Grand kids

January 29th, 2017

For Christmas last year, I gave my son and his wife a lovely painting of their children.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Laguna Beach

It was done by a Laguna Beach artist whose work I like very much.

I hope they will enjoy it especially when the children are grown and gone on with their lives.

Judith Curry resigns from Georgia Tech

January 5th, 2017

The world of Climate research lost a great academic figure as Judith Curry resigns her tenured faculty position at Georgia Tech.

She has figured largely in the climate debate as a skeptic in global warming.

I have retired from Georgia Tech, and I have no intention of seeking another academic or administrative position in a university or government agency. However, I most certainly am not retiring from professional life.

Why did I resign my tenured faculty position?

I’m ‘cashing out’ with 186 published journal articles and two books. The superficial reason is that I want to do other things, and no longer need my university salary. This opens up an opportunity for Georgia Tech to make a new hire (see advert).

The deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.

She has endured considerable abuse from the alarmist side. She is called a “heretic” in the alarmist circles.

over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Black¬board. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points

So, she might have a point. However:

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Is Trump going to be a target for hate and hoaxes for four years?

December 23rd, 2016

Donald Trump won the election with 306 electoral votes. Outside of New York and California, he won the popular vote. Hillary got about 2 million fewer total votes than her total in California. Thus, she lost the popular vote in the rest of the country. Gary Johnson allowed her to win New Hampshire and Nevada. CNN made much about her winning the popular vote total, but her margin in California was over 4.8 million votes, but her national total was about 2 million less so she lost the rest of the country.

clinton_archipelago

The fact that she polled more popular votes has led to a rather hysterical reaction by her supporters.

First, leftist newspapers alleged that the Russians aided Trump with the Hillary scandal leaks.

Then the next theory was that the FBI and Director Comey were responsible for her loss.

In her most extensive remarks since she conceded the race to Donald J. Trump early Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton told donors on a 30-minute conference call that Mr. Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress about the inquiry 11 days before Election Day had thrust the controversy back into the news and had prevented her from ending the campaign with an optimistic closing argument.

Do the Clinton’s ever accept responsibility for their troubles ?

The latest excuse for losing is the electoral college is racist.

This is a twisted version of the Connecticut Compromise in the Constitutional Convention.

The Electoral College, which is written into the Constitution, is more than just a vestige of the founding era; it is a living symbol of America’s original sin. When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations. Counting those men and women as three-fifths of a white person, as the Constitution originally did, gave the slave states more electoral votes.

In fact, the 3/5 compromise was a matter of the representation in the House of Representatives, the more important branch in early US government days, as Senators were chosen by legislatures. The numbers in each state determined the number of Representatives allowed. It had nothing to do with the Electoral College. The Southern, slave, states wanted the number of slaves to add to the total for determining representation in the House. The northern states wanted slave to count as zero since they were not eligible to vote. The compromise allowed the Constitution to be ratified by all.

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William and the AR 15

December 22nd, 2016

william-ar15

Here is William with the AR 15 at the shooting range. It’s mine but he gets to shoot it.
william-ppk

He was also pretty good with the Walther PPK. The .45 1911 is a bit big for his hands now.

B 17 nose and Joe

Here’s his father with a birthday present, a ride on a B 17.

Special gifts.

The New House in Tucson

December 1st, 2016

Today we went through the new house to plan work to be done once it is ours.

UPDATE: Escrow has now closed and we are the owners. The work on the ceilings had begun. I was there yesterday and the contractor did some demo work to convert the little laundry room so it faces the garage. The wall between is thin and has a header existing so the wall can be opened. The water lines look old and he will replace the valves. There is no gas access so he will tap off the gas to the A/C and water heater which are across a small hallway. We have a gas dryer and like it. The A/C unit is old but, hopefully, has some life left in it.

house-front

Here is Jill walking out of the front door. The view shows the west side. The slope down to the street is our property. We will have some of the trees trimmed and clean up the slope a little but it has many interesting plants and we will keep it pretty wild.

house-view-west

This shows the view to the west. The hill down to the street is our property. Most of it is not useful except for privacy,

pool view

The pool will have to be drained and replastered. We will get a quote on adding a little water feature like a waterfall for the return. There is no heater but most pools here are warm enough by midsummer. If we were to add a spa we would add a heater. Not for a while.

