from National Review:

Feds Discover Largest Oil, Natural-Gas Reserve in History
The federal government has discovered a massive new reserve of oil and natural gas in Texas and New Mexico that it says has the “largest continuous oil and gas resource potential ever assessed.”

“Christmas came a few weeks early this year,” Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said of the new reserve, which is believed to have enough energy to fuel the U.S. for nearly seven years.

The report can be found here (four page PDF document): Assessment of Undiscovered Continuous Oil and Gas Resources in the Wolfcamp Shale and Bone Spring Formation of the Delaware Basin, Permian Basin Province, New Mexico and Texas, 2018

I am still waiting for new nuclear power plants - specifically LFTRs but this will tide us over.

Heh - same as it ever was

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Fun mashup from swedemason:

Quite the collection - Dimensions.Guide

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From their website:

Dimensions.Guide is a comprehensive reference database of dimensioned drawings documenting the standard measurements and sizes of the everyday objects and spaces that make up our built environment. Created as a universal resource to better communicate the basic properties, systems, and logics of our world, Dimensions.Guide is a free platform for increasing public and professional knowledge of life and design. Updated daily.

Give it a spin - they have a lot of data in there. Dimensions.Guide  The Browse button opens up a catagory menu bar.

From Elizabeth Vaughn writing at RedState:

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures: Bill And Hill Resort To Groupon To Sell Tickets
Following the humiliatingly low opening night attendance of “An Evening With The Clintons,” the ever-resourceful Bill and Hillary Clinton have turned to Groupon to sell tickets. One can purchase a $120.35 ticket for the bargain price of $50 for their May 4, 2019 show.

Of course $50 will only buy you a mid-to-rear section seat, but given the low turnout for their Toronto event where fans filled only 3,300 seats of an arena which can accommodate up to 19,800 (17%), event handlers moved the audience closer to the stage to improve the optics.

Heh. Schadenfreude - great word; so useful these days.

Finally, at the farm

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Uneventful drive up - quick surf, clean up the house a bit, fix dinner and then out for a couple pints of cider. Lots of packing in store for the next couple of days.

Raining softly - got about 0.15" of precip at the house with more forecast for the next ten days or more and we have a Winter Weather advisory for above 2,500 feet. Looks like Mt. Baker may be opening a little bit this coming week - Snow Report:

Update: December 8 - LOTS OF SNOW IN THE FORECAST!
We had a few inches of new snow Saturday morning but forecasts are calling for the weather to really get rolling early next week with several days of heavy snowfall expected at Baker . . . and several feet of new snow forecasted! If the weather comes in as expected we may be looking at a possible limited opening on Thursday. BUT, that is entirely dependent on how things unfold early this coming week. Stay tuned here as we continue to get updated forecasts and a better idea of a potential opening day.

This is always great for business - three years ago we had a very dry winter and the store did very poorly.

Wonderful - from Andy Serkis:

Nothing on the internet

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Not seeing anything of interest on the internet. Slow news day.

Van warmed up so time to lock up the house and head out.

Heading out soon

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Rained pretty heavily this morning - got about two tenths of an inch.

Up to the farm after coffee and breakfast.

And that is it for the night

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Nothing happening out there that catches my eye. YouTube and then to bed.

Very productive couple of days down here but it is time to address the mountain of work at the farm.

Stuffed - in a good sense

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The dinner was really good. A large cut of prime rib for $18 - about a pound. Small baked potato (they were 80s or 90s) and your basic institutional steam table veggies - green beans with bacon and corn niblets but everything was very flavorful and the beef was a lot better than you get at places like Outback. Tender, nice and rare. They had real horseradish as well as the creamy. Scraps were saved for the pups.

Being the Legionaire's Hall, the draft beer was $2.50 per pint so I will be taking note and coming back on a regular basis. Good crowd - lots of ex military, families, old farts, young farts - all people out looking for a good meal.

Went out to the place I was at the night before for two pints of cider and finished a book I have been reading - got the rest of the series on order at the library.

Overcast skies but still no rain - temps are a lot higher though. It was down to 21.4°F two nights ago and is now 37.2°F, big difference when trying to camp in a place without an installed HVAC system.

Farm tomorrow for sure...

One more day on the island

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Got the last of the laundry done and folded. Heading out for dinner now - the American Legion does a roast beef dinner on the second Saturday of the month. Thought I would check that out.

