The state of our union under Biden: A weaker, less secure, more divided America

Sounds about right.

Next week, President Joe Biden will address Congress on the state of the union , as the Constitution dictates. He ought to take an honest look at the country and the many problems it faces — problems his administration has either created or worsened.

Over the next week, the Washington Examiner will report on a few of the important problems plaguing the country and how they are affecting the public every day.

The most glaring crisis our country faces today is at the southern border , where hundreds of thousands of immigrants are crossing into the country illegally every month, overwhelming immigration officials and border towns. Just last week, border agents confirmed that more than 1.2 million immigrants evaded immigration enforcement completely. Who knows how many of these immigrants were on the terror watch list, as at least 70,000 apprehended immigrants have been, or were part of the drug cartels flooding our cities with fentanyl.

OT: Property Tax Assessment Appeals

My school district is appealing my property tax assessment. A hearing is scheduled. Apparently several laws firms are aware of this as I have received several letters of solicitation. I have contacted and spoken with each one.

After speaking with them and doing a bit of my own fact finding, there is a particular circumstance regarding how my townhouse was purchased to present to the hearing body on my behalf. And, an attorney may better be able to pull comparatives together to submit. I am weighing whether to use an legal counsel or represent myself.

Anyone have any experience with this?

AKB: Is it safe to tear up old tax returns and put them in the garbage?

I want to get rid of old tax returns, beyond the time on which I could get audited. It would be easiest to just tear them up and put then in the garbage bag and put the garbage bag our for the garbage man to take. But is it safe, privacy-wise? I hope AKB says yes because that would be easiest, but I suspect some may say, no, get them shredded. What sayeth you, AKB? *places offering"

Larry Correia On Mass Shooters

In Defense of the Second Amendment
Here’s an excerpt in mass milers :
Note, I’ve gone through this entire book and never once used the names of any of these killers. If I need to talk about a specific example, I use the place they terrorized. Not them. Remember the victims. Let the killers rot in prison or hell, their names forgotten. Members of the media don’t just enable these killers to reach their goals, they provide a road map for how to maximize their fame. All the killers have to do is watch what they fixate on, and then give them more of that. If the media likes to report on a certain kind of target getting hit, hit that kind of target. And if you really want to get coverage, make sure you use whatever specific kind of gun they really want to ban this year.
A We’ve had killers write in their manifestos how their target and weapon selection was designed to garner maximum media attention. The racist trash who went on a rampage in Buffalo wrote in his manifesto about how he loved New York’s gun laws because it was doubtful anybody would be able to shoot back.
Some killers have recorded their crimes because they know the media will air the footage, as some vapid announcer warns the audience beforehand about the shocking scenes of carnage not suitable for young viewers. On the off chance there’s an honest reporter reading this (I won’t get my hopes up), stop and examine what you’re doing. Ask your people why are we giving these evil bastards exactly what they desire? Why are we motivating the next killer? Clicks? Ratings? To help your team get elected? Then when you see the next manifesto saying he killed a bunch of people exactly how you wanted him to, you should ask yourself if it was worth it.
Trust in American media companies has collapsed, and for good reason. They’re scum. They deserve to fail. Let’s help them fail faster. This isn’t a First Amendment issue either. I’m not asking for any legislation telling journalists what they can and can’t say. They have a right to be opportunistic trash, but we’ve got the right to mock them. Don’t be afraid to be honest. We’re way past the point of politeness. Make sure all your low-information friends understand what they’re doing. Stop watching news that gives the killers what they want. Don’t give in to clickbait. You don’t need to see the killer’s glossy headshots and hear about their stupid philosophies to know about their crimes. As long as the media is rewarding mass killers, we need to stop rewarding the media.

Why Are We Arguing? It’s intentional

Enough con/lib crap. We’re being robbed blind by corrupt pieces of trash I wouldn’t hit the brakes for.

DC idiots have ruined this country. Literally fell for something that dates back to the Soviet days of how to kill america. We’re dead. Our society sucks, the Fauci parade of simon says and most fell in line.

The conspiracy nuts were correct, but i’m not sticking around to find out.

Is the tax code really this regressive with respect to Social Security and Medicare tax?

