Saturday, March 7, 2015


Civil rights struggles are universal and belong to all races, nations, creeds, etc., etc. To say otherwise or to emphasize exclusivity seems foolish.

That song is from the last U2 album I bought. I'm still kicking myself for missing their show in Madison at a small club around 1982. At the time, I only knew them from MTV and their version of "Gloria" which had nothing in common with Van Morrison.  

Clinton Runs Silent: "People have very short memories"

"Clinton and her team are aware that her tactics will only hold out for so long and that she’ll eventually have to answer questions about her e-mail practices, but she and her advisers are aiming to delay that moment, ideally until she formally announces she’s running for president. At that point, they hope, the controversy will have subsided to the point where her campaign launch will be a much bigger headline than her response to a month-old scandal. An added benefit to the approach: the potential for Republicans to overreach and overreact while Clinton stays silent."

Friendly analysts concur with the Clinton team's view of the situation. “The energy in this story is enormously defused by committing to release emails in some form or fashion,” said Chris Lehane, who managed the Clinton White House’s response to Whitewater and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. “Having lived through many of these, including many that were far bigger and far more serious, I would say it makes sense to settle in a little bit … people have very short memories.”

What’s more, at least some Clinton allies don’t think that voters will care. “Voters do not give a shit about what email Hillary used. They don't even give a fart,” Democratic strategist Paul Begala, a longtime adviser to Bill Clinton, told CNN on Thursday.
Update: "Here Is the State Department’s First 'Official' Release of a Hillary Clinton Email... Clinton didn't write it"

"Police shooting death of black man sparks protests in Wisconsin"

"A police officer followed the man back to an apartment, where the man reportedly attacked the officer. “The officer did draw his revolver and subsequently shot the subject,” Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said...

An editor for the UW-Madison student newspaper The Badger Herald tweeted a photo of the protest and reported that the crowd chanted “black lives matter,” a rallying cry that has gained prominence in the wake of the police-involved deaths of black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York.
(Update) The young man killed had prior arrests (ht Michael Haz)

"A boy is a political animal"

"At its simplest level, the strip is about the friendship between a bright 6-year-old misfit (Calvin) and his pet tiger (Hobbes). Its “trick” is that Hobbes is a lifeless stuffed animal when others are present and a rollicking, witty companion when they are not. So the story can be understood on many levels. It is about the richness of the imagination, the subversiveness of creativity and the irreconcilability of private yearnings and worldly reality. Where Calvin sees a leaf-monster trying to swallow him, Calvin’s father sees his troublemaker son scattering the leaf-piles he has spent all afternoon raking."

The late political scientist James Q. Wilson described “Calvin and Hobbes” as “our only popular explication of the moral philosophy of Aristotle.” Wilson meant that the social order is founded on self-control and delayed gratification—and that Calvin is hopeless at these things. Calvin thinks that “life should be more like TV” and that he is “destined for greatness” whether he does his homework or not. His favorite sport is “Calvinball,” in which he is entitled to make up the rules as he goes along.

Day-in, day-out, Calvin keeps running into evidence that the world isn’t built to his (and our) specifications. All humor is, in one way or another, about our resistance to that evidence.

“Calvin and Hobbes” would have faced big challenges if Mr. Watterson had decided to carry on. The Internet has cut a swath through the press. There are no longer hundreds of independent newspapers to which a cartoonist can syndicate his work.

And today’s cultural climate might have made it more difficult for him to render a boy’s imaginative life in a realistic way. Calvin fantasizes not just about dinosaurs flying F-14s but also about shooting up his school with a tank. At one point, he tells Susie Derkins—his neighbor, rival and secret crush—“I’m sure it’s frustrating knowing that men are bigger, stronger and better at abstract thought than women.” That these are all jokes matters little. Enforcers of taste are not known for their humor.

train wreck, crude oil

I asked Joe, a wise old fellow, what he thought of the Keystone pipeline and his instant response was, "We don't need anything that will threaten the Ogallala aquifer." He spit that out with such alacrity it seemed practiced. As if that word is on all of our lips. As long as I've known him I've not heard Joe say either of those two words before, "Ogallala" nor "aquifer" and that told me his source of information had drilled successfully that particular point to associate with Keystone. It was odd for Joe to produce the word "Ogallala" on the spot like that as he did.

"The stuff is already being transported by rail."

"So. Just as long as it doesn't threaten damage to the Ogallala aquifer. Because that cannot be fixed."

"It is already threatened by the manner it is already being transported. A pipeline is safer than rail. If you are concerned for an aquifer that you can suddenly name then you will support the safest means possible."

"Well that's to be seen. Nothing should threaten the Ogallala aquifer."

I can see this is far as I'll get. Ogallala aquifer. Well done, Media, now even Joe can bark the word on signal, and he's so pleased with himself for that ability and for his grasp of current events.

