Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Strange adjustments to the climate data

People are looking at the climate databases, and strange and unnatural acts are being performed on the data:
The Melbourne temperature record is one of the “long time” instrumental records of Australian temperature. It starts in 1855 and continues to the present day.
This is exactly the sort of record you want to have, long term and (until recently) well-sited.
The maximum temperature, which generally occurs in the middle of the afternoon, shows almost no trend at all until about 1995. However the minimum temperature, which generally occurs in the early morning before sunrise, shows an upward trend starting at about 1945. With no sunlight on the ground, the night air cools but the heat emitted by buildings and human activities, the “urban heat island” effect, lessens the cooling.
We've seen this before here.  Here comes the unnatural act:
The third temperature series in each of Figures 2 and 3 is of the average annual temperatures recorded in the ACORN-SAT data[3] which has been “homogenized” by the Bureau of Meteorology. A comparison of the measured and adjusted temperature increases from 1944 to 2013 is shown in Table 1.


Two conclusions can be drawn from this analysis:
  • There is a clear heat island effect in central Melbourne that is detectable in the minimum temperature measurements.       It may be as much as 0.2 degrees per decade (or 1 degree over 50 years!).
  • The adjustments made to obtain the homogenised ACORN-SAT Melbourne data reduce the apparent long-term temperature increases. So these adjustments compensate somewhat for the urban warming but by increasing the temperatures of the earlier years!
The adjustments are not done on a station-by-station basis, to correct for specific data collection issues (say, moving a station to a new location or upgrading the equipment).  Rather, they are statistical calculations and manipulations which have some pretty serious drawbacks:
In more detail, the ACORN-SAT Melbourne minimum temperatures before 1990 are shifted up relative to the raw data. The stepped adjustments would suggest instrument changes but the BOM records show thus is not the case. Further, there is no sign of the step changes in the direct Melbourne temperature records. An upward correction is also applied to the maximum temperatures, but is applied only to the past, before 1990, and not the present.

A step adjustment does not compensate for a gradual rise due to an urban heat island effect.
So multiply this single station by 1000, for the surface record.  How accurate is the "homogenised" data?  What are the error bars?  Just how confident should we be in a measurement showing a tenth of a degree or two per decade?

Me, I like the satellite record because it avoids all of this statistical nonsense.  Unfortunately, it only dates back to 1979.

If you're like me, you'll take the whole ZOMGTHERMAGEDDON!!eleventy! thing with a big grain of salt.

We live in the best of all possible worlds

Stay thirsty, my friends:
I will leave you with one note of optimism, from Mark Perry.  I went to college in the nadir (1980) of the American beer industry, where a small oligopoly of mediocre beer producers was protected by government legislation.  It was a classic example of how regulation drives monopoly, consolidation, and loss of choice.  With deregulation, the American beer industry has exploded.


Congratulations to Tacitus, who's been blogging for 4 years over at Detritus of Empire.  Here's to hoping for many more years of beer caves, killer robots, and digging up Hadrian's Wall!

And congratulations also go out to Rev. Paul, who's been blogging seven years at Way Up North!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Nicolaus Bruhns - Prelude in E minor

he man who was perhaps the greatest composer for the organ is one you've never heard of.  One of the most prominent musicians of his day, he died at an early age and most of his works were lost.  Quite a shame, considering that J. S. Bach himself was influenced by these works.  You wonder what music we might have today had he lived to a ripe old age.

Nicolas Bruhns died on this day in 1697, aged 31. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kentucky looks beatable

Notre Dame lost the game, but Kentucky lost the aura of inevitability.

I must say that I've enjoyed the games lately.

Tom cruise is a whiny little bitch

Cruise sat with lawyers this year for a deposition in his case against Bauer Publishing for stories two of its publications printed following his divorce from Katie Holmes, articles that stated he had "abandoned" his daughter Suri.

During the deposition, TMZ reported that a lawyer questioned Cruise about remarks his camp had made equating his work and subsequent inability to see his daughter Suri to fighting in Afghanistan.

"That's what it feels like. And certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal," Cruise said in the deposition cited by TMZ

Bundeswehr soldiers replying from Afghanistan.  Game.  Set.  Match.

Frankie Ballard – Helluva Life

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. 
- Omar Khayyam
My blogging has been off for a while, I know.  I've been distracted.  Yes, there's a girl involved.  She took the picture here, riding behind me on the motorcycle trip to Florida that ended so abruptly.  She's pretty damn good in an emergency.

The last months have been a challenge, as all y'all know from my whining.  But spring is here, and it feels like I've turned the corner on the recovery.  And did I mention there's a girl involved?

It's a good feeling.  Makes me want to sing along, to happy, upbeat songs.

Songs like this.  There's no deep message, not even any particular noteworthy music - just happiness captured to banjo accompaniment.  You can do a lot worse, pretty easily.

Frankie Ballard is a young Country artist from Michigan (who said all Country singers are from the South?) who caught the eye of Kenny Chesney.  This led to an album deal which led to his what was actually his second album, Sunshine and Whiskey which has had two number one singles.  This is one.  It's not Deep Thinking, it doesn't Explain The Universe, it's just happy.

Actually, that might just explain the Universe pretty well.  Oh, yeah - it has a motorcycle.  That may explain the Universe, too, if you're doing the Universe right.  Just get a helmet for her, dude.

Helluva Life (Songwriters: Rodney Clawson, Chris Tomkins, Josh Kear)
Saturday night and a six pack, girl,
Big star shining on a small town world,
It's a helluva life, it's a helluva life.

KC lights on a dirt road dance,
You take that kiss just as far as you can,
It's a helluva life, it's a Helluva life.

And pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars,
Dollars buy gas and longneck bottles,
Beer gets a barefoot country girl swayin,
To a song that's playin on the radio station.
Bad times make the good times better,
Look in her eyes and you're gone forever,
On its a helluva ride.... Yeah, It's a helluva life.

Well we all have faith, and we all have hope,
But we're all a little lost in the same damn boat.
It's a helluva life, it's a helluva life.
Something bout the night girl,
when you got the right girl,
Sittin right beside you,
Lookin at the sky, girl
Thinkin bout why we're here,
And where we're goin,
baby, here we are,
And all I know is...

Pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars,
Dollars buy gas and longneck bottles,
Beer gets a barefoot country girl swayin,
To a song that's playin and the world starts fadin'.
Bad times make the good times better,
Look in her eyes and you're gone forever,
On a helluva ride.... Yeah, It's a helluva life.

Something bout the night girl,
when you got the right girl,
Sittin right beside you,
Lookin at the sky, girl
Thinkin bout why we're here,
And where we're goin,
baby, here we are,
And all I know is...

Pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars,
Dollars buy gas and longneck bottles,
Beer gets a barefoot country girl swayin,
To a song that's playin, it's the perfect combination.
Bad times make the good times better,
Look in her eyes and you're gone forever,
On a helluva ride.... Yeah, It's a helluva life, it's a helluva life.

Bad times make the good times better.

Aw one helluva life.

Look in her eyes and you're gone forever.

It's a helluva life.

Yeah it's a helluva life.

It's a helluva life.
Springtime is my favorite season.  This one is better than most.  Happiness is a gift, but it's also a choice.  This is life.  It sometimes is a helluva life.
I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.

- Groucho Marx

So some Liberals post some typical liberal nonsense on the 'Net

Hilarity ensues.

Bootnote: Long time readers know that I'm a supporter of gay marriage. They also know that I'm not a fan of liberal's name calling or pretty much any sort of coercive identity politics. And I hatehatehate the current vogue of using the Government to crush Unapproved opinions. Suck it, Progs.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Are there more leakers than just Snowden?

For a while, I have believed that there are at least three leakers inside the Five Eyes intelligence community, plus another CIA leaker. What I have called Leaker #2 has previously revealed XKEYSCORE rules. Whether this new disclosure is from Leaker #2 or a new Leaker #5, I have no idea. I hope someone is keeping a list.
This is from Bruce Schneier, a wikkid smaht security guy.  Schneier has been looking at the Intel community for a long time, so this is quite interesting speculation.

Reptile dysfunction in the bedroom

If it lasts longer than four hours, seek professional help.


Physical Therapy started this week.  Some of these muscles haven't moved in months.  They're moving now, and not happy about it.

I guess it feels like getting back on a motorcycle ...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Comments on Common Criteria

I was going to comment on Common Core and how it approaches Math, but it's already been done.

Actually, base 8 is just like binary, but that's not important ...


How did 64 get into it?  I hear you ask ...
I know my commenters, so please - let's not see the same hands ...

How Abraham Lincoln caused the Civil War

I ran across this while researching the series on secession.  First, it sets the stage:
The 15 slave states can be thought of as comprising three tiers from south to north. The first tier to secede was the southernmost, led on December 20, 1860 by South Carolina, home of the ideological spokesmen of the pro-slavery “King Cotton” interests. English mills’ demand for cotton had created vast wealth and self-righteousness in the six Deep South cotton states. Inspired by South Carolina’s Fire-Eater orators, the states of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas soon followed.
But then, secession ground to a halt.

It is unknowable whether a seven-state Confederacy would have survived the next downturn in world cotton prices, or, disheartened, would have asked for readmission to the Union. We can see now that King Cotton proved to be a bubble. With the North declaring a blockade and the South an export embargo in 1861, the British ramped up cotton growing in Egypt and India, leaving the South impoverished after the war.

A rump Confederacy confined to the Deep South might have eventually been bought off by the plan Lincoln floated in the middle of the war for ending slavery voluntarily by compensating slave-owners with the proceeds from the sale of Western lands. At minimum, a seven-state Confederacy would have been easier to defeat on the battlefield than the eleven-state South that fought for four years.

The next tier of states northward—North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas—didn’t secede until May or June, well after the outbreak of fighting at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861.

Finally, in the northernmost tier of slave states, above 36.5 degrees latitude, four states never seceded—Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri.
So what did Lincoln do to address the greatest crisis in the Republic's history?
But Lincoln took few steps to ready himself for this task. His main response to his election in November 1860 was to hire a second secretary to help answer his increased mail from politicians seeking patronage.

During the interregnum, Lincoln kicked around the notion of maybe adding one Southerner to the Cabinet, what with the secession and all, but nothing came of the idea. After Lincoln finally took the oath of office on March 4, 1861 he devoted much of his first six weeks to conscientiously interviewing the long line of Republican job-seekers that stretched out of the White House and down Pennsylvania Avenue to determine which would make the best local postmasters.
Malice or incompetence?  But not everyone was ignoring the crisis:
While Lincoln waited out the five-month interim in Springfield, Seward, his incoming Secretary of State, had been energetically warning European diplomats to heed the Monroe Doctrine and stay out of the Western Hemisphere during the American troubles. Within the cabinet, the New York statesman advocated abandoning indefensible Fort Sumter because the Union fighting a losing battle might emotionally propel indispensable Virginia into the Confederacy.