My 21-yr-old son made a $22,000 profit last year doing film editing work part-time last year while also enrolled full-time in college. I was helping him do his estimated taxes and he made the extra effort to learn what was going on instead of just throwing a reasonable speculation in for his taxes and enclosing a check. (which is what I do).

In any event line 10 on SE provides for 12.4% tax on virtually any self-employment income and line 11 provides for 2.9% additional, I believe Medicare tax. Thus even though he only made $22,000, he is being taxed at a 15.3% rate with a small deduction provided for on Line 13 that might reduce the SE taxes to 14.9%. Since the vast majority of my income is interest and real estate rentals, I haven't paid much to these 2 taxes. I had always assumed that people not making a lot of money, got some kind of break in some manner. In filling out the form and draft 1040 with some schedules, it doesn't appear that that is the case. So the question is: Is someone making $22,000 a year, really expected to pay $3280 in SE taxes?

The polarization of America continues and with pace

“We’re trying to run up that score in voter registration,” he said, explaining that there were 250,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in Florida when DeSantis first took office in 2018.

Now, there are more than 300,000 more Republicans than Democrats in Florida.

“So we’ve had this massive swing,” he said.

Ziegler provided another stunning data point, noting that one million net new people have moved to the state and registered to vote since DeSantis first took office.

“Out of a million, about half a million have registered as Republican, and only 17,000 have registered as Democrats. So we’re just obliterating the Democrats,” he said.

RWNJs plan attacks on utilities

Attacks on Electrical Substations Raise Alarm​

Michael Levenson
Sat, February 4, 2023, 11:21 AM EST·5 min read

A work crew at an electrical substation, one of two where damage from gunfire disrupted service in Moore County,  N.C., Dec. 5, 2022. (Kate Medley/The New York Times)

A work crew at an electrical substation, one of two where damage from gunfire disrupted service in Moore County, N.C., Dec. 5, 2022. (Kate Medley/The New York Times)
A recent spate of attacks on electrical substations in North Carolina and other states has underscored the continued vulnerability of the nation’s electrical grid, according to experts who warn that the power system has become a prime target for right-wing extremists.
Over the past three months, at least nine substations have been attacked in North Carolina, Washington state and Oregon, cutting power to tens of thousands of people. After those attacks, federal regulators ordered a review of security standards for the electrical system.
The FBI on Friday said that it was offering two $25,000 rewards for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for shooting and damaging two substations in Moore County, North Carolina, on Dec. 3 and for shooting at another substation in Randolph County, North Carolina, on Jan. 17. The Moore County attack caused 45,000 people to lose power, some for five days.
Concerned about the sabotage, legislators in North Carolina, South Carolina and Arizona have introduced bills that would require 24-hour security at substations or toughen penalties for damaging them.
The proposals represent the latest efforts to protect the grid since 2013, when a sniper attack on a power station in California raised alarms across the industry. Experts say that it inspired others to plot similar attacks.
Because they house transformers that transfer power from region to region, the tens of thousands of substations across the country represent the most vulnerable nodes in the nation’s vast electrical grid, said Jon Wellinghoff, a former chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
While federal rules require utilities to periodically review security at the most critical substations, many smaller substations in rural areas remain protected by little more than chain-link fencing, security cameras and lighting, Wellinghoff said. That leaves them vulnerable to rifle attacks, he said.
Wellinghoff said he was worried about more shootings like the one in Moore County as well as larger plots against a “finite number” of substations nationwide, which, if disabled, would knock out power in half the country.
“The risk is continued disruption of our economic system in our country — not only that, but there’s also lives at stake,” Wellinghoff said, noting that people rely on electricity for heat and medical equipment.
Manny Cancel, CEO of the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a clearinghouse for information about threats against the electrical system, said that cyberattacks were more likely to cause widespread outages than guns and explosives.
“I do think there is a level of protection, of resilience, that’s built into the grid,” Cancel said. The question is, he said, “Is there more that we should do?”
While regulators have long worried about terrorism at substations, there is concern among national security officials and researchers that the stations have become attractive targets for right-wing extremists in particular.
From 2016 to 2022, white supremacist plots targeting energy systems “dramatically increased in frequency,” according to a study released in September by researchers at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.
Over that period, 13 people associated with white supremacist movements were charged in federal courts with planning attacks on the energy sector, the study said, and 11 of those defendants were charged after 2020.
The study attributed the targeting of the energy sector to the rise of “accelerationism,” a term white supremacists have adopted to describe their desire to hasten the collapse of society.
“The goal is to create chaos, to spread confusion and damage systems that are vital to the U.S.,” said Ilana Krill, a research fellow at the Program on Extremism and a co-author of the study.
In February 2022, three men pleaded guilty to federal charges connected to a planned attack on substations after they had “conversations about how the possibility of the power being out for many months could cause war, even a race war, and induce the next Great Depression,” the Justice Department said.
That same month, a Department of Homeland Security bulletin warned that domestic violent extremists had recently aspired to disrupt electrical and communications systems as “a means to create chaos and advance ideological goals.”