Since then two train wrecks involving oil cars has been reported, but I forget where the first one was, it happened right after our conversation, the second one was in Illinois a few days ago and both times when I heard the reports my first thought was, "Well, well, conservative activists are finally coming out of character, finally taking a page from their adversaries, finally behaving as fiercely as environmentalist zealots by producing catastrophes to drive their points dramatically and sway political discussion, carelessly threatening lives and property in their demonstration of hazardous rail crude oil transport by creating these wrecks, and by contrast then how much safer for the environment  a pipeline would be. Clever use of winter weather for plausible deniability.

I don't know how railroad companies keep their tracks together. It's a matter of continuous daily diligence. Due to geology and weather the tracks themselves are continuously moving. The earth under the tracks and around the tracks is moving.

On a train trip back to Denver from Concord and San Francisco our passenger train continually stopped along sidetracks to yield for cargo trains in the opposite direction that used the same tracks. It rained unusually as the train passed through Nevada and then through Utah. In those two states particularly there is more geology than there is vegetation covering it. The water drains down the slope the tracks traverse washing away the surface layer of soil right under the tracks creating oily psychedelic slicks and exposing older layers underneath, you can see the ballast under the tracks washing away, the water is passing right under the tracks and as passengers all sit there waiting and a kind of claustrophobia of not moving sets in and you wish you could leave the train and muck about along side wandering off not too far from the train  panning for silver and gold until the train moves again. Surely the water is bringing up new metals and minerals. The entire landscape looks otherworldly, alien, uninhabited, wet and rippling with minerals to be had for the taking right off the shimmering newly exposed smooth wet surface.

All that track would require repair every time it drizzles continuously for days like that. It is impressive that there are not more rail accidents due to track displacement due to geology and weather.

Friday, March 6, 2015

X Ray brings people together... or?

"Diversity & Inclusion – Love Has No Labels"

"Actor Harrison Ford reportedly in stable condition after plane crash on golf course"

Chief Justice Roberts is going to save ObamaCare one more time

"He (Roberts) sat passively for most of the rapid-fire questioning and made only one inquiry of real substance, near the end of Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.’s presentation."
“If you’re right — if you’re right about Chevron, that would indicate that a subsequent administration could change that interpretation?” Roberts asked. 
Roberts’s question was referring to “Chevron deference,” a doctrine mostly unknown beyond the halls of the Capitol and the corridors of the Supreme Court. It refers to a 1984 decision, Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., and it is one of the most widely cited cases in law.

Boiled down, it says that when a law is ambiguous, judges should defer to the agency designated to implement it so long as the agency’s decision is reasonable. (read more)
I received a tweet from an observant follower this morning. @thetrueoorah said "There is no greater threat to your life and liberty than a government that does not obey the law."

Not only did the democrats write a bad law, they wrote it poorly. Now having convinced everyone that "congress is broken", that they can't go back and fix it thru the proscribed constitutional process, they are just going to keep driving on the rims, as it where, and hope it will all work out.

People, we are taking too many shortcuts on the way to wherever our final destination may be.

What is this?

That's all there is to this inane joke. I don't even know why I looked up the word. It must have been in a song. This happens every day all throughout the day, prompted by songs and by reading. 

It's just so easy because the laptop is right here, same thing with a phone. I used to have to learn the lyrics to the song, not always so easy to do and not everyone always agreed what the words are. Now I have them in front of me in seconds before the song breaks into vocals. 

Back then I would look in my analog dictionaries for the words in the song that I do not know, and I have the best dictionaries I've seen. The best. I am so proud of them. 

And now they mean nothing because now there are dozens of electronic dictionaries, good ones too, right here wherever I'm at. So now I get to see how everybody says things, not just my friends and my few books. 

But back then with my memorized songs when we'd meet at work or when I'd encounter friends next, I would run through the song in my mind picking out the words I could not find and ask them how to say them. I'd insert the new signs in my songs and be on my merry way in search of new songs to obsess. In this manner my vocabulary in this language grew over years. Now word searches are much faster, on account of the computers and slower on account of the high number of dictionaries and faster because the machines these days race like nobody's business and slower because now twenty songs are processed in the time one song did before and a lot more words come by every day without cease.

My ways of saying "trap" differs completely from this. My way is more like a bear trap, or Venus fly trap, or trap door, or a snare. I have not seen this, and if I did see this sign then I did not understand what it meant. I miss a lot. This way here is odd because the trap aggressively seeks its prey and not the prey walking into a trap. I wouldn't get that. Don't you think? I would not associate this movement with the concept of "trap." That little problem made me look up the word in all the dictionaries, just another example why word-looking-up goes so slowly anymore. This is usual. It actually all goes very quickly with good connection and fast laptop but now this happens to almost all words in this language, just to check on alternates, one word gets looked up at six places with up to a dozen or more videos. There is also YouTube, separate songs, and non-video sources.

ASL browser hosted by MSU agrees with Signing Savvy above, the sign for "trap" is made like a smart mousetrap that leaps upon its prey.

I was unsatisfied to see American dictionaries use the word for "stuck." 

