10 September, 2011

Peaceful Green Hippies On Twitter

I’m so far behind in my blogging, but this one stands out. I haven’t done a Peaceful Green Hippies post in a while.

Hmm..wonder if they can use the hashtag #PGHOT?


This, my friends, IS the liberal left. I see it every day in my own Twitter feed.

September 10, 1946

While riding a train to Darjeeling, Sister Teresa Bojaxhiu of the Loreto Sisters' Convent hears the call of God, directing her "to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them".

We know this woman today as Mother Teresa, or Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. She acquired the title “Blessed” after her beatification by Pope John Paul II in 2003. Beatification means that the Catholic Church has accepted documented evidence of her performing one miracle.

She will be canonized, and become Saint Teresa of Calcutta, if and when documentation of a second miracle is established.

September 10, 2001

Tomorrow is the day.

The NSA intercepts at least two disturbing Arabic transmissions:

At least two messages in Arabic are intercepted by the NSA. One states, “The match is about to begin” and the other states, “Tomorrow is zero hour.” Later reports translate the first message as, “The match begins tomorrow.”

Further intercepts from other agencies include:

On this day, electronic intercepts connected to these undercover agents hear messages such as, “Watch the news” and “Tomorrow will be a great day for us.”

A fifth grader in Dallas, TX tells his teacher:

“Tomorrow, World War III will begin. It will begin in the United States, and the United States will lose.”

A sixth grader in Jersey City, NJ tell his teacher something similar:

A sixth-grade student of Middle Eastern descent in Jersey City, New Jersey, says something that alarms his teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School. “Essentially, he [warns] her to stay away from lower Manhattan because something bad [is] going to happen,” says Sgt. Edgar Martinez, deputy director of police services for the Jersey City Police Department

Finally, Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz make a mysterious trip to Portland, ME.

According to the FBI, the pair leave Boston in the afternoon in a blue Nissan Altima and drive to South Portland, where they check into a Comfort Inn around 5:45 p.m. They are caught on security cameras visiting a gas station, two ATMs, and shopping at a Wal-Mart. The next morning they fly back to Boston, where they board the airplane they will hijack.

Fast & Furious Hits Home: Indiana

Apparently it’s not enough to arm Mexican drug cartels. We’re also arming gangs in Indiana. Doesn’t this administration make you feel safer?

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has acknowledged an Indiana dealer’s cooperation in conducting straw purchases at the direction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Exclusive documents obtained by Gun Rights Examiner show the dealer cooperated with ATF by selling guns to straw purchasers, and that bureau management later asserted these guns were being traced to crimes.

I’ve said this before, but it bears mentioning again. Perhaps it’d be simpler at this point to ask people to raise their hands if they belong to a group that didn’t receive illegal guns from the government.

See the slideshow here of U.S. DoJ documents related to this story.

And Codrea (author of the linked article) asks the all important questions:

It’s also fair to ask if it seems credible that such similar operations would develop independently in the Southwest (“Project Gunwalker”) and the Midwest (“Project Gangwalker’?), without authorization from and oversight coordination by Main Justice.

Pretty sure the answer to that one has to be “no”.

Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars has advocated opening “a second front” to complement House Oversight Committee investigations, and this column has been a consistent advocate for appointment of a truly independent special investigator, as well as for individual state attorneys general determining if multiple felony violations of their state laws, committed jointly by two or more persons, have been perpetrated.  What seems clear is none of this will happen unless gun owners create such an uproar that their demands cannot be ignored—by timid political wind riders who don’t wish to get involved, by an arrogant, stonewalling administration, and by their protectors/abettors in the mainstream press.

I have a lot of problems with “special prosecutors”. I think they are impossible to restrain if/when they go beyond their mandate without making it look like you’re covering something up. I think that often they become desperate to prove something to justify their cost and go overboard. I think you saw that with both Ken Starr and Patrick Fitzgerald.

However, having said that, this clearly appears to be a case of serious misconduct by the Department of Justice, and anyone who honestly believes that in such a case that the DoJ can investigate itself should unsubscribe from this blog right now. You’re too dumb to be reading this.

Perhaps Congressional oversight will be sufficient. I do believe that Congressman Issa (R-CA-49) is doing his best, but their may be limits to his ability to get to the truth.

09 September, 2011

September 9, 2001

Osama bin Laden calls his stepmother to tell her about the upcoming attack.

“In two days, you’re going to hear big news and you’re not going to hear from me for a while.” US officials later will tell CNN that “in recent years they’ve been able to monitor some of bin Laden’s telephone communications with his [step]mother. Bin Laden at the time was using a satellite telephone, and the signals were intercepted and sometimes recorded.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/2/2001]Stepmother Al-Khalifa bin Laden, who raised Osama bin Laden after his natural mother died, is apparently waiting in Damascus, Syria, to meet Osama there, so he calls to cancel the meeting. [SUNDAY HERALD (GLASGOW), 10/7/2001] They had met periodically in recent years. Before 9/11, to impress important visitors, NSA analysts would occasionally play audio tapes of bin Laden talking to his stepmother. The next day government officials say about the call, “I would view those reports with skepticism.”

This same day, Mohamed Atta is seen behaving oddly at Boston Logan Airport.

At Boston’s Logan Airport, during the morning, businesswoman Jan Shineman is checking in for Flight 11 to Los Angeles, when she notices a man resembling Mohamed Atta behaving suspiciously. She later recalls him wearing “summery, holiday-type clothes… and he had no baggage, just a folder with a notebook.” She sees him again at the gate for Flight 11, “taking notes, watching the pilots in the cockpit through the window by the gate. They were running through their pre-flight checks.” She decides, “if he had boarded I would have told the captain about him, he was so odd and frightening.”

