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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Tale Of Trumpelstilsken

When I grew up I was read the fairy tale of Rumpelstilzchen, which is a furious little troll who is dancing wildly around his fireplace whenever he doesn’t get his will and things go by the wayside. 

These days it looks like we have gotten an American version of it. They call him Trumpelstilsken and the troll has invaded the White House. Trumpelstilsken has been living there only a few days but he is already furious with everyone around him, especially his press secretary, whose lies haven’t been strong enough to convince the international community of his
“alternate facts” as Kellyanne Conway tried to put it.  Now, why is Trumpelstilsken so mad at everyone?  Well, he wants to be loved by his people and is now discovering that they are way too critical of his behaviour. When Trumpelstilsken ran across the country  and met the cheering mob which actually got him into the White House, he loved and enjoyed every moment of it. Their affection for him was sooo great that he was looking forward to every new day. But those days are gone. Instead, world-wide protests erupted against him being in the White House, and on top of that he has all these other nasty little trolls around him who refuse to listen to him. 

Here is what the Washington Post is writing about Trumpelstilsken:


The first days inside Trump’s White House: Fury, tumult and a reboot

President Trump had just returned to the White House on Saturday from his final inauguration event, a tranquil interfaith prayer service, when the flashes of anger began to build.

Trump turned on the television to see a jarring juxtaposition — massive demonstrations around the globe protesting his day-old presidency and footage of the sparser crowd at his inauguration, with large patches of white empty space on the Mall.

As his press secretary, Sean Spicer, was still unpacking boxes in his spacious new West Wing office, Trump grew increasingly and visibly enraged.

Pundits were dissing his turnout. The National Park Service had retweeted a photo unfavorably comparing the size of his inauguration crowd with the one that attended Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony in 2009. A journalist had misreported that Trump had removed the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. And celebrities at the protests were denouncing the new commander in chief — Madonna even referenced “blowing up the White House.”

Trump’s advisers suggested that he could push back in a simple tweet. Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a Trump confidant and the chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, offered to deliver a statement addressing the crowd size.

White House press secretary's inauguration claims, annotated

During a briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer accused members of the press on Saturday of “deliberately false” inaugural coverage. (Thomas Johnson/The Washington Post)

But Trump was adamant, aides said. Over the objections of his aides and advisers — who urged him to focus on policy and the broader goals of his presidency — the new president issued a decree: He wanted a fiery public response, and he wanted it to come from his press secretary.

Spicer’s resulting statement — delivered in an extended shout and brimming with falsehoods — underscores the extent to which the turbulence and competing factions that were a hallmark of Trump’s campaign have been transported to the White House.

The broader power struggles within the Trump operation have touched everything from the new administration’s communications shop to the expansive role of the president’s son-in-law to the formation of Trump’s political organization. At the center, as always, is Trump himself, whose ascent to the White House seems to have only heightened his acute sensitivity to criticism.

This account of Trump’s tumultuous first days in office comes from interviews with nearly a dozen senior White House officials and other Trump advisers and confidants, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations and moments.

By most standards, Spicer’s statement Saturday did not go well. He appeared tired and nervous in an ill-fitting gray pinstripe suit. He publicly gave faulty facts and figures — which he said were provided to him by the Presidential Inaugural Committee — that prompted a new round of media scrutiny.

Many critics thought Spicer went too far and compromised his integrity. But in Trump’s mind, Spicer’s attack on the news media was not forceful enough. The president was also bothered that the spokesman read, at times haltingly, from a printed statement.

Trump has been resentful, even furious, at what he views as the media’s failure to reflect the magnitude of his achievements, and he feels demoralized that the public’s perception of his presidency so far does not necessarily align with his own sense of accomplishment.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Strange And Twisted World of Trump

By now, the fact that Trump is a pathological  liar is widely known. But it appears that he is directing his staff to follow practice. After the inauguration, his press secretary  came with the following incredulous statement:

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period — both in person and around the globe,” Spicer said. “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

Trump’s press secretary lashes out at media, calls crowd coverage ‘shameful’                                                            Spokesman Sean Spicer used his first media briefing to angrily berate the press, accusing reporters of deliberately seeking to minimize the “enormous” crowd at the swearing-in. He took no questions.

