Thursday, July 31, 2014

Please Drown Quietly

Nuisance Flooding More Frequent in Baltimore And Annapolis, NOAA Says
Annapolis and Baltimore are at the top of a federal list of U.S. cities being flooded more frequently--not just during big storms, but during regular high tides as well.

A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released this week says the flooding is exacerbated by climate-related sea level rise. “It no longer takes a strong storm or a hurricane to cause flooding,” said the report's lead author William Sweet.

The report found that Annapolis and Baltimore experienced increases of more than 920 percent in the number of flood days since 1960. Annapolis led a top ten list with an average of 39.3 days a year with minor floods, also called nuisance flooding, from 2007-2013. Baltimore was listed second with 13.1 nuisance flood days for the same period. That’s compared to 3.8 days in Annapolis and 1.3 in Baltimore from 1957 to 1963.
Downtown Annapolis seen from the Severn River
Please note that Baltimore and Annapolis are among the older cities in the US.  The "town" of Baltimore was founded and laid out in 1729. It was foremost a shipping port. exporting tobacco from Maryland, and importing sugar and rum from the Caribbean. Annapolis was founded even earlier, in the mid 1600's (it has a complicated history).  In any case, sea level rise, currently about 4 mm/year in this area, has had a relatively long time to work on the region since they were first urbanized by white men. Both are close to sea level by design. So it should be no great shock to find that low lying areas in both cities are routinely affected by flooding from storm tides, and lousy drainage.
Sweet, an oceanographer at NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, said the rare direct hurricane strikes are “catastrophic,” but communities can rebuild and recover. But the lesser events—the nuisance floods—“will have a cumulative toll in time and I don't think this is widely recognized or understood by people living in those areas.”

Those floods cause road closures, overflowing storm drains and compromise infrastructure, the report said. Recent storms in the Chesapeake Bay regions of Maryland have caused flash flooding.

The report is based on historical data NOAA has been collecting at 45 stations throughout the U.S. and six stations in Maryland, including Ocean City on the coast and five on the Chesapeake Bay.

Do you see any recent acceleration due to global warming? I don't.
Sweet said the effects of rising sea levels along most of the continental U.S. coastline are only going to become more noticeable and much more severe in the coming decades, probably more so than any other climate-change related factor.

Stephen Gill, chief scientist at the NOAA Center who also worked on the report, said a variety of factors are affecting the Virginia region but the mix of rising waters and sinking land is most evident in the disappearing offshore islands in the southern bay.
As I have written many times before, the islands of the southern and eastern portions of the Bay are not disappearing due to sea level rise, but rather due to erosion at the edges, and human intervention which prevents the natural growth of the salt marsh islands, which will rise to match sea level rise under natural conditions. Peat and sediment do not accumulate on roads, lawns and houses.
Scientists say the crater at the mouth of the bay, created when a comet or asteroid hit the earth some 35 million years ago, is filling in, causing bay water levels to rise. NOAA data shows water around the Bay Bridge Tunnel near the mouth of the bay is rising at about six millimeters each year, and nearly two feet every 100 years, the fastest of the seven stations.
I blame Bush for the meteorite 35 million years ago.
In Baltimore, the waters are rising by 1.01 feet every 100 years, while Annapolis waters rise 1.13 feet every 100 years.
Rates which has been decreasing since the rapid rise at the end of the last glacial maximum, at which point, the Chesapeake Bay did not exist, and the Susquehanna River ran free to the edge of the continental shelf off Virginia. While Indians Native Americans watched from the banks.
Sweet said the report is meant to help communities understand the impacts of more frequent minor floods. “That's a first step to being prepared, being aware and to facilitate a discussion that needs to be had about adaptation.”
There have been multiple scare articles in the press recently about sea level rise. But no one will actually show the numbers, just the scary predictions, because if they were told knew it was natural, they'd just go about fixing it, or abandoning the drowning land (both are an option), and not be willing to fund restrictions on CO2 and the economy to "fix" the problem.

Eat Your Veggies - and Die

Veggies More Dangerous Than Beef
Turns out that vegetables and fruits are actually worse than beef and pork when it comes to making people sick, reports Bloomberg, based on a CDC paper from last year. Experts looked at illnesses and hospitalizations from various kinds of foods between 1998 and 2008. Healthy stuff, including fruits and vegetables, accounted for some 46% of illnesses.

Leafy vegetables were responsible for the most illnesses, while dairy was responsible for the most hospitalizations. Beef ranked sixth in numbers of illnesses caused, behind fruits and nuts, and various vegetables; it ranked seventh in hospitalizations. Pork ranked even lower in both cases. But don't think the CDC is giving you an excuse to opt for a burger over broccoli: "Other factors, such as the health benefits of consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables, must also be considered," the researchers say.
In the US, the production, distribution and handling of meat is heavily regulated, while the sanitation in the production, handling and sale of fruits and vegetables is haphazard at best, as witness the number and variety of quality of roadside fruit stands.

In the grocery store, do you get to feel the beef to decide whether the piece will be tender?

Wombat-socho has the root of all Rule 5 posts up at The Other McCain: "Rule 5 Monday."

The Lie du Jour

Courtesy of @KatherineMiller at BuzzFeed:
We Never Tried To Impeach Bush, Says Democratic Lawmaker Who Co-Sponsored Bush Impeachment Bill
Remember: It is Democrats who are currently raising millions of dollars through fearmongering e-mail appeals that accuse Republicans of planning to impeach President Obama. And in June 2008, Dennis Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against President Bush, a measure co-sponsored by Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who seems to have forgotten all about that:
I ask my colleagues to oppose this resolution for it is in fact a veiled attempt at impeachment and it undermines the law that allows a president to do his job. A historical fact: President Bush pushed this nation into a war that had little to do with apprehending terrorists. We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority.
Democrats: No one can ever accuse them of honesty.
Sheila Jackson Lee is an endless source of entertainment on C-Span.

Some Additional Obamacare Schadenfreude

Another 70 degree day here as July prepares to turn it over to August. Absolutely unbelievable.

GAO finds Administration Mismanagement Behind Obamacare Roll-out Debacle
Management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for computer woes that paralyzed the president's new health care program last fall, nonpartisan investigators said in a report released Wednesday.

While the administration was publicly assuring consumers that they would soon have seamless online access to health insurance, a chaotic procurement process was about to deliver a stumbling start.

