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About this blog

My opinions on a lot of things:-)

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I stink!

The title is quite literal... I really stink right now.   Earlier this evening, I went outside to get something out of my SUV, and it was dark. That's fairly normal at night, so they say.   As I opened the rear hatch, I noticed something moving out of the corner of my eye, between the rear of the SUV and the corner of my house, just a couple of feet away. All I could see was a flash of white.   Then the smell hit... Ugh... I quickly figured out that what I'd seen was a skunk. It got me, not too heavily, on my side, and I'm just glad I didn't get any in my eyes.   I ditched the clothes which helped, and grabbed a gallon bottle of vinegar and poured it into the bath, and soaked a while, then rinsed with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, and then some dishwasher detergent. These helped a lot, but I still stink a little... Ugh... Mangy polecat...   Lucky for me, my clothes got most of it (I was wearing jeans and a jacket). Those are outside, and might be a total loss. I sure as heck ain't bringing 'em inside to wash.   I've been sprayed once before (also from startling a skunk accidentally when I'd inadvertently cornered it) and that time was worse. This seems to be a light dose, but I can't get rid of all the oder (going by past experience, I'll stink for a few days)   euuuwww...   CJ, who stinketh....

C James

C James

 

Teenagers in Iran tortured and executed in Iran, for being gay.

Teenagers in Iran tortured and executed in Iran, for being gay. May they rest in peace.   Let it not be forgotten that those two executed gay young men were not alone; there have been at least hundreds executed in Iran for homosexuality in recent years. There's a word for that, it's called genocide.     For anyone who doesn't know, Iran's president recently said that they don't have homosexuals in Iran. He and his ilk are trying to make that into a fact, one gallows at a time.   This isn't a political issue; it's a gay issue, because in Iran, (and Iran is not alone, just one of the worst offenders), being gay is a capitol offense. I'm sure as heck no fan of the bigots in this country, but it kind of puts things in perspective, ya know?

C James

C James

 

Oh, Rats!

Oh, Rats!!!   In my prior blog entry, I described some of the storm damage to my house. Well, the good news is that I found a roofing contractor willing and able (they have 4x4's) to drive out this far. The bad news is they have only one 4x4, a pickup, and so it's been one or two guys working on the roof.   Sadly, none of them fit the stereotype of hot young shirtless roofers. Oh well.   There has, however, been an unexpected fringe benefit; I have house guests! Yes indeed, unexpected visitors who have clearly overstayed their welcome (not that I was ever particularly welcoming).   The roofers have had to removes some of the plywood underlayment on my roof. They've covered the holes with plastic. So far, so good. However, in my area we have a varmint called the Desert Pack Rat. According to the literature, these don't climb. I wish I could get the little suckers to read that, becuase they don't seem to be aware of their inability to climb.   They've discovered that they can get in via the roof holes, and are doing so. Hence, I have unwelcome house guests. Oh, Rats!!!

C James

C James

 

Nature's Fury

In a normal year, Arizona's Monsoon season (summer thunderstorms) starts in mid-july, and ramps up by mid August, often resulting, here in the high mountians of northern Arizona, thunder daily, but rain once ever few days at most.   This year, a years-long drought has broken, and we've had rain daily, over a foot between mid_July and yesterday.   Yesterday, I had major damage to my house (wish I was joking on that). A thunderstorm hit, and in the mountains they can be very violent. This one began typically, but seemed to stall out over my area; the rain and hail kept thundering down, for over two hours. We had about a foot of rain (amking two since mid-july), but the hail, whoa. Not huge, just marble-sized, but it kept coming, and I ended up with about five inches of what looked like snow when an hour before it had been in the 80's. The ground is still covered with ice, and it's in the 40's now. There were also hundred-mile-an-hour winds. My roof was asphalt-shingle. I emphasize "was". The hail stripped away all the grit, plus cracked the shingles all over the darn place, allowing some to pull free of the nails when the winds hit. The "zipper effect" took of about a third of my roof shingles, total. But that wasn't the end of it; I've got a wood deck, and wood siding. The hail chewed the hell out of it. it chipped and flaked all the paint, and if I don't get a new coat on soon It will start to peel, and I'll have to sandblast the whole darn house and deck.   I've got plastic sheeting covering my roof now, and I had some major water damage inside as well. Insurance will pay for some but not all, and I've got to do a huge amount of work.   Oh, to to it off; the dirt road up the mountainside (basically a rough jeep trail at the best of times) to my house is gone in places. Just gone. and in the creekbed that's part of the road, the flash-flood sent what looks to have been a 20ft wall of water through, and I've now got some rocks, one the size of a car, blocking my route. So I've got to fix the road (I can make it passable with a shovel within a day or two) and move the rocks before I can even get out of here. The big rock? it can't be got around. I've got to get rid of it. Fortunately one of my neighbors (about a mile from here, I had to walk it in the mud) is a miner, and can help me blast the sucker Wednesday. So, I should be above to get out of here within a few days, but whoa, I've got a lot of work to do on the rest.   Ugh.

