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Speaking Of Things Scatological

CNN reports – Wombat poop: Scientists have finally discovered why it’s cubed. The Register adds their slant to the reporting: Wombats literally sh!t bricks – and now boffins reckon they know how.

Reading that I was struck by the probability that this research would rate the notice of the Ig Nobel Prize committee, and it did.

Lead author, Patricia Yang, a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, won the Ig Nobel Prize for Physics in 2015 for her study showing that in mammals “Duration of Urination Does Not Change With Body Size.” The study of wombat scat was right down in her sewer 😈

November 20, 2018   1 Comment

The Military Is Taking Notice

It was very unusual when Lt. General Mark Hertling (US Army ret.) wrote an op-ed on CNN, A soldier’s view on Trump, that blistered then candidate Trump for his view of the military. Trump assumed that the military was loyal to the President and would follow all orders. The military takes an oath to the Constitution, and every member is personally accountable if they follow any illegal orders.

Retired flag officers [generals and admirals] are known for avoiding politics unless they are running for office. Trump’s multiple attacks on the Constitution are forcing a number of retired officers to speak out. That trend escalated after Trump attacked Admiral William McRaven. In addition to Lt. General Hertling, who called Trump’s remarks disgusting, General Stanley McChrystal (US Army ret.) essentially says that Trump doesn’t know how to lead.

The the civilian leaders of the national security elements involved in the bin Laden raid had their say: Former top intel officials hit back at Trump after criticism of bin Laden raid

Responses to Trump’s comments about retired Admiral Bill McRaven, who has criticized the president’s attacks on the press, poured in Monday from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who said Trump should apologize.

Trump doesn’t really like or understand anyone. He has no empathy for the rest of humanity. He has not improved the life of the active duty military or veterans.

November 19, 2018   2 Comments

Pathetic

Trump claims he ‘personally answered Mueller Russia questions’, and the six hours he spent with his attorneys was just a welcome home party after his trip to France. I wonder if he realizes that if there are any problems with the answers, he can’t claim that it wasn’t his fault.

Finland bemused by Trump’s raking comment. The President of Finland has no idea what Trump is taking about, as the only raking done is on personal lawns. Finland does thin forests to promote better trees for the their timber industry, but rivers and bogs provide natural firebreaks. A major portion of Finland is above the Arctic Circle and the climate has nothing in common with California.

Crooks & Liars has a short primer on California’s fall winds, a major contributor to the
rapid progress of wildfires in the state.

In response to Admiral William McRaven’s criticism of Trump’s attacks on the media, Trump says that McRaven is a Hillary Clinton supporter, and he should have killed Osama bin Laden a lot sooner. Admiral McRaven is a retired Navy SEAL and the commander of the operation that ended in the death of bin Laden.

The reason the Trump family is in the US is because Trump’s grandfather was expelled from Bavaria for earlier immigrating to the US to avoid the draft. Trumps don’t serve in the military, but Cadet Bone Spurs considers himself a military ‘genius’ because he was sent to a military high school in hopes he would learn some discipline. The only ‘war zones’ that Trump has visited are those he has created with his boorish behavior.

November 18, 2018   2 Comments

Dealing With Sewage

Last Friday the sewer backed up and I was tied up searching for the clean-out to get it out of my house and then getting it unblocked. It would appear that at some point, for unknown reasons [like a possible official visitor], someone stuffed multiple plastic bags down their toilet and pushed them beyond the trap with a loofah. I know about the plastic bags and loofah because I was staring at the end of the affected sewer pipe when Roto-Rooter pushed the ‘blockage’ out of the line. I have been disinfecting and deodorizing ever since.

In a related note, the affluent effluent pooling in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has continued to display his lack of respect for veterans and the military since returning to the US from France. It is a short trip from the White House to Arlington National Cemetery, but Trump didn’t make the effort on Monday. The Department of Veterans Affairs is getting further behind and it doesn’t occur to this administration that filling the 45,000 vacancies at the VA might help clear the back log.

Trump still hasn’t visited any of the war zones, or even those he condemned to spend Thanksgiving in tents on the border.

The Oxford Dictionary has selected TOXIC as their word of 2018.

November 15, 2018   No Comments

The Stupid – It Burns

Among the many complaints Trump tweeted about the Mueller investigation today was the complaint that Mueller wasn’t confirmed by the Senate. Special counsels don’t need Senate confirmation, but Mueller was confirmed when he was appointed Director of the FBI. OTOH, Attorney Generals do need confirmation, and Whitaker has never been confirmed for any office. tsk, tsk.

For those, like Trump, who don’t know and are too lazy to look it up, the state of California owns 3% of the forests in the state, private companies and individuals own 40%, and the Federal government owns 57%. If the wild fires in California were caused by mismanagement of the forest it would be a Private/Federal problem. The reality is that these are brush fires, not forest fires, and they are caused by the Santa Ana winds which are getting worse because of climate change. All it takes is a spark of any kind with 50+ MPH winds, temperatures in the 90s, and humidity in single digits for a major disaster.

November 15, 2018   No Comments

Supporting The Troops?

On a Veteran’s Day with troops in war zones in Southwest Asia and the Middle East, with troops being deployed on no notice to the southern border for a political “photo op”, the President of the United States stayed in his hotel in Paris rather than visiting the Belleau Wood battlefield and American cemetery while it was raining. [A brief narrative description of the Battle of Belleau Wood].

On the centenary of the end of the First World War with retired Marine four-star Generals as his chief of staff and Secretary of Defense, there was no possibility that Belleau Wood would not be on Trump’s schedule for this trip. General Kelly rounded up a delegation and made the 60 mile trip to Belleau Wood to lay a wreath for the Marines who fell in that battle.