Everybody who has seen the crowds at Obama’s inauguration knows that only a fraction of those numbers showed up at Trump’s inauguration. When press secretary Spicer mentions the world-wide crowds, he must have gotten them mixed up with the protest marches happening around the world. What an idiot.

And btw. here is the comparing picture:

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   2009 crowd                                                             2017 crowd

To call media reporting shameful and wrong is plainly a lie and distortion of reality. This signals the style the American public will receive their twisted news from the new government. Below 2 more images with time taken.

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1-Fullscreen capture 1222017 51844 PM

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The World Has Never Seen Anything Like This. Mr. President, You Are Unpopular!

Never before in history has there erupted world-wide protests against a newly elected U.S. President. Today, we are seeing public protests and anti-Trump demonstrations all over the world. Whether we look to Europe, Australia or even Africa, people are on the streets to demonstrate against the rise of racism, and discrimination against women and minorities.
Trump’s inauguration address was a declaration of war specked with insults against U.S. Presidents of the last 30 years. But his insults didn’t stop there. He insulted all Washington residents as well. The International Community is reacting with disbelief and utter rejection of Trump and his horror-cabinet selection. January 20-2017 will mark the day when the clock got turned back 100 years.

(CNN)Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States and around the world are joining marches Saturday to raise awareness of women's rights and other civil rights they fear could be under threat under Donald Trump's presidency.

The key focus of the day is the Women's March on Washington, which organizers say could attract a quarter of a million participants.

Women's March: Thousands to protest worldwide on Donald Trump's first day

Women's March live: Thousands worldwide protest Trump

But there are also more than 600 "sister marches" planned around the United States, with some of the biggest expected in Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

And women and men in cities around the world -- including Sydney, Berlin, London, Paris and Cape Town, South Africa -- are also marching in solidarity and in opposition to the values they think Trump represents.

Women of color on what's at stake under Trump

'Girl Power vs. Trump Tower'

Australia was the scene of the first major international march, with thousands joining an anti-Trump protest in downtown Sydney.

Thousands of protesters turn out Saturday in downtown Sydney.

Thousands of protesters turn out Saturday in downtown Sydney.

Organizers said up to 5,000 people attended the protest at Martin Place; police estimated the number was closer to 3,000.

Chants from the crowd included "women united will never be defeated" and "when women's rights are under attack, what do we do, stand up, fight back." Some carried banners with messages such as "Girl Power vs. Trump Tower" and "Dump the Trump."

A small group holds a pro-Trump rally Saturday in Australia's largest city.

A small group holds a pro-Trump rally Saturday in Australia's largest city.

A separate group of about 30 Trump supporters also held a rally in Sydney. The police restrained some of them, blocking them from entering the same area as the anti-Trump protest group.

Protest organizers in New Zealand's capital, Wellington, said about 700 people turned out there for a women's march. Marches were also held in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Follow

Women's March NZ @WMNewZealand

So many great signs and banners today!

Protesters also joined together to march in Nairobi, Kenya -- the African nation that was the home country of former President Barack Obama's father.

Sisters' March Nairobi. So amazing to see the community to come together

Marchers in Cape Town carried banners with slogans such as "climate change is a women's issue" and "so over mediocre men running things."

Opinion: What's the state of sisterhood in the time of Trump?

Europe marches

Big crowds turned out Saturday in dozens of cities across Europe, with marchers including men, women and children.

Protesters who gathered outside one of Rome's most famous structures, the Pantheon, on Saturday morning carried signs such as "Yes we must" and "Women's rights are human rights."

Demonstrators also took to the streets of Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and other cities in Germany.

This Pussy Bites Back ! #solidarity #womensmarch #berlin

A photo posted by Katy Ray (@raykaty) on Jan 21, 2017 at 2:56am PST

Katy Rea, who was at the march in Berlin, told CNN: "There are around 1,000 people. Lots of families, children. Very friendly atmosphere. Some police are present, but it's tame and relaxed."

Marches were also planned in cities up and down the United Kingdom, from London to Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast and Edinburgh.

In London, thousands were expected to join a 2-mile march starting outside the US Embassy and ending with a rally in the city's historic Trafalgar Square.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Lots of anti-Trump placards at Womens March in London today but some protesting #Brexit, Workers rights, nuclear weapons, LGBT rights & more

Marcher Victoria Dawson told CNN the atmosphere was "positive, inclusive, electric."

