Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
I have been frustrated by the antics of the AGW alarmists. Scientific American, for example, has lost whatever reputation it once had for objective science. In an another example, the actions of Michael Mann should make for an interesting discovery in his suit against Mark Steyn.
Records of past temperature, precipitation, atmospheric trace gases, and other aspects of climate and environment derived from ice cores drilled on glaciers and ice caps around the world. Parameter keywords describe what was measured in this data set. Additional summary information can be found in the abstracts of papers listed in the data set citations.
Now, to the data.
The latest word on the NSA scandal, and it is a scandal, is that they are not allowed to snoop on mosques.
Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.
Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.
We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.
After all, all terrorists thus far have been fundamentalist Christians. Oh wait.
Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.
If only they were allowed to continue, perhaps the many victims of the Boston Marathon bombings would not have lost their lives and limbs. The FBI never canvassed Boston mosques until four days after the April 15 attacks, and it did not check out the radical Boston mosque where the Muslim bombers worshiped.
In its earliest days, HLF received a $200,000 cash infusion from Ghassan Elashi’s brother-in-law Musa Abu Marzook, the Hamas senior political leader and Virginia resident who would be deported in 1997 for his involvement in six terror attacks in Israel that killed 47 people. By 1989, HLF had already sent nearly $1 million to Marzook and Hamas co-founder Ahmed Yassin (to the latter through an account called the Islamic Center of Gaza — another ostensibly charitable entity used by Yassin to finance Hamas activities).
Major Hassan, who is now representing himself, was an obvious suspect for jihad before he acted out.
At a hearing last week at the Army base here, Major Hasan told a judge that he was protecting Taliban leaders in Afghanistan from danger when he opened fire on Nov. 5, 2009. In describing his new defense — known in legal terms as a “defense of others” — he told the judge that he had been defending Mullah Muhammad Omar, the founder of the Islamic insurgent group, and its other leaders, from Fort Hood soldiers deploying to Afghanistan.
Oh well, that explains it. Can we be any more clueless with these dangers ?
Here are a few photos from a visit to World War II sites in 2006. I’ve posted some of these before.
This is my daughter, Annie, and her cousins at the American cemetery Omaha Beach. Annie is the farthest from the camera.
This is the theme building at the cemetery. The statue is called “The Spirit of American Youth.” The web site for the cemetery has a nice video. We walked around the cemetery and spent a week visiting battle sites as I wanted my daughter to know about this and remember.
The view of the bluffs from the top shows the magnitude of the problem of getting from that beach to the land above under hostile fire. This was completely different from the situation at Utah Beach where the transition from beach to the land behind it was almost level. Note the people climbing the path from the beach. It gives a scale of the size.
Here is Utah Beach and it is nearly level with the land inland. The problem at Utah was inland where the land was low and had been flooded by the Germans. The Airborne divisions were tasked with capturing and holding the inland end of the causeways from the beach to beyond the flooded fields.
The inland side of the beach was no obstacle to tanks or men.
Ponte du hoc was a point of land between Omaha and Utah that was believed to hold big guns that could command both beaches. The climb the Rangers made is almost unbelievable. Rangers at the 1984 ceremony for the 40th anniversary said they could not imagine how they did it. The guns had been shifted a mile inland to avoid naval gunfire but the casements still needed to be taken.
A view of Omaha Beach from the bottom of the bluffs show German gun emplacements which were turned to avoid naval gunfire and allow them to sweep the beach. Fortunately, the German guns were zeroed at the high tide line and the troops landed at low tide. This provided some shelter as they left the Higgins boats.
This is a reconstructed Higgins boat.
This is a famous photo from Omaha Beach on D-Day showing troops leaving the Higgins boat and wading ashore.
The Omaha bluffs are just as impressive from the bottom as from the top.
I am in Tucson spending a few days fixing a few things in the house here. A post of Chicago Boyz got me interested in the idea of making bread again. I had a bread machine for years and even made some French bread according to a Julia Child’s recipe years ago. I had a bread stone but it has been lost in my moves the last several years.
The progress of my effort will be recorded here. I used partly the recipe given in that post and partly another that I found on the internet. We’ll see how it turns out.
Here is the first illustration from the post with the ingredients.
Here is the second, which specifies 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
In the mean time, I have repaired the drip irrigation system, cleaned up some areas of the yard and helped my daughter move out of a house near the campus that she shared with another girl who has gotten rather difficult the past several months.
