Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Just Some Russiagate

Only two, related articles to discuss Sundance at CTH reports, Chairman Schiff Sends Unilateral and Political Demand Letter to ODNI Richard Grenell…
HPSCI Chairman Adam Schiff is one of the most partisan political operatives in DC. Schiff has a reputation of focusing exclusively on politics in every aspect of his responsibility. His political emphasis was highlighted today when chairman Schiff writes a letter to Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, angered that he was not consulted about executive branch personnel changes within the intelligence community.

Adam Schiff is such a hack… His protestations are actually a little funny . . .
Damn, that Trump forgetting that the House gets to vote on executive branch nominations....

As proof of his general asshattery, Instapundit,  ADAM SCHIFF IS A DISGRACEFUL POSEUR.

Sorry Adam, your 15 minutes died with impeachment.

Federal Judge Keeps Ocean City Nipple Imprisoned

Chelsea Eline at Ocean City
Ocean City Wins Challenge To Topless Ban
Convinced Ocean City officials have a better understanding of the public sensibilities of its residents and guests than the plaintiffs in the case, a federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a civil suit that wanted women to be able to go topless in the resort.

In January 2018, a civil suit was filed in U.S. District Court challenging an emergency ordinance passed by the Mayor and Council in June 2017 prohibiting females from going topless in the same areas as men are allowed to go shirtless, including the beach and Boardwalk, for example. The plaintiffs in the case, including local resident Chelsea Eline and four others, argued the emergency ordinance passed by the Mayor and Council in June 2017 violated their constitutional rights allowing them, and ostensibly any other woman who chose to do so, to go topless in certain areas of the resort where men are allowed to go shirtless.

The case centered on who was best suited to assess the public sensibilities of Ocean City’s residents and visitors. Ocean City asserted the very elected officials who passed the emergency ordinance were best suited to gage  (sic) the community’s collective opinion on the female public topless issue based on interactions with residents and guests.

“Protecting the public sensibilities is an important government interest based on an indisputable difference between the sexes,” the town’s rationale for the emergency ordinance reads. “Further, a prohibition against females baring their breasts in public, although not offensive to everyone, is still seen by society as unpalatable.”

Meanwhile, the plaintiffs relied heavily on the report and testimony of noted University of Indiana professor Dr. Debra Herbenick about the changing public sensibilities regarding female bare-chestedness in public. In the end, U.S. District Court Judge James Bredar ruled the town’s elected officials were better suited to assess their community’s public sensibilities on the topless issue and ruled in favor of Ocean City, granting the town’s motion for summary judgment on Tuesday.

“Ocean City’s stated purpose for enacting the ordinance is that protecting the public sensibilities is an important governmental interest,” the memorandum in support reads. “The court has held that protecting the moral sensibilities of that substantial segment of society that still does not want to be exposed willy-nilly to public displays of various portions of their fellow citizens’ anatomies that traditionally in this society have been regarded as erogenous zones is an important government interest under the equal protection analysis.”
Chelsea explains her obsession with freeing the nipple at Ocean City in THE OCEAN CITY LAWSUIT EXPLAINED, A BIT.
Q: There are so many bigger concerns in the world. Why is topfreedom important and why are you putting so much effort into this?

A: At first glance, there probably do seem to be many more important struggles going on in the world than women having the right to go bare-chested in public. But in the broader sense, the topfreedom movement has arisen over decades as a response to a society that has continued to blame women for rape and assaults instead of holding their attackers wholly responsible for their crimes. Decades of using a woman’s attire against her during rape trials led to some activists removing their shirts and declaring, “Not even now.” Meaning, not even when completely unclothed does a woman bear responsibility for being assaulted or raped. The fact that this criminal responsibility has been so difficult to establish has driven and emboldened the topfreedom movement. Topfreedom now also addresses other areas such as body shaming, body positivity, bullying, forced modesty, entrenched prejudice and gender stereotypes, bias in women’s health and so on. And what that all means is that at its core, our lawsuit against Ocean City is about the single most important challenge facing American society today broadly speaking, namely… are we a society in which all people are governed by one set of rules, no asterisks, no exceptions? Is the United States a land of equality or inequality? Nothing is more important to the future of the United States. Nothing.
Nothing!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Must See Twitter Threat on Venezuela Piracy

See the rest here

Russiagate Still Going

Opposing views on Michael Atkinson, the IG that Trump fired for being untrustworthy. Ellen Nakashima at WaPoo pens a love letter on the second page, Inspector general who handled Ukraine whistleblower complaint says ‘it is hard not to think’ Trump fired him for doing his job. But Margot Cleveland at Da Fed lays out in excruciating detail Why Inspector General Michael Atkinson Roundly Deserved To Be Fired. Ashe Schow, at Da Wire, Trump Defends Firing ‘Terrible’ Intel IG: ‘He’s A Total Disgrace’
“As is the case with regard to other positions where I, as President, have the power of appointment … it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general,” Trump wrote, as previously reported by The Daily Wire. “That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General.”

On Saturday, Trump defended his decision to the press, saying Atkinson did “a terrible job” when he turned over a whistleblower complaint to congress that led to Democrats impeaching the president, Reuters reported.

“He took a fake report, and he brought it to Congress,” Trump said, referring to the fact that the whistleblower had no direct knowledge of what he was complaining about and was merely reporting rumors he had heard from other people – many of which ended up being false and others gravely misconstrued.

Atkinson had deemed the whistleblower complaint of “urgent concern” and sent it to a Democrat-controlled congress determined to remove the president from office. Then-Acting Direct of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, however, said Atkinson was not required by law to turn the complaint over to congressional Democrats.
Via the Wombat In The Mailbox: 04.06.20, This Ain’t Hell: Schiff Whines That Trump Is “Retaliating” Against Enemies, Politics ain't beanbag. Not terribly surprisingly, Collins Sides with Dems, Calls Trump Firing of Atkinson “not warranted”
Collins noted that by giving the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence committees a 30-day notification that he was removing Atkinson, Trump followed a 2008 law on inspectors general that she co-authored. But the senator, who is facing a tough reelection race in the fall, added that she didn’t find Trump’s “rationale” for firing Atkinson to be “persuasive.”
Breitbart, Clyburn: Trump Firing Inspector General ‘One of the Reasons’ Pelosi Formed House Committee to investigate stimulus funds and coronovirus. Like they needed an excuse.

Hey, anybody remember when Obama fired the IG investigating his friend's corruption of AmeriCorps?
President Barack Obama says he has lost confidence in the inspector general who investigates AmeriCorps and other national service programs and has told Congress he is removing him from the position.