On April 1, 1861, Seward sent Lincoln a memo, Some Considerations for the President, advising Lincoln to stop wasting time on jobs-for-the-boys. Instead, the administration should reunite Americans, North and South, by ginning up a foreign-policy crisis over France’s ambitions in Mexico and Spain’s recolonizing of the Dominican Republic:
I would demand explanations from Spain and France, categorically, at once.…And if satisfactory explanations are not received from Spain and France, would convene Congress and declare war against them.
Lincoln smacked him down, aggressively defended Ft. Sumpter, and the shooting began.  Virginia and the rest joined the Confederacy based on the attack, and 750,000 lives were thrown away.  The reaction of historians these days?
Today, historians seem to side wholeheartedly with Lincoln in his waging of office politics against Seward while ignoring the substance of the Secretary of State’s audacious attempt to rescue the nation from civil war. The considered judgment of scholars such as James M. McPherson and Doris Kearns Goodwin upon Lincoln’s response to Seward is, roughly, “Ooooh, diss.”
 The reaction of observers closer to the time?
“The American people, North and South, went into the war as citizens of their respective states, they came out subjects of the United States.”
– H. L. Mencken

“No war ever raging in my time was to me more foolish looking.”
– Thomas Carlyle
Doris Kearns Goodwin is no Thomas Carlyle, or even an H. L. Mencken.

Another reason not to buy a new car

Ford implements anti-speeding nanny software:
Ford has announced a new intelligent speed limiter system which reads traffic signs and reduces fuel flow to keep your vehicle within the speed limit.
I guess that if you're inattentive this Big Brother feature might save you from a ticket.  Right now, it's voluntary.  No word on what will be in the future.

Another reason to buy a '67 rag top Pony if you have a hankering for a Ford ...

Collapse of the Climate Science Paradigm?

This is a comprehensive introduction to some of the problems in the current man-made global warming theory:
What is the current paradigm?
  • Human activities, primarily carbon dioxide emissions, have been the primary cause of the observed global warming over the past 50 to 150 years.
  • The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration had stabilized between 270 and 280 ppmv early in the Holocene and had remained in that range prior to the mid-19th century when fossil fuels became the primary energy source of the Industrial Revolution.
  • Anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are causing the atmospheric concentration to rise at a dangerously rapid pace to levels not seen in 100’s of thousands to millions of years.
  • The climate sensitivity to a doubling of pre-industrial carbon dioxide concentration “is likely to be in the range of 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C,” possibly even much higher than 4.5°C.
  • Immediate, deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are necessary in order to stave off catastrophic climate change.
  • The scientific consensus regarding this paradigm is overwhelming (~97%).
Why is the paradigm collapsing?
  • There has been no increase in the Earth’s average surface temperature since the late 20th century.
  • Every measure of pre-industrial carbon dioxide, not derived from Antarctic ice cores, indicates a higher and more variable atmospheric concentration.
  • The total lack of predictive skill in AGW climate models.
  • An ever-growing body of observation-based studies indicating that the climate sensitivity is in the range of 0.5 to 2.5°C with a best estimate of 1.5 to 2°C, and is very unlikely to be more than 2°C.
  • Clear evidence that the dogmatic insistence of scientific unanimity is at best highly contrived and at worst fraudulent.
The paradigm is collapsing primarily due to the fact that the climate appears to be far less sensitive to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations than the so-called scientific consensus had assumed.
What is perhaps most interesting is which scientists are skeptical, and why:
Petroleum geologists tend to be sedimentary geologists and sedimentary geology is essentially a combination of paleogeography and paleoclimatology. Depositional environments are defined by physical geography and climate. We literally do practice in a different world, the past. Geologists intuitively see Earth processes as cyclical and also tend to look at things from the perspective of “deep time.” For those of us working the Gulf of Mexico, we “go to work” in a world defined by glacioeustatic and halokinetic processes and, quite frankly, most of us don’t see anything anomalous in recent climate changes.

So, it should come as little surprise that geoscientists have consistently been far more likely to think that modern climate changes have been driven by overwhelmingly natural processes.
Left unstated is that climate scientists depend on grant funding (or careers) that is in almost all cases tied to finding climate change due to man-made processes; Petroleum geologists do not.

Very, very interesting article.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Sunny and in the 70s.  Instead of doing this, I go to Physical Therapy tomorrow.  Oh, foo.

Next time, I shall endeavour to keep the rubber side down ...

Been busy

Things are pretty busy, and I've been distracted.  I think I'm getting a little dug out, so things should be back to normal here soon.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring is the time to fix things around the house

Yeah, that ought to do it.

The inevitability of secession, part 2: Implications for the States

The Constitution gives no guidance on secession, but at least it is a starting point that helps explain some of the political landscape.  Wikipedia has a good time series breakdown of Red States (those that vote Republican) and Blue ones (those that vote Democrat:

This presumably would be the starting point for any fracturing of the Res Publica in a secession crisis.  An initial view is that the Red States are the old Confederacy with the lower midwest and the mountain states thrown in.

The problem is that the Red/Blue divide is not so clean.  The Constitution recognizes States, and the Electoral College tallies by State vote, but the breakdown is at a much lower level.  Many "Blue Staters" live in Red States, and vice versa.  A map showing the 3000 or so US Counties makes this plain:

The mapping shows a mostly rural vs. urban divide, although there are some clear exceptions to this - the Indian Reservations in New Mexico, for example, or the southern border of Texas are strongly Blue.  The Mississippi river runs Blue for most of its length.

And so when we consider the possibility of secession, things are very messy for the States.  Much of Georgia might be eager to secede, but would Atlanta?  Probably not.  There would be considerable unrest in any State that seceded, and likely much unrest in many of those that didn't.

That actually is pretty much what happened in 1861.  There were many in the South who did not want to leave the Union - Robert E. Lee was one; Virginia was late to join the Confederacy, and until it did, the Union Army courted him to be its commander.

There are regional grumblings about Counties seceding from the States: several northern California counties have voted to create the State of Jefferson; upstate New York has long been a hotbed of secession talk, with several communities looking to join Pennsylvania; the Pacific northwest has groups proposing the nation of Cascadia which would include some of British Columbia (it even has a redit group!).