Stuck is a useful word. But it is not trap.

Lifeprint does not have the word. Handspeak does not have the word, but she does have the word for "mousetrap" and here we see her "trap" is of the crocodile variety. ↓

The USA interpreter at Spreadthesign uses the word for "stuck" like ASL Pro does. So far, two separate agreements, and two no-shows. What about the rest of the countries at spreadthesign? What are their traps like? 

Czech is a crocodile trap.
Iceland is too.
So is Lithuanian.
So is Swedish, but without teeth. 
As is Turkish.

French is more clearly vertically oriented like a Venus fly-trap. ↑

Spanish "trap" is our word for "danger" or "blocked attack," a useful ASL sign.

Estonian is a more precise trap. This is our word for "exact." another useful sign. If formed with "Ps" instead of two spark plug tips then the world would be "perfect." If you want to be silly, as the people I know do, then when you touch the two "Ps" together do so precisely, as two pairs of open scissors touching at tips, closing as a stapler, both scissors close then open again back to two "Ps" touching at tips as if you stapled a paper precisely in air. Then laugh and sip your cocktail. 

Latvian. I haven't a clue. Maybe a pit with branches for covering. The sign is similar to our sign for "sit" and also similar to our sign for "salt" if they would twinkle the fingers as if sprinkling table salt.

Polish is the crocodile with a victim!

The German "trap" baffles me. It looks like a feline stalking and lunging, then an attack directly at a victim. It is our word for "close the lid on the coffin" and the jab into the palm is our word for "again" and for "a thousand." 

Ukrainian wins second place because she is so completely fierce and she describes a precise snare with loops and a trip plate the likes of which I have not seen.

British English wins first place. She has the best grabbiest trap plus she's a bit deranged.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rahm Emanuel demands respect

According to mental healthcare workers, Debbie Delgado and Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle at first he was all, "I would like to speak with you privately about these important concerns." And then he was all, "You will respect me!" 

Fred Klonsky, preaprez.wordpress

The same story is all over the place.

Rahm Emanuel's office denies, Huffington Post.


Simply x-qui-vizit. 

"She described Charlie as a “bright boy”"

"Study Says Men Are More Narcissistic Than Women"

"The scientists studied gender differences in three features of narcissism: leadership and authority, exhibitionism and entitlement. They looked at how people responded to statements like, “If I ruled the world, it would be a much better place.” Researchers found a large gap between the genders in the categories of leadership and entitlement, suggesting that men are more likely than women to believe they deserve privileges and pursue opportunities. But men and women were equally as exhibitionist."

“Compared with women, men exhibit more assertiveness and desire for power,” lead author Emily Grijalva said on the University of Buffalo website. “But there was no difference in the exhibitionism aspect, meaning both genders are equally likely to display vanity or self-absorption.”

“Individuals tend to observe and learn gender roles from a young age, and may face backlash for deviating from society’s expectations,” Grijalva says. “In particular, women often receive harsh criticism for being aggressive or authoritative, which creates pressure for women, more so than for men, to suppress displays of narcissistic behavior.” (read the whole thing)

winter starter plants

I must do something with these now.

The petunias (not shown here) set at the window receiving strong indirect natural light are still tiny, but these planted at the same time under 40W fluorescents and with a heated blanket skipped well ahead. 

So these large plants must be replanted now, leaving room to plant more and with enough time left before Spring to fix any oversights. 

But the poor petunia development at the windows shows me that natural light in those two spots is still insufficient to take over where these fluorescents leave off once they are replanted into their containers. The natural light is not strong enough yet, not direct yet, and the days not yet long enough. Did I jump the gun perhaps?

No! What's with the second guessing and self-doubt creeping up in here already? 

I think, but I am not sure, I must now invest in a few more lights to fill the light-length and light-strength at the window for a month or so until the sun moves and the days are longer. Only until the plants can be left outside. Eh, they're cheap enough.  All garage-type shop lights. Very effective. I got the fluorescents on eBay. I have 25 of them. Clearly, they work very well. Even better if I knew what I was doing. This is one of those live and learn as you go things. It's just the idea of storing all that when not needed.

The petunias are growing much faster than when I did this before with a small plastic greenhouse and without lights. That year, those petunias did very well once outside, better than the larger more developed supplemental petunias purchased later. I wrote the seed-company and told them I didn't expect much from the 10-each seed packs of nearly microscopic seeds that took so long to get going but once they took off the plants poured out of their basket containers with surprising and long-lasting profusion. They wrote back and said,


Nobody ever does. It means so much.

I forgot what these plants are, but they sure are cute. I have a feeling these are going to spread like crazy.