Obama's move follows an investigation by IG Gerald Walpin finding misuse of federal grants by a nonprofit education group led by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is an Obama supporter and former NBA basketball star.

Walpin was criticized by the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento for the way he handled the investigation of Johnson and St. HOPE Academy, a nonprofit group that received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs the AmeriCorps program.
Rowan Scarborough at  WaT, 'Ballooned at inception': Trump to cull 'bloated' intelligence community
“Many of us in the senior ranks believe the DNI had become bloated,” said Mr. Hoffman, who practiced his spycraft in the Middle East and Moscow. “And it’s what happens in bureaucracies. It’s just too many people and too many jobs. The DNI was designed to coordinate among the different agencies. Not duplicate the work of the agencies. So there was a lot of mission creep.”
Like, how to get rid of the President they hated. From JTN, Key congressman questions FBI Director Wray's commitment to cleaning up bureau's faults


This should be fun. Not particularly enlightening, but fun, Tyler O'Neil at PJ Media, Hillary Clinton Can't Duck Out of Benghazi Testimony by Citing Official Privilege, State Dept. Says. I'll bet there's a lot of amnesia going around.

Alas, No More Pussy

James Bond actress Honor Blackman dies aged 94. A pretty good run.
In a statement, her family said she died peacefully of natural causes at home in Lewes, East Sussex.

Blackman was also known for playing Cathy Gale in the 1960s TV series The Avengers opposite Patrick Macnee.

The pair had a novelty hit with 1964's Kinky Boots, which reached the Top 10 in 1990.

Her other roles included Hera in Jason and the Argonauts and Laura West in 1990s TV series The Upper Hand.

The statement issued by Blackman's family said: "As well as being a much adored mother and grandmother, Honor was an actor of hugely prolific creative talent.

"With an extraordinary combination of beauty, brains and physical prowess, along with her unique voice and a dedicated work ethic, she achieved an unparalleled iconic status in the world of film and entertainment.

"With absolute commitment to her craft and total professionalism in all her endeavours she contributed to some of the great films and theatre productions of our times.

"We ask you to respect the privacy of our family at this difficult time."

Comedian and Bond fan David Walliams said Blackman would "live forever" as Pussy Galore.

Director Edgar Wright, meanwhile, remembered her as the "ultimate Bond girl and original Avenger".

Born in Plaistow in East London in 1925, Blackman trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Blackman's martial arts training helped her win the role of Pussy Galore, an associate of criminal mastermind Auric Goldfinger in the third James Bond film.

Her pilot character - who was openly lesbian in Ian Fleming's original novel - becomes Bond's ally after a literal roll in the hay.

"I was already a James Bond fan but I asked to read Goldfinger before taking the part," she once revealed.

"By the time I had read it, I was convinced it was absolutely me."

Yet the role was not a particularly glamorous one for the actress.

"Everyone thinks I went to exotic locations on Goldfinger," she recalled at a celebration event at Pinewood Studios in 2008.

"But the furthest I got was RAF Northolt, just up the road."

Monday, April 6, 2020

Will WuFlu Save The Bay?

Probably not, but it will definitely take the pressure off fish and oysters for a while. First off, Virginia has bet big on oysters. But amid the pandemic, no one’s buying them.
2020 was supposed to be Rogue Oysters’ year.

The four-year-old enterprise founded by husband-wife duo Taryn Brice-Rowland and Aaron Rowland in the Northern Neck community of Lancaster had already taken a hit early in its life when record-breaking rains swept through Virginia in 2018, diluting the salty waters where the bivalve thrives and wiping out that year’s crop.

But the pair persisted, beginning again the laborious two-year process of raising oysters from seed to shell. They started selling to other oyster businesses that supplied restaurants through the wholesale market and laid plans to break into direct restaurant sales themselves. This year they finally hired their first employee, with a planned start date in April.

Then the new coronavirus hit.

“Our orders basically stopped in early March,” said Brice-Rowland. Now, she said, “We have 300,000 oysters in the water right now that may not ever find a home we intended for them. We’ll have to find a way to get rid of them.”

Rogue Oysters isn’t alone in that predicament. All up and down the coasts and waterways of Virginia, where John Smith once reported the oysters “lay as thick as stones,” the farmers who cultivate this prized marine resource are faced with a tough predicament. The oysters they’ve raised are piling up, but there’s nowhere for them to go.
I would guess that without restaurants to sell to, fishing on wild oysters is way down too. And fishing for Stripped Bass will be way down in Maryland if the ban on recreational boating and fishing stands too: Recreational sailors and boaters combat DNR restrictions
Craig Ligibel, 72, who lives off the South River and is a sailboat and powerboat owner, sent a letter to Hogan this week in response to the “stay at home” order the governor put in place on March 30. Ligibel believes the Department of Natural Resources ban on recreational boating "does not treat all who enjoy Maryland’s waterways equally.”

“First of all, this is a grassroots effort by a sailor who has no affiliation with a yacht club or an organization. I’m just a guy who has spent hundreds of days on the water in the past seven years since we moved here,” Ligibel said. “My sense was whoever drew up the regulations with the ‘stay at home’ order as it pertains to recreational boating didn’t treat sailors with the same depth of knowledge as he might have with respect to the fishermen."


Ligibel did not want to leave the impression he represents a “bunch of elitists” that want to go out sailing while other people are under stress.

"The point is: if someone is allowed to go out fishing or in a charter boat situation, or a paddle board or kayak situation, why shouldn’t someone be able to walk down to his dock, get in his boat and go sailing by himself or with his daughter or with his grandson,” Ligibel said.

Ligibel wrote in his letter to Governor Hogan: “A sailor on a small boat with a crew of his/her family of no more than four people is less likely to transmit the COVID-19 virus than someone who is standing in line at a local hardware store to buy mulch or tomato plants and/or an individual who is picking up a case of wine at a liquor store. These activities are permitted. Sailing is not.”
The ban on boating from the Hogan administration has a curious loophole. Charter fishing services are allowed to take up to ten people, once the recreational season is open, providing proper "social distancing" is maintained. This is curious. It's going to be very difficult to maintain social distancing, and lack of contamination on a relatively small boat, where everybody has to touch the same surfaces. I believe this reflects Hogan's long standing support from and interest in the commercial fishing business. While I generally support Hogan, this is one of his less appealing aspects.

All Models are Wrong But Some Models are Useful

With the title quotation from George Box ringing in our heads, a round up of useful articles:

Da Mail: Coronavirus peak death rate will strike U.S. in 11 days when 2,644 people will die in 24 hours as shocking graphs reveal grim state-by-state breakdown of when hospitals will be overwhelmed and how many will die



Many more graphs at the link. But don't just see the central trend. See the ranges too.  From the Peacock, Bill Gates calls coronavirus pandemic a ‘nightmare scenario,’ but predicts lower death toll than Trump. Well, my cynical political guess is that Fauci, Brix and Trump are all overstating the predicted deaths to claim victory when they come in lower. Based on that alone, I'm going to predict 50k. If it comes in lower than 50k, it probably wasn't worth killing the economy over.

