Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What did Mueller know, and when did he know it?

Don't worry, Chief. Got it covered.
Here's an update on the coup attempt against President Trump.

During Barack Obama's administration the FBI uncovered a vast scheme involving Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and Russia to transfer 20 percent of U.S. uranium to Russia.
The Hill reporters John Solomon and Alison Spann’s inquiry found that the FBI began investigating an effort by the Russian government to infiltrate the American nuclear materials industry as early as 2009. “Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States,” they reported.
Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department told the public or the Congress about this. It sat on the investigation for four years. Robert Mueller was the head of the FBI; today he is pretending to look for evidence of collusion between Donald Trump and Russia.

We now have a motive for Mueller's investigation of Donald Trump. It's part of a massive coverup.

Here's how the scandal unfolded.
1.  These reporters were privy to documents revealing the scope of the FBI’s operation, which was extensive and supported the allegation that Moscow had “compromised” a Uranium trucking firm. All of this took place before the Russian energy firm Rosatom secured its first 17 percent stake in the American nuclear materials extraction company Uranium One in 2009. A year later, Rosatom won a majority stake in that company—a deal that had to be approved at the highest levels of the American government and which alarmed observers who fretted the national security implications of that kind of concession to Moscow. 
2. Meanwhile, between 2009 and 2013, the Clinton Foundation was the recipient of four suspicious tranches of donations totaling $2.35 million from Russian-linked sources including Uranium One’s chairman. Former President Bill Clinton personally received half a million dollars for one speech in Moscow from a Russian government-linked investment bank that was promoting Uranium One stock.

3. What’s odd about this account, though, is how sluggish the FBI investigation was. The Hill noted that, despite the evidence they had obtained by 2010, the bureau continued its investigation for another four years. In the interim, the Uranium One deal among others benefiting Moscow was approved and implemented by the Obama administration. Bizarrely, the relevant members of Congress were apparently not briefed about the extent of this probe.
What does this revelation mean? Tyler O'Neil suggests:
Contrary to the Left's favorite narrative, any Russia scandal has always been worse for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump. Recent revelations confirmed this Tuesday, and even implicated the special prosecutor at the center of the Trump-Russia investigation, former FBI director Robert Mueller.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Trump-Russia investigation, was at the helm of the FBI from 2001 until 2013, so it seems likely he was culpable in keeping this investigation secret — at the very time when it would have been most pivotal for U.S. national security. 
A man who may be responsible for allowing tremendous Russian corruption on U.S. soil to continue — and even intensify — during the Obama administration is now leading the investigation into potential Russian connections involving the man who ran for president against Obama's legacy. Conflict of interest, much?
Mueller isn't along. The investigation was supervised by then-U.S. attorney (and currently President Trump's deputy attorney general) Rod Rosenstein, then-assistant FBI director (and now deputy FBI director) Andrew McCabe, and then-FBI director Robert Mueller. All three of these men play key roles in the Trump-Russia investigation.

It takes being married to one to know one

How my afternoon nap is saving the planet

I'm always one season behind with my lawn and garden. Right now, I'm hoping to shovel the snow off the front walk before winter sets in. And the garden is a mess. It's been a mess all summer.

Vincent Van Gogh, "Landscape With Olive Trees" 
Now I'm feeling much more better having just read that I'm a virtuous guy. I'm taking the pledge! To be a lazy gardener!

Several organizations -- The Habitat Network, The Nature Conservancy, and The Cornell Lab tell me that my untended garden is good for nature. I'll be saving the globe!

Here's why:
Vital pollinators, such as native bees, may overwinter in your messy garden. Cellophane bees (Colletes inaequalis), will create burrows in the ground to reproduce and ride-out the cold winter months. Learn more… 
Spiders, reptiles, amphibians, rodents, and 96% of all terrestrial birds depend on insects for food (Doug Tallamy); and, an overgrown end of the season garden is great habitat for insects meals. Learn More… 
There are around 12,000 different kinds of moths and 865 butterfly species in North America. Many of these lepidoptera such as the mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) may take refuge in your messy garden overwinter. Learn more… 
Several native shrubs and trees produce carbohydrate-fat-fiber-rich fruits that small mammals and especially, birds rely on in the fall and winter. These resources have been found to be essential for migrating birds attempting to keep up their energy reserves for long flights. Learn more… 
Some birds, such as the Savannah Sparrow, require ideal winter habitat as a crucial part of their survival and reproductive success in the spring. Learn more…
I'm feeling so virtuous I just may go out this afternoon and not rake the leaves.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

“Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!”

As a wildfire closed in and thick smoke clogged the air, the sky an angry red, the sheriff’s deputy told a dispatcher that the road he was on had become “nearly impassable.” Yet, the officer’s job was not yet done. He still had residents to rescue.
In body camera footage released Friday by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, the deputy drives around the Mark West Road area of Santa Rosa, California, dodging flames and conducting door-to-door evacuations as the deadly and devastating Tubbs fire began to overwhelm the region in the early part of the week.
At one point in the video, the officer ― identified by CBS as Sgt. Brandon Cutting ― is seen stopping by the house of a woman with a disability and helping a fellow deputy rescue her and her husband. 
Cutting shouted “Sheriff’s Office! Sheriff’s Office!” as he rushed from home to home urging people to head for safety, and yelled for drivers to “Go! Go! Go!” He’s also heard coughing, cursing and panting in exertion. As he drives his vehicle, the body cam footage shows how close the encroaching flames got to his car; at several points, orange sparks can be seen raining down on his windshield.

