El Nino collapse appears to be underway

February 10, 2016

I had a feeling the current El Nino was turning out to be an “El Wimpo.” Still, we received some pretty good snowfalls in the Sierras, which is what California really needs, so here’s hoping this is the start of a growing trend.

Watts Up With That?

Global temperature anomalies since 2005; map courtesy Dr. Ryan Maue, Weather Bell Analytics, NOAA

The collapse of El Nino in the tropical Pacific Ocean has begun and it will be rather dramatic. The current strong El Nino event reached its peak intensity level in December 2015 and all indications suggest it will completely flip to La Nina conditions by later this year. One of the important consequences of the current strong El Nino event in the equatorial Pacific Ocean was a spike in global temperatures. However, if recent history is any guide, expect global temperatures to drop sharply after La Nina conditions become well-established in the tropical Pacific Ocean – likely during 2017 and perhaps beyond. –Paul Dorian, Vencore Weather, 5 February 2016

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Drought buster? Up to 10 feet of snow this week for California’s Sierra Nevada

January 5, 2016

Let’s just say “fingers crossed.”

Watts Up With That?

Here is some good news for drought-stricken California; the latest forecast model output from WeatherBell suggests that the Sierra Nevada snow-pack will get a fresh dump of up to 10 feet of snow. The Sierra snow-pack has already been reported as above normal (at 136 percent of normal) in the most recent snow survey conducted by the California Department of Water Resources.

DWR Director Mark Cowin said the heavy snowfall so far during Water Year 2016 “has been a reasonable start, but another three or four months of surveys will indicate whether the snowpack’s runoff will be sufficient to replenish California’s reservoirs by this summer.”

Each water year begins on October 1 and ends on the following September 30. DWR conducts five media-oriented snow surveys in the Sierra Nevada each winter – near the first of January, February, March, April and May – at the Phillips Station plot (elevation 6,800 feet)…

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The Intelligence Lessons of San Bernardino

December 16, 2015

These are lessons our leaders desperately need to (re)learn. Trouble is, I have little faith the current bunch will come anywhere close.

The XX Committee

It’s been nearly two weeks since Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple, murdered fourteen innocent people and wounded twenty-two more in their terrorist attack on a mental health facility in San Bernardino, California. Once the initial shock of that terrible event, the worst jihadist terror attack on American soil since 9/11, began to wane, awkward questions have been raised about just how effective our government’s efforts to combat violent extremism inside our country actually are.

Americans were shocked by the San Bernardino crime, and no wonder: Farook, a native-born citizen, coldly gunned down co-workers who were assembled at an office party, with help from his immigrant wife, both of whom had left their six month-old baby at home when they left for their suicide mission. While female participation in jihadist terrorism is nothing new, this was an unusually brazen and horrifying attack, particularly since given the size of…

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#SanBernardino jihad massacre: Was Christmas itself a target?

December 6, 2015
Fatwa this!

Prophet of jihad

I know it sounds bizarre to us –how exactly does one attack a holiday, and who could hate Christmas so?– but it’s not as farfetched as one might think. In an article for PJ Media, Bridget Johnson looks at the religious angle to what fools were initially describing as “workplace violence:”

But there’s been little attention paid to why [jihadist Syed] Farook’s co-workers were gathered together, technically away from their workplace: the Christmas party.

And terrorist groups have a fondness for the holiday season.

In 2001, shoe bomber Richard Reid attempted to down a transatlantic American Airlines flight on Dec. 22. Acting for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight heading from Amsterdam into Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009. On Christmas Day 2011, Boko Haram launched a series of strikes against churches in four cities that killed 41.

(…)

That spring, AQAP released an issue of Inspire magazine that explicitly suggested staging attacks during the holiday season and exploiting Christmas for strategic advantage.

In a bomb-making how-to with the AQ Chef — the nom de guerre for al-Qaeda’s bomb instructor for “open-source jihadists” — the magazine stressed that “choosing the place and time is a crucial factor to success in any operation. Choose targets in your own country. You know the enemy better, you are within.”

Suggested targets were sporting events, election campaign, festivals and any other gatherings regardless of whether or not there’s a landmark involved — “the important thing is that you target people and not buildings.”

Recommended times to strike? Christmas and campaign season, said Inspire.

There’s more: be sure to read it.

One thing many people don’t realize is that, for the jihadist, this is a religious war. Sure, we might recognize that superficially, but most of us don’t really understand its implications. This is a war waged by adherents of one religion, Islam, against all other religions to prove that their god is superior (“Allahu akbar!” means “Allah is greater!”), to reserve all worship for him, alone, and to subjugate and even destroy the other religions, which are seen as, at best, misguided (Christianity), or at worst as downright evil. (Hinduism and Judaism, for example.) The Believer is under religious command to fight these other religions:

And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.

(See also, for more)

Like I said, the concept is almost incomprehensible to us Westerners, raised in a secularized, rational society shaped by the Enlightenment, something the Islamic world has never experienced. We burned that need to make war on other religions out of our psyches during the horrific religious wars in Europe in the 16th and, especially, the 17th centuries.

True though it is that the West is still superb when it comes to waging war –we can fight and win savage wars to the death when needed– we don’t go attacking Christmas parties. That makes no sense to us from a military standpoint and it offends our sense of decency.

But, to the jihadist Muslim, it makes perfect sense because the religion is the real target, and therefore you must attack its symbols and celebrations. By doing so you tell its believers that their religion is weak or false, that their god cannot protect them, that safety only lies in submission or conversion to your religion.