After a months-long investigation, the Government Accountability Office found that the administration lacked "effective planning or oversight practices" for the development of, the portal for millions of uninsured Americans.

As a result the government incurred "significant cost increases, schedule slips and delayed system functionality," William Woods, a GAO contracting expert, said in testimony prepared for a hearing Thursday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. GAO is the nonpartisan investigative agency of Congress.
. . .
Investigators found that the administration kept changing the contractors' marching orders for the website, creating widespread confusion and adding tens of millions of dollars in costs. Changes were ordered seemingly willy-nilly, including 40 times when government officials did not have the initial authority to incur additional costs.
A trick they clearly learned from the Defense Department's method of designing and building planes. However, the DOD has special test pilots to determine whether the final product is air worthy; Obamacare was tested on the body politic.

Obamacare Advocate Accidentally Makes Case for Halbig: Let's look at Ace's take
So now, rushing into the breach, here comes Crack Legal Correspondent Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, with his breathlessly reported scoop that will save the day for the Left:
Senate documents and interviews undercut 'bombshell' lawsuit against Obamacare
Let's pause for a moment and savor that headline on its own for the spectacular own-goal carnage that's about to follow.

Sargent's argument, summarized, is that of course Congress meant all along for the ACA to offer subsidies on both the state and Federal exchanges, and intent only got muddled when two separate versions of the ACA legislation (one coming out of the Senate Finance Committee and one coming out of the Health, Education, Labor & Commerce Committee) were awkwardly and imperfectly merged.

There is so much that is wrong with Sargent's legal reasoning here that it's hard to know where to start. We'll go with the money shot, I guess.
1) The first Senate version of the health law to be passed in 2009 -- by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee -- explicitly stated that subsides would go to people on the federally-established exchange. A committee memo describing the bill circulated at the time spelled this out with total clarity.
I could stop right here. In fact, I will. And so would the courts, if we were dealing with a less politicized piece of legislation.

Sargent just helpfully informed us that an earlier version of the ACA -- not a draft, mind you, but one that was actually passed out of committee -- included explicit language granting subsidies to people on federal exchanges,language that was later dropped from the final bill.

If Sargent had been an attorney rather than a layman, this is the point where he would have hit "delete" on his draft post and forgotten all about it.

One of most fundamental rules of statutory interpretation used by courts when they are asked to discern legislative intent from ambiguous statutory language is this: if explicit language was in an earlier version of a bill but dropped from the final version, the court will treat that as proof it was removed on purpose.
So they had the subsidies for the federal exchanges in the law, and subsequently dropped it? I guess that part of the hard drive holding the legislation got "scratched".  Oops!

Jealous Old Crone Resents Competition From Lovely Young Rival

Hat Tip to Wombat-socho for monitoring the Hollywood gossip media  in "Live at Five: 07.30.14." Martha Stewart calls Blake Lively's decision to become a lifestyle guru 'stupid'
Martha Stewart thinks Blake Lively should focus on being an actress.

The 72-year-old lifestyle guru, who helped the 26-year-old actress plan her wedding to Ryan Reynolds in September 2012, thinks it's 'stupid' that the blonde beauty is said to be 'becoming the next Martha Stewart' because she is launching her own new lifestyle blog and brand, Preserve.

Asked about the 26-year-old star's new venture, Martha said: 'Let her try.'She added: 'I don't mean that facetiously! I mean, it's stupid, she could be an actress! Why would you want to be me if you could be an actress? I just did a movie yesterday, though -- I can't even tell you about it -- but I want to be Blake Lively.'
Maybe, just maybe, Martha, Blake is planning ahead for a career beyond acting, when, as inevitably happens, her looks begin to fade, and she has to start taking character roles, rather than romantic leads. Not many 26 year old people I know think that far ahead, but kudos to her. Not that I want to buy any of that over priced crap.

In the meantime, more Blake Lively and no more Martha Stewart:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Flesh Eating Bacteria Infest Chesapeake Bay

Flesh-eating bacteria found in Chesapeake Bay nearly kills Md. man
A Maryland man nearly lost his leg and his life due to a flesh-eating bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus, which is typically found in brackish waters like the Chesapeake Bay.

“We were just canoeing, kayaking, fishing, crabbing, things you do when you’re on vacation,” Rodney Donald told FOX 5.

Donald couldn't have imagined that vacation to the Chesapeake Bay would nearly cost him his leg and life.

That same morning, he also fell and scraped his leg. It turns out that tiny scrape made him more susceptible to vibrio vulnificus, an aggressive bacteria that causes a fast-spreading infection.

“It likes salty water, not so much ocean water, more brackish water, but you can find it in the ocean as well,” said Dr. Gary Simon, an infectious diseases expert with George Washington Medical Faculty Associates. “It’s known to occur in the Chesapeake Bay.”
This is a rare, but definite risk in the Bay and in similar waters. I first heard of Vibrio vulnificus back when I was chiseling my Masters thesis onto stone tablets, so it's not some new emerging threat. It's been here all along, and only rarely causing disease.

I rarely think about it. In a life around the water, I've frequently been cut, stuck by fish spines and hooks, scratched and abraded myself, and rarely suffered anything more than the usual healing patterns. I do make a point of cleaning such small wounds well (when convenient).

However, it can happen. A friend of ours suffered an infection of Vibro and other bacteria after falling out of a kayak and scraping on some rocks.

So Now We Know What Happened to the Hard Drives

According to a government audit, IRS Agents ‘Accidentally’ Discharged Guns 11 Times between 2009 and 2011. Some of those weapons discharges resulted in property damage or personal injury, claimed the report. In fact, agents accidentally fired their guns more times than they did intentionally, said the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
and as long as we're on the topic of the allegedly non-partisan IRS. . .  Emails reveal IRS official Lois Lerner called conservatives 'crazies' and 'a**holes' 
Former senior IRS official Lois Lerner had deeply held political biases while she was in a position of authority, according to Republican lawmakers who unveiled emails on Wednesday showing her referring to conservatives as 'crazies' and 'a**holes.'

Michigan Rep. Dave Camp, who chairs the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder to demand what he called 'a serious investigation' – something he said has been lacking.

Camp wants Holder to appoint an outside special counsel to probe the culture of the IRS and explain why hundreds of conservative groups were subjected to intrusive questioning and years-long delays when they applied for nonprofit tax benefits – steps that were not taken against liberal organizations.

