Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Science

Just thought I'd pass along the biological meaning of Father's Day:

Talkin' bout Sex (containing a possible answer to the age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the rooster) ...

It was written by the science writer known as DarkSyde on DailyKos, who is now also writing science policy posts at under his real name, Steven Andrew.

Here's a link to more of Steven's Articles. He has a readable style and scientific ability to break down the complex into the simple, then take it back to the geeky level again. And he is Darwin's best friend!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Skirting the Storm

Big thunderstorms tracked beside us all the way home from Salt Lake last week. Very forbidding sky. Lots of scary wind and lightning but we managed to miss most of the hard rain. As I looked at the dark clouds, it reminded me of Anne McCaffrey's books about The Dragonriders of Pern who fight "thread". I started reading her dragon novels in the 1970's and think she's written about 20 so far. "Thread" is what falls on the planet Pern whenever a certain rogue planet's orbit passes close by. Dragons were bred by the people of Pern to torch the "thread" in midair before it could reach the ground where it would destroy everything it touches. "Thread" falling from the sky:

After watching the protestors in Iran this week, it occurs to me that they have been skirting a storm for many years.

I pray the courageous people who have been marching non-violently can maintain their convictions in the wake of the Ayatollah's announcement today that protests will no longer be tolerated. I hope this weekend brings better news and that our media will have the courage to show us more of what is actually happening.

If the crackdown is severe, then I hope for dragons to assist the protestors in their quest for a fair and honest election -- although truthfully I think the quest has expanded far beyond that now -- I think they are getting ready to take on the ruling theocracy. If that is the case, they will need many dragons. People have the power!

For current news not on TV, keep refreshing Nico Pitney at HuffPost.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

if this is tuesday, it must be 2000 or 2004

Being stuck out of town, watching the news out of Iran on a little hotel TV, I couldn't help but compare their election frustration with ours in 2000 and 2004.

Iranian Mousavi supporter 2009, or disenfranchised Floridian in 2000:

Confused Iranian voter 2009, or confused butterfly balloter 2000:

Iranian protestors questioning their vote count results 2009, or U.S. Ohio demonstrators in 2004:

Yes for a brief moment I did wonder if perhaps I had timewarped back to our presidential election in 2000 or 2004 -- but then I remembered the good citizens of the United States did not take to the streets en masse when confronted with questionable election results. That's why I'm so proud of the Iranian citizens for putting their bodies on the line standing up to the police and military and other power status quo. The ability to have valid elections goes to the very core of what democracy means. My heart goes out to the brave Iranian men and women who are risking all in an effort to get their votes accurately counted.

Who's Who in Iran (a guide to the people you are seeing on TV)

Al Jazeera English (click refresh for latest news)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When the rain comes ...

When the rain comes, you run and hide your head ....

Top photo is a Purple Sage plant in my backyard responding to a little summer rain storm. Then there is Clyde responding to having been bathed on a rainy day. He's usually quite frisky after a bath. Must've been the rain.

And here's my rainy day state of mind: in filling out a crossword puzzle, I come to a 4-letter word for "Optimism". I already have H_PE. What do I fill in? HYPE, of course!

Jeez, well, some days you might be looking for HOPE but HYPE is what you're gonna get no matter where you look!

ps, sorry to be so rushed ...

I'm gonna be scarce on the blogs for awhile, mostly working on a gynormous home design project which I hope to be able to hype soon.

Please don't give up on me!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Way to Go, SS and Vegas PD!

Man accused of threatening president is caught in Nevada
» Secret Service and Las Vegas police arrest Daniel Murray!

The Salt Lake Tribune
By Nate Carlisle
06/06/2009 @ 6:37 PM MDT

Federal agents have arrested the man who went to a St. George bank and allegedly made threats against President Barack Obama.

Daniel James Murray was arrested at 7 p.m. PDT Friday in Laughlin, Nevada, by the U.S. Secret Service and Las Vegas police, said Malcolm Wiley, a spokesman for the Secret Service. Wiley said agents and police apprehended Murray in the parking lot of the Riverside Casino without incident.