We should also remember that both Vermont and West Virginia are the result of secession (from Virginia and New York, respectively).

And so secession isn't really a State issue.  It's regional, just like in Europe (Scotland, Catalonia, and northern Italy all have active secession/devolution movements).

Given the fragmentation that would be the necessary result of a secession movement, we can expect the prospect of chaos to act as a break on any action until there is overwhelming support.  Right now the political elites are happy with the current situation - the GOP establishment is content to take the bribes and rake offs that the Democrats enjoy, and so don't rock the vote.

It will take a crisis, and external shock to change this - an financial crisis.  I expect that there's one coming:
I think that this road that we are on leads to secession.  We've already seen a geographical divergence of governance, with Blue states increasingly pushing the Salad Bowl grievance identity politics (limited growth with government distributing the jobs) and with Red states pushing pro-business, pro-growth politics (i.e. melting pot with enough jobs to go around).  This will not continue forever: a middle class increasingly under financial pressure will flee the Blue states, increasing the fiscal strain that those governance models experience.  At some point the Blue states will demand to be bailed out en masse, and the Red states will refuse.

At this point the split will occur.  I expect it will happen within my lifetime.
California is the place to watch, with a public pension crisis of epic proportions boiling right now.  Already cities are going bankrupt, and the State is (like the EU and the Eurozone) frantically trying to paper over the mess.  But since no actual reform is taking place, the old adage is true: what can't go on forever, won't.

At the risk of speaking for my fellow Georgians, I can't see support in the Peach State for bailing out a bunch of Blue State governments who spent way more than they should have.  Even Atlanta will likely not be enthusiastic (and note that Atlanta has its own secession movement in north Fulton County, so the part supportive of a bailout is likely going to shrink over time).

It's possible that the bailout will be done by stealth, with deficits funding the program.  The problem is that the dollar is in a crisis, and when financial corrections come, history shows that they come suddenly.  The crisis in this scenario will be no different, other than much bigger.

I see one likely path to a split: a crisis causes local and regional political elites to seize on the public disgruntlement.  As with all elites, they are part of the problem, but the crisis of confidence in the current national governance will give them an opportunity to retake power from the center.

Really the only question is whether the crisis will be small (pension bailout) or large (crisis of the dollar).  Fewer States will secede in a small crisis; a large crisis will likely leave nothing standing as the Blue regions decide that this is their chance to go full throttle Euro-Welfare-State.

I expect there will be a lot of migration after the breakup.  We see lots of people moving south from Blue States to the better climate and economic opportunity of the southern Red States.  Californians are leaving for Texas today.  This will be a lot bigger after the breakup, as Blue regions get bluer and Red ones get redder.

Tomorrow will discuss the International Implications of secession.

Johnny Horton - When It's Springtime In Alaska (It's Forty Below)

Happy Equinox, y'all!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Injury update

The doctor says the shoulder bone is healing nicely, and that I'm to start physical therapy.  I'll still be in the sling for at least 3 more weeks, and it will probably be 3 months before I'm back riding.

But he thinks it's doing nicely, and ultimately will be as strong as before (6-12 months out).

It feels like I've turned the corner.

Cisco taking action against the NSA

Last May we learned that the NSA sometimes intercepted Cisco networking devices that were being delivered to particular customers.  An NSA team would open the shipping container, bug the Cisco device, and reseal the shipment.  In this way, NSA could bug targets without having to hack their way in to the networks.

Cisco has just announced that they are taking measures to defeat this:
John Chambers personally complained to President Obama about this practice, which is not exactly a selling point for Cisco equipment abroad. Der Spiegel published the more complete document, along with a broader story, in January of this year:
In one recent case, after several months a beacon implanted through supply-chain interdiction called back to the NSA covert infrastructure. The call back provided us access to further exploit the device and survey the network. Upon initiating the survey, SIGINT analysis from TAO/Requirements & Targeting determined that the implanted device was providing even greater access than we had hoped: We knew the devices were bound for the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE) to be used as part of their internet backbone, but what we did not know was that STE's GSM (cellular) network was also using this backbone. Since the STE GSM network had never before been exploited, this new access represented a real coup.
Now Cisco is taking matters into its own hands, offering to ship equipment to fake addresses in an effort to avoid NSA interception.

I don't think we have even begun to understand the long-term damage the NSA has done to the US tech industry.

The inevitability of secession, part 1: Introduction

Chief Justice Salmon Chase was wrong.  In Texas v. White (1869), he wrote the majority opinion on secession:
The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to 'be perpetual.' And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained 'to form a more perfect Union.' It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?
Except the Republic did not date its governing principles to the Articles of Confederation, which were clearly a failure - a failure clear at the time, in fact.  Instead, it dated to the Constitution.  That was ratified by all original thirteen States, and it is clear that it would not have been ratified if the States hadn't thought that they couldn't leave if they had needed to.  Indeed, the ending of the Articles of Confederation were essentially an act of secession.

Chase was an interesting bird.  He founded the Free Soil movement - "Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men".  It was an unabashedly abolitionist party, and reflected what was very probably the real cause of the American War of Southern Independence (the "Civil War" to you Yankees).

And Chase wasn't just one of the chief proponents of the political position, he was Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  One of the charges leveled at the post war Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals was that it was "Victor's Justice"; America had an 80 year history of Victor's Justice, dating back to Texas v. White.

And so secession was ruled illegal.

The problem, of course, is that it was only illegal because "Honest Abe" Lincoln determined that it was better that 10% of the military age population be killed or wounded in battle than a set of States should choose to leave the Republic.  For a while, it worked.

For a while, the Fed.Gov demonstrated that it could deliver - more growth, more prosperity, freedom increasing through the 1960s.  In 1969, the Fed.Gov landed a man on the moon.  It was the high water mark of government legitimacy.

