57 thoughts on “Tuesday Open Comments

  1. WTH?!? I posted a few minutes ago and it went into the Spit Bucket?!
    Froggy this morning, IFR Conditions all the way in.
    Mornin’ Gang

  2. Good gloomy morning Hamsters. Foggy, drizzly, 61, and the forecast for today is rain on top of that. It’s another wet intermission between cold fronts, most welcome to protect the frozen vegetation from wildfires while the winter grasses grow.

  3. This is an amazing story from the New York Times. If you’ve used up your free passes for the month, you can always read it on your phone.

    The jihadists in Egypt’s Northern Sinai had killed hundreds of soldiers and police officers, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, briefly seized a major town and begun setting up armed checkpoints to claim territory. In late 2015, they brought down a Russian passenger jet.

    Egypt appeared unable to stop them, so Israel, alarmed at the threat just over the border, took action.

    For more than two years, unmarked Israeli drones, helicopters and jets have carried out a covert air campaign, conducting more than 100 airstrikes inside Egypt, frequently more than once a week — and all with the approval of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

  4. #5 TP: Nice article, everyone really should read the whole darned thang. The trust of the article deals with the cooperation with Egypt; later it touches on Israel’s exasperation with Egypt’s failure to follow up the air strikes with ground action. It touches on a friendly-ish relationship with Jordan, yet it does not mention at all the much closer ties between Israel and KSA. Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel all share a common enemy in Iran; the three muzzy nations are starting to understand that they are better off cooperating with Israel against Iran specifically and radical islamism in general. The strengthening of trade ties between the quartet will also benefit them all.
    I have no illusions whatsoever that the muzzies will refrain from dirty tricks against Israel or that the peace/cooperation will be long lasting.

  5. Loveable Lib Brother was bragging about his Bitcoin balance on his last visit. I told him I didn’t trust cryptocurrencies, that there was a bubble, etc. He was adamant about the protections that the companies who ran the currencies had instituted, that there would not be more than a certain % drop or they’d put their own money into it or that trading would stop, etc. He’d already invested a chunk of his retirement money into it, and was preparing to buy more.

    I wonder how he’s feeling today.

    The scale of those problems is starting to become clear as digital tokens have slid more than 50 percent in value from their peaks in early January, with steep drops on Monday pushing the value of Bitcoin specifically below $7,000.

    Hackers draining funds from online exchanges. Ponzi schemes. Government regulators unable to keep up with the rise of so-called cryptocurrencies. Signs of trouble have appeared at nearly every level of the industry, from the biggest exchanges to the news sites and chat rooms where the investment frenzy has been discussed.

    On Tuesday, the leaders of the two main regulatory agencies in the United States that oversee the technology, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, are to testify before the Senate banking committee about their efforts to police virtual currency markets. In the past two weeks, both have brought major cases, but people in the young industry said regulators had barely made a dent.

    Some virtual currency enthusiasts argue that the problems are no different from what has happened in other booms, like the internet bubble of the 1990s. But even true believers say the design of virtual currencies — meant to cut out middlemen and government authorities — has made bad behavior more prevalent amid this particular bubble.

  6. This woman has a mixed blessing when she won the $560 MILLION Powerball lottery.
    She failed to form a trust before signing the ticket and therefore she is suing to maintain her anonymity. NOTE TO ALL WHO PLAY: If you should be so blessed to win a lottery drawing, be sure to form a trust first and have your attorney sign for the trust, that way you maintain peace and your normal life.

  7. This action is sure to ruffle a few feathers.

    HEADLINE: Cash or custody: Israel kicks off deportation of African migrants

    While it is noble to help the helpless, shelter the poor, etc, if one can not control the borders of one’s country, one’s country will cease to exist. It is unreasonable in the extreme to expect an individual country to not be selective as to who it lets in and who becomes a citizen.

  8. My youngest made 1,600 bucks in a weeks time on one of the Bitcoin spin-offs. Scared me that it might encourage him to go all in on it but seems like he’s being smart about it. I’m no help cause I’ve studied it and I can’t get a clue what it’s all about.

