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Posts from — March 2017

Enough’s Enough

Now Trump is borrowing bad ideas from Stalin according to Charlie Pierce. I understand why some would refer to these ‘minders’ as ‘komissars’ but they are technically PolitRuks, a contraction of ‘political leader’ [политрук, from политический руководитель] Both Khrushchev and Breshnev used their positions as PolitRuks for successful commanders to advance in the Party. So now we have a bunch of newbies trying to run Cabinets departments with White House spies sitting at their elbows and none of the senior appointed positions filled.

Great, we have almost no ambassadors around the world, or US Attorneys but we have political minders in all departments to ensure loyalty to the Trump party line. This is a level of paranoia found among petty dictators.

March 20, 2017   4 Comments

Vernal Equinox

It’s that time of year. Spring arrived at 5:29 CDT this morning, so this is the first full day. You can watch it come at Archæoastronomy.

The air is already filled with pollen and the live oaks are dropping last year’s leaves. The azaleas have already peaked and the pear trees aren’t yet snowy with blooms.

I would note that locally we have had 12 hours or more of daylight since St. Patrick’s Day, and usually do.

March 20, 2017   8 Comments

Seriously‽

What we had:

The White House

What we’ve got:

Circus

The Theme Song for the next four years.

Some have complained about the reticence of the media to call lies what they are. That reluctance is breaking down – Fareed Zakaria: Trump Is A Bullshitter. [In almost every marketing and/or sales office I have ever seen, at least one guy had a coffee mug inscribed with: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit”.]

Juan Cole notes that Trump picks fights with US Allies: Germany, NATO, EU, Britain etc. The guy keeps talking about what a great ‘deal-maker’ he is, so when does it start? So far he seems hellbent on destroying most of our existing ‘deals’ without any replacements in sight.

Germany rejects Donald Trump’s claims it owes NATO and US ‘vast sums’ for defence. Trump knows nothing about NATO or defense. These alliances are based on treaties, and Trump might want to have someone read them to him or get an account at Audible, because there is little evidence of his reading ability. It is past time for Schoolhouse Rock in the ‘Main Tent’…

March 19, 2017   15 Comments

Screw-ups

White House accidentally emails out satire piece to tout benefits of budget

The White House’s new official email provides its readers with a daily dose of news from the Trump administration, from special events, to a “photo of the day”, to a curated selection of media reports.

On Friday, that selection included a link to a Washington Post article titled Trump’s Budget Makes Perfect Sense and Will Fix America, and I Will Tell You Why.

The only problem? It was satirical.

Written by columnist and humourist Alexandra Petri, the opinion piece — as it is labelled at the top of the article — mocks the Trump administration’s budget.

More fabulous White House staff work. They don’t read beyond the headlines, and probably don’t know that the headlines are not always written by the authors of the articles, and may be misleading even on straight news articles.

March 18, 2017   17 Comments

Iditarod 2017 – Day 13 et fini

Iditarod 2017 MapSled DogZoya and her ‘rescues, rejects, and runts’ made it into Nome at 10:25AM CDT.

Alan Eischens left White Mountain at about the same time with all 16 still in harness. Having two intact teams in Nome is probably a unique event.

Cindy Abbott paused and got the Red Lantern back.

The race ended at 2:57:31PM AKDT [5:57:31PM CDT] when Cindy Abbott’s team passed under the Burled Arch in Nome with a race time of 12 days 2 hours 57 minutes 31 seconds. Cindy joins Ellen Halverson with having earned two Red Lanterns. Alan Eischens had arrived about 20 minutes earlier with all 16 of his puppies in harness.