These tiny two-leaf things just starting are coleus. It occurred to me after some of the first round failed that most arrangements I saw around last summer had some kind of coleus in them, often mixes of various coleus species. Once I began noticing then I noticed them everywhere, new species I hadn't seen before. Intriguing large-leafed plants with wild patterns and very wide range of colors. I found an online source and  bought seed packs from each category of coleus, the full range of sizes and colors and types. These shown above are the type that grow large as dinner plates. They're grown for foliage, not for blooms, but their foliage is so bright and so varied they're like blooms. They grow well in shade, appreciate bright light, tolerate direct sun. Pretty much a perfect container plant. I think they will work well in my situation.

They are very easy to grow, a beginner's plant, the first houseplant I owned, but I never started them from seed before. This is going to be fun. I bought ten or so packages of seeds. Some packages have 10 seeds, some packages have 250 seeds, it's insane. All failed cups from hereon get some kind of coleus seeds and help with heat and light to get started. That's the plan for now. See that naked cup up there? It's already planted with dragon coleus with dark compact fuzzy and convoluted leaves

This is a pepper, I think. I'll know when it blooms, probably pretty soon too. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Claim: Hacker accessed Secretary of State Clinton "non-governmental" emails

"The disclosure that Hillary Clinton used a non-governmental e-mail address while she was Secretary of State originally came courtesy of “Guccifer,” the Romanian hacker now serving time in a Bucharest prison for his online attacks against scores of public figures."

While he rummaged through Blumenthal’s e-mail account, “Guccifer” sorted mail sent to Clinton’s address. He then took a screen grab showing more than two dozen e-mails sent over a two-month period ending in mid-February 2013.

Along with Valentine’s Day greetings and a mention of Clinton “walking in my neighborhood,” the subject lines of those Blumnethal e-mails include repeated references to “intel” shared with the Secretary of State. Other subject lines refer to “Q you raised” and “got your message a few days ago; I’m around whenev…” A February 17 e-mail included the subject line, “H: fyi, will continue to send relevant intel. Sid.” (4 pages)

English Home Office: 'You can't be a lesbian, you've got children'

Apata’s barrister, Abid Mahmood, called these views: “highly offensive”.

“Some members of the public may have those views but it doesn’t mean a government department should be putting these views forward in evidence,” he told the court.

Justice Department: No Darren Wilson charges

"There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson's stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety," the Justice Department report said.

Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to address the findings at 3 p.m. EST.

Google promises to re-sort the 'facts' and Is dark matter interacting with the sun?

"Google's search engine currently uses the number of incoming links to a web page as a proxy for quality, determining where it appears in search results. So pages that many other sites link to are ranked higher. This system has brought us the search engine as we know it today, but the downside is that websites full of misinformation can rise up the rankings, if enough people link to them."
A Google research team is adapting that model to measure the trustworthiness of a page, rather than its reputation across the web. Instead of counting incoming links, the system – which is not yet live – counts the number of incorrect facts within a page. "A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy," says the team ( The score they compute for each page is its Knowledge-Based Trust score.
What the heck is an "incorrect fact"? And the very next sentence a "false fact"?
The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings. Read More 
"Dark matter, has of course, not been proven to exist, but evidence has piled up for the existence of some sort or matter that we cannot see or truly explain. To find out if it might be at play in the sun (captured perhaps by its gravity) the team built four models. One of the models was based on standard theory, the other three all took into account the possible impact of dark matter. The dark matter models mathematically described the possibility of interactions between dark matter and regular matter and the momentum that might or might not occur."  Read more

lady musicians painting, the boys' offering cake

This is me showing one of two frescos I painted and sold to the FRB. This photograph was used in both the branch's newsletter and the district's newsletter, a matter of interest to them not just because they bought two paintings from an employee but also because I used their shredded currency for binder. 

They thought that was cute.

But it's actually the best material I've found and I tried a lot of things. Egyptians used hay so I tried that. I have a huge garbage bag full of this shredded currency, a lifetime supply. I should show you my million dollars someday.

The woman who took the picture really is short. Munchkin-size, actually. 

It is a famous image, Musicians of Amun, Tomb of Nakht, 18th Dynasty, same dynasty as King Tut.

The other painting sold to the FRB is a portion of the Geese of Meidum, a very famous painting, the earliest of known fresco paintings depicting six Egyptian geese so realistically their species is identified: Egyptian goose. Psych! The one I sold was only the two colorful geese. Later, I sold another longer fresco of all six geese to a guy who hunts geese. There are antique wooden decoys all around it. Really cool. 

When I left the FRB the painting of the two geese was hanging in a conference room where the awesome and impressive and intimidating gigantic table is and every time I had a meeting in there I was completely distracted by my own art. I criticized it in my mind. Found every fault by intense scrutiny. That is also the room where I set off to record t-bill auction results. I was the only one on the floor who could read that crap and make it sound like English.

The painting of the lady musicians was hanging in a smaller 3rd floor conference room and whenever I had a meeting in there I was hopelessly distracted by my own art criticizing every flaw I could detect, swearing to myself I'd give it another try. And I did. 

And now I'm thinking the whole thing all over again. I agonize over every flaw no matter how great the painting looks in situ. 

