Saturday, June 24, 2017

Reason #5580 That Trump Was Elected

At least partially fulfilling another campaign promise Trump Signs VA Reform Bill Into Law
President Trump signed a Veterans Affairs bill into law Friday which is designed to make it easier for the agency to fire problem employees. From CNN:
“For many years, the government failed to keep its promises to our veterans. We all remember the nightmare that veterans suffered during the VA scandals that were exposed a few years ago,” Trump said during remarks in the East Room of the White House.
“Veterans were put on secret wait lists, given the wrong medication, given the bad treatments, and ignored in moments of crisis for them,” he said. “Many veterans died waiting for a simple doctor’s appointment. What happened was a national disgrace, and yet some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls. Outdated laws kept the government from holding those who failed our veterans accountable.”
“Today,” Trump said, “we are finally changing those laws.”
. . .The CNN report on problems at the VA is being released in the middle of the extremely contentious debate over repealing (or altering) of Obamacare. The VA is a completely socialized health care system, a step beyond single-payer, and it is an ongoing disaster. That ought to be part of the discussion about where our system is going, but for some reason, Democrats are never asked or expected to defend the VA even as they agitate for moving the entire nation in the direction of greater government control over health care.
The bill makes it easier to fire non-performing employees, or employees accused of malfeasance and strengthens protections for whistleblowers. Until now, it has been opposed by all left thinking democrats, under orders from their masters in the public sector employee unions.

Rule 5 Saturday - A Big Plus for Lauren Mellor

 This week's Rule 5 lovely is Lauren Mellor:

Lauren Mellor (born 29 December 1985) is a South African fashion model best known for appearance in South African and American Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition
 Mellor first signed with Star Model Management in Johannesberg, Storm Model Management in London, England, Outlaws Models in Cape Town, South Africa, and Modelwerk in Hamburg, Germany. Her first known work was the cover of Top Billing Magazine in April 2005. In 2007, Mellor landed a John Lewis campaign which caught the attention of several media outlets when the brand proclaimed they would only use healthy sized models. That same year, she graced the cover of FHM in South Africa and Essentials Magazine. Despite the initial success, Mellor focused on her studies and graduated from the University of Cape Town with a degree in psychology.
Looks healthy to me!
Beverly D'Angelo hosts GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE (298th Issue) this week, along with plenty of far out planetary science and heaps of nifty vintage stuff!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Smith Island to Get Upgrade

Smith Island is scheduled to get  much needed helping hand from the government. The Army Corps of Engineers releasing a plan that would build jetty's among other things to help alleviate erosion problems at Rhodes Point and reduce the need for dredging.

The Army Corps released the plan for public comment Thursday, but people 47 ABC spoke with are already giving it thumbs up.

"Our dear lord had a big hand in this cause prayers has been answered, yes," said Maxine Landon, a life-long resident of Rhodes Point, a part of Smith Island.

Landon said she has been pushing for a jetty to be created for close to 40 years. She said now that there are plans in place for their creation she couldn't be more elated.

The plan in part would be to realign a portion of Sheep Pen Gut and create two jetties. The jetties would reduce the need for continual dredging, a process where sand is removed from the floor of the bay.

Landon said right now the sediment is so built up that ships cannot pass through without bottoming out.

"Our men that that have to crab can't go out that way , they have to go the whole way around the island to get out in the Chesapeake Bay and that takes a lot of fuel," Landon said. "My brother for one can't get in there to his crab house to put his pots on his wharf because there's so much sand there he can't get in there."
If rising sea level is such a problem, why are their waterways getting shallower instead of deeper?

Some Killer Whipped Cream

Fitness model killed in freak whipped cream accident
A French fitness model died in a freak accident with a whipped cream dispenser, according to her family.

Rebecca Burger, who has more than 156,000 followers on Instagram, was killed when a defective whipped cream dispenser exploded and struck her in the chest, according to a post Tuesday from her family. She was 33.

The BBC reported that she received medical attention but ultimately died of cardiac arrest.

Her family warned fans not to buy the dispenser from the French manufacturer, claiming there were thousands of faulty devices still being sold.

Burger was popular on social media, where she’d post photos of her toned body in bikinis and share tips on food and fitness. She also competed in fitness and beauty competitions all over the world.
I'm so old, I can remember when you made whipped cream with cream and an electric mixer. I never heard of anyone being killed that way.

Reason #5579 That Trump Was Elected

China opened its gates to US beef imports this week, giving American cattle farmers much sought-after access to the country's massive market following a 14-year ban.

Shipments of eligible US beef have been allowed to enter China since Tuesday, the General Adminstration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement.

