Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Who Do They Think They're Appealing To?

In the last couple of weeks, the Obama campaign and its friends (completely unconnected from the official campaign - for FEC purposes, I'm sure) have put out some pretty peculiar ads.  There was ad comparing voting with having sex for the first time,  which has generated some excellent parodies:
Then there were the zombie kids, the Future Children Project, which was, if anything, a weird juxtaposition of a bunch of healthy, well dressed, well fed kids reciting the words about how awful their world will be, based on about 50 liberal bumper stickers.  Unfortunately, there are no real parodies of it.  Internet, I'm disappointed in you!

What puzzles me is that these things cost somebody real money, so somebody looked at that and thought it was the best choice they had to spend money on.  So who's the target?  Who do they think they will sway with these ads? 

All the limousine liberals know who they're voting for; New York City and San Francisco are a lock for Obama; the battleground is a handful of states largely in flyover country.  Let me let them in on a secret: most working class folks in those states are what the president called the "bitter clingers" and they don't think out of wedlock sex is a Good Thing.  They see about a billion times more of the real environment than a big city liberal ever would and have very little use for the EPA wet dream the zombie kids are selling.  And they really don't like people pitting their kids against them.  Further, I'll bet most of those people think saddling those kids with debt that will never be paid off is a pretty bad plan. 

Actually, I think they told us the answer.  Just two weeks ago, FLOTUS gave a talk telling people to reach out to all the knuckleheads they know and get them out to vote.  That's it!  They're going after the knucklehead vote.  Stupid is as stupid does, you know.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy - QoTD

Mayor Bloomberg said a large storm was illegal, and they needed to send two medium sized storms.  

But getting back to reality, the Intellicast Radar currently looks like this:
That crisp circular feature around the Trenton and Philadelphia area is an artifact of blending several radar sources into one image. 

See that light blue?  Yeah, that's snow - and the pink rim is icing along the edges.  The storm is causing a blizzard in the Appalachians of Virginia. 

New York is going dark, the storm surge is over the streets of Manhattan, and the nightmare is just beginning.  NYC is a place where the majority doesn't keep food in their apartment, partly because it never occurred to them that there might not be a restaurant when they need one, and partly because the average apartment is about the size of two matchboxes and costs an astronomical rent.

I always joke "inside of three days, they'll be eating each other", but I'm thinking it's not a joke this time.  Being Mayor Bloomy's gun free paradise, only the police and the criminals have guns, so it's not going to be pretty up there. Good luck to any readers up there.  Stay out of the city, and preferably in a fortified place with back up power, water and your basic Bs - beans, bullets and band-aids.  And, seriously, New Yorkers.  Dump one of your fashion accessories and stash a few bags of Mountain House.  Just add water, and all. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

BAG Day Came Early

When I was talking about the fun show last weekend, there was one thing I neglected to mention, cunning little runt that I am.  It was Buy A Gun day for me, a bit early (hey - I gotta be at work on 11/6!).

Last September (2011), while doing one of those "List the 5 Guns You Want" memes, I listed a good .45 at number two. 
2. XDm in .45 ACP or the XD Compact in .45 - the XD is probably a better carry gun.
But the last year has brought us options that weren't available then: the XDm 3.8 Compact in .45 ACP, as well as the very small, single stack XDs.   After playing with both guns at a few shows, I decided that XDm Compact worked better for the size of my hands and picked one up.  A few photos:
By itself, you don't have much to go by.  It's got a 3.8" barrel, vs. a 3.3 in the XDs and a 3" barrel in the XD subcompact that I've been carrying for two years. In width, it measures within a few thousandths at the grip and a few places I put the calipers - probably just sloppy technique.  It fits my existing holsters, including the one I use most.  It works in my XD Serpa (I hardly ever use it, but it ought to be the fussiest).  With a fully loaded short magazine (pictured) it weighs 2 lb 3 oz. with 9+1 230 grain rounds - as opposed to 2 lbs 0 for my XDsc loaded with 124 gr +P. Side by side, from the rear, they look like this:
The subcompact is the stainless bi-tone on the right.  The grip texture is different - and that's about it.  A view that shows their dimensional difference is here:
and you can see the only real difference is that the longer barrel of the XDm makes it 0.8" longer than the subcompact.  That 3/4" disappears in the holster, IWB or other.  Ergonomically, the user controls are identical.  Both triggers are long initial pull, then shorter reset.  I know some folks don't like beavertail safeties in general, but I'm used to them by now.  When I tried the .45 out at our favorite indoor range yesterday,  it felt just like my XDsc.  I picked it up and immediately had good results with it.  Same for the diminutive but deadly Mrs. Graybeard, who also loves her XD subcompact.  She picked it up and punched the target like she'd always been using it.

Compared to the XDs, it holds 9+1 vs 5+1.  The 9mm XDsc is 13+1.  The universal trade of # of rounds vs. size is a personal one, and I can't say I have a strong opinion.  It doesn't seem to be any harder to shoot than my 9mm, I really don't feel much difference in recoil, but maybe I'm not "recoil sensitive".  I put only 125 or so rounds through it, just to loosen it up, and of course it was flawless.  No FTF or FTEs; cycled smoothly, and generally behaved perfectly.  Gave it a little cleanup when we got home. 

I know that "just another polymer pistol" isn't going to be interesting to a lot of you.  Just another GlockenSpringenSmithenTauren (etc.).  Personally, while I love the look of 1911s, they just don't feel right to me (scorn coming in 3...2...1...).  On the other hand, I like revolvers, but I've never carried a revolver.  I'll take 9+1 with a backup of 13 over 5 and a speed loader any day.  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

More of the Benghazi Puzzle

Kevin, over that the Smallest Minority, has an excellent article, which, in turn, comes from TigerDroppings.com.
I heard a story today from someone inside the military that I trust entirely. The story was in reference to General Ham that Panetta referenced in the quote below.
"(The) basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place," Panetta told Pentagon reporters. "And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation."
The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.

General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to (say) screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.

