Monday, December 31, 2012

Have A ABBA New Year

Getting Ready for 2013?

Let's Party!

Wombat-Socho came through with the giant Rule 5 post "Les Chants Magnetique" right on time at The Other McCain.

Last Beach Days of 2012

I skipped posting anything from yesterday, but Skye and I did go.  It was cold and blowing hard enough to move sand, thoroughly miserable.  The less said the better.
Today was as cold, but much less windy, and a much better day.  A small flock of gulls hanging out across the harbor with the Buffies.
It was a good low tide, and there was lots of shell material on the beach; you'd think I'd have found more than 4 shark's teeth.

Skye set out to set off with this jogger...

...But then I reminded her who had the treats in their pockets.

It was cold enough last night that there was a little skim ice in the back of the harbor.

25K Petition Feds for Death Star Stimulus

More than 25,000 individuals who live in the United States of America took the time to sign a petition requesting the White House dedicate resources toward building a Death Star of Star Wars fame by 2016.

No, really.

Much like Lockheed Martin and Boeing CEOs, writers of the petition claim the government has a responsibility to start construction on the Death Star because it will spur job growth in America’s stalled economy.
“By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense,”
...Because they garnered 25,000 signatures on their petition, the White House will issue an official response. However, prominent defense analysts across the nation said the potential sequestration cuts could put the Death Star plans in jeopardy.

It’s unclear if the signees of the petition will accept the fiscal cliff as an excuse.
If you want to get your name on a list, or possibly even more than one, you can sign the Death Star petition at

Tea Partiers Caught With Gun, Explosives Hoard

Did I say Tea Partiers?  I meant Occutards!  

Greenwich Village couple busted with cache of weapons, bombmaking explosives: sources
The privileged daughter of a prominent city doctor, and her boyfriend — a Harvard grad and Occupy Wall Street activist — have been busted for allegedly having a cache of weapons and a bombmaking explosive in their Greenwich Village apartment.

Morgan Gliedman — who is nine-months pregnant — and her baby daddy, Aaron Greene, 31, also had instructions on making bombs, including a stack of papers with a cover sheet titled, “The Terrorist Encyclopedia,’’ sources told The Post yesterday.

People who know Greene say his political views are “extreme,” the sources said.
Morgan Gliedman, daughter of Realtor Susyn Schops Gliedman and prominent doctor Paul Gliedman, was busted at this building with her OWS boyfriend.

Cops found the stash in the couple’s West Ninth Street home Saturday when they went there to look for Gliedman, 27, who was wanted for alleged credit-card theft.

A detective discovered a plastic container with seven grams of a white chemical powder called HMTD, which is so powerful, cops evacuated several nearby buildings.

Police also found a flare launcher, which is a commercial replica of a grenade launcher; a modified 12 gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun; ammo; and nine high-capacity rifle magazines, the sources said.

Cops also allegedly uncovered papers about creating homemade booby traps, improvised submachine guns, and various handwritten notebooks containing chemical formulas.
The parallels between this and Bill Ayers/Bernadine Dohrn has been noted by others. At least no one was blown up this time.

Obama Supporter Buys, Kills Paper, Fires 72

The Manassas News & Messenger is no more. The paper printed its final edition after 143 years of covering the news in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park Sunday.

The paper's parent company, the Warren Buffet-owned World Media Enterprises, decided to close the paper and its website in November, saying the paper was losing money, was in a competitive news market, and "had a tough time finding the sense of community that a community newspaper needs to prosper."

World Media Enterprises purchased the paper, as well as several others, from Media General in June. The News & Messenger has been the only paper closed after the purchase so far.

All employees lost their jobs, and 72 other jobs have been cut in the company.
Do you think they wrote bad things about Buffett or Obama?

Despite the statements to the contrary, there does seem to have been a market for news in Manassas (say, isn't that a Steve Stills band?):
Two local weekly print newspapers were created within weeks of the announced closing to fill the void left by the News & Messenger.

Times Community Media will launch the Prince William Times on Jan. 9, 2013. Prince William Today will print its first edition on Jan. 10, 2013.
I guess it's only big news when Mitt Moremoney or some other Republican closes a business and fire people.