Women's rights weren't the only issue on the agenda, with placards also bearing slogans to do with Brexit, nuclear weapons, workers' rights and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan -- who before the US presidential election told CNN that Trump's views of Islam were "ignorant" -- posted a tweet encouraging Londoners to join the march and "show how much we value the rights every woman should have."

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

In Paris, demonstrators gathered near the iconic Eiffel Tower before marching through the streets waving flags and banners.

Other French cities including Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux were also holding events.

Protesters march in Marseille, France, in solidarity with women in Washington and around the world.

Protesters march in Marseille, France, in solidarity with women in Washington and around the world.

On Friday night, a crowd of predominantly female protesters gathered in Brussels, Belgium, to denounce sexism and protest against Trump.

'Sea of pink' planned

The Women's March on Washington, which was to begin at 10 a.m. ET near Capitol Hill, comes on the heels of a slew of protests there on Inauguration Day.

You'll see these 'pussyhats' at the march

You'll see these 'pussyhats' at the march 01:33

The march, which began with a modest Facebook call in the aftermath of the November election, has grown into what could be one of the larger political demonstrations ever seen in the US capital.

Many of those taking part are concerned about Trump's agenda, his past remarks that appeared to demean women and allegations against him of sexual misconduct -- which he has denied.

Thousands of people have also been busy making cat-eared knit hats to wear at the march, with the aim of creating a "sea of pink" on the National Mall.

Organizers of the so-called Pussyhat Project said they have received tens of thousands of handmade hats to distribute to marchers, with submissions flooding in from all 50 states and as far away as France and New Zealand.

Elizabeth England posted footage on Twitter showing scores of protesters, many in pink hats, gathered close to the Baltimore Penn Station on their way to the march. She told CNN: "Everyone is friendly and excited and hoping the trains start running more!"

 

Friday, January 20, 2017

What Happens If…. In The Seat Of Power

The following interview was given to the German magazine “Der Spiegel”.

Dr. Bruce Blair, born in 1947, is a security expert and expert on nuclear weapons at the University of Princeton. In the 1970s, Blair controlled the procedure for the possible shooting of nuclear weapons for the US Army. His job was to run the way from the President's prescription to the launch of the rockets virtually, and to ensure that all the trials went smoothly. Since his work for the US Army, Blair has been among the leading nuclear policy critics in the US. In the election campaign he appeared in a video of Hillary Clinton and warned earnestly against the election of Donald Trump.
From 6 pm German time Donald Trump is US President: What does the most powerful man in the world do with his power? How does he deal with the so-called nuclear case? With a single decision, Trump could ignite a nuclear war.


His statements are, as usual, not clear. So in April last year, he said in the election campaign that it was a "horror to use nuclear weapons". He would be the last to do this. But then he added, "But I will never rule it out."

The nuclear expert Bruce Blair expresses himself in the interview about Trumps Nuclear-omnipotence:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Blair, Donald Trump will be sworn in on Friday, just like all the new presidents, he will receive the high-level briefing on the nuclear codes. What do we know about this briefing?


Bruce Blair: Several things. We know, for example, that the so-called nuclear case will be presented to him at the session. This is a kind of mobile command center that a president can use in the event of a crisis.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What is in the suitcase?

Blair: The suitcase contains documents on America's secret nuclear weapons sites. Also in it is the Black Book with fixed targets for attack and various war options, from which a President can choose in an emergency. In addition to the suitcase, the new commander-in-chief is usually also given his personal nuclear codes. And someone who is well acquainted with it, explains to him how he uses it. The codes are extremely important. If he wants to command the use of nuclear weapons, he must first identify himself against the Pentagon. That is what they are meant for.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: On the morning of the inauguration, does the new president go through the details of an atomic war?

Blair: Usually not very intense. Shortly before inauguration, most of the agenda is likely to be very complex. A truly detailed explanation of the different options is already done during the transition phase. In the nuclear briefing it is more a rough description of the possibilities. Jimmy Carter, for example, was annoyed with the fact that the brochures in the suitcase were way too long. He has therefore commissioned a one-page version that resembles a comic. Option one, option two, option three. So in that way. This version is still there to my knowledge.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In the election campaign, you have emphasized the great fear that Donald Trump is going to the White House. Have you been slightly less worried since his election victory?