The story continues that now General Rodriguez would take General Ham's place as the head of Africon.
And that story appears in Stars and Stripes.  The net is overflowing with the story that Gen. Ham was fired for disobeying the "stand down" order and trying to mount a rescue mission. Blackfive.net is reporting that it's highly likely that an AC-130 was available to attack the forces who pinned down and eventually killed former SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty as they tried to rescue the others themselves. The author writes:
If that SEAL was actively "painting" a target; something was on station to engage!  And the decision to stand down goes directly to POTUS!
As I posted before, the Washington Times has run an article on the apparent gun running involving our CIA, Libya, Syria, and Turkey.  This has been expanded on by Counter Jihad Report, who has been picked up by Oathkeepers.   In a piece I wrote in March of 2011, "Arm Them Today, Fight Them Tomorrow", (I can't claim clairvoyance over that) I pointed to a story in the Telegraph that quoted a Libyan "Resistance Leader" saying his fighters had been fighting us in Iraq and Afghanistan before coming over to Libya, and we were arming them.  So it certainly appears that we were running guns to Al Qaeda in Libya in '11, who is now using them in Syria to topple President Assad.  And, of course, there's the small matter of the 20,000 or so portable anti-aircraft missiles that are missing from Libya and probably in Al Qaeda's hands by now.

What's this supposed to be?  Fast and Furious - Mideast franchise?

So if the possible rescue groups were ordered to stand down, there's only one reasonable conclusion: Stevens was meant to face whatever he was facing alone.  Was he being sacrificed?  Either they planned for him to be murdered, or as someone has suggested, to be used in hostage negotiations.  The administration is apparently trying to get the Blind Sheik released as a gift to the Muslim Brotherhood (I single them out because they have been adamant about wanting him back); swapping Stevens for the Sheik would have given a cover story to the White House.  (The Blind Sheik, of course, was the one convicted of the 1993 WTC bombing).

Perhaps the plan was to get Stevens kidnapped, and either the Ansar al-Sharia guys couldn't contain themselves and killed him for fun, or perhaps Woods and Doherty, who themselves defied orders to stand down and went to rescue Stevens and Smith, messed up the operation enough that Ansar Al-Sharia couldn't execute their deal with the administration and all four of them were accidentally killed. We can only hope we find out the details, but it won't be by the election - you can take that to the bank!

EDIT 10-28@1200 EDT  Bayou Renaissance Man offers a trail of evidence that apparently contradicts the start of this article, the reassignment/removal of Gen. Ham.  In the fog that accompanies a breaking news story, some wrong "facts" are always reported.  It's why I rarely watch breaking news stories on the TV: you know the facts are going to change. 

The second part of this piece, from the reference to the Washington Times article on gun-running to my speculations on what really happened doesn't depend on the first part, and I leave this here unedited for that reason.  From your standpoint, I assume, I'm just a random Internet Idiot with a blog.  When I print things that aren't my speculation, I link to sources where I got them so that you may decide whether or not they're valid sources. 


As of this morning, Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Storm of the Century So Far Sandy has moved north of us here in the Silicon Swamp.  Since Thursday night, we've had winds of 20 to 40 out of the northern quadrants.  Surprisingly, power went off for about a half hour yesterday morning (my power stayed on until the eyes of both of the '04 hurricanes passed by), but aside from that, the only effect we've had is about a metric butt-load of acorns on the back porch. 
I understand the concern is that this storm will merge with an approaching system and turn into a replication of the famous "Perfect Storm" of 1991 (the condensed script). 

If you're in the path, respect this.  It could knock out power for weeks, and duplicate some of the severe flooding from Irene and those others we've seen recently.  I'd say to get your water, food, beer, and other preps completed, but you're probably always ready for a few days without power, aren't you?  

Good luck - and keep your powder dry. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Does Wisconsin Have "Stand Your Ground"?

Because this guy really should have been armed.  Another shining example of the tolerance of the left is the way they treated Kyle Wood. 
“I was getting ready for work and there was a knock at the door,” Wood emailed The Daily Caller late Wednesday. “I opened it, and a guy wrapped a ligature around my neck, slammed my head into the doorway, and smashed my face into a mirror, telling me ‘You should have kept your [f*******] mouth shut.’” “He then kidney-punched me, while at the same time saying I was ‘warned,’ and continued to beat me,” he added.  Wood said his attacker’s reference to a warning likely pointed to graffiti he found painted on his car last week. The vandalism included the phrases “house trained republican faggot,” “traitor,” and “ur like a jew 4 hitler.” Those slurs, he explained, were references to him being a gay Republican working to help Lee, a straight GOP candidate, defeat the openly gay Democrat Mark Pocan.
Put a ligature around his neck?  There's only one acceptable answer to someone with a ligature around your neck and putting your face through a mirror: double tap, plus one, because anyone worth shooting twice is worth shooting again.  (Yes, I know that, tactically, if someone has you from behind, you may need to put your first shot into their foot or knee to break free and get better aim.) 

A couple days ago, GayPatriot posted that the only people who call gay Republicans "Faggots" sit on the political left.
Last night before bed, I posted a quick write-up of a meet-up I had had yesterday with Glenn Reynolds, his lovely wife Helen Smith and a gaggle of conservative bloggers and friends.  And there I, an openly gay blogger at a blog with “gay” in its very name, found the same (warm) welcome I have found at every gathering of conservative (& libertarian bloggers).
(NOTE: reference to Gateway Pundit - SiG) Neither Jim nor any conservative blogger, in person, in text, in e-mail or any other form of communication, has ever called me a “faggot.” In fact, the only people who seem to be directing that slur at gay conservatives sit on the political left.
It's all part of the "Identity Politics" that the left famously plays.   Star Parker famously wrote about her observations of this from the perspective of a black woman in "Uncle Sam's Plantation".  Ann Coulter writes about it in her new book, "Mugged".  It's  a petty well known phenomenon.  If a few more people trying to hurt guys like Kyle, or Sean Kedzie find themselves with sucking chest wounds, maybe we can slow down this trend. 

Prayers go out to Kyle for a speedy, perfect recovery.  Consider getting a concealed carry permit and never answering a door unarmed again. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Benghazi Timeline

If you work for this government, you might consider quitting.  I know that people who work for the federal government tend to be security seekers, seeking that "it takes an act of congress to fire me" job, but this government doesn't seem to have any qualms about letting its own get killed if it might be inconvenient.  Face it, fed.dood: you ain't that secure.    

