Archive for April, 2009

The American Lung Association’s Dishonest Air Pollution Studies

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

By Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R.

This week, the American Lung Association released its annual “State of the Air” study on air pollution, which as always gave many areas of the country, including San Diego and Riverside counties, failing grades.

And as usual, most of the media simply regurgitated the findings. With a few honorable exceptions, there was no critical analysis of the study’s peculiar methodology. It used the worst air pollution in a region to judge the entire region, although that air pollution is often confined to a small area most residents don’t experience.

And in San Diego County, we get those localized reports daily through our Air Pollution Control District. The APCD provides color-coded maps and charts on its Web site showing the progress of air pollution throughout the day, while the Lung Association’s report makes no distinctions in how air pollution varies.

But pollution levels vary widely by geography. Prevailing winds push San Diego County air pollution inland, and Alpine regularly gets the brunt of it. While unfortunate for Alpine, this has little to do with pollution levels in coastal San Diego or inland North San Diego County. You can see this in the charts below.


The LA Times’ Continual Tech Cluelessness

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

By Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R.

“Is everyone at the LAT 97 years old and terrified of technology?”

That’s the question posed on Facebook by Kate Coe in response to a particularly insipid piece of technology-takes-away-our-humanity drivel by LATer Sandy Banks, “Friending is better done in person.”

In it, Banks relates her unsatisfying, bewildering experience in Facebook. I’ll give this to Banks, she’s completely fearless about revealing her ignorance, even to saying she thought when joining Facebook (in February!) she was “ahead of the curve”.

Perhaps ahead of the curve at the LA Times, which as Coe noted, seems to be overrun with Luddite hacks who think their shopworn discoveries about the Internets are sooooo insightful.

Obama’s foreign policy

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

We have seen over the past several weeks the Obama approach to foreign policy. He has been on an apology tour from Europe to South America. At the Summit of the Americas conference, he was humiliated by Hugo Chavez when that Venezuelan dictator handed Obama a leftist book that blames all of Latin America’s problems on the bad old USA. Obama, of course, didn’t realize that he was being humiliated, which makes it even worse. Now that the atmospherics are about over, serious issues are coming to a head, especially in Pakistan.

The Pakistani government, a supposedly democratic one is headed by former felon, Asif Ali Zardari, husband of slain leader Benazir Bhutto. Previously known as “Mister 10%”, he has a reputation as a corrupt, but very rich, man. Last fall, the Pakistan government signed a truce with the Taliban that included Sharia law in a large part of the country. It is no surprise that the truce only emboldened the Taliban who now threaten to take over the country with its nuclear arsenal.

Obama will thus have a chance to show his mettle a bit sooner than we feared. Things are happening very fast.

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, accused Pakistan this week of “abdicating to the Taleban”, which “poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world”. … Mrs Clinton’s remarks followed a recent deal between Mr Zardari and the Taleban in the Swat Valley, allowing them to establish a fundamentalist enclave in the former tourist area in exchange for laying down their arms.

The Taleban have not disarmed, and this week its fighters poured out of Swat into the neighbouring district of Buner, taking control of government buildings and digging in at strategic positions around the major towns.

I’m sure Hillary’s disapproval will galvanize the Paks to fight back. Obama, no doubt, will give this all serious thought and look pensive. Of course, his peace and apology offensive has not emboldened the Paks who wonder what he will do next to undercut their defenses.

However, the administration itself has been talking about negotiating with the moderate Taliban for some time. Carlotta Gall, writing in the New York Times, said last month that preliminary talks had already begun. “Even as President Obama floated the idea of negotiating with moderate elements of the Taliban, Afghan and foreign officials here said that preliminary discussions with the Taliban leadership were already under way and could be developed into more formal talks with the support of the United States.” While it is difficult to equate the Pakistani agreement with any that Washington is contemplating, the Pakistani experience underscores how badly wrong ‘peace deals’ can go.


Maybe the Paks have learned that we are now supporting al Qeada terrorists in Somalia.

Well, unlike that false urban legend about US sponsoring Islamist terrorists, it’s my sad duty to report that today the US is sponsoring Islamist terrorists. Directly.

I’ve mentioned Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys in the past, but today he officially returned to Somalia to join the US and UN sponsored reconciliation government, but let me recap why his return means that the US is now directly funding terrorists.

Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys was once heavily funded by Osama bin Laden, helped shield the US embassy bombers form justice, and is on the U.S. State Department’s list of designated terrorists:

Designated on November 7, 2001…
Hassan Dahir Aweys

Are you getting this? The U.S. State Department has Aweys on their list of designated terrorists. This means that all of Aweys assets are to be frozen.
But it’s not just the U.S. that has designated Aweys a terrorist. So, too, has the UN:

A U.N. Security Council resolution has designated Aweys as a terrorist
Today Aweys is back in Somalia as part of the new government.
The very same government that is backed by the US:

Does anyone else get the feeling that Obama is more comfortable with our enemies than our allies ? I still remember Jimmy Carter deciding to throw his lot in with Ayatolah Khomeini in Iran and allowed the Shah, an old ally, to be thrown out. At least Iran did not have nuclear weapons, then.

Deception About Global Warming

Friday, April 24th, 2009

By Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R.

The New York Times has published an incredibly dishonest article about global warming.

Industry ignored its own scientists on climate,” says the headline on the article, by Andrew C. Revkin. It alleges that behind the scenes, fossil fuel producing companies admitted the accuracy of global warming theory, while publicly denying it.

That claim is wholly founded on one passage in a primer on climate change distributed by the Global Climate Coalition. Here is how it appears in the NYT article:

“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.

Download the PDF document here.

Sounds pretty damning, doesn’t it? However, the primer distinguishes the potential for human effects on climate from the actual evidence, and highlights uncertainties in what we know.

Tortured logic

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

UPDATE #2: Well, maybe not. With Obama, one never knows for sure.

UPDATE: Obama seems to be backing away from the issue but that’s nothing new.

We now have a debate going on in this country over whether some of the detainees at Guantanamo and prisoners of our war with radical Islam were tortured. There has been a lot of speculation before this based on International Red Cross statements and books by radical leftist writers like Jane Mayer of The New Yorker. This week, Hugh Hewitt had a valuable debate on his radio show between two law professors, one a leftist and the other conservative. The debate was stimulated by several developments in the controversy, one release of previously classified memos from the Justice Department on whether the techniques used by the CIA constituted torture. These memos concluded that such techniques as waterboarding were not torture.

Many on the right think release of these memos will harm the country. Obama visited the CIA to try to reassure the Agency that he does not want to harm its ability to defend us. He has also promised that no CIA employee will be prosecuted for following the advice given in the memos. He initially made the same promise about the lawyers who provided the opinions of legality of the techniques, now called torture by the left. Since then, he has reversed course, leaving the question of prosecution open.

Let’s read a bit of the debate from Hugh Hewitt’s guests to get the tone. First, professor Chemerinsky, the new Dean of UCI Law School:

EC: I am pronouncing no judgment on anyone. I am saying, though, based on the Jane Mayer book The Dark Side, the Red Cross report and these torture memos, that there is evidence that international law and domestic law was violated. The law…

HH: Erwin, stop right there. What evidence have you got, not Jane Mayer, she’s not credible, she has been discredited many, many times. But what evidence do you point to that’s not contested that says these, Jay Bybee, Judge Bybee broke any law?

EC: First, I strongly disagree about your attack on Jane Mayer. I think her book describes in detail torture that occurred. The Red Cross report describes it. And these torture memos describe things that are clearly cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. Now the question is what caused such torture to occur, assuming that it did? If it could be shown that the actions of Dick Cheney, David Addington, Jay Bybee, and John Yoo among others, led to individuals being tortured, then I think that’s war crimes and they ought to be prosecuted.

So, Professor Chemerinsky relies on a book by a controversial writer to decide what is torture. There is more detail further on.

I think there’s two questions here. First, were individuals tortured by those under American command? I think if you read the Jane Mayer book, you read the Red Cross report, there’s no doubt that individuals were tortured. Waterboarding has been regarded as torture since the early 20th Century. Forcing men to be nude except for diapers is degrading treatment. Physical pain by prolonged staying in the same position is torture. Jane Mayer describes individuals who literally died as a result of torture by American officials. So the first question is did torture occur? We have to investigate. The second question is if so, why did it occur? If the memos that were written led to the torture occurring, then I think they’re responsible. I don’t think they can hide behind being part of Office of Legal Counsel. I don’t think they can hide by saying it was just memos. If their memos led to torture, then they’re responsible just as memos that might have led to Nazi gas chambers are responsible for that resulting. And I do intentionally liken it, torture, to what the Nazis did.

