Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hillary Unable to Hire Competent Women

Maybe she needs to borrow Mitt's binders full of women: Hillary Clinton spox responds to wage gap in her Senate office. Or maybe all the competent women are conservative?
During her nearly two terms as a U.S. senator, the median salary for women in Hillary Clinton's office was much less than the median salary for men.

As first reported by the Washington Free Beacon's Brent Scher, women in Clinton's office earned 72 cents to the dollar that men earned. That's even less than the oft-cited (and highly misleading) 77-cent figure for all working women in the United States.

The suggestion that Clinton was somehow discriminating against women is "a ridiculous proposition," says the presumed 2016 presidential candidate's spokesman Nick Merrill.

"A majority of her Senate staff were women," Merrill told the Washington Examiner in an e-mail. "Women held most of the senior-most positions — including her Chief of Staff. Four of the five highest paid positions in her office were held by women."
Apparently the majority of women that she chose to hire were worth less than the minority of men? How did that happen?
Merrill's explanation for Clinton's own wage gap strikes at the heart of problem with the wage gap in general. Even in this liberal female-led workplace that prides itself for putting women in top positions,it always ends up looking like women make far less, based on an analysis using the exact same metrics used in the America Association of University Women study that is the source of the infamous wage gap myth.

For Clinton, the excuse for women making 72 cents on a man's dollar number was that, despite the lower median salary, women held high positions in the office. When the White House had its own wage gap problem, the explanation was that men held higher-paying positions than women, but that when men and women held the same jobs, they were paid the same.

But such explanations also help explain away the blanket statistic that women earn 77 cents to the dollar that men earn, since it doesn't take into account any of these possible explanations. And so even though the number is often used to claim women are discriminated against in the workplace, the reality is that the gap is almost entirely due to the different choices men and women tend to make about their careers.
By the way, I'm starting to really appreciate Ashe Schow, the author of the article, who has been a strong voice for sensible feminism from the Wasington Examiner. And it does help that she's a young women, kind of cute, and seems to have a good sense of humor, as witness this picture of her courtesy of Wombat-socho:

Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner
cosplaying as Zatanna Zatara.

Snow Falls on the Home Ground

Snow on the beach, plus waterspouts near Los Angeles
Yes you read that headline correctly. Yesterday in Huntington Beach there was snow. And, in Redondo Beach, waterspouts were reported. I’m sure it won’t be long before somebody tries to blame these weather events on “global warming” which is fast becoming the “universal bogeyman” for any weather event.

I do remember snow, or more likely very small hail falling in Culver City when I was a kid and turning the lawn white. It's not unusual for snow to fall in the Santa Monica Mountains, within easy sight of most of L.A.

Hillary Used Illegal Private Email for Government Business

According to this article at the Post this morning: Hillary Clinton used private e-mail for government business at State Dept.
Hillary Rodham Clinton used a private e-mail account for her official government business when she was secretary of state and did not routinely preserve and turn over those e-mails for government records collection, the State Department said Monday.

Clinton has turned over thousands of e-mails to the department from her private account, a step that was first reported by the New York Times late Monday. The private account came to light when the department sought records from Clinton and other former secretaries who have held the post during the e-mail age.
What, at this point, does it matter?

Clinton never had such an address and relied exclusively on the private account, the Times reported. The Times said Clinton’s aides took no action during her four years as secretary to ensure that the records would be preserved on department servers, as required by the Federal Records Act.

Who gets to determine which of those emails become public?
Clinton’s aides reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal e-mails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department, the Times reported. In total, 55,000 pages of e-mails were turned over, the newspaper reported.
Look, it's the Mama Foxes kits who determine access to the hen house! I'm sure they turned in all building wide offers for food left over from meeting, free plants, and cast off chairs, but withheld anything tainted by politics.