But back to the issue at hand, the evidence is mounting that the higher ups of the White House, the Pentagon, CIA, Director of Intelligence Clapper and other officials not only knew that Ambassador Stevens and his crew were going to be attacked with more than enough warning to rescue them, they watched the attack in real time, on live video relayed by satellites from drones orbiting the Libyan consulate and "safe house".   The timeline is giving us information that leads to inescapable conclusions.

Former career CIA officer and Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy, Clare Lopez, was on The Blaze TV's Glenn Beck show and had some stunning things to say.  The interview has been taken off their pay site, and made public, in two parts.  The short version of her story is this.  Stevens was left to die.  Someone, or some ones, in the White House or the CIA or the Pentagon gave the order not to save them. It is preposterous to believe that anything else is possible.  They deployed a drone, they watched the drone's videos, and allegedly a spy satellite.  The first part of two interviews with Lopez is here.  You should watch that as well as this.  

In summary, we know a few important things.
  • I'm not going to outline the several other documented attacks in Benghazi that should have raised a flag about our team's safety.  Those have been widely talked about.  Stevens should not have even been in Benghazi at all.    
  • The "IT Guy" in the embassy staff (and fellow radio ham), Sean Smith, frequented an online gaming site.  It's reasonable that this was a "channel" monitored by intelligence agencies to keep in touch with him.  He posted a message saying, "Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures."  This was 12:54 in the afternoon US East Coast time, 6:54 PM in Libya.
  • The US has a base less than an hour's flight away in Sicily.  A QRF - Quick Reaction Force - was said to be there.  (QRF means I don't have to add "ready to deploy at a moment's notice"). 
  • The attacks began about 50 minutes after a Turkish representative left a meeting with Stevens, or 9:40 PM.  That's mid-afternoon in the US when the attack started, and three hours later than Smith's posting.  The QRF could have easily been there. (Excellent Timeline Here)
  • It appears Smith was dead and Stevens missing by about 11PM, 5PM EDT.  
  • This was watched in real time.  The president, concerned about a coming media event, went to bed. 
Several of us, this blog included, were very concerned about Libya from the start (not to mention here).  It really appears that the US armed Al Qaeda militants in the Libyan war and Stevens was the go-between.  The trail appears to lead to those guns going from Benghazi to Syria, by way of Turkey - hence the meeting with the Turkish diplomat about an hour before the attack on Stevens began. It appears that Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, and his guards, former Seals (/CIA operatives) Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were hung out as collateral damage.  Exact why they were allowed to be killed is not known yet.  It could be they were left to die because the truth that we were arming Al Qaeda would interfere with the presidential campaign.  Or they could have been left to die as part of the campaign.  Wouldn't bombing Benghazi to avenge their killings make the president look more powerful?   Wag the Dog, anyone?

If you're working for the government, you just better hope you don't get into a position like Stevens or the other guys.  You become completely expendable. 

EDIT 2208 EDT:  The Washington Times adds a well-researched piece on the gun running evidence.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Got Them Low Down, Beat Down

First World Problems Blues. 

Several good lines in there. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday, Gunny Sunday

The gun show was in town again today, every 6 weeks or so, and even choosing Sunday afternoon to avoid the peak crowds, it was crowded.  As always.  I haven't been going to shows long enough to know what it was like before 2009, but starting then, the local show has been so crowded that it's hard to walk around.  Once or twice, the fire department-approved crowd size for the municipal auditorium was exceeded and they had to turn away people. 

Of course, we all heard the moment of honesty when Gun Salesman of the Century (so far) Obama openly said he wanted to reinstate the Clinton-era assault weapons ban. 
Of course, the ads write themselves.  But the Washington Examiner tells a more complete story.  (H/T to Tam)
"What I'm trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced. But part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence. Because frankly, in my hometown of Chicago, there's an awful lot of violence and they're not using AK-47s. They're using cheap handguns."
ATTENTION PLEASE!  EARTH TO OBAMA!... EARTH TO OBAMA!!  Ya see, Sweet Cheeks, the problem you need to address is not the tool.  I gar-on-tee those cheap handguns are not shooting kids by themselves.  The problem is the gang culture producing the kids that shoot other kids.  Until you address the fact that your stupid progressive policies have destroyed the culture these kids grew up in, you're going to have a problem with violence.  I know it's hard for you to say, "I'm wrah... wro.... wrr_oong" but that's pretty much the heart of the story.  You and your Homey, Tiny Dancer, there have done more to screw up your city (while enriching yourselves) than any inanimate object ever could.  Something like 99.999% of the guns in country have never shot anyone, and you're mentally masturbating in the worst way if you think that restricting honest citizens is going to affect it.  At. All. 

Are you honestly so incapable of rational thought that you think this would really happen?
If you are, I'm afraid there's not much we can do for you.  Maybe see an expert

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Size of the Task Ahead

In last night's post, I alluded to how big the problems are and how much it's going to take to fix them.  There is a mountain that needs to be moved, or a castle that needs to be taken down, one stone at a time.  H/T to Bayou Renaissance Man for a link to this video, which describes the problem in overview:
The Daily Caller gives an example that makes my head hurt. Did you know the USDA is actively working with the Mexican government to recruit more food stamp users?  Essentially - at best - luring immigrants into this country to give them food stamp benefits?

Let that sink in for a moment.  You and I probably agree that while we don't want to see Americans starve, we're troubled that in light of our record Federal deficit, the Fed.gov is giving out record amounts of the those benefits and trying to give out more.
According to the Congressional Research Service, food assistance programs expanded more than any welfare category in the previous four years — with a percentage increase largely fueled by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, which recently reached an all-time high enrollment of nearly 47 million participants.

Non-citizen participation in SNAP has quadrupled since 2001 and doubled since 2008.
Now it's one thing to be handing out benefits to legal immigrants who come across hard times.  It's another to be actively partnering with the Mexican government - meeting with them at least 151 times - to give more benefits out.  We're the brokest country in the history of the world, and we're trying to find innovative ways to give away more money? 