Patio view

The patio is nice with a grass yard, rare in Tucson, for Juliet. The far wall has cracks and needs repair but we will probably move it to make the yard larger. The grass will stay the same but we may add another palo verde tree.

wall cracks.

This wall needs repair and I will get a quote for moving and rebuilding it. This area can be incorporated into the yard with a palo verde tree and some cactus. The grass area will stay the same. That may be a project for next year.

house-kitchen

The Kitchen has formica counter tops that are in good shape and we will leave them alone. Some day, we will replace them. We will bring our own refrigerator and washer and dryer from California. The garage is large and has two recesses where we can put the washer and dryer. It will require some replumbing. The present washer and dryer are front loading and stacked in a small nook that can be converted to a closet. See above. The washer and dryer are now gone and the closet space they were in is larger than I remembered. The appliance we are moving will fit easily and there will be minor replumbing. A new gas line will be run from the A/C source and there run will be only a few feet. I don’t know if there is a gas outlet for the range. The electric range is staying and we can use it until we decide to get a gas range. The kitchen has no pantry and I think we will convert a closet adjacent to the kitchen to a pantry.

The two bathrooms are 1970s era cabinets but that can wait until we have done the other work. There are popcorn ceilings which will be stripped and painted before we move in in January.

Bedroom

This is one bedroom and has the adobe wall painted. The entire house will be painted an off white instead of the colored walls.

Bedroom 2

The other bedroom has a sliding door going outside. That bathroom, Jill is already planning some remodeling. It has a nice walk-in closet and she wants to remodel a closet opposite. I should add there is a third bedroom currently used by the seller as a workshop. He is a clockmaker. All three bedrooms are nice size. The workshop bedroom is the smallest.

I am very pleased with the location and view.

We are on the foothills with Oro Valley just to the west.

January can’t come fast enough. It’s here and we are packing like mad. The seller has moved. WE let him stay until the new year. Now the work begins and will take most of the next two weeks.

Trump and Conflicts of Interest.

November 19th, 2016

Trump is organizing his administration but he is facing another crisis.

The Wall Street Journal is giving him painful and unwelcome but good advice.

He must liquidate the family business.

One reason 60 million voters elected Donald Trump is because he promised to change Washington’s culture of self-dealing, and if he wants to succeed he’s going to have to make a sacrifice and lead by example. Mr. Trump has so far indicated that he will keep his business empire but turn over management to his children, and therein lies political danger.

Mr. Trump has for decades run the Trump Organization and during the campaign said if he won the Presidency he’d turn over the keys to Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, all of whom are now serving on the Trump transition. A company spokesperson says the family business is “in the process of vetting various structures” and that the ultimate arrangement “will comply with all applicable rules and regulations.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s lawyers have called the plan a “blind trust,” which past Presidents have used to protect their assets from the appearance of conflicts-of-interest. But that set-up typically involves liquid assets like bonds and stocks, not buildings or a branding empire. Mr. Trump will know how any given decision will affect, say, the old post office property in Washington, D.C. that he’s leasing from the federal government (another conflict). By law blind trusts are overseen by an independent manager, not family members.

The Journal is correct. I don;t know how Trump is going to do this but he has to.

Dick Cheney divested himself of millions of dollars in assets but was still vilified by the left.

Halliburton’s business with the military has grown substantially since Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney took office. The company rose to seventh-largest military contractor in 2003 from 22nd-largest in 2000.