Announced last month, the lifting of the beef embargo was one of the first concrete results of trade discussions that began when Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Donald Trump at the US leader's resort in Florida in April.

The agreement, seen as a sign of warming trade ties between the world's largest economies, also gives US natural gas and certain financial services access to China's market of nearly 1.4 billion people.

In return the United States will allow cooked Chinese poultry to enter US markets.

China imposed a ban on US beef imports following a case of mad cow disease in the United States in 2003.
If we can't have free trade, maybe at least we can have fair trade.

I just hope it doesn't raise the price of steaks too much. Gotta have that red meat!

Fish Pic Friday - Jack Crevalle

or Crevalle Jack:
The crevalle jack, Caranx hippos (also known as the common jack, black-tailed trevally, couvalli jack, black cavalli, jack crevale and yellow cavalli) is a common species of large marine fish classified within the jack family, Carangidae. The crevalle jack is distributed across the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from Nova Scotia, Canada to Uruguay in the west Atlantic and Portugal to Angola in the east Atlantic, including the Mediterranean Sea. It is distinguishable from similar species by its deep body, fin colouration and a host of more detailed anatomical features, including fin ray and lateral line scale counts.

It is one of the largest fish in the genus Caranx, growing to a maximum known length of 124 cm and a weight of 32 kg, although is rare at lengths greater than 60 cm. The crevalle jack inhabits both inshore and offshore waters to depths of around 350 m, predominantly over reefs, bays, lagoons and occasionally estuaries. Young fish dispersed north by currents in the eastern Atlantic are known to migrate back to more tropical waters before the onset of winter; however, if the fish fail to migrate, mass mortalities occur as the temperature falls below the species' tolerance limits.

The crevalle jack is a powerful, predatory fish, with extensive studies showing the species consumes a variety of small fish, with invertebrates such as prawns, shrimps, crabs, molluscs and cephalopods also of minor importance. Dietary shifts with both age, location and season have been demonstrated, which led some researchers to postulate the species is indiscriminant in its feeding habits. The crevalle jack reaches maturity at 55 cm in males and 66 cm in females, with spawning taking place year round, although peaks in activity have been documented in several sites. The larval and juvenile growth has been extensively studied, with the oldest known individual 17 years of age. The crevalle jack is an important species to commercial fisheries throughout its range, with annual catches ranging between 1000 and 30 000 tonnes over its entire range. It is taken by a variety of netting methods, including purse nets, seines and gill nets, as well as hook-and-line methods. The crevalle jack is also a revered gamefish, taken both by lures and bait. The species is considered of good to poor quality table fare, and is sold fresh, frozen, or preserved, or as fishmeal or oil at market. The crevalle jack is closely related to both the Pacific crevalle jack and the longfin crevalle jack, the latter of which has been extensively confused with the true crevalle jack until recently.
I caught a number of them when I lived in Florida. We weren't impressed with their flavor then, but they were OK smoked. Pound for pound they are one of the fighting fish around. They do come into Chesapeake Bay on occasion in summer, and one friend caught a monster out on the Middle Grounds.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Went Fishing Again

Another sunrise over the Upper Chesapeake Bay. Mike, Bob and I met Pete at 5 AM at a marina on the South River for a commercial hook and line fishing trip. We stopped briefly at Thomas Pt. Shoals Lighthouse (1 keeper, I caught it) and some dinks, and the Bay Bridge (dinks, no keepers)
 We found ourselves fishing for suspended fish up near the approach to Baltimore Harbor, where 4 of these sailed by in formation.
Bob caught this Channel Catfish on a jig. Fishing was tough, though best in the morning.
Finding fish wasn't that hard, but getting them to bite was, but ultimately we managed 42 keepers, up to about 30 inches long; enough that Pete won't lose money on the trip after paying for gas, but not a bonanza.  The life of a commercial fisherman is not always easy, even when you have free labor.
 5 PM found us back at Thomas Pt. If you enlarge the picture, you can see the Bay Bridge in the background, and . . .

Reason #5578 That Trump Was Elected

Report: As Many as 5.7 Million Non-Citizens Voted in 2008 Election
A report from the conservative/libertarian think tank Just Facts shows that up to 5.7 million people who cast their ballots in the 2008 presidential election were non-citizens. The group used data from a Harvard study as well as U.S. Census Bureau data to arrive at that conclusion.

Just Facts also estimated that up to 3.6 million non-citizens cast their vote in 2012.

