Sunday, October 31, 2010

Brrr... A Cold Morning in the Chaparral...

We slept in this morning, so I didn't walk the dogs until about 6:30.  At that hour, the eastern sky was just starting to lighten, and I could dimly see the yard.  It was 44°F (7°C) outside, and 100% relative humidity, making it feel quite cold for these parts.  The dogs seemed to enjoy this very much; they were all quite frisky.

The best part for me, though, was that our yard looked almost like it was covered in snow.  It obviously wasn't snow, at these temperatures – it was, instead, a very heavy dew backlit by the dawn.  Just beautiful.

The best part for Mo'i was completely different.  Ever since he caught a gopher yesterday, each time we take him outside he makes a beeline for the gopher hole from which he pulled the doomed gopher.  That's the first time in perhaps five years that he's caught anything at all.  Each time he revisits that gopher hole, he goes into his “waiting” stance, wherein he stands stock still, with his jaws just a few inches from the top of the hole, waiting for an unsuspecting gopher to stick his head out.  When he was younger, he'd do this for hours on end, never giving up.  I have to drag the poor guy off his gopher watch so we can walk.  I wonder how long this will keep up? 

Service-now.com in the Financial Times!

Ok, it's only a side-bar.  Ok, it's only mentioned in passing.  Still, our little (but fast-growing!) company got a nice, positive mention in the Financial Times (the U.K.'s rough equivalent of the Wall Street Journal).  The article itself requires (free) registration, but here's the relevant clip:
Perhaps the most striking example is the Trust’s use of software-as-a-service (SaaS). One area where SaaS has made a real difference is in IT service management: Mr Bramwell and his team now use Service-now.com’s hosted applications to respond to user computing problems.

That service has replaced in-house applications running on the Trust’s servers and costs the charity about one-fifth of what it did.

“We are looking at more SaaS models, not just with total cost of ownership savings in mind, but also because of the business continuity and disaster recovery guarantees that these offer,” says Mr Bramwell.
Mr. Bramwell is an employee of the Wellcome Trust in the U.K.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Quote of the Day...

From Dave Carter, writing over at Ricochet:
...are political ads designed to entice viewers to jam railroad spikes in their ears? It seems that I see the same ads at least 117 times per hour. From what I can tell, all of these nefarious candidates have engaged in every diabolical act except the sinking of the Lusitania and there is some conjecture about that. Are voters really deemed to have the IQ of bread mold?
I'm no expert, but it sure seems that way to me, Dave. What scares me is that targeting those with the IQ of bread mold may actually be the right thing for those politicians to do...

“It's All a Lie!” Ouch!

You can't say that Meg Whitman is pulling her punches:


Morgan Freeman Narrates a Republican's Ad...

How to Carve a Jack O'Lantern...

The Lawyer's Party...

Via reader Simi L., who is on a political education roll today:
The Lawyers' Party

By Bruce Walker

A LAWYER WITH A BRIEFCASE CAN STEAL MORE THAN A THOUSAND MEN WITH GUNS. This is very interesting! I never thought about it this way.

The Democratic Party has become the Lawyers Party. Barack Obama is a lawyer. Michelle Obama is a lawyer. Hillary Clinton is a lawyer. Bill Clinton is a lawyer. John Edwards is a lawyer. Elizabeth Edwards is a lawyer. Every Democrat nominee since 1984 went to law school (although Gore did not graduate). Every Democrat vice presidential nominee since 1976, except for Lloyd Bentsen, went to law school. Look at leaders of the Democrat Party in Congress: Harry Reid is a lawyer. Nancy Pelosi is a lawyer.

The Republican Party is different. President Bush is a businessman. Vice President Cheney is a businessman. The leaders of the Republican Revolution: Newt Gingrich was a history professor. Tom Delay was an exterminator. Dick Armey was an economist. House Minority Leader Boehner was a plastic manufacturer. The former Senate Majority Leader Bill First is a heart surgeon.

Who was the last Republican president who was a lawyer? Gerald Ford, who left office 31 years ago and who barely won the Republican nomination as a sitting president, running against Ronald Reagan in 1976.

The Republican Party is made up of real people doing real work, who are often the targets of lawyers.

The Democrat Party is made up of lawyers. Democrats mock and scorn men who create wealth, like Bush and Cheney, or who heal the sick, like Frist, or who immerse themselves in history, like Gingrich and Hastert.

The Lawyers Party sees these sorts of people, who provide goods and services that people want, as the enemies of America. And, so we have seen the procession of official enemies, in the eyes of the Lawyers Party, grow.

Against whom do Hillary and Obama rail? Pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, hospitals, manufacturers, fast food restaurant chains, large retail businesses, bankers, and anyone producing anything of value in our nation.

This is the natural consequence of viewing everything through the eyes of lawyers. Lawyers solve problems by successfully representing their clients, in this case the American people. Lawyers seek to have new laws passed, they seek to win lawsuits, they press appellate courts to overturn precedent, and lawyers always pharse language to favor their side.

Confined to the narrow practice of law, that is fine. But it is an awful way to govern a great nation. When politicians as lawyers begin to view some Americans as clients and other Americans as opposing parties, then the role of the legal system in our life becomes all-consuming. Some Americans become adverse parties of our very government. We are not all litigants in some vast social class-action suit. We are citizens of a republic that promises us a great deal of freedom from laws, from courts, and from lawyers.

Today, we are drowning in laws; we are contorted by judicial decisions; we are driven to distraction by omnipresent lawyers in all parts of our once private lives. America has a place for laws and lawyers, but that place is modest and reasonable, not vast and unchecked. When the most important decision for our next president is whom he will appoint to the Supreme Court, the role of lawyers and the law in America is too big.

When House Democrats sue America in order to hamstring our efforts to learn what our enemies are planning to do to us, then the role of litigation in America has become crushing.

We cannot expect the Lawyers Party to provide real change, real reform or real hope in America Most Americans know that a republic in which every major government action must be blessed by nine unelected judges is not what Washington intended in 1789. Most Americans grasp that we cannot fight a war when ACLU lawsuits snap at the heels of our defenders. Most Americans intuit that more lawyers and judges will not restore declining moral values or spark the spirit of enterprise in our economy.

Perhaps Americans will understand that change cannot be brought to our nation by those lawyers who already largely dictate American society and business. Perhaps Americans will see that hope does not come from the mouths of lawyers but from personal dreams nourished by hard work. Perhaps Americans will embrace the truth that more lawyers with more power will only make our problems worse.