What we've seen since then is an intentional fracturing of the Republic, based on race, gender, and class.  Political careers have been made for those who have done this - Al Sharpton is a particularly loathsome example of this, but he is by no means alone.  Barack Obama may be the most successful of these, parlaying racial themes of guilt and offered redemption into two terms in the White House during which he has thoroughly politicized the Federal Agencies.  Eric Holder was the chield law enforcement official in the land but ran the Department of Justice along racial grievance lines.  If you have any doubts about this, read up on the New Black Panther Party, George Zimmerman, and Ferguson MO.

Obama reflected a small but well organized segment of society determined to fundamentally reshape society.  Unsurprisingly, this hasn't turned out to be popular with much of society who overwhelmingly voted Democrats out of House and Senate seats - historical defeats for Obama's Democratic Party.  The voters gave significant majorities to the Republican Party in both houses of Congress, because GOP candidates ran on a platform of overturning Obama's overreach on health care, immigration, and general weakening of the USA on the international stage.

So how's that working out for GOP voters?
Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck on Wednesday announced he is leaving the Republican Party.

“I’ve made my decision — I’m out,” Beck said Wednesday on “The Glenn Beck Program,” his broadcast on TheBlaze.com. “I’m out of the Republican Party. I am not a Republican. I will not give a dime to the Republican Party. I’m out.”

The host said Republicans lost him with their inaction on both ObamaCare and illegal immigration.

“All this stuff that they said and they ran and they said they were doing all of these great things and they were going to stand against ObamaCare and illegal immigration — they set us up,” Beck added. “They set us up. Enough is enough. They’re torpedoing the Constitution and they’re doing it knowingly.”
Can't really argue with any of that.  And he's not the only one:
Yes, Establishment GOP, you can teach us that you will always lie to us, stab us in the back, humiliate us and crush us; but if you teach us that, be aware we are learning another lesson, too. Not just that "The Establishment Will Always Crush You," but the lesson that There is no hope in any kind of conventional politics for those of us who want better than this Pile of Shit the two parties give us.
And the mutterings have been going on for years:
1. Many inner-circle strategists in the Republican Party machine basically believe the game is over demographics wise. They’ve believed this for a long time. Call them the “We Are Doomed” Machiavellians, trying to make a barely-palatable lemonade out of some very nasty lemons.
2. Privately, personally, they probably agree with everything Richwine and all the rest have ever said. But it doesn’t matter, because, on the strategic time scale, we’ve already crossed the Rubicon.
3. Tactically, short-to-medium term, you could follow the Sailer Strategy and, maybe, squeeze out a few Revanchist wins for Republicans, but it would be counterproductive. The Cathedral (they don’t call it that, of course) would make easy hay of “the hateful white party” in due time, and it would go the way of the Know-Nothings in Boston – permanent obsolescence.
4. So, the best you can do, if you care at all about the long-term survival of anything like even a fake opposition party in out decadent democracy, is to embrace the Latin American / Texan model, an increasingly Brazil-esque society, but one in which, in some places, at some times, you can still get some Hispanics to feel fondly about and vote for the Republicans.
5. To do this, you must absolutely, positively, and, most importantly, preemptively cave to everything you think the Democrats could possibly leverage against you. Which, in practice, means being the volunteer auxiliary PC-enforcer on your own side. It also helps when you’ve got big business on your side.
Salmon Chase had been a member of the Whig Party, which fractured under the strain of abolitionism.  The Republican Party looks like it's headed for the same crack up.

But it doesn't really matter: it's clear that the citizens of this Republic will not vote themselves out of this mess.  The Establishment is united - across both Parties - against the population which holds them in increasing contempt.

So if there's no way to vote in representatives who will represent the will of the People, what remains?  It's hard to see any alternative to the country splitting into two or more parts that will eliminate the Washington D.C. Establishment as something that can impose unpopular laws on them.

Not everyone believes this will happen:
Secession was tried before in the US and it failed. If part of the US tries to secede, the Protestant-Hippie-Communist-Jesus types get offended and their blood lust knows no bounds. They were fine with the death of hundreds of thousands to prevent secession. Then they took property, installed new governments and destroyed local economies for the better part of a century.

Secession in the US is only a long, drawn-out suicide.
This time, it's hard to see a politician willing and able to sacrifice 10% of the military age population in a War of Secession.  And so Chief Justice Chase's decision is more or less irrelevant.  He had the legitimacy imposed by a victorious army at the point of the bayonet; the current Establishment doesn't have that and doesn't seem to be fixin' to get it anytime soon.

And so if reform is not possible, exit is the obvious result.  The Republic has large parts what are tired of having a left wing ideology rammed down their throats - and an ideology that enriches Wall Street and the big banks, at that.  These people have played the game the way it has been laid out, by the rules that were what everyone had been told were just - one man, one vote.  And that vote clearly is a waste of time.

Okay, then.  But things will not continue as they have.  Tomorrow will be part 2, implications for the 50 States.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

This is what happens when you try to hijack a plane

Pro tip: don't do that then.  And well done to the passengers who took the guy down.  It seems like he was a fruitcake, and bravo to Our Heroes for not beating him to death.

Ironic Irony is ironic

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Clancy Brothers & Robbie O'Connell - Finnegan's Wake

Wishing all readers a lively, literary, and safe St. Paddy's Day.

Spy On Me Barbie®

What could possibly go wrong?
A new "smart" Barbie doll's eavesdropping and data-gathering functions have privacy advocates crying foul.

Toymaker Mattel bills Hello Barbie as the world's first "interactive doll" due to its ability to record children's playtime conversations and even respond once the encrypted audio is transmitted to a cloud server, much in the way that Apple's Siri voice assistant works.
No word on whether Mattel plans to share suspected Double Plus Ungood Thoughtcrime with Big Brother.

