Two stories

Back in about 1971 Some friends and I went to a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco to party before we went our separate ways for the summer. After a luxurious meal we were standing outside and I looked to my right and there was Bill Cosby.

Many years later a preacher was deriding Jerry Seinfeld for having a young girl friend. Our kid, Karl, played Amazing Grace on the sax as part of the service. The preacher said he thought Karl should be proud he could someday be like President Clinton (who played sax). As we walked out and greeted each other after church I told the preacher I hoped Karl would NEVER be anything like Bill Clinton and I would be proud if he turned out like Seinfeld, who never imposed his will on anyone.

A Holistic Thank You

I wouldn’t want to be left out so… Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Holidays make me a little uncomfortable because they lessen the importance of all the other days. I don’t go all year being ungrateful until the fourth Thursday in November. Every day should be appreciated fully and that adds up to a pretty full fourth Thursday. They do set aside a day to enjoy our families and others who might get overlooked without the designation, though. I’ll accept that.

Back in 1966, I was walking down the street in Santa Monica and as I passed someone I said, “Thank you” instead of “Hello.” For years I’ve found it funny. Working at McDonalds I was instructed to say thank you like a broken record, so it just came out.

Now I realize it may have been sincere after all.

I have a lot to be thankful for. Being at the top of Haleakala Volcano on Maui was pretty cool; so was Hendrix at The Shrine. Seeing the look on my grandpa’s face when he thought we named our huge baby, Hans ‘Hoss’ was right up there as well.

But out of 64 years the last half is what I’m most thankful for. It may be that in all communities across the globe, people feel the same way but it is still worth mentioning. This community deserves a heart-felt thanks and I can’t really put a finger on many specifics.

I’ve mentioned the donuts at Korner Bakery before. We couldn’t have made a go at farming without neighbors and the ag business community. Whenever I go to Hampton’s Fareway I can talk to Ed about the Dodgers and the old fashioned meat counter is one of those things that hasn’t been ruined by progress just yet. I swear, if I was having a bad day it would work to go there for the cheerful “Hi Fritz.”

This area is full of businesses that are willing to help solve problems outside their desire for an immediate profit because it develops trust and a long term relationship. I heard the mayor calling for local shopping habits and it made me sad that a lack of holistic thinking has made this necessary.

We see this kind of thing all the time. People have harebrained ideas and with the power of media repetition and catch phrases, people demand politicians try to overcome the market; the one thing that makes our lives the envy of the rest of the world. Even with the climate change scam, renewable energy scam, and the wars on terror, drugs and poverty, we still have each other and our day to day relationships. The power of the market is so strong we persevere in spite of these outside influences draining and wasting resources.

Someone, somewhere is grilling a steak out of one of our calves. And so far an executive order or law has only made that more expensive. That someone is also part of a society that gives all of us the opportunity to thrive or fail. If we fail because of someone’s force or fraud, the law should be there to punish that. If we thrive because of a favor granted by government, the law has failed.

When I walk down the street and say thank you to a stranger for no apparent reason, it is only because I don’t know the specifics. But I do know he might have purchased a steak or delivered electrical supplies. And that makes him part of a community for which I am very grateful.


More government out of control as reported by the War Street Journal

Simply legalizing drugs would not eliminate U.S. and Mexican government corruption overnight. But it seems like a better path than this silly Halloween stunt.

U.S. Marshals Service Personnel Dressed as Mexican Marines Pursue Cartel Bosses

Members of U.S. Marshals Service Join Military Operations in Mexico Against Drug Gangs

A U.S. Marshals Service inspector, injured in a firefight in July between the Mexican military and drug cartel suspects, on a hospital roof in Culiacán, according to people familiar with the incident.ENLARGE
A U.S. Marshals Service inspector, injured in a firefight in July between the Mexican military and drug cartel suspects, on a hospital roof in Culiacán, according to people familiar with the incident. AVEL AVILEZ/EL DEBATE

U.S. Justice Department personnel are disguising themselves as Mexican Marines to take part in armed raids against drug suspects in Mexico, according to people familiar with the matter, an escalation of American involvement in battling drug cartels that carries significant risk to U.S. personnel.