More to ignore, Book 122...

The whole 'Chinese spy balloon' story is the absolute definition of malarkey

Mark Sumner

On Wednesday, what appeared to be a large weather balloon was spotted floating over Billings, Montana, at high altitude, drifting with the winds toward the east. That balloon is flying somewhere above 80,000 feet, where it is not an obstacle to either commercial or military air traffic. It previously passed over the Bering Sea and a large swath of Canada before reaching its current location. By using models of high altitude winds over the last several days, officials have determined that the balloon very likely originated somewhere in central China.

The level of panic that this device—which probably weighs less than the average toaster—has produced on Capitol Hill is astonishing. Barely Speaker Kevin McCarthy has called on President Joe Biden to convene a meeting of the “Gang of Eight”—intelligence committee members and leadership from both parties—to deal with this threat to national security. Inexplicably back in Congress, Rep. Ryan Zinke tweeted to declare that he would not “bow” to a balloon and insisted that the U.S. “shoot it down.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has declared that Donald Trump would have never allowed balloons to float through his air.

CNN notes that Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said he did not intend to follow Zinke’s advice because the balloon isn’t a physical threat, isn’t an intelligence threat, and isn’t a threat to aviation. In fact, the assessment is that there’s more risk in shooting it down than leaving it alone. Still, newscasts on Friday are featuring “experts” who insist that the balloon is either being steered by China, or was directed to pass over military bases and areas with sensitive intelligence. If this is true, America has a much bigger issue than dealing with a balloon because it would mean that the Chinese have discovered magic.

Here’s a quick confirmation from meteorologist Dan Satterfield showing where that balloon originated.

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But while it’s possible to track a balloon in the reverse direction and find where it originated, no one—no one—can precisely track the course of a balloon into the future.

As the National Weather Service notes, 1,800 weather balloons are released each day. Most of these are roughly 6 feet in diameter at the ground, increasing to around 20 feet as they reach altitudes over 80,000 feet. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 feet, they pop, and the instrument package dangling from the base of the balloon—which is used to collect information about the atmosphere at high altitude—descends to the ground beneath a parachute to be recovered. In addition to these official weather balloons, both industry and amateurs launch hundreds, if not thousands, of additional balloons each day, with the intention of detecting high-altitude cosmic rays, testing hardware that will be used in a satellite, or just collecting some incredible photos.

But tracking the course of these balloons is a genuine challenge. There are dozens of sites into which both professionals and amateurs can plug information about the balloon, including ones from NOAA, but the actual path is highly sensitive to the weight of the instruments, the amount of helium or hydrogen used to inflate the balloon, temperature at the time of launch, and most of all, to high-altitude winds. Even over just a few hundred miles, a balloon can go off the expected course by … a few hundred miles. The details of all the various layers of wind at altitude is one piece of data brought back by the balloon, but it’s very rarely something that can be captured accurately going in. And again, no one, but no one, could launch a balloon in central China and “aim” it to fly above a missile silo in Montana.

The average balloon sent aloft flies a few hundred miles before it reaches an altitude where the latex is strained to popping. Then the instruments instruments descend under a parachute and are retrieved. They can also be lost, which happens with some frequency, as parachutes end up coming down dozens of miles away from the expected landing site in poorly accessible terrain.