The first day was spent making the “sponge” which is rye flour, and water and yeast.
The sponge this morning had risen to about twice its size yesterday. I altered the recipe to add sugar and white flour to the sponge, as recommended by the second article. For that reason it is larger than the view in the second post of the rye bread series.
Here it is a little larger and is rising this morning.
Here is has risen to the max and has been squished down again. I shaped it as a square as the second article suggested. A spoon is added for scale.
Now, after the second rise, it has been divided into two loaves, as per the first article. The recipe from Chicago Boyz suggests baking at 300 to 350. The second article recommends 15 minutes at 450, then the rest of the time at 300. This is what I will try to see if we can get a good crust.
The oven is preheating and taking forever.
The two loaves have about doubled in size while we are waiting for the oven. I finally gave up on the oven reaching 450 so the loaves have gone in at the max temp, probably about 400. I’ll turn the thermostat down to 350 at 3:15, Tucson time. The loaves went in at 3:00 PM.
While doing all this, aside from some garage cleaning, I’ve been reading Genius, The life of Richard Feynmann. It has gnawed at me that I never had the chance to see him at CalTech. I actually applied before he was there and was accepted but did not have the money for tuition. I was a National Merit Scholarship finalist but my father refused to cooperate and did not send in some material on financial need so, I got a letter congratulating me that I did not need money.
Anyway, back to the baking. More to come as they bake.
Now, it is 3:58 and the loaves are out of the oven.
Here are the baked loaves. Still too hot to cut.
Here is a closeup of the loaf with the cuts showing how they have expanded.
Tonight we will have brats and sauerkraut with beer and this bread. A final report will follow after eating.
I had the first slice of the bread while waiting for my daughter to arrive and it is great ! The crust is very crusty and the inside is delicious.
My daughter and I just finished a dinner of sausages, sauerkraut and beans with the fresh bread. We ate most of one loaf and washed it down with Guinness beer. The next loaf is for tomorrow. I already have some pastrami.
As we count down to March 1, we are hearing more and more about the dreaded sequester. The left is confused about its history.
How did this become Obama’s fault? It started with Mitt Romney, a once-influential Republican Party politician and its 2012 nominee for president. In the third debate with President Obama, Romney fretted that “a trillion dollars in cuts through sequestration and budget cuts to the military” would weaken America’s defenses. The president literally dismissed this with a wave of his hand. “The sequester is not something that I proposed,” he said. “It’s something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.”
How did this get to be the story ?
The accidental Bible of Sequestration is The Price of Politics, Bob Woodward’s history of the debt-limit wars, and one of the least flattering portrayals of the president this side of Breitbart.com. In it, Woodward recounts a July 27, 2011, afternoon meeting between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and White House negotiators. Reid wanted a “trigger” as part of a debt deal, some way to force more cuts in the future without defaulting on the debt that summer. Chief of Staff Jack Lew and adviser Rob Nabors proposed sequestration, as a threat that could be averted if/when Congress passed a better deal.
OK. The White House staff suggested it. Why ? Because they assumed that Republicans would cave in rather than accept cuts in the defense budget.
Republicans have “twice passed legislation” to replace the sequestration cuts. Who told you that? It’s a common Republican talking point, but it’s misleading in two ways. The House passed two bills related to sequestration replacement, but the first one, in May 2012, didn’t offer specific cuts. It moved the total amount of defense cuts over into the non-defense budget, like a croupier moving chips into the winner’s pile. The actual replacement cuts were only spelled out in the Spending Reduction Act of 2012, passed by a razor-thin, Republicans-only vote on Dec. 20, 2012. The Congress that passed it expired on Jan. 3 of this year, so the bill is dead.
Oh, OK. The House bill passed with “Republican only” votes so it doesn’t matter ? The real story is the Obama and Democrats’ gamesmanship. What is their position?
The Senate plan would replace the $85 billion of cuts this year with $110 billion of cuts and taxes, reducing the defense cuts to $27.5 billion and raising (hopefully) $54 billion with the “Buffet rule,” the new millionaire income tax.
I thought we passed a “millionaire tax” last January 1 ? Well, that was only the first “millionaire tax” which affected those with incomes above $200,000. Now they want another one. Why ? Because that’s what Democrats do.