He told the attorney general on Wednesday that the newly disclosed email correspondence 'shows Ms. Lerner's mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives.'
. . .
'Overheard some ladies talking about American[s] today,' Lerner wrote. 'According to them we've bankrupted ourselves and a[re] through. We'll never be able to pay off our debt and are going down the tubes.'
That certainly raises my opinion of English ladies. Except for Lucy Pinder, of course, who I already hold in high esteem.
Turning sarcastic, Lerner pounced on her British acquaintances.

'They don't seem to see that they can't afford to keep up their welfare state either,' she wrote. 'Strange.'

The conversation turned ugly when Lerner's writing companion let loose first on conservatives.

'Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP,' the person replied. 'The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end.'

'The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.'

'Great,' Lerner wrote back. 'Maybe we are through if there are that many a**holes.'
'And I'm talking about the hosts of the shows,' came the reply. 'The callers are rabid.'

In the final message of the exchange, Lerner wrote that 'we don't need to worry about [illegal] alien terrorists. It's our own crazies that will take us down.'
Lois Lerner, of course, is entitled to her own opinion.  However, she was not entitled to act on them as an agent of the Federal government, by attempting to to squash the electoral success of the people she opposed and disdained. It takes a certain charming naivete to put this in an email on a government system. As Insty quips, if the emails they're admitting to are this bad, imagine what the ones they're withholding are like.

Time for my "Modest Proposal" to reform the IRS and similar federal agencies impregnated with agents for the Democratic Party.  Affirmative action. Fire half of them, and replace them with Republican activists, and let the two sides fight it out.

Butterfly du Jour

Spotted at: 40 nude models wear smiles and little else for NYC artist's outdoor Bodypainting Day

where it is misidentified as a moth:
A moth lands on a model as she is painted at Columbus Circle as part of an event featuring artist Andy Golub, Saturday, July 26, 2014, in New York. Golub says New York was the only city in the country that would allow his inaugural Bodypainting Day. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
It is clearly an Eastern Comma (or one of it close relatives). Layers of fact checkers.
Artists in Manhattan painted the bodies of 40 nude models on Saturday, turning the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park into an outdoor celebration of the human form.
Artist Andy Golub says New York was the only city in the country that would allow his inaugural Bodypainting Day. And he says that only happened after a legal battle.

Golub and a model were arrested in 2011 during a body-painting project in Times Square.
The city paid model Zoe West a $15,000 settlement after she sued over the arrest. Public nudity is legal in the city if it's part of a performance, exhibition or show.
Thanks to the Brits, we can actually see some of the art:

I Just Hate Losing a Fish

But I think I'd give this one up, too.
A spearfisherman diving three miles off Jupiter, Florida, was attempting to remove an amberjack from his spear when he noticed a goliath grouper approaching him with an eye toward a free meal.

The goliath grouper, a fish known to be inquisitive and fearless, also proved to be aggressive as Arif Sabir discovered while diving in a group that included his wife. Watch as Sabir gets attacked by the goliath grouper, which ended up getting exactly what it wanted:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fishing Report, 7/29/14

Trevor and I left the dock around 4:30 for the usual fishing hole. On the way, we ran into this, the Pride of Baltimore II, in a very nice light.
It was windy and choppy, and not especially conducive to fishing in the places we usually fish. The rip had enormous waves generated by the interaction of the incoming waves from the northwest wind and the outgoing current.  It was tough to fish small spots near structure since the wind would drive you away (or into the prohibited zone) in a flash.
 I did manage one legal Striped Bass (rockfish to us Marylanders) on top water close to shore, and tragically, lost another.
Around sunset, the wind relented a little and we fished the rip a while.  While Trevor tended his single croaker rod, I jigged, and caught a curious Croaker in the nose, and got one Cow Nosed Ray close enough to the boat to see it flap before deliberately breaking it off. I've had one on the boat this year. That was plenty.
Trevor, on the other hand, caught 21 Croaker and a big Spot on his croaker pole using squid as bait.  I traded him one rockfish for four croaker.

Beach Report 7/29/14

Can it really be the end of July here in southern Maryland, with the temperatures below 70 F, a blue sky? Remarkable weather.
A stiff NW breeze seems to have the Ospreys out fishing.
 Frogs?  Wait, that's not right.
Somebody occupying valuable fossil hunting area unproductively.
 We did OK, though, 25 between us, with this one of Georgia's the best.
"Maybe I'll just wait for the fish to swim closer."

Obamacare Schadenfreude - Halbigger and Bigger

The edge of the "Polar Vortex - summer edition part II" has arrived. The temperature and humidity dropped abruptly, down to 64 F and "delightful."

Halbig vs. Sebelius Burwell continues to annoy the liberals. Kevin Williamson at NRO has a long essay on how Obamacare and its open ended nature represent a step backward for the rule of law.

Halbig and Hammurabi: Disdain for the letter of the law is complexly intertwined with the progressive imagination.
. . . Hammurabi never directed his secretary of health and human services to promulgate regulations subsidiary to the code and subject to near-term political necessities — just 282 laws and associated punishments, available for all to see.

Perhaps it is not the case that in the 21st-century United States we can live under something as simple and straightforward as the Code of Hammurabi. But the principle is the same: We write laws down in order that citizens may know what is permissible under the generally promulgated rules of the polity. The writing down of laws was the first step on the road from subject to citizen, and to reverse that is to do violence to more than grammatical propriety, Mr. Klein’s huffery-puffery notwithstanding.

The written law was the first real constraint on the power of kings. An oral tradition is subject to constant on-the-fly revision. Mr. Klein and others of his persuasion would see us return to that primitive state: “Oh, sure, the law says that the IRS can only operate on state-created insurance exchanges, but that isn’t what we” — and who is this we? — “really meant. And besides, things will turn out other than as we desire if we follow the law as written, and who are you, and what is the law, to forbid us our desires?” It is easier to think that way when you believe that you represent a uniquely enlightened point of view, that you are acting in the public interest, and that your political rivals are wicked and ignorant. . . 
Another in the same theme by Robert Tracinski at the Federalist. Halbig Shows How We Legislate Now
Do we pass laws any more?

I ask because of the reaction to the federal appeals court decision in Halbig v. Burwell, in which the court enforced what the Affordable Care Act actually says—namely, that federal subsidies for health insurance are available only through state-run exchanges and not through exchanges set up by the federal government.