Terry Donaho, director of security at Riverside Casino, said Murray was never inside the casino. Neither Donaho nor the Secret Service gave further details.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah filed a criminal complaint Thursday charging Murray with one count of threats against the president of the United States.

According to a Secret Service affidavit filed with the complaint, Murray talked about the bad state of the economy as he opened a savings account at a Zions First National Bank branch in St. George on May 19 with an $85,000 check from a credit union.

The affidavit says Murray returned May 27 to withdraw $12,698 in cash and became upset when a teller said he lacked the proper identification to complete the transaction. He allegedly said that "if I don't get this money, someone is going to die."

After a bank manager agreed to allow the transaction, Murray allegedly said, "The banking system will fail and people will die," then later, "We are on a mission to kill the president of the United States."

He returned on May 28 and withdrew the remaining money in his account, which was then closed, the complaint says.

A former neighbor of Murray's, in Rexford, N.Y., where he lived with his parents said Murray appeared to be mentally ill. Leighann Nastasia said Murray used to walk down the street waving his arms, talking to himself. "He wore a cape," she said.

****D.K. note: some of last night's commenters on Crooks and Liars (see my post below) had guessed Murray might try to disappear in Vegas even though he had last been spotted heading north and east. Good guess! He must have zipped south through Vegas and headed to that back-water bilge on the Colorado River known as Laughlin, where the down-n-outers and never-wuzzers seem to find refuge. As he parked his 8-yr old Buick in the Riverside Casino lot, probably hoping to increase his $85K by playing a little Blackjack before crossing the Colorado into the dusty Tim McVeigh white power area of Kingman AZ, Murray found out you can run but you can't hide from the combined dragnet of Vegas Metro PD and the US Secret Service! Now let's get Murray some serious psychiatric help and let him spend his days contemplating the distance from the sun to the moon as traversed by eagles. I know I feel much safer tonight!****

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bugshit Insane

Even though my computer is running slower than a 3-legged turtle (hence my restricted online access), I had to post a few thoughts about this bugshit insane Daniel James Murray who is now the object of a federal manhunt.

By now, I'm sure you've seen this story and many others online yesterday and today.

Daniel James Murray lived with an elderly couple in Rexford NY until December 2008. Since then he has been traveling around CA, UT, GA, OK and TX. No one has reported on the status of the elderly couple (were they his parents/grandparents? are they alive and well or missing?), but that is only one aspect that is bothering Detective D.K.

The short story is that Murray showed up here in Southern Utah, in St George specifically, on May 19th. He closed a savings account in his name at Mountain American Credit Union (located near where I shop at Costco) and received an official bank check for $85K. He then deposited that official bank check at Zions First National Bank on St George Blvd.

Here's a Detective D.K. question, but not the one that's really bothering me: Does anyone know why on earth Murray even had bank money deposited in podunkville utah? Does he have money similarly secreted across the U.S.? Why?

Zions Bank has a strict policy about releasing newly deposited funds. They put a 2-week hold on any new funds. They list the date the funds will be available for withdrawal on the deposit receipt. They do this even if what is being deposited is a cashier's check from another bank as I learned the hard way. The only time they don't put a hold on deposit money is if you are depositing cash or if you are transferring funds from another Zions Bank account.

So on May 27th, when Murray walked into Zions Bank and tried to withdraw $13K from his newly opened account, he was refused because it had only been 8-days. His next words, "if I don't get this money, someone is going to die", led the manager to accede to his withdrawal, even agreeing to Murray's request for bills no larger than $50 and in non-sequential order. While his money was being counted out (qty 260 x $50 bills), Murray started a bugshit insane rant about how he's traveled "thousands of miles to be here", culminating with "people will die and there will be chaos in the world", but since he left peacefully, the incident went unremarked.