What puzzles me most about this scandal is that people think, or at least pretend to think, that Hillary did any real work at the State Dept. She was appointed to the position by Barack Hussein Obama to keep her sort of out of trouble, and preserve the illusion that she was a "working" girl. She logged countless miles in pursuit of foreign dollars for the Clinton Foundations, which will somehow be turned into salaries for Chelsea, Bill, and eventually Hillary. Those houses don't clean themselves, you know. And gave Russia a fake reset button.  Actual accomplishments? Name one.

69 With Debby Harry

Debby Harry, singer for Blondie, was one of the great sexy singing stars of the 70's. Now at 69, she 's still singing and swinging.

Debbie Harry on punk, refusing to retire and sex at 69
. . . There is usually a point in interviews with her when the writer remarks that Harry is still very beautiful. I’m never sure what to make of this – it is as if we expect a woman’s features to rearrange themselves into something resembling a Picasso portrait after a certain age. Harry was breathtakingly beautiful when she found fame, in her thirties, and she still has the same bone structure, the same features. She is just older.

When we meet, her long blond hair is dry and frizzy, pushed under a beanie hat, and she is dressed casually in a baggy T-shirt, leggings and legwarmers. Later, on-stage, the hair is straight and shiny, and she wears a well-fitted dress.

There was a time, she says, when older women were expected to disappear into drab floral tents. She was never going to do that, but she does sometimes struggle with stage clothes. “I want to dress age-appropriately, but I also love those funky younger looks – and some days I think I pull it off better than others. I don’t really have a lot of women around me when we’re on the road, so usually my crew are the ones who’ll say, 'That looks good.’” She laughs. “Then other times, they won’t say anything!”

She has had a bit of cosmetic surgery (it goes with the job, she says casually), and she believes a good moisturiser can work wonders. “There’s a hydrator from Nars that’s really wonderful. It’s sort of translucent, and cold to the touch. I love to put it on because it’s very cooling.”

But there is also a mental element to ageing, she says. If you stay creative, interested and open to new things, you won’t stagnate. “You have to look around, keep new influences coming in. A lot of people sort of pick a world to live in, and they’re comfortable in that – which can be disastrous.”

On Blondie’s latest album, 2014’s 4(0) Ever, she is still singing about sex and desire. It is not something that ever really goes away, I say. She nods vigorously in agreement. “Not at all! And it’s funny, the Victorians were very enlightened about that. They are often viewed as being very conservative, but actually they were wild. And sex was pretty rampant. There were a lot of goings-on.”

Harry will turn 70 in July, but she says she has no thought of retiring, citing Yoko Ono’s full-on performances in her eighties as an inspiration. “I guess I’m supposed to be shocked by it,” she says of her upcoming birthday.

“And maybe I will be. But I’m amazed by ageing and how it happens differently for different people.” She laughs again, eyes glittering with mischief. “All I can say is, I'm a lucky f— bitch!”

Debby Harry and one of my more modern favorites, Joss Stone together in concert:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Judge Slams EPA for Hiding the Pickle

Judge rules EPA lied about transparency, tells agency to halt discrimination against conservatives
A federal judge warned the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday not to discriminate against conservative groups in how it responds to open-records requests, issuing a legal spanking.

Judge Royce C. Lamberth concluded the agency may have lied to the court and showed “apathy and carelessness” in carrying out the law, though the judge was unable to determine if documents were intentionally destroyed.

Judge Lamberth described the “absurdity” of the way the EPA handled a Freedom of Information Act request from the Landmark Legal Foundation and then the court case stemming from it — including late last week admitting it lied to the court about how it went about searching for documents.

In a scorching 25-page opinion, the judge accused the agency of “insulting” him by first claiming it had done a full search for records, then years later retracting that claim without any explanation.

“The recurrent instances of disregard that EPA employees display for FOIA obligations should not be tolerated by the agency,” the judge said in a 25-page ruling. “This court would implore the executive branch to take greater responsibility in ensuring that all EPA FOIA requests — regardless of the political affiliation of the requester — are treated with equal respect and conscientiousness.”
The EPA has become a rogue agency, with an agenda to destroy the United States economy in the name of ecology. It is staffed by Democratic partisan ideologues regardless of who is in the White House, and when protected from above simply see no reason to rein in their apocalyptic aims.