The US has had a law since 1965 intended to prevent immigration of people who are coming here just to get on welfare, called being a "public charge".
Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act explains that immigrants are “inadmissible” to the United States if the U.S. Attorney General or any consular officer who interacts with them determines that he or she “is likely at any time to become a public charge.”
Yet this is exactly who the administration is trying to get into the country.  
“I have serious concerns about this [Mexico partnership]. It defies rational thinking for the United States — now dangerously $16 trillion in debt — to partner with foreign governments to help us place more foreign nationals on American welfare, and it is contrary to good immigration policy for the United States,” Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions’ wrote to USDA chief Tom Vilsack in a Oct. 9 letter seeking more information about the partnership.
Vilsack and the USDA did not answer that request for information.  The USDA is actively fighting Americans' self-reliance to try and bolster dependence on the fed.gov food stamps.  Heck, they're buying advertising time (with our money) and running commercials to recruit more people on to food stamps.  There can only be one explanation: to try to increase their power over people, increase their budgets, increase their personal power at the expense of tax payers. Create more dependence on government.

In my book, that's just plain evil.

And it's adding to the mountain that needs to be torn down to get this country fiscally sound again.  The Daily Caller article concludes with this quote:
Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee revealed Thursday that spending on federal welfare programs reached about $1.03 trillion in 2011. To put that number in perspective, if those programs were to be converted into cash assistance for all American households in poverty in 2011, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, those households would each have received an average of $61,194.
Which would remove them from the poverty rolls - at least for one year.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Think We Just Had A Warning Shot

One of the reasons for QE 1, 2, 3 and QE to infinity - perhaps the primary reason - is to keep interest rates low on the federal deficit.  The interest on the debt for FY '12 was about $360 Billion - close enough to 365 that I'm going to call it $1 Billion per day. Just to pay the interest on the debt.  In FY'12 it was 6% of the budget. 

In creating money out of nothing to keep interest rates low, Bernanke has been trying to prevent interest payments on bonds from going up too high, because with the debt as large as it is, an increase in the interest the Fed.gov must pay would skyrocket and it would eventually consume the entire budget.  Well, it's going to consume the entire budget someday if we don't stop deficit spending, but the higher the interest rate, the sooner "someday" comes and the sooner everything comes crashing down. Bernanke has kept the prime rates for US customers unusually low, but the bonds are bid on in an open, international market, and with everyone able to see the money creation going on, buyers want a higher yield.

All that background out of the way, it looks like there has been an issue this week.  This is a plot of the yield on the 30 year bond, courtesy of http://www.stocktiming.com  (they change the graphic at this URL every day, but it will probably be there until Monday, 10/22/12)
The area to concentrate on is the triangle on the right, and especially that black line above it. The main curve plotted here shows the interest rate was rising, peaked last spring, fell much lower, and after a summer of consolidation, started rising again.  For the last month, it entered into a flag, and jumped out of that flag to apparently resume its upward journey this week.

So what?  As the analyst at StockTiming says,
What was significant (this past Wednesday), was that the TYX not only moved above the resistance of its triangular formation ... it gapped above it.  When a pattern exhibits a gap above its resistance, it usually means there is a strong bias behind it.   And that means that Bernanke is in trouble now.
What happens next?  Is it time to hit the bunker?  IMO, this is a scary sign, but not a terrifying sign.  It could be that the interest rates come back down on their own, or that the Fed buys more of our bonds (more QE), so that eventually we buy all of our bonds. It could mean that Bernanke is out of options and the collapse is upon us, but I still think we'd at least have a few weeks.  It would have to get above that peak from last spring to start getting me really concerned, but I'll take odds Bernanke saw this and is keeping an eye on it. 

Don't get me wrong, this will end and it doesn't end well.  It doesn't matter who wins the presidency if they don't really change things.  Unless we really re-shape the way this government spends, this is going to end in economic collapse, it's just a matter of when.   It's fashionable to say there's no difference between Romney and Obama, but you know Obama won't change spending; it's his plan.  The chances a Romney/Ryan administration would save things is small, but it's not zero.  There's zero chance Obama will. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Big Bird May Be Hard to Cut - This One Should Be Easy

Remember all that nonsense about Big Bird?  How the threat to de-fund PBS led to millions of PBS zealots talking about how "it's just not enough money to matter"?  The Internet Meme Machine leapt into high gear, with animations of Big Bird being killed appearing overnight.  It's particularly absurd since the spectacularly successful Sesame Street franchise brings in $50 million per year in product licensing alone, and could make a commercial network real money, if not for the PBS exclusivity.  The director of the show's production company, CTW, said so herself.  Maybe Antiques Roadshow or Masterpiece Theater couldn't survive in the market, but Sesame Street surely could.

In the larger view, the argument that you don't save enough money to matter is why nothing ever gets cut.  No matter how small and meaningless the cuts are, someone howls like you stuck their legs down a chipper/shredder.  The ordinarily-rational Neil deGrasse Tyson said, "Cutting PBS ... is like deleting text files to make room on your 500 Gig drive".  Yeah, you have to delete a lot, but this is classic Washington insider stuff: "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money".  Besides, as the old saying goes, "take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves". 

OK.  What if I could show you a place were you can save billions and measured data shows us that it's money that we spend for zero return?  No return except for keeping Washington bureaucrats employed.  De-fund the Department of Education.  The DOE's funding in 2011 was "only" $71 Billion. That really amounts to just about 3 weeks of borrowing in the deficit.   But we have measured data that shows no matter what we spend on education, it doesn't matter.
In math, we'd say that there is no correlation between the cost of education and the test scores.
As there is no correlation between per-pupil spending and SAT scores.