No doubt the software has had extensive security review to make sure it's not hackable.

Social Security Administration's Big Data is a Big Mess

I'm shocked, shocked! to find out that the Fed.Gov has lots of lousy data:
In an illustration of what can happen when you use Big Data uncritically, it has emerged that no less than 6.5 million living Americans have reached the ripe old age of 112. Even more amazingly, it appears that just 13 of the super-silver legions are claiming benefits - and tens of thousands of them appear to be holding down jobs at least part-time.

Were they being taken seriously, the Social Security Administration's records would be shattering assumptions regarding the numbers of supercentenarians alive in the world today.

The fact that US social security records nominally contain more than six million Americans aged 112+ emerged in a recent report from the social security Inspector-General's office. The same records appear to indicate that the oldest American still alive would have been born in 1869, a mere four years after the culmination of the American Civil War.

Only 13 of the 6.5 million are actually claiming Social Security benefits, it seems, but the other numbers have not been formally deleted and thus create an opportunity for fraudsters to give false details when providing their financial information.
Fortunately, the Republic's policies are ideology-driven, not data-driven so it probably doesn't matter.

Go home, Internet. You're drunk.

Cough drops aren't fixing that.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Movie Star who isn't a jerk

Cool story:
Girl Scouts selling cookies on State Street in downtown Los Altos received an unexpected surprise Feb. 28 when a bona fide movie star not only bought cookies, but also tried to help the girls sell more boxes to other passersby.

Tom Hanks, a Hollywood legend – and Bay Area native – who has appeared in some of the biggest blockbusters of the past 25 years, purchased four boxes, donated an additional $20 and offered to have his photo taken with people who recognized him – as long as they bought cookies, too.
Click through to read the whole thing, which is quite a refreshing change from the usual stories of asshat celebrities.  Bravo, Mr. Hanks.

Hat tip: A Large Regular.

R. I. P. Gene, Gene, the Dancing Machine

Thanks for all the good memories:
Gene Patton, the NBC stagehand in Burbank who stole the spotlight as Gene Gene the Dancing Machine on NBC’s wacky The Gong Show, died Monday, his family announced. He was 82.

Patton died in Pasadena, according to a spokeswoman at the local Woods-Valentine Mortuary. He had suffered from diabetes.

The Gong Show, dreamed up and hosted by producer Chuck Barris (The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game), aired on NBC in daytime from 1976-78 and then in syndication. Acts — most of them amateurish and just plain awful — auditioned for three celebrity judges, who banged a gong on stage to mercifully send the bad ones packing.

At a random moment during the game show, Barris would introduce Patton, and the curtain would part, bringing the shuffling stagehand with the painter’s cap onstage to the sounds of “Jumpin’ at the Woodside,” a jazz tune made popular by Count Basie. His dance sent everyone on the set — Barris, the judges, the cameramen, the audience — into an uncontrollable boogie.
Man, I loved that show.

Record setting Global Warming in Boston

Rick emails to point out the hottest snowiest year ever In Boston:
Yes, we have officially surpassed those 107.6 inches recorded during the Winter of 1995-1996. We have received more snow during this 2014-2015 season than any since 1872—before that, they didn’t even keep records.

That's almost 150 years. Since the rules seem to be that whenever there is a hot summer or a drought we're subjected to shrieks of ZOMGTHERMAGEDDON!!!1!eleventy!! Then in that same spirit I shall mock the Progressives.

Hey Progs, if Global Warming causes both record heat and record snow, is there anything that can falsify your precious theory?

Hey, maybe you can hide the decline or something.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sir John Andrew Stevenson - Last Rose of Summer

Image via the Wik
There are many twists and turns in a life.  Certainly Ireland's greatest composer, Turlough O'Carolan, the blind harpist who might never have learned to play but for the kindness of Mrs. MacDermot Roe saw these.  Likewise with Sir John Stevenson who did perhaps more than anyone to capture the great old Irish tunes.

Son of a carriage maker, orphaned young, he had a series of lucky events: taken in by a family of musical instrument makers, getting accepted into the choir at Christ Church College even though he was Irish (only English were supposed to be enrolled in those days), his musical talent was able to bloom.  Soon appointed choral vicar, he earned a Doctor of Music.

He was a composer of some renown in late 18th Century Dublin, and was knighted for his work in 1803.  However, he is best known today for his ten volume Irish Melodies (written with Thomas Moore), published between 1808 and 1834.  Stevenson foreshadowed the work of later composers like Ralph Vaughn Williams, making traditional tunes popular for the drawing room.  Stevenson's piano scores became an archive of the Emerald Isle's musical past.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tactical reload

You're welcome.

Mick McDonald - 21 Acres

The original roots of Country music come from the Scots-Irish immigrants who settled in the Appalachia hill country in the 18th and 19th Centuries.  On this St. Patric's Day weekend, it's appropriate to point out the thriving Country music scene in Erie.  One of the most popular TV shows there is Glór Tíre, a Country music talent show in the mold of American Idol.  As you'd expect, the talent ranges all over the map, but Ireland has a long tradition of fine singers.

This is Mick McDonald who drives a truck and brings what can only be called Real Country Music.

Interestingly, this song is about a man who is about to sail away from Ireland on his way to America.  The roots of Country music run deep, and wide.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Herb Alpert The Tijuana Brass - The Lonely Bull

I played the trumpet through High School, and even a bit at State U.*  I could do this creditably well, Back In The Day.

Inspired by a post by Irish that features one of the 1960s most spectacular album covers.  Yeah, it has a pretty girl - it's Irish's place!

* A group of us formed a pep band to get into Hockey games for free.  Win!


Guffaw has been blogging for 4 years now.  Drop by and leave him some commenty love.