The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 66% of the world’s lawyers! Tort (Legal) reform legislation has been introduced in congress several times in the last several years to limit punitive damages in ridiculous lawsuits such as spilling hot coffee on yourself and suing the establishment that sold it to you and also to limit punitive damages in huge medical malpractice lawsuits. This legislation has continually been blocked from even being voted on by the Democrat Party. When you see that 97% of the political contributions from the American Trial Lawyers Association goes to the Democrat Party, then you realize who is responsible for our medical and product costs being so high!

American Hero...

Via reader Simi L., an excellent video to watch before you go to the voting booth:

Punishment...

Via reader Jim M.:
How do you catch a unique rabbit?
Unique up on it, of course.

How do you catch a tame rabbit?
Tame way.

How do crazy people go through the forest?
They take the psychopath.

How do you get Holy Water?
You boil the Hell out of it!

What do fish say when they hit a concrete wall?
Dam!

What do Eskimos get from sitting on the ice too long?
Polaroids.

What do you call a boomerang that doesn't work?
A stick.

What do you call cheese that isn't yours?
Nacho cheese.

What do you call Santa's helpers?
Subordinate Clauses.

What do you call four bullfighters in quicksand?
Quattro Cinco

What do you get from a pampered cow?
Spoiled milk.

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
Frostbite.

What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches?
A nervous wreck.

What's the different between roast beef and pea soup?
Anyone can roast beef.

Where do you find a dog with no legs?
Right where you left him!

Why do gorillas have big nostrils?
Because they have big fingers!

Why don't blind people like to skydive?
Because it scares their dog.

What kind of coffee was served on the Titanic?
Sanka.

What's the difference between a Harley and a Hoover?
The location of the dirt bag.

Why did the Pilgrims' pants always fall down?
Because they wore their belt buckle on their head.

What's the difference between a bad golfer and a bad skydiver?
A bad golfer goes “Whack. Dang!”
A bad skydiver goes “Dang! Whack.”


How are a Texas tornado and a Tennessee divorce the same?
Somebody's gonna lose a trailer.

Why does the ocean roar?
You would too if you had crabs on your bottom!

Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.

More Governor Awesome!

Oh, how I long for a Governor Awesome of our very own (out here in California)...

Best Jack O'Lantern Evah!

Via TigerHawk:

Economic Incentives Work!

A fascinating story about a clear case of economic incentives working.  The larger lesson is why we need a more business-friendly environment – one with the right incentives ” to restore economic growth.

I did a double-take when I saw what web site this story appeared on: the National Public Radio site, of all places.  Someone there is likely to be fired over this variance from the standard progressive line, in which all market incentives are bad...

A Before-You-Vote Reminder...

Via my mom, some imagery to remind you of what you need to do come Tuesday:




A Different Slant...

Forwarded by reader Jim M.:
A Different Slant On The Obama Presidency

One 82-year-old lady "loves" Obama and she may have a very good point. She says that Obama is amazing, and is rebuilding the American dream! She gives us an entirely new slant on the "amazing" job Obama is doing, And she says that she will thank God for the President. Keep reading for her additional comments and an explanation.

When discussing Obama, she says:

1. Obama destroyed the Clinton Political Machine, driving a stake through the heart of Hillary's presidential aspirations - something no Republican was ever able to do.

2. Obama killed off the Kennedy Dynasty - no more Kennedys trolling Washington looking for booze and women wanting rides home.

3. Obama is destroying the Democratic Party before our eyes! Dennis Moore had never lost a race. Evan Bayh had never lost a race. Byron Dorgan had never lost a race. Harry Reid - soon to be GONE! These are just a handful of the Democrats whose political careers Obama has destroyed. By the end of 2010, dozens more will be gone. Just think, in December of 2008 the Democrats were on the rise. In the last two election cycles, they had picked up 14 Senate seats and 52 House seats. The press was touting the death of the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party. However, in just one year, Obama put a stop to all of this and will probably give the House - if not the Senate - back to the Republicans.

4. Obama has completely exposed liberals and progressives for what they are. Sadly, every generation seems to need to re-learn the lesson on why they should never actually put liberals in charge. Obama is bringing home the lesson very well:
    Liberals tax, borrow and spend.
    Liberals won't bring themselves to protect America.
    Liberals want to take over the economy.
    Liberals think they know what is best for everyone.
    Liberals are not happy until they are running YOUR life.

5. Obama has brought more Americans back to conservatism than anyone since Reagan. In one year, he has rejuvenated the Conservative Movement and brought out to the streets millions of freedom loving Americans. Name one other time when you saw your friends and neighbors this interested in taking back America !

6. Obama, with his "amazing leadership," has sparked the greatest period of sales of firearms and ammunition this country has seen. Law abiding citizens have rallied and have provided a "stimulus" to the sporting goods field while other industries have failed, faded, or moved off-shore.

7. In all honesty, one year ago I was more afraid than I have been in my life. Not afraid of the economy, but afraid of the direction our country was going. I thought, Americans have forgotten what this country is all about. My neighbors and friends, even strangers, have proved to me that my lack of confidence in the greatness and wisdom of the American people has been flat wrong.

8. When the American people wake up, no smooth talking teleprompter reader can fool them! Barack Obama has served to wake up these great Americans! Again, I want to say: "Thank you, Barack Obama!" After all, this is exactly the kind of hope and change we desperately needed!!
The real message here, of course, is vote! That is, if you haven't already done so...

Negative Campaign Ads...

One of the many consequences of the typical American's ignorance of history is their perception that politics today is cruder, nastier, and more partisan than ever before.  The truth is that campaigns today are quite civil by comparison to the campaigns of yesteryear.  My introduction to that truth was reading about the Presidential campaign (including contemporaneous pamphlets and advertisements) of Lincoln versus Douglas, Breckinridge, and Bell in 1860.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a dedicated proponent of free speech – but even I was taken aback by some of those campaign materials!

What occasioned the above observations was this video, passed along by reader Doug S., that aims to educate on that same point:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Slightly Revised Constitution...

Originally from SGT Phillip DePalma, via reader Jim M.:
"We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal bed-wetters. We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights."

ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful; do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.

ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.

ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.

ARTICLE VIII: You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.

ARTICLE IX: You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

ARTICLE X: This is an English speaking country. We don't care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it or go back to wherever you came from!

ARTICLE XI: You do not have the right to change our country's history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in one true God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution. The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, and if you are uncomfortable with it, TOUGH!

Why Dogs Hate Halloween...

Because evil people do things like this to them!

Texas vs. Obama...

Via my mom:
President Barack Obama was in the Oval Office when his telephone rang.
"Hello, President Obama” a heavily accented southern voice said. "This is Archie, down here at Goliad Texas , I am callin' to tell ya’ll that we are officially declaring war on ya!"