Standings at 6:15PM CDT:

Finished at Nome
31 Ketil Reitan (11)
32 Martin Buser (15)
33 Melissa Stewart (56)
34 Scott Smith (69)
35 Nathan Schroeder (62)
36 Nicolas Vanier (26)R
37 Seth Barnes (51)
38 Karin Hendrickson (20)
39 Allen Moore (36)
40 Kristy Berington (73)
41 Anna Berington (66)
42 Laura Neese (7)Q
43 Jodi Bailey (28)
44 Larry Daugherty (71)
45 Geir Idar Hjelvik (54)
46 Charley Bejna (46)
47 DeeDee Jonrowe (22)
48 Gunnar Johnson (19)
49 Justin High (48)R
50 Dave Delcourt (72)R
51 Justin Stielstra (49)R
52 Trent Herbst (67)
53 Kristin Bacon (17)
54 Misha Wiljes (4)R
55 Joe Carson (12)R
56 Thomas Rosenbloom (40)R
57 Zoya DeNure (42)
58 Michael Baker (61)R
59 Matthew Failor (55)
60 Jimmy Lebling (43)R
61 Paul Hansen (47)R
62 Alan Eischens (35)
63 Peter Reuter (53)R
64 Cindy Abbott (31) Φ
[Read more →]

March 18, 2017   2 Comments

We Are Not Amused

Queens
White House tells British government it won’t repeat ‘ridiculous’ wiretapping claims:

On Thursday, the White House stood by Trump’s unproven accusations that his predecessor wiretapped his New York skyscraper, despite growing bipartisan agreement that there’s no evidence to back up the claim and mounting pressure to retract the statement.

Angrily defending the president’s statement, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Trump “stands by” the four tweets that sparked a firestorm that has threatened Trump’s credibility with lawmakers. Spicer denounced reporters for taking the president’s words too literally and suggested lawmakers were basing their assessments on incomplete information. He also cited an unsubstantiated report that Britain’s spy agency, GCHQ, helped then President Barack Obama eavesdrop on Trump during the election campaign.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the UK has a rather full plate at the moment – dealing with BREXIT, the demand of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for an independence referendum for Scotland, soaring energy prices, etc. What she didn’t need was someone accusing the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) of ‘spying’ on a candidate in the US election. The boffins (specialists) over at the ‘doughnut’ (GCHQ building, think circular Pentagon) took great umbrage at the accusation and strongly worded notes were dispatched.

If you are worried about leaks it doesn’t do to annoy an organization that is quite capable of putting your life on the Internet. I would suggest that the antique Android phone he uses should be accidentally placed in a microwave under the popcorn. If there’s a battery in it, he is tapping himself.

March 17, 2017   19 Comments

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Éireann go Brách!

Irish Flag

 Shamrock

Well everyone agrees that he died on March 17th, but the year is subject to debate. This is his feast day on the Catholic calendar. Enjoy as you are wont.

Wikipedia has more on Saint Patrick’s Day, if you need more.

March 17, 2017   4 Comments

Iditarod 2017 – Day 12

Iditarod 2017 MapSled DogZoya DeNure and her crew of rescues, rejects, and runts is resting in White Mountain and the Red Lantern is at Elim with Paul Hansen.

Standings at 10:10PM CDT:

Finished at Nome
21 Jason Mackey (64)
22 Robert Redington (70)R
23 Sebastien Vergnaud (13)R
24 Richie Diehl (21)
25 Mats Pettersson (33)
26 Lars Monsen (45)
27 Hugh Neff (50)
28 Rick Casillo (27)
29 Noah Burmeister (63)
30 Cody Strathe (5)
31 Ketil Reitan (11)
32 Martin Buser (15)
33 Melissa Stewart (56)
34 Scott Smith (69)
35 Nathan Schroeder (62)
36 Nicolas Vanier (26)R
37 Seth Barnes (51)
38 Karin Hendrickson (20)
39 Allen Moore (36)
40 Kristy Berington (73)
41 Anna Berington (66)
42 Laura Neese (7)Q
43 Jodi Bailey (28)
44 Larry Daugherty (71)
45 Geir Idar Hjelvik (54)
46 Charley Bejna (46)
47 DeeDee Jonrowe (22)
48 Gunnar Johnson (19)
49 Justin High (48)R
50 Dave Delcourt (72)R
51 Justin Stielstra (49)R
52 Trent Herbst (67)
53 Kristin Bacon (17)
Beyond Safety
54 Misha Wiljes (4)R
Beyond White Mountain
55 Zoya DeNure (42)
56 Joe Carson (12)R
57 Thomas Rosenbloom (40)R
[Read more →]