Blair: No. Trumps fingers on the nuclear case makes me afraid. I have no confidence in Trump’s judgment on war and peace. He is impulsive. He is aggressive, poorly- or misinformed. He knows virtually nothing about nuclear weapons or international relations. He's a hot-head. He does not think. He does not want to learn. And most importantly, he has shown that he divides the world into winners and losers. Quite honestly, I'm afraid. I am afraid some time Trump makes a bad decision about nuclear weapons.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But let's be honest: a push of a button and already the nuclear weapons fly towards enemy targets - how much of this concept is science fiction?

Blair: Not much, that's the problem. There is a clearly regulated procedure in the nuclear arsenal. It has been designed to react quickly and efficiently in case of doubt. It is incredible: the president has a decision-making power that can end civilization. Perfectly without hurdles.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How do you have to imagine that?

Blair: There is, for example, the emergency scenario of the telephone call in the middle of the night, when a president is informed by his security adviser of an impending attack on the US. He then has a maximum of six minutes to decide how to react. The protocol stipulates that the President must confer with his closest advisors, as well as the senior official of the command center in the Pentagon, the so-called "war room".

If the President orders the operation, the Pentagon official, who informs the nuclear weapons sites about the decision, must first clarify the question whether the President is really concerned. The codes are used here. According to what is known, this goes according to the usual "challenge response" procedure used in military circles. The Pentagon official reads a part of the string, the president must supply the appropriate equivalent. Then it's going to happen.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: A nightly call has not happened very often.

Blair: There is a second scenario: a longer confrontation with a state or an enemy, which does not have to be decidedly hectic and the president possibly has days or weeks. This may be different variants. But the point is: When a decision is made, everything goes very quickly. And the attack targets in the nuclear case are fixed.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Where are the targets?

Blair: Many details are secret. But, on the whole, it is known that 900 targets are stored in Russia, of which 100 are in Moscow. 500 are available in China, 60 in North Korea, 50 in Iran. The president can decide what he wants to attack. A goal, or simply all targets at the same time. There is no one who can prevent his decision. No one who can veto. By the way, not even the minister of defense, as some believe. If the president is OK, everything goes. The command center sends a short start command, which arrives at the respective rocket locations practically at the same time. Then the weapons are launched within a minute. That was my job for years.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Hopefully only in theory.

Blair: Yes, of course. We have, of course, only practiced the emergency in the nuclear weapons site where I have been working. Every day. Hundreds of times. Always use the same procedure: Command. Start instructions from the Pentagon. We open the safe. We get our sealed codes out and compare them with those codes that were sent to us. If these match, we start the atomic rocket on the simulator. Everything within a minute. This is the standard.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How many American nuclear missiles are currently deployed?

Blair: There are currently 430 atomic rockets under ground, which are always ready. In addition, some submarines with some 300 rockets are still floating in the Pacific and the Atlantic. From the command to the launch, it would take a bit longer - around 15 minutes.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Does each of these missiles have a target?

Blair: No, each rocket has many different targets in its computer. But part of the one-minute procedure is to set the rocket to the right attack option. Depending on the option, the missile will then fly to an appropriate destination. There are three different types of targets: the rockets could be used to destroy enemy nuclear weapons, destroy buildings of the political leadership of a country or the arms industry. This must be imagined as a menu option. The goal, the country, is going.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: After all, a Hiroshima scenario, with hundreds of thousands of people dying, can not simply be ordered by the President.

Blair: Not directly. But, of course, the sensitive buildings are often in densely populated areas. In cities. And it is also conceivable that the president selects a variant that is not preset. His personal variant, so to speak. Only a long-term plan is needed, which can not be imagined without intensive discussion at the highest political level.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Trump has expressed criticism on nuclear weapons many times, many years ago even said that he would like to see an international agreement on disarmament. Can it be that he surprises us all?

Blair: I do not believe it. We almost never know whether he means things seriously. Why should this be different in questions of nuclear weapons? His whole political understanding can have devastating consequences in this field. He holds nothing of diplomacy. He likes to escalate situations. Of course, I also hope that he makes his promise true and negotiates well in all fields. Completing a very big deal, which also includes disarmament, missile defense. But I believe that his temperament is completely unsuitable for the sensitive question of nuclear weapons.

PIEGEL ONLINE: It is said that he office of the president makes humble, it changes a politician.

