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Happy Birthday, Charles Rangel July 31, 2010

Posted by Michael in News.
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He’s going to be 80.  You gotta admit, he looks pretty good for 80.

"I am not a crook!"

Well, of course we should honor such a dedicated public servant.  Never mind that everyone has ignored for years his misuse of rent-controlled real estate in NYC, or his failure to report overseas income, just because he assumed he could get away with it.  Never mind that he is complicit in the destruction of our economy.  Never mind that he made an art form of pork-barrel politics.

Forgot all that.  Hasn’t he earned some respect?  Huh?

Democratic leaders and major party donors plan to hold a lavish 80th birthday gala for Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) at The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan next month, despite 13 ethics charges pending against the veteran lawmaker.

Lobbyists and other party donors received invitations this week to join Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and New York Gov. David Paterson (D) at one of New York’s finest hotels to celebrate Rangel’s birthday.

Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg are also listed as featured guests, according to an invitation viewed by The Hill.

Some potential guests received the invitation a day after the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct issued a report accusing Rangel of multiple ethics violations.

What the heck.  Business as usual in D.C.

Who cares about Rangel anyway.  The real draw is Retha.

While some Democrats think Rangel has become politically radioactive in Washington, the invitation lists a variety of enticements to get people to show up to his birthday bash and contribute to his campaign.

Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” will serenade them and guests who pony up $200, $500, $1,000 or $2,500 for tickets. The funds will go to the Rangel Victory Fund, a campaign account.

via Dem leaders, donors to hold Rangel birthday bash at The Plaza – TheHill.com.

I think I’ve found my new career!!!! July 30, 2010

Posted by wiserbud in Science.
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I want to work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration!!!

I was looking at the accuracy of the NOAA’s hurricanes predictions since 2002, wondering how their estimates and accuracy has changed over the last decade.

They started out pretty  well, then were all over the place with their estimates between 2004 and 2007.  In fact, they underestimated events in all three categories (named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes) in 2005 (the year of Katrina), then wildly over-estimated in 2006, being high in all three categories.

Anyway, their overall accuracy rate since 2002 works out to them being right ~46% 0f the time.  (to you idiots, that’s less than half the time.)  To be fair, they do give their estimates a percentage of confidence, which can range anywhere from 50% to 75%.  Wow, that’s pretty confident, huh?  So, we’re confident that, half the time, we will be right about half the time.  Nice work if you can get it, huh?

So, with this in mind and after exhaustive research, I hereby declare myself an expert in tropical storms and hurricanes and make the following predictions for  2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (with a confidence rating 50%.  I’m either gonna be right or wrong.)   MUST CREDIT WISERBUD!!!:

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

2010:   between 9 and 17 named storms, between 4 and 10 hurricanes and between 2 and 5 major hurricanes.

2011:   between 9 and 17 named storms, between 4 and 10 hurricanes and between 2 and 5 major hurricanes.

2012:   between 9 and 17 named storms, between 4 and 10 hurricanes and between 2 and 5 major hurricanes.

2013:   between 9 and 17 named storms, between 4 and 10 hurricanes and between 2 and 5 major hurricanes.

I will be tracking my predictions and will report back to you in 2014.  Which, by the way, is more than the NOAA does.

Now. all I needs is a really cool logo and then, to just sit back and wait for the mad grant money to start flowing in.

Oh, and please, let’s be sure to destroy our entire economy by implementing economic policies based on the climate predictions of people who can’t even correctly estimate the number of storms we should expect each year better than half the time.

(cross-posted at H2, because I should have known those morons wouldn’t bother reading it before getting back to their truly important conversations re: food and stuff.)

And I Will Still Forget Where I Parked July 29, 2010

Posted by Edward von Bear in Art, Ducks, Food, Heroes, History, Honor, Law, Man Laws.
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Recovery Summer, We Hardly Knew Ye July 29, 2010

Posted by geoff in News.
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So that’s it folks. I hope you didn’t blink, because we’ve just come to the end of our six weeks of ‘Recovery Summer.” You remember how it started six weeks ago?

Vice President Joe Biden today will kick off the Obama administration’s “Recovery Summer,” a six-week-long push designed to highlight the jobs accompanying a surge in stimulus-funded projects to improve highways, parks, drinking water and other public works.

A “surge,” you say. A surge of stimulus-funded jobs, you say. Yes, looking back 6 weeks, that’s what they said, all right…

The vice president on Thursday will present Obama with a report laying out a spike in stimulus activity this summer, and how it will contribute to a steady climb to a total of 3.5 million Recovery Act jobs by the end of the year.

Well, our six weeks is over, and how did we do? Did we see a surge? Let’s check in on initial unemployment claims.

The unemployment claims don’t show much surging. In fact, they seem to be completely unperturbed by any increases in spending. But not to worry, I’m sure that Congress and the administration will jump on the problem. Just think back to last October and Congress’s laser-like focus on the employment situation…

Yes, what you see in that chart is that the improvement in the unemployment situation has been stalled for over 8 months. The same 8 months where the first 5 months were spent on health care reform. The same 8 months where the administration has told us that it’s all working as intended. If this was their intent, well, yikes. But I suspect that what they’re really trying to do is bluster their way through the summer, and hope that there’s an upturn before the end of the year.