Stacy McCain, Coronavirus ‘Myths’ and Real Numbers
There has been a lot of noise in the media about Republican governors in some states being reluctant to impose statewide stay-at-home orders, and people in rural America failing to follow “social distancing” guidelines. Supposedly, this is a result of their believing “myths” that they are somehow safe from coronavirus, but because I’m not a mindreader, I can’t presume to know what people believe. Certainly there have been outbreaks in rural communities, as in the case of Dougherty County, Georgia, were two large funerals Feb. 29 and March 7 acted as “super-spreading” events, infecting dozens of people, 90% of whom were black.
. . .
It must be understood that risk is a matter of statistical probability. Your infection risk is lower in rural Minnesota than it is in Detroit or in New York City, but being “low risk” is not the same thing as being “safe.” In a pandemic, nobody is at zero risk. But even the most drastic governmental restrictions will not lower the risk to zero. Italy has been under a nationwide lockdown order since March 11. Friday, they reported 4,585 new COVID-19 cases — and that’s good news, because the daily number of new cases has declined 30% since March 21, when Italy reported 6,557 new cases. So, after three weeks of lockdown, Italy has already “flattened the curve” (i.e., the number of new cases has already peaked), but they’re still reporting thousands of new cases daily and people continue to die. That’s simply the reality, and nothing we can do in the United States will prevent our outbreak from following the same trajectory. Once we have passed the crisis point — once the outbreaks in New York, in Detroit and other “danger zones” have passed their peak, straining available medical resources — it’s not as if we will then return to a condition of “safety.”

The pandemic will run its course, and a certain number of people will die, because the death toll for May is pretty much already baked into the pie, so to speak. Once you have imposed the most drastic lockdown measures, there is really nothing more you can do, in terms of “flattening the curve,” but at some point the pandemic will peak — reaching the “apex,” as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says repeatedly in his daily briefings — and then you should be prepared to begin a return to normal. Italy has already passed its “apex,” but their hospital system is still overwhelmed and they are still recording more than 700 COVID-19 deaths daily.
 From Maggies Farm, Covid-19: What to do when you have no meaningful data yet



Five Thirty Eight, Coronavirus Case Counts Are Meaningless*
If you’re a regular reader of FiveThirtyEight, you’re probably used to looking at data in sports — where basically everything that happens on a basketball court or a baseball diamond is recorded — or in electoral politics, when polls (in theory, anyway) survey a random sample of the population. COVID-19 statistics, especially the number of reported cases, are not at all like that. The data, at best, is highly incomplete, and often the tip of the iceberg for much larger problems. And data on tests and the number of reported cases is highly nonrandom. In many parts of the world today, health authorities are still trying to triage the situation with a limited number of tests available. Their goal in testing is often to allocate scarce medical care to the patients who most need it — rather than to create a comprehensive dataset for epidemiologists and statisticians to study.

But if you’re not accounting for testing patterns, it can throw your conclusions entirely out of whack. You don’t just run the risk of being a little bit wrong: Your analysis could be off by an order of magnitude. Or even worse, you might be led in the opposite direction of what is actually happening. A country where the case count is increasing because it’s doing more testing, for instance, might actually be getting its epidemic under control. Alternatively, in a country where the reported number of new cases is declining, the situation could actually be getting worse, either because its system is too overwhelmed to do adequate testing or because it’s ramping down on testing for PR reasons.

Failure to account for testing strategies can also render comparisons between states and countries meaningless. According to two recent epidemiological studies, which tried to infer the true number of infected people from the reported number of deaths, there is roughly a 20-fold difference in case detection rates between the countries that are doing the best job of it, such as Norway and the worst job, such as the United Kingdom. (The United States is probably somewhere in the middle of the pack by this standard.) That means, for example, that in one country that reports 1,000 COVID-19 cases, there could actually be 5,000 infected people, and in another country that reports 1,000 cases, there might be 100,000!

There is also a lot of uncertainty about the true numbers of infections within a given country. According to an expert survey published by FiveThirtyEight, the number of detected cases in the United States could underestimate the true number of infected people by anywhere from a multiple of two times to 100 times. The same holds in other countries. A recent paper published by Imperial College London estimated that the true number of people who had been infected with the coronavirus in the U.K. as of March 30 was somewhere between 800,000 and 3.7 million — as compared to a reported case count through that date of just 22,141.
Locomotive Breath, Morning Coffee
Almost 287% Wuhan Corona Virus-free. Because without a hard numerator/denominator, it's all just academic chicken scratch.
Analyst Discovers a Major Flaw in IHME Model Used by White House; Actual Numbers Are a Fraction of Expected
"Davis writes that if we’re going to shut down the entire nation’s economy to “flatten the curve” based on the projections of a single model, it shouldn’t be too much to ask that the model approximate reality when it comes to hospitalizations."
Models are notoriously inaccurate. IE: economic forecasts (unexpectedly!), global warming, etc. Yet, gross over-reactions are often the result. And people frequently prefer tribalism to rational debate about these numbers. I get called everything but a child of God when I simply ask, "How is it every year tens of millions of flu infections, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations for flu, and tens of thousands of flu deaths, do not overwhelm our medical system, or our economy, but this mysterious Wuhan Corona Virus with far fewer numbers has plunged the entire world into medieval darkness?"

"Shut up!," they yell.
And Anthony Watts from WUWT, #coronavirus How to analyze and not analyze #COVID-19 deaths
Don’t look just at deaths from coronavirus, look at cumulative deaths from comorbidities. Since most people dying from coronavirus also exhibit comorbidities,[1] and it is unclear how deaths are assigned to the former rather than one of the co-morbidities and whether there is a uniform accepted methodology from one doctor to another (or one hospital to another or one country to another) in the assignments, it is not clear how much credence can be given to coronavirus death estimates at this time.

This also means that we shouldn’t attempt cross-country and cross-jurisdictional comparisons because they could mislead. It is best to look at (and compare) aggregate excess deaths from all co-morbidities rather than just one or another co-morbidity. I would suggest looking at excess deaths against an average over the last 5-10 years for both all-cause deaths and deaths from all coronavirus-plus- comorbidities to get an idea about how devastating coronavirus has been versus an average year.