New Jersey Teen Arrested for Drawing Cartoons

When a 16-year-old New Jersey boy doodled in his notebook on Tuesday, December 18, he probably didn’t expect to be arrested by the end of the day. However, when school officials saw the sketches, which they state appeared to be of weapons, and the boy “demonstrated behavior that caused them to be concerned,” the police were called.

A subsequent search of the boy’s home led to his arrest because they found several electronic parts and chemicals. He was charged with the possession of an explosive device and put in juvenile detention.

The details on what was precisely in the drawings are sketchy, as are the details on the behavior that caused concern. The school claims the drawings were of weapons, but the boy’s mother told various press outlets that, “He drew a glove with flames coming out of it.” If true, then the drawing wouldn’t be out of place in the notebook of any teenager who loves comic books.
Count the flaming gloves
I would never have made it through high school under this kind of scrutiny.  While my drawing skills were such that no one would ever recognize a flaming glove or machine gun if I had tried to draw them, I was a science nerd, so I had all kinds of miscellaneous parts and chemicals; and yes, I did experiment with back yard explosives of various different kinds, and I still have all my eyes, fingers and toes.
Cedar Creek opened in September 2010 as a magnet school with programs focusing on engineering and environmental sciences and specializing in hands-on learning.

The distressing thing about this is that the education establishment is patting itself on the back about this over reaction:
He [the superintendent of schools] praised the teacher for reporting the drawings in the notebook.

"In reality, we followed what we're trained to follow," he said. "I'm thankful that we had a staff member that (saw something that) caused her some concern, and that she had the sense to report it to school officials. These are things that teachers receive training on all the time."
Instead of putting kids in jail for drawing flaming gloves and weapons, they should get him an apprenticeship at DC or Marvel Comics.  And the teacher and superintendent should be sued.

Plumbing Lesson du Jour

However, I strongly advise not doing it dressed like Tara. If you're going to be dressed like Tara I suggest Sharkbites.

Found at Theo's. The Classical Liberal picked up the link in his Rule 5 linkfest "Been Away Too Long."

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lesbians Separate, Stick Sperm Donor with Child Support

Nearly four years ago, Marotta donated sperm in a plastic cup to a lesbian couple after responding to an ad they had placed on Craigslist. Marotta and the women, Topekans Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, signed an agreement holding him harmless for support of the child, a daughter Schreiner bore after being artificially inseminated.

But the Kansas Department for Children and Families is now trying to have Marotta declared the 3-year-old girl’s father and forced to pay child support. The case is scheduled for a Jan. 8 hearing in Shawnee County District Court...

In an email to Marotta that is part of court records, Bauer described herself and Schreiner as a “financially stable lesbian couple,” with Bauer working outside the home and Schreiner being a stay-at-home mom with their other children.
Curiously, married lesbian couples are about  twice as prone to divorce as heterosexual couples, according to studies in Sweden and Norway, where homosexual marriage has been officially permitted for some time.  It makes sense; women initiate divorce a substantial majority of the time, so statistically, a marriage with two women would seem to be at twice the risk of breaking up.

“We are foster and adoptive parents and now we desire to share a pregnancy and birth together,” Bauer wrote...

Marotta, Bauer and Schreiner each signed an agreement saying he would be paid $50 per semen donation, with the arrangement including a clear understanding that he would have no parental rights whatsoever with the child or children.

The agreement also called for Bauer and Schreiner to hold Marotta harmless “for any child support payments demanded of him by any other person or entity, public or private, including any district attorney’s office or other state or county agency, regardless of the circumstances or said demand.”

Schroller said that after consulting with his wife, Marotta decided to donate free of charge rather than taking the $50.
 No good deed goes unpunished.
On Oct. 3, attorney Mark McMillan filed a petition on behalf of the Department of Children and Families seeking a ruling that Marotta is the father of Schreiner’s child and owes a duty to support her. It said the department provided cash assistance totaling $189 for the girl for July through September 2012 and had paid medical expenses totaling $5,884.96.

