To Bee Or Not To Bee

Last spring, several of my plum trees flowered but did not bear fruit. I blame a severe cold snap late in May for that but I also did not see a lot of bees that early in the season. Should I set up a beehive next spring? Just in case I decide to do that, I’m recycling some old lumber into a Langstroth hive.

Nearly 30 years ago, TLW and I built a big house in a small town north of Winnipeg. As usually happens there were some leftover pieces of lumber. Some were 2X6 inch boards used as studs in the house. I used these extras as shelves in my workshop resting on a steel frame. All these years later, I’ve only put them to use occasionally, hoisting a deer or supporting a table in the garden. Normally, one uses 1X8 or 1X12 boards to make Langstroth boxes but the bees would not mind more thermal mass and insulation, so I will make Langstroth boxes using 2X6s. The interior dimensions matter. The outside will be increased by about twice the thickness.

I’ve fired up the old table-saw and cut pieces about half an inch long to make precise cutting easier later. I ripped rabbets on the boards to allow a ship lap joint to make the 2X6s into pieces 2X9-5/8. Some waterproof glue, clamps and nails will increase the height of the box to Langstroth “deep” dimensions. Then, I will bevel the ends to make a mitre-joint reinforced by nails.

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State of Play

“In the U.S. Senate race in Texas, incumbent Republican John Cornyn leads Democrat M.J. Hegar among likely voters, 49 – 43 percent. Seven percent are undecided. On September 24th, Cornyn had 50 percent support and Hegar had 42 percent, also with 7 percent undecided. ”

See Pennsylvania (PA) Poll – October 21, 2020 – Texas In Play: Biden And Trump | Quinnipiac University ConnecticutIt’s not certain but there is some movement at the “top” and “bottom” of the ticket in Texas and both Biden and Hegar could win. That would pretty well seal Trump’s fate and offer Biden good support from Congress.

What a different world we will live in if Biden comes to power with a Democratic Senate and House. Pray that good intentions become good deeds and that as much as possible of Trump’s damage can be undone without destroying USA altogether. We live in dangerous times. What will Trump do as a lame duck? Play golf? Declare war on someone? Roil the markets? Go after his enemies? All of the above?

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Soon, The Old-Guard Democrats Have To Go

See Lindsay Graham Getting a Hug at Amy Coney Barrett’s Hearing Just Put Democrats Over the EdgeSome of the leading Democrats are getting very long in the tooth. While they are well connected and great at fund-raising, they are growing out of touch with USAian society and the younger members of the party. After they win this election, they should step aside. This includes Biden who is older than I am. The time to be a mature wise leader is in the 50s, not the 80s.

In particular, Biden is all about a public/private partnership for universal health insurance. That’s nuts. Allowing insurance companies to shift the high-risk people to the government is nuts. Insurance is about sharing risk, not packaging it. The problem with USAian health insurance is its complexity. Adding another layer to that is a bad idea. Go directly to single-payer universal coverage. It’s efficient. States can administer it. The feds don’t have to foot the whole bill, it can be a cost-sharing thing. It will give healthcare providers a simpler way of earning revenue. It will give sick people assured healthcare. The time when you are least able to pay for healthcare or fill out voluminous forms is when you are sick. Do the right thing.

Also, Biden is walking on eggshells about the environment. He has the right idea but he needs bold measures instead of telling labour unions what they want to hear about fossil fuels etc. He should be all-in on The Green New Deal. He should appoint AOC as czarina in charge of getting universal healthcare and The Green New Deal on track. Both of these span departments so an overseer enthusiastic about the programmes is needed, not Biden/Harris. AOC does not need to be in a full time position. She can still function in the House as a representative. If Biden insists on conservative approaches he should ask AOC to announce consultations with experts and the public to devise a made-in-USA approach that works. Give AOC 90 days to make a plan and the legislative branch 180 days to make it into law. It will take Biden that long to untangle the messes Trump has created anyway. He has fires to put out while AOC and other young energetic Democrats can light new fires under the bureaucracy to move USA into the 21st century.