Blair: Yes, and we have seen that in history. Ronald Reagan, after taking office, instructed his military to set up in such a way that it would be ready to fight in an atomic war at any time, and win the war. At some point he saw that this was an absurd basic assumption and the Soviet Union took this very seriously. Too serious for his taste. Reagan then changed his policy. The problem with Trump is: If there was a rival, he would want to win it.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Are the nuclear codes always in the nuclear case? Or can every President decide for himself where he keeps them?

Blair: There are presidents who keep the codes in the suitcase. I also believe that this is the safest option. The suitcase is always guarded by a military officer who accompanies the president around the clock. Nothing can be lost. But every president has the opportunity to wear it on his own body. This can be a risk. Former General Hugh Shelton has revealed in his memoirs that Bill Clinton had carried the codes in his wallet, where the credit cards were. When the codes were exchanged after a few months, as usual, they were gone. Under Carter, the codes landed in the laundry of the White House because he had forgotten them in his suit. And when Ronald Reagan was shot, he took off the jacket that contained the codes. They then landed in a plastic bag, of which nobody really knew who it belonged to. There are crazy stories.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

You May Be Sad Or Laugh At It All And Hope The Best

It’s the day BEFORE and the world is waiting. Some are excited, some are not, some are sad, some are laughing at it all.
Yesterday I watched President Obama’s last press conference. In his usual reflected way he answered questions of the press. Questions, many of the American Citizens want answers to. Like a soothing father speaks to his family when they are afraid he said “We will be OK”. 

But will we?

Will persecution and rounding up of special groups in society happen? Will long-standing trade agreements be abolished? Will 30 million Americans loose their healthcare? Will America be involved in a new war?
Will women’s rights be cut down?

Questions, so many questions…..

Nobody knows the answers yet.

But the Borowitz Report has a take on what’s going on.
Sad smileAfterwards you may laugh….if you understand it.

SATIRE FROM THE BOROWITZ REPORT

MOVING VANS ARRIVE AT WHITE HOUSE TO REMOVE ALL TRACES OF COMPETENCE, DIGNITY

By Andy Borowitz
January 18, 2017

borowitz-movingvansarriveatwhitehousetoremovealltracesofcompetencedignityPHOTOGRAPH BY ALEX WONG / GETTY

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Moving vans arrived at the White House on Wednesday to remove all traces of competence and dignity.

Working around the clock, movers started clearing out the optimism and progress that had accumulated during the past eight years.

“Once we’ve packed up that stuff, we’ll start moving out the wisdom and maturity,” one of the movers said. “The guy who’s moving in wants all of that gone.”

After the movers complete their work, a cleaning crew will come in and scrub the White House of every last speck of compassion.

The movers are working under a strict deadline, since the White House needs to be totally stripped of decency by nine o’clock on Friday morning, the mover said.

“The new guy wants the place to be completely empty, ” he said. “He has a lot of crap.”

Andy Borowitz is a New York Times best-selling author and a comedian who has written for The New Yorker since 1998. He writes the Borowitz Report for newyorker.com

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dry And High

When the sun shines on a Saturday I can’t sitt inside and watch it. And eve though the mercury showed pretty low temps today (-16C) I dressed appropriately and ventured out to the pile of wood I had produced yesterday. I was planning another “round stack”. So I went about it and even though it took a bit longer than the video below is showing, I got it all done within 2 1/2hrs. This way of stacking firewood has the advantage that the stack is self-supporting and stabile against the ever blowing winds. And since the wind can penetrate the stack the wood gets the best conditions for seasoning. Besides of all that, it is more fun to make these round stacks and they can easily be covered with tarps. Short video below.
https://youtu.be/PeymNhOSdqs
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Day In January

January on Campobello can be everything from snowy and cold to extremely mild and rainy, or any mix there off. What never fails is a prediction of strong winds. And sometimes the wind can reach devastating powers, toppling trees and peeling off of roof shingles.
When the winds get furious we like to take a trip around to experience the island weather.
Depending on which direction the wind is blowing from, the views can be spectacular.
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While driving Rte. 774 towards Wilson’s Beach we came across a tree leaning across the road. The only thing holding it back was the power line. And the power went out as the tree hit the power line. Since the power company has no office on Campobello, they need to cross through the U.S. before they can start repairs. This time it took a total of 5 hrs before power was restored.