Schroller, an attorney with Topeka-based Swinnen & Associates, said the state became involved after the mother fell on hard times and applied for financial assistance through the state.
And why didn't the other half of the lesbian divorce (Angela Bauer, who called herself part of a "financially stable couple") pay child support?  Maybe she didn't have a legal obligation to supply child support, because there was no official marriage but she was certainly part of the arrangements that caused the baby to be born.  I would argue she has a moral requirement to provide child support.  Maybe Marotta should sue her for misrepresentation and failure to fulfill a contract.

Apparently, part of the state's argument is that because the sperm donation did not go through a formal sperm bank, the agreement that claims to hold Marotta harmless is not valid:
McMillan responded in a motion filed Nov. 1 that the hold harmless agreement between Marotta, Bauer and Schreiner was moot because it didn’t meet the primary requirement of Kansas statute 23-2208(f) that Schreiner have a licensed physician perform the artificial insemination.

Marotta signed an affidavit in September saying he had no reason to believe a medical professional wouldn’t carry out the artificial insemination using the semen specimen he provided.
Would allowing gay marriage prevent this?  If so, let's have it. Make women responsible for their own reproduction.

Putting Politics Before Science: White House Edition

Obama's Science Commitment, FDA Face Ethics Scrutiny in Wake of GMO Salmon Fiasco
Questions are emerging about the breakdown of the federal government’s science integrity process in the wake of the Food & Drug Administration’s long-delayed release of its approval of the first genetically modified animal for human consumption.

The AquAdvantage salmon developed by AquaBounty Technologies of Massachusetts—an Atlantic salmon modified with a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon so it grows to maturity faster—had been winding its way through the federal approval process for 17 years. Two years ago, the FDA had said it was going to release its environmental assessment, the final document in the approval process, within weeks. It was finally and quietly posted on the FDA’s website only last Friday—just hours before the long holiday weekend—and published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.
Genetically modified salmon behind unmodified salmon
Ah, a Friday night document dump, the time-honored method of hiding information from an incurious press.

The release came, FDA sources say, in response to the publication of an investigation in Slate by the Genetic Literacy Project two days before, on December 19. The GLP, which I head, had reported that the FDA had definitively concluded last spring that the fish would have “no significant impact” on the environment and was “as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon.” However, the draft assessment, dated April 19, 2012, was not released—blocked on orders from the White House.

The seven month delay, sources within the government say, came after discussions late last spring between Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius’ office and officials linked to Valerie Jarrett at the Executive Office, who were debating the political implications of approving the GM salmon. Genetically modified plants and animals are controversial among the president’s political base, which was thought critical to his reelection efforts during a low point in the president’s popularity.
President Obama withheld the approval for seven months for the purposes of his own election.  His campaign committee should be sued by AquaBounty for any lost revenue  due to the delay.  And someone at the FDA, probably several someones, should be fired.  It's too much to hope for Valarie Jarrett to be censured.

Come on, Ladies...

One pound fish!

A one pound fish isn't very big. Throw it back and get a bigger one; the ladies will like that a lot better.

The Classical Liberal picked up this link in his Rule 5 linkfest "Been Away Too Long."

Midnite Music: Listen to the Wind Blow

That's not the name of the song, which is really "The Chain"

Originally Fleetwood Mac, here's a cover by Rule 5 victim, Florence Welch and the Machine

Wind is picking up here again, 20-25 kts and climbing.

The original by Fleetwood Mac:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Don't Let the Door Hit You in the Ass

Deport me? If America won't change its crazy gun laws... I may deport myself says Piers Morgan

My title says everything I have to say on the matter.

How to Put Out a Boat Fire

If you forgot your fire extinguisher.

FaceBook Censoring Pro-Gun Gandhi Quote?

Facebook bans Gandhi quote as part of revisionist history purge 
(NaturalNews) The reports are absolutely true. Facebook suspended the Natural News account earlier today after we posted an historical quote from Mohandas Gandhi. The quote reads:
"Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest." - Mohandas Gandhi, an Autobiography, page 446.
This historical quote was apparently too much for Facebook's censors to bear. They suspended our account and gave us a "final warning" that one more violation of their so-called "community guidelines" would result in our account being permanently deactivated.