"Well Archie," Barack replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?"

"Right now," said Archie, after a moment’s calculation "there is myself, my cousin Harold, my next-door-neighbor Randy, and the whole dart team from Hooters. That makes eight!"

Barack paused. "I must tell you Archie that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command."

"Wow," said Archie. "I'll have ta call ya back!"

Sure enough, the next day, Archie called again. " Mr. Obama , the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!"

"And what equipment would that be Archie?" Barack asked.

"Well sir, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Harry’s John Deere tractor."

President Obama sighed. "I must tell you Archie, that I have 16,000 tanks and 14,000 armored personnel carriers. Also I've increased my army to one and a half million since we last spoke."

"Lord above", said Archie, "I'll be getting back to ya."

Sure enough, Archie rang again about twenty minutes later.  "President Obama, the war is still on! We have managed to git ourselves airborne! We up an' modified Harolds's ultra-light with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Legion have joined us as well!"

Barack was silent for a minute then cleared his throat. "I must tell you Archie that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes.  My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to TWO MILLION!"

"Well, crap," said Archie, "I'll have ta call you back."

Sure enough, Archie called again the next day. " President Obama ! I am sorry to have to tell you that we have had to call off this here war"

"I'm sorry to hear that" said Barack . "Why the sudden change of heart?"

Well, sir," said Archie, "we've all sat ourselves down and had a long chat over a few beers, and come to realize that there's just no way we can feed two million prisoners..."

Quote of the Day...

George Neumayr, on Obama's recent appearance on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show:
Once upon a time jesters courted kings. Now enfeebled kings court jesters.
This captures quite nicely the shame I feel about my President.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This is So Close!

RCP's current poll averages have the U.S. Senate post-election seat count as follows:

 Democrat:   49
 Republican: 45
 Toss-up:     6

At worst, it looks like the Democrats will retain their majority in the Senate, but with a much lower margin.  At best, the Republicans could gain an outright majority.  This is more likely than the poll results indicate, as some of the constituent polls are clearly biased toward the Democrats, probably because of likely voter sampling error.  The California polls may be biased toward the Republicans, because young voters may vote in higher-than-expected numbers to support the marijuana legalization initiative.

There's another interesting possibility that emerges if the Democrats end up with a one or two seat majority (and this is actually looking like quite a likely outcome).  In that environment, Senators who currently caucus with the Democrats have a huge incentive to switch to the Republicans, as they can likely cut an interesting deal to incent them to switch.  For example, one could imagine Lieberman getting chairmanship of a committee relating to foreign affairs or military interests in exchange for switching.

Next Tuesday night will be a cliffhanger.  I'm not planning on getting much sleep!

Not What You Think...

Via my mom:


Marine Logic...

My favorite from a collection of posters my mom sent me.  Several of my regular readers are Marines (some no longer on active duty); I'm sure they'll appreciate this...

When Farm Kids Get Bored...

Hay sculptures.  Some of these are so incredible that I'm wondering if they're PhotoShopped.  Even if they are, they're ingenious!  Via reader Simi L.

The Forgotten Man...



Vote. Please.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Signs of Climate Weirdness...

One of the less attractive features of the chaparral is a little beastie known as a gopher (though it's generally referred to by names I won't repeat here).  This destructive little devil bores holes through the dirt, burrowing underneath your favorite plants and eats them from below.  You can watch them disappear down into the ground as the gopher gobbles them up, safe in his burrow.

Most of the year, the soil out here is as hard as concrete.  The gophers in their burrows are safe from just about anything short of nuclear or chemical weapons.  During these times, the soil is so hard that the gophers can't make new burrows.

But after rains, the soil dampens and softens up.  Right now if I walk in my yard, my feet sink into the ground a half inch to an inch.  The gophers, when they detect this softening, go right to work, digging their burrows at a prodigious rate.   Every few feet they drill a hole to the surface so they have a place to kick out the soil they have excavated.  You can track the progress of an individual gopher by watching these “tailings piles” build up around the excavation holes.

Right now in our yard (which is about three acres), we probably have about twenty gophers excavating like mad.  One of these is boring a hole right across the front of our house, right alongside the concrete slab.  I think it must be a particularly stupid gopher, as there is no food available here at the interface between our slab and our driveway.  Nevertheless, el stupido gopher is drilling away, leaving a trail of tailings piles across the front of our house. 

Debbie has been raking the debris piles flat, so they don't look so bad.  I suspect the gopher is delighted by this assistance, as it makes it easier for him to kick more dirt out of those excavation holes.  I picture him telling all his buddies about the helpful human he has, filling them with jealousy.  They're probably all boring in our direction now.

What I'd really like for Christmas is a Gopher Terminator robot, preferably one equipped with a wide variety of gopher terminating devices.  I'm ok with tactical nukes, and certain kinds of chemical weapons are all right as well.  I'd rather stay away from the biological weapons.  Anybody know a web site I can buy one of these from?

ClimateGate: the Truth, Pursued...

Steve McIntyre continues his quest for the truth...

Now This is Just Plain Geeky Cool!

Via GeekPress:



Your Morning Voter Education...

James O'Keefe – the guy who's been making those videos that look shockingly like actual journalism instead of the press release parroting normally seen in the lamestream media – has done it again.  This time, he took his video cameras under cover into the New Jersey Education Association's (NJEA) Leadership Conference.  The video below is the first volume of the results; it's a graphic illustration of what happens when you get generations of parasites sucking on the public teat.  Click over to YouTube to see the rest.




Remember: the teacher's unions (that's what the NJEA is) are, nationwide, the number one source of funds for Democrat candidates.  Remember that when you vote.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Morning Walk...

It was clear this morning, first time in a while, but still cool and humid.  A roughly two-thirds moon was high overhead, just about on top of the Pleiades.  It provided enough light for us to see color even in the distance; after a couple minutes accommodation I could walk as confidently as in daylight.  Sirius is high in the east, and Orion even higher; the season is changing quickly. 

The three field spaniels went crazy with sniffing.  Definitely some beastie was in the yard, and they were on the job, diligently trying to absorb every molecule of scent it left behind.  I got the sense that they were outraged, that the beastie had done something the dogs were offended by.  Race, of course, just waited for me to kick the pine cone.  There are lots of them now; the year's “crop” is falling off the trees, delighting him with new and ever-more-wonderful pine cones every day.  Sometimes he'll find two or three in the same spot, and he'll try his best to carry them all in his mouth.  Fails every time, but keeps trying...

Morning Read...

