Thursday, June 21, 2018

Writing Prompt: The Gellers had only moved into their new home in the Montana wilderness a month before.

They were hoping to spend the holidays there, but now, because of the sudden heavy snowfall, they were going nowhere.  There's no way the family BMW would handle three feet of snow.

"Oh well," Mr. Geller announced, "Since we're snowed in, let's make the best of it and break out the eggnog!'

Unbeknownst to the fully visible and innocent family celebrating inside, the ravenous wolf pack approached…

To be continued in the comments.

Freckles, they are good

Original ICBM

Freckles, they are good


Canada, EU and Germany Signal Compliance With President Trump Trade Demands. They are bending the knee.

Germany bends the knee:
Germany, without consulting with Emmanuel from France, just unilaterally announced that the EU is willing to drop all trade tariffs against U.S. auto manufacturers as part of their strategy to fend-off steel, aluminum and crushing auto tariffs.
BERLIN—Germany’s leading auto makers have thrown their support behind the abolition of all import tariffs for cars between the European Union and the U.S. in an effort to find a peaceful solution to the brewing trade war.
The U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, brought the proposal for a broader industry trade pact to the Trump administration on Wednesday, according to people familiar with the situation.
That would mean scrapping the EU’s 10% tax on auto imports from the U.S. and other countries and the 2.5% duty on auto imports in the U.S. As a prerequisite, the Europeans want President Donald Trump’s threat of imposing a 25% border tax on European auto imports off the table.
[…] A French official said Paris was unaware of the proposal, and it wasn’t discussed during a recent summit between French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Meseberg, Germany.  (Read more)
The EU bends the knee:

 The European Union is ready to engage with the United States to solve a trade row triggered by Washington’s decision to impose metal impose tariffs, E.U. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Thursday.
“We are always open to talk with the U.S. The whole EU is based on the idea that we talk,” she told a seminar. She described the tariffs as “illegal” as they contravened World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.  She also said the WTO needs rules to address China’s subsidies and dumping of its goods in markets. 

And savor this:

The EU is now leaving Canada naked to the trade monster that is the indefatigable Trump.
Thanks to Trudeau and Freeland, and their childish stunt after the G7,  they have their country standing naked and alone, as the reality of national economic interests has their former anti-Trump trade allies headed for the exits to save their industries. 

Winning.  I haven't had enough of this yet.

Ready for takeoff

Who doesn't like a big boom (other than the guy in the truck)?

Bye bye parking lot - the spot where I once parked my rental car is no more.

 The once-popular parking lot (closed since 2008) that provided access to Halema‘uma‘u is no longer--the parking lot fell into the crater this past week as more and more of the Kīlauea Crater floor slides into Halema‘uma‘u. The Crater Rim Drive road (middle) now ends at Halema‘uma‘u instead of the parking lot. The view is toward the west-northwest.

Don't make a sound!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Crossing the Irish Sea to Mann

The Predator's Stare

Lloyd Kahn caught this tasty batch of grunion right off the beach. I'm jealous.

Mean, just mean.

I like CZ's almost as much as I like 1911's, and this is why

His and Hers


Another dream commuter car.

Where's Harambe? Shouldn't Harambe be included here?



Another dream daily commuter

Freckles, they are good

Fun with tools

More Good News: German automakers offer to scrap their 10% tariff on American cars

Their proposal envisions full reciprocity between the U.S. and the European Union, according to the WSJ. The E.U. would scrap its ten percent tariff while the U.S. would give up its 2.5 percent tariff.
President Trump has repeatedly said that “reciprocity” should be a guiding principle for international trade.
For sure, this means more cars made here and sold there.  

Your Good News of the Day: Over 95% of manufacturers bullish on future, ‘record optimism’

A new survey from the National Association of Manufacturers found that 95.1 percent of manufacturers have a “positive outlook for their companies.”
Optimism means these companies will be investing money in their businesses, hiring new workers, raising wages, improving benefits, buying equipment and expanding right here in the United States.

The Red Chinese better fix the trade war they've benefited from for decades, or there'll be big trouble.

