Color me surprised - not...

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From Investor's Business Daily:

Democrats Admit Amnesty Is For Political Purposes
Give us your poor, your tired, your future Democrats waiting to be registered. That's what some in the party are saying as they urge the president to pursue immigration goals even if it hurts in the '14 midterms.

In other words, damn the political torpedoes and full speed ahead in the fundamental demographic and political transformation of America.

"You'll always have members whose political vulnerability they tie entirely to immigration," said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. "We didn't make progress when we were in the majority because we were being protective of those (members) on immigration reform. At some point do you worry more about the future or do you continue to put off the inevitable by not taking action?"

For Democrats such as Grijalva and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., amnesty and the political benefits stemming from it are inevitable. They are quite willing to use children to exploit the inherent compassion of the American people if it means ensuring the political future of the Democratic Party through the gratitude of millions of illegal aliens allowed to come here and stay.

Gutierrez recently told a La Raza conference that it was only a "down payment" that President Obama gave the Latino community with his Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program that halted the deportation of 600,000 of "our people":

"Now it is time for the president in the United States ... (to) free the mom and dads of the DREAMers and to go further — be broad and expansive and generous."

And just how many would he eventually like to sign up? "I think we can get 3 or 4, maybe even 5 million people," he said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." If you can't persuade voters, you can always import them.

This is so removed from constitutionality as to be ridiculous. Illegal doesn't begin to describe it. Pandering to an uninformed base to win votes and centralize their political power. At least Russia had a revolution - we are lurching toward tyranny by decree.

So true - The Argyle Sweater

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From The Argyle Sweater - today's cartoon was spot on:

20140730-tas.gif

The reference? Spy vs Spy

Over the last 100 years, we have spent huge amounts of money building out an amazing infrastructure of water, sewage, electrical and transportation conduits throughout the United States. You would think that with all this capital investment, some funds would be set aside for preventative maintenance. These entities will fail.  It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.

A big when happened yesterday in Los Angeles - from FOX News:

Broken water main floods UCLA campus, forces rescue of drivers, pedestrians
A 93-year-old water pipe burst under Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon, sending a geyser of water spewing 30 feet in the air and flooding parking structures and buildings on the UCLA campus, including the school's famed basketball arena, Pauley Pavilion. 

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power General Manager Jim McDaniel said that the 30-inch pipe was shut off at approximately 7 p.m. local time Tuesday, three-and-a-half hours after it burst. McDaniel estimated that between eight and ten million gallons of water had been released, adding that the city of Los Angeles uses an estimated 55 million gallons each day. LADWP spokeswoman Michele Vargas had earlier estimated that the pipe carries an estimated 75,000 gallons of water per minute when functioning.

And how many other soft spots are out there waiting to let go. What will happen is a very expensive crash program to retrofit the water main. What should have happened is a cheap annual inspection followed by selective repair of weakening sections. But we can use that money for other stuff...

Cleaning your tools - two paths

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Older ammunition is labeled as "corrosive" meaning that the primers contain Potassium Chlorate which does not play nice with metal (although it is a lot of fun to play with when you heat it up and drop in a Gummi Bear).

Here are two sites for gun cleaning: Corrosive and Other

 

Fun actor - really good musician.

As a sound junkie, I pay a lot of attention to how people use the microphone. Bruce knows how to do it well and about half-way through, his use of both the vocal and harp mic for singing is excellent technique if the FOH mixer is expecting it. A great effect. The mic in question is an Astatic JT30 dispatcher's microphone. It was designed for 1960's taxi cab dispatchers - the frequency response was limited to vocal frequencies (300-3,000Hz) and it was designed to take a lot of abuse (spitting, shouting, being knocked around, beer, tobacco smoke, etc...) which makes it perfect for the blues.

Hey Bruce - if that acting gig doesn't pan out...

From 2013/07/24 - Breitbart :

Top 10 Signs Obama Scandals Aren't 'Phony'
10. Someone pleads the Fifth. Lois Lerner, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations, invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during an oversight hearing. She was also suspended (with pay).

9. Documents go missing, officials fake e-mail addresses. Records of tax inquiries into Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell are gone; the former EPA chief made emails tough to find by using an alias.

8. You announce drastic policy shifts to minimize damage. When the Department of Justice was found to be snooping on the AP and Fox's James Rosen, Obama suddenly embraced a media shield law.

7. You make a show of "forcing" an official to resign. Obama theatrically announced the resignation of IRS chief Steven Miller; though his term was almost over, the gesture sent a clear signal of disapproval.