The world is a much more dangerous place

Tacitus prepares for a trip to Europe, and packs his situational awareness:
I now have the available time and resources to travel where I will, but there are more risks than there used to be.  It once was that you were safe so long as you did not venture out on an ill advised jaunt into bandit infested hill country.  Now the bandits have come down from the hills and live among us.

I have walked through too many places where terrorists attacks have occurred.  The Olympic complex in Munich, the London Underground, the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.  I regularly pass through the Amsterdam airport where the infamous "underwear bomber" was helped onto a US bound plane on some sort of humanitarian ticket.  I have driven past the Pentagon and have walked under the dome of the US capitol that escaped its intended targeting on 9/11.


I usually avoid politics in my writings.  But part of the reticence to discuss the catastrophic implosion of Libya is that to do so would be an embarrassment to our Current President - who was gifted a Nobel Peace Prize for his anticipated diplomatic brilliance - and to our hopeful "President in Waiting", who was Secretary of State when the Libyan incursion was somehow, implausibly, deemed to be a safe and prudent action.

But these are the conditions that exist.  This is the world we live in.  The bandits are probably now in the Seven Hills of Rome.
This is a long and thoughtful post on how the world is much more violent than it used to be.  Quite frankly, I'm glad I had the chance to see so much of Europe when I lived there, because I'm not at all sure that I want to go back.  Things are bad and getting worse.

Back then, I was living in Condition White.  I went to all the tourist spots, dragging the kids with me.  Now, I'd plan very differently.  I'd also pay much more attention than I did then.

Terry Pratchett, R. I. P.

I was never a big fan of fiction, but he sure was a funny dude.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

This isn't a problem at the shooting range

Giant Alligator at a Florida golf course.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bo Diddley - I'm a Man

I think he gave pronunciation lessons to Ozzie Osborne ....

Auto makers sued over lousy on-board computer security

GM, Ford, and Toyota are the target of a class action suit:
"Toyota, Ford and GM have deliberately hidden the dangers associated with car computer systems, misleading consumers," Stanley said in a statement.

The suit claims that vehicles without proper electronics safeguards are "defective" and worth far less than similar non-defective vehicles and seeks unspecified monetary damages and injunctive relief.
Interesting.  One of the problems with Security efforts in the past is that it's been impossible to quantify the benefit.  This looks to assign a dollar value to that.
The lawsuit claims hackers could access ECUs on a vehicle's CAN bus and take control of basic functions such as braking, steering and acceleration, "and the driver of the vehicle would not be able to regain control.

"Disturbingly, as defendants have known, their CAN bus-equipped vehicles for years have been (and currently are) susceptible to hacking, and their ECUs cannot detect and stop hacker attacks on the CAN buses. For this reason, defendants' vehicles are not secure, and are therefore not safe," the lawsuit states.
I've been writing about this for years.  Interesting to see it show up in Court.
The lawsuit claims car owners were charged "substantial premiums" for CAN bus-equipped vehicles. And it argues that the automakers engaged in "unfair, deceptive, and/or fraudulent business practices" by failing to disclose security flaws.

"Had plaintiffs and the other class members known of the defects at the time they purchased or leased their vehicles, they would not have purchased or leased those vehicles, or would have paid substantially less for the vehicles than they did," the lawsuit said.
Actually, yes.  But surely, you say, automotive computer security is arcane.  The manufacturers couldn't be expected to understand such a new field, right?  Oops:
The lawsuit cites several studies revealing security flaws in vehicle electronics. A 2013 study by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) found researchers could make vehicles "suddenly accelerate, turn, [and] kill the brakes."

DARPA reported that the defect represents a "real threat to the physical well-being of drivers and passengers." Before releasing its study, DARPA shared its finding with car manufacturers so they could address the vulnerabilities, "but they did nothing," the lawsuit states.
Next target of the lawyers: the Internet Of Things, with its computerized light bulbs and central heating systems.

EPA Chief has no idea whether the climate models relied on by the IPCC are accurate

Of course she doesn't:
EPA Chief Gina McCarthy struggled to answer questions, at a recent Senate Environment and Public Works committee hearing, refusing to provide immediate answers even to basic questions, such as whether IPCC climate models were skilful at forecasting global temperature. The EPA is seeking an inflation busting 6% increase to their budget.

According to Yellow Hammer News (video below) “Would you acknowledge that over the last 18 years,” [Senator Jeff] Sessions asked, “that the increase in temperature has been very little, and that it is well below, matter of fact 90 percent below most of the environmental models that showed how fast temperature would increase?”

“I do not know what the models actually are predicting that you are referring to,” McCarthy responded.

“This is a stunning development,” Sessions shot back, “that the head of the Environmental Protection Agency—who should know more than anybody else in the world, who is imposing hundreds of billions of dollars in cost to prevent this climate temperature increase—doesn’t know whether their projections have been right or wrong.”
Senator Sessions seems to have a more clear understanding of the issues than Ms. McCarthy.  This is my shocked face.  The whole thing is worth watching.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Reports of blogging's death are greatly exagerated


Bootnote: That was the shortest post I ever wrote, but c'mon - what can you add to what Brigid writes?

The Picture Of The Day

Offered without comment, as it needs none.

Via A Large Regular, a daily read.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Carl Pilipp Emanuel Bach - Sonata in A, W.55 No. 4

Image via Der Wik

The reason that you use your thumbs when you play the play the piano is thanks to C. P. E. Bach, son of Johann Sebastian Bach.  Bach fils was famous at an early age due to the combination on his famous father, but in no little part to his own quite impressive musical talent.  He not only performed and composed (notably for Frederick the Great), but was a teacher. 

As part of this he wrote Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen  An Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments) which more or less instantly became the definitive treatise on how to play keyboards.  Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven all regarded it as invaluable.

