Thursday, March 31, 2022

Oh Yes, Trump Was Apparently Telling the Truth

 3/30/22 Law360:

Law360 (March 30, 2022, 9:28 PM EDT) -- Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday was awarded about $245,200 in fees for his former attorneys' work representing him in Stormy Daniels' failed d=1efamation case, yet the Ninth Circuit appellate commissioner refused to award him additional fees for opposing Daniels' petition for a writ of certiorari.

In an order, Commissioner Lisa B. Fitzgerald rejected Daniels' arguments that Trump employed too many attorneys, who billed him for too many hours, for fighting the adult film actress's appeal in her libel suit over Trump's tweet about a "nonexistent man."

"The reasonable fee determination is based on whether the requested hours for this particular legal team are justified for the work performed and the results achieved, not speculation as to how the case might have been staffed differently," Fitzgerald said Wednesday.

The fee award stems from 347 hours worked by six Harder LLP attorneys, according to the decision. Those attorneys have since left the case.

Read more at:

Too Stupid to Survive

3/31/22 Daily Mail reports Russian soldiers entered the region around Chernobyl that even the caretakers consider too hot to visit.

"Meanwhile Norway has told its citizens to 'dust off' their Cold War bunkers and stock radiation medicines in case of a radiation fallout from Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear plant.  

Oslo's defence minister Odd Roger Enoksen warned citizens a nuclear disaster could see radioactive materials drift over Norway 'if the wind goes in this direction'.   "

For All Your Friends Who Think Trump Was a Russian Agent

 3/31/22 Guardian:

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee have agreed to pay $113,000 to settle a Federal Election Commission investigation into whether they violated campaign finance law by misreporting spending on research that eventually became the infamous Steele dossier.

That is according to documents sent on Tuesday to the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, which had filed an administrative complaint in 2018 accusing the Democrats of misreporting payments made to a law firm during the 2016 campaign to obscure the spending.

Trump suesHillaryClinton, alleging ‘plot’ to rig 2016 election against him
Read more

The Clinton campaign hired Perkins Coie, which then hired Fusion GPS, a research and intelligence firm, to conduct opposition research on Republican candidate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. But on FEC forms, the Clinton campaign classified the spending as legal services.

“By intentionally obscuring their payments through Perkins Coie and failing to publicly disclose the true purpose of those payments” the campaign and DNC “were able to avoid publicly reporting on their statutorily required FEC disclosure forms the fact that they were paying Fusion GPS to perform opposition research on Trump with the intent of influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election,” the initial complaint had read.

I think they should also repay the government for the costs of the Mueller investigation. 

3/30/22 CNN also covered this:

A DNC spokesman told CNN Wednesday that it has "settled aging and silly" FEC complaints about 2016.

Every fact has an expiration date. 

Oh my, all news reports on this on Google News are stupendous.  Dozens of news organizations, even NBC News are reporting this.

Public School Lunches

 I have warm memories of chipped beef or chipped chicken over rice or mashed potatoes.  Not this.  3/31/22 NBC News:

Students of a New Jersey preschool and kindergarten center were sent to the hospital Wednesday after they were served milk cartons filled with sanitizer, officials said.

An investigation into "a possible contamination of milk" at the Early Childhood Development Center revealed that milk cartons were filled with sanitizer used to clean machines that fill the cartons, according to the Camden City School District.

Yesterday's Cute Bumper Sticker

 Woman driving SUV: "Mean Tweets 2024"  I guess she is willing to take some drama instead of raging inflation, Russians in Ukraine, and a president who makes provocative statements that would be dangerous if Putin did not know Biden was senile.

Google Photos

 I am trying to download all of 2015 photos to my PC.  (I lost 2015 some years ago.  Just the pictures not the year.)  I selected 362 photos and asked it to download them.  I get the message "Preparing to download 362 items..." and it never goes beyond that step.

It was just making a ZIP file before the download.

Late But Better

 3/31/22 Fox News:

Arizona residents will now need to show proof of citizenship in order to vote in a presidential election, sparking anger from some activists. 

"Election integrity means counting every lawful vote and prohibiting any attempt to illegally cast a vote," Gov. Dough Ducey said in a letter explaining his decision to sign the bill Wednesday. 

The bill requires voters in presidential elections to show proof of citizenship, including by providing a driver’s license or tribal ID number, or a copy of a birth certificate, passport or naturalization documents. The bill also requires newly registered voters to show proof of address that they are an Arizona resident. 

The usual whiners are upset that they only have two years to get their birth certificate or passport. 

That Survey Meter

 A friend had a 50 year old gamma ray test sample labeled 25 mR/hr.  It s 50 years old, and not labeled as to isotope, so current output is uncertain although it was moving dosimeters.  When placed over  sample, my meter occasionally moved the dial slightly.  Since my meter only goes down to .01R/hr, and passes circuit test, I am going to assume that it is working.