I say there's something in the water

Has a right to go to the movies.
If you think the world is going mad, you're right.

Fish Depression Is Not a Joke. It turns out that  our gilled friends become depressed.

Especially after they're caught.

Miami politician says aliens took her on a spaceship. Now she’s running for Congress. Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera says she’s been aboard a spaceship. This one was crewed by aliens. As in extraterrestrials.

Put her on the space committee.

A "Terrified" Paul Krugman Wakes Each Morning in a "State of Existential Dread." New York Times Keynesian economics columnist Paul Krugman as has been having a hard time ever since Donald J. Trump was elected. The "conscience of liberalism" told Twitter that he is "terrified" and suffering from a “state of existential dread.”

Maybe he's a fish.

Detroit Firefighter Fired for Bringing ‘Racially Insensitive’ Watermelon to Work. A Detroit firefighter was fired before he officially began his first day on the job for bringing a watermelon to work.

Everybody knows firemen prefer fried chicken.

Deaf-blind patrons must be able to go to the movies too, court says. Federal disability law requires movie theaters to provide specialized interpreters to patrons who are deaf and blind, an appeals court said.

Stand up in front!

Obama Foundation seeks a 'diversity consultant.' Evidently, systemic racism (or "white privilege" or whatever) is so pervasive that the closet racism of the Obama Foundation needs a corrective force.

Get some crackas in there.

Woman Who Got an Eyeball Tattoo May Lose her Eye. Catt Gallinger, who has a forked tongue, piercings and tattoos, wrote on Facebook that immediately after the tattoo, purple dye began streaming down her face, and her eye was swollen shut the next day.

She has the right to go to movies, too.

Why should Harvey have all the fun?

What to do if you're being followed

You're in your car driving along and you notice that a particular car always seems to be behind you. What do you do?

First, to realize you're being followed you have to be aware of your surroundings -- situational awareness they call it.

So you're now suspicious. Here's the plan.
1. If you’re on city streets, make four right turns. If the car is still behind you after the fourth turn, they’re probably following you. Most people don’t travel in circles around city blocks. 
2. If you’re on the freeway, get off and then immediately get back on. If you can still see the car in your rear view mirror, you’re probably being followed. Just as most people don’t travel in circles on city streets, most people don’t get off and then right back on a freeway. 
You can also get over to the right lane of the highway, and slow down to 15 miles or so below the speed limit. All the cars behind you will soon pass by. If the one you’ve had your eye on doesn’t, it’s almost assuredly following you.
Gather information. If you’ve confirmed you’re being followed in your car, start getting information on the tailing vehicle to potentially look into yourself or pass along to the police. Get the vehicle’s make and model. And if you can score the license plate number, even better. 
Call the police. If you feel threatened, call the police to let them know what’s going on. Or simply drive to your local police precinct, and tell them you believe you’re being followed. Give an officer the information on the car that’s following you and let them take it from there.

Use well-trafficked roads with lots of stoplights and stop signs. Your pursuant might get stuck at a light or behind more traffic, giving you the chance to shake him off. 
Be ready for evasive maneuvering. While on the roads and at stoplights, maintain enough distance between you and the car in front of you that you can make an escape maneuver if needed. If you can see the tires of the car in front of you, you’re good. 
Only return home once you feel sure you’re no longer being followed by your tail.
I think it's a good idea to go through life ready for evasive maneuvering.

Monday, October 16, 2017

So much winning vs so much whining

John Podesta cooks up another one.
For a year the Democrats have been declaring that The Donald colluded with The Vladimir to win the election. They haven't found any evidence, of course, because they whole thing was fake news created by Clinton crony John Podesta.

It's getting embarrassing, so they've moved on to mental illness, something they know well. Over the weekend, more than 120 mental health professionals marched along Lower Broadway to publicly advocate for the presidential Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and end Trump’s presidency.

It's a great narrative, and anyone who is anybody is in on it.
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program spent the entire week running on the theme that the president is unbalanced and that the best option is, wait for it, a 25th Amendment type of removal. “Is it time to talk about the 25th Amendment?” CNN Political Analyst Julian Zelizer wrote. And NeverTrumper hero Evan McMullin wrote about how all the people he talks to are totally in agreement. Columnist Michael Gerson wrote that Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., “has given public permission to raise the most serious questions: Is Trump psychologically and morally equipped to be president?”
I love it when everyone joins in.

Meantime, The Donald is busy doing what he told us he would do.
  1. Putting a stop to the obscene violation of due process that Title IX fanatics brought to college campuses across the country.
  2. Nominating judges and justices who can be counted on to interpret and enforce the law but do not endeavor to use the law to promote their social agenda;
  3. Addressing the problem of illegal immigration and securing the borders of the United States;
  4. Developing America’s vast energy resources;
  5. Rolling back the regulatory state, especially the administrative overreach of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency;
  6. Pursuing policies that put America, and American workers, first, not to the detriment of our relationships with our international partners but through a recognition that strength and sovereign independence make nations more reliable actors;
  7. Restoring the combat readiness and morale of the United States military;
  8. Simplifying the U.S. tax code, making it more competitive for U.S. businesses and more equitable for individuals;
  9. Getting a handle on the unconstitutional and shockingly inefficient monstrosity ironically called the Affordable Care Act.
So much winning vs so much whining.

We're living in 1984

In 1984, George Orwell's novel, telescreens operate as both televisions and security cameras. They are used by the ruling Party in Oceania to keep its subjects under constant surveillance, thus eliminating the chance of secret conspiracies against Oceania.