To compare deaths between jurisdictions, don’t look at absolute deaths, look at death rates, based on population sizes. It makes no sense to compare absolute numbers of deaths in Italy, UK, San Marino, and Sweden against those in the U.S.

Each area is different. From where I sit — in Northern Virginia — New York is another country. And from upstate New York, New York City is also another country. Risk factors such as population density, use of mass transit, presence of people who have recently travelled elsewhere, norms regarding appropriate social distance, household size, age composition of households, and all the other coronavirus risk factors are likely to be different in each area. One should, therefore, expect each location would have its own curve that would have to be flattened. Some areas may literally be “ahead of the curve” since these areas have had some advance warning before the virus was brought into their communities and may not need to take drastic measures to flatten the curve. Aggregating data across urban and rural areas does not make much sense.
When Mom died at 93 years old, from complications from a fall that caused her leg to become anoxic, the death certificate listed diabetes, COPD and congenital heart failure as contributing to her death. Does that mean they get to count those for government statistics, and use them in political propaganda? My guess is yes.

So bottom line? We still don't know how serious this is, but don't worry, we're about to find out.

Russiagate Never Sleeps

It just nods off now and then. But it's back. The latest batch is largely awake because  Trump Fires Intelligence Inspector General Who Began Ukraine Probe (Rick Moran, PJ Media). He's not happy about it.
Trump's firing of Atkinson is troubling not only because he apparently did nothing wrong and performed his job competently. Rather, he angered Trump personally and was considered "disloyal." Is personal loyalty to the president now to become the benchmark for service for presidential appointees? Certainly, all presidents are due an appointee's loyal and dedicated service, but should it come at the expense of performing one's job and executing the law?

Once the whistleblower formally complained about the Ukraine phone call, Atkinson's hands were tied. It didn't matter if the whistleblower was a Democratic "plant" by the deep state. The whistleblower law set a specific, precise series of events in motion that Atkinson and Trump himself were powerless to stop. That's what the whistleblower law was supposed to do and the events that unfolded were a direct result of that.

Trump is who he is and the American people will make their judgment of him in November. But the pettiness of the president in gaining his revenge on those he sees as having crossed him diminishes both Trump and the office of president.
The list of Michael Atkinson's involvements with the "Deep State" plotters is long and serious. Trump could not trust him; and why should he try? John Dietrich at AmThink, President Trump takes control of Intelligence Community
The firing of Michael Atkinson, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, is another step toward the gradual exposure of the Deep State. Atkinson had been nominated for the position by Trump in November 2017. In his letter to Congress the President explained that he had lost confidence in Atkinson. Progressives were up in arms.

Former CIA director John Brennan called President Trump's shakeup in the intelligence community a "virtual decapitation." Nancy Pelosi stated, “This latest act of reprisal against the Intelligence Community threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power. The President must immediately cease his attacks on those who sacrifice to keep America safe." Adam Schiff tweeted, "Trump’s dead of night decision to fire ICIG Michael Atkinson is another blatant attempt to gut the independence of the Intelligence Community." Schiff tweeted this at 9:39 PM, so he could not have received it in the "dead of night." However, it sounds more sinister than late Friday evening. Senator Chuck Schumer said, “Michael Atkinson is a man of integrity who has served our nation for almost two decades. Being fired for having the courage to speak truth to power makes him a patriot.” And Sen. Mark Warner said, “In the midst of a national emergency, it is unconscionable that the president is once again attempting to undermine the integrity of the intelligence community by firing yet another intelligence official simply for doing his job.”

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the upper management of the intelligence agencies were working to defeat Trump from the beginning. When Chuck Schumer told Rachel Maddow, “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. For a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this,” the intelligence community had already taken him on.
Lifezette at AmMirror, Schiff, Pelosi blast Trump over ‘dead of night’ Intel IG firing. To be fair, their record of blasting Trump for doing anything is pretty well established and should be ignored.

From sundance at CTH, Laughable and Political – Former ICIG Michael Atkinson Releases Ridiculous Political “Statement”….. Well, who likes to fired?
Everything anyone needed to know about the motives and intents of fired Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson is evidenced by his releasing a political statement tonight protesting his termination.

Atkinson doesn’t write a “letter”, his diatribe is not addressed to anyone, it is just a political “statement” designed to be exploited by the same people, for the same intents, as his prior ICIG work product. This transparently political effort is ridiculous.
. . .
Just as pathetic and political as Atkinson’s statement, is the statement expressed by current DOJ IG Michael Horowitz on behalf of Atkinson. . .

What makes this Horowitz statement so ridiculous, political and hypocritical, is that only four days earlier IG Horowitz was so alarmed at the gross incompetence of Atkinson that he submitted an interim memorandum noting extreme deficiencies in the FISA work product of Michael Atkinson as legal counsel for the DOJ-NSD.

The DOJ and FBI have an internal FISA self-check mechanism. The DOJ National Security Division (DOJ-NSD) chief counsel Michael Atkinson, and the chief counsel for every FBI field office are required to conduct an “Accuracy Review” of selected FISA applications. One per field office (25 to 30 field offices),which are also sent to DOJ-NSD (main justice) for general counsel Atkinson inspection.

Horowitz detailed 39 examples of Michael Atkinsons’ willful violations of law and policy within 42 “accuracy review” files at the DOJ-NSD. The error rate within the DOJ-NSD files that Atkinson was responsible for was over 93%.
Where but in government can you do your job with 7% satisfactory results, and expect to keep it?

And the official opinion page of the WaPoo (as opposed to the whole rest of the paper being opinion) whines  A follow-up on the Carter Page warrant is, once again, not flattering to the FBI, but manages to take a swipe at Trump.
President Trump has not helped matters by repeatedly denouncing FISA generally due to the purported “coup” against him in the Page case, even though abuses in that instance had nothing to do with the authorities requiring reauthorization. His complaints have emboldened long-standing FISA critics on Capitol Hill such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who have a wider agenda to gut what is still broadly valuable legislation. A compromise FISA reauthorization incorporating significant new civil-liberties protections had passed the House before March 15, with the support of Attorney General William P. Barr, but the Senate’s failure to approve it led to the lapse in authority. The House measure is the place to start when the upper chamber addresses FISA, as it urgently must upon its return from recess April 20.

Another Messy Monday

It's gonna be another ugly week.


Sunday, April 5, 2020

Forget It Jake, It's Baltimore

Who needs social distancing when you have a Saturday Night Special. The Balmer Sun, Baltimore crime during coronavirus: Property crime plummets, gun violence continues
For five days after Baltimore’s mayor declared a state of emergency related to the coronavirus, the city didn’t record a single homicide.

It seemed possible that concern over the pandemic might suppress the city’s longstanding plague of gun violence. The reprieve was short-lived.