  9. #7 TT: At this point is there really that much difference between a cryptocurrency and the US dollar? Neither is backed by anything, the crypto is subject to greater volatility but is market driven, while the USD does not have the extreme volatility, it is much easier to track and tax. In the big scheme of things, both are nothing but pixie dust and unicorn farts.
    The USD, thanks mostly to JugEars, is no longer a solvent currency and it is only because ours is the least insolvent with the greatest controls, that it has any value at all.

  10. Don’t get me started on my precious metals investment. The government has control of that price too, through a series of swaps of non-existent reserves. All of mine eventually wound up at the bottom of the lake due to an unfortunate boating accident though.

  11. TWICE DEPORTED drunk driving illegal alien is back, drunk and driving and this time he kills 2 people.

    If we can save just one life by stopping all the illegal aliens from coming in, then isn’t it a moral imperative that we do so?

  12. A buddy of mine at TexDot told me that Curley’s Corner in Seabrook, is going to be demolished for the 146 expansion. I Googled it but only came up with this.
    I sure hate to see it go.

  13. Hard to believe:

    HEADLINE: February 6, 2018

    HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, MANDATORY-INFLATING EDITION: New Mexico considers forcing students to apply for college. “Two state legislators in New Mexico are looking to make high school students submit a college application in order to graduate. Students who do not wish to file an application–which costs $25 at the University of New Mexico–would have to document alternative post-graduation plans, such as an internship or military service.”

    Remember, kids, you belong to the state, not to yourselves.

  14. #16 – Another landmark demolished in the name of progress – but we still can’t get the Astrodome knocked down.

    #13 – Out there about half way between San Leon and Redfish Island. There must be a lot out there because most of the other people that I know who bought precious metals also lost their stash in boating accidents too.

  15. Tookies building is going to, though they will re-open across the bridge I have read. The newer seafood building is staying. Have not seen anything about Marburger’s. Some 30+ businesses are being shuttered.

  16. 18 EG

    Uh, anybody else wondering why all these people like El Gordo were riding around on the water with their precious metals between San Leon and Redfish Isle ? What goes on out there ?

  17. I am a history buff and constantly in search of the Holy Grail of history.

    I found it. All you need to know about the history of mankind.

    Beer the Wheel & Politics: How it all began

    Beer required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture.
    Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That’s how villages were formed.

    The wheel was invented to get man to the beer.

    These two were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups: 1. Liberals. 2. Conservatives.

    Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to BBQ at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement.

  18. While waiting for Hubby and lawyer, I’m leafing through a Sears, Roebuck & Co. Fall 1909 catalog that was in MIL’s house, and I find:

    Violins from $1.95 to $22.45
    Ornate mantel clocks $3.65 to $5.85
    Silver plated, 26 piece set $3.41

    more later..

  19. #20 – I won’t spend any time trying to embarrass you for being ignorant of the people who buy PMs, but let’s just say that some of them would rather the government not know exactly what they are up to. They don’t trust government, government issued money, government employees, government overseen banks, and so forth. The saying is that if you can’t hold it, you don’t own it. So, safekeeping can become a problem. Therefore, for security purposes, some prefer to keep their stash under their absolute control at all times. Unfortunately, these stashes often disappear on fishing trips, particularly if there is a tax man or a divorce lawyer or the like sniffing around. Just what I’ve heard mind you, no personal experience.

  20. Speaking of boating accidents, I heard last night on Armed American Radio that some yankee state was passing a law that legally-purchased bump stocks were being disallowed, so there would a mandatory surrender of said items. There was a prediction that many would be officially declared as lost in a boating accident.

  21. From yesterday:

    Hamous #62;

    … a new technological development called LiDAR.

    That might be a new use but LiDAR has been around for close to half a century.

    Thank you for pointing that out.

    Adee #53;

    Thanks to Darren for the heads up on the NatGeo program tomorrow night at 8pm on the Nat Geo channel. And for the article above.