Consider this headline:
The Google Home Mini secretly recorded people's conversations and played into a big fear about smart speakers
Do you own Amazon's version, Alexa? Here's news for you:
Researchers have shown how hackers can exploit a vulnerability in some models of Amazon Echo to turn them into covert listening devices that can secretly record your most intimate moments.
Well, that's fun. Even if Jeff Bezos isn't listening in your argument with the wyfe, he's still tracking what you do so he can sell you more stuff.

What's a mother to do? Here are some suggestions.
Amazon keeps an audio recording on its servers of every voice command you give to Alexa, along with a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word. The recording ends after the command has been processed. 
I was surprised when I checked my Amazon Echo recordings. In one recording, I was explaining why I wasn’t taking a deal on a commercial building that I had for sale. You should take a moment and check your recordings. Click here to learn how to hear all your Amazon Echo recordings, and how delete them too.
As for Google.
Google recently released its latest masterpiece, “OK Google,” the wake prompt for Google Assistant on Google Home speakers, Android smartphones and the Chrome browser. 
Every time you use "OK Google" or another voice-controlled function, your request is recorded and the snippets are saved to your Google account. 
Luckily, Google introduced a new My Account tool that lets you access your recordings and delete them if you want. You can also tell Google to stop recording your voice for good. 
Here’s how to turn off the "OK Google" wake phrase: On Android, go to Settings >> Google >> Search & Now >> Voice and turn “Ok Google” detection off.
Want a shocker? Click here to hear everything you’ve ever said to Google.
We're having a real good time now, boyz.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Let's reflect on our math privilege

Course Prospectus: Math for the Social Justice Major

Mathematics was devised by old white men who sought to oppress the uneducated masses. In this course we will explore a more empathetic approach to the subject. 

The course will explore questions such as:
  1. How does the number 6 make you feel?
  2. If John has 6 marbles and Sue has 2, isn’t that unfair?
  3. How can there be any “incorrect” answers?
  4. Isn’t identifying a number as “positive” or negative” stereotyping?
  5. If you identify with 5 more than 4, why shouldn’t that be a solution to 2+2=?
  6. What did Euclid know and when did he know it?
  7. Isn’t a null set non-inclusive?
  8. What should you do if the solution to an equation make you feel unsafe?
  9. Shouldn’t we just deem the Parallel Postulate proved?
  10. What’s the point of carrying pi out to more than two decimals?
  11. Aren’t < and > judgmental symbols?
  12. Who are you to determine that a fraction is improper?
  13. Why do you think prime numbers have only a token even member?
  14. Why shouldn’t an inverse tangent have the same value as a cosine?
  15. Aren’t right angles reactionary?
  16. Are there really any absolute values?
  17. Why should binomials and polynomials be considered deviants?
  18. Isn’t a Real Number just your perception?
  19. Just because a number can’t be expressed as a ratio of integers, why should it be called irrational?
Credit: 3 hours, or whatever is fair.

Vespers: Eternal Father, Strong to Save

The U.S. Navy Glee Club sings "Eternal Father, Strong to Save."

The Men's Glee Club is the most highly acclaimed of the Naval Academy’s musical organizations and has achieved national prominence as one of America’s premier men’s choral ensembles. The ensemble has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad including Chile, Argentina, and multiple European tours with performances at St. Peters in the Vatican, cathedrals in Brussels, Wells, Winchester, Salisbury, and St. Paul’s in London.

"Eternal Father, Strong to Save" is a hymn traditionally associated with seafarers, particularly in the maritime armed services. Written in 1860, its author William Whiting was inspired by the dangers of the sea described in Psalm 107. It was popularised by the Royal Navy and the United States Navy in the late 19th century, and variations of it were soon adopted by many branches of the armed services in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Whiting grew up near the ocean on the coasts of England, and at the age of thirty-five had felt his life spared by God when a violent storm nearly claimed the ship he was travelling on, instilling a belief in God's command over the rage and calm of the sea. As headmaster of the Winchester College Choristers' School some years later, he was approached by a student about to travel to the United States, who confided in Whiting an overwhelming fear of the ocean voyage.

Whiting shared his experiences of the ocean and wrote the hymn to "anchor his faith". In writing it, Whiting is generally thought to have been inspired by Psalm 107, which describes the power and fury of the seas in great detail:

Some went out on the sea in ships; 
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the Lord, 
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest 
that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens 
and went down to the depths; 
in their peril their courage melted away.

~ Psalm 107: 23–26

The lyrics:
1 Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm does bind the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

2 O Savior, whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walked upon the foaming deep,
And calm amid the rage did sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea. 
3 O Holy Spirit, who did brood
Upon the waters dark and rude,
And bid their angry tumult cease,
And give for wild confusion peace;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

4 O Trinity of love and pow'r,
Your children shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire, and foe,
Protect them where-so-e'er they go;
Thus, evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

We're too sophisticated to believe

I believe, I believe.
"Christianity is a rich and complex belief system.

"We in the modern West tend to think we have moved past this stuff. The educated classes, while not willing to say they are atheists, scoff at the religious. The most you will get from the upper classes is the line about being spiritual, but not religious. 

"The truth is, Western elites are believers like all people in all times, maybe more so. It’s just that their beliefs are informal and ad hoc. The people toting canvas sacks to the market are doing so because our better say nature demands it of us.

