Dick Cheney chilling on Sept 11, 2001

July 25th, 2015

Dick Cheney kicking back on Sept. 11, 2001.

Dick Cheney kicking back on Sept. 11, 2001.

The National Archives released a series of photos taken by White House staff on the morning of Sept 11, 2001. A few of them show a very relaxed (perhaps even bored) Vice President Dick Cheney as scenes of carnage are shown on his television.

I find his lack of reaction very strange.

Map of Triangle-area Google Fiber huts

July 25th, 2015

Google Fiber in the Triangle

Google Fiber in the Triangle

A News and Observer story alerted me to the recent approval by Raleigh City Council of 10 Google Fiber hut sites in the city. A quick look at the city council minutes showed me where they were. I took a few minutes this afternoon to map these sites onto Google Maps to get a better look at where Google Fiber might soon be deployed.

The result is this Google Map. I have since added the four sites in Cary and one in Morrisville which have already been approved. I searched for approval of sites in Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Garner but as far as I know these municipalities have not yet approved their sites. If someone learns that this has changed, please give me a heads up and I will add these sites to my map.

The upright Google Fiber bunnies signify fiber hut locations, while the horizontal bunnies indicate where conduit permits have been requested. I’ve also put an icon on Raleigh’s proposed Google FiberSpace at 518 W. Jones St in Glenwood South area.

Trump’s mysterious appeal

July 25th, 2015

One of my conservative friends and former shipmates posted this the other day about Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy:

I’m probably going to lose a friend or two over this, but I’m really liking Trump. People will immediately dismiss him because they are democrats or extreme right wingers, but put parties aside and listen to what he’s saying. If you just say no because you’re not a republican, that’s ignorant. He makes more sense than anyone else running. He has the ties in Asia to work more effectively with China. He has the business knowledge to bring us back to the top. Before you jump up and say he filed bk, that was a smart business move. Many companies and individuals do that. Trump is the only person running that has the cajones to speak honestly and he’s making a lot of sense. I know exactly who in my friends list will think I’m crazy and call me an idiot, but there’s more at stake here than a decent hair cut. My gay friends took a brave stance coming out. My religious friends who post biblical scriptures are brave enough to face the non believers. I’m coming out and saying that I’m behind the Donald. Let the tomatoes fly.

His opinion is shared by surprisingly many of the conservative veterans I know, which is surprising considering many have been cheering him on after his comments regarding John McCain.
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Neighborhood hero Victor Spence passes away

July 23rd, 2015

Yesterday I worked from home and had the occasion to take Travis home from his camp at N.C. State. As we approached by the Bryan-Lee Funeral home on Wake Forest Road, I spotted a number of motorcyclists standing around near the street. Passing by, I saw a number of flags planted in the lawn of the funeral home and several motorcycles in the parking lot.

“I wonder what’s up with the flags,” I said to Travis. “It’s not a patriotic holiday. No famous politician died today. I wonder who this is for?”

Tonight I was sad to learn that the honoree was none other than my neighbor, Victor “Vic” Spence. Mr. Spence lived quietly and alone in the home that he built with G.I. Bill money at the corner of Monroe and Madison. I would sometimes see him as I walked the dog past his home. He would always smile and say hello and I’d do the same. Other times I’d see him driving slowly down the street in his dark blue Ford Crown Victoria, wearing his Marine Corps hat and on his way to his usual stool at the Fenton Street Dunkin Donuts. He was there so often that when the Dunkin Donuts finally closed last year the first thing I thought was “what will Mr. Spence do now?”
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The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle – The New Yorker

July 20th, 2015

Here’s a terrifying story on the Cascadia Fault, which is overdue for an earthquake so devastating it will almost assuredly destroy Seattle. I love The New Yorker’s expert, in-depth writing.

When the 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck Tohoku, Japan, Chris Goldfinger was two hundred miles away, in the city of Kashiwa, at an international meeting on seismology. As the shaking started, everyone in the room began to laugh. Earthquakes are common in Japan—that one was the third of the week—and the participants were, after all, at a seismology conference. Then everyone in the room checked the time.

Source: The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle – The New Yorker

The Science Of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

July 15th, 2015

This is why my family craves vacations instead of stuff.

There’s a very logical assumption that most people make when spending their money: that because a physical object will last longer, it will make us happier for a longer time than a one-off experience like a concert or vacation. According to recent research, it turns out that assumption is completely wrong.

Source: The Science Of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

Thoughts on flag burning and welfare

July 15th, 2015

Your First Amendment at work

Your First Amendment at work

A shipmate of mine posted a photo meme from the “Right Wing News” Facebook page. It reads “Cancel the welfare checks of anyone who burns the U.S. flag. Share if you agree.”

This kind of asinine, knee-jerk, robot patriotism drives me nuts. Many mornings and evenings I have raised and lowered the American flag (we called it “colors”) on my ship while I served in the U.S. Navy. Out of all the tasks I had to perform whenever I stuck on the ship on duty, being color guard was my favorite. I considered it the deepest honor to smartly raise our nation’s symbol above my ship those mornings and to lower it and fold it solemnly at dusk.
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No City Council race for me this year

July 15th, 2015

A lot of people have been asking me when I’m going to run for Raleigh City Council. It’s humbling to be considered for such public service and I appreciate all of the interest and enthusiasm for my potential candidacy.

While I considered it strongly, I have decided this is not my year to run. My family is not ready for me to devote the level of time and attention needed to do the job right. I also want to hang on to the few years left that our kids are at home. They are growing so quickly if I blink I’ll miss it.

I’ll still be involved – you know you can’t keep me from meddling! I just will do so as a civilian for the time being.

Thanks for your support and encouragement. When the time is right you’ll be the first to know.

Phydeaux and Seaboard Station

July 15th, 2015

I was concerned several years ago when Raleigh’s only downtown grocery closed at Seaboard Station but pleasantly surprised when the Phydeaux pet store moved in. I normally don’t get attached to pet stores but I absolutely love Phydeaux. I feel like they know me, and that they are happy to be part of the community.

I was concerned when news spread last month that Phydeaux would soon be leaving Seaboard over concerns with its lease arrangement. Phydeaux is leaving in September for new digs at the current Briggs Hardware building at Atlantic Ave and Six Forks. Phydeaux is purchasing the building from the Scruggs family.
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Amazon backs NC’s 1st large-scale wind farm | News & Observer News & Observer

July 14th, 2015

Remember last year when I wondered why Amazon would suddenly start collecting state sales taxes even though it had no presence in the state? The N&O’s John Murawski reported yesterday that Amazon is investing in a giant wind farm in eastern North Carolina. Boom, there’s your “unspecified investment.”

With the estimated $20-$30 million Amazon is now collecting in sales taxes, Amazon’s wind farm is not only powering 60,000 homes, it’s also powering teacher salaries.

The world’s largest developer of wind-energy farms has teamed up with online retail giant Amazon to build a major wind farm in coastal North Carolina.Amazon, which is building a network of wind farms and also testing Tesla storage batteries, announced the project Monday. The Amazon Wind Farm US East, to be built in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties, will power the online retailer’s cloud-computing division, Amazon Web Services, as part of a corporate goal of achieving energy sustainability.

The sprawling 34-square-mile wind farm will start with 104 turbine spires rising from the state’s eastern flatlands. The $400 million energy project will be built by Spanish wind farm developer Iberdrola Renewables and will start generating electricity for Amazon’s data centers in late 2016.

Source: Amazon backs NC’s 1st large-scale wind farm | News & Observer News & Observer