They then demanded we send them a color copy of a "government issued identification" in order to reactivate our account. Our account was removed from suspension just minutes before InfoWars posted its article on this Facebook censorship, and the Facebook page is now functioning at:
As far as I know, Facebook is not a government entity, and should be permitted to censor on any grounds that it wants.  However, those of us who disagree with them over the issues they chose to censor have the right to quit using Facebook, which wouldn't be much sacrifice to me.  If this is true, and sustained, it's worthy of a boycott of Facebook. Remember, if you aren't paying for Facebook, you're the product.

ASPCA Settles Circus Suit for 9.3 Million Smackers

VIENNA, Va., Dec. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Feld Entertainment, Inc., the producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus, announced today that the company has reached a legal settlement with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in connection with two federal court cases. Under the settlement, ASPCA has paid Feld Entertainment $9.3 million to settle all claims related to its part in more than a decade of manufactured litigation that attempted to outlaw elephants in the company's Ringling Bros. ® Circus...

"These defendants attempted to destroy our family-owned business with a hired plaintiff who made statements that the court did not believe. Animal activists have been attacking our family, our company, and our employees for decades because they oppose animals in circuses. This settlement is a vindication not just for the company but also for the dedicated men and women who spend their lives working and caring for all the animals with Ringling Bros. in the face of such targeted, malicious rhetoric," said Kenneth Feld , Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Feld Entertainment.
That decision found that the plaintiffs' litigation was based on the untruthful testimony of a paid plaintiff and witness who the Court found received at least $190,000 in payments as his sole source of income over an eight year period by animal special interest groups, including ASPCA, their lawyers and an entity founded and controlled by those lawyers, the Wildlife Advocacy Project.
While I think the ASPCA generally does good work with regards to the problem of unwanted and feral cats and dogs in the United States, it, like many other non-profit organizations, has been heavily infiltrated and in effect taken over by left wing activists with an agenda far beyond caring for unwanted pets.  Perhaps this will serve to rein in their ambition to take all animals out of the hands of private owners and under government control.

Found at Althouse.

Rule 5 Saturday - We Need Some Charisma

Charisma Carpenter that is.  It seems that I've used practically every other female member of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as Rule 5 fodder, well, at least Sarah Michelle GellarAlyson Hannigan, and Eliza Dushku so I thought that in the interests of fairness, I owed my Rule 5 fans at least that much.  And anyway, I was running a little low on ideas this week.

Charisma was born in Las Vegas in 1970. Fortunately for us, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas.  She tried out for the role of Buffy, but was cast as Cornelia, the vapid cheerleader, and original foil for Buffy, but eventually evolving into one of the good good guys girls, a role she continued in the Buffy spinoff "Angel".

Post Whedon, she has kept busy, starring in a variety of film and TV roles.  She even did a Playboy spread (NSFW links, if you didn't guess):
When asked by People magazine in 2005 about her nude pictorial and whether or not she would ever pose for Playboy again, she replied, "I don't know. I did Playboy for a very specific reason. Not only was it a good financial move, but it was about the place I was at in my life. I had just had my son and I'd gained 50 lbs. during pregnancy. I wanted to get back to my old self. I wanted to feel desirable and sexy. So I thought, 'What if I went full throttle?'"
So she did, and we are all, well, at least most of us, grateful.

Putin Bans US Adopting Russian Babies

Russian Babe - Irina Shayk
Which is OK with me, as long as he still allows all the babes who want to emigrate to the US:

Putin Signs Ban on U.S. Adoptions
President Vladimir Putin signed a bill Friday banning U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children, raising tensions with Washington as the Obama Administration is trying to win Moscow's support to end the war in Syria.

Russian officials portrayed the latest legislation as a tit-for-tat retaliation against a new U.S. law that seeks to punish Russians accused of human-rights violations.

Moscow's legislation—which also bans U.S.-funded civic groups in the country—puts concrete action to rising Russian complaints, voiced most vehemently by Mr. Putin, that the U.S.'s own human-rights failings give it no credibility to lecture others.
Even with the set backs in our civil rights over the last four year, we're still light years ahead of Russia; unless you live in Chicago, and then you're about even.