From Mark Steyn, who's been off on some kind of mysterious business overseas and has been largely absent (and his wit much missed) from the season's political scene.  One interesting paragraph:
We know American government is living beyond America’s means. What’s more interesting is whether it’s living beyond the world’s. Historically, foreign official holdings of US Treasury securities have been less than five per cent of the rest of the planet’s GDP. By 2009, they were up to seven per cent. Obama-sized budgets depend on foreign holdings rising to about 20 per cent of the rest of the planet’s GDP.
Much more here – go read.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Debbie and Miki, In Competition!

Five runs, five winner's ribbons.  Debbie and Miki rule the agility field!

We the People...

Via my mom:

Trunk Monkey...

Oh, I would so like to have the political edition of the trunk monkey...

Soggy Morning Walk...

Three years ago today, we were in the first day of our evacuation because of wildfires, and we were closely watching the Harris fire that threatened our home.  The threat mainly came from the incredibly low fuel moisture (< 3%) at the time, compounded by a fearsome Santa Ana windstorm.

This morning could hardly be more different.

There was no wind at all.  The dogs and I, on our morning walk, were completely enveloped in thick fog, through which a light drizzle was falling.  The ground is soft and sopping wet.  Another ground moisture indicator: the gophers have started digging their tunnels, which they can only do when the soil is thoroughly wet in the top 10 to 20 inches.  The fuel moisture gauge on Lyons Peak reads 44.7% (meaning that the fuel there would be very hard to ignite).

In two days, our front yard has developed a thick coating of greenery.  Bulbs are erupting everywhere, months earlier than usual.  The frogs were very loud this morning; probably a combination of frog-friendly moisture in the air and better hearing through the wet atmosphere.

Sure enjoyed the walk this morning!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Problem with Democrats...

First, watch this.




Now it will come as no surprise to my readers that I'm not exactly a fan of Gerry “Moonbeam” Brown.  But just in case you're unclear on the question: I'd sooner vote for a randomly selected retarded goat abuser with Tourette's syndrome before I voted for the Moonbeam.  But my comments here are not so much about Brown as they are about “progressives” (which is, in this country and even more so in this state, pretty much a synonym for Democrats).

First point: note how the Moonbeam's first (and only) reaction to the question was to say (in effect) “throw taxpayer money at it”.  He, like other progressives, seem to know no other solution.

Second point, and the more important one: note the utter obliviousness to the actual problem: a business-hostile environment created by progressives through increased regulation and taxes.  He appears to be, sadly, completely unaware that the major incentive provided by other locales is the absence or lessening of these factors

The Moonbeam, like many other progressives, is not a moron.  So how can they possibly miss this point?  I've never been able to decide, myself, whether their ideology so warps their thinking process that despite the facts being squarely and indisputably in front of them, they somehow convince themselves otherwise – or they are simply dishonest and craven to the core, and see that mouthing the progressive line can bring them fame, riches, and power.  I just don't know, but I can't see any other alternative explanations.

But in the end, their motivation doesn't matter.  What matters is that these people must not be in power.  They must lose on November 2.  Please help ensure that happens – this year, your vote actually matters!

Me, I'm going to buy some serious alcohol and have it at the ready on that Tuesday evening.  By the end of the evening, I'll either be celebrating in an alcohol- and joy-induced haze, or I'll be trying to drink myself into a stupor while providing a pleasant environment for my brain cells to die in...

Despair...

Go read.

Then ponder that all this happened in a single week.

Sheesh, folks, what's happening to us?

Hope...

Oh, just go read this...

There now, don't you feel better?

Oh, Crap...

Via my mom:

Positive Feedback...

JoNova has a good, non-technical explanation of what positive feedbacks are, how the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) models depend on them, and why there's good cause to be skeptical of them.  Toward the end there's also a particularly good example of the kinds of presentation tricks the IPCC and its members use to mislead us all...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Juan Williams Firing...

I haven't said anything about this because I didn't have anything to add to the reams of stories already out there, and I figured it would be obvious to my readers where I stood on it.  But I just finished viewing this video of Juan Williams own reaction (below), which I think is worth viewing in its entirety.





There are several possible outcomes from this imbroglio:
  • Juan Williams gets a better job.  Done: he's accepted a full time role at Fox News that came with a considerable raise.

  • NPR loses it's government funding.  I think this would be great, but it's not likely.  By the time Congress could act on this, the fervor will have all but died down.  Dang it!

  • NPR's incredibly under-qualified CEO could lose her job.  This seems likely to me, if there's any justice in the world.

  • NPR could fire a bunch of its other propagandists journalists, in order to appear fair to Juan Williams.  Unlikely, I think.  More likely: these journalists will start looking for other work, feeling at risk after Juan Williams' treatment.

Angle vs. Reid and Obama...

Obama was in Nevada yesterday, stumping for Harry Reid – who is fighting for his political life against Sharron Angle.  I know very little about Angle other than that she's been endorsed by the Tea Party and Sarah Palin.  Given the alternative (Reid), I'd take just about any candidate in opposition, so long as he or she could beat Reid.

But one thing that's becoming obvious about Angle: she and her supporters have money to spend, and they're waging a very effective campaign.  This ad was released (I believe) on Thursday afternoon, just before Obama's arrival.  It's simply brilliant, using Obama's own words combined with news images to tie both Reid and Obama to Nevada's current disastrous economy:


Grass...

Usually we get the first grass poking up in February or March, after the rainy season is underway.  I noticed yesterday that we've got grass growing right now, in a thick blanket that's an inch tall this morning.  The recent rains, combined with the relatively cool, damp summer, must have tricked the grass seeds into germinating now instead of on the usual schedule. 

I'm not sure if this is good news or bad news!

November 2 You Vote!

Via my mom, an oldie-but-goodie that seems particularly apt this election year:
While walking down the street one day a US Senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies. The Senator's soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the Senator.

St. Peter says, "Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the Senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules", replies St.Peter.

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne. Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

"Now it's time to visit heaven," St Peter says.

So, 24 hours pass with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and the 24 hours in heaven passes by and St Peter returns.

"Well, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now which will you choose for your eternity?" St Peter asks.

The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers, "Well, I never would have thought it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be happier and better off ... in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above. The Devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers the Senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"

The Devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning. Today, you voted."
Vote on November 2. This year, especially, your vote has consequences...

My Company Is Growing...

Service-now.com had just 40 employees when I started working there three years ago; now it has over 200.  The company's current location in Solana Beach is getting cramped, so it has leased new office space:
Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial, San Diego’s market leader in commercial real estate services, today announced that Service-Now.com has signed a 96 month lease for office space in the Carmel Valley Corporate Center. The value of the lease was not disclosed.