Washington Times:
Just Facts’ conclusions confront both sides in the illegal voting debate: those who say it happens a lot and those who say the problem nonexistent.
In one camp, there are groundbreaking studies by professors at Old Dominion University in Virginia who attempted to compile scientifically derived illegal voting numbers using the Harvard data, called the Cooperative Congressional Election Study.
On the other side are the professors who conducted the study and contended that “zero” noncitizens of about 18 million adults in the U.S. voted. The liberal mainstream media adopted this position and proclaimed the Old Dominion work was “debunked.”
The ODU professors, who stand by their work in the face of attacks from the left, concluded that in 2008 as few as 38,000 and as many as 2.8 million noncitizens voted.
Mr. Agresti’s analysis of the same polling data settled on much higher numbers. He estimated that as many as 7.9 million noncitizens were illegally registered that year and 594,000 to 5.7 million voted.
With voter ID laws in so many states, how did the non-citizens get away with it?. . .
If you can get fake ID or a fake SS#, you can vote. Any determined teenager can get a fake ID, and many, if not most illegal aliens have them.

That's a pretty wide range, but let's take the central tendency, and assume, for argument, that only 4.4 million voted. What was Hillary's margin on the  popular vote? 2.8 million?  So really, Trump may well have won the popular vote when only legal votes, by citizens, are considered.

It's Tanlines Thursday Again!



How about some more celebrity tanlines?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Corn: Better in Your Stomach Than in Your Gas Tank

Study finds Corn better used as food than biofuel
. . . To compare the energy efficiency and environmental impacts of corn production and processing for food and for biofuel, the researchers inventoried the resources required for corn production and processing, then determined the economic and environmental impact of using these resources – all defined in terms of energy available and expended, and normalized to cost in U.S. dollars.

“There are a lot of abstract concepts to contend with when discussing human-induced effects in the critical zone in agricultural areas,” Richardson said. “We want to present it in a way that will show the equivalent dollar value of the human energy expended in agricultural production and how much we gain when corn is used as food versus biofuel.”

Kumar and Richardson accounted for numerous factors in their analysis, including assessing the energy required to prepare and maintain the landscape for agricultural production for corn and its conversion to biofuel. Then, they quantified the environmental benefits and impacts in terms of critical zone services, representing the effects on the atmosphere, water quality and corn’s societal value, both as food and fuel.

In monetary terms, their results show that the net social and economic worth of food corn production in the U.S. is $1,492 per hectare, versus a $10 per hectare loss for biofuel corn production.
A big gain versus a net loss? Gasohol  has been a bipartisan boondoggle, and it's time to end it.

The First Day of Summer 2017 at the Beach

1 PM came around, and Skye was hot to go for a walk, even though temperatures were 85 and still climbing. Georgia had to go elsewhere, so Skye and I soldiered on without her.
The bay was flat, and this couple were out fishing out of a canoe. I hope they got something, but I'm not overly optimistic.
This young lady discovered that despite the black outer fur, Skye's underfur is white, and loose.
 A pretty good Snaggletooth Shark's tooth lying at the high water mark.
A good day for tanning.

A Roundup Roundup

Another Left-wing Science Scandal
. . . glyphosate was remarkably benign from an environmental standpoint. In general, insecticides are toxic to humans because humans are quite a bit like bugs. Herbicides, on the other hand, are generally not very toxic to humans, because we aren’t a lot like plants. But even in this context, glyphosate stood out as a harmless chemical. It targets an enzyme that is found in plants, but not in humans or animals. Moreover, glyphosate breaks down easily and does not persist in the environment. It is pretty much the perfect herbicide (until resistance starts to develop, but that’s another story).

This sounds like a win-win situation–cheaper food, better health, longer lifespans–but some people irrationally hate genetically modified crops, even though the modification–in this case, making the corn or soybean plant tolerant of glyphosate–has nothing to do with its nutritional value. After decades of world-wide experience with glyphosate, it was accepted that the product was safe. So it was a bombshell when the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared, in March 2015, that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic,” based on tests on rodents.

Hundreds of cancer patients promptly sued Monsanto, claiming the company had concealed the danger of carcinogenicity, notwithstanding the fact that it would be hard to find a farmer who hadn’t been exposed to glyphosate. The European Union said it would consider IARC’s finding when deciding whether to continue to allow glyphosate to be used in Europe. “Environmentalists” had scored a major coup.