Down at Liberty Point, dramatic views offered themselves across the Bay of Fundy.

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The wild waves drew long tails of foamy water behind. The noise of the wind and the crashing waves was impressive. Living on Campobello year-long is a never-ending adventure.
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Weather has been the basic ingredient for how life has been going on for generations. Right now it is scallop season. Scores of fishing vessels are out on the bay – not the Fundy Bay today, but the more protected Passamaquoddy Bay. Being able to uphold fisheries is paramount to continued life on Campobello.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

From Russia With Love

A while back I read a novel about a U.S. President who was a Russian mole. Never in my wildest fantasies could I imagine that something similar would happen one day. We are now about to witness it, unless he’d be stopped in his tracks.
The full INTEL report: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html

The two most sensitive parts of it below.
1-Fullscreen capture 1112017 91805 AM1-Fullscreen capture 1112017 91835 AM   Congratulations America. You chose a pervert for president.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Toy Or Tool?

So you got yourself a new toy”, Bea said just when a big chunk of spruce cracked open. 
TOY?   This is a tool and comes in much handy, I thought  but said nothing.  I had to take a trip to St.Stephen today to pick up my “NUTCRACKER”, aka log-splitter.
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I had been thinking of buying one quite often, but postponed it again and again. Now there was a good offer for this 5ton splitter and I went and got it.  It splits pieces up to 20 inch long and 12 inch diameter or even bigger if not too hard.
1-DSC_1116The thing is quite heavy but I got it on top of an old wooden table providing a good working height.  So will I retire my axe? No, I won’t.
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The axe is still a faster tool for small and straight chunks, but I won’t have to gruel for taking on the bigger hard-to-split piece anymore.

And what else was going on today?
It was the start of the Scalloping season.
We counted 15 boats out on the bay today. And the weather was gorgeous for that. No wind and a sunny day.
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Monday, January 9, 2017

The Weather Gadget Was Lying Today

It is rare that I get out of bed before 6am, but today I was downstairs at 5:30am. And I didn’t know about it until I was passing the electric display clock on our cook stove. Boy it was cold here, so I got some coffee going real quick. Then Molly woke up and I let her out. GEEEEZ….this felt REALLY cold and when I looked at the thermometer it showed-19C (-2.2F) Brrr…I did need that hot coffee now. After getting the wood stove going, I turned on the Internet.
Below: Ice Flowers on the window 
1-DSC_1064The gadget I have on this page was showing –16C. A blank lie!  We had – 19C and I had seen it myself on our outside thermometer. Of course there was also the Wind-chill around –25C!  (-13F)
Now, 7hrs. later, it is still –15C (5F)
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The sun is out and from the inside it looks like a beautiful day, but all beauty
“disappears” when stepping outside. The cold is biting into my skin and I put my gloved hand in front of my mouth.
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We had parked the Buick down by the road and it refused any attempt of starting the engine. But our 2 vans were starting right up, so I had a jumper cable over to the Buick, which made the Buick roar back to life. A quick trip across the border I did with one of the vans, then back home cozying up in front of the stove. The east coast rarely gets this cold. And I know it’s gonna warm up again from tomorrow. So no sweat here.

I’m gonna run an extension cord over to the Buick to keep the battery charged up.

StreepEvery morning I use some time to check on National and International News. 2-3 Scandinavian, 2 German, 1 British, 1 Canadian and 3-4 American news sources are on the agenda. This morning I saw Meryl Streep speaking out at the Golden Globe Award. She was in every news magazine. Her speech was right on the spot. That lady got world-wide attention when she called out President-Elect Trump without even ever mentioning his name. Well done Mrs. Streep!
And wouldn’t you know it, the man-child who cannot take any criticism, lashed out against her right away, calling the world-class actor “overrated” and denying that he had ever mocked a disabled reporter under one of his rallies. He must have forgotten that he had a witnessing audience.
What a bad move on his part.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