    On our excursions to two Mayan sites during the trip it was plain that a lot remained to be excavated at the first much lesser known one in Guatemala closest to the port. It had already been extensively excavated by several university archaeology departments working through grants and is managed by the Guatemalan government as a national treasure. Several temple tops are covered by vegetation and even some sizeable trees grow out of them. Just what lies beneath that would be wonderful to explore, if and when the funds become available. The site is well maintained with signage describing the various buildings.

    We were there on Sunday, and the parking lot was quite full of cars and trucks as well as several tour buses. Residents in the area frequent it as a park on the weekends with family and picnics. This site has a small ball court similar to the famous larger one at Chichen Itza.

    The best known site in Guatemala is Tikal deep in the jungle with its enormous temple in the north, and visiting that was an expensive excursion option by plane ($600+).

    The second site was near Puerto Chiapas in Mexico and was much smaller, or at least what has been excavated is much smaller. It is a community project and well cared for, but lumps and hills on the ground promise secrets lie within. It also has a small ball court. Again, funds for careful excavation would be wonderful if a donor can be found.

    Mexican Chiapas is a relatively new cruise stop, and the visit there was delightful. Tourists have not yet ruined it.

    I had forgotten that you recently got to visit ancient Mesoamerican ruins. What a great experience you had. You are quite correct in that we know very little about those civilizations.

    You may be interested in “Incidents of Travel in Yucatan” by John loyd Stephens and Federick Catherwood. (https://www.amazon.com/Incidents-Travel-Yucatan-Cosimo-Classics/dp/1605203793/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517937921&sr=8-1&keywords=John+Lloyd+Stephens). That is the book which first made the ancient ruins known to the mid 19th century population in the United States. Before their published first-hand explorations in Central America, only a very few well educated scholars in the US knew about those ruins.

  22. Great interest in archaeology and anthropology resulted from classes in an accelerated two-year program at the University of Wisconsin—Madison for entering freshmen students that was structured to fulfill all the requirements for a BA or BS degree other than a major. It featured lectures by noted professors in their fields and study sessions with PhD-track grad students.

    It was restricted to 300 entering students in each class. I heard about it and consulted my high school-advisor about applying for it. She said go for it.

  23. This is strange.

    MONDAY, Feb. 5, 2018 — A colonoscopy can save your life by detecting and removing colon cancer, but it might also trigger appendicitis, a new study suggests.

    Experts aren’t sure exactly why that happens, and, fortunately, it’s rare. And it shouldn’t stop you from getting a colonoscopy, according to lead researcher Dr. Marc Basson.

  24. #29 Darren

    History major (concentrating on ancient history & American history) with a minor in Spanish & French, 2 years of each on top of 2 years of French in high school.

  25. Twitter is giving Justin Trudeau a rash after he corrected a college student asking him a question to say “peoplekind” instead of “mankind.”

    Ben Shapiro tweeted: “Justin Trudeau is what would happen if the song ‘Imagine’ took human form and then ate a Tide pod.”

  26. #33 – To call JK a “worthless TOOL” would insult all respectable TOOLs worldwide!!

    ‘Twas pretty funny reading how those conservatives told JK how it IS!!

  27. Cool story on Don Garlits at 86.

    Predictably, calamity is central to the Big Daddy legend. This is a man who has nearly burned to death twice, trapped inside a nitro fireball after high-speed engine explosions. One particularly harrowing incident, a planetary-gearbox failure at 25,000 rpm, mutilated his lower legs. Another time, a parachute failure at 200 mph sent Swamp Rat 6-B blasting through a metal fence, breaking Garlits’s spine. The dragster rolled, went airborne, and landed across a set of nearby railroad tracks. Spectators pulled him from the wreckage.

    “It’s a funny feeling, to wake up not knowing what’s happened,” he said, tugging on the aftermarket roll cage fitted to the Demon for our test. “You never do get used to that.”

    Pieces came off along the way. Bits of fingers. Toes. Half his right foot. There’s a slight hitch in his short, purposeful stride. One of his ears is dead, and the other has a hearing aid snugged inside. His eyes have been surgically repaired; repeat violent descents from 300 mph caused his retinas to detach.