How Woke Is Academia?

3/31/22 Inside Higher Education:

Twenty-eight percent of academic women surveyed by Gallup say they’ve been passed over for promotion or advancement opportunities due to their gender. That’s a bigger share than female workers in the U.S. in general. 

Do I believe that they are correct?  No, but it says a lot about Progressive Central that this many believe it. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Great Moments in Jurisprudence

 Some of you know about Wickard v. Filburn (1942) which upheld wheat marketing orders designed to raise the price of wheat.  For some reason, my brain likes misremember this as Filbert v. Wickard, and yes it is a nutty decision.  Filburn raised wheat:

The appellee for many years past has owned and operated a small farm in Montgomery County, Ohio, maintaining a herd of dairy cattle, selling milk, raising poultry, and selling poultry and eggs. It has been his practice to raise a small acreage of winter wheat, sown in the Fall and harvested in the following July; to sell a portion of the crop; to feed part to poultry and livestock on the farm, some of which is sold; to use some in making flour for home consumption; and to keep the rest for the following seeding. The intended disposition of the crop here involved has not been expressly stated.

The government's argument for why they had power to regulate wheat prices was based on the Interstate Commerce Clause:

It is urged that under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, Article I, § 8, clause 3, Congress does not possess the power it has in this instance sought to exercise. The question would merit little consideration since our decision in United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 10061 S.Ct. 451, 85 L.Ed. 609, 132 A.L.R. 1430,12 sustaining the federal power to regulate production of goods for commerce except for the fact that this Act extends federal regulation to production not intended in any part for commerce but wholly for consumption on the farm.  The Act includes a definition of 'market' and its derivatives so that as related to wheat in addition to its conventional meaning it also means to dispose of 'by feeding (in any form) to poultry or livestock which, or the products of which, are sold, bartered, or exchanged, or to be so disposed of.'13 Hence, marketing quotas not only embrace all that may be sold without penalty but also what may be consumed on the premises. Wheat produced on excess acreage is designated as 'available for marketing' as so defined and the penalty is imposed thereon.14 Penalties do not depend upon whether any part of the wheat either within or without the quota is sold or intended to be sold. The sum of this is that the Federal Government fixes a quota including all that the farmer may harvest for sale or for his own farm needs, and declares that wheat produced on excess acreage may neither be disposed of nor used except upon payment of the penalty or except it is stored as required by the Act or delivered to the Secretary of Agriculture. [emphasis added]...

The present Chief Justice has said in summary of the present state of the law: 'The commerce power is not confined in its exercise to the regulation of commerce among the states. It extends to those activities intrastate which so affect interstate commerce, or the exertion of the power of Congress over it, as to make regulation of them appropriate means to the attainment of a legitimate end, the effective execution of the granted power to regulate interstate commerce. [emphasis added]

So his growing of wheat that never left his farm qualifies as interstate commerce.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Do You Recognize This Scam?

This card arrived in the mail.
At first I thought this was some sort of promotion gimmick by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, on which we have traveled in the past, but nothing identifies the sender.

Long, long ago, time share condominium companies would have these sort of "come on down, you have won one of these fabulous gifts."  While some just gave you their pitch others were obnoxiously hard sell.  I am sure people less hard-nosed than me bought timeshare condos for which 30 years later, they are just now paying off, assuming they did not sell it at a loss in the meantime.  

Yes, a bunch of fabulous prizes.  (Ours was always a sports bag.)  

When I called up to make an appointment I was told that we would get an hour pitch for a new to the area chain roughly competitive with Costco.  Why any established chain would go through this much work eludes me, so I suspect something more criminal. 

They were insistent that our spouse or partner was also present which means either a loan application or some other identity theft scam.

The time I signed up for was 7 PM Thursday night at the Courtyard Marriott in Meridian on Eagle Blvd.  When I asked for a company name, she said they would see me entering the lobby with the prize card and approach me.  This tells me the hotel is unaware of this or at least the people involved have no company name they want identified.

I think I will call Meridian PD tomorrow and see if this is something that requires investigation. 

This is Worrisome

3/29/22 Daily Mail:
New evidence has emerged Vladimir Putin and his highest ranking commanders are running the war in Ukraine from top secret nuclear bunkers. 

Movements of planes used by top Kremlin officials show Putin may be in a hideaway near Surgut, in western Siberia, it has been claimed.

As my wife pointed out, "This might be the only place he does not to worry about being arrested. "

"We Regret to Inform You" Meets Face Recognition Software

 3/23/22 Reuters:

OAKLAND, Calif., March 23 (Reuters) - Ukraine is using facial recognition software to identify the bodies of Russian soldiers killed in combat and to trace their families to inform them of their deaths, Ukraine's vice prime minister told Reuters.