Both the U.S. and Mexican governments have acknowledged in the past that American law-enforcement agencies operate in Mexico providing intelligence support to Mexican military units battling the cartels. The countries have described the U.S. role as a supporting one only.

In reality, said the people familiar with the work, about four times a year the U.S. Marshals Service sends a handful of specialists into Mexico who take up local uniforms and weapons to hide their role hunting suspects, including some who aren’t on a U.S. wanted list. They said agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration play a supporting role, in similarly small numbers.

The risks became clear on July 11, when Mexican Marines and a handful of U.S. Marshals personnel dressed as Mexican Marines were fired on as they walked through a remote field in Sinaloa state. One American was shot and wounded, and in the gunfight that followed, more than a half-dozen suspected cartel soldiers were killed, according to people familiar with the incident. It is unclear whether U.S. Marshals personnel shot anyone.

The secret missions are approved by senior U.S. Marshals executives and by leaders within the Mexican Marines, the people familiar with them said. It isn’t clear who else in either government may have given authorization.


The Marshals Service referred questions to the Justice Department, of which it is a part.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said, “The U.S. Marshals have an important—and sometimes dangerous—mission of capturing fugitives and facilitating extraditions in the United States and around the world.”

One U.S. official said the missions are approved at a high level of the Mexican government.

The Mexican embassy in Washington denied that Mexico’s government gave U.S. agencies permission to go on armed raids. “Members of foreign law enforcement agencies or foreign military, including those from the U.S., are not authorized to carry weapons within the Mexican territory, and none of them are authorized either to participate in any raids or other armed law enforcement operations,’’ said a spokesman, Ariel Moutsatsos-Morales.

The missions represent a new example of risks the Justice Department is taking in pursuing Mexican cartels. A 2010 program called Fast & Furious, in which the U.S. allowed the purchase of weapons by suspected “straw” buyers in an effort to track them to cartel figures, led to a scandal when one of the guns was linked to the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. In the aftermath, the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was forced out and others were punished or resigned. Attorney General Eric Holder has said he wasn’t aware of the plan until later.

The new disclosures are likely to strike a raw nerve in Mexico, where the presence of armed U.S. agents on its soil has long been a contentious issue. In Washington, the shootout in July sent shock waves through the select circle of law-enforcement officials aware of the operation, people familiar with the matter said.

Generally, U.S. law-enforcement agents overseas are prohibited by local laws from carrying weapons, and they have no arrest powers outside the U.S.

The State Department declined to discuss law-enforcement cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico.

The Marshals Service operations in Mexico are carried out by a small group sent for short, specific missions. The goal is to help Mexico find and capture high-value cartel targets.

One operation yielded a great success: The capture of cartel boss Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as “ El Chapo, ” earlier this year. It is unclear whether U.S. Marshals personnel were disguised as Mexican military men on the day he was caught.

Sometimes the Marshals Service targets a person Mexico would like to apprehend but who isn’t wanted by U.S. authorities, the people familiar with the work said.

Marshals personnel on the ground dress in local military garb to avoid standing out and are given weapons to defend themselves. When a mission goes badly, as on July 11, one of the people familiar with the work added, “it can turn into a flat-out kill mission.”

Some of them worry that U.S. personnel could be charged with a crime and jailed in Mexico if a mission went particularly badly or if they ran afoul of the wrong local official.

The Marshals Service works closely with the Mexican Marines because the U.S. agency has expertise at finding fugitives, in part through technology that detects cellphone signals and other digital signatures. That includes airplane flights operated by the agency carrying sophisticated devices that mimic cellphone towers, as reported last week by The Wall Street Journal. That technology works better with a ground presence.

Responding to the Journal article last week, a Justice Department official said that “any investigative techniques which the Marshals Service uses are deployed…only in furtherance of ordinary law enforcement operations, such as the apprehension of wanted individuals.”