Biden should be putting his DOJ into attack-mode against Trump and Trumpism. There are crimes aplenty there. A special prosecutor is in order along with all kinds of search warrants and cooperation from State, Justice and IRS. SEC should be looking at insider trading. Justice should be looking at obstruction, criminal negligence causing death, crimes against humanity and emoluments. Likely Trump will go into hiding in Russia or Saudi Arabia so lots of international investigations should proceed. Then, Biden should put State and Defence into attack-mode on Russia. Essentially, Russia has committed undeclared war on USA for years with no response whatsoever. Biden should seek a declaration of war from Congress. He should seize all russian ships and planes outside of Russia beyond a certain date, create configurations to drive Russia out of Ukraine and Syria and set Assad, Putin, North Korea and China straight. Trade deals, global treaties and defensive alignments all have to be put right. That would likely take all of Biden’s energy for a year or two at which time he could resign knowing he’s fixed things. Harris can steer the ship Biden will have put on course.

Another thing Biden has to fix is bringing SCOTUS into line with USAian society. It is crazy to believe that folks who drafted the USAian constitution who were all right with slavery and women not being empowered are somehow infallible and their words must be interpreted as written and as meant. Surely those writers did not envision angry young men armed with AR-15s storming the MI legislature to intimidate legislators and shooting thousands of civilians annually forever when they wrote the second amendment. SCOTUS has to be revamped and the constitution with it. Biden should ask the “conservative” skunks on SCOTUS to resign and if not push for impeachment. If that doesn’t work, he should add four or five liberal justices. He should confer with SCOTUS and ask them which remedy they prefer…

I expect the Government of Pigs party to go into a long decline after 2020 so the Democrats have an opportunity to achieve many things which have only been aspirations until Trump wrecked things.

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A Death In The Family

Shortly after midnight yesterday the last member of my father’s siblings died at the age of 101. She lived through so many eras of Canadian history: the Dirty Thirties on the farm, WWII in a village on the prairies, the migration to the city of Winnipeg, decades of life in the city, caring for elderly parents, the down-trodden and nieces and nephews, my generation, life on a meager pension and finally fading away in a nursing home. Rest in peace, Aunt Divona.

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God, Sorting Them Out

In the war in Viet Nam, some jaded commentators proclaimed, “Kill ’em all. Let God sort them out!”. It’s a commentary on how ugly war can be. The news that Trump is infected with COVID-19 has similar connotations.“The Twenty-fifth Amendment (Amendment XXV) to the United States Constitution deals with issues related to presidential succession and disability.”

25th Amendment
On the one hand, civilized humans don’t wish a deadly virus on anyone, but, on the other, it is sweet irony that the guy who eschewed masks, wished the epidemic would “go away, like a miracle”, and called it a hoax, should succumb. However this goes, Trump will proclaim himself an innocent victim, “the Ds did it”, or that he is the president who survived COVID-19. Before the election we should know the truth and it will set us free. If Trump does become very ill, will Pence have the courage to invoke Article 25? How would Pence v Biden go?

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Having watched the debate last night, I’m left with some impressions. Biden v Trump was sane v insane, calm v angry, sensible v crazed, focused v scatter-brained, good v evil, etc. I have to wonder what drug Trump was under. Wikipedia: “The symptoms of amphetamine psychosis include auditory and visual hallucinations, grandiosity, delusions of persecution, and delusions of reference concurrent with both clear consciousness and prominent extreme agitation.”

People who watched that “debate” will no doubt run screaming to the exits of Trumpism. Expect fear on a widespread scale about what this monster will do in his “lame duck” period.

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Canute Here

King Canute was reported to have commanded the sea to fall back and it did not. Trump is an imitation of Canute, commanding democracy to fall back so he can be king Trump. It isn’t going to happen and I think the House, Senate and White House will all fall to the Democrats this time. Every sane USAian has seen the king has no clothes.

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The death of RBG adds a new dimension to the US election. Promptly, the Senators are drawing their lines. The GOP slim majority will become thinner as Collins and Murkowski see writing on the walls. Collins is already trailing in the polls. Murkowski publicly declared she would not vote for a GOP nominee for SCOTUS. Graham is in a close race in South Carolina. Another fight over SCOTUS could put the Ds in control of the Senate. RealClearPolitics shows the parties tied in sure and likely seats. RBG could shift that thinning margin. Women make up more than 50% of voters. Women in the suburbs may see this issue as vital to their interests. It remains to be seen whether Moscow Mitch can push a nominee through before the election or will the GOP run on a promise of doing so? When will 2020 end? Not for decades if the GOP succeed in appointing yet another justice.

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The Decline And Fall Of Trumpism

Rats are starting to leave the sinking ship of Trumpism. A raft of new books are quite popular and confirmation of many suspicions of Trump’s motives.