08 September, 2011

September 8, 1966

Space: The Final Frontier…

The first episode of Star Trek, “The Man Trap” is aired on NBC in the 8:30-9:30 time slot. This was the third episode actually filmed, but the first to be aired.

September 8, 1974

Proclamation 4311





Richard Nixon became the thirty-seventh President of the United States on January 20, 1969 and was reelected in 1972 for a second term by the electors of forty-nine of the fifty states. His term in office continued until his resignation on August 9, 1974.

Pursuant to resolutions of the House of Representatives, its Committee on the Judiciary conducted an inquiry and investigation on the impeachment of the President extending over more than eight months. The hearings of the Committee and its deliberations, which received wide national publicity over television, radio, and in printed media, resulted in votes adverse to Richard Nixon on recommended Articles of Impeachment.

As a result of certain acts or omissions occurring before his resignation from the Office of President, Richard Nixon has become liable to possible indictment and trial for offenses against the United States. Whether or not he shall be so prosecuted depends on findings of the appropriate grand jury and on the discretion of the authorized prosecutor. Should an indictment ensue, the accused shall then be entitled to a fair trial by an impartial jury, as guaranteed to every individual by the Constitution.

It is believed that a trial of Richard Nixon, if it became necessary, could not fairly begin until a year or more has elapsed. In the meantime, the tranquility to which this nation has been restored by the events of recent weeks could be irreparably lost by the prospects of bringing to trial a former President of the United States. The prospects of such trial will cause prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a man who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and seventy-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-ninth.

Where’ve You Been, Chris?

Some of you have noticed that I’ve virtually disappeared from blogging and Twitter over the last few weeks. In fact, I’ve been asked about it more than once.

So, here’s an explanation.

Other than my family and my work, there are 5 passions in my life. In no particular order, they are: 1) sports (especially basketball and football), computers, mathematics, politics, and reading. Despite my vacation in July, I am still quite a bit behind in my reading, so I’ve been doing a bit more of that lately. That’s the first and simplest reason for my silence.

However, that’s not the biggest reason. I’ve been moderately interested in sports ratings, such as the Sagarin ratings for years. In fact, I wrote a very simple one myself for NFL football back when I was about 16. Research into these things has been an on again off again hobby of mine since then. About 4 years ago, I actually got serious about it. I wrote my own rating system for college football, men’s college basketball and the NFL. It’s actually a pretty good system and I use it to identify which teams are better or worse than their records make them appear to be. I can use it to project winners and losers as well. And this combines three of my passions: sports, computers, and mathematics.

It’s a pretty sophisticated system, and I’ve added to it every year. Unfortunately, the foundations for it are not strong. My first attempt used an Excel spreadsheet. That version quickly morphed into a little Windows app with an Access database. Sadly, I had to use a different Access database for every sport, and adding additional sports (other than probably women’s college basketball) would have been difficult. The Access database still shows its Excel roots, and has problems because of it. The app requires constant babysitting, especially during basketball season, just to make sure that it’s not missing games or including the same games twice, or has the wrong home teams, etc.

In other words, the app’s shaky foundations made future enhancements increasingly more difficult. Also, from the very beginning I’ve wanted a better way to get these ratings and projections published, and the web seemed the best way to do that. But turning this into a web based application, with it’s shaky foundation and all, would have likely made for an unpleasant and unreliable user experience.

Therefore, it’s been a dream of mine for the last couple of years to rewrite the app from the ground up. And that’s what has consumed quite a bit of my time over the last few weeks (actually, over the last few months, but much more since mid-August). I needed to create a much more robust database (using SQL Server this time) that could handle multiple sports, and even sporting events with more than two opponents. I also had it in the back of my mind that I could make it do some political projections. In fact, that’s how Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com got his start. He did baseball ratings and expanded into politics. This would add one more passion to the list as well. Smile

Well, the good news is all of that work for sports is essentially done. There’s still work that needs to go into the website, but the app itself is working and I ran it on college football this week. Most of the calculations require two games of data to produce any results, and really need five or six weeks of data to produce reliable ones, so I have a little time left to finish up the website. It’ll be called www.cjbratings.com. Don’t go there now. I own the domain, but there’s no site yet (I have one on my local PC to play with, but it isn’t ready for prime time).

The better news is that yesterday I had an epiphany on the political side and I now believe I can produce political ratings as well. There will be another website devoted just to that. I haven’t decided on a name yet. But I’ll be able to produce projections on House and Senate control, Governors, and electoral college projections. In time I’ll even be able to do some local stuff, state legislatures and what not. The first things that will appear will likely be the GOP primaries next year. I should have it online with at least the minimal functionality necessary for that by around the turn of the year.

I’ll reference all of that on this blog, but the calculated data will be on its own website. One of the things that Nate Silver does that has always ticked me off is that he combines political commentary with numerical analysis. Yes, I do plenty of political commentary myself, but I go to his site for the numerical analysis, not the commentary (he’s done less of this since he joined the New York Times). It has always irked me having to wade through all of that to get to the numbers. I’d like people to feel comfortable looking at my numbers whether or not they subscribe to similar political beliefs to mine.

There’s a little more effort involved here to get the websites up and running, but almost all of the heavy lifting is done. I’ll be more vocal again in the near future. Probably starting next week. I have my annual 9/11 blogging coming up on Sunday. It’s still not finished, so I need to do some more work on that tonight and tomorrow night.

September 8, 2001

American Airlines Flight 11 hijacker Abdulaziz Alomari reports that his ticket is lost and asks for a replacement.

06 September, 2011

September 6, 2001

A student in an English class for Pakistani immigrants…

points towards the WTC, and says, “Do you see those two buildings? They won’t be standing there next week.”

04 September, 2011