As to the claims for ‘Recovery Summer,” I can’t believe that this administration has the gall to tell us that a year and a half after the ARRA passed, they’re finally going to start spending the money. Wasn’t that the biggest criticism of the Act? That the money would be spent too slowly to give relief? And it is typical of this administration that rather than making jobs their priority in Recovery Summer, they’ve made talking about jobs their priority.

As I said over at NiceDeb’s, all the Recovery Summer hype did was serve as a confession by the administration that over 85% of stimulus projects were not ‘shovel ready’ when ARRA was passed. Just as we had suspected.

Is The Tea Party Racist? July 28, 2010

Posted by Michael in News.
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You decide.

Found at KathleenMcKinley.com (formerly Rightwingsparkle).


9.9 Knots — A New Record for the Guildive!!! July 27, 2010

Posted by Michael in Personal Experiences.
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Actually, it’s just a new record for the current owners.  The Guildive has been around for 66 years.  This is the Guildive:

The Guildive moored

Cathy shot this picture while we were approaching the Guildive on a Zodiac.  The pink mooring buoy in the foreground, which looks huge,  is grossly exaggerated by the camera angle she was using to frame the boat.

The Guildive  is the home of Kate and Zander, the nicest young couple you could hope to meet.  (Zander is from Nova Scotia; I did not inquire about his immigration status.)

They are both USCG certified captains.  They both worked on boat crews for several years after they got some kind of  maritime college degree.  Eventually they decided to buy their own boat.

They now work Penobscot Bay in the summer, and winter in Maryland.  Their business plan is to eventually take the Guildive to the Caribbean and offer island-hopping tours of famous rum distilleries (“guildive” is an old French word for rum, I was told).  That sounds like fun.

The Guildive is a classic wooden luxury yacht (technically, a ketch, with expensive and durable teak wood all over the place, including the deck) which was built in 1934 for some rich guy who apparently made it through the Great Depression with his money intact.  Kate and Zander have kept it in great condition.

Because it is all wood, you cannot smoke on this boat.

There are no pictures of where I smoked in this post.  Sorry to break the string for my vacation pics.

Here is the Guildive under sail:

That is a pretty boat. I swiped this pic from their website.

There was supposed to be another couple on this tour, but the other couple canceled at the last minute, so it was just the four of us.  It was a party.  Zander offered me the opportunity to steer the boat, which I gladly accepted.  It took me a while to get used to the feel of the sails, and to stop over-correcting in reaction to the wind.

Conditions were perfect.  Beautiful day, fairly flat sea, and a really stiff wind.  We were rocking along at about 6-7  knots.  Zander mentioned that the previous record speed they had achieved on the Guildive was 9.2 knots, after owning it for two years.

Then the wind kicked up in a long sustained gust.


Moonrise Over Penobscot Bay July 26, 2010

Posted by Michael in Personal Experiences.
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Just finished a smoke right here on the beach


Scenes From Acadia National Park July 25, 2010

Posted by Michael in Nature Shit, Personal Experiences, Religion.
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This park is truly a national treasure.  If you are ever in Maine, you should not miss the awesome splendor of this landscape.

Let me give you just a couple of samples to whet your appetite for the scenic grandeur that is the Acadia experience.

Here is a view of Eagle Rock from an overlook on Mount Desert Island.  Eagle Rock is the island out there which features the charming and historic Eagle Rock Light house.


I smoked a cigarette here


The picture just does not do justice to this panoramic vista.

Later, we drove the switchback road up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain.

It was a spiritual experience.  Somehow, you just feel closer to Almighty God when you witness the wondrous glory of His creation.


Bar Harbor, Maine July 24, 2010

Posted by Michael in Entertainment, Food, News.
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Actually, we are about a mile outside of town.  We’re staying at another old, restored inn, this one right on the water.  Here’s the view from the balcony where I smoke:

Looking North


Looking South

On the way here, we noticed a casual looking place outside of the tourist area, also on the water, which we went back to for dinner.  We ate outside.  (The town of Bar Harbor itself is a mess, packed with tourists, chi-chi shops, overpriced restaurants, and parking is impossible.)


I Want To Move To Tennessee July 23, 2010

Posted by Edward von Bear in Ballistics, Food, Heroes, Politics.
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Just so I can vote for this guy.

And how can you go wrong with this policy position?

Things of important

1. Can a higher court say no to 2nd traffic stops
And a county court say yes overruling the higher
No they can not! But they everyday in Tennessee.
Are you duly convicted? No I would take 12 stuns’ to protect a citizen . Would a lawyer?
No they will not! They do not even read Knowels vs. Iowa? Tenn vs. Pucket

2.The State fuel budget is a concern of mine it may Hinder safety side of our government. I would introduce a bill to make all the state vacant land that are open field and along the high way a farm and this farm will plant corn products and other plant life that can be use for alterative fuel

The 13th says criminal are slaves so we will take non.- violent criminals who are duly convicted and aloud them to work our farms to plant, take care of, harvest, put are the product into trucks where they took too the refiner ,give them some of the product to pay for process and we will take the rest in money or alternate fuel too be delivered too cities, counties around the state.