In the October 8th Wall Street Journal, author Jay Greene writes about this and more in "The Imaginary Teacher Shortage".  He points out that in the first presidential debate, Obama said we should hire "another hundred thousand math and science teachers" and attacked Romney for saying that hiring decision should be a local matter.  Greene goes on to point out: 
For decades we have tried to boost academic outcomes by hiring more teachers, and we have essentially nothing to show for it. In 1970, public schools employed 2.06 million teachers, or one for every 22.3 students, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Digest of Education Statistics. In 2012, we have 3.27 million teachers, one for every 15.2 students.
From where I sit hiring another hundred thousand science and math teachers sounds just about impossible - it's just a handout to the teacher's unions, his core constituency.  Good science and math teachers aren't likely to be found without a lot of training and even then that adjective "good" may be problematic.  They're not likely to be working at the tire store waiting for a teaching job.
Parents like the idea of smaller class sizes in the same way that people like the idea of having a personal chef. Parents imagine that their kids will have one of the Iron Chefs. But when you have to hire almost 3.3 million chefs, you're liable to end up with something closer to the fry-guy from the local burger joint.
This is close to home: dear son has taught public high school, although he got out of that many years ago.  I think even the most ardent fans of the public education system would have to admit that the Federal Department of Education has never educated a single person. 

The problems with public education are many and deep.  Frankly, that whole "Nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure" argument has a lot going for it.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Zimbabwe to Bernanke - You're Going to Blow It Up!

From the "you can't make this stuff up" file, Gideon Gono of the Zimbabwe reserve bank told Ben Bernanke he's, "a pathetic excuse for a banker" and "you're going to blow it all up; destroy the dollar and everyone who uses one". 

Well, OK, I made all that up. 

In fact, Gideon Gono issued a warning on the parallels between QE3 and his policies that led to Zimbabwe's hyperinflation.  Zimbabwe experienced hyperinflation in the last decade; at the start, one Zim dollar was equal to one US $.  By 2009, they were issuing 100 trillion Zim$ notes (they can be found on eBay, where they sell for more than they were worth in Zimbabwe).  So you have to figure that if anyone knows hyperinflation, it's the guy who wrote the script for the most recent one on the planet.  As Tyler over at Zerohedge says:
Even though Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi and all other central bankers will try to convince you that what they are doing are really different to what Gideon Gono did, you should really be taking Gideon Gono more seriously, who is basically admitting that the money printing strategy does not work to ‘stimulate’ growth. All it can stimulate are high- and hyperinflation risks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Obama Trying to Cut Deal With Iran?

In the email box, I received a link to a story on World Net Daily, "October Surprise?  Obama Secret Iran Deal Cut" by Reza Kahlili.  That name is an alias for a man who purports to be a former US agent who infiltrated the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard.  He reports:
The source, who remains anonymous for security reasons, said a three-person delegation of the Obama administration led by a woman engaged in secret negotiations with a representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The delegation urged the Iranian leader to announce a halt to enrichment, even if temporary, before the Nov. 6 election, promising removal of some sanctions.
The report includes more detail than rumors that usually get in the press: the meeting occurred October 1, in Doha, Qatar; it was led by a woman from the US, and this surprisingly detailed little tidbit.
...the woman is trusted by the Iranians, having met with Velayati more than 10 times over the past 20 years. The woman took Lufthansa Flight 419 out of Washington to Frankfurt, then to Doha, Qatar, from there
(Velayati is "Ali Akbar Velayati, the former Iranian foreign minister and current close adviser to the supreme leader on international affairs")  The little details on the flight might even allow someone to get a passenger manifest from that flight and, perhaps, determine who might have been there. 

You should go read and ponder this: does it fit?  We know that the most powerful person in the White House is Valerie Jarrett, who was born in Iran to American parents, and that she has expressed attachment to the country.  She's much more than just an Iranian-influenced American, though, there are links to the Brotherhood.  We know that from well before his election in 2008, Obama himself wanted to adopt a more conciliatory position and negotiate with Iran over their nuclear ambitions instead of expressing strength. We know that in the '09 rebellion, he was weasel-mouthed at best, and refused to support kids being slaughtered by their government - kids who were adopting pro-western and pro-US positions - instead, he tried to use his amazing oratorical skills to influence the killers.

Is that enough precedent for you to think he might negotiate away a few little things, like Iran having nukes, to get re-elected? 

Monday, October 15, 2012

It Just So Happens...

The Feral Irishman posts a rather long and amazing train of coincidences centered around dear leader.  He links back to Warning Signs, who appears to be the originator.  As I always do, let me tease the story a bit.
Obama just happened to know 60s far-left radical revolutionary William Ayers, whose father just happened to be Thomas Ayers, who just happened to be a close friend of Obama’s communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis, who just happened to work at the communist-sympathizing Chicago Defender with Vernon Jarrett, who just happened to later become the father-in-law of Iranian-born leftist Valerie Jarrett, who Obama just happened to choose as his closest White House advisor, and who just happened to have been CEO of Habitat Company, which just happened to manage public housing in Chicago, which just happened to get millions of dollars from the Illinois state legislature, and which just happened not to properly maintain the housing—which eventually just happened to require demolition.
Go read.  It's an amazing story.  Some of the coincidences seem a bit contrived, but still...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Simple Guide to Understanding Bureaucracies

Bureaucracies like the fed.gov and corporations have similar behaviors in times of trouble.  An excellent example is the death of ambassador Stevens and the other three men he was with in Libya.  DC has gone into full coverup mode and bureaucrats of all types are diving for cover, trying to avoid being thrown under the bus.  (Note: haven't they learned anything in the last few decades about the coverup being a bigger problem than the problem was?)  I don't want to get into the trails of lies, the charges and counter charges and all of that.  Go read a real news source for that.  I want to go on a different route, as usual. 

The behavior of any bureaucrat in a government agency or large company can be explained by envisioning a global three dimensional blame density function.  No bureaucrat ever willingly stays near a peak in the blame density function: a concentration of blame. 

Think of how general relativity models space-time as a huge rubber sheet.  The sheet is deformed by planets, stars, black holes - and the bestiary of astronomy.  This one is being deformed by gravity waves spreading out from a central event. 
Blame density can be modeled as the rubber sheet upside down, the way an electromagnetic field or other spin-zero field is modeled by physicists.  Each of these peaks in blame density is called "being responsible";  bureaucrats never want to be on one of these peaks because it can lead to the condition known as "fired".
In the absence of things that cause blame to concentrate, this is a flat, uniform surface.  Once peaks begin to form in the blame density, government workers or bureaucrats (but I repeat myself) try to flee the peaks and get back to blame-neutral space.  This is why the congress hasn't passed a budget in three years - no blame can be assigned.  Conversely, it's why they pass resolutions to praise or condemn things that are completely non-controversial.  Nothing to be blamed for. 