Murray returned to Zions the very next day, May 28th, to withdraw his remaining $72K, finally capturing the bank's attention by stating, "we are on a mission to kill the President of the United States." This kind of specific assassination threat must be and was reported to Federal Authorities. Murray was spotted later that day at another bank in Cedar City UT (about 50-miles north of St George). Did he deposit the funds he had withdrawn from St George into a Cedar City bank? That's another unknown item, one that might bring Murray back to Cedar City, but not what is really bothering me.

U.S. Magistrate Robert Braithwaite of US District Court in UT, issued a complaint against Murray on June 3rd. A Federal warrant was filed June 4th, formally charging Murray with threats against the President of the United States. Regardless of how the media is claiming that Murray's threats are "more aspirational than operational", you should know that the US Attorney's office for Utah does not file such charges unless they believe the person is capable of carrying out the threat. Note that it took them a week (from May 28 to June 3) to review everything and decide an official complaint was warranted. A week is a long time, even in Murray's 8-yr old Buick La Sabre. But that is only one other aspect bothering me.

No, what is really bothering Detective D.K. are the dates. Murray was in St George on May 27th withdrawing $13K from Zions Bank and babbling bugshit insanity about the sun and moon and eagles and how people will die and there will be chaos in the world (that's my paraphrase). What else was going on on May 27th? Oh yeah, President Obama made a widely-publicized stopover at Nellis AFB on May 27th. Nellis is a 90-minute drive from St George. I'm not kidding. I have not read any one else making that connection.

OK, so Murray then storms back into Zions Bank a day later, on May 28th, to get the rest of his money and leaves town, heading north. As he is leaving, he talks about being on a mission to kill the President.

Anyone else thinking what I'm thinking? Murray may have already tried to get close to the President on May 27th at Nellis! He failed, then returned to St George, frustrated, withdrew the rest of his money and left town "on a mission". Has anyone checked on his whereabouts in CA GA OK and TX to see if the President was known to be nearby during those times?

Murray was last seen driving a blue 2001 Buick LaSabre with NY License ERL 1445. Of course only an idiot wouldn't have already "exchanged" those plates. Is anyone reporting missing license plates from the areas Murray has been traveling?

The fact that Murray has 8 registered firearms, including semi-automatic weapons, is another concern, especially when you consider he might have access to many other non-registered weapons, no doubt acquired on his travels through GA TX OK UT CA and all points in between. Don't expect him to give up peacefully!

And finally, why weren't Murray's bank threats taken more seriously from the beginning? Is it because we have so many bugshit nuts here? A small example: recently my neighbor accused Obama of being a murderer. For enlarging the War in Afghanistan, I ask? No, he says, for supporting abortion! That conversation took place days before Dr. Tiller was murdered. So yeah, UT does tend to harbor bugshit nuts, maybe even more than the national average. And yeah, they all have guns and a direct phone connection to Mitt Romney's Varmint Lodge.

But I think even Mitt would agree, Murray is dangerous! He's got guns and money and has made assassination threats. You know what he looks like, you know what he might be driving, he'll be 37-yrs old on July 12th, he's 6'2" and he weighs 250-lbs. Call the Feds!

UPDATE ... Crooks and Liars did a good job of fleshing out some of the details today. Their commenters have great observations about bank procedures being followed for any withdrawal in excess of $10K cash, especially the odd request for an odd-amount of non-sequential small bills. That's supposed to generate a Homeland Security alert. If that had been done, they could've taken Murray into custody when he showed up the next day to withdraw the balance of his account (which may or may not have been a cash withdrawal, no one is saying, but this might be the reason he quickly drove to a Cedar City bank). And remember, he was able to close one bank account, open a new bank account, deposit $85K and start withdrawing the next week without proper ID. Did someone else put the money into the original credit union account for him? Secret Service is now saying they won't be commenting further since this case involves protective intelligence ... in fact, they are wondering how so much info was made public already (hint: bloggers were on the case cuz it sure as hell isn't making the cable tv news)...

If I get any more updates, I'll put them in the comments ...