There Was A Slight Problem This Morning

As usual it felt quite cold when I got down to the kitchen at 6:30am and I didn’t blame Molly for still being in dreamland. In fact, it gave me some time to start the coffee. I even managed to lit up the fire in the wood stove, before Her Royalty Molly had lifted her head off the pillow she had been sleeping on. So I guess it was time for her to take a quick trip outside.
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However, when I pushed against our rear entry door it wouldn’t move. Not one bit!  Was it frozen shut?  I pushed harder and it opened about 2 inch. Something was outside, blocking the door. I found out fast enough. We had a snow drift right outside and it was blocking the door.
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The weather forecast had mentioned the possibility of snow overnight, but they had talked about 2 inches only in our place. How could 2 inches be blocking my door?  Well, it turned out that wind had blown a lot of snow right onto the entry door. Farther out on the lawn was nearly nothing. But I could make out another snowdrift in front of the garage door. Seems like those drifts prefer to settle in front of doors….any door.
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Molly pressed on from behind so I let her slip through. As she already has problems with her hind legs she was striving hard to get over and through the snow until she eventually reached better ground.

I had to get into my boots and my winter coat and start clearing away from our entry deck. The wind was still quite strong and it was piercing my face.

Fortunately, coffee was ready when I got back inside. And the wood stove had produced a nice heat in the living room. So good to watch all hell break loose from inside the house.
1-DSC_1044   Snowplow, clogging up our driveway
It was bound to happen one day. For way too long we have had mild great weather.
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Only last Sunday we had been on a hike through the park and enjoyed warm sunshine. One has to enjoy life when the opportunity offers itself.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

In Case You Missed It

If you indeed missed this, (no,not the letter but the changes which happened), you probably have been doing one of 2 things: Either you have been fast asleep for 8 years or you have been watching too much of Fox News and friends.

The Last Letter                                                       President Barack Obama

To my fellow Americans,

Eight years ago, America faced a moment of peril unlike any we’d seen in decades.

A spiraling financial crisis threatened to plunge an economy in recession into a deep depression. The very heartbeat of American manufacturing – the American auto industry – was on the brink of collapse. In some communities, nearly one in five Americans were out of work. Nearly 180,000 American troops were serving in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the mastermind of the worst terror attack on American soil remained at large. And on challenges from healthcare to climate change, we’d been kicking the can down the road for way too long.

But in the depths of that winter, on January 20, 2009, I stood before you and swore a sacred oath. I told you that day that the challenges we faced would not be met easily or in a short span of time – but they would be met. And after eight busy years, we’ve met them – because of you.

Eight years later, an economy that was shrinking at more than 8% is now growing at more than 3%. Businesses that were bleeding jobs unleashed the longest streak of job creation on record. The auto industry has roared its way back, saving one million jobs across the country and fueling a manufacturing sector that, after a decade of decline, has added new jobs for the first time since the 1990s. And wages have grown faster over the past few years than at any time in the past 40.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Today, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, another 20 million American adults know the financial security and peace of mind that comes with health insurance. Another three million children have gained health insurance. For the first time ever, more than 90% of Americans are insured – the highest rate ever. We’ve seen the slowest growth in the price of healthcare in 50 years, along with improvements in patient safety that have prevented an estimated 87,000 deaths. Every American with insurance is covered by the strongest set of consumer protections in history – a true Patients’ Bill of Rights – and free from the fear that illness or accident will derail your dreams, because America is now a place where discrimination against preexisting conditions is a relic of the past. And the new health insurance marketplace means that if you lose your job, change your job, or start that new business, you’ll finally be able to purchase quality, affordable care and the security and peace of mind that comes with it – and that’s one reason why entrepreneurship is growing for the second straight year.

Our dependence on foreign oil has been cut by more than half, and our production of renewable energy has more than doubled. In many places across the country, clean energy from the wind is now cheaper than dirtier sources of energy, and solar now employs more Americans than coal mining in jobs that pay better than average and can’t be outsourced. We also enacted the most sweeping reforms since the Great Depression to protect consumers and prevent a crisis on Wall Street from punishing Main Street ever again. These actions didn’t stifle growth, as critics predicted. Instead, the stock market has nearly tripled. Since I signed Obamacare into law, America’s businesses have added more than 15m new jobs. And the economy is undoubtedly more durable than it was in the days when we relied on oil from unstable nations and banks took risky bets with your money.

The high school graduation rate is now 83% – the highest on record – and we’ve helped more young people graduate from college than ever before. At the same time, we’ve worked to offer more options for Americans who decide not to pursue college, from expanding apprenticeships, to launching high-tech manufacturing institutes, to revamping the job training system and creating programs like TechHire to help people train for higher-paying jobs in months, not years. We’ve connected more schools across the country to broadband internet, and supported more teachers to bring coding, hands-on making, and computational thinking into our classrooms to prepare all our children for a 21st century economy.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Add it all up, and last year, the poverty rate fell at the fastest rate in almost 50 years while the median household income grew at the fastest rate on record. And we’ve done it all while cutting our deficits by nearly two-thirds even as we protected investments that grow the middle class.