Since March 23, the city has seen 11 killings in 12 days, with at least 18 more people shot and wounded. That doesn’t include a man fatally shot by a police officer. March finished with 18 homicides, a number in line with what’s typically been recorded during the month in recent years.

But the overall crime picture remains more complex. Total reported crime in Baltimore has indeed dipped, as have calls to 911, data show. Reported property crime is down considerably: Burglaries, larcenies and auto thefts have fallen each of the past three weeks, and have been cut in half compared with the same period last year.
 So far murder is still ahead, with only 7 deaths in Baltimore City due to WuFlu.

A Little Bit of Russiagate

Just a dab. WaPoo reacts predictably to the firing of Michael Atkinson as Inspector General of the intelligence community. Trump calls fired intelligence watchdog a ‘disgrace’ as Democrats rebuke his decision
Trump alerted Congress Friday night that he planned to remove Michael Atkinson from his post. On Saturday afternoon, he went on an extended riff about the decision during the White House coronavirus task force briefing.

“I thought he did a terrible job. Absolutely terrible,” Trump said. “That man is a disgrace to IGs.”

Last September, Atkinson alerted Congress to an “urgent” and “credible” whistleblower complaint he’d received against Trump that accused the president of asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call to open an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Which, of course, was not true; read the damn transcript!
Leading congressional Democrats expressed deep concern over Trump’s decision to fire Atkinson, especially with the nation in the throes of the coronavirus outbreak.

“This latest act of reprisal against the Intelligence Community threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “The President must immediately cease his attacks on those who sacrifice to keep America safe, particularly during this time of national emergency.”
. . .
Atkinson was placed on administrative leave immediately after he was informed Friday night that he was being removed.

The president’s ousting of Atkinson comes as the nation is in the grip of a global pandemic that has upended Americans’ lives. And some Democrats accused Trump of taking a divisive action while the country is distracted by the public health crisis.

“President Trump is using a global pandemic as cover to exact political revenge against the Intelligence Community Inspector General who revealed his misconduct. Firing IG Atkinson is corruption, and it threatens our national security during a global crisis,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted Saturday morning.

Others described the timing of Atkinson’s termination in foreboding terms.

“Weakening our national security institutions is bad enough during a time of global calm; during the current instability we’re faced with, it’s particularly dangerous,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) similarly said, “At a time when our country is dealing with a national emergency and needs people in the intelligence community to speak truth to power, the president’s dead of night decision puts our country and national security at even greater risk.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a vocal Trump advocate during the impeachment probe, mocked Schiff for being upset about Atkinson’s firing, calling him Schiff’s “key impeachment enabler.” Republicans slammed Schiff, who led the House’s impeachment investigation, for refusing to make public a transcript of a closed-door interview with Atkinson.
Gee, I wonder why not? He was sure quick to release anything that hurt Trump.

But let's be serious a minute. How could Trump ever accept advice from Atkinson knowing that Atkinson was part of the conspiracy against him?

From Sundance at CTH, DNI Richard Grenell Announces Col Thomas Monheim as Acting Intel Community Inspector General…
Acting DNI Richard Grenell announces the replacement for ICIG Michael Atkinson.

Thomas Monheim is a retired Colonel from the US Air Force Reserves and is currently the General Counsel of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Previously, Col Monheim served as Associate Counsel to the President and Deputy General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Prepare for many column inches from WaPoo and NYT about why Col. Monheim is a danger to the Republic

The Real Palm Sunday


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Go Fly a Kite!

A much nicer day at the beach today. Warmer, 55 with lighter winds. Say what is that?


A kite built to look like a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly! I didn't see who was flying it, it was just tied to a log, and flying by itself!


You can get one at Amazon for $23. Something to do on a windy day.

That'll Buff Out, No Problem

Nothing a little buffing compound won't fix
Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 04.03.20, with a new format and added Rule 5, CDR Salamander: The Law Of Gross Tonnage Applies
Via Joseph Trevithick at The Drive;
The incident occurred in the early hours of Mar. 30, 2020, but Columbia Cruise Services only released an official statement on Apr. 1. The company, which is headquartered in Germany, said the RCGS Resolute was drifting just over 13 miles off the coast of Isla La Tortuga, a Venezuelan island situated some 60 miles off the country's northern coast, when ANBV Naiguatá, also known by its hull number GC-23, approached it. The Venezuelan Navy ship ordered the cruise ship to follow it to Puerto Moreno on Isla De Margarita, located to the east, accusing it of violating the country's territorial waters.
Engineering matters, math is hard, and the law of gross tonnage always applies.
The 403-foot-long Resolute, which is flagged in Portugal, reportedly had a gross tonnage of around 8,445 tons at the time. The ship was laid down in September 1990 and completed in June 1991. Intended for Antarctic cruises, it has a reinforced ice-capable hull.
...
The Naiguatá, which is just over 262 feet long, is a Guaicamacuto class offshore patrol vessel and displaces around 1,720 tons with a full load.
The Naiguatá,

Good seamanship can be harder.
"While the Master was in contact with the head office [in Germany], gun shots were fired and, shortly thereafter, the navy vessel approached the starboard side at speed with an angle of 135° and purposely collided with the RCGS Resolute," the statement continued. "The navy vessel continued to ram the starboard bow in an apparent attempt to turn the ship’s head towards Venezuelan territorial waters."
Columbia Cruise Services does not say what kind of gun was fired or if it did any damage to the Resolute. The Naiguatá has a 76mm main gun in a turret forward of the main superstructure, as well as a pair of 20mm cannons and two .50 caliber machine guns. The crew would also have access to various small arms.
Whatever the case, the steel-hulled patrol ship suffered severe damage from repeatedly ramming the cruise ship, began to take on water, and ultimately sank. Columbia Cruise Services says Resolute remained in the area until it was clear its services were not required to help in the rescue of the 44 crew members. It then continued on, as planned, to the Port of Willemstad in Curaçao.
But that won't buff out.
BZ to the crew of the Resolute ... she's earned her name ... and seems no worse for the wear.
The interesting thing is that the Venezuelan government appears to be taking to high seas piracy to solve the economic woes brought on by socialism.

Russiagate Wheezes, Regains Strength

You know what "material mistatements" are, right? They're the predicate for a criminal prosecution.
 Much more from Sundance at CTH, Oh My, Interesting Ramifications – FISA Court Requires DOJ/FBI To Provide Names of Targets Within Corrupt Surveillance Applications…
If evidence obtained by execution of a fraudulently obtained warrant was used in the prosecution of any of those targets; there’s a possibility those cases will be reopened.