But the whole thing turned out to be a fraud. Reuters has investigated, aided by access to deposition testimony in one or more of the lawsuits against Monsanto, which evidently was not subject to a protective order. Briefly put, the author of the IARC’s carcinogenicity study, Aaron Blair, an epidemiologist from the U.S. National Cancer Institute, covered up his own research showing that exposure to glyphosate did not lead to a higher incidence of cancer in humans. The story, as reported by Reuters, is astonishing:
Previously unreported court documents reviewed by Reuters from an ongoing U.S. legal case against Monsanto show that Blair knew the unpublished research found no evidence of a link between glyphosate and cancer. In a sworn deposition given in March this year in connection with the case, Blair also said the data would have altered IARC’s analysis.
But the data were not considered by IARC because including them would have made the report too long. Or something. You can read the Reuters story, or even this surprisingly sane Mother Jones article, for the details.

It seems obvious that this is another case where left-wing “scientists” concealed data that would have refuted their theory–here, that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic.* Remarkably, despite exposure of the scandal, IARC “stands by its findings.” Politics above all.
When I was involved in measuring pollutants in various Maryland and Washington D.C. waterbodies and organisms, we didn't even bother with glyophosate because it just wasn't there.

Team Climate Admits Reality Fails to Conform to Models

This is actually a pretty big concession on their part: The New ‘Consensus’ On Global Warming – a shocking admission by “Team Climate”
A scientific consensus has emerged among top mainstream climate scientists that “skeptics” or “lukewarmers” were not long ago derided for suggesting — there was a nearly two-decade long “hiatus” in global warming that climate models failed to accurately predict or replicate. A new paper, led by climate scientist Benjamin Santer, adds to the ever-expanding volume of “hiatus” literature embracing popular arguments advanced by skeptics, and even uses satellite temperature datasets to show reduced atmospheric warming.

More importantly, the paper discusses the failure of climate models to predict or replicate the “slowdown” in early 21st century global temperatures, which was another oft-derided skeptic observation.

“In the early twenty-first century, satellite-derived tropospheric warming trends were generally smaller than trends estimated from a large multi-model ensemble,” reads the abstract of Santer’s paper, which was published Monday.

“Over most of the early twenty-first century, however, model tropospheric warming is substantially larger than observed,” reads the abstract, adding that “model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.”
It's a start. To fix your errors you have to admit you were wrong.

And just because it's funny:


Reason #5574-5577 That Trump Was Elected

Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea for nearly a year and a half, died Monday afternoon, days after he returned home in a coma, his parents announced.

Warmbier, 22, had been medically evacuated last week and was being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, did not specify the cause of death.

But they made clear in a written statement that they blamed North Korea for what happened. Their son was arrested in January 2016 at the end of a brief tourist visit to the isolated country.

“Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today,” the Warmbiers said.
Kim Jong-un nervous about assassination: NIS
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un seems to feel “extremely nervous” about the allies’ possible clandestine operation to eliminate him, South Korea’s intelligence agency told lawmakers Thursday.

Due to concerns over potential airstrikes and assassination attempts, the young tyrant prefers to move at dawn and uses his subordinates’ cars, such as a Lexus car, not his own Mercedes-Benz 600, the National Intelligence Services told a closed-door parliamentary session, according to Rep. Lee Cheol-woo of the main opposition Liberty Party of Korea, who attended the meeting.
As he should be.

Left-wingers were nothing if not predictable.Otto Warmbier, Moral Perversion, and the Social Justice Left.

Larry Wilmore:
“It’s just tough for me to have much sympathy for this guy and his crocodile tears,” said former Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore amid what was billed as a comedic monologue on his now-cancelled show in March 2016. He noted that, according to reporting, Warmbier had committed the “international crime” of poster stealing as part of an initiation into his UVA fraternity. “You’ve got to read the fine print on your American frat bro warranty,” Wilmore noted mockingly. “It says, ‘Frat Bro Privilege not valid in totalitarian dystopias.’”
Huffington Post blogger La Sha blamed his “white male privilege.”
In Sha’s estimation, the accidents of Warmbier’s birth afforded him a “shield” from justice in the United States. His heterosexuality, white skin color, and male genitalia rendered him functionally above the law. “That kind of reckless gall is an unfortunate side effect of being socialized first as a white boy, and then as a white man in this country,” she wrote.

Whatever You Say, Officer!

A newly sworn-in sheriff's officer is fighting to keep her job after her department learned that she previously appeared in bondage films as a dominatrix.

Hudson County sheriff's officer Kristen Hyman is accused of conduct unbecoming a public employee and faces a disciplinary hearing June 27, The Jersey Journal reported on Thursday. The department says the videos, produced from 2010 to 2012, have sparked ridicule for it.
In the right light she could pass for Huma Abedin

The department suspended Hyman on May 26, six days before her academy graduation, saying she failed to disclose that she appeared in the films and sometimes saw clients privately for money.

Court documents show that Hyman told investigators she never appeared naked and didn't perform any sex acts in the videos.