The building, located at 12225 El Camino Real in Del Mar Heights, is owned by Kilroy Realty Corporation and is part of two, two-story office buildings totaling 115,513 rentable square feet of Class A office space.

Service-Now.com leased Suites 100 and 200 in the building, which is approximately 37,200 square feet.
We're moving sometime next year.  Onwards, to infinity and beyond!

Programming Language Trends...

Tiobe has been tracking the popularity of various programming languages for nine years.  Their index is based on search engine hits.  The notion is that the number of web sites about a programming language is a proxy for that language's popularity.  I can see some potential issues with this idea (for example, Pascal is popular amongst academics, and one could imagine they're more likely to create web sites), but in general I think it's likely to be reasonably accurate.

At right is the current index (click to enlarge).  For the entire lifetime of the index, Java and C are jostling for first place honors.  There are just a few interesting trends that jump out at me as I stare at this:
  1. C++ seems to be in a slow, steady decline.  This is consistent with what I hear from my peers.  I'd be leery of commiting long-term projects to it. 

  2. C's share has been climbing for several years now.  I speculate that this is because of the rise of mobile platforms, many of which use C (though this is now starting to change). 

  3. C#'s popularity is slowly and steadily climbing.  I'm not entirely sure what this means.  The language is very similar to Java, but is specific to Microsoft platforms.  I'd be very curious to see a breakdown in the interest between enterprise developers, academic developers, and hobbyists.  In my contacts with enterprise developers, I do see C# used, but not extensively – its ranking here is higher than I'd expect from what I see in that world.  So I wonder if it's used a lot by academics or hobbyists...
     
  4. Objective C is rapidly climbing.  In this case, the reason is obvious: this is the language of choice on Apple's mobile platforms (iPhone, iTouch, iPad), and those devices are attracting hordes of developers.  It will be interesting to see if Android's (which uses Java) recent rapid growth reflects in Java's numbers next year.

  5. Python has been slowly and steadily climbing for years now.  I know that Python is very popular amongst IT organizations; I know lots of sysadmins who swear by it.  But I've never seen it used for any other purpose.  I'd love to know if this growth is entirely within IT, or if Python is being adopted by some other group that's helping drive this growth...

WTF? This is Google's Fault?

I'm having trouble seeing what this flap is all about.  The facts in the story are this: Google sends it's “Street View” vehicles up and down every street and road in the world, recording photos that can then be seen on their online maps.  It's a wonderful feature that I use all the time.  These vehicles record not only the photos, though; they also keep a record of the wireless networks they happen to see as they're cruising by.  These days, practically every house has one. I'm not sure what Google is planning to do with this information, but it's just stuff in the airwaves that they're picking up – the same way that anyone who drove by could do.

Somehow, some people are interpreting this as a violation of their privacy.  This is the part that completely escapes me.  Two factors argue against any expectation of privacy.

First, the wireless data is stuff that the homeowner chose to broadcast.  Suppose the homeowner chose to hang a large sign outside their house, and on that sign ws the homeowner's bank account number and access password.  Would we expect that information to be private?  I think not!  Would we expect the homeowner to behave like that?  Only if they were morons!

And this leads directly to the second factor: this wireless information is very easily secured.  Every wireless router (the gadget that lets you create a wireless network at home) has a simple means to encrypt the information broadcast on the network.  All any homeowner has to do is turn this encryption feature on, and then neither Google nor any other passer-by can read that information.  Why doesn't everyone turn this on?  I haven't the foggiest idea, but I can't see how that failure can in any way become Google's problem...

New Black Panthers Incident Finally Hits Lamestream Media...

The Washington Post (of all places!) “broke” the story.  The scare quotes are there because of course this story has been all over the blogosphere for two years, and outlets like the Wall Street Journal covered it as well – but the mainstream media has studiously ignored the story, giving cover to the Obama administration generally, and Eric Holder in particular.  At best, it's a shameful story of a crime covered up.  At worst, it's a first step toward a Russian-style thugocracy.

I don't have many kind words for the likes of the Washington Post, but this time they deserve credit for airing this disturbing story.  Probably this is less a reflection of their good intentions, and more a reflection of Obama's fall from grace in their eyes...but that's ok, too.

An Odd Sort of Morning...

Though this morning I had no particular reason to get up early, I woke up at 3 am anyway.  Dang it!  Debbie is up north competing this weekend, staying with friends north of Temecula.  She's got Miki (who's entered in the competition) and Race (who's going along to acclimate him to the show environment), so I'm at home without my wife and with just two dogs (Mo'i and Lea).  It felt a little empty around there this morning...

But Lea and Mo'i and I went out for our morning walk as usual.  The sky was clouded over nearly completely – in the eastern sky I could see but a single star (probably Sirius, from its position and brightness).  High in the southwest sky, though, I could see the disk of a full moon through the gauze of the thin cloud layer.  The clouds were scudding quickly in a wind from the west, and nearly the entire sky was brightly lit by the moon's glow.   The result was quite a bit of light in our yard – enough to see clearly without a flashlight, and for objects close to my face I could even make out a bit of color.  The light was coming from every direction, so there were no shadows. 

Mo'i and Lea were nose down, very intently sniffing for the entire walk.  Even for me, the morning air was full of spicy aromas.  Some were clearly chaparral plants, but others I fancy were of animal origin.  The dog's behavior reinforced that notion.  I suspect we were visited by some beast or other last night...

The crickets and frogs, who have been silent the past few mornings, were in full-throated chorus this morning.  I heard a new frog sound this morning, so I'm guessing that another species has joined the morning crowd.  This new sound seemed to be coming from the north, which is downhill from our house.  Probably these new frogs are in the woods around the creek below us; that creek has just started trickling after our recent rains...

Coming back into the house, I heard lots of meowing – all five cats that live in the house were sitting on top of the cat tree in our living room.  That's where we keep the cat food bowl, and it was empty.  The meowing was their way of letting me know that they wanted food, and right now!  I got their food...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Backcountry Plan: No Decisions...

This article has the details, but the bottom line is that (as expected) the County Supervisors are not voting on the General Plan Update until sometime after the election on November 2.  There will be more hearings and more public input.  However, as the article points out, the public input so far has been overwhelmingly negative.  The plan update has something for everybody to hate, as probably any proposed changes would.

How do I feel about it?  Unsure, as I haven't read the proposed changes.  However, if the news stories are accurate (never a sure thing, that), there is one element which I definitely would oppose: a “taking” in the legal sense.  This element would increase the minimum size of lots that homes could be built on – directly reducing the value of larger tracts that individuals or developers own, without compensating them in any way.  That is a taking, and I'd oppose it...