The people familiar with the matter described the Marshals Service as a police agency affected by mission creep. More than five years ago, the Service flew small planes along the border to detect cell signals and locate suspects inside Mexico. About four years ago the flights crossed deep into Mexican airspace, the people said.

They added that, more recently, some flights have been conducted in Guatemala.

U.S. Marshals Service director Stacia Hylton, shown in 2012, emailed colleagues after a July firefight in Mexico's Sinaloa state saying that a Marshals inspector injured in the incident was in stable condition and recovering.ENLARGE
U.S. Marshals Service director Stacia Hylton, shown in 2012, emailed colleagues after a July firefight in Mexico’s Sinaloa state saying that a Marshals inspector injured in the incident was in stable condition and recovering. GETTY IMAGES

A spokeswoman for the Guatemalan embassy in Washington had no immediate comment.

The plan for the July mission in Sinaloa, hundreds of miles from the U.S. border, was typical, said those familiar with it—but quickly went wrong.

Members of the FBI, DEA and Marshals Service met with a group of Mexican Marines in preparation for a Friday raid. The goal was to apprehend a senior member of Los Mazatlecos, a gang of enforcers with ties to the Beltran Leyva drug cartel.

A handful of Marshals specialists dressed themselves as Mexican Marines and took Marines weapons. As they and the Mexican Marines set off on foot, a small plane flown by a U.S. Marshals employee kept an eye on the target site, advising colleagues on the ground who in turn guided those on foot. DEA and FBI personnel remained a mile or so away in an armored vehicle, observing and advising.

The men walked through a field toward the site. As they approached a line of bushes, hidden gunmen opened fire. A U.S. Marshals employee with the rank of inspector was shot in the arm and fell. A Mexican Marine rushed to carry him to safety and was also hit. Then another shot struck the American in the torso.

After the firefight, the wounded American was airlifted to a hospital in Culiacán, where he was kept under guard until he could be moved to a hospital in San Antonio.

U.S. officials scrambled to keep the incident quiet, people familiar with the operation said. One senior U.S. official in Mexico told the other law-enforcement personnel to “forget they were here,” those familiar with the matter said. The official was told that would be difficult because one person had already notified superiors in Washington of the shooting.

The U.S. Marshals pilot who provided reconnaissance was told by superiors to leave Mexico in the middle of the night, people familiar with the operation said.

Stacia Hylton, director of the Marshals Service, sent colleagues an email days after the firefight saying the inspector “is in stable condition and recovering at a hospital with his family in the United States,” according to a copy reviewed by the Journal.

She added: “The laser-focus in which you accomplish the mission in your area of expertise is valued tremendously from our law enforcement partners, just as it is throughout our investigative programs domestically.”

The Marshals Service hasn’t said anything publicly about the inspector’s shooting. Spokesmen for the FBI and DEA declined to comment.

The July clash hasn’t altered the agency’s position on such raids, according to the people familiar with it. In recent weeks, the Marshals Service has been planning another covert mission in Mexico, they said.

Write to Devlin Barrett at


What is an award? In the case of Tony Blair and Barack Obama it is bizarre. Barack for peace and Blair for Global Legacy.

Save the Children, who advocated for the re-election of Amanda Ragan to the Iowa State Senate because she delivered early childhood education (because if we don’t start indoctrinating them early enough they won’t kill and steal for the state in a blind obedience); has now awarded Tony Blair the Global Legacy Award. This, for a man instrumental in the deaths of thousands of Iraqi children.

Save the Children is apparently just another fraud promising to save children because that gets donations to support jobs in their administration. It couldn’t be anything else because if it was saving children they would be calling for war crimes trials instead. Wasn’t it Sally Struthers who begged for cash to help Save the Children save children? I wonder how she would have fit in as one of Tony’s foot soldiers, toting a machine gun or shooting missiles at farmer’s markets?

