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PufPuf23's Journal
PufPuf23's Journal
October 21, 2015

For What Its Worth

October 15, 2015

Obama to deploy 300 US troops to Cameroon to fight Boko Haram

Source: The Guardian US edition

Senior administration official says deployment is part of efforts to fight Boko Haram as militant group expands beyond traditional base in Nigeria.

Barack Obama on Wednesday notified US Congress that he intends to deploy 300 troops to Cameroon to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

In a letter released by the White House, the president said 90 personnel had already been deployed, and would be armed for self-defense.

A senior administration official told AFP the deployment was “part of the counter Boko Haram effort”.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/14/obama-deployment-us-troops-cameroon-boko-haram

October 13, 2015

"Organic" farming can fill an economic and food quality niche.

Until 2006 I leased (as lessor) an 8 acre organic farm in Humboldt county, CA (a local who shops at the Arcata or Eureka farmers markets would recognize various tenants from the 1980s to 2006). Prior to the coming of the "organic farmers" the site had been used by my family (since 1869) for family garden, irrigated pasture, and in the 70s to mid 80s part was in alfalfa. The alfalfa was for our own calves and horses and the excess sold locally. The alfalfa was not viable in and of itself.

The last tenant specialized in "heirloom" varieties of perishables (tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, herbs, greens, etc.) and sold at the coastal farmers markets, restaurants (local and San Francisco Bay Area), and bulk to non-corporate groceries (Arcata Coop).

In 2003 I had reason for a real estate appraisal and the tenant provided me his Schedule C tax form. In 2002 the small farm and marketing by the tenant netted $103,000 to the tenant farmer. The product was unprocessed fresh vegetables retail at the farmers markets or wholesale to the restaurants and groceries. Costs included wages, insurance, water (irrigation and sanitary), tractor, irrigation equipment, refrigerator truck, waxed boxes, seeds, manure and compost, bookkeeping, portapotty, and, of course, payment to the landlord. I would guess 5-6 FTE employees (more individuals but seasonal) besides the proprietor.

The "heirloom" vegetables are more perishable and flavorful that run of the mill corporate product. They also sold for a considerable higher price. Because of the intensity of farming, the per acre production was comparable or exceeded that of corporate farming with pesticides The vegetables were more perishable and also more attractive and flavorful than fresh vegetables available at the typical markets. The "heirloom" vegetables were also seasonal. There was a considerable wastage in produce that was flawed in appearance for market or returned unsold from farmers markets and this was used by the farmer and employees or given away locally and was in an amount that most ended up as compost.

One issue I had with the tenant was that he was by contract required to get the farm certified and maintain certification by the California Certified Organic Farmers Association and never did.


Yet during part of his tenancy he was an officer in the North Coast Growers Association. Some of the farmers at this site and another farm owned by my family were founding members of NCGA.


October 7, 2015

Links to US Central Command and CIA websites.

Here are two "official" sources about what is happening in the Middle East.



My gut feeling is that the recent Russian actions in Syria indicate a watershed moment of policy failure in the Middle East.

October 7, 2015

Friends of the S.S. United States Send Out a Last S.O.S.

Another article from the NY Times.

A Titanic-sized supership that once ferried presidents, Hollywood royalty, actual royalty and even the Mona Lisa has a place in the history books as the fastest oceanliner in the world. The owners are now racing to avoid having the ship, the S.S. United States, relegated to the junk heap.

A preservationist group, the S.S. United States Conservancy, saved the vessel from being scrapped a few years ago. Its members are working with a developer to give the mothballed vessel a new life as a stationary waterfront real-estate development in New York City, the ship’s home port in her heyday.

Their big dreams, however, now face a financial crisis: Short of money, the conservancy in recent days formally authorized a ship broker to explore the potential sale to a recycler. In other words, the preservationists might have to scrap their vessel.

It came down to hard numbers. The preservationists have struggled for years to raise the $60,000 a month it costs to dock and maintain the ship, known as the Big U, which is longer than three football fields and once sailed the Atlantic with three orchestras on board. A developer only recently started shaping plans to fill the ship with tenants, an undertaking of the kind that can stretch for years even when it is not this unusual.

More and pictures at:


October 1, 2015

US Pulls Spies from China After Hack

Source: CNN

The United States is pulling spies from China as a result of a cyberattack that compromised the personal data of 21.5 million government workers, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

The U.S. suspects that Chinese hackers were behind the breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which exposed the fingerprints of 5.6 million government employees.

Because the stolen data includes records on State Department employees, the hackers could, by process of elimination, identify embassy personnel who are actually intelligence agents.

Employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency assigned to China are at risk of being exposed, U.S. intelligence officials determined in recent months. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the CIA has pulled a number of officers from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

The hack is expected to have a major impact on U.S. national security, in part because the stolen data includes information from U.S. government forms used for security clearances, known as SF86 questionnaires.

Read more: http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/30/technology/china-opm-hack-us-spies/index.html?iid=ob_article_topstories_pool&iid=obnetwork

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