If you work in manufacturing, you have very probably heard of the ISO-9000 family of specifications that manufacturers are being forced to adopt.  These can also be explained in terms of reducing peaks in the blame density function.  Think of it this way: by creating procedures for the everything the company does, you keep the individual worker from deciding how to do things; the stated purpose of these quality systems is to reduce variation, which comes from different workers deciding differently.  The usual, cynical comment you hear is "it takes 30 people to get something moving but only one to stop it".  The one who stops it is generally afraid of being on a peak of blame density.  If everyone follows the procedure but the product fails, no one gets blamed.  The procedure gets changed. 

This is how you get a situation where the negligence of someone in the state department gets a group of men murdered and nothing happens.  Or the negligence of a SWAT team raiding a wrong house and innocent people being hurt or killed.  If you or I neglected to do something on our property, perhaps not covering up a hole where we're working in the yard, and someone was killed in it, we would get charged with manslaughter.  Whomever it was in the State department that got these men killed won't be.  You can bet on that.  They have a procedure they were following. 

Credit where due, this is not my original concept.  When I was a larval engineer at Major SE Defense Contractor, an older systems engineer explained it to me.  He would probably not like to see his name mentioned in this place. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

About That WiFi Security Thing

Today was the first day of the local hamfest here in the Silicon Swamp.  For those unfamiliar with the term, a hamfest is a generally a swap meet with a lot of other interactions - a place where hams meet in person, catch up with old friends, share new stories and just be social.  Some fests have a full schedule of meetings and technical talks; some are simple swap meets.  Amateur radio is a social hobby, by and large, and is full of guys who can talk for hours on many things.  The granddaddy fest is held every year in Dayton, Ohio, the Hamvention.  If you're a ham, you should go to Dayton at least once.  There are literally hundreds of guys who meet at Dayton every year; they reserve their room for the following year as they leave; stay in the same hotels, meet at the same restaurants.    

I got to catch up with a bunch of guys I know and had lunch with a large group - some I haven't seen in years, others I met for the first time, and still others are guys that I see at this hamfest every year.  The topic among these guys who experiment at VHF, UHF and microwaves was WiFi.  Remember that post from two days ago about Wireless bandwidth and the constant need for more?  I kind of brushed over the idea of frequency allocations and compatible services and such?  While I can't explain why, the WiFi bands that everyone is using overlap an amateur radio band at 2300 to 2450 MHz.  The amateur band and WiFi overlap from 2417 to 2450 MHz; the WiFi band is technically called an ISM band (Industrial, Scientific and Medical), and an ISM band device "may not cause interference to other services, and must accept interference that may cause undesired operation".

From the ham standpoint, there is literally tons of microwave transceivers available as surplus (or new).  Amateurs have a long history of using cheap surplus, both military and commercial, and making it the basis of new communications modes. 

From the non-ham standpoint, there's a pretty good chance that your WiFi signal could be picked up from quite far away.  How far?  Miles.  It's not fair to compare these directly because software modification had to be done to handle the long propagation delay, but back in 2005, amateurs put off-the-shelf WiFi together with high gain antennas and established a link 125 miles long over the Nevada desert.  The transmitters were unmodified, and no amplifiers were used.  Impressive, but call it a circus trick; not very practical, but shows what can be done by the determined. 

The topic I was unaware of was ham radio mesh networking.  What the amateur mesh networking is doing is replacing the software in an OTS WiFi router with amateur software and building high speed, interoperable, wide area networks.  In a mesh network, pictured above, the loss of any one node doesn't result in loss of the network.  It's basically the idea behind the 'net itself, and we've all heard that the 'net routes around damage.  Hams routinely do disaster communications and public service communications; this makes it much easier and better.  But the widespread use of surplus WiFi gear for ham networks might just mean someone farther away than you think can be listening to your home network.  One of the guys said he doesn't pay for internet access.  He scans the neighborhood with an outside antenna, picks a non-secured router and uses the neighbor's router.  It's the same as wardriving, but maybe you don't think you need to think about that in your quiet, off-the-main-roads home.  Another said that while getting an amateur mesh network working, he unintentionally accessed other folks' routers.  When he realized it, he reset their router the way it was originally, but he almost took over someone's WiFi equipment.  

I would say if you don't have your WiFi secured, what's wrong with you?  And if you're using default settings, someone is probably using your WiFi. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Spectrum Crunch

Like most folks, I love having wireless internet everywhere I go.  There's just one problem: as the number of people enjoying it increases, transfer rates go down and everyone's service gets slower.  An industry magazine led me to Mobile Future.  I can't really vouch for them or say anything negative or positive, but they seem to be a trade group trying to influence the FCC to allocate more spectrum to wireless carriers.

They present this amazing fun fact: By 2016, there will be a total of 3 billion networked devices in the US.  That's 9 devices for every man, woman and child.  2016 is close enough that sane businesses are planning for it. Heck; if you ordered a Boeing 787 today, I'm not sure you get it before 2016.
Direct link, because sometimes these info graphics just don't work out very well in my posts.  And be sure to check out this one, too. 

Remember, pretty much every sliver of spectrum - from DC up to where it gets really expensive to use - is already allocated to someone.  Broadcast, police radio, marine radio, utilities, defense, and lots more.  Giving more wireless spectrum to this use will remove it from other uses.  Yes, it's completely renewable resource in the sense that when you stop transmitting it's available to everyone else, but it takes a lot to make incompatible services play nice together, and sometimes you can't (like Lightsquared and GPS). 

Could get interesting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Can't Talk - Playing

Last September (2011), I posted an info bleg on tablets.  I was pondering something with a bigger display than a phone, but didn't quite know whether to get one at all; get a pocket sized Kindle, get a generic Android tablet, the iPad or anything else.

Reckless impulse shopper that I am, I just bought one.  Hey - it's how I roll.

