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Off Line

I’m dealing with a neighbor’s medical problem, so I don’t know when I’ll be back on-line.

November 25, 2014   3 Comments

Ferguson Officials Got Their Riot

CNN is reporting on the unrest in Ferguson after the grand jury refused to indict the police office in the Michael Brown shooting.

CNN had part of the grand jury testimony that contains a far different version of the encounter, than what was the official version. It looks fairly obvious to me that someone lied to the grand jury, but the prosecutor didn’t challenge it.

People are in the street and they are angry.

November 24, 2014   3 Comments

Sunday Potpourri

The BBC reports Regin, new computer spying bug, discovered by Symantec

Symantec says the bug, named Regin, was probably created by a government and has been used for six years against a range of targets around the world.

Once installed on a computer, it can do things like capture screenshots, steal passwords or recover deleted files.

An interesting target list: Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Ireland. Another opus from the fun-loving team that brought us Stuxnet? Perhaps someone a bit closer to the Emerald Isle?


The grand jury still hasn’t reached a decision about the Ferguson shooting, but they are erecting barricades in the area, rather than the Christmas decorations that everyone else is putting up.

Ordinary people, like Michael Brown’s father, are asking for calm, no matter what decision the grand jury takes. For some reason I get the feeling that if more than three people of color gather in Ferguson after the decision, it will be called a riot by local officials.

November 23, 2014   No Comments


It was afternoon and I was on my way to a chemistry class. I had stopped for a drink of water when the news came over the speakers in the classrooms.

For those who weren’t alive at the time: remember what you felt on September 11, 2001 for a taste of November 22, 1963. It was a massive change for the worldview of my generation and it marked the beginning of a period of disruption and decline in the civility of American society. Arthur had died and Camelot fell.

At his inauguration John Kennedy made the point: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

The colors of my world will never be as bright as they were on November 21, 1963.

November 22, 2014   9 Comments

The Worst Is Yet To Come

So, after getting buried under about six feet of snow, another two to three feet fell in a band south of Buffalo. It is certainly annoying, but not as bad as the 1977 blizzard which affected more of state with constant white-out conditions that shut down most of the upstate [anything north of New York City].

People have forgotten that you have to acclimate to the cold before you start shoveling, because your body tends to send blood to your extremities in the cold and reduces the supply for your internal organs. You need to achieve a balance before you start anything as strenuous as clearing wet snow, or you risk a heart attack.

Unfortunately before the crews can load the snow into the trucks and dump it into the lake, it is going to warm up and start melting. This will probably cause local flooding and set the scene for the worst – snow falling on ice covered roads after the melting. In addition the piles of snow are going to have ice shells over them. The people who don’t manage to get the snow off their roofs are in line for major damage even if the roof doesn’t collapse under the additional weight.

Remember – no matter how bad things seem to be, they can always get worse…

November 21, 2014   2 Comments

Ten Years

It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for a decade.

I did bulletin boards, USENET, and LISTSERV before the rise of blogs, but this seems to be more compatible with my temperament. Andante got me started, and I wish she had survived to be here. Like Jim and Melanie, she was taken too early because of our dysfunctional health care system.

Thanks for dropping by, even if you don’t want to comment.

November 21, 2014   8 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging


Friday Cat Blogging

Let’s ignore him

[Editor: Property and Excise actually touching without anyone getting clawed. This rare event brought to you by blankets on the futon and freezing temperatures.]

Friday Ark

November 21, 2014   No Comments

Prosecutorial Discretion

I heard and saw all kinds of trash talk from Repubs about how Zero was going to violate all kinds of laws with his executive order on immigration, but all he announced tonight was the enforcement priorities for the Department of Homeland Security regarding undocumented immigrants. Every prosecutor in the US can decide what criminal cases will or won’t be tried, so it defies logic to insist that the head of the Executive Branch of the US government doesn’t have the same power in dealing with government regulations.

Let’s be clear, it is not a crime to enter the country without getting the proper paperwork. There is no such thing as an ‘illegal alien’. Undocumented immigrants aren’t tried for being in the US ‘illegally’, they have a hearing before an administrative law judge for failing to comply with the appropriate rules and regulations. They don’t get attorneys, bail hearings, or any of the other requirements of a criminal trial. They don’t face prison time if the judge rules against them, they are deported. They didn’t break a law, they failed to abide by the rules.

November 20, 2014   2 Comments

Buffalo Snow

The lake-effect snow falling on and around Buffalo, New York is the big story today. Yes, it’s a lot of snow. Yes, people die shoveling it. Yes, heavy wet snow can cause roofs to collapse. All of that is true, but what is also true is that while this is early, it is not unusual for it to happen in Buffalo.