To reduce the deficit in a weak economy, new taxes on high-income Americans are a matter of necessity and fairness; they are also a necessary precondition to what in time will have to be tax increases on the middle class. Contrary to Mr. Boehner’s “spending problem” claim, much of the deficit in the next 10 years can be chalked up to chronic revenue shortfalls from the Bush-era tax cuts, which were only partly undone in the fiscal-cliff deal earlier this year. (Wars and a recession also contributed.) It stands to reason that a deficit caused partly by inadequate revenue must be corrected in part by new taxes. And the only way to raise taxes now without harming the recovery is to impose them on high-income filers, for whom a tax increase is unlikely to cut into spending.
Even the New York Times people have to know that tax increases on high income people adds to unemployment and causes the really rich to flee to other countries. Unless, of course, they have bought favors from Obama. As for “revenue” the government’s share of the GDP is the highest since World War II and well above historic norms, no matter what the tax rates were
As for entitlements, Republicans mainly want to cut those that mostly go to the middle class and the poor, while ignoring nearly $1.1 trillion in annual deductions, credits and other tax breaks that flow disproportionately to the highest income Americans and that cost more, each year, than Medicare and Medicaid combined. Clearly then, there is both ample room and justification to reduce the deficit by curbing tax breaks at the high end, as Mr. Obama has proposed and Republicans have rejected.
Those “tax breaks” are the home mortgage deduction and other deductions that are of long standing (like state and local taxes and tax exempt municipal bonds). What the Democrats want is to have no limits on spending. I don’t believe that the Times’ people are so stupid and ignorant that they do not realize we are asking for the situation of Japan, which used Keynesian spending twenty years ago to deal with a real estate bubble collapse. They are still mired in a stagflation economy after a generation.
I will be very disappointed but not particularly surprised if the GOP caves in once again to the old tax now and cut spending later routine that we have seen before. It might be enough to get a third party started if it happens again. The Whigs got too far from their base in 1854. It could happen again.
For an important and entertaining history of the Whigs, read this.
The three most important components of that political culture were the Whig commitment to “improvement” (including both self-transformation as well as national economic improvement), to morality and duty rather than equality and rights, and to national Page [End Page 74] unity rather than local diversity. Their opposition to Andrew Jackson and Jacksonian Democracy did not follow the lines of Schlesinger, which pitted progressives who wanted to use an expansive government to help farmers and the victims of robber-baron capitalism against monied exploiters who wanted to keep government small and impotent against their greed. Instead, it was the Whigs who advocated an expansive federal government—but it was a government that would seek to promote a general liberal, middle-class national welfare, promoting norms of Protestant morality and underwriting the expansion of industrial capitalism by means of government-funded transportation projects (to connect people and markets), high protective tariffs for American manufacturing, and a national banking system to regulate and standardize the American economy. Howe’s Whigs were the embodiment of Horatio Alger, of upward striving, of the triumph of reason over passion, of the positive liberal state,  and the counterparts of Disraeli’s “one nation” conservatism.
Arthur Schlesinger libeled more than just Calvin Coolidge.
I moved to the mountains about three weeks ago, after selling my house in Orange County, and am awaiting my escrow close on a new house up here. In the meantime, I am renting a nice older cabin which backs up to the national forest. I was walking Winston this evening when some neighbors stopped by. I learned that, about a half hour before, a bear had walked into the neighbor’s house ( the next one up the road) through an open front door. He had apparently rummaged through the garbage and then decided to seek more nourishment from the source. The home owner jumped up and yelled at the bear, which beat a retreat.
Life in the forest. I got so interested in the story that I forgot Winston’s liver which was cooking on the stove. It looks a bit burned but I am sure he will not mind. His usual daily ration is about a pound of liver or ground beef, mixed with two hands full of dry food. He is a very big Bassett, probably related to his diet.
He didn’t seem to mind. It was eaten in 30 seconds.
Here he is with a nationally known blogger.
I am sure he smells the bears and the coyote pack as he will not go out after dark without me close by. In the morning, he also waits for me to go out with him. The rest of the day, he will potter about the cabin but doesn’t go far. About two weeks ago, I was serenaded by a pack of coyotes about dawn. I have not heard them since Winston has been here. He did chase one a week ago but I managed to call him back. That is an old trick of coyotes. One will appear and tempt a dog to follow or chase. Around the corner is the pack. Coyotes will even send a female in heat to entice a male dog to follow her.
I’ve had a couple of experiences with this in human females and so know better.