This is important because the majority of states declined to set up those exchanges—deciding to reject a system and a set of obligations foisted on them by Washington. And ObamaCare is just a big, complicated mechanism for delivering subsidies. Without that, all it does is cancel everyone’s insurance policies and force them into more expensive plans they didn’t want. So you can see why ObamaCare’s defenders really need to keep those subsidies.

So they screamed that the court’s decision was totally ridiculous and implausible—and then up pops a two-year-old video from one of the Affordable Care Act’s architects, Jonathan Gruber, in which he clearly explains that this is exactly what the law says—that denying subsidies on the federal exchanges was a way of pressuring the states to get on board. More recently, Gruber has been telling everyone that this provision was just a typo and was never intended at all. He even claims his 2012 statement was also a mistake, a “speak-o.” Except that he said the same thing on at least one other occasion. So that gives you a good idea of the honesty of ObamaCare’s supporters.

But the big question is: why do they think they can get away with this? Why do they think they can write something into the law, go around for a couple of years explaining that provision to audiences, and then pretend later that it wasn’t there at all and it’s patently ridiculous for anyone to think it ever was?
. . .
No matter how many impenetrable pages of verbiage were contained in the original law, it’s all equivocal and meaningless and can be endlessly reinterpreted by executive bureaucrats, so long as they believe they are working toward the aspiration named in the law’s title: “affordable care.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how we legislate now. What used to be a “law” is now just an open-ended grant of power coupled with a vague aspiration. Nothing in between, none of the actual concrete provisions of the law, has any meaning or makes any difference. . .
Back to some ordinary "the damn thing isn't working the way we thought it would" schadenfreude.

Plan to simplify 2015 health renewals may backfire
If you have health insurance on your job, you probably don't give much thought to each year's renewal. But make the same assumption in one of the new health law plans, and it could lead to costly surprises.

Insurance exchange customers who opt for convenience by automatically renewing their coverage for 2015 are likely to receive dated and inaccurate financial aid amounts from the government, say industry officials, advocates and other experts.

If those amounts are too low, consumers could get sticker shock over their new premiums. Too high, and they'll owe the tax man later.
Because all the working parts of a 2000 page plan written by one party and rammed through Congress without debate can be expected to work smoothly.

With half a year under its belt, how is Obamacare being experienced: New health plans' limitations anger enrollees
Nancy Pippenger and Marcia Perez live thousands of miles apart but have the same complaint: Doctors who treated them last year won't take their insurance now, even though they haven't changed insurers.
"They said, 'We take the old plan, but not the new one,' " says Perez, an attorney in Palo Alto, Calif.

In Plymouth, Ind., Pippenger got similar news from her longtime orthopedic surgeon, so she shelled out $300 from her own pocket to see him.

Both women unwittingly enrolled in policies with limited networks of doctors and hospitals that provide little or no payment for care outside those networks. Such plans existed before the health law, but with its expansion of insurance, they are covering more people — and some are shrinking enrollees' options further than before. The policies' limitations have come as a surprise to some enrollees used to broader job-based coverage or to plans they held before the law took effect.

"It's totally different," said Pippenger, 57, whose new Anthem Blue Cross plan doesn't pay for any care outside its network, although the job-based Anthem plan she had last year did cover some of those costs. "Now I can't find a doctor."
That's because, under Obamacare, the role people who already had health insurance was to take a benefit cut to help pay for the "subsidies" to those who didn't.  Welcome to the omelette.

The Pole Dancing School

Watch as one of the graduates tries to save her car from the tow truck (embedding blocked). I hope it worked.

Wombat-socho has the root of all Rule 5 posts up at The Other McCain: "Rule 5 Monday."

What Is It With Foxes and Go Pros?

Just one more...

Wombat-socho has the root of all Rule 5 posts up at The Other McCain: "Rule 5 Monday."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Butterfly Round Up

This year has been very disappointing in terms of butterflies compared to last year, which was just a gangbuster year for some reason.  But we still have a few, and I have a new camera to play with, so here are just some of the butterflies I found in the garden today.

Right - Orange Sulphur? (or Clouded Sulphur)
This was one that was new to me last year, and I was a surprise to me. I thought it might skip years but here it is again, a Variegated Fritillary. A minor pest of ornamental violets and pansies, I'd rather have the butterflies.
Silver Spotted Skippers are swarming all over our Butterfly Bush. Obnoxious little guys, they chase each other, and other butterflies.
Some unknown little orange Skipper.  They're hard to tell apart, and I'll look harder later.
Horace's Duskywing.  One of the "odd" skippers, a little plain until you get up good and close.
A yellow female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. These were really common last year, and only kind of common this year.  You can tell it's a female from the broad blue areas on the hind wing.  We also see the black form of the female too.

The American Painted Lady (note the little white dot totally surrounded by orange).  Last year the "regular" Painted Lady were much more common, this year, I've yet to see one for sure.

I was just giving up and coming in when this Summer Azure caught my eye near the front door. Not the best background.

Scientists Seek Missing Sea Nettles


I noted a while ago that the highly annoying Sea Nettles common to most of Chesapeake Bay in summer (we think of them as arriving by July 4, if not earlier) appear to be absent from our corner of the Bay. It seems that the people whose job is to keep track of such things have noticed it too.

 Missing Jellyfish in the Chesapeake Bay
Jacqueline Tay, a student at the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, has been studying the local sea nettle species, chrysaora quinquecirrha, for several years. She said when she started, sea nettles were a common sight in the river.

"Every time you would go out there would be anywhere from 30 to 300 jellyfish in a small area. And it's been low since then," Tay said.

And when sea nettles are low, it usually comes with a price.

"They eat zooplankton, they eat copopods, the same food that fish eat. They also eat another jellyfish in the bay called the ctenophore. The prevailing thought is that if there aren't many sea nettles, then there are a lot of ctenophores. And that's a bad thing for the ecosystem." explained Tay.

Bad because the ctenophores eat considerably more zooplankton, leaving less food for the fish. But good news, they are nowhere to be found either.

While it may sound like a crisis, the head of the jellyfish program at Horn Point, Dr. Raleigh Hood, thinks it's just a cycle.
. . .
There are a few theories on where the jellyfish are. Some hypothesize the cold spring killed off a large portion of the jellyfish, and some think that perhaps they are farther north. The scientists are working, as they always have, to find out more about this mysterious species that seems to be missing in the Chesapeake bay.
I blame Bush.