So, we don’t see much doubt there. It looks to me like we are about to disarm the country in a war that is chiefly being fought with intelligence techniques. Why would Obama go after Bush Administration people like this when it has never been done before ?

Well, there is a precedent. In the Reagan Administration, there was a political witch hunt called “Iran Contra.” Some detail is here. Almost all the literature on this affair is deeply colored by politics. At the bottom, it was a political difference- whether to fund the Contras, a rebel group trying to overthrow the Sandanistas, a communist dictatorship installed by the Soviets when Jimmy Carter refused to support the Somoza Regime in Nicaragua. Reagan was banned by Congress from funding them so he turned to private individuals to fill the gap until Congress changed its mind. A Special Prosecutor named Lawrence Walsh indicted a number of Reagan officials, including Cap Weinberger, Secretary of Defense who had had nothing to do with the scandal. Weinberger was pardoned eventually by George Bush.

In essence, the Democrats have been successful in criminalizing policy differences. Ray Donovan, Secretary of labor in Reagan’s Adminstration, was such a case and after he was exonerated by a jury, he asked Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?” Often, the process alone can bankrupt the targeted official, even forcing him to settle rather than go bankrupt with legal fees. Something like that was done with Michael Milken, who pleaded guilty to avoid having his brother indicted. The technique, in the hands of an unscrupulous prosecutor, can be devastating. Why would Obama do this ? Maybe the New York Times has the answer.

Mr. Obama and his allies need to discredit the techniques he has banned. Otherwise, in the event of a future terrorist attack, critics may blame his decision to rein in C.I.A. interrogators.

There, I believe, is the motive for this shameful decision. He is already anticipating that his actions may result in another attack. He wants to avoid responsibility. Harry Truman said “The buck stops here” but that was a long time ago and the Democratic party was a very different organization.

The Huffington Post opines

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

The new age of the internet includes hugely important blogs, of which this is not one. On the right, or more accurately, the libertarian side is Instapundit, a libertarian blog by a law professor whose site is checked frequently by hundreds of thousands. His posts tend to be links to other stories and his choices trend toward libertarian and conservative. There are many left wing sites that are mostly opinion but the largest of the left wing sites, in volume, is Huffington Post, a project of Arianna Huffington well known for marrying a rich bisexual Republican, then switching (so to speak) to the left where she opines today. The quality of opinion may be determined by one of the posts today by actor Jim Carrey, a well known scientist.

Recently, I was amazed to hear a commentary by CNN’s Campbell Brown on the controversial vaccine issue. After a ruling by the ‘special vaccine court’ saying the Measles, Mumps, Rubella shot wasn’t found to be responsible for the plaintiffs’ autism, she and others in the media began making assertions that the judgment was in, and vaccines had been proven safe. No one would be more relieved than Jenny and I if that were true. But with all due respect to Ms. Brown, a ruling against causation in three cases out of more than 5000 hardly proves that other children won’t be adversely affected by the MMR, let alone that all vaccines are safe. This is a huge leap of logic by anyone’s standards. Not everyone gets cancer from smoking, but cigarettes do cause cancer. After 100 years and many rulings in favor of the tobacco companies, we finally figured that out.

So, the actor has decided that autism may still be linked to vaccines. This is typical of the quality of opinion on this issue from the political left. For example, here is another post from Huffington on autism, which states:

Even as the evidence connecting America’s autism epidemic to vaccines mounts, dead-enders at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) — many of whom promoted the current vaccine schedule and others with strong ties to the vaccine industry — are trying to delay the day of reckoning by creating questionable studies designed to discredit any potential vaccine-autism link and by derailing authentic studies.

On January 12, a cadre of mid-level health bureaucrats left over from the Bush administration ignored Federal requirements for advance notice in order to vote to quietly strip vaccine research studies from funding allocated by Congress in the Combating Autism Act (CAA) of 2006. Members of Congress had said that this money should be used to study the vaccine-autism connection.

These rogue bureaucrats — members of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee — held an unannounced vote to remove previously approved vaccine studies from funding under the CAA. Nearly all of the “Federal” members of the panel voted to remove the two studies, whose estimated cost was $16 million – or 1.6% of the billion dollars authorized by Congress for autism. The panel’s civilian members, in contrast, voted nearly unanimously to retain the funding.