Considering the twenty nine applications from the OIG go back to 2015, there’s a lot of potential for some downstream consequences not only for those 29 applications, but also for all FBI FISA applications with a similar level of neglect.

In the issue of the Carter Page application the DOJ and FBI were already looking into how far the ripple effects carried. The FBI was already undertaking a ‘sequestration effort’ to identify the fruit of the poisonous tree; and the results are still unknown.

This order from Judge Boasberg essentially expands that type of review upon another 29 applications and demands the DOJ identify to the court who were the targets. The court can then, on their own, look and see if any of those U.S. persons were prosecuted in court.
This is a hot mess…. And it is far from over.
Honestly, I don't see the point. Every one of the FISA warrants examined had flaws. I suppose the court would like to know which ones are significant, and which ones are technical so they can examine any applications from the people who submitted the significant ones, but the point is the whole FISA process has been corrupted by the FBI taking short cuts, and the DOJ and FISA court overlooking them. Burn it all down and start over.

And who, exactly, was in charge of the FBI as these abuses developed? Margot Cleveland at Da Fed, Latest Inspector General Report Slams Comey’s FBI For Massive Failures To Document FISA Claims. No doubt out writing another ethics book. How not to . . . David Harsanyi at NR, The FISA Scandal Is about Corruption, Not ‘Sloppiness’ Embrace the healing power of "and."
You would think that this kind of potential abuse by the Justice Department would pique the interest of mainstream journalists. No such luck.
. . .
Apologists for the FBI will question the patriotism of those who are critical of potential domestic spying. They have plenty of fodder. We now know that FBI lawyers manufactured evidence to spy on a political campaign. We know that some of the FBI agents involved promised to “stop” the president. We know that top FBI leadership, the people who have been lecturing us about patriotism and loyalty, have lied. And not just James Comey and Andrew McCabe. Onetime CIA director John Brennan spied on the legislative branch and lied about it to the American people. Onetime director of national intelligence James Clapper spied on the American people through a domestic surveillance program and lied about it to Congress.
Jerry Dunleavy at WaEx,  John Durham investigation intensifies focus on John Brennan. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

From Matt Margolis at PJ Media,  more evidence that the Mueller investigation was a partisan hit job: Mueller Hid Evidence Exonerating Don Jr. Over Infamous Trump Tower Meeting
It turns out that the most interesting things about Mueller's investigation were not what was redacted from the report, but what wasn't included in the first place. According to investigative reporter John Solomon, Bob Mueller hid evidence exonerating Donald Trump Jr. over the infamous Trump Tower meeting, during which Democrats were convinced he had met with a Russian lawyer to discuss dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The most scintillating information Mueller’s team ascribed to [Russian translator Anatoli] Samochornov in the report was a tidbit suggesting a hint of impropriety: The translator admitted he was offered $90,000 by the Russians to pay his legal bills, if he supported the story of Moscow attorney Natalia Veselnitskya. He declined.
But recently released FBI memos show that Samochornov, a translator trusted by the State Department and other federal agencies, provided agents far more information than was quoted by Mueller, nearly all of it exculpatory to the president’s campaign and his eldest son.
Despite learning the translator's information on July 12, 2017, just a few days after the media reported on the Trump Tower meeting, the FBI would eventually suggest Donald Trump Jr. was lying and that the event could be seminal to Russian election collusion.
Samochornov’s eyewitness account entirely debunks the media’s narrative, the FBI memos show.
“Samochornov was not particularly fond of Donald Trump Jr., but stated Donald Trump Jr.’s account with Veselnitskya as portrayed in recent media report, was accurate,” according to the FBI 302 report on its interview of the translator. “Samachornov concurred with Donald Trump Jr.’s accounts of the meeting. He added ‘they’ were telling the truth.”
According to Donald Trump Jr., the short Trump Tower meeting was about the Magninsky Act, and how that affected adoption practices between the United States and Russia. That explanation was moked (sic) by the media and the Democrats at the time, and that story was a cover-up for a key piece of evidence of Russian collusion.
and at Just The News, Mueller’s hidden evidence: Translator exonerated Don Jr. in Trump Tower meeting.

And Trump pulls the trigger on Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence communities IG. Da Blaze, Trump fires key intelligence figure that sparked Ukraine probe, Dems are already calling it 'retribution'
President Donald Trump notified Congress on Friday evening that he was firing a key intelligence community figure that sparked the Ukraine probe, and Democrats rushed to call it unfair "retribution."

"This is to advise that I am exercising my power as President to remove from office the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, effective 30 days from today," Trump said in the letter.

Michael Atkinson served as the intelligence community's chief watchdog and was the first to notify Congress about the whistleblower complaint that led to the impeachment inquiry against the president.

The president said in the letter that he no longer had confidence in Atkinson and that he would be relieved of his duties in 30 days.
The NYT whines (via Hot Air) Trump To Fire Intelligence IG Who Had Key Role In Ukraine Complaint. I'm sure he's not really fired, just removed from the position. Is the coast defense of Wyoming intelligence position filled yet? Sundance, of course, has a lot to say, President Trump Removes Coup Plotter ICIG Michael Atkinson – Effective 30 Days From Today – DC Media Conscripts Go Bananas…
The necessary, albeit politically controversial, move comes about two months after President Trump assigned Ric Grenell to lead the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Grenell is ultimately the acting boss of the overall intelligence community. It is likely DNI Grenell provided some key insight into the sketchy background activity in/around Atkinson’s office, and the overall intelligence apparatus writ large.

Additionally, former congressman Mark Meadows is now President Trump’s Chief-of-Staff; and Meadows has been a critic of those within the intelligence apparatus who attempted a soft-coup twice: Once by special counsel (Russia investigation) Robert Mueller; and once by impeachment (Ukraine investigation) using CIA operative Eric Ciaramella and NSC operative Alexander Vindman.

Also, in the recent FISA review by the OIG the DOJ inspector general specifically identified issues with the “accuracy reviews” conducted by DOJ-NSD chief legal counsel. Who was that former DOJ-NSD chief legal counsel? That would be current ICIG Michael Atkinson…
Michael Atkinson is the person who changed the requirement that evidence be first hand to allowing hearsay evidence to allow himself to notify Congress (i.e. Adam Schiff) of Lt. Colonel Vindman's unhappiness with Trump's Ukraine phone call. If this be retribution, we need more.

Rule 5 Saturday - A Canukistan Cutie - Rachel McAdams

For no particular good reason, this week's Rule 5 winner is . . .
Rachel Anne McAdams (born November 17, 1978) is a Canadian actress. After graduating from a four-year theatre degree program at York University in 2001, she worked in Canadian television and film productions, such as the drama film Perfect Pie (2002), for which she received a Genie Award nomination, the comedy film My Name Is Tanino (2002), and the comedy series Slings and Arrows, for which she won a Gemini Award.

