Vegas sheriff releases massive report on Stephen Paddock

Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock did intensive, detailed internet searches about guns and potential places to kill people, and planned the Mandalay Bay shooting meticulously.

There is still no motive or even a clue about motive. Into this void comes any number of nutcases theories, almost exclusively from the far right. Presumably they’ve blamed Hillary’s emails for the shooting by now, Obama too, probably.

Investigators found child porn on Paddock’s computer. They say an arrest could be coming within 60 days and that’s it’s not his girlfriend. They also say there was only one shooter. Sorry, right-wing conspiracy theorists.

We may never know why Paddock did it.

From the Review Journal:

Although the new report fails to hypothesize a motive, it exhaustively explains the many deliberate actions Paddock alone performed in the months and days leading up to the massacre.

“He was indebted to no one and in fact paid all his gambling debts off prior to the shooting,” the police report notes.

“No suicide note or manifesto was found,” another line in the report reads.

“There was no evidence of radicalization or ideology to support any theory that Paddock supported or followed any hate groups or any domestic or foreign terrorist organizations,” Las Vegas detectives added.

Vital Vegas is an excellent, fun Twitter account that also often provides Vegas news before anyone else has it.

Alcohol and drugs. It gets too real sometimes

Just heard about a middle-aged woman in an alcohol / drug recovery house who was in severe pain from crippling health problems. She had a script for legal opiates, but took too much, so had to leave. Someone picked her up. The next night she didn’t wake up. Sounds like it was an overdose. Another person living on the fringes of society got taken down by addiction. Will anyone know who her next of kin is? Will her next of kin even care if they are notified? Because when you’ve been strung out for a long time, ties to family and friends can get incinerated. I’m pretty sure she didn’t want to end up that way.

I went to elementary school with a guy who became a raging alcoholic. His marriage blew up and his kids hated him, all due to what alcoholism does. His mom died and he inherited some money. His sister tried desperately to block him from getting the money because she knew what would happen. He got the money, and disappeared. Two months later she tracked him down to a hospital in Florida. He was dying. She called his son and said, “Your dad is on life support.” The son said, “They can pull out the plug for all I care.”

Sometimes though, the seemingly hopeless – who may be homeless or one step from homeless – get it. They leave the alcohol and drugs behind and create a new life for themselves. Give them a few years and you’d might never guess or even believe where they came from.

Other times though, like this one, someone who had probably been trying for years to get clean and sober didn’t make it. I’ve been drug and alcohol free for 27 years now, know how to stay clean and sober, and know how to pass that knowledge on. But why some make it and some don’t, I may never know. In recovery it’s called “hitting bottom.” It’s the realization that addiction / alcoholism is destroying you and in desperation you reach out for help, accept the help, and – most importantly – stop drinking and using one day at a time.

And some never make it. Damn.

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown scaling back Delta Tunnels proposal

Sacramento Delta

After seven years of resistance and fightback against the Twin Tunnels boondoggle that would shunt water from the Sacramento Delta southward to the Central Valley and Southern California, California Governor Jerry Brown is thinking of scaling it back to just one tunnel. This would cost a mere $10 billion rather than $17 billion. Gosh. Proponents of the plan say they might be close to getting the money. Translation: They don’t have the money.

Yet this misbegotten project continues to stumble on. Perhaps if Gov. Brown and the State of California hadn’t been so obviously and deliberately misleading about the project, maybe more would support it. But you can’t shunt huge amounts of water away from the Delta then say with a straight face that this will help the Delta. Yet that is what Gov. Brown is doing.

And it’s questionable the tunnels would actually allow more water to be pumped.

Complicating Brown’s plans, his administration has not been able to guarantee that the tunnels will allow any more water to be pumped out of the Delta than is being pumped out now — roughly 50 percent of all its fresh water in most years.

Obegi said the primary goal of his organization is to get the state to take less water from the Delta. Regional projects like water recycling, stormwater capture and the construction of new off-stream reservoirs should instead meet California’s future water needs, he said. Other environmentalists agreed, saying want more details of how much water would be taken in a single tunnel, when and what the impacts on the environment would be.

“After spending over a quarter of a billion dollars pushing for the big tunnels, the state and the Metropolitan Water District have finally recognized that it is dead,” said Jonas Minton, a senior water analyst with the Planning and Conservation League. “The problem with a somewhat smaller version is that it still lacks all the safeguards required to ensure that it will not destroy the environment and economy of the Bay Delta estuary.”

Gutenberg for WordPress will break things. Long-term, that’s good.

Gutenberg, the new underlying platform for WordPress, will start being implemented early this year in the editor. There is considerable gnashing of teeth about this in some circles because some existing plugins will not work with the Gutenberg editor. The plugin code will have to be updated. Moreover, Gutenberg is not just for the editor, it will also be implemented for themes and plugins.

My thoughts: Gutenberg is way better than existing WordPress. Building complex posts and pages with lots of styling and options becomes easy. Everything will be drag-and-drop. Changes can be made with a couple of clicks. WordPress can either continuing being backwards compatible with years of sometimes bad code or it can reinvent itself with new underpinnings and be more than competitive with Wix and Medium. Based on Gutenberg editor demos I’ve seen, WordPress will soon have a more powerful editor than the competition.

Backwards compatibility will be sacrificed to do this. Users will be able to disable the Gutenberg editor, at least for now. Once Gutenberg is implemented in themes and plugins then disabling it will be more problematic.

Gutenberg might fracture the WordPress community. There could be a code split. Or WordPress could get through this coming bumpy period having created a new world-class version of itself.

WordPress has always been a project that prides itself on backwards compatibility, a choice that has left the codebase large, outdated, and full of technical debt. WordPress allows the software to be run on a version of PHP (5.2.4) that has been unsupported by PHP since January 2011! Developers have been calling for this to be raised for some time but it has been postponed under the banner of backwards compatibility and the ‘Design for the Majority’ philosophy because the “average WordPress user simply wants to be able to write without problems or interruption.”

But Gutenberg is quite a departure from this stance. The goal of the project has dictated the need to use modern technologies (React, REST API), and therefore it circumvents the problematic parts of core. Matt Mullenweg views this as a positive, perhaps not willing to admit the double standard here.

Time will tell if the Gutenberg project is a success. It certainly is powerful software and could be a gamechanger. Although I joked about not liking change, I see the value in it. It is necessary to grow and push forward. But only when the change is well thought out, initiated for the right reasons, and adopted in a sensible fashion.

Oroville Dam spillway collapse due to “long-term systemic failure”

The Oroville Dam in California suffered from a flawed design and construction, and had inadequate inspections in the decades since it was built in the 1960s. These ongoing errors and omissions, coupled with an overconfident Department of Water Resources created the situation leading to the catastrophic failure of the spillway in Feb. 2017, says an independent report.

The report is blunt. There were multiple problems, made worse by regulators and officials not paying attention. The result was thousands had to be evacuated because of fears the entire dam might fail.

“The seriousness of the weak as-constructed conditions and lack of repair durability was not recognized during numerous inspections and review processes over the almost 50-year history of the project.”

It appears probable, given botched inspections (they were visual only) and maintenance that was never done, that the Division of Safety of Dams will be reorganized.

“This is an institutional failure,” says Ron Stork of Friends of the River, at a recent legislative oversight hearing. “That dam has not been safe since it was constructed.”

Stork is partly referring to the Dept. of Water Resources’ choice to build the dam’s emergency spillway with no concrete reinforcement. Massive erosion on the bare earthen slope is what triggered mass evacuations in February, when weeks of heavy precipitation pushed Oroville Lake over the rim of the spillway, threatening a potentially catastrophic flood.