Thus, we should believe the actors and spoiled children of the rich over the scientists at Center for Disease Control. The next time you use Huffington Post as a source for political or foreign policy opinion, think about this. I have another post on autism here with a bit more reliable information.


Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

The definition of heresy is”

\?her-?-s?, ?he-r?-\
Inflected Form(s):
plural her·e·sies
Middle English heresie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin haeresis, from Late Greek hairesis, from Greek, action of taking, choice, sect, from hairein to take
13th century
1 a: adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma b: denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church c: an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma
2 a: dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice b: an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards

Choose your favorite. Many of us consider Anthropogenic Global Warming to be a religious dogma.

We now have a solution for global warming that resembles the Shiite Muslim practice of self flagellation. We call it “Carbon Cap and Trade.” It means that all carbon sources will be taxed to discourage the emission of carbon containing compounds, especially carbon dioxide, which is considered to contribute to global warming. Will this have any effect ?

None but the purpose of penance is not necessarily an effective solution but rather punishment for violation of the religious dogma.

Like medieval priests, today’s carbon brokers will sell you an indulgence that forgives your carbon sins. It will run you about $500 for 5 tons of forgiveness—about how much the typical American needs every year. Or about $2,000 a year for a typical four-person household. Your broker will spend the money on such things as reducing methane emissions from hog farms in Brazil.

Thus, carbon taxes will be paid by the rich, not the poor.

During the presidential race, Barack Obama was heard to remark that he would bankrupt the coal industry. No one can doubt Washington’s power to bankrupt almost anything—in the United States. But China is adding 100 gigawatts of coal-fired electrical capacity a year. That’s another whole United States’ worth of coal consumption added every three years, with no stopping point in sight. Much of the rest of the developing world is on a similar path.

Cut to the chase. We rich people can’t stop the world’s 5 billion poor people from burning the couple of trillion tons of cheap carbon that they have within easy reach. We can’t even make any durable dent in global emissions—because emissions from the developing world are growing too fast, because the other 80 percent of humanity desperately needs cheap energy, and because we and they are now part of the same global economy. What we can do, if we’re foolish enough, is let carbon worries send our jobs and industries to their shores, making them grow even faster, and their carbon emissions faster still.

We don’t control the global supply of carbon.

Ten countries ruled by nasty people control 80 percent of the planet’s oil reserves—about 1 trillion barrels, currently worth about $40 trillion. If $40 trillion worth of gold were located where most of the oil is, one could only scoff at any suggestion that we might somehow persuade the nasty people to leave the wealth buried. They can lift most of their oil at a cost well under $10 a barrel. They will drill. They will pump. And they will find buyers. Oil is all they’ve got.

Poor countries all around the planet are sitting on a second, even bigger source of carbon—almost a trillion tons of cheap, easily accessible coal. They also control most of the planet’s third great carbon reservoir—the rain forests and soil. They will keep squeezing the carbon out of cheap coal, and cheap forest, and cheap soil, because that’s all they’ve got. Unless they can find something even cheaper. But they won’t—not any time in the foreseeable future.

What can we do ?

It is idle to argue, as some have done, that global warming can be solved—decades hence—at a cost of 1 to 2 percent of the global economy. Eighty percent of the global population hasn’t signed on to pay more than 0 percent.

Accepting this last, self-evident fact, the Kyoto Protocol divides the world into two groups. The roughly 1.2 billion citizens of industrialized countries are expected to reduce their emissions. The other 5 billion—including both China and India, each of which is about as populous as the entire Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development—aren’t. These numbers alone guarantee that humanity isn’t going to reduce global emissions at any point in the foreseeable future—unless it does it the old-fashioned way, by getting poorer. But the current recession won’t last forever, and the long-term trend is clear. Their populations and per-capita emissions are rising far faster than ours could fall under any remotely plausible carbon-reduction scheme.

What about technology ?