But the adoption ban has exposed Mr. Putin to criticism both internationally and within his own government. Critics allege that the law makes political pawns out of Russian orphans, whose living conditions can be dire and prospects for adoption often slim.

The Russian ban is set to go into effect Jan. 1. Adoption workers and Russian officials said it will effectively halt new adoptions and end those already in progress.
I hear that affects something like 40 adoptions currently in progress.  Sad, but not the worst even in foreign relations.  They could give arms to Syria, for instance.  Oh, that's right, they already have.

The Russian moves raise pressure on the White House to respond more forcefully, highlighting the challenge the Obama Administration faces in trying to continue its "reset" policy of improving relations with Russia now that Mr. Putin has returned to the presidency.

How's that "Reset button" working out?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Don't Feed the Elephants!

Cell phones.

Elephant Eats, Poops Woman's Cell Phone - Watch More Funny Videos

A Quick Rewind of the 2012's Videos

Sadly, I don't get all the references. I guess I need to spend more time surfing YouTube.

British Humor: Ban Kitchen Knives

Julia Child not consulted on knife ban
Doctors' call for kitchen knives ban
A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase - and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings. They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon. The research is published in the British Medical Journal.

The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all. They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen. None of the chefs felt such knives were essential, since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.
Julia Child's 10 inch chef's knife from the Smithsonian
You'll get my Rapala fillet knife when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

The researchers said a short pointed knife may cause a substantial superficial wound if used in an assault - but is unlikely to penetrate to inner organs. In contrast, a pointed long blade pierces the body like "cutting into a ripe melon".
Julia Child's kitchen knife set
Oh no! Bodies aren't cut like ripe melons!  They're more like pork roasts.

The use of knives is particularly worrying amongst adolescents, say the researchers, reporting that 24% of 16-year-olds have been shown to carry weapons, primarily knives.

The study found links between easy access to domestic knives and violent assault are long established.
Silly Brits; they have such subtle humor! Maybe they should try kitchen knife registration first?

Friday 12/28/12 at the Beach

 Bright, cool and breezy.
The Buffies are out and about, and the crowd seems to be growing.
Skye lurking in a shady spot, waiting to ambush me for a treat.
Some duck hunters launching their boat at the Calvert Beach boat ramp.  It's quite shallow there, and it's easier to pull the boat out than to pole it.
How breezy was it?  This breezy, although I think the shredding was probably from the 45 mph gust that came through here a few days ago.

Even After Newtown, NRA More Popular than MSM

“Fifty-four percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association, while 38% have an unfavorable opinion,” Gallup says in reporting the results of a poll taken before Christmas, but after the Sandy Hook shooting. Republicans and Democrats report widely divergent views of the NRA, but 54 percent of independents have a favorable opinion of the NRA — just like the nation as a whole.
The media is well aware of their problem on this, and the shrillness of their attacks on the 2nd amendment is testimony to this.  They hope to badger and nag enough of middle America to their point of view that they can get guns removed from the hands of ordinary citizens, and they can proceed to implement their social and economic policies without fear of any opposition from an armed public.
The NRA’s image thus seems fairly resilient, as the poll shows they retain their support despite negative media attention. CNN’s Piers Morgan, for instance, tweeted as he watched Meet the Press that he was enjoying “Watching @davidgregory expose [NRA head] Wayne Lapierre for what he is – a dangerous, dim-witted, deluded menace to American safety.”
They live in a world with armed guards at their door, and their children go to private schools with armed guards, which they would deny to the rest of the nation; after all, the notion that the best defense against a crazy man with a gun is a sane man with a gun doesn't fit the agenda.
The percentage of Americans with a very favorable view of the NRA (21 percent) is higher than it has ever been since 1993 (when it was 22 percent), before then-President Clinton signed an assault weapons ban.
The media must be resisted in this campaign.  They're slowly winning a similar war on gay marriage using the same tactics.  Frankly, I don't give a damn about gay marriage, my dear, but I do care about the disarming of the American public. The Founding Fathers put the 2nd amendment in there early for a reason; they thought it was an important protection for a free society; and they weren't thinking about squirrel hunting, either.