C James

C James

 

9-11 commision documents STOLEN!

CONFIRMED: The President's National Security Advisor stole, and then destroyed, an unknown number of classified documents destined for the 9/11 commission BEFORE the commission had a chance to examine them in it's 9/11 investigation.   Shocked? You should be. But, hold off on the Bush Bashing for a minute, becuase the aforementioned President is Former President Clinton. The National Security Advisor is Sandy Berger.   Berger was given sole access for "vetting" top secret Clinton-era documents at the specific formal request of former president Clinton. Berger repeatedly stole and destroyed documents.   Berger's excuse? It was an accident! An oversight! He said he didn't understand the Security Procedures! That is utter garbage: Berger was Clinton's National Security Advisor: . If anyone should understand security, I'd think it would be the National Security Advisor.   Berger has plead guilty, not just to taking the documents, but to destroying quite a few.   Berger, at the time of his crimes, was part of John Kerry's campaign, and was Kerry's probable choice for Secretary of State.   Much has been made of "media Bias", but this is clearly a case of it: Consider, for a minute, if a Bush official had been caught red-handed stealing and destroying documents that the 9/11 commission needed for its investigation. All hell would have broken loose, and rightfully so.   Where is the outrage over this crime?   Was Clinton involved, or was Berger just acting on his own hook? There is no hard evidence that I am aware of. Yet, given the fact that Clinton, AFTER Berger was caught, tried to defend his motives (the ridiculous "accident" excuse) there is plenty of room for suspicion.   The most bizarre thing here is the sentence Berger received; a $10,000 fine and a three year suspension of his security clearance.   Could someone PLEASE explain to me why this sentence fits the crime? Under no circumstances whatsoever should Berger be allowed access, ever, to classified documents. As for the fine, given the number of classified documents he stole and destroyed, he'd have received a bigger fine if he had, instead of destroying them, tossed them from his car window separately and received fines for littering.   There is one possible ray of hope here; part of his plea deal was to fully co-operate with investigators. I have a feeling that they plan on having the Rat finger bigger rats. However, I can't see any excuse whatsoever for allowing this thief to ever have a security clearance again.   Remember, this was the investigation into 9/11 that he tampered with. The biggest question (of many) is just what, exactly, he was trying (and has apparently succeeded in doing) to cover up.   Take a look for yourself: The PDF file of the OIG CRIMINAL report.   Read the whole thing. It seems Berger had a particular interest in documents from the Millennium after-action review (referring to the Millennium plot, the failed Al Qaeda attack on the US in Dec 1999). It gets REALLY interesting around page seven, when describing Berger's antics during the thefts. I especially loved this little gem "Mr. Berger said he did not want to take the risk of bringing the documents back into the building and the possibility that <redacted> might notice something unusual. Mr. Berger said he placed the (Classified) documents under a trailer in an acceptable construction area outside of the Archives."   The above, incidentally, is a classic espionage technique called a "dead drop".   There are glaring holes in this investigation. For one thing, there is no indication that Berger's cell records were checked to verify that, indeed, he made the phone calls that were so often an excuse to be left alone with the documents.   The entire tone of the investigation is reminiscent of the Keystone Cops.   I hope this is not the last we hear of this case. It deserves far more coverage and investigation.

C James

C James

 

Leviticus, you say?