Snake Bit!

As we came in for lunch today, Georgia disgustedly told me that a Black Snake (also called a Black Rat Snake) had gotten entangled in the bird netting protecting the Blueberry plants from pests.  Sure enough, when I got there a good sized snake was indeed thoroughly wrapped up in the fine mesh.  It seems its head, and about half of its body were skinny enough to fit through the mesh, but the res of him failed to get by. Moreover, the scales acted as a ratchet and made it impossible for it to back out. I got a pair of scissors, and started to cut the mesh free, working up close to its skin to open the mesh enough to let it slide out.  I failed to notice it's increasing agitation, signaled by his rapidly vibrating tail, and eventually, it struck out at me, and grabbed the tip of my right middle finger.  I snatched my hand away, of course, but that only caused one of his little needle like teeth to cut a quarter inch slice in the tip, which bled profusely for a few minutes.  I proceeded to cut it free, and using a pole, prodded it out of the area, drawing a few strikes on the pole.

A little soap and water cleaned the cut, and killed the snake smell (they emit a horrible scent when excited), and a small bandage fixed it all up.  I'm just glad it wasn't a Copperhead.

We welcome/tolerate Black Snakes around the yard because they eat the rodents which eat our garden. Too bad they don't eat deer. . .

D.C. Resists Courts Open Carry Ruling

By way of Wombat-socho's "Live at Five: 07.28.14", although I had to go to the Pose for quotable text.

D.C. police won’t enforce handgun ban; stay of ruling overturning law will be sought
. . . the D.C. attorney general’s office said it would seek a stay of the ruling while the city decides whether to appeal.

In an order approved by Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, police were told that District residents are permitted to carry pistols if the weapons are registered. Those who had not registered their handguns could be charged on that ground, the instruction said.
. . .
Lanier’s instructions to police also said that residents of other jurisdictions without felony records would not be charged under the ban on carrying pistols.

Meanwhile, Ted Gest, the spokesman for the D.C. attorney general’s office, which defended the handgun ban in court, said it will “be seeking a stay shortly,” so the order by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. may not be in effect for long.

“Its time of effectiveness could be very short,” Gest said.

Legal experts have said that in many cases all parties in a lawsuit are given the opportunity to appeal a ruling before it takes effect. However, it was decided at some point Sunday that Scullin’s ruling took immediate effect, and that set off efforts to bring the city into compliance.

Scullin, a senior U.S. District Court judge who normally sits in the Northern District of New York, wrote in his ruling that he was stopping enforcement of the law “unless and until” the city adopted a constitutionally valid licensing mechanism.
So basically, Washington D.C. is seeking the right to keep putting people in jail for exercising their second amendment rights as ruled by a judge, until they can find a higher judge to overturn the ruling.

UPDATE: HotAir wins the titling contest with: DC rushes to prevent horde of law-abiding citizens from entering city

Midnite Music - "Hideaway"

I don't think Freddy King would mind her borrowing the title.

Wombat-socho has the root of all Rule 5 posts up at The Other McCain: "Rule 5 Monday."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Beach Report 7/27/24

Overcast, muggy and trying to be hot, only getting to about 85 today. Before lunch, it was only in the high 70s or so.
"Pink" had a fine baggy full of shark's teeth.  We did fairly well ourselves, with about 25.
A paddle boarder way out.

A father/son fishing team wade out on the sand bar to try to reach the deeper water.  I didn't see them reel anything in.

Now this is the place to be.

Obamacare Schadenfreude - The Gruber Files

I'm just going to guess that Jonathon Gruber is regretting his 15 minutes of fame.

Ann Althouse take the new White House Press Secretary to task for his slipperiness in the Gruber matter:
The White House played down the video on Friday, saying that Mr. Gruber had made clear in friend-of-the-court briefs that he supports the administration’s interpretation.
“His views on this are pretty clear,” said Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary. “I think that he described those remarks as a mistake. But I’d refer you to his explanation for why he said them. I think what is clear is that he, like Congress, intended for every eligible American to have access to tax credits that lower their health care costs, regardless of who is operating their marketplace.”
The Press Secretary Earnest isn't lying, but if you look closely at each of his remarks, you can see that he seems to know he's making a series of technically true statements that avoid asserting that Gruber is telling the truth now when he calls the 2012 remarks "a mistake." 1. Gruber's "views... are pretty clear."Check. 2. Gruber called his remarks "a mistake." Absolutely true. That's exactly what Gruber said. 3. Gruber's overarching goal has been to get health insurance tax credits to people. Again, Earnest is correct —cagily correct — because lying now about making a mistake back then is exactly what serves that overarching goal, just as saying what he said in 2012 served that goal.

Lying is a means to an end, and one can steadfastly adhere to one's end while changing your statements as needed to serve that end. That's what liars do! To justify their behavior by pointing to their dedication to a single end is only to explain the motivation to lie. Yet that's what Josh Earnest expects us to swallow.
Halbig’s Critics Hoist By Their Own Petards: Next Time, Read The Law Before Making It Law
This has not been a good week for defenders of Obamacare and their scorn for the legal arguments challenging whether the statute provides subdsidies for buyers of health insurance policies on the federal exchange. On Monday, a divided panel of the DC Circuit ruled in Halbig v Burwell that the statute only provides subsidies for purchases on the state exchanges (the Fourth Circuit reached the opposite conclusion). The reaction to Halbig from pundits on the Left – most of them not lawyers, and many of them obviously woefully ignorant of how courts read laws – can only be characterized as an unhinged meltdown. The latest news has only further undermined their position.
. . .
No, The Good Faith Of The Lawsuit Doesn’t Matter: One of the stranger arguments made against Halbig, not only by non-lawyers who don’t know any better but even in the opening lines of Judge Edwards’ dissent, is that the lawsuit is somehow illegitimate because the people filing it are not really trying to help the ACA, but are foes of the statute. Here’s a little secret: people who file lawsuits against federal laws are not usually big fans of those laws. Do you think the Guantanamo detainees who challenged the Military Commissions Act were really just disinterested scholars motivated by a concern for proper functioning of the military justice system? It’s the job of courts to determine the meaning of laws, not the motives of litigants.
The fact that a Federal judge put forth such an objection is proof of how little interest the facts are to liberals.