This is a carrot cake commissioned by the wife of a doctor who bought the original painting depicted on the cake's icing. The cake shop photographed the painting and projected it onto the blank screen of the carrot cake. She said it was fascinating to watch. They even copied the hieroglyphics. 

A lot of effort and thoughtfulness was put into this cake. They kept thinking of things to reward me personally beyond cash payment, they offered generous flier miles but I wasn't interested in going anywhere. They offered other trips besides, with and without them, then finally she thought of this cake and I must say it was delicious. It fed a whole party then I took it to work and feed my whole department until it was gone. 

This is an original composition. Four boys on their way with offerings. The items they carry are unclear, bread, ostrich eggs, something alien. There is a satellite dish among the hieroglyphs. The boy looking back has a goose on a rope by the neck taking off in the opposite direction. Contrary to Egyptian canon, the boys are caught in midstep. With the tension on the rope, the stepping forward while looking backward, the duck moving opposite, the viewer realizes the next step the line of boys takes together snaps the birds neck and whips it around with force. The painting has tension. But the cake does not. 

It is a sweet painting. And it is large. And I am so well chuffed where I saw this painting hanging so considerately. I can tell they really loved this painting and so did their guests who saw it. First in a high rise abutting Cheesman park, way up there. Half the whole floor. The elevator door opens directly onto the apartment, BOOM, this painting. Stunning. Every person who walked into the place walked right into this painting, and it held its own very well with all the other art there. They always do.

The couple sold that condominium and bought a house on Genesee, top of the hill on I-70 where the stretched taffy bridge is at the tippy top, and lookout mountain on the other side, and a lot of hummingbirds. Stunning home on mountain property. First thing you see upon entering the home, BOOM, this painting. 

They died. Both did. The girlfriend of the executor of the estate called, "DUBS!" on the painting, so before anybody could notice the thing was shipped off to Connecticut. I leaned that by third party, and it is fine with me. I know somebody loves it real well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pelosi and friends

These were circulating on Twitter tonight so I added frames and animated them. I do not know what the problem is. What, reps are not allowed to shake hands with or get close to fer'ners?  I do not know.
Pelosi released an hasty statement. Following the usual platitudes:

✓ Unbreakable bonds
✓ Rooted
✓ Shared values
✓ Common ideals and mutual interests
✓ Deep abiding friendship
✓ Goes beyond party loyalty
✓ Stand shoulder to shoulder
✓ Greatest political achievement
✓ Unshakeable commitment
That is why, as one who values the U.S. -- Israel relationship, and loves Israel, I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister's speech --saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5+1 nations, and saddened by the condescension towards our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.
And then straight back to bromides and platitudes.

✓ We all agree
✓ Nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable
✓ We all said a bad deal is worse than no deal
✓ Stopping the spread is bedrock of our foreign policy
✓ President Obama said consistently ... 
✓ All options on the table

Such nonsense. No. That is not why, you silly bint. The assurances given are thin and all that together contradicts the petulance demonstrated by you and your party, by your insistence on the fineries of protocol after having exploded all that in both the Obama administration and throughout the Bush administration.

Status: message rejected.

What we have here is an important US ally deftly managing the schizophrenia that characterizes Washington and American politics in general. A model of American politics would be good cop / bad cop at a square dance. "Switch your partners, hand in hand, hit 'em in the head with a frying pan. Round, round, punch 'em in the head, dosey-doo until they're dead." 

A week ago I was watching CNN as some discussion wrapped up about Israel and Israeli politics. At the very end Nancy Pelosi shot up in the audience and demanded the attention of participants as they were preparing to leave, shuffling around. Through her halted, stilted, hesitant, uncertainty, everyone present could read her anguished and frustrated, clearly disrupted psychology lying, conflicted in trying to construct the perfect unassailable phrases, "Uh, uh, eh, there is, uh, eh, just one thing that uh I must uh address. I cannot let this one uh uh thing pass. We. do. not. interfere. in. Israeli. politics. uh, um. No. We never, we do not, we would not, we do not do that. Never. No." 

And you could see on their faces that everyone there thought the same thing at once, "Bullshit." 

I did not listen to Netanyahu's speech but I've seen discussions and I've seen recaps and I read the text

He too delivers the usual bromides and platitudes. He thanks Obama and his administration for the help they have already provided. He cites examples that are known and alludes to help he's received that is not public knowledge. He wants us to know all is appreciated.

He delivers a breathtaking sweep of the history of his area and of geopolitical reality. Command of his material is complete.
In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran's aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow. 
So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.
He describes the ideology of the Iranian Revolutionary regime as deeply rooted in militant Islam and will always be an enemy of America. He urges American not to be fooled into thinking the battle between ISIS and Iran makes Iran a friend. It does not. How well he knows the liberal mind.
In this deadly game of thrones, there's no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don't share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone. 
So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.
Nice contemporary reference there. Proves he's current. 