"The Cult of Gaia is long on rhetoric about the future, but its focus is on present virtue. The greens are not trying preserve the environment for future generations. They are hoping their efforts snuff out future generations. The same is true of anti-racism and multiculturalism. These are all about the present. Calling them suicide cults is useful rhetoric, but in fact our virtuous rulers don’t think past tomorrow. it’s all about grace today.

"This spiritual hopelessness of Western elites may be why the Cloud People couch everything in terms of personal fulfillment and self-actualization. It is a way of crossing the River Styx without actually believing in it.

"The nuttiness of modern elite culture may simply be a neurosis arising from the conflict between the natural, bone deep desire of man to be remembered, colliding with the lack of any reason to be remembered. Even the humblest of men will carve his name into a tree or scratch his name on his prison wall. “I was here” is the primal scream. Today, that impulse has no cultural vessel into which it can flow. The lonely barren spinster yells “I was here” and the only thing that happens is the cat stirs and then goes back to sleep."

The Lord is my shepherd

From The Lectionary:

Psalm 23

23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;

23:3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake.

23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff-- they comfort me.

23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.

William Penn: speaking

"Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood."

Friday, October 13, 2017

This just in ...

Women forced to attend thermostat awareness course

LONDON -- Women across the UK are being forced to attend a one-day thermostat awareness course to learn how they work.
The courses, run by the Department of Energy, are compulsory for anyone who has committed two or more thermostat misuse infractions in a 72-hour period and are projected to save the UK millions of pounds in bills.

Instructor Dr Thomas Booker said: “This is a thermostat. It can sense the temperature. When set to, for example, 21 degrees, it will regulate the temperature of your home at 21 degrees by turning the heating off or on without – and this is important – any need for manual adjustment.

“If you are feeling a little cold and adjust it upwards to, say, 30 degrees, it will not provide a short-term boost of heat but will begin heating the entire home to tropical temperatures. The opposite will happen if adjusted down, though that’s of course entirely theoretical.

“The way to operate a thermostat is simply to choose the temperature you’re most comfortable with and to leave it alone and not touch it. Let me repeat that: pick a temperature, do not touch it and leave it alone.”

Attendee Donna Sheridan said: “Nah. I still don’t get it.”

Warmer at 11.

Casual Friday: After Midnight

Just two working days til Monday!

"If someone sends me a work email after midnight I assume they've just murdered someone and are using me as an alibi." ~ anon

Throw the ball at Malcolm

Lookin' good, Malcolm. 
I watched a bit of the NFL game last night, which involved two teams I care nothing about. I turned it on late, so I didn't see the national anthem.

No one else did either. They didn't show it.
As the controversy over players taking a knee or raising a fist over social injustice shows no signs of abating, the net and the league took a default position and decided not to show the national anthem or the response in Charlotte last night.
The TV audience did not see the Panthers all stand for the song, nor the Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod each raise a fist into the air with teammate Chris Long appear to show solidarity.
America has not been good to Malcolm. Last year he signed a five-year, $40.5 million contract extension with the Eagles. TV advertising pays for that, but last night viewership was down 5 percent from the previous week, so don't spend it all in one place, Malcolm.

Meantime, the babies in the NFL have been scoring real big at taxpayers' expense.
A little-known tweak to IRS rules in 2004 has allowed new owners to write off nearly all of the purchase price of their teams against profits over 15 years.

For NFL team owners, the tax break has added roughly 5 percent to team values — or about $122 million, based on an average franchise value of $2.44 billion, according to Forbes.

Take the case of fracking billionaire Terry Pegula, who in 2014 paid $1.4 billion for the Buffalo Bills. 
Pegula is able to deduct $93 million a year — one-fifteenth of the purchase price — against the team’s profits and his income for 15 years. 
The Bills, according to Forbes, made $53 million last season. If Pegula earned $40 million in 2016, the Bills’ tax deduction could reduce his tax bill to zero.
Not bad for a bunch of guys who run around for an hour banging into each other.

“Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!” President Trump wrote Tuesday morning on Twitter. Do you wonder why people like the guy?

That tax break is not the only one. Of the 16 NFL stadiums built or renovated from 2000 through 2014, 13 were financed in part by tax-exempt bonds with an average financing worth $360.2 million, according to Brookings.

Malcolm plays in Philadelphia in the Lincoln Financial field. Taxpayers underwrote $256 million of its cost. That's just enough to cover Malcolm's salary.

Your smart phone can see around corners

I see you!
I'm drawn to stories about smart phones because they are ubiquitous, and I think we're only beginning to tap their potential. Here comes a new one:

Researchers can track moving objects hidden around corners by analyzing video from ordinary smartphone cameras.
Their secret to peeking around corners is detecting slight differences in light patterns reflected from moving objects or people. Those reflected light patterns form subtle variations in the shadowy area near the base of each corner.

MIT’s researchers created simple software that can detect fuzzy pattern variations in the pixels of a 2-D video—taken by a basic consumer camera or even a smartphone camera—and reconstruct the speed and trajectory of moving objects by stitching together multiple, distinct 1-D images.
Such technology could potentially allow self-driving cars to spot a child running out from a corner or behind another vehicle. The U.S. military also has a keen interest in such technology.
If you have five minutes this video will explain it all.

I see what you're doing there!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

This just in ...

Dad Suggests Arriving At Airport 14 Hours Early

CARLISLE, MA—Planning for his family’s Saturday evening flight to Florida, local dad Walter Holbrook suggested arriving at the airport at least 14 hours early, sources confirmed. 