Hyman called the videos "stupid stuff I did when I was a kid." She said that violent acts seen in some recordings, including whipping and kicking, were staged and that she was merely an actress. She also noted that she didn't use her real name.
Her stage name was "Domina Nyx" and at least she'll have some interesting stories to retell in the squad car.

In general, I'm in favor of forgiving people their stupid actions of the past, particularly younger people, who don't seem to develop mature brains before about 26. But that doesn't mean that you don't get to remind them now and then:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Trickle of Obamacare Schadenfreude

Obamacare continues its death spiral as There Are Now 45 Counties In The U.S. With No Obamacare InsurerObamacare Enrollment Drops To 10.3 Million from 12.2 million in March. Like rats from a sinking ship. No wonder; Iowa’s Last Obamacare Insurer Asks For 43% Rate Increase For 2018. But Don’t Blame Trump When ObamaCare Rates Jump
Insurers must submit applications by next Wednesday to sell plans through HealthCare.gov, and these will give us some of the first indicators of how high ObamaCare costs will skyrocket in 2018. ObamaCare supporters can’t wait to blame the coming premium increases on the “uncertainty” caused by President Trump. But insurers faced the same uncertainty last year under President Obama. . .
So where are the Republicans on this? Republicans are closer to killing ObamaCare than you think, the Senate GOP Sees Path To ObamaCare Repeal and Obamacare Repeal Moves Steadily Forward. It must be true because the Washington Post hyperventilates that Senate leaders plan to rush a health-care bill to a vote, and there’s nothing Democrats can do about it. About as much as Republicans could do with O-care. But it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings. House Republicans To Send Letter To McConnell Demanding Conservative Provisions In Senate Health-Care Bill. Trump didn't help when he told Republican Senators: The House Health-Care Bill Was “Mean”, and GOP considers keeping ObamaCare taxes.

Meanwhile, on the other side, Democrats fume over 'secret' Republican healthcare bill, and deciding once again that obstruction is not a naughty word, Democrats Plan To Halt Senate Business Over GOP Health Bill. Watch McCaskill Ripping GOP ‘Back Room’ Tactics Goes Viral

In new civility news, New Stanford debate group criticized for giving ‘legitimacy’ to Obamacare repeal. Wouldn't want the bad guys to win the debate:
The Obamacare debate was not fair because it gave “legitimacy” to the idea of repealing Obamacare, Daily columnist Terence Zhao wrote.

“But does that position really deserve half the stage? Does it really deserve any part of the stage?” Zhao said, citing the low public support for the Trump administration’s replacement bill, the American Health Care Act.

Repealing Obamacare is “a position that is even more on the fringe and almost twice as unpopular as … overthrowing the democratically elected U.S. government via a military coup,” so it should not be “respected as a legitimate position we should hear out,” he wrote.

Asked whether he thinks certain ideas shouldn’t be debated, Zhao told The Fix in an email: “I generally think that all ideas ought to be debated …What I was advocating for in the article was merely discussions that could be more nuanced and not framed around a yes/no question.
The Washington Post considers the Democrats favorite alternative Single-payer and discovers that Single-payer health care would have an astonishingly high price tag. UH-OH! Lefties are NOT liking WaPo editorial board’s single-payer reality check. Unicorns are expensive! Worse than horses! But There’s A Christian Alternative To Health Insurance, But It's Not For Everyone. You have to have faith; that's a barrier for me.

Reason #5573 That Trump Was Elected

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Education (DOE) pushed the "rape culture" narrative — that one quarter of women would be raped or sexually assaulted on college campuses, and that colleges could not trust the police to handle these crimes. This created a perverse system of campus tribunals which denied due process rights to (mostly) men accused of sexual assault.

On Friday, The New York Times reported on an internal memo published by Propublica showing the Trump administration's first steps in overhauling this "sex bureaucracy." The Times interpreted the move as "scaling back investigations into civil rights violations at the nation's public schools and universities."

The memo, written by Candice Jackson, the acting head of the DOE's Office of Civil Rights (OCR), reversed one part of the Obama administration's campus sexual assault policies, but it is an important first step in reforming the system. Under Obama, OCR investigated colleges when women accusers claimed the colleges were too lax on the men they accused of sexual assault.

"Whenever they had an allegation by some student that her Title IX rights had been violated by a college, they would not only look into the particulars of her complaint and fault the college for not giving her what she wanted, but they would launch a systematic investigation going back for years," Stuart Taylor, co-author of the book The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America's Universities, told PJ Media.
As Ace notes, it's not a panacea:
However, this move is a little bit on the tepid side-- while the new memo will de-escalate the Obama-era Pressure on colleges to create "sex bureaucracies" and extra-constitutional kangaroo courts, it will not affirmatively roll them back -- just take away the pressure for colleges to create and perpetuate this bizarre system.