6. You try to arrest a low-level leaker. Though Obama himself minimizes the effort to catch Edward Snowden, the federal government is desperately trying to have him extradited for exposing NSA programs.

5. You assert dubious executive privilege to stop investigations. Obama exercised that option to protect Attorney General Eric Holder and the disastrous Operation Fast and Furious from scrutiny.

Five more at the site - I had posted this back on July 25th, 2013 -- good enough that it deserves another outing. As I said in the title block, nothing has changed.

NOAA data security

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Interesting article from SC Magazine:

IG scolds NOAA on security deficiencies, recommends fixes
The security climate is in need of change at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) after a report from the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Commerce found “significant security deficiencies” — amounting to thousands of vulnerabilities — threaten its mission critical systems.

Specifically, the report on the IG's audit of NOAA called out the agency for having its information systems connected to National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) critical satellite ground support system which it says “increases the risk of cyber attacks.”

“The Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites' (POES') and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites' (GOES') mission-critical satellite ground support systems have interconnections with systems where the flow of information is not restricted, which could provide a cyber attacker with access to these critical assets,” said the report, echoing security professionals who have always pegged the transitive trust between the systems that run the business and the infrastructure systems as a point of vulnerability.

After reviewing selected Windows components on four NESDIS systems, the Inspector General concluded that “inconsistent implementation of mobile device protections” boosted the probability of malware infection, primarily because unauthorized devices had been connected to critical systems and because GOES and the Environmental Satellite Processing Center (ESPC) didn't take steps to make sure that the Windows AutoRun feature was consistently disabled. Nearly half, 48 percent, of the ESPC's components — and 36 percent of GOES's — were accessed by unauthorized smart phones and thumb drives.

Ouch! More at the article - these are absolute basic security techniques and for them not to be implemented shows a disconnect. A perfect example of a Cyber Dunning-Kruger effect.

From the link:

Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:

    1. tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
    2. fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
    3. fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
    4. do recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they are exposed to training for that skill.

The scientists at NOAA are not stupid people but they are only trained for specific areas of knowledge. Computer Data Security does not fall into those areas but they think that they are smart enough to implement their security measures. Epic Fail!

Graduate-level programs should have two quarters of mandatory networking and security classes.

Obama is heavily in the pocket of the labor unions - they have been using union dues for campaign funding and receive perks in return.

Wonder how he will deal with this - from the Laborer's International Union of North America:

Spotlight on the Keystone XL Pipeline
The TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline is a major pipeline project that will run from Canada to Texas bringing oil to the US. Construction of the pipeline will help reduce our dependence on Mideast oil and create good union construction jobs. LIUNA members and other skilled building trades workers have already been enlisted to complete the project.

However, the project is currently in limbo pending the results of administrative reviews. Pipelines like Keystone have operated successfully for decades and are the safest, most reliable way to transport crude oil. The proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline would be a secure energy lifeline for America.

It will unlock good, family-supporting jobs for America at a time when families are losing their homes and desperately need good jobs.

The reasonable thing is to build the pipeline, create jobs here and reduce our dependence on oil from hostile regimes, instead of caving to fringe extremists and seeing that oil go to China.

Sounds good to me...

This is how we used to make things before we started shipping everything off to China. The downside? No OSHA - I hate to think of the chemicals in the phosphors and love the spot of the guy spraying the lacquer finish on the cabinet without any respirator.

Tip of the hat to Hack A Day for the link.

A list of fifty words

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From Mental Floss:

50 Words That Sound Rude But Actually Aren't
To paraphrase Krusty the Clown, comedy isn’t dirty words—it’s words that sound dirty, like mukluk. He’s right, of course. Some words really do sound like they mean something quite different from their otherwise entirely innocent definition (a mukluk is an Inuit sealskin boot, in case you were wondering), and no matter how clean-minded you might be, it’s hard not to raise an eyebrow or a wry smile whenever someone says something like cockchafer or sexangle. Here are 50 words that might sound rude, but really aren’t. Honest.

Here are five that caught my eye:

CLATTERFART - According to a Tudor dictionary published in 1552, a clatterfart is someone who "wyl disclose anye light secreate"—in other words, it’s a gossip or blabbermouth.

DREAMHOLE - A dreamhole is a small slit or opening made in the wall of a building to let in sunlight or fresh air. It was also once used to refer to holes in watchtowers used by lookouts and guards, or to openings left in the walls of church towers to amplify the sounds of the bells.

FANNY-BLOWER - According to one 19th century glossary of industrial slang, a fanny-blower or fanner was "used in the scissor-grinding industry," and comprised "a wheel with vanes, fixed onto a rotating shaft, enclosed in a case or chamber to create a blast of air." In other words, it’s a fan.