Meanwhile, over the past eight years, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland. Plots have been disrupted. Terrorists like Osama bin Laden have been taken off the battlefield. We’ve drawn down from nearly 180,000 troops in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan to just 15,000. With a coalition of more than 70 nations and a relentless campaign of more than 16,000 airstrikes so far, we are breaking the back of Isil and taking away its safe havens, and we’ve accomplished this at a cost of $10bn over two years – the same amount that we spent in one month at the height of the Iraq war.

At the same time, America has led the world to meet a set of global challenges. Through diplomacy, we shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program, opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, and brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could save this planet for our kids. With new models for development, American assistance is helping people around the world feed themselves, care for their sick, and power communities across Africa. And almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago. All of this progress is due to the service of millions of Americans in intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, diplomacy, and the brave men and women of our Armed Forces – the most diverse institution in America.

We’ve also worked to make the changing face of America more fair and more just – including by making strides towards criminal justice reform, making progress towards equal pay, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and advancing the cause of civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. I appointed two extraordinary women to the Supreme Court, marking the first time in history that three women sit on the bench, including the first Latina. And today in America, marriage equality is finally a reality across all 50 states.

This is where America stands after eight years of progress. By so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started – a situation I’m proud to leave for my successor. And it’s thanks to you – to the hard work you’ve put in; the sacrifices you’ve made for your families and communities; the way you’ve looked out for one another.

Still, through every victory and every setback, I’ve insisted that change is never easy, and never quick; that we wouldn’t meet all of our challenges in one term, or one presidency, or even in one lifetime. And for all that we’ve achieved, there’s still so much I wish we’d been able to do, from enacting gun safety measures to protect more of our kids and our cops from mass shootings like Newtown, to passing commonsense immigration reform that encourages the best and brightest from around the world to study, stay and create jobs in America.

And for all the incredible progress our economy has made in just eight years, we still have more work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a dignified retirement. We have to acknowledge the inequality that has come from an increasingly globalized economy while committing ourselves to making it work better for everyone, not just those at the top, and give everyone who works hard a fair shot at success.

And here’s the thing – over the past eight years, we’ve shown that we can. Last year, income gains were actually larger for households at the bottom and the middle than for those at the top. We’ve also made the tax code fairer. The tax changes enacted over the past eight years have ensured that the top 1% of Americans pay more of their fair share, increasing the share of income received by all other families by more than the tax changes in any previous administration since at least 1960. Simply put, we’ve actually begun the long task of reversing inequality. But as the global economy changes, we’ll have to do more to accelerate these trends, from strengthening unions that speak for workers, to preventing colleges from pricing out hardworking students, to making sure that minimum wage workers get a raise and women finally get paid the same as men for doing the same job. What won’t help is taking health care away from 30 million Americans, most of them white and working class; denying overtime pay to workers, most of whom have more than earned it; or privatizing Medicare and Social Security and letting Wall Street regulate itself again – none of which middle-class Americans voted for.

We will have to move forward as we always have – together. As a people who believe that out of many, we are one; that we are bound not by any one race or religion, but rather an adherence to a common creed; that all of us are created equal in the eyes of God. And I’m confident we will. Because the change we’ve brought about these past eight years was never about me. It was about you. It is you, the American people, who have made the progress of the last eight years possible. It is you who will make our future progress possible. That, after all, is the story of America – a story of progress. However halting, however incomplete, however harshly challenged at each point on our journey – the story of America is a story of progress.

Recently, I asked each member of my talented and dedicated Cabinet to prepare a detailed report on the progress we’ve made across the board these past eight years, and the work that remains to make this country we love even stronger. Today, I’m sharing them with you. And I hope you’ll share them with others, and do your part to build on the progress we’ve made across the board.

It has been the privilege of my life to serve as your President. And as I prepare to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen, I’m proud to say that we have laid a new foundation for America. A new future is ours to write. And I’m as confident as ever that it will be led by the United States of America – and that our best days are still ahead.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

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