Reuters exclusively reported that Ukraine's Ministry of Defense this month began using technology from Clearview AI, a New York-based facial recognition provider that finds images on the web that match faces from uploaded photos. It was not clear at that time how the technology would be used. read more

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's vice prime minister who also runs the ministry of digital transformation, told Reuters Ukraine had been using Clearview AI software to find the social media accounts of dead Russian soldiers.

1. The telegram several generations of American families hoped never to receive traditionally started with "We regret to inform you..."  Because Russia is apparently not informing families of their loss, to avoid causing dissent or questions, the Ukrainian military is using face recognition software to find the identities of these dead soldiers and inform their families.  This shows the families how little Putin cares about them, and Ukraine's government does.

2. War is an ugly business; a bunch of Russian conscripts lied to on their way into Ukraine have my greatest sympathy.  They did not ask for this.  While governments certainly have the legal authority to conscript for national defense, they should do so only as a last resort, and, certainly not for foreign wars.

3. "Minister of Digital Transformation": how cool of a title is that?

CD V710 Survey Meter

 I do not remember who gave this to me but where the input jack would go on the pictures at the Civil Defense Museum is a plate holding the handle. 

 I suspect that this was some simplified supported version, or would not have calibrated it.  Curious.

UPDATE: This is a 710 and there are others like this without an external probe.

Remember the Criticism When Gov. Palin Gave a 45 Minute Speech With One Word Written on Her Hand?

 3/28/22 Yahoo News:

President Biden held a "cheat sheet" of prepared answers for a key question during his White House news briefing Monday – a question about why his remarks on Saturday suggested support for regime change in Russia.

Several reporters asked the president to address his comment, "For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power," which he made at the conclusion of a Saturday speech in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland....

Photos from the conference revealed a cue card for the question.

"If you weren't advocating for regime change, what did you mean? Can you clarify?" the anticipated question reads.

"I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward the actions of this man," Biden's prepared answer reads. "I was not advocating a change in policy."

The cue cards also included a lengthy question regarding NATO and a brief, scripted response from Biden: "No. NATO has never been more united."

But hey, no mean tweets! 

I Think the Russians Just Figured it Out

3/29/22 Fox News:

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said Tuesday that his country has agreed to "reduce military activity in the Kiev and Chernihiv direction" in hopes of reaching an agreement aimed at ending the war in Ukraine....

The Russians realize that they are going to lose. 

Moscow appeared to walk back its imminent threat of deploying a nuclear weapon as Russia’s war in Ukraine rages on.

"No one is thinking about using — about even the idea of using a nuclear weapon," chief spokesman to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said in a Monday night interview with PBS. ...

The Ukrainian delegation to talks with Russia on Tuesday has laid out a possible framework for a future peace deal based on legally binding security guarantees that would provide for other countries to intervene if it is attacked, according to the Associated Press.

Delegate Oleksandr Chaly said the guarantees should be similar in character to NATO’s Article 5, which pledges members of the alliance to defend each other in case one is attacked.

The delegation said Ukraine is prepared to pledge to be neutral, not to host foreign military forces and to hold talks over the next 15 years on the future of the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. 

I do not think Ukraine needs NATO membership, although a nation that fights this well might be a net positive for NATO.

In any case, no foreign troops in Ukraine.  Sell them all the weapons they need to create a far more effective military; one that would crush the Russians one inch past the border.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Darn Clever Alternative to a Traditional Dosimeter

Rad Triage Model50 on Amazon is a credit card sized gadget that shows cumulative exposure in millisieverts.  No batteries, no calibration.   Made in the USA.  For Civil Defense use, moving this from your lead lined box to just outside your shelter for a few minutes will tell you how serious things remain outside.  It is of limited long term value and will not help as much as a survey meter.  It is good for two years after you remove it from the freezer and up to 10 years in the freezer.  If I expected multiple apocalyptic disasters I would get a new survey meter, but I doubt there will even be one in my lifetime.  Reviews suggest that many are shipped near expiration date.

Interesting that the NukAlert device hyped by Instapundit is also US made by KI4U.  This is cool alternative to a Geiger counter.  Not cheap but warrantied including the battery for 10 years.

Why Was I Thinking a Civil Defense Survey Meter Would Detect Alpha Particles?

 Gamma only.  That uranium ore is of no value.  Apparently the K40 in banana is gamma rays but I doubt that will get enough bunches to measure. 

Does anyone need it?

I guess that I will assume the calibration done in 2009 is sufficient or that sanity breaks out.

Great Video About Russian Army Equipment Failures

 The failures to turn on their tired vehicles monthly to inflate the tires you already know about.  This guy points to some more weaknesses that are new to me.