ALMOST From TMZ:

MICHAEL AVENATTI TO ESTRANGED WIFE THE FERRARI, JET AND ARTWORK ARE YOURS
Michael Avenatti and his estranged wife have an agreement in place for him to pay her child and spousal support, and it requires him to fork over a ton of his assets ... TMZ has learned.

According to docs filed in Orange County, a judge ordered Avenatti to pay Lisa Storie-Avenatti $37,897 per month in child support, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. We'll do the math for ya ... it's $454,764. The order also requires Avenatti to pay her spousal support of $124,398 per month, retroactive to Jan. 2018. That's roughly $1.5 million.

Now, cut to Dec. 4, when both parties filed docs stipulating Avenatti write child support checks for $40k now, and another in January.

As for the balance ... according to the docs, Avenatti agrees to hand over a bunch of his assets for Lisa to liquidate. The loot includes 5 luxury wristwatches -- some worth more than $50k -- a Frank Gehry sculpture, and several other expensive works of art.

Additionally, he has to hand over the keys to a 2017 Ferarri 488 GT Spider he was leasing. By the way, those go for about $300k.

And, there's this -- Michael's law firm ... Avenatti & Associates, is required to transfer, to Lisa, its interest in a 2016 Honda private jet.

Talk about being taken to the cleaners. This on top of his law firm being evicted, him being busted on charges of domestic violence and him owing a huge amount of money.

Like I said, I almost feel sorry for the guy. ALMOST

A tale of two cities

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Interesting to compare and contrast:

From Reuters:

Surging in the polls, Italy's Salvini stages mass Rome rally
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini filled one of Rome’s main squares with tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters on Saturday in a rally that underscored the growing predominance of his rightist League party.

Locked in battle with Brussels over the government’s budget plans, Salvini told the cheering crowds he would honor promises to boost state spending, warning that austerity would only fuel the sort of violence that has rocked neighboring France.

“Those who sow poverty reap protests,” he said.

“If you call into question our right and duty to restore dignity, pride, security, pensions and work to millions of Italians, then I tell you we will not be turning back.”

From The Express:

Paris protests SPREAD to Brussels as demonstrators CLASH with police - 400 arrests
Around 1,000 police were deployed onto the streets, where they used tear gas and fired water cannons at protestors in a desperate attempt to keep the situation spiralling out of control.

Areas housing the buildings of the European Commission and European Parliament were sealed off, but video footage has emerged on social media of protesters seemingly squaring off with police outside the latter.

Police have put up barricades around both major European institutions, while both pedestrians and vehicles were denied access as a security precaution.

Italy is listening to the voice of its citizens and rejecting the globalist elite rule. France embraced the globalist elites and is paying the price as their citizens refuse to fund their caviar and champagne. This is the rise of the Normals. Great time to be alive.

Out the door in a little while

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Took care of some things here this morning - heading out for coffee, post office and then the farm. Surf a little bit first.

And that is it for the night

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YouTube for a little bit and then up and at 'em tomorrow. Couple of things to do and then head up to the farm for a couple of days.

Doing another emergency communications drill in January. The people down here are just as good as the people in Whatcom County so the drills are a lot of fun and a very good training excercise for when the poop really hits the air moving device. Not if. When.

Well crap - missed a tour

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One of my favorite blues musicians is Joe Bonamassa. I have been listening to his music for the last week or so and tonight wondered if he was touring. Checked his website and yes, he is and crap. I missed it.

11/27/18 - PORTLAND, OR - ARLENE SCHNITZER CONCERT HALL
11/29/18 - VANCOUVER, CANADA - QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATRE
11/30/18 - VANCOUVER, CANADA - QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATRE
12/01/18 - VANCOUVER, CANADA - QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATRE

Not familiar with his music? Here is a taste:

Quite the lineup on this show too:

Joe Bonamassa – guitar, vocals, liner notes
Carmine Rojas – bass
Anton Fig – drums
Bogie Bowles – drums
Rick Melick – keyboards, tambourine, backing vocals

Oh well. Next year.

77 years ago today

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A day which shall live in infamy - or, as the Japanese ruling class found out:

20181207-pearl.jpg

Out for a bite

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Time for dinner - heading out to a local place for a burger. Good food and just three miles away.

Great news - good police work

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From The Bellingham Herald:

Drug pipeline ‘has been shut down.’ Statewide bust nets 29 arrests, guns, drugs
Nearly 30 people were arrested during a two-day drug bust across five Washington counties targeting a Mexican drug cartel.