In 2002 she made her Hollywood film debut in the comedy The Hot Chick. McAdams rose to fame in 2004 with the comedy Mean Girls and the romantic drama The Notebook. In 2005, she starred in the romantic comedy Wedding Crashers, the psychological thriller Red Eye, and the comedy-drama The Family Stone. She was hailed by the media as Hollywood's new "it girl", and received a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Rising Star.


Rachel Anne McAdams was born in London, Ontario, the daughter of nurse Sandra (née Gale) and truck driver Lance McAdams. . . McAdams is of Scottish, English, Irish, and Welsh descent. Her maternal fifth great-grandfather, James Gray, was a Loyalist Ranger during the American Revolution and fled to Canada after the Battles of Saratoga. McAdams began figure skating when she was four years old, but turned down an opportunity to move to Toronto when she was nine years old for pair skating training. She competed in skating until the age of 18, winning regional awards. Skating would later become only a hobby. She has said that skating prepared her for physical acting, because it trained her to be "in tune" with her body.

I like her better as a brunette.
McAdams is an environmentalist. She ran an eco-friendly lifestyle website, GreenIsSexy.org, with two of her friends for five years from 2007 to 2011. Her house is powered by Bullfrog renewable energy. She travels around Toronto by bicycle and does not own a car, but drives when in Los Angeles because it is "a harder town to cycle in". She volunteered in Biloxi, Mississippi and Louisiana in fall of 2005, as part of the clean-up effort following Hurricane Katrina. McAdams sat on a TreeHugger/Live Earth judging panel in 2007. She appealed for donations during the Canada for Haiti telethon in 2010. She was involved in Matter of Trust's "hair boom" efforts following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.  In 2011, McAdams supported Foodstock, a protest against a proposed limestone mega quarry in Melancthon, Ontario.  In 2013, she filmed two promotional videos for the Food & Water First Movement, aiming to preserve prime farmland and source water in Ontario, Canada. In 2014, she narrated the feature documentary Take Me To The River, which investigates what is being done to try to save iconic rivers.
Some minor NSFW from Tanino.

Linked by EBL in Aida 🎭Bellini's Norma 🎭🔥 and Shirley Bassey: I'll Remember April. The Wombat has Rule Five Monday: Honor Blackman, RIP up on time at The Other McCain.

Friday, April 3, 2020

KKT Daughter, Grandson Presumed Drowned in Canoe Accident

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's daughter, grandson presumed dead after canoeing accident
The grandson and adult daughter of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend are presumed dead after the pair's canoe apparently capsized in the Chesapeake Bay, Townsend said Friday.

In a statement issued Friday night, Townsend said the search for her daughter, 40-year-old Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, and 8-year-old grandson, Gideon, was now a recovery effort.

“With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery," Townsend said in the statement.
. . .
The pair went missing late Thursday afternoon in waters near the pair's Shady Side, Maryland home, about 25 miles south of Annapolis, officials said.
. . .
A Maryland Department of Natural Resources statement said a preliminary investigation "revealed that the pair may have been paddling the canoe from a residence in Shady Side, MD out into the bay to retrieve a ball and were unable to paddle back to shore."

An overturned canoe, approximately matching the description the pair were in, was later found, the department said.

Kennedy Townsend comes from one of the most famous political clans in U.S. history. She’s the oldest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and niece of former President John F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy.
It's been windy and rough the last two days. There's no excuse for going out on the Bay in a canoe in these conditions. And the water is cold; too cold for any hope of survival for any length of time eve with a life jacket.

WuFlu Kills Pennsylvania Trout Opener

Regardless of anything appearing in the 2020 Summary of Fishing Regulations and Laws, the annual booklet of fishing laws given to each angler purchasing a fishing license, there is no opening day of trout fishing season on Saturday, April 4.

The regional opening day, which previously was scheduled for Saturday in 18 southeastern counties, has been consolidated with the statewide opening day on Saturday, April 18, as part of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The commission also consolidated the regional Mentored Youth Trout Day with the statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day on Saturday, April 11. In the summary booklet, which was printed months ago, before concerns about coronavirus had surfaced, the regional Mentored Youth Trout Day has been scheduled for Saturday, March 28.

The separate, earlier regional mentored youth and opening days will no longer occur in the 18 southeastern counties of Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York.

The changes, made by the commission under direction provided by the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, are intended to reduce large gatherings of people and the number of anglers traveling into the regional area (18 southeastern counties).
Just another closing among many to come.

The Wombat has Rule Five Monday: Honor Blackman, RIP up on time at The Other McCain.

Coronagate, The Dawn

It looks like Russiagate is going to continue to sputter along with a post here or there, but in the meantime, the Democrats have opened a new front in the war on the Trump presidency. Ace, Pelosi, Schiff Plot Third Coup Operation Against Trump
Honestly, Trump should actually test the limits of the Constitution by just flat-out refusing to deliver any witnesses or documents during this epidemic. Let the Supreme Court rule that officials managing the crisis must make themselves available constantly to participate in DNC electioneering efforts.
The team is back in action. On Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the creation of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis. The new panel will have the authority to investigate any aspect of the virus emergency and the Trump administration's handling of it.
Pelosi's announcement came a day after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called for a 9/11-style independent commission to investigate "mistakes" in the virus response. Shortly after that, Schiff told the Washington Post that in Congress, House Democrats must investigate the Trump administration's handling of virus testing and the government's distribution of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
"We need to make sure there's no favoritism in terms of political allies, no discrimination against states or governors based on lack of presidential flattery," Schiff said, indicating the probe would be aimed squarely at President Trump.
...
Pelosi also gave Democrats room to go after Trump for whatever reason they choose. "The committee will be empowered to examine all aspects of the federal response to the coronavirus," she wrote. Among those powers, she added, will be the ability to "press to ensure that the federal response is based on the best possible science and guided by the nation's best health experts." That could mean just about anything.
Maybe we can have a 9/11-style investigation into why Nancy Pelosi urged citizens to come to Chinatown in the middle of an epidemic which was spread to the US via travelers from China.
Is Ace overstating it? Maybe, but not by much.  From Da Hill, Schiff drafting legislation to set up 9/11-style commission to review coronavirus response
Schiff did not give specifics regarding when the legislation will be dropped, but suggested it would be after Congress finishes the task at hand: mulling a series of stimulus packages aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the pandemic. Sources familiar with the legislation told NBC News the legislation is "very preliminary."