PAKAPOO - Pakapoo is a 19th century Australian word for a lottery or raffle. It apparently derives from a Cantonese phrase, baahk gáap piu, literally meaning "white pigeon ticket"—the Oxford English Dictionary suggests that in the original form of the game, a white dove might have been trained to select the winning ticket from all of the entries.

TIT-TYRANT - The tit-tyrants are a family of eight species of flycatcher native to the Andes Mountains and the westernmost rainforests of South America. One of the species, the ash-breasted tit-tyrant, is one of the world’s most endangered birds with fewer than 1000 individuals left in a handful of remote, high-altitude sites in Peru and Bolivia.

45 more at the site...

This is how you do it - Dr. Michael Darden:

 

Everyone is building nukes except here. Now China has agreed to build nuke plants in Romania and Argentina.

The design? Not the Ka-Boom kind the USA has been locked into - they are using the Canadian CANDU design - a lot better.

From World Nuclear News:

China signs Candu deals with Romania and Argentina
Two Chinese nuclear utilities have signed agreements that would see them cooperate in the construction and financing of new Candu units at Romania's Cernavoda plant and at Argentina's Atucha plant.

China Nuclear Power Engineering Co (CNPEC) has signed a "binding and exclusive" cooperation agreement with Candu Energy Inc for the construction of two more reactors at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania.

The agreement, signed in Vancouver yesterday, follows a letter of intent signed by CNPEC's parent company China General Nuclear (CGN) and Romanian national nuclear company Nuclearelectrica last November for investment in and development of Cernavoda units 3 and 4.

Cernavoda is home to two operating Candu 6 pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) supplied by Candu Energy's predecessor, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL), and built by a Canadian-Italian consortium of AECL and Ansaldo. Unit 1 started up in 1996, but work was suspended on a further four units in 1991. Unit 2 was subsequently completed and has been in operation since 2007. The two reactors currently generated almost 20% of Romania's electricity.

And Argentina:

The signing of the Romanian agreement comes days after China and Argentina signed a new high-level agreement towards construction of a third PHWR at the Atucha plant in Argentina.

I prefer Thorium reactors but the CANDU is a very close second and in fact, it can run the Thorium cycle with decent efficiency. What makes the CANDU so nice is that it burns the fuel a lot more efficiently than the US designs (90% as opposed to 30%) and it can also burn waste materials from other reactors. It is inherently safe and survive a total loss of power with zero problems. Wikipedia has a page on them: CANDU Reactor. Here is the page from the Canadian Nuclear Association.

Got nothing today

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Long shopping run today.

For the last few days, I have been seeing this country auguring into the ground - hard to understand how we can be governed by such incompetent ideologues. So out of touch.

The immigration amnesty movement is just a replay of the 1980's Mariel Boatlift from Cuba. What was supposed to be an ordered immigration of refugees turned out to be a purge of Cuban prisons and mental hospitals. You can thank President Jimmy Carter for that one. Carter (boatlift, gas lines, malaise, etc.) is now the second worst President of the United States.

Gaza Strip? Why do people fail to remember their history - there are no palestinian people. The "Nation of Palestine" is a fabrication from the 1950's and was bought and paid-for by the Russian KGB. Yasser Arafat was Egyptian and spent nine years at Moscow's Patrice Lumumba University and was bankrolled by the KGB.

Arrrggghh...  That being said, Lulu and I are happy, the garden is doing well, my businesses are doing well.

I still have a couple old manuals and seek out IBM Selectrics whenever I can find good ones at a decent price. From Germany's English Language News source - The Local:

Typewriter manufacturers see boom in sales
German typewriter manufacturers are enjoying a boom in sales following the NSA spying scandal. A German defence manufacturer switched to typewriters last year, while last week a leading politician called for the government to use the old technology.

The head of the parliamentary inquiry into spying by the US National Security Service in Germany made headlines last week when he said his committee was considering using typewriters. But he is not alone.

With a turnover of €5 million, the German typewriter market is growing.

Manufactures Olympia and Bandermann are seeing a revival in what was until recently a dying technology.

"We sell about 10,000 (typewriters) every year," Bandermann manager Rolf Bonnen told The Local. Sales grew around a third last year on 2012.

Some more:

Last year Triumph Adler, which is part of Bandermann, made a YouTube video to promote its product as "Bug proof. NSA proof," after the Russians' interest was first reported by German media.

And an Olympia spokesman told Wirtschaftswoche magazine that the company expects to sell more typewriters this year than at any time in the last 20 years, with sales set to double in 2014.