Optical Illusions...

Here's a great collection of spectacular optical illusions.  In the one at right, the “yellow” tile is actually exactly the same color as the “brown” tile on top.  Don't believe it?  Make a mask from a piece of cardboard with two holes in it, and hold it over the image – you can see for yourself that they are the same color.

Perception is a very tricky thing, and the brain is far more involved that most people realize...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Viva Chile!

When Peggy Noonan's writing started wandering down a strange path (this started when Obama was campaigning in 2008), it was a big disappointment for me.  I used to eagerly await her new column each week, and only rarely did she fail to deliver an interesting insight.  For a couple of years, one got the sense that somehow she'd been partly hijacked by the progressives.  I stopped reading her column altogether, and only when some other bloggers started mentioning her writing again a few months ago did I pay attention myself.

Now I'm back reading her column each week, for she seems to have shrugged off whatever “infection” she had.  Her column from last week is a great example of the kind of writing I cherished before.  Here she's commenting about Chilean President PiƱera's reaction to learning about the mine collapse and missing miners:
What do you do? You throw yourself at the problem. You direct your government: This is the thing we do now. You say, "We will get the men." You put your entire persona behind it, you put it all on the line, you gamble that your nation can do it. You trust your nation to do it. You do whatever possible to see your nation does it. And the day the rescues are to begin, you don't show up and wring your hands so people can say "Ah, he knew it might not work, he was not unrealistic, he was telling us not to get our hopes up." No, you stand there smiling with joy because you know it will work, you know your people will come through, you have utmost confidence. And so you go and radiate your joy from the first moment the rescue began and the first man came out straight through to the last man coming out. You stand. You stay.

It was the opposite of the governor of Louisiana during Katrina, projecting helplessness and loserdom, or the president flying over the storm, or the mayor holing up in a motel deciding this might be a good time for a breakdown. This was someone taking responsibility. 
This is the same comparison I made in an earlier post, though presented more eloquently than I ever could.  She's captured (in her entire post) exactly the set of reactions I had to Chile's oh-so-competent handling of the mine collapse, and our governments “loserdom”.

Nice to have your old self back, Peggy...

Rain! And So Much Less...

As of this past Monday morning, we'd had a total of a quarter inch of rain in October.  As of this morning, the guage stood at 3.15 inches – so we've had almost three inches of rain in three days.  The bulk of our rain came on Tuesday night, as you can see on the graph at right.

Folks who have lived out here for over thirty years tell us that they don't remember another October that was so cool and wet, and all the research I've done into historical weather records backs up their memory.  Two years ago the anthropomorphic global warming folks were telling us to “stand by” for endless hot, dry summers and more wildfires like the Cedar fire.  For some reason I don't hear them saying much about this year, which has set all sorts of records in the exact opposite direction...

What did we have less of?  Power.  At around 9:30 pm on Tuesday night, Debbie and I were snoring away – but were (very) rudely awakened by the God-awful squalling of some infernal electronic device.  This turned out to be our carbon monoxide detector, which was offended because we had lost power.  I turned it off and went back to bed; such power outages are quite common out here after a storm.

But when we woke up at 2:30 am on Wednesday morning, we still had no power.  This was more unusual; the power company crews normally do an amazing job of fixing outages quickly.  For something to be out for five hours indicated a more serious problem than we usually experience.

So after some caffeination, around 4 am, Debbie and I jumped in our truck and went on a quest to find the source of the outage, and to see if we could get some progress information from the crew.  We drove all the way out of Lawson Valley to Skyline Truck Trail in complete darkness – nary a light to be seen anywhere along the route.  That was actually a bit eerie.  We continued up over the little knob until we could see the town of Jamul, which was lit up as usual.  And we saw three SDG&E (the local power company) trucks parked down near the stop sign.

I stopped and talked with the three crews, who were taking a break after finishing repairs on an outage near the church in Jamul.  They were unaware of an outage in Lawson Valley, but looked it up on a laptop computer.  From this same computer they were able to see where the outage affecting us was, and they were able to get status: good progress was being made, and they estimated a couple more hours until power was restored.  Back home we went, but first we took a slight detour to see the actual outage.  This was near the intersection of Lawson Valley Road and Lyons Vally Road, just south of Skyline Truck Trail.  When we got there, we could see a crew at work, high on a hill just northwest of the intersection.  We'd learned that the outage was caused by lightning striking and breaking the wires, and that high location would be exactly where you'd expect such an outage.

Our power came back on around 6:30 am, close enough to their estimate, nine hours after we lost it...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Really Wet – Soggy – Morning...

We got almost a third of an inch of rain last night, and more is forecast for today and tomorrow.  This certainly is a very odd “fire season” – but we love it!

The dogs took no notice of all the wetness.  They simply don't care.  The three field spaniels found a spot along the driveway with an irresistable smell – I had a great deal of trouble dragging them away from it.  They'd have been smelling it for hours if I let them.  That was one of those moments when I really wish I could talk with them.  What on earth are you smelling there, guys?

The new roof performed flawlessly, so far as we can tell.  No leaks apparent in the house.  The rain made a gentle sound on the metal roof, but the water gurgling down the downspouts was quite loud (there's a downspout right outside our bedroom window, which was open).

Yay!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wet Doggy Morning...

This morning I woke as usual at 3 am, and stumbled out with the dogs for their morning walk.  It was foggy outside, with very limited visibility.  Everything was soaking wet from a night of drizzle (and we recorded 0.17 inches of precipitation, so it must have been nearly continuous all night).

The three field spaniels were all about the smells, enhanced greatly by the wet ground and air.  For our entire morning walk, those three brown noses never got more than an inch from the ground. 

Race, our border collie, was another matter altogether.  He couldn't care less about the wet ground and air.  For him, it's all about the pine cone.  He rushed out (off leash) when I opened the door, and scampered under the pine trees until he found a nice, freshly-fallen cone.  At one point he reluctantly lifted a leg to pee – reluctantly because this broke his concentration on the most important thing: staring at the pine cone, waiting for me to kick it.  I kicked it, and he happily chased off after it, boring through the mist like a bullet.  Once he caught it, he ran around the yard for five minutes of sheer joy over his pine cone victory.  Then he dropped it on the driveway and stared intensely at it, waiting for me to kick it again.