Trump arrived late to everything and left early. He has no sense of history. He was not wearing an American Legion poppy. The speech he read when they finally got him to an American cemetery was read badly and he was still complaining about the weather. If he isn’t the “star”, he doesn’t want to be in the play.

November 12, 2018   4 Comments

Fraud?

I’m not about to question the authority of Trump and Rick Scott when it comes to fraud. I’ve never paid $25 million to settle a law suit like Trump University, and no one has topped the fine Rick Scott’s company paid for Medicare fraud – $1.7 BILLION. Those two people know a lot about committing fraud, but don’t seem to be able to define it when it comes to elections.

For those who don’t know, there are Republican and Democratic workers at every polling place in Florida. The Florida Secretary of State [appointed by the governor] has monitors in every county to observe the counting of ballots. There have been no official complaints from anybody in a position to observe misconduct.

The Florida law was and is self-contradictory when it comes to deadlines. Supervisors of Elections in the counties have to wait 10 days after the election for ballots mailed on or before the date of the election from an overseas location, but the state has required counting be finished last Saturday. That is for an ‘unofficial’ vote. Now the state has called for a machine recount because three races have differences of less than 0.5%. These deadlines are arbitrary. Scott wants counting stopped because the counties trying to finish are heavily Democratic and his lead is disappearing.

The ballot this year has a dozen ballot measures and a bunch of judges up for confirmation. My ballot was printed on both sides. I voted early and used the sample ballot to make my decision so when I got to the polling station all I had to do was transfer my choices to the official ballot.

It should surprise no one that Palm Beach and Broward counties take a long time to count ballots – they have a lot of voters.

November 12, 2018   5 Comments

Veterans Day

PoppyA century ago at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 the guns fell silent. The Great War, The War to End All Wars, was over…for a couple of decades.

The red poppies of Flanders fields became a symbol of that war and the veterans that returned from it. Known as Remembrance Day in much of the world, the poppies will be in evidence. Remembrance Day observances have more in common with the American Memorial Day as a day to honor those who have died in war.

First called Armistice Day in the United States, the name was changed to Veterans Day, and its purpose changed to honoring those who are serving, or have served in the military. The change was made to avoid a conflict with the existing Memorial Day observance that goes back to the Civil War era.

A heart felt salute to everyone who managed to survive basic training. We can hope that sooner, rather than later, there will be no need for another generation to put on uniforms.

November 11, 2018   No Comments

Let The Recounts Begin

There will be automatic machine recounts of all of the ballots in the races for governor, Senator, and agriculture commissioner as the difference in all three races is below the 0.5% threshold. The recounts were announced by the Florida Secretary of State, who also said that monitors from his office saw no problems the conduct of the election in any of the state’s counties.

November 10, 2018   No Comments

“It ain’t over ’til it’s over”

We are going to have automatic recounts in both the race for governor and for Senator in Florida. Mail-in ballots from foreign countries are accepted until the 16th at least. With over 8 million ballots cast the opponents are separated by around 20,000 votes in each race. People need to chill out and wait.

It’s the same for the governor’s race in Georgia and the Senate race in Nevada. Relax, this is not microwave popcorn, there is plenty of time.

November 8, 2018   15 Comments

Ernie Keebler Out, Lex Luther In

Trump had his chief of staff, John Kelly, fire Jefferson Beauregard Sessions by publicizing an undated “resignation letter” that Trump asked for at some point in the past. Trump didn’t want to talk about getting his butt kicked in the mid-terms so he starts creating “crises”.

Trump selected Sessions’s chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker to be acting Attorney General, but as Fox legal analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano and Kellyanne Conway’s husband point out, Whitaker has never been confirmed by the Senate and isn’t eligible to be the acting Attorney General.

Another crisis Trump created involved CNN’s Senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. His White House press credentials were suspended after a heated exchange with Trump. Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed it was because Acosta ‘man-handled’ a White House intern. People soon noticed that the video she claimed showed what Acosta did was doctored by Infowars. Even Fox’s media reporter, Howard Kurtz criticized ‘Baghdad Bobbi’ for her incompetent effort.

November 8, 2018   No Comments

Go Vote!

Vote.org can tell you the status of your registration and where your polling place is located. If you run into problems call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-687-8683.

There are a lot of people who don’t want you to vote if you are not a well-to-do white male Protestant. It has taken almost two hundred years to force them back into their caves for the most part, but they come shuffling out every so often to annoy people and we have to remind they aren’t in charge any more.

November 5, 2018   10 Comments

Happy Bonfire Night

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot.

The British are celebrating the anniversary of the thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot.

A group of English Catholic conspirators including an explosives expert, Guy Fawkes, stashed 36 barrels of gunpowder in the basement of the Parliament building with the intent of blowing up the members of Parliament and King James I during the official opening of Parliament on November 5th, 1605.

Bonfire Night is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks. Effigies of Guy Fawkes, and occasionally the Pope, are traditionally thrown on the fires. Effigies of modern politicians have made their appearances at the celebration.

As Robert Cecil was involved, I doubt anyone will ever know the truth about the plot.

November 5, 2018   No Comments

Florida Amendments on the Ballot

There are a dozen constitutional amendments on the ballot in Tuesday’s election, numbered 1-7, 9-13. Amendment 8 was removed by the Florida Supreme Court. You can read them in your sample ballot or at Ballotpedia. If you search for Florida amendments 2018 you can get the opinion of your local fish wrapper.

I voted for #3 [Voter Control of Gambling], #4 [Voting Restoration], #9 [Prohibits Offshore Drilling], and #13 [Ends Dog Racing]. The rest are a mixed bag about which I have no strong feelings. In general if it wasn’t clear what the impact would be, I voted no. The only reason for obfuscation is fool people as to your purpose.

November 4, 2018   No Comments