Given that colleges want to do this crap, more will be necessary.

Though, it should be said, with the federal government no longer mandating the sex bureaucracy, colleges will find themselves more exposed to lawsuits prosecuted by the victims of the sex bureaucracies.
It appears that the current memo has not dealt with the due process problems with the Obama legacy; the fact that accused are rarely allowed to present a defense, and that guilt usually judged on a "preponderance of evidence" standard, not a high bar when no defense is allowed.

But a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

High Court Rules for the Redskins

An important ruling, not because it touches on the interminable debate over whether “Redskins” is offensive but because both sides of the Court used their opinions here to remind the public that “offensive” speech is fully protected. Here’s Alito, writing for himself, Roberts, Thomas, and Breyer: “We have said time and again that ‘the public expression of ideas may not be prohibited merely because the ideas are themselves offensive to some of their hearers.'”

The case itself dealt with an Asian-American band that wanted to trademark the name "Slants". I noted it several times during the football season. I would expect this protection to extend to the Redskins, particularly now with President Trump to rein in the Patent and Trademark Office, and Justice Gorsuch on the court.
I wonder if SCOTUS agreed to hear The Slants’ case partly because this was more favorable political ground for them to decide the issue than it would have been with the Redskins as the petitioner. Now, when the ‘Skins come before the Fourth Circuit, it’s a simple matter of applying precedent. I doubt the feds will even challenge the ruling if the Fourth Circuit rules for the team.
Shockingly, the decision was unanimous, except that Neil Gorsuch did not join, for a good reason.
Gorsuch didn’t participate in the case, by the way, because he wasn’t on the bench yet when oral arguments were heard. Exit quotation from Redskins owner Dan Snyder: “I am THRILLED! Hail to the Redskins.”
I just happen to have a lot of unused pictures of Redskins Cheerleaders cheering:


Monday, June 19, 2017

The "Dead Zone" is Back!

Scientists predict the Chesapeake Bay’s “dead zone” to be larger than average this year, due to higher spring rainfall amounts in states north of Maryland. The predictions follow several years of relatively small dead zones in the Bay. Last year, the dead zone was the smallest it had been since 1985. This year’s dead zone is predicted to be 1.89 cubic miles, or nearly the volume of 3.2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.

“Despite this year’s forecast, we’ve made great strides in reducing nutrient pollution from various sources entering the Chesapeake Bay, and we are starting to see positive long-term signs,” said Rob Magnien, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research. “However, more work needs to be done to address non-point nutrient pollution from farms and other developed lands, to make the Bay cleaner for its communities and economic interests.”

Dead zones are areas of the Bay with little to no oxygen, which stresses fish and other Bay life, like oyster and crabs, which need oxygen to support life. They are fueled by excess nutrient pollution, which feeds algae blooms, and when the algae dies it settles to the bottom and absorbs the oxygen in the water.

Scientists say the larger predicted dead zone is a result of higher than average spring rainfall amounts in New York and Pennsylvania. Stormwater that eventually makes its way to the Susquehanna River in those two states flows south until it reaches the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay, and this spring brought with it above average nitrogen loads, a nutrient that helps fuel algae growth.

“The forecast is a reminder that the improvements such as we saw last year are subject to reversal depending on weather conditions — two steps forward, one step back,” Don Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, said.
Without even going back to check, I'll tell you I told you so.

It is interesting that I saw the first signs of a low oxygen event on our beach yesterday.

Reason #5572 That Trump Was Elected

Trump’s Welcome Course Correction on Cuba
There was no pressing reason for President Obama’s normalization of relations with Cuba — it was not necessary or even advisable — but the president suggested that comity between the U.S. and Cuba, and a heavier exchange of goods and people, would help to relax the regime’s grip. More than two years later, it is clear that this is not true. While Americans are enjoying Cuban rum and cigars, the regime has stepped up its repressive activities since the “thaw” was announced. During the first six months of 2016, there were on average 1,095 short-term political detentions, according to the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation; there were 718 on average in 2015.
. . .
On Friday, President Trump announced that he plans to roll back parts of his predecessor’s Cuba policy. At the center of the president’s plan is a prohibition on commerce with any businesses owned by Cuban military or intelligence services. That’s a significant change: Such enterprises account for more than half of the Cuban economy. Given that it is not always easy to know in which businesses the regime has an interest, the policy is likely to have a chilling effect on buyers and investors. Trump, who announced his policy with a speech in Miami, is exactly right about the economic effects of Barack Obama’s policies: “The previous administration’s easing of restrictions of travel and trade does not help the Cuban people. They only enrich the Cuban regime.”. . .
Obama opened up to Cuba because he admired communist dictators and aspired to Marxism in the US. While there's nothing inherently wrong with achieving rapprochement with Cuba, it must be done on terms that favor the US, and help bring freedom to the people of Cuba.