On time.
"The plane leaves at 6:45 at night, and it takes a little while to park the car and get through security, so we should plan to get there no later than 4:45 a.m.," Holbrook said, adding that it would probably be smart to add an extra "eight to nine hours" to the car commute in case of traffic. 

"That should give us more than enough time to print our boarding passes, check in luggage, and get settled at the gate. Then we’ll have 10 hours to get food if anyone’s hungry.” 

At press time, Holbrook had reportedly revised the arrival time to 3:45 a.m. "just to be safe."

Boarding at 11.

Why Congress won't do anything about Obamacare

"So then I told them ... "
There was a bit of a spasm in Washington this week when it was reported that Congressmen get their prescriptions filled and delivered by a friendly neighborhood pharmacy.

The pharmacist said they pay full freight, so it's okay with me. But buried in the article is mention of their special doctor's office.
Lawmakers describe the Office of the Attending Physician as a modern space much like a regular doctor’s office — though the $3.7 million budget it enjoyed for 2016 suggests a relatively well-furnished space. It’s strictly off-limits to reporters; staff there declined repeated requests for comment, and a spokesman for the House Administration Committee that helps oversee OAP declined multiple follow-up inquiries. 
That’s perhaps because the office is not without controversy. Its services — and the relatively low fees that members must pay for access — were thrust into a harsh spotlight in 2009, as Congress began to debate the Affordable Care Act and as reporters began to ask how lawmakers’ own care might color their perspectives on policy. The central issue is the cost: In 2016, lawmakers paid $611 for annual membership — a fee that, unlike most health care prices, has risen much slower than inflation. In 1992, the first year the office charged a fee, it was $520.
But that's not the half of it.
Congressional members and their aides have on health care — the subsidies that range between $6,000 and $12,000 per year, and that pick up roughly 70 percent of their insurance premiums.
Meanwhile, you're stuck with disaster. Michelle Malkin describes her nightmare with Obamacare, which has involved four policy cancellations. And then:
Speaking of Affordable Care Act whoppers, so much for "affordable." Our current deductible is $6,550 per person; $13,100 for our family of four. Assuming we can find a new plan at the bottom of the individual market barrel, our current monthly premium, $944.86, will rise to more than $1,300 a month.
"Straight out of the socialized medicine Trojan horse's mouth," she continues: "If you like your doctor," President Obama promised, "you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."

Jenny Beth Martin explains Congress' special exemption.
They receive these subsidy payments only as the result of a conspiracy and a subterfuge - acting at the behest of congressional leaders of both parties and then-President Obama, two unknown congressional officials fraudulently signed paperwork declaring Congress to be a “small business” that employs fewer than 50 people, so members of Congress and their staffs could purchase their insurance on the D.C. small business exchange (where employers are allowed to provide a subsidy toward the purchase of insurance), rather than an individual exchange (where subsidy payments are not allowed). 
This subterfuge exempts Congress and its staff from being treated under the law the way everyone else in the country who is required to purchase insurance on the Obamacare exchanges is treated. 
In this area, Congress, working with then-President Obama, has literally set itself above the law. In this sense, it has exempted itself from the law.
Obama knew what he was doing.

Get in the habit of death cleaning

Send in the Swedes.
I remember the days when my son and his friends played soccer in our basement. Today pig trails wander through stacks of incredibly important things.

After three kids went off to college and returned to the "warehouse" with stuff, and two sets of parents passed on more stuff, and Goodwyfe accumulated her junk, and my necessary for life possessions grew, it's gotten quite scary down there.

It's time for some serious death cleaning. Those fun-loving Swedes have a name for it: dostadning.
The idea is that when people die, they leave stuff. Lots of stuff. Reams and reams of it, piles and piles of it. And it’s friends and family who are left to deal with this stuff surfeit, this surplus of minutiae. In Sweden, people start the process as early as their 50s, slowly but steadily decluttering as the years roll by.
Yeah, good luck with that.

At one point, after going broke on college tuition, we had three microwave ovens in the garage -- on my side! We've got every single cell phone this family has ever owned. Do you know how many cell phones five people go through? For some reason, some aren't even opened. If you ask about the video game paraphernalia I'll get chest pains.

I think I'll hire some Swedes.

Gordon Parks: s

"The guy who takes a chance, who walks the line between the known and unknown, who is unafraid of failure, will succeed."

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

This just in ...

Vegetarian Gas Emissions 
Now Exceed Those From Cows

BOULDER – Scientists at the Bumsen Burner Center for Flatulent Studies have made a breaking discovery: gas emissions from vegetarian humans now outgas them all. Dr. Bessie Beefer began studying the fartnomenon after doing flatulent field research on cows. Beefer’s ass-istant, Dr. Fanny Cheeksqueak, was helping her measure methane.

“I kept thinking I’d stepped on a duck,” said Beefer, “but those quacks came from Fanny, who is vegetarian. Methane levels around her were greater than the whole herd of cattle. In fact, cows began leaving for better-smelling pastures.”

Dr. Cheeksqueak apologized for clouding the research, but Dr. Beefer reassured her this could lead to a fresh theory on stale wind. Beefer invited Cheeksqueak to round up her vegetarian colleagues for further toot testing. After having beans and sauerkraut sodas, the herd of vegetarian scientists took their places on the grassy field like a tuba concerto. Pretty soon methane levels exploded, enough to create air turbulence in a rumble of brown thunder.

Everyone was concerned how vegetarian gas emissions could deplete the ozone, contribute to global warming, and break wind patterns, so Dr. Beefer decided to get to the bottom of it.