From behind the WSJ's pay wall, we learn that Trump's response to the Chinese trade war with us is having negative consequences for their tightly controlled economy:

The unusually-large liquidity injection surprised market participants, helping drive down the yuan’s value against the dollar to its weakest level in five months, at 6.4743 per dollar. The benchmark Shanghai Composite stock index plunged 3.8% Tuesday, dipping below 3,000, a psychologically-important level for investors and hitting its lowest mark in two years.

To fend off an economic slowdown, some officials in the State Council, China’s cabinet, are urging more aggressive loosening measures to boost lending and spur growth, such as reducing the portion of deposits banks are required to hold in reserve. Others, notably those at the central bank and other financial regulators, want to stay the course of debt control.
Companies ranging from property developers, local-government financing vehicles to manufacturers recently have missed payments on either bank loans or bonds, even though overall default rates remain low.

“Financial deleveraging is now trickling down to the real economy,” said Sheng Songcheng, a senior adviser at China’s central bank. “All those efforts would go to waste if monetary policy gets loosened now.”

“If the trade war gets worse from here, China’s policy makers will be forced into easing,” said Zhang Zhiwei, Deutsche Bank’s chief China economist. “That will probably delay the current policy agenda of deleveraging and containing financial risks.”

As Glen Reynolds sagely points out, "when free countries hit bad economic times, oftentimes the people vote the bastards out. When dictatorships hit bad economic times, sometimes the dictators find themselves with their backs against the wall."

That's especially true in Red China, where the government's legitimacy is based entirely on their economic wellbeing.  If that breaks, it's back to the gun, as there will be an enormous number of very angry Chinese people, and they'll all be blaming the Xi government.

Today's example of laughable political incompetence. LA's Mayor Garcetti, take a bow.

Deciding to "go green" in every way, the LA political leadership and Mayor Garcetti sunk 330 million dollars of public money into a Chinese company that promised them electric buses that had amazing range, zero emissions, and reasonable cost.

Predictably, the city's taxpayers got screwed.

The Chinese made BYD buses missed their promised performance marks by so much that some of them couldn’t even finish a single route before the batteries died, coming up dozens of miles short. Passengers had to sit there in the heat while waiting for a second bus to come along, transer them over and finish the run. This actually increased operating costs rather than decreasing them.
The Times found that the first five buses BYD delivered were pulled out of service in less than six months, having been branded “unsuitable” for their intended use. But still, the city turned around and awarded tens of millions of dollars in additional contracts to the company which kept promising to do better. Had anyone been keeping their eye on the ball they’d have known that BYD had been screwing over other municipalities in a similar fashion. When Albuquerque attempted a similar plan, they wound up with results which were just as awful, if not worse. 
But, do you think the voters will eject these morons from office?   Unlikely.  Hey, anyone who tries to sell us something that's "green" has to be a good honest person, right?  Not a snake oil merchant, right?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

If there was justice...

Risking the ice in Novaya Zemlya

Cabin Porn

But, considering its purpose, it's probably too far from a trout stream.

But, it'd be great during a thunderstorm, or a snow shower.

He sees the elephant

The Faroe Islands seriously consider independence.

"We've been occupied by Denmark for 600 years! That is enough and we need to change that soon," the white-haired captain tells AFP on his wooden sailing ship.

Located more than 1,100 kilometres (more than 680 miles) northwest of powerhouse Copenhagen, the Faroe Islands have since 1948 had their own white, blue and red flag with an offset cross, their own language originating from the Viking's Old Norse and institutions and culture.

With its breathtakingly green and high mountains covered by fog and inhabited by more sheep than people, the island territory is weighing the idea of pushing its autonomy to full independence.
"We are not Danes, we will never be Danes, we can't be Danes, we are Faroese and that's it... we have to stand up for it and fight for it," says Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Poul Michelsen, who's also the leader of the separatist Progressive Party.
The islands' economy is flourishing compared to Greenland, another Danish autonomous territory, thanks to fishing, agriculture and rising tourism, although oil exploration efforts have drawn a blank.
Unemployment is almost non-existent, gross domestic product per capita exceeds that of Denmark and the Faroese authorities feel so confident that they've asked Copenhagen to freeze their annual subsidies, meaning that their importance for the local economy is gradually shrinking over time.

Freckles, they are good

Don't tooooouch me!


Morning on the run into Mariehamn, Åland

Fun for the Fourth

Someone broke the ship

Awesome! Just be sure to never roll it.