Even if you are on a totally isolated system, people can still decypher what your system is doing. Tempest has been a mature technology since the mid 1980's.

There is going to be a big market for "secure" systems. Data obfuscation and signal jamming will yield good-enough security. Take a nice $1,200 laptop, move the guts into an $800 titanium chassis, tart it up with $500 worth of bells and whistles and sell it for $7,500 as a Data Secure System. Talk about taking candy from a baby...

Also, A.F.D.B.'s would be a great market to get into as well.

Nukes there, not here

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Our Energy Policy is about as moronic and downright damaging as our Foreign Policy. The single most efficient and cost effective source of electrical energy is Nuclear and we are blowing money on energy rat-holes but ignoring Nuclear.

From Next Big Future:

BRICS countries are building about 75% of the worlds new nuclear reactors and are forming a new BRICS energy association
Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced plans to establish a BRICS "energy association" that will include a fuel reserve bank and an energy policy institute. BRICS is a grouping of major emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Fifty of the 66 nuclear reactors currently under construction are in BRICS states.

Russia signed a number of nuclear power cooperation agreements that coincided with Putin's visit to South America. On 12 July, Rosatom director general Sergey Kiriyenko and Argentina's minister of planning, investments and services, Julio Vido, signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy. Rosatom plans to participate in the tender in the third quarter for construction of the third unit at the Atucha nuclear power plant.

On 15 July, Rusatom Overseas chief executive Dzhomart Aliyev and Camargo Correa President Dalton Santos Avancini signed a memorandum of understanding with Brazilian Camargo Correa on building an additional spent fuel storage facility and a nuclear power station in Brazil.

The document envisages an expansion of bilateral cooperation in nuclear power, in particular, the construction of engineering and technical facilities at the Brazilian operational Angra nuclear power plant and partnership in the construction of new nuclear power units in Brazil.

On 16 July, Putin held talks with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on broadening their partnership in the energy and defense sectors. Modi has reportedly invited the Russian leader to visit the construction site of Kudankulam 2 during their annual summit in New Delhi, in December. The two countries signed a general framework agreement in April on units 3 and 4.

 What makes this really interesting is that tucked into this agreement is a new bank:

The key development of the BRICS summit was the launch the long-awaited New Development Bank and a Currency Reserve Pool. With combined resources of $200 billion, they are aimed at fostering greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets.

With a stated capital of $100 billion, the bank - widely seen as an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund – "will become one of the largest multilateral financial development institutions in the world," Putin said. The group has also launched a Currency Reserve Pool, which Putin said "creates the prerequisites for effectively protecting our countries from financial market crises."

Putin is trying to move the world's reserve currency away from the US Dollar. This would undermine our ability to borrow money and would prompt lender nations to ask for repayment on an accelerated schedule. This would demolish the USA's economic power. We are at war here, we could win this easily (and come out ahead) but now -- Obama is fiddling while the world is burning. Right now, Russia is starved for hard currency. They get their money from oil and gas sales to Europe. If we came to market with the same product only cheaper, we would shut down Russia as well as defund the oil-ticks who are funding terrorism. But noooooo...

 

Waterboard tonight

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Spent the afternoon brush-hogging. When I first moved here, I cleared a small trail down to the creek that flows through the valley. In subsequent years, it has returned to nature but I have been restoring it. The confluence of the two creeks is a delightful spot and have been thinking of a small tree-house or even just a platform to hang out. A friend was planning to build a fence and purchased a load of pressure-treated timber and subsequently changed their minds. I bought it from them and this would be a perfect use.

About one third of the way there. There was a spot that was really marshy with tall grass when I cut there two weeks ago - my feet got wet.  Returning to it today, it was nice and dry, even after the rains we had last week.

Did a pot of beef stew this morning so will have that for dinner and lunch this week. Also did some coleslaw - got a nice recipe developed. Lulu worked in the garden and hung out indoors and read - it got pretty hot outside.

Our monthly water board meeting is in about an hour - time to grab a bowl of stew and a beer and then head over there.

Sometimes, locking in a contract is not a good idea - from the Wall Street Journal:

When Staples Offers Items for a Penny, New York Buys Kleenex by the Pound
Staples Inc. made the State of New York quite a promise: Buy your office supplies from us, and we'll sell you a bunch of things for a penny apiece. This unleashed a rush on the retailer as government offices and qualifying organizations across the state gobbled up the one-cent items.