"We will need to delay the work of the commission until the crisis has abated to ensure that it does not interfere with the agencies that are leading the response," Schiff told The Washington Post. "But that should not prevent us from beginning to identify where we got it wrong and how we can be prepared for the next pandemic."

The administration has come under scrutiny in the past month for what critics call a late response to the virus. Critics have also pointed out that in 2018 the administration disbanded the National Security Council unit focused on pandemic preparedness.
Which of course, is a lie. Trump folded the unit, along with it's staff into another unit focused on diseases. It's even been debunked by WaPoo fact checker, Was the White House office for global pandemics eliminated?
One can see the dueling narratives here, neither entirely incorrect. The office — as set up by Obama — was folded into another office. Thus, one could claim the office was eliminated. But the staff slots did not disappear and at least initially the key mission of team remained a priority. So one can also claim nothing changed and thus Biden’s criticism is overstated.
Capt. Ed at Hot Air, Pelosi: We’re Launching A “Bipartisan” Select Committee To Oversee Coronavirus Response — Not Investigate It; Update: Briefing Envy?  WaFreeBee, Rep. James Clyburn, Who Touted Coronavirus As ‘Tremendous’ Political Opportunity, to Take Helm of Pandemic Oversight Committee
Pelosi said Thursday the committee would monitor the billions in federal money spent fighting the virus and would have subpoena power. House Republicans immediately expressed concern over Clyburn's participation, arguing that his March remarks indicate he is looking to use the pandemic as a pretext to advance Democratic policy goals.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) on Thursday said he is concerned by the choice. "[The committee] is concerning to me because Congressman Clyburn is the one who thought this crisis was an opportune time to restructure government," McCarthy said in a conference call with reporters. "That's not what we should be doing."
Never let a crisis go to waste. VDH, Victor Davis Hanson: Dems have 'weaponized' coronavirus crisis to push radical agenda.

And, of course, they have all the help they want from the media, Stacy McCain, MSNBC’s Doomsday Crisis Theme
Today, I watched MSNBC (so you don’t have to), and it is difficult to find the words to describe how bad their coverage is. What is obvious — if you could just stand to watch MSNBC for a few hours, you’d see it — is that they are invested in the idea that the coronavirus is the ultimate “Walls Closing In” moment that will doom Trump’s presidency. From this idea flows two basic themes in their coverage of the pandemic:

  1. It’s a Doomsday Crisis that threatens to kill us all; and
  2. BLAME TRUMP!

Never mind the blame game just now, the greater problem in MSNBC’s coverage is that they are so heavily invested in hyping up the severity of the pandemic that they ignore all contrary data. And if you are capable of doing basic arithmetic, contrary data is not hard to find.
Fox  Biden offers to call Trump at White House to stay relevant discuss coronavirus response strategy. Cleta Mitchell at Da Fed, The Real Coronavirus Chronology Shows Trump Was On Top Of It While Biden Was Mocking The Danger

On Jan. 30, the CDC confirmed publicly for the first time the person-to-person spread of Wuhan virus and applauded WHO’s decision. That day, the president created the White House Coronavirus Task Force to coordinate efforts regarding this new disease.

The next day, Jan. 31, the president declared coronavirus a U.S. public health emergency and issued the ban on travel between the United States and China. On that same day, the Senate voted on the production of additional documents in the impeachment trial of President Trump. Campaigning in Iowa that day, Biden criticized President Trump’s China travel ban, saying during an Iowa campaign event, “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia.”
Ace, Obama Depleted the Nation's Strategic Reserve of Ventilators, Respirators, and Surgical Masks -- Stockpiled in Case of Bioweapon Attack or Pandemic -- and Then Refused to Restock the Reserve for 8 Years, Preferring to Spend on His Socialist Priorities
He also repeatedly sought to cut the CDC's budget -- again, I assume so that he could spend that money on socialist boondoggles.
The 2005 plan created the Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies and equipment under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services and called for the distribution of supplies from six highly secured sites to state and local sites after a pandemic "surge." This Strategic National Stockpile is totally separate from the site in Dubai that the U.S. government uses for international distribution under the Foreign Assistance Act.
According to a Center for Disease Control report published after the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, 39 million N95 masks were initially distributed from the stockpile, followed by 59.5 million more in second wave. According to Johnson, the stockpile originally was about 100 million masks.
From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, there were over 60 million cases of H1N1 requiring 274,304 hospitalizations and resulting in 12,469 deaths in the United States.
After the H1N1 virus slowed down in 2010, according to Johnson, "it was important to restock." That did not happen as the national stockpile budget focused on other priorities deemed higher.
Well, his cabin didn't leak when it didn't rain.

Fish Pic Friday - The Clown Knifefish

Darcizzle
 An odd one, the Clown Knifefish:
The clown featherback, clown knifefish, or spotted knifefish, Chitala ornata, is a nocturnal tropical fish with a long, knife-like body. . . Despite its popularity, the clown featherback reaches 1 m (3.3 ft) in length,  outgrowing all but the largest aquaria.
Vicky Stark views one in captivity

This species is native to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, where found in the Mekong, Chao Phraya and Meklong river basins. It has also been introduced to regions outside its native range, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. Another introduced population exists in Sarasota County, Florida.
Amber Marchant

They are nocturnal and usually cruise during the twilight hours. They normally hunt live prey and will try any fish that fits into their mouths. Young clown knifefish usually school near water logs and plants for security, whereas more mature specimens usually become territorial and eventually become loners. These fish can also breathe air to survive in stagnant waters and little oxygen. The clown knifefish prefers water around neutral pH and temperature ranging from 75 to 85 °F (24 to 29 °C). These fish usually are found in lakes, swamps, and river backwaters.


Clown knifefish are sold as exotic fishes in pet stores, but they grow much too large for the average home aquarium. These fish have periods of retreat, so aquaria which have caves, plants, or other hiding places are preferred. They are jumpers, so the lid should be kept tightly closed. Dim lighting may help lessen jumping. For the first few days, clown knifefish are shy and prone to hiding. As they grow larger they tend to be quite the opposite.

The clown featherback is commonly seen in the cuisine of Thailand and other southeast Asian countries. In Thailand when deep-fried as Pla krai thot krathiam (ปลากรายทอดกระเทียม) it is served with a spicy dipping sauce on the side made by mashing up coriander roots, bird's eye chillies and garlic, and mixing this with fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. The clown featherback is also the main fish used in the production of fish balls.
When I was a teenager and working in a tropical fish store, we sold these, so yes, you can say that technically, I've caught them.

Linked at The Right Way in the weekly Rule 5 Saturday LinkOrama and at Proof Positive in the weekly  Best of the Web*. The Wombat has Rule Five Monday: Honor Blackman, RIP up on time at The Other McCain.