The contracts did not prove to be as profitable as executives had hoped, however, and accusations of political favoritism led to a public relations nightmare. On Thursday, Halliburton said it was considering selling its subsidiary that holds the contracts in Iraq.

Mr. Cheney’s financial disclosure statements from 2001, 2002 and 2003 show that since becoming vice president-elect, he has received $1,997,525 from the company: $1,451,398 in a bonus deferred from 1999, the rest in deferred salary. He also holds options to buy Halliburton stock.

Mr. Cheney’s critics concede that there is no concrete evidence that he has pulled any strings on Halliburton’s behalf. But he has refused to answer a request from Democrats in Congress that he provide an accounting of any communications he and his staff have had with Halliburton or actions they have taken on Halliburton contracts.

Trump will face this squared.

He needs to face the reality of Democrat dishonesty and do the prudent thing.

I have no idea how he will accomplish this.

Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, is already calling for hearings about all of this. Trump and his party don’t need to worry much about that given how favorable the 2018 map is, but as we just found out last week, anything can happen in politics. If a nasty recession hits next year and Democrats end up winning back the House or Senate, all of these conflicts will be explored at length in congressional inquiries in 2019.

Cummings is despicable but those are the people who will harass Trump and try to destroy his presidency. He must anticipate this.

Mr. Trump’s best option is to liquidate his stake in the company. Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, ethics lawyers for George W. Bush and President Obama, respectively, have laid out a plan, which involves a leveraged buyout or an initial public offering.

Mr. Trump could put the cash proceeds in a true blind trust. The Trump children can keep the assets in their name, and he can transfer more to them as long as he pays a hefty gift tax. Finally, Mr. Trump should stipulate that he and his children will have no communication about family business matters.

He needs to have someone working on this.

President Trump

November 9th, 2016

I never thought, except in a few moments of fantasy, that I would be able to say that.

I have been interested in Trump as a phenomenon all year.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Wilson conceded that “Trump is still a very powerful force right now” because he appeals to part of the of the conservative base that Wilson said was activated by his “nativist” message. Wilson insisted that the donor class “can’t just sit back on the sidelines and say, ‘oh well, don’t worry, this will all work itself out.’”
“They’re still going to have to go out and put a bullet in Donald Trump,” Wilson said. “And that’s a fact.”

Wilson is an alleged GOP consultant. Trump may be fatal to many GOP consultants as they were not only mistaken but disloyal to the team they were supposed to belong to.

What happened? Richard Fernandez has a theory.

Hillary’s real enemy was Obama’s real record of failure added to her own. Low-wage growth, a disastrous foreign policy, a catastrophic Obamacare, and numerous scandals to name a few weighed down on her like an anvil heavier than any insult that Donald Trump could lay upon her.

It’s important for progressives to realize this, for they are even now casting about for something to blame. Paul Krugman tweeted: “I truly thought I knew my country better than it turns out I did. I have warned that we could become a failed state, but didn’t realize …” Realize what? That the electorate wouldn’t notice the last administration’s debacles?

A lot of this can be laid on Obama. He has been a disastrous president. I thought he would be all along.

In February 2008, I posted this.

Jones had served in the Illinois Legislature for three decades. He represented a district on the Chicago South Side not far from Obama’s. He became Obama’s ­kingmaker.

Several months before Obama announced his U.S. Senate bid, Jones called his old friend Cliff Kelley, a former Chicago alderman who now hosts the city’s most popular black call-in radio ­program.

I called Kelley last week and he recollected the private conversation as follows:

“He said, ‘Cliff, I’m gonna make me a U.S. Senator.’”

“Oh, you are? Who might that be?”

“Barack Obama.”

Obama had no record of accomplishment. Jones put his name on bills he had had nothing to do with.

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Game Theory examples.

October 25th, 2016

Stephen den Beste died this week.

he was an early blogger but has been in poor health recently and stopped blogging the past year.