“I don’t mean to blast vegetarians any more than they’re blasting us,” said Dr. Beefer, “but I can’t give them a pass on this gas. Let’s cut to the cheese, I mean, the chase: vegetarian venting is contributing to global warming. Of course, I need to do some more backend research.”

Vegetarians were shocked by Beefer’s accusations, and some were quick to look around and blame somebody else. Others declared this a free speech issue, then farted together in solidarity.

Gas at 11.

GumboTV: Hey NFL, watch this

The football teams of Trinity College and Hamilton College were getting ready for kickoff when they learned about a problem with the stadium's PA system. There would be no national anthem.

Trinity coach Jeff Devanney said the announcement did not sit well with his players. "A couple of guys on our team were like 'No man, you gotta play the song,'" Devanney said. "And then a couple guys just started singing." So did the other team.


"We weren't all in sync," Devanney said. "We had like three different waves of "The Star-Spangled Banner" going."

Maybe we should sing it that way all the time.

You can thank Chuck Schumer for your excellent healthcare

Oh look, it's Nancy!
I love watching the greasy Chuck Schumer attack efforts to repeal Obamacare. His voters should thank him for his efforts on their behalf.

Of course, he has the support of Nancy Pelosi, so you know his position is intelligent.

Under Obamacare, the government will fine you if you don't buy something you don't want. Let that sink in. Here's the result of that:
The majority of households paying the Obamacare penalty in 2015 were low- and middle-income households, according to the most recent data from the Internal Revenue Service.
There were 6,665,480 households who chose to pay the Obamacare penalty in that year rather than signing up for Affordable Care Act coverage. They paid a total of $3,079,255,000. 
Of the 6.7 million households who chose to pay a penalty, 37 percent—2.5 million households—earned a salary less than $25,000 per year.
Thanks Chuck! Thanks Barack! You, too, Nancy!

And why aren't these people buying?
Top health insurance companies in numerous states are looking to hike premiums by double-digits – some by roughly 30 percent or more – for ObamaCare plans in 2018, They underscore concerns about Affordable Care Act plans becoming increasingly unaffordable.
Moreover, the policies are junk:
Deductibles for individuals enrolled in the lowest-priced Obamacare health plans will average more than $6,000 in 2017, the first time that threshold has been cracked in the three years that Affordable Care Act marketplaces have been in business, a new analysis finds. Families enrolled in bronze plans will have average deductibles of $12,393.
 Keep it up, Chuck.

Miracles & Wonders: Fighting pancreatic cancer and ALS

Untreated muscle cells (left) and muscle cells treated with CRISPR.
I lost a dear friend to pancreatic cancer and another to ALS. Both diseases are considered incurable. Now there may be hope.

A new study uncovers a mutation that appears to give a known tumor suppressor gene a boost against pancreatic cancer.
Researchers found that mice that possessed a specific mutation in the p53 gene were significantly less likely to develop pancreatic tumors, compared with mice that did not harbor this gene mutation.

There are numerous mutations in the p53 gene that fuel tumor development, but Dr. Attardi and colleagues have identified one that may have the opposite effect, making the p53 gene a "super tumor suppressor." 
The researchers believe that they have identified a pathway by which a p53 gene mutation can increase the tumor-suppressing abilities of the p53 protein, a discovery that could lead to new cancer treatments.
Elsewhere, a biotech startup is inserting CRISPR machinery into human cells to equip the body to fight Huntington’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The gene-editing tool CRISPR is based on a natural defense system embedded in bacterial cells that recognizes and destroys invading viral DNA.
The scientists used CRISPR-Cas9 to destroy errant repeats in RNA sequences. When tested in the lab, the tool obliterated 95 percent or more of these RNA knots in cells harboring Huntington’s disease and a type of ALS.
The researchers also tested the approach on a form of inherited muscular dystrophy, called myotonic dystrophy. They were able to eliminate 95 percent of faulty RNAs in muscle cells taken from patients. After they applied CRISPR, the once-diseased cells resembled healthy ones. They think more than 20 genetic diseases that are caused by toxic RNA repeats could potentially be treated this way.
There is always hope.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This just in ...

Police Keep Antifa Away 
From Columbus Statues 
By Taping Job Applications On Them

Antifa factions nationwide had planned a “deface Columbus day,” on which they intended to deface and destroy statues of Christopher Columbus, but authorities in many cities got the better of the radical far-left groups with a brilliant idea: by adhering job applications all over their local Columbus statues, they virtually guaranteed that Antifa groups would not approach them.

Get a job.
“It’s working extremely well so far. These Antifa thugs won’t go anywhere near an opportunity for gainful employment,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters. “We urge other American cities: if you want to protect your statues of Columbus, just head to the nearest McDonald’s or Walmart and ask for a stack of job applications. Get some tape and stick them all over the statue, and you can pretty much just go about your day at that point.”

“Job applications are Antifa’s kryptonite,” he added.

At publishing time, Beck confirmed that “Help Wanted” signs, American flags, gendered bathroom signs, and notes from their mothers informing them that it’s time to grow up and get their own place should have a similar paralyzing effect on the ruthless Antifa mobs.

How to free up time to worry

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” ~ Mark Twain

"What, me worry?"
James Gordon Gilkey had a splendid life.  He graduated from Harvard College (1912) and Union Theological Seminary, New York City. He was a teacher and chaplain at Amherst College. Then, starting in 1917, he pastored at the South Congregational Church, Springfield, Massachusetts, until retiring in 1954.