The Chinese balloon above Montana appears to be quite large, perhaps 40 feet in diameter. However, this gives a false impression. Such a balloon would have been about 10 feet across at launch and easily small enough to be handled and launched by one person. Dangling from the balloon are instruments, the purpose of which are not clear. However, it’s possible to say with near certainty what they are not meant to do: They’re not there to image U.S. military facilities or gather information about missile silos.

How can we be sure? Well, here’s a paper from Nature published in January. While noting that SpaceX set another record for launches in 2022 (over half of all satellites in orbit now belong to Elon Musk, so if you want to be paranoid about something, that’s a good place to start) it also says this:

China conducted 62 successful launches, 9 more than in 2021. Many were government launches, but a quickly growing fraction belongs to commercial rocket providers. Overall, China’s launch rate in 2022 was almost triple that of Russia. “China is replacing Russia as the number-two space power,” McDowell says.

China does not need to send weather balloons openly drifting across the United States in the hopes that one of them might accidentally wander across something worthy of a snapshot. It has very good spy satellites orbiting over us right now. Many of them. Those satellites are thought to be on par with the instruments used by the United States. So if China wants to note the license plate on your car, or sneak a peek while you’re tanning on the deck, they don’t need no stinkin’ balloon to do so.

What almost certainly happened in this case is something that regularly happens: Someone underfilled the balloon back in China. So instead of rising to something like 100,000 feet and popping, allowing the instrument package to parachute down and be collected, the balloon rose to something around 70,000 feet to 80,000 feet, where it has been bobbing along for days, probably collecting nothing at all because the instruments were never designed to operate for this long. Not only is China not getting any intelligence from this balloon, it’s highly likely they didn’t even know where it was until someone trained binoculars on it in Billings. It’s long since stopped phoning home.

Underinflation is a genuine PITA for those launching balloons because it means you rarely get your instruments back. It’s the last thing you want to happen.

The whole idea that China would be collecting significant intelligence by balloon in 2023 is an insult to everyone involved. The idea that such a balloon can be steered, or even aimed, to pass over a particular site is an utter impossibility. The fact that these things are both being not just stated by supposed experts on national media, but being touted as a possible national security concern is … typical.

And if we end up launching a $10 million missile to take down a $300 lost balloon doing nothing, no one should be surprised.

Side note: Some of you may recall back in 2019 when I was preparing to launch Kosmos-1, a Daily Kos-themed weather balloon that was intended to carry a set of typical instruments and a plethora of cameras up for a ride at the “edge of space.” If you’re wondering what happened to that important scientific mission to snap the site logo against a black sky, the answer is … I happened. As in, while inflating the balloon, I allowed the thin latex envelop to touch the grass. Which was enough to turn about $100 of helium into a slow-motion belch. After that came the pandemic, and Kosmos-1, along with several other decorated Styrofoam minnow buckets—er, space capsules—remains on a table in my basement. Someday.

Wow. BeetleJuice can go really low.

She tried to use school children to get re-elected........... Holy Shit........... Indoctrination?

It's like democrats see school kids as their personal private property..............

On Thursday, news broke that the mayor’s campaign had sent an email attempting to recruit Chicago Public School students to “help” with the incumbent’s reelection effort. The students would earn class credit in exchange for their contributions.

After this unethical email made its way to the press, prompting outrage from other candidates in the race, Team Lightfoot sloppily attempted to backtrack — not once, but three times.

The world's most dangerous profession (again)

Why does this talent leave the world way too soon?

Police Find 3 Bodies Believed To Be Those Of Missing Rappers

Michigan State Police (MSP) found three dead bodies Thursday and are working to determine if they are the bodies of three missing rappers.

A city official said the bodies, which police discovered in an abandoned apartment complex in Highland Park, are believed to be those of 28-year-old Armani Kelly, 31-year-old Dante Wicker and 31 year-old Montoya Givens, who went missing after their Jan. 21 performance at a Detroit club was canceled, according to CNN.

Authorities reported that activity on the cell phones belonging to all three men stopped early on Jan. 22. Police have cautioned that the identities of the bodies are not yet confirmed. “Once information is confirmed we will update,” MSP said in a tweet Thursday.