I see no reasonable prospect of reform; it's staff is by nature self selecting for zealotry

Rockfish Poacher Gets 18 Months

The last poacher from the massive gill net poaching of Striped Bass from Chesapeake Bay back in 2011 has been sentenced to 18 months. It was the most severe sentence meted out to any of the four people charged, with an added aggravating obstruction of justice:
A Tighman Island waterman indicted in a massive federal poaching case was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison — the harshest of four watermen sentenced in the case.

Prosecutors called Michael Hayden “the most culpable member of the conspiracy” in which four Eastern Shore fishermen netted more than 185,000 pounds of striped bass worth nearly half a million dollars over four years.

Hayden pleaded guilty last summer to violating the federal Lacey Act, which prohibits the sale of illegally caught fish across state lines. He and William Lednum, who in January was sentenced to a year and a day in prison, illegally anchored gill nets in the water when the season was closed and left them to net huge quantities of illegal fish. They then falsified their daily allocation and permit paperwork that the Department of Natural Resources requires. To further conceal their crimes, they sold the fish directly to wholesalers in other states, circumventing fish-checking stations and mandatory harvest reports.

“It was massive. It went on for years. It coincided with a decline in striped bass. It covered numerous violations of natural resources laws,” said federal prosecutor Todd Gleason. “The government needs to address the defendant’s culpability, because this is a defendant that, to this day, doesn’t get the message. He just doesn’t get it.”
But he'll have some opportunity to consider it.
A fourth, former seafood dealer Jeffrey Morris, testified that Hayden called him after Morris received a grand jury subpoena. Morris said Hayden told him that he knew Morris had “rolled.”

“He said that he knew something or other, and that he would get me,” Morris said. “I told my wife and daughter not to stay in the house that night.”

The judge dismissed the two officers and Sadler’s claims, saying that a defendant encouraging others not to talk or generally being belligerent in the arrest process did not meet the definition of obstruction. But he said he found Morris’ complaints credible. For that reason, the judge tacked six months onto Hayden’s sentence, while giving him the same time for the poaching crime as he gave Lednum.
It's been a long time coming, but it's likely to make a significant impact in the waterman community, whose motto over the years has been summed up as "We's owed them fish."

I Can See How It Would Get Overlooked

When you're taking in literally billions of dollars from many different foreign governments, it's just too hard to keep track of when  a little half a million dollar bribe donation is legal ethical and when it's not:

Jane Harman Guesses $500000 Unreported Donation to Clinton’s Got Lost In System
Former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) takes a “guess” on Fox News Sunday, that the unreported $500,000.00 Algerian donation to the Clinton Foundation “got lost in the system,” and was never submitted to the State Department for approval. Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State at the time, and the buck would have, or should have, stopped at her desk for final approval, had it been questionable, which it surely was. Political candidates are not allowed to take money from foreign governments. Algeria is “foreign,” is 99 percent Sunni Muslim with 99 percent Berber/Arab ancestry. She was not a political candidate, at the time, you are saying? Hillary Clinton has been a political candidate since she followed Bill into the White House in January 1993.
CHRIS WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, does that bother you at all. Are you at all troubled by  these donations going to the Clinton Foundation?

JANE HARMAN: Uh, yes. Uh, there was a process set up. All other contributionswere reviewed, as I understand it–there was transparency. This was an unsolicited contribution of $500,000.00 at a time when the U.S. deluged with help from Haiti. I guess it got lost in the system. I think it needs to be explained. I don’t understand why the money wasn’t returned, or in some way, after-the-fact approval wasn’t sought, but I assume the Foundation will explain it.
The bad news is that the Clinton family business is run not very far off the Mafia model, and she is currently an odds on favorite to be the next President (and shockingly, she might still be an improvement).

The good new is that Maggie from Maggie's Notebook is back after a long break due to family issue.

