Hurricane Season Over – Only Two Storms Became Hurricanes

30 Nov 2013

Hooray! 2013 Hurricane season officially over, one of the mildest ever

This year is the sixth-least-active season in the Atlantic Ocean since 1950, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, citing the collective strength and duration of named storms and hurricanes.

A mere 13 named storms formed in the Atlantic this year, and only two — Ingrid and Humberto — became hurricanes, though neither achieved category 3 status or higher.

We often hear of dire warnings and predictions when hurricane season begins in June. In the end, no one knows. Just be ready when one comes ashore…


Straw Houses Making a Comeback

30 Nov 2013

Straw houses are making a comeback in Europe

But recently straw has come back into fashion as a building material. America will add rules on straw-house construction to its national building codes in 2015 because of growing demand. The European Commission has said it wants up to 5% of new houses to be built out of straw panels by 2020. Why the renewed interest in this unlikely building material?

In the past two decades the use of straw-filled panels has become fashionable again all over the world as an eco-friendly and cheap construction method. Straw can be locally sourced in most parts of the world, reducing transportation emissions (and costs). Once installed, straw panels provide high levels of insulation: a study by the University of Bath found that a straw house’s energy costs could be as much as 85% lower than those of a conventionally-built home.

Some of straw’s former drawbacks have been resolved. A lime render means that straw houses no longer receive unwanted attention from cows. Nor do they require the use of poisonous chemicals in the building process. Builders boast of their low construction costs: one straw house was recently built in Scotland for £4,000 ($6,400), one-twentieth of the cost of the average new build in Britain. Straw houses are even earthquake-resistant, according to research by the University of Nevada, Reno. Because they are more flexible than materials such as concrete and bricks, they are more stable during tremors—and less likely to kill anyone if they do fall down, being so lightweight.

For now, I will follow the building standards on Pig #3 instead of Pig #1…

Cayman Islands, Costa Rica No Longer Beyond the U.S. Tax Footprint in 2014

30 Nov 2013

Cayman Islands and Costa Rica agree to share bank account details with US

The United States has signed agreements with the Cayman Islands and Costa Rica to help those countries’ banks comply with an anti-tax evasion law starting next year, the Treasury Department said on Friday.

The deals are part of the US effort to enforce the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was enacted in 2010 and is set to take effect in July 2014. FATCA requires foreign financial institutions to tell the US Internal Revenue Service about Americans’ offshore accounts worth more than $50,000.

The Caymans have been a popular place to store money because of the simplicity of their rules, and tax purposes of course.

I would bet that the buddies of the government elites have a place where their money is kept safe from taxes.

Mexico Sends U.S. Born Teen Latino Killer Back To U.S.

30 Nov 2013

Mexico: Teen hit man gruesomely murdered victims, now free and sent to U.S.

Mexican authorities set free a former teen cartel hit man on Tuesday and sent him back to the United States.

The release of Edgar Jimenez Lugo, a U.S. citizen known as “El Ponchis” or “The Cloak,” comes less than three years after a Mexican court found him guilty of torturing and beheading at least four people and kidnapping three others as an operative for the South Pacific Cartel.

On Tuesday, Mexican authorities said he had served his three-year sentence and had been sent back to the United States.

The teen, now 17, boarded a commercial flight from Mexico City to San Antonio, Texas, on Tuesday morning, according to Jorge Messeguer, government secretary in Mexico’s Morelos state.


Upon the teen being arrested three years ago, he said…

“I slit their throats,” he said, describing what he said was the killing of four people.

With his hands shoved into the pockets of his cargo pants, the teen told reporters he was paid weekly in dollars and pesos. But in answering questions about whether he knew what he was doing when he allegedly participated in the killings, the teen said he was under the influence of drugs and unaware of his actions.

The teen told reporters a cartel leader threatened him.

“I either work or he’ll kill me,” he said.

Toronto Disabled Woman Denied Entry Into U.S. Based on Details from Health Records

30 Nov 2013

Disabled woman denied entry to U.S. after agent cites supposedly private medical details

A Toronto woman is shocked after she was denied entry into the U.S. because she had been hospitalized for clinical depression.

Ellen Richardson went to Pearson airport on Monday full of joy about flying to New York City and from there going on a 10-day Caribbean cruise for which she’d paid about $6,000.

But a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent with the Department of Homeland Security killed that dream when he denied her entry.

“I was turned away, I was told, because I had a hospitalization in the summer of 2012 for clinical depression,’’ said Richardson, who is a paraplegic and set up her cruise in collaboration with a March of Dimes group of about 12 others.

The Weston woman was told by the U.S. agent she would have to get “medical clearance’’ and be examined by one of only three doctors in Toronto whose assessments are accepted by Homeland Security.

Richardson said she’d had no discussion whatsoever with the agent at the airport about her medical history or background.

She’s been on three cruises since 2001, travelling through the U.S., and has never had a problem at Pearson with U.S. authorities.

No U.S. border agent has ever brought up the 2001 suicide attempt, including the agent on Monday who only mentioned her 2012 hospitalization, she said.

Whoa – this is international health records that DHS is monitoring. This is the new America – where you can spend $6K on a trip and have it shut down with no warning.

Now the question is how much of this is medical, and how much is police based. This article references medical info, but in the past, people with mental issues that were involved with the police were turned away from entering the country.

Camden, NJ Removes Unionized Cops; Crime Rates Now Decreasing

30 Nov 2013

Crime Rate in Camden, NJ Going Down After Unionized Police Force Sacked

Last year, the city of Camden decided to can its unionized police force in favor of ununionized county cops who hit the streets this April. The decision came about because the police union would not budge on the highly lucrative contract they had, even by police standards.

The city has been run exclusively by Democrats for several generations, and some local leaders openly worried that Camden, which already had the highest crime rate per capita last year, would get worse. But it hasn’t. In fact, crime’s gone down…

Over the summer months this year, the murder rate fell by 22 percent and crime overall was down 15 percent, according to data provided by Camden County officials.

The union contract included a 4 percent bonus for working the day shift, and a 10 percent bonus for starting at 9:30am.

The Democrats running the city came to realize the fiscal reality that is smacking them in the head – and they made the right choice.

Fisker Goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

30 Nov 2013

U.S. loses $139 million on Fisker sale

Fisker Automotive Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday and the Energy Department sold its green-energy loan for $25 million to investor group Hybrid Tech LLC.

Taxpayers will lose $139 million on the $192 million loan to the failed electric vehicle startup, the Energy Department confirmed let Friday.

What a deal to play games with other people’s money. The investment goes kaput – oh well, the people in government lost nothing.