21st Century Warfare

 3/28/22 Guardian:

One week into its invasion of Ukraine, Russia massed a 40-mile mechanised column in order to mount an overwhelming attack on Kyiv from the north.

But the convoy of armoured vehicles and supply trucks ground to a halt within days, and the offensive failed, in significant part because of a series of night ambushes carried out by a team of 30 Ukrainian special forces and drone operators on quad bikes, according to a Ukrainian commander.

The drone operators were drawn from an air reconnaissance unit, Aerorozvidka, which began eight years ago as a group of volunteer IT specialists and hobbyists designing their own machines and has evolved into an essential element in Ukraine’s successful David-and-Goliath resistance.

However, while Ukraine’s western backers have supplied thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment, Aerorozvidka has been forced to resort to crowdfunding and a network of personal contacts in order to keep going, by getting hold of components such as advanced modems and thermal imaging cameras, in the face of export controls that prohibit them being sent to Ukraine....

Honchar is an ex-soldier turned IT marketing consultant, who returned to the army after the first Russian invasion. Taras, who asked not to use his surname, was a management consultant, who specialised in fundraising for the unit and only joined full-time as a combatant in February.

In its early days, the unit used commercial surveillance drones, but its team of engineers, software designers and drone enthusiasts later developed their own designs.

They built a range of surveillance drones, as well as large 1.5-metre eight-rotor machines capable of dropping bombs and rocket-propelled anti-tank grenades, and created a system called Delta, a network of sensors along the frontlines that fed into a digital map so commanders could see enemy movements as they happened. It now uses the Starlink satellite system, supplied by Elon Musk, to feed live data to Ukrainian artillery units, allowing them to zero in on Russian targets. 

Implausible Stories


Los Angeles County, Cal. (1939)

Before 12/13/1939: Police refused to believe that the driver “leaped from the auto, not even breaking his eyeglasses, before it plunged end-over-end down the mountainside [a thousand foot drop] and crushed the other occupants to death.”  The dead were his wife, three children, a boarder in their home.  He had $27,000 in life insurance on his family.

Category: family

Suicide: no

Cause: greed

Weapon: blunt injury[1]

Ukraine: How the U.S. Should Fight Wars

In the last several decades, we fought a number of nations attempting to defend democracy or "nation-building."  All were failures because our supposed native allies were not prepared to defend democracy with as much vigor as our military. Ukraine, however, has courage that reminds me of Greece fighting the Persians.  They were vastly outnumbered but they were smarter and defending their homeland.

America's armed forces are filled with courageous warriors, but American strength has always been as the Arsenal of Democracy.  Our manufacturing and logistical superiority won World War II (including the aid we sent Russia).  The $10 billion we have committed to arming Ukraine is about $31 per American.  Is even one American warrior worth less than that?  No.

Yes, the Ukraine is not perfect--except by comparison to this century's Hitler.  Defeating Putin, or even just bloodying his nose enough to force withdrawal is worth it.

Those 18th Century SUVs

 1/21/14 Daily Mail:

A glacier could still be found in the UK until 300 years ago - 11,000 years later than previously thought, according to new research.

Scientists from Exeter University have found that small glaciers almost certainly existed in the Cairngorms in Scotland as recently as the 18th century.

Their findings contradict the long-held belief that Britain's last glaciers disappeared around the 9th millennium BC.

Scientists had previously speculated that glaciers might have formed in the Highlands around the time of the 'Little Ice Age', a period of cooling between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Notably, the scientists tie the melting to the end of the Little Ice Age, not industrialization, which also took place in the 18th century.  The amount of fossil fuel burned at the start of Industrial Revolution was so small as to make man's activities an impossible cause for the end of the Little Ice Age.  

I have long wondered if the improved crop yields as the Little Ice Age started to wane might have actually started the Industrial Revolution.  The similar warming around 1000 AD improved crop yields and population.  As populations grow beyond a certain level of prosperity, there are more people capable of invention, rather than wresting subsistence from the soil.

The Glory That is the EU

Over at Reddit is a discussion of the prospect of Germany building a real military again, and why this would better be an EU project.  Some of the European comments:

While I don't really have anything against Germany in particular arming itself, I'm not sure if solving European issue of underdeveloped military should be left to specific nation states in this day and age.

I'd rather have it as an EU project.

User avatar
level 4

I'm sure many people would love that. But we'd probably run into the same issues as any EU project: We'd have to agree on how to do it, who to contract, where to put the money, etc.
And agreeing on something is a thing the EU is just terrible at

User avatar
level 5

as a EU citizen i found it hard to agree with that but i do agree with that.

User avatar
level 6

I'm from the EU, I must therefore dissagree. But I hope we can work together to make it work in a slow, confused, expensive way. And after a vote!