A Brooklyn charity benefiting disabled people ordered 240,000 boxes of facial tissue and 48,000 rolls of paper towels, according to documents obtained in a public-records request. Rome, N.Y., wanted 100,000 CD-Rs. A State Department of Motor Vehicles office ordered 8,000 rolls of packaging tape.

"We ordered things we didn't even need," said Nancy Sitone, manager of office services at United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Suffolk Inc. "I have some products up the yin-yang."

Staples was named New York's official office-supplies vendor in May 2013. Besides state agencies, those able to order under the contract include city halls, schools, police departments and many charities.

To win the three-year contract, Staples agreed to sell 219 popular items at a penny apiece. It hoped to turn a profit from thousands of other items that weren't on sale.

The one-cent bargains ranged from a 12-pack of chalk with a list price of $1.01 to an $1,100 paper shredder, and included products such as a high-capacity computer flash drive and a 72-pack of C batteries.

Enter the law of supply and demand.

Of course, Staples tried damage control - some more:

Two months into the contract, a senior Staples official complained in an email to John Traylor, a state official, about "excessive orders," citing as an example the request for 240,000 boxes of Kleenex, or 5,000 cases at a penny per 48-box case.

"This order alone exceeds the capacity of 10 tractor trailers [and] has a retail value of $399,500," the executive wrote.

Arguing that demand was unreasonably above estimates, Staples never delivered the truckloads of tissues or many other orders, and blocked some items from sale.

The state "is still in active negotiations to resolve this disagreement," a spokeswoman for New York's Office of General Services said. "Staples did not ask for a limitation in ordering quantities," she said, "and OGS would not have accepted such a limitation had it been made."

Staples is "in full compliance" with the contract, a spokeswoman said.

Heh - I wonder what Staples exec will not get their Christmas bonus this year. Bureaucrats behaving badly.

Picnic at Silver Lake park

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Lulu was in town for two days taking care of business there. She showed up today and hauled me off to Silver Lake park for a wonderful picnic.

Pulled pork sandwiches, a good local porter and some seafood bisque. Mmmmm...

The park was pretty crowded but we found a nice patch of grass by the water and spent a delightful couple hours.

Lulu said it was Mahalo ke Akua Kawika day.

Ebola in the news

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The current outbreak is getting bigger and bigger. From the UK Independent:

Deadly Ebola virus spreads to Nigeria by plane as Sierra Leone hunts kidnapped patient
The Ebola virus that has already killed 660 people across West Africa has spread to Nigeria after a Liberian man boarded a plane to the country, the most populous in the continent.

He managed to board the flight despite of having a high fever. Once on the plane he vomited, before dying in Nigeria.

Just wonderful - it is airborne so everyone on the plane has been exposed. More:

Nigerian health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said it was the first case of Ebola to be confirmed in Nigeria since the start of the current outbreak in the region. The disease has already hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, infecting 1,093.

In Sierra Leone, officials are hunting the first known resident of the capital Freetown to test positive for the disease after the family of the woman forcibly removed her from a hospital in the city.

Saudatu Koroma, 32, a resident of the densely populated Wellington neighbourhood, had been admitted to an isolation ward while blood samples were analysed, health ministry spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis. The results came back on Thursday.

“The family of the patient stormed the hospital and forcefully removed her and took her away,” Tunis said. “We are searching for her.”

Fighting one of the world's deadliest diseases is straining the region's weak health systems, while a lack of information and suspicion of medical staff has led many to shun treatment.

According to health ministry data and officials, dozens of people confirmed by laboratory tests to have Ebola are now unaccounted for in Sierra Leone, where the majority of cases have been recorded in the country's east.

No cure or vaccine, the current strain is killing 60% of those infected and it is thriving in urban areas and transportation hubs whereas prior outbreaks had been confined to rural areas.

Having a 200 Amp electrical service brought out to the equipment barn. Currently, it is served by a 40 Amp service and I can run some machinery and weld thin metal but anything more and I pop the breaker. Time to get real...

Also spending this weekend filling up the dumpster. Already it has made a big difference around the farm.

The garden is turning out really nice - got some 'maters ripening and the carrots and chard are delicious. We planted some punkins for fun -- see if the season is long enough for them to fully develop.

Spending tonight working on getting the music room wired up - we are due for nice weather through the weekend so I am planning on moving the rest of the synthesizers from the DaveCave(tm). It was not that long ago that the DaveCave(tm) was my retreat from a bad marriage. Now it is just another building on the farm. Lulu's son lives there when he is visiting and Lulu has been setting up her art projects. Planning to put a Propane heater in before it gets cold again - already have the heater (another auction), just need to build a mounting frame and plumb it in.

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