When it was time to come in, Race continued the pine cone game until he realized that I was about to go inside.  Then you could almost see the gears turning in his little head: “Uh oh!  We're about to go in!  And I need to poo!  I better go do it right now!!!”  And off he goes, running at about 100 miles per hour up the hill to his favorite spot under some manzanitas, poos in record time (the field spaniels can take up to 3 or 4 minutes at this, but Race is done in 10 seconds, tops).  Then he zooms even faster down the hill and up to the door, waiting to be let in.

Mornings just wouldn't be the same without the dogs...

Wetness in the Mountains...

Yesterday Debbie and I were planning to do a little four-wheeling in the valley just south of Corte Madera.  But as we got ready to leave, we noted that it was drizzling out, and threatening even more rain.  Since parts of that route are steep and rocky, and potentially difficult when wet, we decided to change plans.  Instead, we drove up the tiny little road from between Guatay and Pine Valley up to Laguna, paralleling the Nobel Canyon trail.

This drive brought some most unexpected scenery.  The clouds were moving from the coast inland, but as we drove up to Laguna we were in front of them.  As we got to vantage points where we could see to the west, we could see the clouds pouring through all the low spots surrounding Cuyamaca's three peaks.  The views were particularly nice as we drive north on Sunrise Highway approaching Cuyamaca Lake – glorious vistas with dramatic, moving clouds and mountains.  People were stopped all over the place to take photos (and naturally, I didn't have my camera!).  Truly beautiful.

Then we drove past Cuyamaca Lake and up Engineer Road (between Middle Peak and North Peak).  We took this west across the gap, and down to the intersection with Boulder Creek Road.  As we traversed this gap, we entered the clouds, and the vistas changed completely.  Most of the time we could see a few hundred yards, but sometimes when the clouds were thick, our world shrank to 100 feet or so in radius.  There was drizzle the entire time, and everything outside was completely soaked.  The colors and textures of fall in the chaparral were all changed from the stark, sun-drenched dry hues we're used to; instead, everything was in soft light, as if seen through a romantic photo filter.  All colors were subdued, the saturation reduced by the mists.  Most colors were darkened by the dampness.   The brown buckwheats were deep reddish-brown; the gray tree trunks almost black.  The color that stood out the most was the green mosses, awakened by the moisture.  We greatly enjoyed the views as we drove south toward Descanso.

American Kestrel
The best part of all, though, was something neither of us had anticipated.  The raptors that are normally soaring through the skies about the chaparral were all grounded by the mist.  Well, “perched” would be more accurate.  Debbie was spotting them at what seemed like 10 foot intervals, sitting up on top of burned pine tree skeletons, looking made.  Around one turn we got a particularly pleasant surprise: a small falcon sitting about 20 feet high in a tree right next to the road!  I passed it before I could stop, so I backed up until I was right next to it – and for a minute or so, it sat there staring us down.  It was an American Kestrel (as in the photo, which is not mine). After that, it flew to a tree perhaps 50' away, and we were able to view it for a little longer through binoculars.  Finally it left in disgust.  What a beautiful bird!

At the end of our delightful little trip today was the Descanso Junction Restaurant.  As it was Sunday night, that meant the fried chicken special.  As always, it was great.  Afterward we turned homeward, very content with our afternoon...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Succinct Statement of Our Objective...

Via my mom:
Oh, yes, please!

A German's View...

Interesting piece passed along by reader Jim M.:
I used to know a man whose family were German aristocracy prior to World War Two. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

“Very few people were true Nazis” he said, “but, many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”

We are told again and again by “experts” and “talking heads” that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is, that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is, that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority” and it is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The Average Japanese individual prior to World War 2 was not a war mongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of Killing that included the systematic killing of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace loving”.

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by the fanatics. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Bosnians, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others, have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.
I've often pondered humanity's poor track record of learning from past experience (i.e., history). Never got any good answers, though...

Climate Change Skeptics: A Good Introduction...

Warren Meyer (of CoyoteBlog) has a column in Forbes that provides an excellent introduction into the skeptics view of current climate science.  A sample:
Skeptics, however, point out that the computer models were built by scientists who have only a fragmented, immature understanding of complex climate systems. Moreover, these scientists approached the models with the pre-conceived notion that CO2 is the main driver of temperatures, and so it is unsurprising that their models would show CO2 as the dominant factor.

In fact, the period 1978 to 1998 featured a number of other suspects that should have been considered as potentially contributing to warming. For example, the warm phase of several critical ocean cycles that have a big effect on surface temperatures, including the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, coincided with this period. Further, the second half of the 20th century saw far greater solar activity, as measured by sunspot numbers, than the first half of the century. Neither ocean cycles nor solar effects, nor a myriad of other factors we probably don’t even know enough to name, were built into the models. Even man’s changing land use has an effect on measured temperatures, as survey efforts have shown urban areas, which have higher temperatures than surrounding rural locations, expanding around our temperature measurement points and biasing measured temperatures upwards.
But go read the whole thing!

Such a Lovely Forecast...

Nothing but cool, humid, cloudy, rainy days in the forecast.  It's all foggy outside right now.  Fire seasons don't get any better than this!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What Has America Become?

Read this letter to the editor.  Via my brother Mark D.

Then re-read it just before you vote on November 2.

Billboard of the Day...

Via my brother Mark D.:

Oh, I don't know, Jimmy...it might be a tie!

Season's Greetings...

Via reader Jim M.:
T'was the night before elections
And all through the town
Tempers were flaring
Emotions all up and down

I, in my bathrobe
With a cat in my lap
had cut off the TV
tired of political clap-trap

When all of a sudden
There arose such a noise
I peered out my window
Saw Obama and his boys

They had come for my wallet
They wanted my pay
To give to the others
Who had not worked a day!

He snatched up my money
And quick as a wink
Jumped back on his bandwagon
As I gagged from the stink

He then rallied his henchmen
Who were pulling his cart
I could tell they were out
To tear my country apart!

On Fannie, on Freddie,
On Biden and Ayers!
On Acorn, On Pelosi
He screamed at the pairs!

They took off for his cause
And as they flew out of sight
I heard him laugh at the nation
Who wouldn't stand up and fight!
Please vote to throw the bums out on November 2.

Quote of the Day...

Thank God for Barack Obama!
From Gary Hubbell, writing at RightNetwork:
But Barack Obama has ripped the lid off a seething cauldron of dissatisfaction and unrest.
In his post he contends that Barack Obama is the best thing that's happened to America in a long time – a thought I've often had myself over the past few months.  Gary does a nice job articulating the reasoning...

Interplanetary Conclave of Light...