I supposed he worried about things, but he also knew better. In his book You Can Master Life he came up with a table of five common worries, which he attributed to Mark Twain. This is from the brainpickings blog.
On studying his chronic fears this man found they fell into five fairly distinct classifications:
  1. Worries about disasters which, as later events proved, never happened. About 40% of my anxieties.
  2. Worries about decisions I had made in the past, decisions about which I could now of course do nothing. About 30% of my anxieties.
  3. Worries about possible sickness and a possible nervous breakdown, neither of which materialized. About 12% of my worries.
  4. Worries about my children and my friends, worries arising from the fact I forgot these people have an ordinary amount of common sense. About 10% of my worries.
  5. Worries that have a real foundation. Possibly 8% of the total.
He had a solution: "What, of this man, is the first step in the conquest of anxiety? It is to limit his worrying to the few perils in his fifth group. This simple act will eliminate 92% of his fears. Or, to figure the matter differently, it will leave him free from worry 92% of the time."

Fine, but now I'm worried that nobody really knows for sure if Mark Twain made up this list and I've gone and passed it on as the truth

I expect the government to buy my toothpaste

Thanks, President Trump!
Here's the thing about Obama's mandate that employers provide free birth control: How in the world did Obamaman assume the federal government had the authority to do this? Well, it doesn't.

The Supreme Court said so. And The Donald just undid it.

President Trump understands, James Freeman writes, unlike his increasingly radical political adversaries, that the federal government has no business forcing nuns to pay for pills that terminate pregnancies. And he’s not afraid to stand outside the media consensus.
The Trump Administration formally reversed the Obama policy of demanding that the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious organizations provide contraceptive services—including the week-after pill—in violation of their beliefs. 
In other words, it wasn't just contraception but abortion, a religious issue. It was Obama's way to mandate abortion. Many on The Left may not realize it, but religious liberty is a right guaranteed in the constitution; birth control and abortion are not.

Moreover, Freeman notes, Obama's mandate was a direct stick in the eye of Christians.
Obama fought with nuns. Mr. Obama and his team evidently thought it was important to force the Little Sisters to bend to his will.
Last year the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the nuns and demanded a rewrite of the HHS rule to ensure respect for religious belief. Even after suffering this defeat at the highest court, Mr. Obama still wouldn’t relent, which required today’s Trump Administration rewrite, which is still only an interim final rule and should be affirmed in court.
This is part of a much larger effort on the part of The Left, as Jean M. Yarbrough writes.
Long before the 2016 presidential election, Democrats had clearly come to regard Christianity as an obstacle to their goals. At the Democratic National Convention, party leaders removed all mention of God from the party platform, and boos erupted on the convention floor over a voice vote about whether to restore the reference to the deity. 
Democrats have subordinated the religious beliefs of the Little Sisters of the Poor to feminist concerns about the availability of contraceptives in government-run health-insurance plans; they have compelled conservative Christian businesses to provide services for gay weddings. Ironically, it was Trump—the twice-divorced, lapsed Presbyterian—who took up the cause of beleaguered Christians, reaching out to evangelical and Catholic leaders alike, promising to stand up for them in their battle to preserve religious liberty. Tocqueville would have approved.
Now that we have stopped them for the moment, it's time to reassert our real rights.

Birth control pills cost $160 to $600 a year, depending on your insurance. Toothpaste on the other hand, costs only $13.50 a year. That does not include toothbrushes. So I think the government comes out ahead supplying my toothpaste. I know it's not guaranteed by the Constitution, but it's such a good deal for taxpayers.

Make my teeth great again!

Balloons to provide cell phone service to Puerto Rico

Google has been working on a project called "Loon" that it hopes will provide Internet service to far-flung places around the globe.

Meantime, Google has been deploying the balloons for disaster relief. The balloons gave Peruvians coverage after extreme flooding wiped out power. Google also tested disaster relief initiatives in France, Brazil, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.

The Peruvian project leader said the balloons sent 160 GB of data as they floated over an area about the size of Sweden, "enough data to send and receive around 30 million WhatsApp messages, or 2 million emails."

Now they're being sent to Puerto Rico, but it's iffy. In Peru the problem was simpler because Google was already working together with a local telecom provider to provide disaster relief, so the structure for getting signals to and from the balloons was already in place. As Google and Project Loon arrive in Puerto Rico, they'll be starting with nothing in place. 

Let's hope it works. Our communications networks can be really flimsy when we most need them.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Trigger Warning: This post triggers trigger warnings


The Snowflake Foundation today issued a call for trigger warnings to warn people there are going to be trigger warnings which might trigger them.

‘I was reading one of my favourite lifestyle blogs,’ said Paige Milquetoast of the University of California at Berkeley, ‘When suddenly, out of nowhere, there was this trigger warning about some content that was coming later. And it took me right back to this time when I was triggered before, when something reminded me of that time the nail bar was out of my favourite colour of polish.’

‘I know, right?’ agreed her friend Destiny Pantywaist. ‘There should be a warning, right? So you don’t just run into these things without expecting it, right?’

Unfortunately, immediately after its initial press release the Snowflake Foundation issued a second, accusing itself of insensitivity for not calling for trigger warnings for trigger warnings about trigger warnings.

‘We find our earlier statement highly offensive. What’s more, we have been guilty of inappropriately touching ourselves in the workplace, and intend to seek counselling to help overcome these behaviours. Or just get a lock for the restroom that works.’