Monday in Mexico

Rule 5 star Nina Agdal visits the land down under, Mexico

Sunday, June 18, 2017

It May Choke Hogs But It Won't Choke Me

Classical allusion in the title

A busy day at the beach. Temperatures at home were near 90, but more like 80 on the beach, with a nice south wind.
The water was clear and exceptionally cool, and Skye kept trying to drag us out into it.
Selfie time!
Georgia and Skye cool their heels in the local stream. We found a few fossils, with Georgia getting a big, but broken piece of crocodile tooth.

Do you see it?













It's the small brown crescent, just above center right. It's a Hogchoker, Trinectes maculatus half buried in the surf zone. A very small flounder, it is one of the most common, but most rarely seen fish in the bay, because of their camouflage, and the way they dig in. The fact that it is in such shallow water suggests that we had a low oxygen event, where south winds brought cool, clear, but low oxygen water into the shallow waters.

They have very tiny mouths, and couldn't hit most lures or bait if they tried. They are edible, but hardly worth the work.

Happy Father's Day

Father's Day is about done for me, what with fishing in the morning, and walking the beach this afternoon, so rather than compose a new post, I'm going to rip off an old post or two celebrate my father, Gary, and Georgia's father, Vince:

First my dad:

Thanks for the Inspiration, Dad!

Surrounded by family in Pismo Beach in 2014
Just a note that Dad isn't doing too well right now, yesterday he was in the hospital with blood clots in his legs and lungs. We'll find out later today if he was discharged or not. If you read this, wish him well, please.

And Georgia's Dad:

Father's Day Special Series - Part I

Father's Day Special Part II - Happy Father's Day, Vince!

Vince, left, in the South Pacific in WWII
We lost Vince to melanoma in 1988. Georgia suspects the cancer may have been the result of the intense sun exposure during WW II

Vince, lower left

Reason #5571 That Trump Was Elected

DO YOU WANT MORE TRUMP, BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP: 
A New York Times column about the need for mass deportations of native-born Americans, because they don’t live up to Ruling Class expectations.“Bottom line: So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future.”

Yeah, it’s not serious. Except that, really, it pretty much is. The problem with all the immigration talk is the strong sense that the ruling class wants to dissolve the people and elect another, one more tractable to their schemes. Stuff like this doesn’t help, though I suppose NYT readers think it’s clever. But unpack it a bit — and break down which classes of native-born Americans are pulling down the averages — and it looks pretty awful.

Plus: “Because I’m the child of immigrants and grew up abroad, I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers.”
The British Labour Party deliberately imported Muslims to dilute the Tory vote. Ask the people of Manchester how that worked out.

Father's Day Fishing

Dan invited Jerry and me out fishing on his boat early this morning. We were out before the sun was up.
We found fish in a familiar location. They were hitting top water plugs, the bigger and splashier the better.
We made the rookie mistake of keeping our six keepers early. The big ones started hitting after a little while. We could easily have got all our "over 28s" and filled our unders with 25-27 inch fish. Oh well.
The cormorants were all fishing too, and coming up with fish in their mouths. Undoubtedly the same bait the Striped Bass were eating.

Midnite Music - "Flashlight"



Bethany Mota:


Saturday, June 17, 2017

That Was Fast

On Wednesday morning, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was nearly murdered, and four others wounded less severely by a Bernie Bro enraged by Donald Trump, who was found with a hit list of conservative Republicans he presumably intended to kill. The same people who blamed Sarah Palin and the Tea Party rhetoric for Jared Loughner's attack which brain damaged Congresswoman Gabby Gifford (D-Arizona) were quick to remind us that he is not representative of the "mostly peaceful" left wing, and that we needed to come together and decry political violence.

On the day of the shooting The New York Times revived the nonexistent link between Sarah Palin and the Giffords shooting, and even the Washington Post denied and debunked the claim: The bogus claim that a map of crosshairs by Sarah Palin’s PAC incited Rep. Gabby Giffords’s shooting, and threatened to award the NYT (or anyone else) four Pinocchios for further infractions. Yeah, that'll stop 'em.