March 17, 2017   Comments Off on Iditarod 2017 – Day 12

Detritus

More border weirdness: “Advanced practice nurses and nurse anesthetists told they no longer qualify for professional visas”. Apparently regular nurses from Canada can work in the US with NAFTA TN visas, but it has now been decided that nurses with advanced training and skills need to get H1B visas which take months and cost $4000 or more.

This action is not going to reduce the cost of health care in the US.

The White House is trying to soften Trump’s claim on wiretapping, while Trump stands by his unverified wiretap claim. Meanwhile Congress tells Trump: Let’s see some proof regarding wiretapping.

March 16, 2017   2 Comments

Iditarod 2017 – Day 11

Iditarod 2017 MapSled DogNearly half of the teams have reached Nome by this morning and the temperatures are good for the puppies, if not so great for the mushers.

Robert Redington slipped by Sebastien Vergnaud to take Rookie honors and Roger Lee is holding the Red Lantern.

Monica Zappa scratched at Shaktoolik when her team didn’t like moving on the sea ice.

In addition to the two dogs I have already mentioned, Katherine Keith lost Flash, a 4-year-old, as she approached Koyuk, and Roger Lee lost 3-year-old Shilling just outside of Unalakleet. Not a good year for the puppies.

Roger Lee has scratched at Shaktoolik which hands the Red Lantern back to Cindy Abbott.

Standings at 9:40PM CDT:

Finished at Nome
11 Jeff King (34)
12 Ramey Smyth (44)
13 Michelle Phillips (9)
14 Ryan Redington (2)
15 Hans Gatt (32)
16 Ralph Johannessen (39)
17 Ken Anderson (59)
18 John Baker (65)
19 Katherine Keith (52)
20 Linwood Fiedler (6)
21 Jason Mackey (64)
22 Robert Redington (70)R
23 Sebastien Vergnaud (13)R
24 Richie Diehl (21)
25 Mats Pettersson (33)
26 Lars Monsen (45)
27 Hugh Neff (50)
28 Rick Casillo (27)
29 Noah Burmeister (63)
30 Cody Strathe (5)
31 Ketil Reitan (11)
32 Martin Buser (15)
33 Melissa Stewart (56)
34 Scott Smith (69)
35 Nathan Schroeder (62)
36 Nicolas Vanier (26)R
37 Seth Barnes (51)
38 Karin Hendrickson (20)
39 Allen Moore (36)
40 Kristy Berington (73)
41 Anna Berington (66)
42 Laura Neese (7)Q
[Read more →]

March 16, 2017   Comments Off on Iditarod 2017 – Day 11

Iditarod 2017 – Day 10

Iditarod 2017 MapSled DogJessie Royer came in 5th with her entire 16 dog team. Those puppies just finished 8th in their first Quest and now a 5th.

Everyone is at the coast with the end in sight – maybe tomorrow.

Standings at 9:30PM CDT:

Finished at Nome
1 Mitch Seavey (16)
2 Dallas Seavey (18)
3 Nicolas Petit (24)
4 Joar Leifseth Ulsom (38)
5 Jessie Royer (37)
6 Wade Marrs (29)
7 Ray Redington Jr (14)
8 Aliy Zirkle (41)
9 Peter Kaiser (25)
10 Paul Gebhardt (57)
11 Jeff King (34)
12 Ramey Smyth (44)
13 Michelle Phillips (9)
14 Ryan Redington (2)
15 Hans Gatt (32)
16 Ralph Johannessen (39)
17 Ken Anderson (59)
18 John Baker (65)
19 Katherine Keith (52)
20 Linwood Fiedler (6)
Beyond Safety
21 Jason Mackey (64)
22 Robert Redington (70)R
23 Sebastien Vergnaud (13)R
24 Richie Diehl (21)
Beyond White Mountain
25 Mats Pettersson (33)
26 Hugh Neff (50)
27 Lars Monsen (45)
28 Rick Casillo (27)
29 Scott Smith (69)
30 Noah Burmeister (63)
31 Martin Buser (15)
32 Cody Strathe (5)
33 Ketil Reitan (11)
[Read more →]

March 15, 2017   2 Comments

International Pi Day

Albert Einstein

3/14 is Albert’s birthday and

Π Day.

PiI assume you have all shopped for the perfect gift.

To start: Π ≅ 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399
3751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679….

March 14, 2017   2 Comments

Iditarod 2017 – Day 9

Iditarod 2017 MapSled DogMitch Seavey is on track to be the oldest and fastest musher to win the Iditarod. There are only the 77 miles to Nome left and he has a two hour lead. He starts for the finish line at 10:36AM CDT.

Ellen Halverson (30) scratched at Koyukuk.

Mitch Seavey won his third Iditarod at 3:40PM AKDT [6:40PM CDT] in 8days, 3 hours, 40 minutes, & 13 seconds. At 57 he is the oldest winner and the fastest with that time.

Standings at 9:30PM CDT:

Finished at Nome
1 Mitch Seavey (16)
2 Dallas Seavey (18)
3 Nicolas Petit (24)
Beyond White Mountain
4 Joar Leifseth Ulsom (38)
5 Jessie Royer (37)
At White Mountain
6 Wade Marrs (29)
7 Ray Redington Jr (14)
8 Peter Kaiser (25)
9 Aliy Zirkle (41)
10 Paul Gebhardt (57)
Beyond Elim
11 Michelle Phillips (9)
12 Richie Diehl (21)
13 Jeff King (34)
14 Ramey Smyth (44)
15 Jason Mackey (64)
16 Ralph Johannessen (39)
17 Ryan Redington (2)
18 Katherine Keith (52)
19 John Baker (65)
20 Mats Pettersson (33)
21 Hans Gatt (32)
22 Lars Monsen (45)
23 Ken Anderson (59)
24 Linwood Fiedler (6)
At Elim
25 Sebastien Vergnaud (13)R
26 Hugh Neff (50)
27 Robert Redington (70)R
Beyond Koyuk
28 Noah Burmeister (63)
29 Scott Smith (69)
30 Rick Casillo (27)
31 Martin Buser (15)
32 Cody Strathe (5)
33 Ketil Reitan (11)
[Read more →]

March 14, 2017   Comments Off on Iditarod 2017 – Day 9

Way To Go … Not!

In the CBC: Hamilton church volunteers denied entry to U.S. so they wouldn’t ‘steal American jobs’. That’s right, officers of the US Custom & Border Patrol turned back a group of volunteers from Hamilton, Ontario because their volunteer labor might be used instead of hiring US workers. The church group was heading to New Jersey to help a local church clean up the mess left by Hurricane Sandy. The CBP felt that after 5 years there would be no mess to clean up and the letter from the US church didn’t meet the required criteria.

Then you have this: Girl Guides of Canada cancelling trips to the U.S., citing travel concerns. Thats right, the Canadian version of the Girl Scouts won’t attend events or go to camps in the US, because they can’t be sure that all of the people in the group will be allowed in.

When shoppers, church groups and the Girl Guides don’t have any confidence as to what will happen if they attempt to visit the US, they won’t come. When international groups can’t be sure of who will be allowed in, they won’t hold meetings or conferences in the US. The Trump Slump in tourism is only going to grow when even Canadians stop coming.

March 13, 2017   Comments Off on Way To Go … Not!