Windmills are now 50-story skyscrapers. Yet one windmill generates a piddling 2 to 3 megawatts. A jumbo jet needs 100 megawatts to get off the ground; Google is building 100-megawatt server farms. Meeting New York City’s total energy demand would require 13,000 of those skyscrapers spinning at top speed, which would require scattering about 50,000 of them across the state, to make sure that you always hit enough windy spots. To answer the howls of green protest that inevitably greet realistic engineering estimates like these, note that real-world systems must be able to meet peak, not average, demand; that reserve margins are essential; and that converting electric power into liquid or gaseous fuels to power the existing transportation and heating systems would entail substantial losses. What was Mayor Bloomberg thinking when he suggested that he might just tuck windmills into Manhattan? Such thoughts betray a deep ignorance about how difficult it is to get a lot of energy out of sources as thin and dilute as wind and sun.

There is plenty of ignorance around, especially in Washington.

In the aftermath of the Three Mile Island accident—which didn’t harm anyone, and wouldn’t even have damaged the reactor core if the operators had simply kept their hands off the switches and let the automatic safety systems do their job—ostensibly green antinuclear activists unwittingly boosted U.S. coal consumption by about 400 million tons per year. The United States would be in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol today if we could simply undo their handiwork and conjure back into existence the nuclear plants that were in the pipeline in nuclear power’s heyday. Nuclear power is fantastically compact, and—as America’s nuclear navy, several commercial U.S. operators, France, Japan, and a handful of other countries have convincingly established—it’s both safe and cheap wherever engineers are allowed to get on with it.

Nuclear power was our best option and it has been pretty thoroughly destroyed by the Greens. Nuclear engineering programs, that would be needed to build power plants, are mostly closed and would not be easy to restore. Engineers are pretty smart and they would be skeptical of any politician’s promise of a secure career. CIA agents are learning that lesson right now.

Did you know this ?

To top it all, using electricity generated in large part by coal to power our passenger cars would lower carbon emissions—even in Indiana, which generates 75 percent of its electricity with coal. Big power plants are so much more efficient than the gasoline engines in our cars that a plug-in hybrid car running on electricity supplied by Indiana’s current grid still ends up more carbon-frugal than comparable cars burning gasoline in a conventional engine under the hood. Old-guard energy types have been saying this for decades. In a major report released last March, the World Wildlife Fund finally concluded that they were right all along.

Well, it won’t happen while Obama is president. One more missed opportunity.

Obama cuts spending

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Today, Obama announced that he has instructed his cabinet secretaries to cut a total of $100 million from the federal budget. In a federal budget of $4 trillion, that is a rounding error. What is going on? The Obama people do everything with a view to campaigning, not governing. They appear to believe that the American public cannot handle large numbers and will think $100 million is a substantial cut in the budget. They may be correct, at least for Obama voters.

Michael Ramirez always seems to get the idea into a cartoon. The question is whether the US economy can survive Obama’s machinations and those of his crew. The people who ran the Titanic into the iceberg were skilled, unlike the Obama clowns.

Even Paul Krugman is dismissive.

Let’s say the administration finds $100 million in efficiencies every working day for the rest of the Obama administration’s first term. That’s still around $80 billion, or around 2% of one year’s federal spending.

Zombietime San Diego

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

By Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R.

For a look at the follies and evils of the far left — support of terrorists, anti-Semitism and plain old hatred of the United States — the Web site Zombietime is one of the best. The pictures are most eloquent in documenting the dementia.

Well, I tried to do my homage today, snapping some photos at Earth Day Sunday in Balboa Park. To be honest, most of the exhibits were inoffensive. A little bodywork here, an electric vehicle there.

But there were enough of the demented left to make a good mini-photo essay. Here it is:

Veganazis were prominently in view, telling the horrors of eating meat. It’s not just cruel to animals, it’s bad for your body. So said a speaker in another area of Balboa Park, telling listeners to not turn your stomach into “a graveyard”

I longed for a nice chicken burrito.

Tasteful comparison of slavery to animals in a circus. How historically apt for those who equated blacks with animals. That’s the PETA way.

Where would we be without a protest against those evil Israelis?

My brush with leftist fascism. Picking up after yourself is not good enough. You must dispose of the trash into the proper recycle bins. There were in groups of three, and as I went to dispose of some trash, I was lectured by the woman who policed one trio as to what belonged where.  I ended up getting hopelessly confused and just tossed my trash into what I thought was the right receptacles. You can see from the photo that some festival-goers ignored the advice on the regular trash bins, which were boarded up to prevent any horrible unsorted trash from being thrown away.

They’re just asking questions.