Netanyahu continues with his description of the present status of affairs. He describes North Korea. He describes Iran as violating IAEA inspections. Iran has been caught twice operating secret nuclear facilities. He sees two unacceptable concessions in the deal at hand with Iran. 
If there's no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn't have one." Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that's why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout.
But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.
Iran's Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount -- 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision. 
So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade.
Netanyahu does not want the deal. He wants to interfere hard in Obama's negations with Iran. It is clear the man does not trust Obama. If he cannot be at the table he will have this opportunity to talk around the table, under and over the table. He surrounded the table with his talk. He boldly spread his cards, showed his entire hand. 

It's adorable how Netanyahu gives Obama advice on how to negotiate Eastern style. What would give Netanyahu the idea Obama needs this kind of advice? It is clear Netanyahu cannot allow the fate of his nation to rest on anyone he regards as so shiftless.
Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table -- and this often happens in a Persian bazaar -- call their bluff. They'll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.  
And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more. 
Now we're being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That's just not true.   
The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.
Netanyahu acknowledges Elie Wiesel with them in the chamber. He is holocaust survivor and Nobel prize winner. And this, the most important thing of all is at the end. It seems to me a very clear statement but I have not heard any common taters mention it, nor have I seen anything on Twitter, nor on other sites yet, but, if this were a logic test, I'd say this is the most important bit of all. 
We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.  
This is why -- this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.  
But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.
He just told Congress he will will jack with Iran's centrifuges if nobody else will. 

Live Long and Prosper

Instapundit: "Two things people are missing about Netanyahu speech"

"(1) He didn’t just make a case for why the U.S. should be harder on Iran. He made the case for unilateral Israeli military intervention too, sub silentio."

"(2) The most damaging thing to Obama here isn’t even the substance, but the contrast in style. Netanyahu, as someone said on Twitter, was better in his second language than Obama is in his first. And he presented himself as a leader who cares about his country, rather than one, like Obama, who makes excuses for its enemies."

Police said tunnel was built for "personal reasons"

"Police say that two men are behind a tunnel discovered in Toronto, and there was no criminality involved."
Spanning 10 metres in length and two metres high, the tunnel was filled with electrical generators, light bulbs, a wheelbarrow, and food and water containers.
A Remembrance Day poppy and a rosary were found nailed to the wall.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nelson Shanks

Portrait artist Nelson Shanks revealed in an interview with Stephanie Farr his take on various subjects he's painted. This is my favorite part, when asked if he recalls his first painting as a child, Shanks responded early on his father went off to war leaving behind an oil painting kit. At age five he got hold of the kit and set up in the dining room, and that right there shows admirable maternal support because those paints smell really bad.
My aunt was working in Los Alamos. She sent a picture of an adobe house and it had the poles sticking out and the poles were casting shadows in a diagonal. So I sat down and I painted that. I remember being more intrigued, not about painting an adobe house, but in capturing the way those shadows worked.
When questioned, "Who did you find hardest to capture?" Shanks answered, Bill Clinton. Why? Because the reality is he is the most famous liar of all time.

Goodness. Worse than the Trojan horse? Worse than Piltdown Man? Worse than Watergate and worse than Bush lying about weapons of mass destruction? Surely there are other lies worse.

Shanks said that he never could get the the Monica thing completely out of his mind and it is subtly incorporated in the painting.

It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him. 
And so the Clintons hate the portrait. They want it removed from the National Portrait Gallery. They're putting a lot of pressure on them.
He said made its way in to the painting subtly.

The story is all over the place. I didn't even think of this, Shanks did. One item I read Shanks says that he actually set up a mannequin with a blue dress and a light behind it to cast a shadow on the fireplace when the president was not there. He always did like the effects made by shadows. 

"Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email at State Dept."

"Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record."
"Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act."

Via NYT Email Alert

"Jihadi John's mother screamed 'that's my son'"

"Ghania Emwazi screamed "that's my son" as the knife-wielding executioner made a speech in English while standing behind Mr Foley moments before beheading him last August."
Mr Emwazi Snr was questioned along with one of his sons for most of the day on Sunday after being summoned by police.

"The mother recognised the voice and she screamed 'that is my son' while he was talking before beheading the first American hostage," a source familiar with the Kuwaiti investigation said. "When they played the video again, the father was sure it was his son."

Insiders described Mr Emwazi as "emotional and upset at what had happened to his son" while talking to investigators.

"I am waiting day-by-day to hear about his death," he is said to have told his interrogators."

"I'm doing great"

Conservatism as Counterculture

Excerpt from the March 9, 2015, issue of National Review
There is now the phrase “movement conservative.” When I first heard it, I thought it oxymoronic. Conservatism is establishment and tradition, not protest and reform. But “movement” suggests struggle against injustice, the overcoming of some oppression. So it is telling that many conservatives now think of themselves as part of a “movement” and refer to one another as “movement conservatives.” A great irony that slowly emerged out of the turmoil of the 1960s is that conservatism became the new counterculture — a movement that was subversive in relation to the established liberal cultural order. And, continuing this irony, liberalism became the natural home of timid conventionalists and careerists — people who find it hard to know themselves outside the orthodoxies of mainstream “correctness.” And what is political correctness if not an establishment orthodoxy?