Federal officials said the cartel was bringing heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine into the state using a California business to launder the money and send it to Mexico.

“The dangerous pills containing fentanyl flowing through this pipeline operated by this Western Washington distribution network has been shut down,” Keith Weis, a Drug Enforcement Administration special agent, said in a statement.

On Wednesday and Thursday, more than 400 law enforcement officers served 51 warrants on more than 50 buildings and 35 vehicles.

Twenty-nine people were arrested, as well as the owner of the California business allegedly laundering money.

The group was allegedly selling the drugs, including fentanyl-laced oxycodone pills, in Pierce, King, Kitsap, Skagit and Snohomish counties.

Good riddance - get these goblins off the streets.

No wild goose chase today

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The sunlight was just too cold for filming today. Looking at about ten days of overcast and off-and-on rain so maybe look for Bald Eagles but no Snow Geese.

Turned around and went back to the island house for one more night - got a couple of things I want to knock out and do a load of laundry (running out of socks).

Making it the art world

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Was just turned on to an excellent article on becoming an artist in New York Magazine:

How to Be an Artist 33 rules to take you from clueless amateur to generational talent (or at least help you live life a little more creatively)
Art is for anyone. It’s just not for everyone. I know this viscerally, as a would-be artist who burned out. I wrote about that last year, and ever since, I’ve been beset — every lecture I give, every gallery I pop my head into, somebody is asking me for advice. What they’re really asking is “How can I be an artist?”

When, last month, Banksy jerry-rigged a frame to shred a painting just when it was auctioned, I could almost hear the whispers: “Is that art?” This fall, the biggest museum event in New York is the Whitney’s retrospective of Andy Warhol — the paradigmatic self-made, make-anything-art-and-yourself-famous artist. Today, we are all Andy’s children, especially in the age of Instagram, which has trained everyone to think visually and to look at our regular lives as fodder for aesthetic output.

How do you get from there to making real art, great art? There’s no special way; everyone has their own path. Yet, over the years, I’ve found myself giving the same bits of advice. Most of them were simply gleaned from looking at art, then looking some more. Others from listening to artists talk about their work and their struggles. (Everyone’s a narcissist.) I’ve even stolen a couple from my wife.

There are 33 rules — and they really are all you need to know to make a life for yourself in art. Or 34, if you count “Always be nice, generous, and open with others and take good care of your teeth.” And No. 35: “Fake it till you make it.”

Covers a lot of other fields too. Creativity can be grown.

Out for a little while

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The usual morning routine - coffee, post office, etc...

Heading up to the farm this afternoon. Rain in the forecast.

Fake News

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Heh:

20181207-santa.jpg

From The Hill:

Feds received whistleblower evidence in 2017 alleging Clinton Foundation wrongdoing
When a House subcommittee chairman bangs his gavel next week to convene an unprecedented investigative hearing into the Clinton Foundation, two questions will linger as preeminent: Is the Clinton family charity really the international do-gooder that earned a perfect four-star rating from Charity Navigator, or does it suffer from corruption and illegalities as conservatives allege? And if it is the latter, how much evidence of wrongdoing does the government possess?

The answer to the first question is that the foundation and its projects reported collecting about $2.5 billion to help global crises, from AIDS to earthquakes, even as its own auditors, lawyers and employees privately warned of problems over the years.

The answer to the second question may reside in 6,000 pages of evidence attached to a whistleblower submission filed secretly more than a year ago with the IRS and FBI.

The Chief Financial Officer is Andrew Kessel:

The submission also cites an interview its investigators conducted with Andrew Kessel that quotes the foundation’s longtime chief financial officer as saying he was unable to stop former President Clinton from “commingling” personal business and charitable activities inside the foundation and that he “knows where all the bodies are buried.”

“There is probable cause that the Clinton Foundation has run afoul of IRS rules regarding tax-exempt charitable organizations and has acted inconsistently with its stated purpose,” MDA Analytics alleged in its submission. “The Foundation should be investigated for all of the above-mentioned improprieties. The tax rules, codes, statutes and the rule of law should and must be applied in this case.”

Hope that Mr. Kessel does not become another name on this list: Arkancide

The Clinton Foundation needs to be shut down - they are a slush fund for all that is evil in this world.

Got nothing

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Nothing catches my eye - off to some videos.

Putter around here tomorrow and head up to the farm around 2PM or so - catch the light to video the wild Snow Geese on my way up - taking some back roads for a while. Got some clouds and precip in the offing for Friday evening through all of next week.

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