I've often been told that "homosexuality is an abomination, because the Bible says so."   My first response to that is that no one has any business forcing their religion on anyone else A man by the name of Bin Laden is a prime example of those who think otherwise, as he, like some extremist Christians, want the USA to follow his version of religion.   Furthermore, I usually remind the person citing the "biblical homosexuality" issue that the word "homosexuality" cannot be in the bible, for there was no actual word for it in any of the classical languages in biblical times, and certainly not in Hebrew, Aramaic, or ancient Greek. (the original languages of the books of the Bible).   The standard translations are slightly different:   (American Standard Version, 1901) "And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."   (English Standard Version): "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them."   (King James Version): "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."   Can the above passagges be interpreted as referring to homosexuality? Yes. They could also be interpreted as referring to sleeping (platonicly) in the same bed, and in the English translations it could also be interpreted as lieing: a Man should not Lie to another man the same way he would lie to a woman".   Are my interpretations likly? No. However, just like the homosexuality issue, they are interpretations, and one of the tenets of most fundamentalist faiths is that they take the bible literally, they do not interpret it. It is often quite amusing to maneuver a fundamentalist into saying that they are interpreting, and then reminding them of their own prohibitions on doing so.   I am also fond of quoting a different passage from Leviticus: Leviticus 11:9-12 (King James Version) These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.   Yes, shellfish. I love pointing this out whenever a homophobe fundamentalist quotes Leviticus.   I think I can also make a fairly good case that the "whostsoever has fins and scales" passage is a directive to eat anything that does. This would include poisonous fish. Also, the control surfaces and anechoic tiles of a modern nuclear sub fit the "fins and scales" definition quite well.   Slavery? The sermons in the 1850's and before in support of slavery are quite interesting reading. Leviticus 25:45

C James

C James

 

Uhoh, a Blog! And some ramblings about DST.

Yep, I've decided to take the plunge and start blogging. My plan is to post on a variety of things, prety much anything. For example, my first real blog post will be sort of political as it will be about Daylight Savings time.   So, welcome everyone (assuming that anyone but me ever comes here! ).   Now, on to my Rant of the Day: Daylight Savings Time!   I live in Arizona, and one of the things I love about Arizona is that we are not burdened by Daylight Savings Time. We don't have to change our clocks every spring and fall, and I love it. (note: on the Navajo Indian reservation, they do observe daylight savings time, though the rest of the state does not)   This begs the question: Why does anywhere bother with Daylight Savings Time? I can see some arguments for it, maybe, in more northern state where the Winter days are even shorter, but why have it anywhere in the Southern half of the country? We seem to get along just fine without it in Arizona, and the lack of it is exceedingly popular amongst residents.   The only issues that seem to ever arise are from occasional confusion with airline and train schedules, plus TV broadcasts on some stations, due to the rest of the nation changing its clocks twice a year. It can get slightly confusing when making long distance phone calls, too, but that is quite minor.   With DST, each year there is one 23 hour day and one 25 hour day, causing all kinds of headaches in scheduling, record keeping, etc.   The most laughable reason given in support of DST is that "the farmers need it". Evidently, anyone saying that has never asked a farmer about it! Farmers need to be up at daybreak, regardless of what the clocks say. It is of no use to them, and some hindrance: the changes serve to put them more out-of-sync with their communities (everyone else can change their schedules to the DST, but farmers cannot).   Fuel savings are often mentioned as a reason for DST, and played a role in the recent extension of DST by three weeks (beginning next year). The fuel savings are quite negligible, and could be vastly exceeded by common sense: for example, allow and encourage urban businesses, where practical, to vary their work hours to avoid rush hour traffic. Instead of 9-5, try 8-4, or 10-6. This has been done with some success in Phoenix, and it does alleviate some traffic congestion, which in turn saves on both fuel and air pollution (not to mention time, frustration, and lives).   The energy savings often quoted for DST are based on a reduced need for electric lighting by having sunset one hour "later" each day during DST. This did have some truth decades ago, but now is largely if not completely ofset by workers coming hom in summer closer to the hottest part of the day (and thus increasing the use of power-hungry air conditioners.)   If energy savings are the reason, a far better argument can be made for having DST year-round; no changing of the clocks. California is talking about this for that very reason. However, in California's case, a better argument can be made for terminating DST: their power crisis is a peak-load shortage, and that is exacerbated, not helped, by having people return home closer to the hottest part of the day. So, in essence, one could argue that California would be better off observing DST in winter, and not in summer, the opposite of the rest of the nation. Also, the latest boondoggle, the extension of DST a few weeks beginning next year, will raise trouble with all the devices that adjust the time based on date, and many will thus show the wrong time.   My position is that, given the costs and hassles of DST and changing the clocks, either adopt it year-round, or do away with it. Schools and businesses that need daylight are quite capable af adjusting their schedules rather than their clocks.

C James

C James

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