Trying to adapt to the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and see what it can do.  
(Not mine.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Take My Hand ... I'm a Vagina in Pakistan

(Sung to the tune of "Stranger in Paradise") 

Quote of the day to By Other Means who notes that members of Code Pink are heading to Pakistan to help protest US drone strikes.  And the Taliban are threatening to kill them.
I want an internet video feed, a couch, and popcorn.
I can't imagine the vagina costumes are going to work in Pakistan.  They're not going to a big city, where - maybe - they might be viewed as crazy westerners and just be run out of town.  They're going to the "Tribal areas", South Waziristan where the Taliban rules, and proudly shoots little girls in the face for acting the slightest bit out of their rules.  

The second thing I thought of was Robert A. Heinlein's quote on stupidity:
Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime: the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.  RAH - Time Enough for Love 

Monday, October 8, 2012

CBS' Lara Logan Drops The Bomb on Obama

CBS reporter Lara Logan seriously blasted the administration last week.  H/T to "The Yid With a Lid" for the story and link to (I'm not making this up) The Chicago Sun-Times
Her ominous and frightening message was gleaned from years of covering our wars in the Middle East. She arrived in Chicago on the heels of her Sept. 30 report, “The Longest War.” It examined the Afghanistan conflict and exposed the perils that still confront America, 11 years after 9/11.

Eleven years later, “they” still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They’re coming back.

“I chose this subject because, one, I can’t stand, that there is a major lie being propagated . . .” Logan declared in her native South African accent.

The lie is that America’s military might has tamed the Taliban.
Lara Logan, if the name doesn't quite ring a bell, is the CBS reporter who was savagely beaten and sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square while the Muslim Brotherhood was celebrating their victory deposing Hosni Mubarak.  She has been covering events in the Mideast for a many years and has seen them up close in a way the vast majority of her colleagues have not. 
Logan dropped out of the usual CBS role of Obama cheerleader to level what she really thinks is going on:
She made a passionate case that our government is downplaying the strength of our enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a rationale of getting us out of the longest war. We have been lulled into believing that the perils are in the past: “You’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight. In your arrogance, you think you write the script.”

Our enemies are writing the story, she suggests, and there’s no happy ending for us.
She also expressed outrage over the murder of Libyan Ambassador Stevens and said the US should “exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil. That its ambassadors will not be murdered, and that the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.”.

There's a famous quote attributed to LBJ about the Viet Nam war, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost America.” We can safely assume Ms. Logan doesn't have Walter Cronkite's standing in the world of broadcast news, but maybe losing her is approaching losing CBS as an organization.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oh, Great. Now I Need Another Gun.

H/T to CA at WRSA for a link to Straight Forward in a Crooked World, on "The .22LR Pistol and You".  The author talks about meeting and spending time with a field operative who was carrying a well-worn Walther TPH .22LR pistol in an equally well-worn holster. 
Complete with a threaded barrel the little piece was chambered in .22 long rifle and, he smiled a bit saying, "if that little gun could talk." He told me of a few misadventures surrounding the piece but, it was his parting remark that stuck with me "If you are lucky enough to travel around the world armed and doing it mainly alone do yourself a favor always carry a .22 pistol, regardless of anything else you pack."
Go read the whole thing.  In addition to conveying a lot of useful information, it's well-written and a fun read.  I know my share of former three letter agency guys, and regret never talking about this with them.  Might be some interesting stories down that road. 

Back in the shortage days of '09, I picked up a S&W 22A like this one, to get more range time in with something you can shoot all day:
It's a bit bigger than Matthew is talking about, certainly not pocket carry with a 5.5" barrel, and 9.5" overall length, but it sure is fun to shoot.  Looks like I know what I'm going to be looking for this Buy a Gun Day. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Updating a Regular Chart

Since I don't care much about baseball, I'll stick with my forte, inciteful comments about economics.  I've presented this chart from Calculated Risk Blog (post with graph) from time to time and it's worth checking again. 
It's easy to see that the recovery to pre-recession levels is poking along, but still (rough guess by extending that curve) another 3 to 4 years away, at the current slope.  Several of us have pointed out that there are plenty of reasons that the economy was going to slow down now, anyway, and that curve may truly never return to the employment numbers we had in 2005.  As I said last time I posted this, (just in July), I see something other people don't comment on.
note the curves where they return to 0% job loss compared to the peak employment before the recession.  Note that from right to left, the longest recessions are the current one, 2001, 1990, and 1981 in chronological order.  The spoiler is that the next longest one, the recession of 1957, seemed particularly deep and long.  I find the stretching out to the right of the '81 to 2001 recessions interesting, because it appears that recessions are getting both longer and deeper. 
At least, the 1990, 2001 and this 2007 recession follow the deeper trend; lasting longer holds back to the 1981 recession as well.  I suppose they separate out the 1980 and 1981 recessions because of some technical detail; I remember it as an extended period of general malaise. 
If you visit here regularly, I don't have to tell you I believe this is the result of the steadily increasing involvement of the government in "fixing" things.  The more they try to fix, the longer recessions take to heal.  Didn't their moms ever tell them, "stop picking at it, or it will never get better"?  Same basic idea.

Yeah, Me Too

Blog brother Borepatch * posted his results from iSideWith.com showing his survey answers are most in line with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. 

Yeah, me too. Although all the numbers vary, the stacking is the same.   
*Borepatch may not approve of that designation.  You know all the standard disclaimers.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Blame it on Bayou Renaissance Man

BRM ran a new Simon's Cat cartoon the other day, as he has done before. Which made me think of this one, which is an older one, but almost exactly what I go through every morning with Mojo.

The only difference is the slight exaggeration, not a real difference in approach.  Instead of stretching my ear out 10", he pokes me in the eye with a paw.  And Mojo doesn't point at his mouth and talk to indicate hunger.  He just talks.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Meanwhile in Detroit

Sometimes I think I'd rather go to Mogadishu than Detroit.  World Net Daily covers a story that shows "a slice of life" in Motor City today:
Even the old-timers in Detroit never have seen anything like this: A mob of 40 black people moved into a convenience store and will not leave.

They say they now own it.
Police, ministers, neighbors, the store owner and just about everyone else seems powerless to stop them.

“It’s a Bad Crew gas station,” said one of the mob to the local Fox affiliate. “If you don’t know what that is, I can’t even tell you.”
Police take nine hours to show up, do nothing, and advise the owners to "hire security".
Earlier this month, members of the Perfecting Church, one of Detroit’s largest black congregations, counseled the members of the mob to stop their evil ways.