3. I would like to update the monitory car insurance to match the federal insurance act where they say if you do not know the name and address of the person who will get the check when you pay you money to your agent it is gaming and we can not gamble in Tenn, right now we are gaming. My plan would lower car insurance by 45% . With this plan to follow federal
act is too insure your our car and nobody else because the only name we will know who will get the check is ourselves who pay the money to agent. We have no insurable interest in any other person

Citizens who get food stamp and S/S check can not afford to buy where food now can they afford to pay Insurance we would need to find a way to pay the insurance for them.

4. My friends a beer stores say they must check 200 D/L a day that 400 minutes a day per clerk which is over 6 hours at $ 7.00 a hour that $ 42.00, with it mandatory then we must pay them.

5. I believe we must hate the U.S. Flag because we fly the wrong one and when we fly the right one we and the government fly it wrong. Can we start honoring the flag Again.

6. Either as a senator and when I run for 2010 governor post I will recall all gun permits and registrations and we will not had any registration in this state. The right
too bear arms against our government and not burglars must be protected after the Supreme court ruling.

7. I find it hard to take a campaign fund from anyone because if they give me money they expect something and then they seal it with a hand shack . I think this is bribery
so to keep everybody honest lets put all funds in one bucket, then divide the bucket by cities, counties and state ,then divide those buckets among who ever once want to run and
nobody owes anybody.

8. Education ,let us put phonics back in school if you can not read you can not do History, Math, English. And that where we are now. Let make it mandatory in high school to read the
minutes to the U.S. Congress , the Congressional Globe the real history of the U.S

9 Look for my citizens enemy!


Folks, there you have it. This man is better than 98% of the slugs out there now.

Classes July 22, 2010

Posted by TattooedIntellectual in Nature Shit, News.
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It was brought to my attention recently that it’s been several months since I posted any new nature shit type stuff. So hold on to your socks, we’re gonna have some fun.

Dredge through your booze soaked, oatmeal of a brain all the way back to elementary school when Mrs. Whomever taught you about vertebrates and invertebrates. Invertebrates are all of those things like worms, and shrimp, and insects, and stuff that lack a spinal column and vertebrae (actually it has to do with lacking a notochord, but I don’t want to confuse y’all too much). Vertebrates of course have all that stuff. For those of you already lost, the spinal cord is what carries IMs from your brain to the rest of your body, and is protected by a series of bone rings.

Brief tangent, flora and fauna are categorized in a hierarchy. Some of you may remember “Kings Play Chess On Fine Green Stones”, or Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species.

Back on topic. Traditionally we teach that there are 5 vertebrate classes: Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals. Turns out that’s ALL WRONG! There are 5 classes of fish alone! Reptiles have been broken into 3 classes. Class Chelonia which are turtles and tortoises. Class Reptilia; tuatara, snakes, and lizards. Class Eusuchia, or crocodiles and alligators.

So now you know.

Talk To The Help July 22, 2010

Posted by Michael in News.
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Here’s the little cottage that Cathy and I rented for a few days in New Hampshire.


OK, that is actually the Mount Washington Resort, over 100 years old, and we are not even staying there.  We had dinner there tonight.

We are staying at a little B&B type place further down the hill, which is also over 100 years old.  It is part of the same property, and is even cooler than the big house.  The Bretton Woods Inn:


There are people here from all over the world.  Despite the recession, this entire resort is actually filled to capacity right now.  You can’t get a room unless you booked months in advance.  Go figure.

I was talking to a French-speaking couple earlier today.  I assumed they were Canadians, but they actually turned out to be from Marseilles.  So I commented that they had flown a long way to see some pretty small mountains.  (Seriously, it struck me that they had wasted a lot of money to see some punk mountains, when the Alps or the Pyrenees were a lot closer.)

They said, “This place is famous.

I did not know that anyplace in New Hampshire was famous.

Here is what is seriously fun about a big resort like this — talk to the help.

New Hampshire does not have a labor pool sufficient to provide seasonal workers for a place like this, so the resort turns to international agencies that provide imported, legal help.

We have chatted with maids and waitresses from Thailand, Turkey, Phillipines, and Romania. We always talk to the help.

You know what you will learn if you talk to them?

They love America. They are working for slave wages, 10-12 hours per day, living in dorms, just for the opportunity to improve their English skills and experience America.  These are mostly university students.

They all just gush about how much they like America, and how friendly we are.

Just sayin’, if you’re in an international resort like this, talk to the help.

They will enlighten you.  They will shine a light on America that you take for granted.

Our global primacy is not primarily military, political, or economic.

It is mostly cultural.  You get that when you talk to the help.  All over the world I have heard this.  People think Americans are friendly.

Maybe we can afford to be that way, because we are free.

So far.