Obamacare Schadenfreude for 3/2/15

Megan McArdle want us to Give Jonathan Gruber a Break
Vermont, on the other hand, seems to be elevating lazy invoicing to a potential criminal offense. Here's the nub of the accusation: Gruber submitted two consecutive invoices in September and October claiming the exact same figures -- 100 hours for Gruber at $500 per hour, 500 hours for his research assistants at $100 per hour. Only one research assistant worked on the project, according to the auditor's report.
Those numbers sure are suspiciously round, aren't they? They're also pretty high -- as a consultant, I once billed nearly 300 hours in a single month, and a February to boot, but I kind of had to stop sleeping to do it. But they're not physically impossible.

Moreover, the auditor doesn't seem to be arguing that Gruber was fraudulently billing for work the state didn't get: "In spite of concerns about the invoices, it appears the administration was satisfied with the work of Dr. Gruber and his RA," the report says. This is not a case of a contractor billing for work that was never performed, or an hourly employee running up his paycheck for hours he wasn't actually there. It's a case of a contractor who was given a contract for a deliverable, delivered it, and then threw together an invoice where the numbers added up to the amount the state was supposed to pay him.
That was sort of my thought too; grant billing often has nothing or very little to do with when the underlying work is being done. On the other hand, would liberals show equal understanding if a prominent conservative were to have similar billing practices? No, they would relentlessly document his time to prove it was impossible, and demand a federal investigation. I'm totally against unilateral disarmament.

Jeb Bush: Repealing Obamacare Not a Top Five Agenda Item
Over the past few days at CPAC, Sean Hannity has asked various prospective Republican presidential candidates to list their “top five agenda items.” Former governor Jeb Bush’s list did not include repealing Obamacare.

Bush’s list included (1) undoing President Obama’s lawless executive actions, (2) regulatory reform, (3) tax reform, (4) encouraging economic growth, and (5) sending “a signal to the rest of the world that we’re going to be their partner for peace and security.” But it did not include repealing Obamacare or signing a conservative alternative to Obamacare into law.

Neither Governor Scott Walker nor Senator Marco Rubio listed repealing Obamacare as a stand-alone agenda item, but both did list it as a subcomponent of their first agenda item. Walker’s first agenda item was “growth,” which he said could be brought about through (in the order he listed them) tax reform, repealing Obamacare, and a pro-energy policy. Similarly, Rubio’s first agenda item was a “healthy economy,” which he said could be brought about through (again, in the order he listed them) tax reform, regulatory reform, repealing and replacing Obamacare, a pro-energy policy, and a balanced budget. (Walker listed only two other agenda items: devolving power to the states, and showing clarity and determination in our foreign policy. Rubio also listed only two others: giving “people the skills they need for the 21st century,” and ensuring a strong military.)

Senator Ted Cruz, meanwhile, listed repeal as a stand-alone agenda item, putting it first: “Number one, repeal every blasted word of Obamacare.”
Jeb is clearly running in the steps of John McCain, the "centrist" republican, preferred by the media, until the day he is nominated, at which point he becomes anathema.

Kevin Williamson of NRO catches the "fact checkers" at PolitiFact creating their own facts on Obamacare, and boy is he pissed: Intellectual dishonesty among the ‘fact-checkers’
Politifact, which is published under the flag of the Tampa Bay Times, the chief executive of which, Paul Tash, is the chairman of the Poynter Institute, a member of the Pulitzer prize committee, and a disgrace to his trade, recently decided to “fact-check” my colleague Jonah Goldberg, but it was really fact-checking me, as Jonah was citing a claim in a column of mine.