And it changed the way people played piano - remember, you use your thumbs, right?  That was in his book.

It also changed the way that people composed for piano, leading to what we more or less recognize as modern piano.  The son of the greatest classical composer opened the door to the modern.

C. P. E. Bach was born on this day in 1714.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

This is a big, big deal

Brigid's Book Of Barkley appears in the print version of Kirkus Reviews.  Congratulations on the home run, Brigid!

What followed me home from the bar last night

Harley Road Glide FLTR.  Looks almost exactly like this.

I must be insane, but it was at a price I just couldn't turn down.  Now all I need is to heal.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Most expensive visit to a bar

$10, 038.39. Dang.

But she likes Harleys ...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

About Hillary Clinton's emails

Assume that foreign governments read them all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

If you can afford a Ferrari, you can afford to pay for parking

But it looks like you don't have to.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


No more I/V antibiotics, yay hooray!  PICC line comes out on Monday.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Four years ago

Dad died:
One of my two favorite sayings goes The longest journey a man will ever take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.  I can attest to the truth of that, and say that St. Christopher doesn't watch over that particular journey.  But my Dad did.

I still think about him every day. James Zachary left a comment that predicted this:
It is a hurt that will not soon end.
Sure is.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Shaun Smith - Ain't No Sunshine

I took #2 Son out for dinner tonight.  The rule was no cell phones, so we had a really fun time talking.  In between the escargot (now checked off his bucket list) and the chocolate moose, the guy playing live music played this:

Tonight's guy didn't nail it quite like this, but he was good.  And it reminded me of just how much I like this song.  It was bittersweet thinking that he'll soon be grown and gone.

Mmmmm, broiled wild foul

Served up at the Solar Powerplant Restaurant:
“It’s no secret that solar power is hot right now, with innovators and big name companies alike putting a great deal of time, money, and effort into improving these amazing sources of renewable energy. Still, the last thing you’d likely expect is for a new experimental array to literally light nearly 130 birds in mid-flight on fire.

And yet, that’s exactly what happened near Tonopah, Nevada last month during tests of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.”
They call them "streamers" from the smoke contrails.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Epic bathroom is epic

Need one of those here.

When Gods become Incarnate

We like to make our sports heroes into Gods, and then watch the God fall.  Rarely, instead of falling they reveal themselves to be everything we most want to believe:
In the sports world, there are many charitable superstars and many others for whom philanthropy is a masquerade, an exercise in image-buffing. Then there is [Bobby] Orr, who has created a model for giving back that embraces the power of true connection, of responding when the need is greatest.

When social studies teacher Christa McAuliffe died aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, Orr learned that members of her family were Bruins fans and he quietly traveled to Concord, N.H., to visit.
When former Bruin Ace Bailey died aboard a hijacked airliner that struck the World Trade Center in New York during the 2001 terrorist attacks, Orr turned up the next morning at the door of Bailey’s widow, Katherine.

“Bobby will always have a place in my heart,’’ she said.
When Orr learned last year that James Gordon, a hockey player at Hingham High School, was fighting testicular cancer, he called Gordon’s mother, Terry, and asked to visit.

Orr chatted for several hours with James, his family, and friends, spending much of the time holding Terry’s daughter, Jenna, who has Down syndrome.

Orr posed for pictures with everyone in the house. He later mailed them autographed photos with personal messages, having remembered the name of each family member and friend as if he had known them for years.

Terry Gordon, still in awe months later, said, “Who does that?’’
In the midst of a very jaded and cynical age, this is a must read story about a man who, in this cynical celebrity age, hides his candle under a basket.

Via A Large Regular.  You should read him every day.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

To the driver of the Dodge minivan

The one that took a "short cut" that landed him in the lane labeled "Georgia 400 Southbound Only" when you didn't want to go southbound:

When you sit there waiting for a break in traffic so long that three of us are honking at you, the appropriate response is not to flip the bird.

After all, you were the a-hole.

Lots of love, Borepatch.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sleeping late, and thoughts profound and not

I slept late, for the first time in a while.  No first-thing-in-the-morning doctor visit may have had something to do with it.

Some of you have emailed asking if it's true that Lenovo shipped particularly nasty spyware om their laptops.  It is.  I don't really have more of an analysis than that, but Rick Blaine (International Man of Mystery!) has a particularly good one:
What does this mean?  If you bought a Lenovo in the last 6 months it means all "your passwords are belong to us."  At this point I wouldn't touch Lenovo with a 100' pole, which is sad because they made pretty good hardware and does a fine job running linux - The issue is that I'm not about to support a company that even considered thinking  this might be a good idea.  I HATE bloatware but it's one of those things you just sort of have to live with unless you build your machine from scratch - which is difficult to do with laptops.  Virtually any computer you buy today will come with bloatware, some benign like Netflix, or the Kindle App, some malware - and now some like Superfish - pure evil.  I mean spying on which web sites you access is bad, but spying on your supposed SSL encrypted connection to your bank - that is evil, and possibly criminal.
He then posits a plausible fix to this:
Fortunately we're seeing some movement in the games industry that should make Linux a much more widely accepted platform with the announced introduction of GLNext (more info here).

If enough of the game-devs move off of DirectX to this next version of OpenGL (GLNext) we might start seeing some serious support for drivers thus making Linux perhaps the best gaming platform available - light, fast, open, free.
 The only thing I'd add is that the dynamics of razor thin profit margins is likely to drive this.  Steam explicitly embraced Linux to avoid the "Microsoft tax".  RTWT.

A northeasterner's view if Global Warming scientists:

From What Bubba Knows, clearly one of those beastly Deniers.

Found in the bathroom at work:

Why am I thinking of Uncle Jay and MSgt B right now?