What drives this conservative “movement”? Of course there are the classic motivations — a commitment to free-market capitalism, smaller government, higher educational standards, the reinforcement of family life, either the projection of strength abroad or, conversely, a kind of isolationism, and so on. But overriding all of this is a cultural motivation that might be called the “pinch of stigma.” The special energy of contemporary conservatism — what gives it the dynamism of a movement — comes from conservative outrage at being stigmatized in the culture as the politics in which all of America’s past evils now find a comfortable home.

This stigmatization is conservatism’s great liability in an American culture that gives dissociation preeminence, that makes it the arbiter of all other social values. Contemporary conservatism is, first of all, at war with this cultural stigmatization. Its ideas always swim upstream against the perception that they only echo the racist, sexist, and parochial America of old — as if conservatism were an ideology devoted to human regression. For conservatives, it is, in the end, a bewildering war against an undeserved bad reputation. And how do you fight a bad reputation that always precedes you? (read the whole thing)

Iran still withholding key information and Netanyau believes he knows why

"The head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog said on Monday Iran had still not handed over key information to his staff, and his body's investigation into Tehran's atomic program could not continue indefinitely."
"Iran has yet to provide explanations that enable the agency to clarify two outstanding practical measures," chief Yukiya Amano told the body's Board of Governors in Vienna... "The Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities," Amano said.
The Agency remains ready to accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues, he added, but "this process cannot continue indefinitely". 
Meanwhile the Israely prime minister Benjamin Netanyau arrives in Washington DC to address the people of the United States.
During his upcoming speech to Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will lay out the details of what he understands to be the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran, hoping it will prompt lawmakers to question the administration and delay the March 24 deadline for a political agreement.

A senior Israeli official traveling in Netanyahu's delegation... said the Israeli government had "a good understanding of the agreement we can draw conclusions from. We know what we know. And believe me, we know a lot of information about this agreement," the official told reporters aboard the flight to Washington. "The Prime Minister is going to Congress to explain what they don't know about this agreement that it is a bad agreement."

Spock Warren


Their lights go out and they do this each night, a regular thing since the lights are on a timer. They do the same thing around noon without a cue from the lights; bunch up in the middle of the tank and hang there in space for hours on end.

When they wake up they're hungry. For flakes. Flakes, flakes, flakes, flakes, flakes, that's all they ever eat. They're very picky. I tried to turn them on to other things, but they're not having it.

Half of these fish originate from the Rio Negro. I just checked the temperature of Rio Negro, one chart shows a range from 50℉ to 68℉. That is colder than I thought it would be.

Seems like I just stripped this thing out and now it's overgrown again. The fish like it overgrown.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Jewels of the Oracle, game

Jewels of the Oracle is 1995 puzzle challenge game that followed on the success of Mist. It is composed of twenty-four puzzles ranging from easy to difficult.

In the above video, the puzzle that appears at 6:00 is the puzzle that was onscreen two decades ago when I walked into the high rise apartment for the first and only time of a friend of a friend. I forget why we were there. His computer station was set up tightly right at the entrance in the space of a closet without a door. The glow of this puzzle lit the area. 

Some person: "This is where we got stuck." 

Frank: "You haven't got passed this?"

Some person: "No."

It looked very much like this, partially solved. I looked at their solved pieces at the top, how they knew they were right, I did not know. I looked at the tiles remaining. They have one thing in common, and only one thing. I guessed. Their solved pieces fit my guess.  I saw what I needed in the remaining tiles. I put the tiles in their place and the puzzle was done in seconds. Next. The two men were stunned and disgusted and angry -- with me. Frank punched me. 

"Son of a bitch." 

When I showed them the solve they both shook their heads and said at the same time, 

"Sometimes it takes an idiot." 

See? I don't get any credit ever. But not all the puzzles are this easy. One puzzle is maddening because the solve is so subjective. 

My favorite puzzle is a dung beetle in a maze pushing poo into a hole. You can instruct the game to be either easy or hard. The beetle tends to get stuck in corners. It can only push and there is alway something goofing it up. 

One puzzle is a dastardly maze on a cube. You must solve it as if it were not a cube by rotating it around. 

One you must solve for the values of Al-Jabara. Get it? It's maths!

A couple of challenges are based on the puzzle you see in puzzle books all over the place, very recognizable games, things like getting all the beans into bowl by making one hop each, or getting all the sheep to an island with limited means (not an actual puzzle in the game), or filling pipes with water by releasing sections and combining them so that they all eventually equal. Many of the puzzles are solved counterintuitively by working first in the opposite direction, that is, filling a pipe beyond the desired amount then dividing it later. Another with four beans on one side and four beans on the other with a blank space between, the goal is get all pieces to switched sides by hopping one piece at a time.