On Islamist terrorism:

The nations and the peoples within the zone of our enemy’s culture are complete failures. Their economies are disasters. They make no contribution to the advance of science or engineering. They make no contribution to art or culture. They have no important diplomatic power. They are not respected. Most of their people are impoverished and miserable and filled with resentment, and those who are not impoverished are living a lie. They hate us.

They hate us because our culture is everything theirs is not. Our culture is vibrant and fecund; our economies are successful. Our achievements are magnificent. Our engineering and science are advancing at breathtaking speed. Our people are fat and happy (relatively speaking). We are influential, we are powerful, we are wealthy. “We” are the western democracies, but in particular “we” are the United States, which is the most successful of the western democracies by a long margin. America is the most successful nation in the history of the world, economically and technologically and militarily and even culturally.

Sadly, our own culture seems to be under attack from within.

His blog post on Game Theory and The Prisoner’s Dilemma is excellent.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a classic of Game Theory

It has been endlessly analyzed but Den Beste’s is about the best I know.

There’s been a lot of analysis of this, and it turns out that honesty isn’t the best policy. One guy decided to run a computer tournament; people were permitted to create algorithms in a synthetic language which would have the ability to keep track of previous exchanges and make a decision on each new exchange whether to be honest or to cheat. He challenged them to see who could come up with the one which did the best in a long series of matches against various opponents. It turned out that the best anyone could find, and the best anyone has ever found, was known as “Tit-for-tat”.

On the first round, it plays fair. On each successive round, it does to the other guy what he did the last time.

When Tit-for-tat plays against itself, it plays fair for the entire game and maximizes output. When it plays against anyone who tosses in some cheating, it punishes it by cheating back and reduces the other guys unfair winnings.

No-one has ever found a way of defeating it.

Now let’s analyze two different and even more simplistic approaches; we’ll call them “saint” and “sinner”. The saint plays fair every single round, irrespective of what the other guy does. The sinner always cheats.

When a saint plays against another saint, or against tit-for-tat, the result is optimum but more important is that everyone gets the same result. When a sinner plays against another sinner, or against tit-for-tat, everyone cheats and the result is still even, though less than optimal.

But when a sinner plays against a saint, the sinner wins and the saint loses.

Which brings me back to the point of all this: Is there anything I would rule out in war? Nothing I’d care to admit to my enemies, because ruling out anything is a “saint” tactic. The Tit-for-tat tactic is to be prepared to do anything, but not to do so spontaneously. In other words, if the other guy threatens to use poison gas, you make sure you have some of your own and let him know that you’ll retaliate with it. That means that he has nothing to win by using it, and he won’t. (A war is a sequence game and not a single transaction because each day is a new exchange. If you gassed my guys yesterday, I can gas yours today.)

Unfortunately, this logic has been abandoned by the Ruling Class, which thinks it is more important to signal its virtue than to defend the country.

What if Trump loses ?

October 18th, 2016

The election news is starting to suggest to me that Trump may well lose the election to Hillary. What would that mean?

Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person to get this close to the presidency since Aaron Burr.

he blamed Hamilton for besmirching him as a candidate, and, eager to defend his honor, challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton accepted, and the face-off took place on the morning of July 11, 1804; it ended when Burr shot Hamilton to death. Though the public cried murder, Burr was let off, and after laying low for a while, he was able to complete his vice-presidential term.

What then?

In 1807, Burr was brought to trial on charges of conspiracy and high misdemeanor, for leading a military charge against Spanish territory and for trying to separate territories from the United States. Chief Justice John Marshall acquitted Burr on the treason charge and eventually revoked his misdemeanor indictment, but the conspiracy scandal left Burr’s political career in ruins.

Final Years

Burr spent the four years following his trial traveling throughout Europe, attempting unsuccessfully to garner support for revolutionizing Mexico and freeing the Spanish colonies.

Burr was a traitor after having his ambitions thwarted.