Another Stunning Admission in Gruber's Speech: The Public Option Was Single Payer

Many are familiar with Sen. Harry Reid's August 2013 statement that the public option was a "real good run" at single-payer. About a dozen lawmakers and progressive pundits have made similar admissions over the years, often when speaking to friendly audiences. However the major media, i.e. network and cable news outside Fox and major D.C. and New York print media have almost never touched this. Occasionally, a site would mention some of these factual outbursts, but this piece by Politico is a good example of the result. The clips get mentioned under a bland headline ("Mixed messages bolster GOP's case") and the story itself suggests these are fluke statements just waiting to be debunked.

There's even a quote in the Politico story from HCAN in which a spokesperson says the public option claims are part of a false "government takeover" narrative. The spokesperson says, "It’s not helpful, it’s not smart and it’s not the truth." Surely HCAN knows the truth right? They're the ones pushing the public option. Well, here's another HCAN spokesman in a less guarded moment admitting the public option is a strategic path to single-payer. Of course that statement never, ever appeared in any news story.

Somehow the major media never put the pieces together on this issue. As Gruber admits, Democrats did try to slide a pathway to single-payer into Obamacare without telling anyone. The proponents of this sneaky path to single-payer (Ezra Klein called it a "sneaky strategy") were so successful in keeping it quiet that the incompetents at Poltifact made "government takeover" their Lie of the Year in 2010. Stop and think about that for a moment. Politifact's Lie of the Year was true, at least so long as the public option was under consideration.
The real import of the Jon Gruber fracas
It would be much easier if (some) people would simply say “Of course this normally should be kicked back into the legislature for clarification. But I don’t want to do that because I don’t regard Republican control of the House, and how that control is used, as a legitimate form of rule.” One may agree, or not, but the nature of the case is pretty clear.
. . .
So, to return to the title of this post, the import of the Gruber fracas is to show that if he can be confused (more than once, at that, and is “confused” even the right word?) a lot of ACA supporters in Congress probably were confused too.

So given that across-the-board subsidies are not written into the bill formally, and given the importance of precedent, and rule of law, why not kick the matter back into the legislature for redrafting? Which brings us back to the first paragraph of this blog post…
From the comments:
All I can say is, if you’re going to pass a law with zero bipartisan support, you should be very careful in the drafting, since they aren’t likely to help you out if you muck it up. In this case, haste and arrogance is biting them in the ass.
5 More Typos We Found In Major Pieces Of Legislation
A major federal appeals court, however, did not just gut Obamacare because of a “drafting error.” But in keeping with the spirit of the always accurate and super intellectual argumentation we’ve come to expect from the Left, we here at The Federalist have identified a number of other huge drafting errors in major legislation.

Without further ado, here are 5 massive drafting errors in landmark legislation that had been completely missed until now:

1) The Bush tax cuts didn’t actually sunset after 10 years. They were permanent.

When the Bush tax cuts were initially passed in 2001 and expanded in 2003, they technically included a 10-year sunset in order to comply with budget reconciliation rules. But most of the people who voted for it and wrote it didn’t want a sunset. They wanted the tax cuts to be permanent. The point of the law was to increase economic growth. Why on earth would lawmakers not want to increase economic growth forever? We’re supposed to believe they only wanted more jobs and higher growth for ten years? That’s absurd.

2) The Iraq war authorization actually allows the U.S. to invade Canada.

But c’mon. The resolution was written by Republicans and supported by Bush, and they’re all dirty war mongers who love killing people, so it’s absurd to assume they’d only constrain their insatiable blood lust to a single Middle Eastern country. Ergo, watch out Canada. You might be next.

3) The PATRIOT Act allowed waterboarding of anti-war opponents.

Anyhow, the point is that waterboarding dissenters would have made crushing dissent a lot easier, which would’ve made war a lot easier, which would’ve made protecting America easier, which was the whole point of the PATRIOT Act.

Sure, they didn’t technically write that authorization into the law, but there’s really no other way to interpret their intent. And if you disagree, it’s probably because you’re a terrorist.

4) About that whole Second Amendment thing…

Finally we get to the real fruits of the Left’s labor of interpretation legislative intent. Yes, the Second Amendment mentions guns. Yes, it mentions the right to own and bear them. Yes, it says that right shall not be infringed. Yes, America was freed from oppressive British rule thanks to the ability of common individuals to fight back using their own weapons.

But c’mon: a right for people to own guns? That’s just absurd.

5) About that whole First Amendment thing…

Remember that time the Founders fought a war to ensure our right to freely express our religious beliefs? Well, you remembered wrong. It turns out they were only cool with speech approved by 21st century liberal politicians. I mean, the right to own a gun to protect yourself is one thing. But the right to say your thoughts out loud? Talk about absurd:
[I]n the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Democrats held a hearing on Tom Udall’s proposal to gut the First Amendment by allowing Congress to prohibit or restrict participation in political campaigns. The Democrats like to say that the amendment would reverse the effect of the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases, but in fact it goes much farther than that. The amendment, which is favored by Harry Reid and most Senate Democrats, would give Congress unprecedented power to limit debate on public issues in the context of elections. You really have to read the proposed amendment to understand how radical it is.
Thankfully, the constitutional geniuses who run the U.S. Senate have finally found a way to correct the first-ever American legal typo: just repeal the First Amendment in its entirety. With that out of the way, they won’t ever have to worry every again about people going to court to affirm the notion that words mean things.

At long last, America’s never-ending, speech-laden, typo-fueled nightmare might finally be over.

When the True Masochist Says "Hurt Me," The True Sadist Says "No!"

Congressman at border: 'Obama begging to be impeached'
McALLEN, Texas – Observing what he could only describe as “chaos on the border” during a midnight tour of the Rio Grande on Friday, Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, concluded, “President Obama is begging to be impeached.”

“For all I know, Obama is preparing to process five million illegal immigrant kids and teenagers into the United States,” Stockman said upon observing border operations near McAllen, Texas.

“He wants us to impeach him now,” Stockman theorized, “before the midterm election because his senior advisors believe that is the only chance the Democratic Party has to avoid a major electoral defeat. Evidently Obama believes impeachment could motivate the Democratic Party base to come out and vote.”
Indeed,  the President and the democrats are trying to stir the Republicans up to do something stupid like try to impeach him, and hoping to use that to motivate their sluggard voters in Fall

It's not that I don't want him out of office, but it's clear the legislative ability to do so, short of him being caught in bed with a dead boy or a live trannie, simply doesn't exist. Impeachment is, ultimately a political tool, and not a legal one (despite the judicial trappings), and you shouldn't prosecute when you can't win. It's only a couple more years now. Use the time in battle space preparation.