Woodward reported that Trump confessed to lying about the seriousness of COVID-19 and has a recording. Trump can’t claim he was misquoted and saving USA from panic doesn’t work as the death-toll mounts. The time for action was months ago and Trump left it to Pence to do little or nothing. Trump is guilty of mass murder. So are several supporters/enablers.

The Atlantic reported that several sources describe Trump as calling volunteer military as “suckers” and the war-dead, “losers”. Ouch! USA worships military service. Trump instantly lost a significant margin of voters everywhere and even a slice of active military and veterans who liked Trump’s public words. Actions speak louder than words.

Mary Trump reported on Trump’s warped early life and present lack of “family values”, a sacred phrase of Republicans from the recent past. Republicans started the Lincoln Project to encourage Republicans to vote for Biden. Some will. Many independents will. The Lincolns are putting out many ads cutting Republican/conservative support for Trump to the bone.

Polling data shows Biden is leading Trump just about everywhere in approval. There’s a good chance the Government of Pigs could lose the Senate. Florida and Texas are in play. Bloomberg just donated $100million to fight for Florida for the Ds so the Ds can spread their huge funds on the other battleground states. Can you see where this is heading less than two months to Election Day? Can you see the momentum building as some states open early/mail voting? Can you see voters rushing to vote on each and every new revelation of the terrible toll Trump is putting on USAians? I can. It’s all over but the voting. Trump is going to lose almost every state he won in 2016 by a sliver of margin. He’s going to lose suburban women, other women, blacks, browns, seniors, veterans, the educated, the unemployed, relatives/friends/news-junkies of COVID-19s victims.

I suspect Trump might gain votes from white supremacists, other scum and the willfully ignorant but fortunately they are a minority in USA today. It’s too bad name-recognition alone seems enough to make one competitive in the run for the presidency but an incumbent has to run on his record and the unemployed and woke citizens can see the folly of letting Trump usurp another term. Many will see the folly of not locking him up in January, 2021.

If I were Biden I would draw up the plan to cuff Trump et al as soon as possible. I have no doubt Trump may well attempt many shenanigans to try to remain in power no matter the outcome of the vote. Fortunately, the constitution of USA turns over the presidency not to the incumbent but to the Speaker of the House should the election not resolve matters. Amen. 2021 could be a great year for USA and the world. There will be troubles but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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What a Difference Six Years Makes

OK, my header for this blog is complete. On the right is the seedling growing from a plum donated by an in-law. In the centre is the plum a few years old. On the left was the plum last spring. Unfortunately, an heavy frost killed off all the flowers and I have no fruit, but maybe next year…

This plum-project has taken six years. From 50 pits I had 30 trees and now a dozen or more are surviving, thriving and sending offshoots. I think it has been worth it just for the sake of the trees, the appearance of my yard and the hope for the future. Such trees can live decades. Think of the bounty for the bees, Earth, me and my descendants. It’s all good.

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Linux Continues To Thrive In 2021 In A Pandemic

“RC 5.8 features over 14,000 non-merge commits, some 800,000 new lines of code, and added around a hundred new contributors. It might have gotten that large simply because few have been traveling thanks to COVID-19, and we’ve all been able to get more work done in a release window than usual. But from the perspective of this seasoned Linux kernel contributor and maintainer, what is particularly striking about the 5.8 RC release is that its unprecedented size just was not an issue for those that are maintaining it. That, I’d argue, is because Linux has the best workflow process of any software project in the world.”
See Why Linux’s biggest ever kernel release is really no big deal

It’s been more than two decades I’ve been interested in GNU/Linux and it’s still thriving. The kernel of the OS is still gaining features, developers, contributions and bug-fixes after all these years. Unlike many Free Software projects that wither after one or more developers lose interest, Linux is a jungle with a life of its own and everything in dynamic development or in balance. It’s all good.
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Fools Leading The Foolish Over The Cliff

I just watched an interview on CNN of a pastor of a church in California (?) who is defying advice to remain closed because of the epidemic. At one point he stated that folks should not worry about the epidemic because 99.9% of cases are harmless. What a lie!

It’s true that, so far, only about 0.1% of the population has been infected but that’s the wrong way to look at it. No one has immunity. So, it’s equally valid to say that, barring a miracle or a vaccine, 100% of the people will get COVID-19 sooner or later. 3% die from it. Is the pastor willing to take 3% of his flock out to the parking lot and “sacrifice” them? If not, why is he willing to invite folks to come inside to share the virus at close quarters without a mask or spacing? Has he not read the parable of the good shepherd? “

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.”

Further, it is written,

“The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge:but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.”

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