As noted by the Weasel Zippers, brought to us by Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 06.16.17", on the day of the shooting, a New Jersey Democrat started a hashtag #HuntRepublicanCongressmen
James Devine posted several messages on Facebook and Twitter following the Alexandra, Virginia, shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and several others by a gunman with a history of violence and of making online rantings against Republican officials and their policies.

“We are in a war with selfish, foolish & narcissistic rich people. Why is it a shock when things turn violent?” Devine posted on social media, ending the message with the hashtag: #HuntRepublicanCongressmen

“I have little sympathy for the Republican Congressman who got shot today because he viciously opposed President Obama’s effort to reduce gun violence and instead, he accepted more gun lobby money than all but 15 other members of the House of Representatives,” he said on Facebook.
and by Thursday, Democratic Congressional staffers boo Trump at unity baseball game and CBS anchor Scott Pelley was hinting that the attack might be foreseeable, predictable, self-inflicted. Nice tight skirt you got there, Republicans.

Beach Report 6/17/17

After lunch, we consented to be bullied to go down to the beach. It was about 80 F, humid and mostly sunny. It was hot for a dog in a black blanket, but it was her idea, and she waded in the bay and splashed in the stream to stay cool.

She also found an admirer or two.
Despite the first picture, that was taken after we pass a large group of people, there were a few people on the beach, including this woman using the scrape to look for fossils. I hope she had better luck than we did. I found one tooth, and Georgia found a fossil crab claw.
A slightly tattered Spicebush Swallowtail who stopped to puddle on the beach.

One way to stay cool. Take your beer with you.

Potomac Adjusts to Life with Snakeheads

It’s been 13 years since the snakehead, a.k.a. the frankenfish, was first found in the Potomac River. Initial predictions were dire, but during recent years it’s become clear that the snakehead is just another fish in the river.

The snakehead has not destroyed the Potomac River’s ecosystem as first predicted, and it appears that it’s coexisting with the other game fish in the river just fine. According to John Odenkirk, Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) biologist, the bass population in the Potomac River is better now than in recent years.

I interviewed Odenkirk regarding snakeheads in the Potomac River, and his interview, lightly edited, is below:

KA: Which section of the Potomac River has the densest population of snakeheads?

JO: The areas further downstream (away from D.C.), in newer colonized areas (with suitable habitat), generally will have higher numbers — these will usually be found in the back of tributary arms between Occoquan and Colonial Beach within both Maryland and Virginia. Areas closer to D.C. with higher numbers in Virginia are Aquia Creek (Stafford Co.) and the Occoquan River.
Mattowoman Creek on the Maryland side has a pretty health population too.
KA: During the past few years, has the population of snakeheads increased, decreased, or remained the same in the Potomac River? Has increased fishing pressure helped to reduce the snakehead population?

JO: Snakehead abundance increased dramatically after colonization, but trends suggest that increases in abundance may have slowed. Population estimates for Little Hunting Creek (tidal tributary of the Potomac River) declined each year from 2013 to 2015, supporting the assertion that northern snakehead density increases have slowed or that density has stabilized in some creeks.

So, after an initial burst when the fish first arrive, they settle into some equilibrium with the ecosystem. If you read much alarmist propaganda, "fragile" is an essential modifier to "ecosystem", but in fact, most ecosystems aren't
In the areas where they have been longest (e.g., around Mount Vernon), numbers seem to be declining in most Virginia creeks. I am fairly certain that a high level of exploitation (both commercial and recreational), which encompasses the huge increase in bow fishing, due to this fish, has helped suppress numbers.

KA: During the past few years, has the population of game fish, such as bass and walleye, increased, decreased, or remained the same in sections of the Potomac River which have snakeheads?

JO: We never see walleye in the Virginia portion of the tidal Potomac. This year, the largemouth bass population looks fantastic. On balance, the bass fishery has been better in the past five or six years than longer ago (during early phase of snakehead expansion). In short, it appears both populations are functioning completely independently of one another with no competition (plenty of forage to support both at current levels).
I'll bet the Bass enjoy them some little Snakeheads. And Blue Catfish, too!
KA: Snakeheads are fun to catch and are also delicious to eat. Is there a chance they will ever get reclassified as a game fish, with trophy citations awarded?

JO: Maybe someday. Probably citations before game fish status, if it happens.

KA: What is the largest or heaviest snakehead documented to have been harvested in the Potomac River?

JO: We don’t track those numbers officially, but it’s in the 17- to 18-pound range.
This, of course, was predicted long ago by my fishing guide friend Mike Starrett, of Indian Head Charters, who runs charter trips for  Snakeheads in  Mattawoman Creek, on the Potomac downstream a little bit from Washington D.C.  In fact, he's starting to complain that the bow hunters have reduced the population a bit too much.