    None of this appears to have slowed the man down. Two weeks before I met Garlits, Hurricane Irma felled a massive oak in front of his house. He promptly marched outside with a chain saw, cut it into pieces, and built a bonfire. In Gainesville, he hops into the quickest mass-production car ever made, no drama or pomp, and drives the hell out of it. He has few notes.

  28. Adee #34;

    Haha. I was a History minor with no it’s in Spanish and Portuguese. Almost as good as you. 🙂

  29. I hope that any of you who still bother to vote will join me in getting the last damn Bush out of office. It would be so much more thrilling to have him lose in the primary.
    But I’ll vote for the Democrat if I have to.

  30. It would be so much more thrilling to have him lose in the primary.
    But I’ll vote for the Democrat if I have to.

    I’ll vote against him in the primary but there’s no way I’ll vote for a Democrat. I don’t care what the race is. The best I can promise is to skip that race.

    The other candidates are:

    Davey Edwards
    Rick Range
    Jerry Patterson – not an option. He had the job for 12 years. He needs to find something else to do.

    I’m leaning towards Davey.

  31. I have spent ALL DAY working on tracking down, organizing, and copying legal documents for the lawyer.

    Tomorrow we have our annual pipeline safety meeting in the morning. It starts at 7:00 a.m., instead of the evening. I believe that’s their way of preventing whole families – including little kids – from showing up for a free meal and freebies. The meeting is about pipeline/excavating safety, and some of the images can be pretty graphic when they want to illustrate exactly how bad a safety failure can be. The rest of it is adult stuff – legal rules, how to determine a dangerous leak, how to identify utilities, etc. It’s a work function, and definitely not a place for little kids or uninvolved spouses, and I was told last year by one of the organizers about the number of complaints they were getting, especially about the children. I’ve noticed over the past few years the organizers were getting more and more specific about it not being a family event, but if there’s free food and give aways, the moochers will always ignore the rules.

    Anyway, I can kiss off getting work done tomorrow, too.

    Behinder and behinder….

  32. I’m it. It’s starting to get to the time of year that the movement for Texas independence gets underway. I try to check up almost daily to see what events occurred that lead up to Independence Day, the Alamo, Goliad, and San Jacinto with other events happening along the way. I can just imagine one single politician that exists today that would be willing to put anything at all of this or her personal possessions, honor, integrity, or anything else of real value on the line to defend a position. They should never have outlawed duels. Anyway, I can never thank those true patriots enough, and I can never heap enough scorn on those weasels who “represent” us today.

  33. If you missed this today, here it is and it is hilarious. Via Stephen Green at Instapundit.

    The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee was the victim of a prank phone call by Russian comedians who offered to give him ‘compromising’ dirt on Donald Trump – including nude photos of the president and a Russian reality show star.

    DailyMail.com can disclose that after the prank, his staff engaged in correspondence with what they thought was a Ukrainian politician to try to obtain the ‘classified’ material promised on the call.

    On an audio recording of the prank call posted online, Adam Schiff can be heard discussing the committee’s Russia investigation and increasingly bizarre allegations about Trump with a man who claimed to be Andriy Parubiy, the chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament.

  34. Looking at the RT America roster, it’s a veritable who’s who of Goonydom:

    Chris Hedges (unknown-present)
    Max Keiser (2009–present)
    Thom Hartmann (2010–present)
    Larry King (2013–present)
    Tyrel Ventura (2014–present)
    Jesse Ventura (2015–present)
    Sean Stone (2015–present)
    Ed Schultz (2016–present)

  35. That’s in my stomping grounds. There were three sisters whose family owned Alamo Tamale. Used to be crazy girls. I don’t think the original family owns it anymore.

  36. Hey, with Schiff on the scene now, maybe Sasha Baron Cohen can resurrect his career. I’d love to see Ali G interview the hapless Schiff.

  37. Joining in a little late, but the latest Schiff misadventure is hysterical. This guy needs to be hauled off in a butterfly net.

    The program on NatGeo channel at 8 tonight was superb. Thanks again to Darren for mentioning it.

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