Physics lecture, courtesy of the 9-11 truthists. These folks were next to the Peace & Freedom party table, FWIW.

The woman in the red dress was translating into English the speech of the man next to her, who apparently was some kind of Chinese mystical healer, He was introduced as “Grand Master Ca-Ching”, or that was what it sounded like to me.

He spoke a lot about how positive energy is needed to heal ourselves and the world. Global warming, trash, war, it’s all about negative thoughts and our desire to hold onto material things. And it’s not just us who are thinking negative thoughts: “In addition, there are spirits and beings all about us, without a body, that also have negative energy. They need to be healed as well,” said the translator.

So to heal the world — and these bodiless spirits and beings, we should think positive thoughts and reject materialism.

After he spoke, donations were solicited.


As with everything I write here, this is my personal opinion and not associated with that of my employer, the North County Times.

Mission Viejo tea party

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

UPDATE #4:For those of you who are alarmed by the tea party phenomenon, here are instructionson how to reduce your risk.

UPDATE #3: For those of you who still don’t know the little joke the MSM was playing on the normal people at tea parties, this explanation of what “teabagging” is might help. Ugh !

UPDATE #2: Here is somebody who does understand what this tea party phenomenon is about.

In the last few days before Wednesday, I began to hear rumblings that the virtually-0rganized Tax Day protests had finally grown to such an extent that the Republican Party wanted to jump on the bandwagon. It was too late. Even the head of the RNC was denied a speaking role. This was a movement that had already grown outside the mainstream of American politics.

Oprah Winfrey, accustomed to giving unknown authors a portion of her prominence by featuring their works, felt compelled to jump on the Boyle bandwagon after only one song. It was only two years ago when, it took until Paul Potts that years’ BGT winner, was already crowned, before Oprah, then still ahead of the new media curve, introduced him to an American audience. Now, Oprah has to make the introduction early–or at least as early as she can, since millions of Yankees have already seen Ms. Boyle, even though her singing career spans a grand total of two minutes and twenty seconds.

This is the speed of the modern internet. Instead of needing the establishment to give credibility to a movement–be it political or cultural–the establishment needs those movements to keep them relevant.

I was wondering if anyone would figure this out besides me.

UPDATE: Not everybody thinks that the tea parties were a good idea.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) blasted “tea party” protests yesterday, labeling the activities “despicable” and shameful.”

Of course, her opinion might be affected by the fact that her husband is going to jail for fraud and tax fraud. That will color your attitude toward tea parties, I guess.

I arrived at the tea party in Mission Viejo at 5 PM. There were between 400 and 500 people standing on the four corners that intersect adjacent to the City Hall and LIbrary. I thought I had taken a bunch of photos with my iPhone camera since I had forgotten my camera. Then I went home and attempted to download the photos. It was then that I learned that I had been pushing the wrong button, turning the camera off instead of snapping a photo. I was fooled by the shutter sound that apparently was the camera turning off. I went back at 6:30 PM and took these photos when the crowd was down to about 100.

Here is the rear view of one group that was about 150 people at 5 PM

This is the opposite corner and still has about 100 people at 6:30.

That corner is down to a few but had about 100 people at 5 PM.

This is a small table when attendees could sign a petition to recall a city councilman. They got 60 signatures today. Many of us had already signed. There was another petition for Obama about spending. I doubt it will do much good but the numbers were significant for a small city in Orange County.

This one is included because I liked the sign “Tax and spend has got to end.”

I would call this a success although Mission Viejo has a tradition of community activism which is bipartisan.

On the other hand, we didn’t have anything like this.

The robber, a 32-year-old man identified by as “Viktor,” burst into the salon at around 5 p.m. waving a pistol and ordered all of the stylists and clients to hit the floor and toss him their money.

At this point, 28-year-old Olga, whom describes as a “delicate” girl trained in martial arts, was apparently still standing when she offered to hand over her cash. But when Viktor tried to accept her contribution, Olga surprised him with a quick punch to the chest, knocking the wind out of him before she flipped him to the ground.

Olga proceeded to tie Viktor up with a hair-dryer cord, gagged him and dragged him into a storage room…

She tied him to the radiator with handcuffs covered in frilly pink fabric, gave him some Viagra and had her way with him several times over the next 48 hours. When she finally let him go on the evening of March 16, Viktor had been “squeezed like a lemon,” reported.