We all know Hillary’s story. She was a student radical at Wellesley and her senior thesis was on Saul Alinsky.

The thesis was sympathetic to Alinsky’s critiques of government antipoverty programs, but criticized Alinsky’s methods as largely ineffective, all the while describing Alinsky’s personality as appealing.[4] The thesis sought to fit Alinsky into a line of American social activists, including Eugene V. Debs, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Walt Whitman. Written in formal academic language, the thesis concluded that “[Alinsky’s] power/conflict model is rendered inapplicable by existing social conflicts” and that Alinsky’s model had not expanded nationally due to “the anachronistic nature of small autonomous conflict.”

Her sympathies are clear. What will she be like as president if she wins?

We know she is dishonest by most definitions of the term.

She evaded the law on security when she accepted the position of Secretary of State. Her security detail at State, rebelled at her ignoring security rules, and her personal abusive style. The latter was well known from her time in the White House as First Lady.

During her interview, the agent said Clinton treated agents rudely and with contempt, and was so unpleasant that senior agents typically avoided being on her security detail.

“[Redacted] explained that CLINTON’s treatment of DS agents on her protective detail was so contemptuous that many of them sought reassignment or employment elsewhere,” the interview summary says. “Prior to CLINTON’s tenure, being an agent on the Secretary of State’s protective detail was seen as an honor and privilege reserved for senior agents. However, by the end of CLINTON’s tenure, it was staffed largely with new agents because it was difficult to find senior agents willing to work for her.”

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Trump’s new scandal.

October 7th, 2016

The New York Times and the Democrats have a new Trump story to peddle.

The crude comments are a huge scandal to the new Puritans of the left.

The explosive revelation of his coarse remarks, on the eve of a crucial debate on Sunday against Hillary Clinton, represented a new low for a campaign that had already redefined the standards of political discourse to fit Mr. Trump’s penchant for insults, mocking, threats and demagogic insinuations. A three-minute video clearly capturing Mr. Trump’s voice, and obtained by The Washington Post, ricocheted across social media and cable television and instantly became one of the most powerful weapons yet for Democrats to persuade undecided female voters and others to back Mrs. Clinton.

The Washington Post seems to be the source.

This is the weekend before the second debate and there is obviously a script running here. The recording was made 11 years ago when Trump was unmarried although he married Melania in 2005. I am unaware of any credible allegations of sexual harassment or rape against Trump, although there has been a lawsuit filed and rejected by a 13 year old. alleging rape.

Federal Judge Ronnie Abrams has ordered a December status conference hearing after a woman, who calls herself “Jane Doe,” filed a lawsuit claiming that Trump raped her when she was 13 years old in the 1990s. This is the third attempt the plaintiff has made in filing this particular lawsuit. Last Friday, she filed an amended complaint, with a new “witness” named “Joan Doe.” The plaintiff and witnesses in the case are using pseudonyms, they say, to protect their identities.

Ronnie Abrams was appointed by Barack Obama in 2011.

The plaintiff’s allegation seems to be that she was raped in a setting where Jeffrey Epstein of “Lolita Express” and Bill Clinton fame were present.

I think this is probably a setup by the DNC since the alleged rape occurred in the 1990s and the lawsuit has been previously dismissed.

I think there is a permissive atmosphere where wealthy and popular personalities, like Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton, can be helpful to women in a career. After all, Hillary Clinton owes her career to her husband Bill. She may think she has done it on her own but Bill is a much better politician than she is and that has been obvious since the “Hillarycare” debacle in 1994. I don’t mean to imply that women politicians need men. After all Margaret Thatcher did it on her own with only support from her husband in a personal, non-political way.

We will hear a lot about this story for the next two days and it will be important for Trump to deflate this particular balloon next Sunday. Maybe Hillary will her child actress ask him a question about it.

I assume he anticipated this campaign of vilification but even Trump might be distressed at the levels of hate, especially from Republicans.