Nothing changed. Which is not all that surprising: In June, the church’s pastor, Marvin Winans, lost a $15,000 Rolex, a Louis Vuitton wallet with $200 in it and his 2012 Infiniti QX56 SUV after he was carjacked by a mob of 10 black people at a similar convenience store nearby.
My first thought when I read this was Matt Bracken's piece on WRSA "When the Music Stops".  There it is.  Couple this with the bankrupt cities that can't afford to enforce property laws, and issue lists of laws they won't enforce, County Sheriffs telling the citizens that they'd better arm themselves because the Sheriff sure can't protect them, Victor Davis Hanson's descriptions of life in California as essentially being the movie "The Road Warrior", living where bodies just show up in quiet parks, dogs wander without owners, and it just generally has the feel of a third world country. 

Maybe I've had it all wrong.  I've been looking for the economic collapse as some sort of big, everything-falls-at-once moment.  Maybe it's more like a hundred lines of dominoes, and the collapse is well under way.  We just won't personally feel it until the next domino over falls on us.  Unless you're already under a domino.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

If You Have Warp Drive You Need...

... Impulse drives.  According to C/Net, researchers at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Boeing, NASA and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are working on nuclear fusion powered impulse drive.  And get this:
"The fusion fuel we're focusing on is deuterium [a stable isotope of hydrogen] and Li6 [a stable isotope of the metal lithium] in a crystal structure," Txchnologist quotes team member and aerospace engineering Ph.D. candidate Ross Cortez saying. "That's basically dilithium crystals we're using." Let's pause and savor that for a moment. Dilithium crystals. Awesome.
In the Star Trek universe, of course, warp drives get you from star system to star system and impulse drives get you around inside the systems, below light speed but still much faster than our current, chemical combustion engines can get you around. 
(Ph.D. student Ross Cortez)

If you're an old NASA geek, you'll know this isn't really new.  As early as 1963, NASA had a program called NERVA - Nuclear Engines for Rocket Vehicular Applications (video of a test firing).  There have been many options considered, from using nuclear power to create ion drives (the Cesium ion drives that have flown in deep space have been conventionally electrically operated) to setting off hydrogen bombs behind a sort of blast shield, to a fusion reaction.  Setting off small nuclear explosions in a combustion chamber was the heart of another NASA project, Orion, which actually traces its roots to the Manhattan Project in WWII.  It is widely acknowledged that political forces caused these programs to be shut down, not technical reasons.  There are simply too many people who panic at the mere mention of the "N" word - Nuclear, in this case.  Setting off successive, tiny (less than 1 ton yield) bombs sounds like "impulse power" to me. 

These ships will have to be built in space because the engines will emit radiation.  All of that practice building things for the Space Station might come in handy after all.  The current program is looking at ways to run a fusion reactor as a controlled thrust source that can be turned on, the ship accelerated to the desired velocity, and then turned off until it's needed again.  The Z-Pinch fusion or magnetic containment would keep the fusion flame (the equivalent of a Hydrogen bomb going off) from damaging the ship, and allow much higher velocities than we can currently achieve.  They estimate speeds of over 62,000 MPH are possible, which would reduce a trip to Mars from 8 months to about 6 weeks.  This could make routine flights around the solar system possible.  For the folks who freak out over radiation, using a nuclear rocket would expose the crew to less radiation than our current technology, because they'll spend less time exposed to deep space, and the gamma radiation that comes in from around the universe.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Political Ad of the Year So Far

Night of the Living Pelosi - but go watch it full screen in HD.

John Dennis is running against Comrade Pelosi in the People's Republic of San Francisco.  The sacrificial lamb is a self-referential gag about his campaign: a libertarian/independent who is being described as the Stoopid party's sacrificial lamb offered against Cruella thus assuring her reelection.  The ad is said to be created by the guy who gave us Herman Cain's smoking ad, which made quite a stir.  Not quite up with last year's Donkey Whisperer, but still funny. 

Both thumbs up for the actress who channels Pelosi.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Obama to Release the Blind Sheik?

Reports are circulating that the so-called blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman,  convicted as the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is going to be released to Egypt before Obama leaves office - one way or the other.  First reported about 2 weeks ago by Glenn Beck on the Blaze, the possibility has been talked about by insiders like Andrew McCarthy at National Review since last Spring.
The Arabic-language newspaper al-Arabiya reported on Tuesday (note: last March - SiG) that the Obama administration has offered to release Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman to Egypt. Abdel Rahman is the infamous “Blind Sheikh” who was convicted in 1995 for masterminding a terrorist war against the United States that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. According to the late Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s founder, Abdel Rahman is also responsible for the fatwa — the necessary Islamic edict — that green-lighted the 9/11 attacks.
Egyptian president Morsi has declared "I will do everything in my power to secure freedom" for Sheikh Rahman.  For "humanitarian reasons".  He's old, you know.  Infirm.  Not long for this world...
“We want his family to be allowed to visit him and to serve his sentence in Egypt as part of a prisoner swap between Egypt and the United States,” Morsi said, according to the official MENA news agency.
I will note that the six people who died in the WTC bombing didn't get to visit with their families one last time, and didn't get to say their good-byes.  
(a group of workers evacuate the WTC in 1993 - source - you will note they have smoke deposits around their noses and mouths from the bomb)

For the official record, the White House denies the rumor, but if al-Arabiya is right, the administration opened talks about the deal.  The Blaze reports:
The Blind Sheikh is the former leader of the radical “Islamic Group” in Egypt, which now holds 13 seats in the Egyptian Parliament. The Obama administration recently hosted a member of the designated terrorist organization at the White House named Hani Nour Eldin. Eldin met with senior State Department and Obama administration officials and reportedly urged the National Security Council to consider Rahman’s release from U.S. custody.
It's puzzling just who President Morsi is proposing to swap for Rahman when he talks "prisoner swap".  Early reports speculated it was for Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood's son, Sam, who was briefly held by the Egyptian government but released in early March.  That the administration would release a convicted terrorist in some sort of move to gain favor in the region is as surprising as sunrise coming in the morning.