Besides, what's the alternative?

Cuties Dance

Pretty impressive training.

Wombat-socho has the root of all Rule 5 posts up at The Other McCain: "Rule 5 Monday."

Court Overturns D.C. Carry Ban

Justice never sleeps…. not even on a Saturday afternoon, when this opinion was just handed down.
In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.
I'm expecting massive weeping and wailing in the Washington Post.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in one of his famous "If all you see. . ." posts.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Beach Report 7/26/14

Around 11 PM today, the sky got dark, rumbled a bit and it looked like rain, but it never really happened here.  After lunch we decided to risk going to beach and getting wet, and we're glad we did.  Mostly overcast skies kept the temperature just below 80, and the bay was calm and flat.
And yet, you could see it raining not too far south of us.
A pretty neat looking canoe.
We stopped to talk to the owner/builder. The canoe is put together from little strips of wood glued together, sanded, fiber glassed and varnished.  It took him 8 months to build, and he's justifiably proud of it.
The clouds in retreat to the south.
We chance on this Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly puddling on the beach, and he was pretty tolerant and let me take his photo (unlike a couple other butterflies this trip).
Again, the easiest way to identify this butterfly (though not the only way) is the comet shaped mark amidst the orange dots on the underside of the rear wing.
Rub a dub dub, three men in a tub.  I hope they have life jackets.
Much more elegant looking.

Obamacare Schadenfreude: Hashing Out Halbig

A cloudy, humid morning here, with the threat of storms later, but nothing on the radar yet. At least the clouds are holding the temperature down.

The fallout from Halbig vs. Sebelius Burwell continues. You might remember that yesterdays highlight reel was the video of Jonathon Gruber, a primary architect of Obamacare saying that the point of not awarding subsidies to people on the federal market places was to coerce encourage the states to get with the program, which pretty much invalidates the "it was a drafting error" defense that the 6th Circuit relied on. He's now on record saying that he doesn't remember saying that, that he was speaking extemporaneously, and committed a "speak-o" (yes, he used that word):
I honestly don’t remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake. People make mistakes. Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it.

During this era, at this time, the federal government was trying to encourage as many states as possible to set up their exchanges. …

At this time, there was also substantial uncertainty about whether the federal backstop would be ready on time for 2014. I might have been thinking that if the federal backstop wasn’t ready by 2014, and states hadn’t set up their own exchange, there was a risk that citizens couldn’t get the tax credits right away. …

But there was never any intention to literally withhold money, to withhold tax credits, from the states that didn’t take that step. That’s clear in the intent of the law and if you talk to anybody who worked on the law. My subsequent statement was just a speak-o—you know, like a typo
The only problem with that explanation is that is that reviewing the records turned up additional instances of his saying the same thing, from prepared remarks.
Give credit to Morgen Richmond and John Sexton for digging it up. There’s a key difference between this audio and the audio Ed posted this morning, too. . .

Gruber’s moronic excuse to TNR, that he committed a “speak-o” while rambling through a Q&A, obviously doesn’t work for this one. Which makes me wonder: Did he knowingly lie to TNR or has he somehow convinced himself that he never believed that only state exchanges would be eligible for ObamaCare subsidies? The answer doesn’t matter insofar as the quotes are damaging either way to the left’s bogus “drafting error” theory for what happened in the parts of O-Care at issue in the Halbig case, but I’m amused by how he’s painted himself into a corner now. His choices are ‘fessing up to lying, probably by admitting that yes, okay, he did at one point believe that only state exchanges would be eligible but has since changed his mind, or basically saying, “Oh yeah, I forgot about that.” Mind you, this is the guy whom the media routinely credits as having all but drafted the ObamaCare statute.
And one more in the same vein from C-Span:  Senate Hearing : Tax Credits are available for State Exchanges Only
Senator Baucus explains how The Affordable Care Act sets conditions where Tax Credits are available for State Exchanges Only
At this point is there any serious doubt that the democrats in the senate who wrote the bill intended the language as written, and only subsequent to the failure of the states to be coerced, changed their tune, and directed the IRS to codify their new prefered interperetation into the regulations? And speaking of the IRS role. . .