There is a lot of snow, some say over 6 feet, because Lake Erie is still open water, making it possible for the wind to pick up a lot of moisture as it heads for shore. The amount is reduced as more of the lake freezes.

Buffalo and Watertown on the east end of Lake Ontario, are always at the top of the list for snowfall in New York State.

Meanwhile it is a fraction above 32°F at 11:45PM in Cinco Bayou, but no snow is forecast.

November 19, 2014   No Comments

Points Of Interest

CNN reports that the Senate vote on the Keystone XL pipeline failed to get the required 60 votes to proceed. The Republicans will bring it up in the new Congress in January, knowing that Zero will veto it and they don’t have the two-thirds majority to override the veto.

The ABC reports that the Philae probe detected organic molecules. Given that it is generally believed that comets are the detritus of the founding of the planets of the solar system. The discovery of organic molecules on a comet would tend to indicate that the building blocks of life were present when the planets were created.

That grand jury in Missouri still hasn’t announced a finding.

The current temperature at 11:30PM is 31°F, which is a lot of fun.

November 18, 2014   2 Comments

I Know, Let’s Have A Riot

Missouri seems to be doing just about everything possible to create a riot following a decision by a grand jury. There has been no decision, but the governor has declared a state of emergency, put the National Guard on stand-by, and put any response in the hands of the county, rather than city police officers.

The problem in Ferguson was caused by a police over-response to protests, and now they are preparing to max out the response to any demonstrations following the decision of the grand jury.

What happens if the grand jury indicts the police officer and the KKK protests? Is the Klan going to be subjected to the same tactics that were used in earlier protests?

All of these public announcements about steps that are being taken are just raising the temperature of a volatile situation. You need to prepare for trouble, but you don’t announce your preparations. That’s how you attract the trouble makers.

November 17, 2014   4 Comments

Thoughts From The Fridge

One of the more popular breeds of cats in France is the Norwegian Forest Cat which is similar to the Maine Coon. The breed standard accepts toms up to 25 pounds, so larger versions are obviously out there. They are long haired which makes them look even larger that their large bones and muscular body account for on the scale. At a distance a male Forest Cat with an amber mackerel tabbie coat would look a lot like a tiger, and they have large paws for walking on the snow. From personal experience with Maine Coons, they don’t look like normal domesticated cats when they are outside and not near something that would help you gauge their size.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, is probably regretting hosting the G20 summit in Brisbane. He started out claiming he was going to ‘shirt front’ [confront] Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine and the downing of flight MH-17, but it was Canada’s Stephen Harper who actually did it. Then he objected to including language about climate change in the formal statement for the meeting, but was overruled by US and European Union representatives.

Putin left early because of all of the criticism about the Ukraine, but Abbott’s summit was almost as bad. He probably wished he could have left early.

The batteries on the Philae lander have run down, but it was able to send back most, if not all, of the data that it was designed to collect. It isn’t clear if the solar panels will recharge the batteries, or if they were merely designed to extend the life of the batteries by providing additional power when it was active.

November 15, 2014   2 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Is This Florida?

Friday Cat Blogging

Turn up the thermostat!

[Editor: Tadpole is atop the grill next to my Mother's house to avoid the wind.]

Friday Ark

November 14, 2014   7 Comments

Thoughts While Shivering

It was 55° at midnight and that was the high for today with the low somewhere in the 30s forecast. It drizzled all day so the sun didn’t warm anything, and cleared out tonight to radiate away all of the stored heat. We have freeze warnings and watches on tap for the next two days, so cat blogging will definitely be delayed.

This BBC article about the Scottish National Party activated by inner 8-year-old. I snicker over the first sentence: “Nicola Sturgeon is to formally take over the leadership of the SNP from Alex Salmond.” I hope no one else understands why.

So Zero announces his support for ‘Net Neutrality and heads explode.

AT&T announced that it was going to stop installing fiber to about 100 cities because the rules are ‘uncertain’. They are ignoring the fact that the rules are uncertain because they and the other media moguls sued to overturn the old rules. They also fail to explain how the rules affect a decision to make their network faster and cheaper to operate with much greater capacity which would give them a competitive advantage … oh, wait, they don’t compete so they don’t need any advantage.

Ted Cruz has announced that ‘Net Neutrality was “Obamacare” for the Internet. Sorry, but Obamacare for the Internet would require everyone to pay a private corporation and be connected to the ‘Net, and hit them with a tax penalty if they didn’t comply. It would probably also block any public options, and provide for religious exemptions for those who believe it is a tool for Satan.

November 13, 2014   13 Comments