Unarian “polarities”
I have posted about the Unarians on several previous occasions.  By this time I've read quite a bit about them – a couple books, many web articles, etc.  I've visited their headquarters in El Cajon.  Learning more about them doesn't help me with my fundamental Unarian problem: I just cannot fathom how adult humans can actually believe this stuff.  In fact, the more I learn about them, the more they seem like a comedic parody – but they most decidedly are the real deal.  These people walk among us. 

Even more frighteningly, they can vote.

On October 9th and 10th (last weekend), they held their annual “Interplanetary Conclave of Light”.  This news article is clearly written by someone who has the same difficulty believing the Unarians as I do.  Here's one quote of particular interest to those who, like me, live in Lawson Valley:
...when the space brothers come, it will be in 33 different spaceships that will land one on top of the other on 60 acres of land near Jamul, Calif., a small town about 30 miles east of San Diego that is known for its rolling, rocky terrain.
You see, that 60 acres is just a mile or so from my home. We've visited it several times, looking for any signs of its specialness. I'm pretty sure that the only special thing about this particular plot of land is that at the time the Unarians bought it, it was very cheap.

But I can't get the Unarian's claim out of my brain – their claim that 33 spaceships are going to land here, one atop the other, to form a 33 spaceship tall tower over yonder. I can see where that tower would be through my living room window. This tower of light would dominate the view to the northwest of me.

I don't want a spaceship tower there, thank you very much. I like the glowing spaceship-free view I have right now.

Here's what that photo is about:
With that flourish, 33 Unarians came out from stage right and stage left. Each carried a banner with the name of a planet and its "polarity," the person who has been the main contact with the Unarians.

For instance, Susa is the polarity for Endinite, a planet that, a while back, suffered a series of wars that caused the people to be born with two extra arms growing out of their stomachs. The arms were useless, but after Susa contacted Uriel, the spiritual name of Unarius co-founder Ruth Norman, he was able to "raise the frequency" of the planet and get the arms back to normal.
For 27 years, the members of the Unarius Academy of Science, a UFO group based near San Diego, hold the Interplanetary Conclave of LIght, a two-day event celebrating Earth's admission into a Confederation with 32 other planets.

After the conclave, the Unarians made every effort to keep the frequencies high throughout the whole weekend with an open house at their center in El Cajon, Calif., that featured what Kennedy described as "some futuristic objects on display"; a demonstration of technology discovered by 19th century scientist Nikola Tesla that can supposedly supply the world with free energy; a past life therapy meeting; and what may have been the highlight: a mental transmission from a representative from one of the planets in the confederation, sent through one of the Unarians.
The central mystery for me remains – how on earth does one talk oneself into believing such utter and obvious rubbish?

And if you do believe in such rubbish, who are you voting for on November 2, and why (though I tremble to ask that last bit)?

Roof Update: It's Done!

While I was away, our roof contractor came (as promised) to finish the job.  We are just tickled pink with the roof itself, the way that our contractor did the work, and the way our contractor worked with us.

Which means, dear local readers, that I can now recommend him without reservation.  Here's the contact info for our contractor:
Bolt Sheet Metal Works
9445 Doheny Rd
Santee, CA  92071
619/449-5991
The proprietor (and sheet metal master craftsman) is Chris Lavin, and he can also be reached by email (but usually only in the evenings, as he's usually off at work sites during the day.  Chris' sons also sometimes work in the business, along with other employees.

Chris and his guys did a simply outstanding job for us, from our first contact with him right up to the finish.  We couldn't be more pleased...

Back Home Again...

And it sure is nice to be here.  I picked up another danged virus of some kind on the way home, but this one is nowhere near as bad as the last one.  I just feel slightly peaked, with a touch of a stuffy nose.  Not so bad...

As I write this, the sky is completely overcast and everything is wet from drizzle, and the forecast is for rainy conditions and cool temperatures.  Two weeks from now is the third anniversary of the awful Cedar and Harris fires, and the environmental conditions could hardly be more different.  That year we were getting serial serious Santa Anas (not one this year so far!), the fuel load in the chaparral was dry as a bone, and we had high temperatures and low humidity.  Fire danger crackled in the air.  This year you'd have a hard time igniting the chaparral around our home (though we can't be complacent, as this could change in just a few days of the wrong kind of weather).  For now, though, we can relax and be cheerful about the next-to-nonexistent firestorm risk.  Whew!

Our beautiful red metal roof is now finished – more on that in the next post!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Now You Will Pay...

Excellent Republican ad, via my sister-in-law Gina:


ClimateGate: New Zealand Fraud...

New Zealand's National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) issued a report claiming that New Zealand has been warming at the rate of nearly 1° per century.  This result independently supports the IPCC report.

A group of New Zealanders wanted to understand this better, and they knew that all the data used by NIWA was publicly available.  So they requested the data and did their own analysis (well worth reading as yet another debunking of the massive fraud that Hal Lewis cites).  Oops.  No statistically significant warming was evident in the raw data.  So how did NIWA come to the conclusion they did?  Why, they “adjusted” the data, of course!  Quoting the report:
The shocking truth is that the oldest readings have been cranked way down and later readings artificially lifted to give a false impression of warming, as documented below. There is nothing in the station histories to warrant these adjustments and to date Dr Salinger and NIWA have not revealed why they did this.
I'm not shocked. We've seen too much of this from the IPCC folks.

Follow the money, folks.  Evidence of warming in New Zealand translated directly into increased research grants for NIWA.  Follow the money...

Light Blogging Alert...

I'm about to go on another business trip, this time for four days.  I'm not sure what my time and Internet access will be, so there may not be much blogging activity.  I'm visiting the land of “Big Boy” Chris Christie, the first memorably admirable politician I've ever heard of who hails from New Jersey.  After that, I'll be in deep-blue Obama country, in Stamford, Connecticut...

The Unraveling of ObamaCare...

Investor's Business Daily has an excellent piece about ObamaCare posted.  It concludes:
Remember the days of sharing the burden and spreading the wealth? These 30 waivers exempt coverage for around a million workers, teachers, farmers and young people who can now go to the polls with a little less angst. The rest of us working for other companies and small businesses who got no waivers aren't so lucky.

The irony here is that most of these million workers are on the lower end of the income scale, the very people ObamaCare was supposed to help by getting them the insurance they couldn't afford on their own. They nearly got priced out of the market.

We were told everybody had to be unconstitutionally forced to buy health insurance or the plan wouldn't work. We were told health care costs would be lower, rates wouldn't rise and that if we liked our coverage we could keep it. We were lied to. The plan still doesn't work.

What we're seeing is ObamaCare revealed as the fraud that it is. The waivers granted leave us with an "Animal Farm" version of health care in which everyone is equal, but the politically favored in an election year are more equal than others.
Remember this, please, on November 2...