From Instapundit, because the original WSJ article is behind the paywall:
KIMBERLEY STRASSEL: The ObamaCare/IRS Nexus: The supposedly independent agency harassed the administration’s political opponents and saved its health-care law.
One of the big questions out of the IRS targeting scandal is this: How can an agency that engaged in such political misconduct be trusted to implement ObamaCare? This week’s Halbig v. Burwell ruling reminded us of the answer. It can’t.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Halbig that the administration had illegally provided ObamaCare subsidies in 36 insurance exchanges run by the federal government. Yet it wasn’t the “administration” as a whole that issued the lawless subsidy gift. It was the administration acting through its new, favorite enforcer: the IRS.
And it was entirely political. Democrats needed those subsidies. The party had assumed that dangling subsidies before the states would induce them to set up exchanges. When dozens instead refused, the White House was faced with the prospect that citizens in 36 states—two-thirds of the country—would be exposed to the full cost of ObamaCare’s overpriced insurance. The backlash would have been horrific, potentially forcing Democrats to reopen the law, or even costing President Obama re-election.
The White House viewed it as imperative, therefore, that IRS bureaucrats ignore the law’s text and come up with a politically helpful rule. The evidence shows that career officials at the IRS did indeed do as Treasury Department and Health and Human Services Department officials told them. This, despite the fact that the IRS is supposed to be insulated from political meddling.
We know this thanks to a largely overlooked joint investigation and February report by the House Oversight and Ways and Means committees into the history of the IRS subsidy rule. We know that in the late summer of 2010, after ObamaCare was signed into law, the IRS assembled a working group—made up of career IRS and Treasury employees—to develop regulations around ObamaCare subsidies. And we know that this working group initially decided to follow the text of the law. An early draft of its rule about subsidies explained that they were for “Exchanges established by the State.”
Yet in March 2011, Emily McMahon, the acting assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department (a political hire), saw a news article that noted a growing legal focus on the meaning of that text. She forwarded it to the working group, which in turn decided to elevate the issue—according to Congress’s report—to “senior IRS and Treasury officials.” The office of the IRS chief counsel—one of two positions appointed by the president—drafted a memo telling the group that it should read the text to mean that everyone, in every exchange, got subsidies. At some point between March 10 and March 15, 2011, the reference to “Exchanges established by the State” disappeared from the draft rule.
Emails viewed by congressional investigators nonetheless showed that Treasury and the IRS remained worried they were breaking the law. An email exchange between Treasury employees in the spring of 2011 expressed concern that they had no statutory authority to deem a federally run exchange the equivalent of a state-run exchange.
Yet rather than engage in a basic legal analysis—a core duty of an agency charged with tax laws—the IRS instead set about obtaining cover for its predetermined political goal.
Tyrannizing you with your money.
From Smitty at The Other McCain: Just Relax In Your ‘Fundamentally Transformed’ Country, Americans:
In the pre-transformed America, it was understood that the Commies had infiltrated Hollywood and academia. No one really expected subversion of the IRS:
To summarize: The IRS (famed for nitpicking and prosecuting the tax law), chose to authorize hundreds of billions of illegal subsidies without having performed a smidgen of legal due diligence, and did so at the direction of political taskmasters. The agency’s actions provided aid and comfort to elected Democrats, even as it disenfranchised millions of Americans who voted in their states to reject state-run exchanges. And Treasury knows how ugly this looks, which is why it initially stonewalled Congress in its investigation—at first refusing to give documents to investigators, and redacting large portions of the information.
These dots on the financial rigging side connect just as we hear that, on the drafting side, the shenanigans were just as wretched. . .
The Politics of Halbig
Jamelle Bouie is one of many arguing that the D.C. Circuit decision on Obamacare creates political peril for Republicans:
In Arkansas, where Republican Rep. Tom Cotton is running a tight race against the Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor, 40,000 people have paid premiums for health insurance on the federal exchange. If Halbig went into effect today, about 34,000 of those Arkansans would face huge increases in their premiums, given a national average increase of 76 percent, according to one study. That’s an unlikely outcome, but it shouldn’t (and likely won’t) stop Pryor from hitting Cotton as hostile to middle-class families and anyone else who needs health insurance.
I wouldn’t be so sure it works out that way. If tax credits suddenly get withdrawn and people have to pay a larger share of their premiums as a result, red-state Democrats probably will blame Republicans for causing the mess. But Tom Cotton neither wrote the flawed legislation, nor recklessly sent out tax credits in violation of it, nor filed the lawsuit against it. Wouldn’t he just parry by saying, “Obamacare has caused mess after mess”? Arkansas voters—who still dislike Obamacare—might well accept that version of events. . .
Just be sure to keep the focus of Obamacare's problems on the Democrats. They wrote it, they lied about what was in it, they passed it with zero assistance from the Republicans. They deserve all the the blame for whatever doesn't work.

Megan McArdle on the fraud issue: Add Fraud to the List of Obamacare Disasters
. . . It sounds like the systems that are supposed to check identity, immigration status and income simply aren’t working at all; the system just assumes that you are who you say you are.

This isn’t the only major part of the system that’s still missing; as the Official Blog Spouse reported last week, the system that pays insurers still seems to be MIA. Presumably, the emergency team called in to fix the exchanges prioritized the bits that the public could see, leaving everything else for later. Compared to what was described by the Barack Obama administration (and the law), the system still seems to be half-built.

How much does this matter? Obviously, all the GAO can say is that this is possible; we don’t know whether, or how often, such fraud has actually occurred. Even if you get an insurance card fraudulently, how easy would it be to use without ever being asked for picture ID? How many people would go to the trouble of faking or altering documents? And might the subsidies be taken away after review? We simply don't know.

Still, it’s obviously troubling that people could so easily fraudulently obtain government subsidies, because the incentive to do so is obvious: free money from the government. It’s also troubling because it makes one wonder what other major parts of the system simply aren’t working.
Room for fraud wasn't a mistake, it was baked in to get as many people as possible getting the cash and becoming reliant on subsidies.

New IRS Form Proves Obama Lied About Individual Mandate Tax
President Obama has repeatedly denied that the surtax is in fact actually a tax. The most prominent example was a heated exchange on ABC’s This Week in Sept. 2009, when George Stephanopoulos confronted Obama with a dictionary:

STEPHANOPOULOS: I -- I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax -- "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."

OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn't have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but...

OBAMA: ...what you're saying is...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I'm taking over every sector of the economy. You know that.

Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we're going to have an individual mandate or not, but...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it's a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.
On Thursday the IRS released a slew of draft 2014 tax forms. The new draft Form 1040 shows a new surtax line has been created for the payment of the individual mandate surtax – see line 61 of the 1040:

He lied. So sue him.

Rule 5 Saturday - Z is for Zelyaeva

This week's Rule 5 special is dedicated to a Russian model (I won't blame her for Ukraine). Valentina Zelyaeva has a nice short Wikipedia entry:
Valentina Zelyaeva (Zeliaeva) (b. October 11, 1982 in Moscow, Soviet Union) is a Russian model who has appeared on the cover of Spanish, Chinese, Greek, and Mexican editions of Vogue.
She's conquered more territory than Putin, if magazine covers count.

Valentina has been featured in print advertisements for Tommy Hilfiger, Coach, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren, with whom she signed a seven-year deal, appearing in several high-profile campaigns for the designer. In addition to her Vogue covers, she has appeared on the covers of Elle, Harper's Bazaar, W, and Glamour, among others. Her runway credits include Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Gucci and Valentino.
Basically, anybody who want a skinny chick to wear their clothes. Speaking of skinny chicks, Valentina is a strong advocate of skinny chicks rights:
On the controversial issue of banning underweight models from Milan Fashion Week, she said, "I think it's discrimination. We are skinny, this is our work. There are lots of overweight people working in offices but I'm not going to say, 'This girl is fat, she can't work in an office'."
Hooray for skinny chicks! They have feelings too. I guess.

GOODSTUFF seems to be commenting from the bowels of an alien spacecraft, after being abducted. I'm sure he'll be back in business shortly, after they realize who they're dealing with. Pirate's Cove linked it in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has the grand round up of Rule 5s "Rule 5 Sunday: Mind The Gap" up at The Other McCain. Also linked at Balckmailers Don't Shoot in "Rule 5 in Honor of Comic-Con 2014."