The claim is a straightforward one: That under the so-called Affordable Care Act, the federal government will recognize and subsidize a great deal of hokum, things like naturopathic medicine and acupuncture that have no scientific basis, that have been clinically shown to be useless or worse, and that are rooted in rank mysticism, from the “qi” energy that acupuncturists claim to manipulate—and which does not, technically speaking, exist—to the “innate intelligence” underpinning chiropractic theory—which does not, in fact, exist, either. As endless peer-reviewed scientific studies document, this stuff is pure quackery, but it is, thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the focused exertions of former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin—one of those Democrats who really love science we’re always hearing about—it is hokum with increasing official status. Senator Harkin successfully campaigned for ACA provisions that would forbid “discrimination” against any practitioner of purported healing arts who is licensed. Many states, California prominent among them (quelle surprise!) license practitioners of superstitious hokum, including naturopathic “doctors” and acupuncturists. There are many reasons for this: One is that superstitious hokum is extraordinarily popular, and the state desires to keep an eye on its practitioners; a second is that California is, as advertised, full of lunatics and the entrepreneurs who service their lunacy; the third is that reasons Nos. 1 and 2 combine to generate revenue for the state, which will—in what must be the most perfect example of progressivism in practice—yank your license to practice medically null but voguish Eastern mysticism in the state of California for failure to pay your crushing California taxes. I once encountered a Whole Foods with a yoga studio inside it, and thought that if one could only get Chris Hayes to broadcast from there (there’s still time, Chris!) it would have constituted a turducken of lifestyle liberalism upon which there would be no improving, but losing your California acupuncturist’s license to the Sacramento taxman surely surpasses that. . .
It goes on (and on) about how Politifact failed to do the basic research before it awarded him multiple Pinocchios, or however they denote false inconvenient facts. Read the whole thing.

Ann Althouse catches multiple news outlets trying to work the refs (the Supreme Court) on King vs. Burwell, the court case being argued in front of the court which may decide the legality of subsidies going to states which did not create Obamacare insurance markets.
"Obamacare threatens to end John Roberts’s dream of a nonpartisan Supreme Court."

Just one headline that I'm quoting to stand in for all the articles I'm seeing that seem to be mostly only about scaring/manipulating/massaging the Supreme Court into feeling deep down inside that it simply must not ruin Obamacare.

To my eye, this effort seems so transparent and desperate that it heightens a perception that the text of the statute just won't work for what they really, reeeeeally need it to do.

Pay no attention to that statutory text behind the curtain!!!

Ice, Ice Baby

Yesterday' morning sleet turned to an ice storm shortly afterwards, leaving everything (including the driveway hill) covered with about a quarter of an inch of clear slick ice.

This morning the driveway is clear, thanks to a generous dose of de-icing salts last night, and the ice everywhere is melting as the sun comes out. It could have been worse,

Oregon Library Girl Pleads Not Indecent

Remember Kendra Sunderland, the former Oregon State University student whose weak attempt at internet porn filmed in the school library made national news? I figured that sensible people at OSU and Corvallis would find a way to drop the charges and be done with this and not make any more national news. Alas (for them), no, they have gone ahead and filed misdemeanor indecency charges against her:

Indecency Charge Filed Against Library Cam Girl
2/26 UPDATE: In a court appearance this afternoon, Sunderland entered a not guilty plea to the misdemeanor public indecency charge. She is next due in court on April 28. When first questioned by police, Sunderland copped to the X-rated web cam performance, adding that she was “not sure which of her customers posted the video to the Internet,” according to a police report. Sunderland also reportedly admitted that she “sometimes herself gets pleasure from seeing the webcams.”
Don't ever talk to the police!
FEBRUARY 24--Prosecutors have filed a public indecency charge against the former Oregon State University student who last month filmed an X-rated webcam show inside the school’s main library, according to court records.

Kendra Sunderland, 19, was named last week in a misdemeanor criminal information filed in Circuit Court in Benton County.