When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

This is why Syed Farook and his wife attacked the Christmas party and killed their coworkers and their guests. It wasn’t just a soft, undefended target — it was a celebration of the enemy religion and thus a legitimate target.

This is a religious war, with all the implications those words carry. And until we understand the doctrines and teachings of the religion for which this war is waged —Islam— we’re going to keep losing.


#RaiseTheWage – Applebee’s testing tablet ordering in California

November 22, 2015
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the wage!”

Action, meet reaction.

Last night I took my wife and our two young grandchildren to Applebee’s. It went great — our 4 and 2 year old charges were more decorous than half the patrons.

But I digress. Here’s what caught my attention: Applebee’s is testing a new ordering policy — using the technology that is rapidly becoming prominent in fast food restaurants. Every table had an online electronic tablet, with the menu, ordering and payment process built in. One can place the order and have the busboy bring your food.

For now, one can still use a waiter for service, but obviously the plan is to reduce or eliminate that service. That makes PARTICULARLY good sense in California, which is rapidly becoming the home of the $15 minimum wage. Moreover, California is one of only 7 states that requires “tip” employees to be paid a FULL minimum wage IN ADDITION TO all tips collected. That can make a meal too pricey — reducing the number of times patrons choose to dine out.

California’s minimum wage is currently $9 per hour and will rise to $10 in January. Here in Los Angeles, the minimum wage has been $15 dollars since June, and there is pressure to make that the statewide minimum.

The upshot? Expect to see more and more restaurants going to electronic ordering and payment systems, and more and more waiters and waitresses out of work, as progressive social justice warriors and the pols who appease them make it impossible to do business in the once-Golden State. Again, for those didn’t learn this in school, math wins:

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

San Francisco’s Borderlands bookstore chose to close its doors because it could no longer make enough money to make staying in business worthwhile. Applebee’s (and I’m sure other restaurants and fast-food establishments) are looking to cut back on labor hours in order to balance the increased cost of labor. In each case, employees have lost jobs as a consequence of government interference in the labor-management relationship. It’s only going to get worse, too as long as statists in government continue to act as if the laws of economics will bend to their will and that their actions have no consequences.

It must be nice in their fantasy world; it’s a shame others have to suffer because of those fantasies.


California loses another business, but at least we have a higher minimum wage

November 20, 2015
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the wage!”

It’s now widely regarded as legend and fable, but there once was a time when California created an almost unending wealth of jobs, leading to a good life and prosperity for her people.

Nowadays the progressives who run our state, enabled by their sheep-like voters who dominate the coast and the major urban areas, are doing all they can to run businesses (and jobs and prosperity) out of California, and California into the ground.

Just ask the owner of Woof & Poof:

One of the few things actually made in Chico may, sadly, no longer be made in Chico. Woof & Poof C.E.O. and owner Roger Hart said today, the company is having to cease production. Hart made the statement today at the annual warehouse sale.

Every year on the first Saturday of November a sale is held at the warehouse on Orange Street. Woof & Poof products include everything from stuffed collector dolls, blankets and door hangers to musical Santas for the holidays.

The unique, quality products are sold to more than 600 stores in the United States and Nordstrom’s. Woof & Poof has been in Chico for 40 years, but that’s about to end. Hart says a raise in minimum wage and workers compensation are just a couple of issues that have made it difficult to keep the business financially afloat here. Hart said, “The high cost of doing business in California coupled with ridiculous regulatory environment makes it virtually impossible to do business.” He says he has seen an 11% hike in payroll.

Time for another lesson in economics, kiddies:

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

Borderlands was a bookstore that closed in San Francisco after the owner could no longer afford the minimum wage. That was the owner’s choice, and now Roger Hart has decided to join him. I’ve no doubt there have been others, nor that there will be many more like him who choose the same.

Chico, for those who don’t know it, is a small city in the north part of the state, an area that, like the interior east and south, has been treated as an exploitable colony by our coastal progressive elites and the pols the force on us. The damage their policies of “economic, social, and environmental justice” have laid waste to farmland and small towns and cities up and down the state, far from the trendy restaurants of San Francisco or Hollywood, where I bet none of the 30 workers losing their jobs at Woof & Poof could afford to eat.

No wonder there are secession movements.

via @hipEchik on Facebook

PS: One of the burdensome regulations that caused Mr. Hart to throw up his hands? A state font mandate. You read that right. Because he had used the wrong size of font on pillow tags, an inspector threatened to seize his entire inventory. Instead, he had to spend a lot of money to make corrections.

I’m surprised he wasn’t required to cut down a tree with a herring, too.


Texas, California, and the Tale of the Coyote

November 12, 2015

This is sooo true.

International Liberty

I’ve already had a couple of blog posts commenting on how Texas is kicking California’s you-know-what. Being a fiscal policy person, I always point to California’s punitive state income tax as an example of bad policy and highlight the absence of any income tax in Texas to explain the success of that state.

But sometimes it’s just culture and attitude. Here’s a joke comparing the two states, but it’s based on something that actually happened in Texas.

CALIFORNIA: The Governor of  California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps  out, bites the Governor and attacks his dog.

1. The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects  upon the movie “Bambi” and then realizes he should stop; the coyote is  only doing what is natural.

2. He calls animal control. Animal Control  captures the coyote and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases and…

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