This example, from Webster’s Dictionary, might explain:  “The war left a legacy of pain and suffering.” But why is Tony smiling?

The story:

Smash The State

We could only hope. Here’s my new T-shirt:

Calvin "Smash The State" T-Shirt Anarchist Anarchy

The reason Calvin and I want to smash the state is because it is the most destructive entity on earth. I use the term “state” in the economic sense (not the state of Iowa, although it is not excluded). The state refers to anything that is exempt from rules that create an orderly society.

This comes up because I am not allowed to act as if I own the deer on my property. Therefore they are not mine. Whose are they? Well, if I want to use one I must ask the state for permission. The state owns the deer.

If you run into me with your car you are liable for the damage caused.

The state’s deer ran out in front of our beloved CR-V and caused $6,450 worth of damage. I didn’t bother to try to get reimbursed because the State can legally act like a criminal.

Then today I found that after several years tending to four larch trees that Karl brought from Wisconsin, two of them have been torn up by the state’s deer. Karl knew they were my favorite species of tree. In Northwest Montana where I used to live, they were harvested as lumber similar to Douglas fir. There were some old growth that were killed in the 1910 fire. They were still standing with no bark and made excellent firewood. The branches were tiny and they stood like a 100 foot hot dog ready to be sliced up.

Go ahead, name something the state does that can’t be done more efficiently by people who are guided by moral principle. If you want deer, get some land and a fence and keep them to yourself. Don’t expect me to love something that worthless.


The market would trump political decisions every time if allowed.

Like, who would fall for this:

Did you notice global warming went from too warm to charge to extremes? The mark of a politician is he changes to suit the audience.

Ah, science: Comet is good for you.

Rosetta’s Lander Has Found Organic Molecules on a Comet

Rosetta's Lander Has Found Organic Molecules on a Comet EXPAND

Philae, the probe that landed on a comet as part of the Rosetta mission, has detected organic molecules in the comet’s atmosphere. We don’t know exactly what the molecules are yet, but they could hold a key to early life on Earth. Hell, this is a big reason we sent Rosetta all the way to a lonely comet in the first place.

Organic molecules are those that contain carbon. We, being carbon-based life forms, are all made of such molecules, but organic molecules may actually have extraterrestrial origins.Simulations have suggested that ultraviolet radiation bombarding icy particles can form organic molecules out in space. In turn, comets could have brought those molecules to Earth, providing the raw materials for life on our planet.

The Rosetta team was expecting to find organic molecules on the comet, but didn’t—and, as yet, still don’t—know exactly what kind. It could be simple organic molecules like methane, which would confirm what what we’ve observed about comets from afar. Even more exciting would be complex ones like amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids made of the exact same atoms can be mirror images of one another, either left-handed or right-handed. It’s long puzzled scientists why the majoriy of amino acids on Earth are left-handed—perhaps this imbalance can be traced to the amino acids found on a comet.

To get a complete picture, scientists will need to analyze samples from beneath the comet’s surface, too. The experiment to drill into the comet and analyze samples seems to have failed. There might be another chance it Philae gets more sunlight as the comet speeds toward the sun. Meanwhile Philae has gone dark, but scientists are still hard at work analyzing the data it sent back. [WSJ]

Top image: European Space Agency

So proud of my baby

Dawn sings with Terry and Dawson, and Don helps when Dawson is busy. They play at nursing homes, mostly, and bring some joy with their banter along with the beautiful music. I’m an old guy so I think the good old days were better. The kids who don’t experience Two Juhls and my Gem are really missing out. I know our oldest kid was a music snob like I was. We’ve both grown to appreciate a broad range of styles.

Dawn has been finding new songs through her gigs at the homes and funerals. And there have been some real gems. I hope I can figure out how to record and post them here this winter.

But for now there are two songs that go through my head when she leaves to spread the beauty of her gift (part of the gift is the hard work she puts into utilizing that gift).

I’m a white guy so I start with this. I will post other versions following the same path I took, introduced to real American music through those poor souls born in the land of bad teeth.