Ah! I notice some player uploaded all 24 challenges. They are not necessarily taken in this order. I think, all six positions at the central fountain have four challenges each. 

One is based on the plastic game that is held in the hand with numbered tiles with one open space. The puzzle is solved by sliding the tiles around until they're arranged in order. That is another puzzle I used to solve in seconds when I was a kid. I am very good at that puzzle. Instead of numbers, the Jewels of the Oracle version has a pattern. I see the person solving the puzzle hasn't a clue what they are doing but manages to solve it anyway.

There is another similar puzzle that solves a wall mural of running horses. That is another of my favorites.

The whole atmosphere of the game is nice. It envisions an ancient world predating Sumerians. I read that somewhere. I like it because the world resembles predynastic Egypt.  

Six pairings in the Hall of Hidden links is the subjective puzzle I do not like.  Prehistoric objects are paired... by what? By type? By material? By intended use? By craftsmanship? By importance? By value? By weight? "These things go together," seems very simple but more than two things go together depending on how you regard them.

No wait. "Bowl and chest?"  Not bowl and table? 

"Hammer and brush", and not comb and brush? Not hammer and chisel? 

"Statue and table", and not bowl and table? 

I do not recall the satisfaction of completing this puzzle. It's like the logic portion of the GMAT verisimilitudes, they go completely off the rails and there is no way to challenge their thinking. 

You can buy this game on CD ROM for $59.50 at Amazon. Or else $2.00 + shipping by other options at Amazon. What a world, what a world. 

This laptop doesn't even have a slot for a CD ROM. That is like so last century.

I notice in search results places for free download of this game but none of the things I tried worked without signing up. 

How does D.C. compare with Amsterdam? or...

Don't be fooled, we're still better than Washington DC ;-)

"Initiative 71 became law today, legalizing marijuana in Washington, D.C. under certain circumstances. Mayor Muriel Bowser said this week that the District will not become “like Amsterdam,” as though being “like Amsterdam” would be a bad thing. City Hall even refers to Amsterdam in their official Q&A. To give the people of Washington, D.C. an educated view of how D.C. compares to Amsterdam, the Netherlands Embassy in Washington offers this Q&A about Dutch marijuana laws and policies and an infographic (pdf link)."

Oh, sure, you might be allowed more legal marijuana in DC. But look at how many bike lanes and street cars, compared to DC. We even got more museums.

Wrested From Wintercourse

It's March and so it's time for a little language madness. This post is part of series dealing with the original Anglo-Saxon names for the calendar months of the year. I'm borrowing from two places: The Anglo-Saxon Year and Duden: Das Herkunftswörterbuch. According the former:
March was Hreðmonað. Bede writes that this month is named for the goddess Hreða 'to whom they sacrificed at this time'. Hreða proves to be quite a shadowy figure. Though today's heathens have re-established links with this goddess, there is no existing lore about her. In his Teutonic Mythology, Jakob Grimm (of Grimm's Fairy Tales fame) presents evidence that in some parts of Germany the old name for March was Retmonat or Redtimonet, names which seem to be directly cognate with the Anglo-Saxon. This is the only evidence we have that the goddess Hreða may have been known outside of England.
According to my unlinkable Duden Band 7 (the German language equivalent to the OED), the German verb retten (to save, to rescue) gives a clue*
retten: The origin of the west germanic verb (middle high German retten, old high German [h]retten. Dutch redden, old English Hredden) is unclear. It is perhaps related to old Indic Srathnati "becomes loose, loosened", srathayati "freed" and thus originally meant to wrest, to loosen, to free.
In other words and to connect the dots, the old Anglo-Saxon notion of Hreðmonað seems to be preserved in the modern German verb "to be saved" or "rescued."  Winters were harsh and spelled doom for the tribe. It makes sense that they would offer tribute to a goddess who delivered them from extinction.  

*retten: Die Herkunft des westgerm. Verbs mhd. retten, ahd. [h]retten. niederl. redden, aengl. hreddan ist unklar. Vielleicht ist es mit aind. Srathnati, “wird locker, ist lose”, srathayati “befreit” verwandt und bedeutet dann ursprünglich “entreißen, lösen, befreien”.

'We'll take it from here dad': Depraved or hilarious?

SNL - Dakota Johnson - ISIS Commercial
Link to Uproxx story and video

"Quincy may build parking lot around resident’s home"

"The family rejected an offer the city made for their two-family home in January because they thought it was too low."
“I’m sure they think they are” negotiating in good faith, Tasney said of city officials. “I’m on the other end; I’m the one they want the house from and I’m not interested in moving.” 

“Who wants to take up and leave where you’ve lived for 40 years? If I had to move I probably won’t find what I want in Quincy, but I’ve lived in Quincy all my life.”

“I think it was handled really bad. We didn’t have a chance to vote if we’d like to have this city take a bunch of houses on our street,” he said. “I feel like I’m being taken advantage of, and that’s it.”
The homeowner has the city right where they want him... or something.