Healing your wounds in the future

Researchers have designed a smart bandage that could eventually heal chronic wounds or battlefield injuries with every fiber of its being.
The bandage consists of electrically conductive fibers coated in a gel that can be individually loaded with infection-fighting antibiotics, tissue-regenerating growth factors, painkillers or other medications. 
A microcontroller no larger than a postage stamp, which could be triggered by a smartphone or other wireless device, sends small amounts of voltage through a chosen fiber. That voltage heats the fiber and its hydrogel, releasing whatever cargo it contains.
This isn’t the only next-generation bandage in development. Different researchers have created bandages loaded with nanoscale sensors that can instantly transmit health information to medical professionals using 5G wireless data. Heat-responsive bandages that cause wounds to heal faster are also in the works.

They're working overtime for their 15 minutes

"In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." ~ Andy Warhol

Should the following get their time? Please cast one, and only one, vote, unless you'd like to cast more.

We're so blessed in Connecticut. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) stressed that requiring a background check for every gun sale—retail and private—is the “North Star” for Democrats regarding gun control. In other words, the Democrats’ ultimate goal is to pass a law that will require every gun purchaser to pass the same background the Las Vegas attacker passed to acquire his firearms.

On second thought. Former DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile deleted a tweet praising the Weinstein Company for “taking the lead” against sexual harassment and assault after they fired Harvey Weinstein.

Maybe that's what it's about. After several San Francisco 49ers players took a knee during the playing of the anthem prior to the game with Indianapolis, Vice President Pence got up and walked out of the stadium. Forty-niners safety Eric Reid commented: "He knew that we were probably going to do to it again. This is what systemic oppression looks like. A man with power comes to a game, he tweets a couple things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts."

Never trust a vegan. A 60-year-old Pennsylvania vegan says she’s receiving death threats and abusive phone calls—and she’s been forced to hide her Mother Nature Vegan Cuisine food truck—following her comments on Facebook mocking the deaths of dozens of Las Vegas concert-goers killed Sunday by a man shooting at them randomly from a hotel room. “Yes, I am jaded. Fifty-nine meat eaters dead. How many animals will live because of this?”

The plastic surgery is working. “The murderous members of the NRA should face a firing squad,” Nancy Sinatra tweeted.

This is so confusing. It’s quite appropriate that a man who refuses to actually speak on his own future, would choose to subtweet the retracted story about his promise to stand for the anthem. It’s even more appropriate that he would choose to subtweet it while channeling someone else. Shortly after CBS NFL reporter Jason La Canfora retracted the statement he made on CBS’ NFL pregame show, in which La Canfora said that Kaepernick would stand for the anthem if given an opportunity, Kaepernick took to Twitter to try and clear the air, sort of:

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Winston S. Churchill
"I'd rather argue against a hundred idiots, than have one agree with me." ~ Winston Churchill

Let's celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day!

So what do we do to celebrate European culture?
Citing a series of puzzling finds along the East Coast — finely wrought stone tools made thousands of years before the land-bridge migration — a pair of archeologists suggest that the New World’s discoverers may have come not from Asia, but from Europe. Some 20,000 years ago, a Stone Age people known as the Solutreans lived in the lands of today’s Spain and France, and their tools bear striking similarities to the ones being found on the East Coast.
Oh dear. But what if you still want to hate Columbus for what he did?
Christopher Columbus did not “discover” North America. In fact, Columbus never set foot in North America. And Leif Ericson had established a settlement in Newfoundland roughly five centuries before Columbus first crossed the Atlantic.
Oh dear. But, what if, you know, Indians. Can you still says Indians? But, what if, you know, those people.
“Long before the white European knew a North American continent existed, Indians of the Northern Plains were massacring entire villages,” says George Franklin Feldman in the book Cannibalism, Headhunting and Human Sacrifice in North America: A History Forgotten. “And not just killed, but mutilated. Hands and feet were cut off, each body’s head was scalped, the remains were left scattered around the village, which was burned.”
For all the talk from the angry and indigenous about European slavery, it turns out that pre-Columbian America was virtually one huge slave camp. According to Slavery and Native Americans in British North America and the United States: 1600 to 1865, by Tony Seybert, “Most Native American tribal groups practiced some form of slavery before the European introduction of African slavery into North America.

“Enslaved warriors sometimes endured mutilation or torture that could end in death as part of a grief ritual for relatives slain in battle. Some Indians cut off one foot of their captives to keep them from running away.”
Oh dear. But if you really, really hate Columbus that's okay. You don't have to know why.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Vespers: Out of the Deep

The Bow Valley Chorus performs "Out of the Deep" from John Rutter's Requiem.Since its genesis in 1999 in Alberta, Canada, as a small church choir, The Bow Valley Chorus has now evolved into an outstanding semi-professional choir.

John Rutter's "Requiem" is a musical setting of parts of the Latin Requiem with added psalms and biblical verses in English, completed in 1985. It is scored for soprano, mixed choir and orchestra or chamber ensemble.

The second movement is a setting of "Out of the deep," Psalm 130, a psalm commonly used at Anglican funerals. It is set in C minor and begins with an expanded cello solo. Its motifs are picked up by the voices, first alto and bass in unison, in low register.

John Milford Rutter (born 1945) is an English composer, conductor, editor, arranger and record producer, mainly of choral music. Rutter's music is eclectic, showing the influences of the French and English choral traditions of the early 20th century as well as of light music and American classic songwriting. Almost every choral anthem and hymn that he writes has a subsequent orchestral accompaniment in addition to the standard piano/organ accompaniment, using various different instrumentations such as strings only, strings and woodwinds or full orchestra with brass and percussion.