The February 17 charging document alleges that Sunderland, a Corvallis resident, “did and with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of defendant or another person, expose her genitals” while inside the university’s Valley Library. Investigators allege that Sunderland’s lewd performance occurred on the evening of January 27 while she was seated at a desk on the library’s sixth floor.
And if the video is accurate, that's pretty much what happened.
 While Sunderland has attended Oregon State, she is not currently registered for classes. She previously studied human development and family science, according to university records.
Much like  Steve Jobs, Kendra chose not to finish college, but go into the internet business, and while early returns may be deceiving, she seems to be succeeding:
Sunderland has embraced the notoriety stemming from her illicit library antics. While continuing her webcam business, she has posed for Playboy, signed a deal to front for a sugar daddy web site, and done radio and TV interviews.

Her Twitter account--which now has more than 74,000 followers--features a steady stream of racy photos and career updates (most of which include the hashtag “#LibraryGirl”). In a message yesterday, Sunderland reported, “Holy shit! I'm the 56th most popular pornstar on @Pornhub.” (2 pages)
According to Gawker:
Sunderland appears to a professional "cam girl," which means the video was likely recorded by one of her customers and uploaded without her permission. According to thesleuths at Reddit, she worked for MyFreeCams.com under the user name babyyygirl420.
Well, we can't all be chemists, marine biologists and oceanographers.

I still think she should be sentenced to a bare bottomed public spanking which should be videotaped, and released on YouTube. And the earning of it should go to the library.

The Butterfly Effect

NDRC files suit against EPA for decline of Monarch butterflies
According to the National Resources Defense Council, the US Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for the decline of Monarch butterfly populations in the United States.

The non-governmental environmental conservation group has accused the EPA of failing to respond to an urgent petition that sought to limit pesticide use in order to curtail the destruction of Monarch habitat in the US. Ignoring the petition has led to significant and ongoing harm to the already vulnerable butterfly population, the the NRDC added. The group filed the initial petition more than a year ago.

Monarch butterflies are famous for making annual migrations from Canada down through the US and on into central Mexico’s forested mountain ranges, a trip that takes 2,500 miles one way. Last month, the NRDC says that there were only 56.5 million Monarchs found in Mexico; while this sounds like a burgeoning population, it’s actually the second lowest count ever estimated since records began being kept on Monarch populations.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the count was indeed the second lowest ever. However the WWF did say that populations had increased slightly over the previous year. The global wildlife conservation group reports coverage in square acres instead of an estimated number of butterflies; in 2014 only 2.79 acres were covered in the creatures – an increase of 69 percent over 2013’s record low, but nothing in comparison to the 27.48 acres of coverage recorded in 1993.
This seems like a stretch. The only reason they're switching to acres as a measurement is because 50 million sounds like a lot of butterflies. I would like to see the source of these numbers. There were so many monarch butterflies that this fall a huge blob of them showed up on weather radar over Illinois and Missouri. How many is a big blob? I don't know, but it's a bunch.
NDRC maintains that the main driver behind the collapse of the Monarch population is the widespread use of glyphosate, a herbicide marketed as Roundup, which has been wiping out milkweed – one of the primary food sources for the butterflies. However, critics say that while glyphosate use has gone up and milkweed has declined, there has been no direct causal link made between the two, claiming it’s merely a correlation.
I thought liberals were all about the science? Why would you try to ban something before the science was in? Maybe saving the Monarchs isn't the point as much as banning glyphosate?
The EPA says that it’s currently examining a number of factors that could be leading to the decline of the butterflies. The agency stated that it’s taking several measures to protect pollinators such as the Monarch, even as the NRDC issues the warning that one severe weather event could devastate the species at its current population level.
My guess is that the NRDC is trying for a "sue and settle" agreement, where EPA, after nominal resistance, agrees to ban glyphosate, (unlikely given its widespread use in agriculture, and resistance from farmers and Monsanto). It may also be the start, or more the continuation of a campaign to extort money from Monsanto for "butterfly projects", which will not grow many butterflies, but lots of money for NGO execs.  I would also not discount the possibility that this is an opening of a new front on GMO crops, since many crops are made glyphosate resistant using genetic modification so that glyphosate can be sprayed on the whole field to kill weeds.

I've already seen a post on Facebook trying to drum up support for planting Milkweed (fine with me) and going after Monsanto (not fine)