The best way I know to influence the low information voter is to make something look and seem cool. Chicks with guns are cool...

Picked up and linked at the DaleyGators "DaleyBabe Helen Su and a Rule 5 Extravaganza." The Classical Liberal also picked up the link in his Rule 5 linkfest "Been Away Too Long."

Climate Change: Key to Human Evolution

Erratic Environment May Be Key to Human Evolution
At Olduvai Gorge, where excavations helped to confirm Africa was the cradle of humanity, scientists now find the landscape once fluctuated rapidly, likely guiding early human evolution.These findings suggest that key mental developments within the human lineage may have been linked with a highly variable environment, researchers added.

Olduvai Gorge is a ravine cut into the eastern margin of the Serengeti Plain in northern Tanzania that holds fossils of hominins — members of the human lineage. Excavations at Olduvai Gorge by Louis and Mary Leakey in the mid-1950s helped to establish the African origin of humanity.
A great story about Louis B. Leaky.  For his degree at Cambridge, he needed a language requirement.  You could prove your language requirement by having another scholar or native speaker testify to your ability.  He claimed Swahili as his language.  The dons searched all over for someone to certify him.  The eventually asked someone from southern Africa if they knew anyone in England who spoke Swahili.  He said "Louis Leakey speaks passable Swahili".  He got through.

The Great Drying?

To learn more about the roots of humanity, scientists analyzed samples of leaf waxes preserved in lake sediments at Olduvai Gorge, identifying which plants dominated the local environment around 2 million years ago. This was about when Homo erectus, a direct ancestor of modern humans who used relatively advanced stone tools, appeared.

"We looked at leaf waxes, because they're tough, they survive well in the sediment," researcher Katherine Freeman, a biogeochemist at Pennsylvania State University, said in a statement....

Scientists had long thought Africa went through a period of gradually increasing dryness — called the Great Drying — over 3 million years, or perhaps one big change in climate that favored the expansion of grasslands across the continent, influencing human evolution. However, the new research instead revealed "strong evidence for dramatic ecosystem changes across the African savanna, in which open grassland landscapes transitioned to closed forests over just hundreds to several thousands of years," researcher Clayton Magill, a biogeochemist at Pennsylvania State University, told LiveScience.
People are pretty adaptable.  They have adapted to virtually every ecosystem, from the arctic ice zone to the rainforests of Africa, Amazonia and Asia.  We got that adaptability from our ancestors.  They developed it because they needed it to survive the climate swings of the Pliocene and Pleistocene. 

The researchers discovered that Olduvai Gorge abruptly and routinely fluctuated between dry grasslands and damp forests about five or six times during a period of 200,000 years.

"I was surprised by the magnitude of changes and the rapid pace of the changes we found," Freeman told LiveScience. "There was a complete restructuring of the ecosystem from grassland to forest and back again, at least based on how we interpret the data. I've worked on carbon isotopes my whole career, and I've never seen anything like this before."
We are not entitled to a pleasant climate.  The fact that we now live in one of the nicest periods of the last several million years is not a sign from Gaea that we deserve it for the indefinite future.  The climate is always in flux one way or another, and the sooner we accept that the better we can adapt. 

"The research points to the importance of water in an arid landscape like Africa," Magill said in a statement. "The plants are so intimately tied to the water that if you have water shortages, they usually lead to food insecurity."

The research team's statistical and mathematical models link the changes they see with other events at the time, such as alterations in the planet's movement.

"The orbit of the Earth around the sun slowly changes with time," Freeman said in statement. "These changes were tied to the local climate at Olduvai Gorge through changes in the monsoon system in Africa."

Earth's orbit around the sun can vary over time in a number of ways — for instance, Earth's orbit around the sun can grow more or less circular over time, and Earth's axis of spin relative to the sun's equatorial plane can also tilt back and forth. This alters the amount of sunlight Earth receives, energy that drives Earth's atmosphere. "Slight changes in the amount of sunshine changed the intensity of atmospheric circulation and the supply of water. The rain patterns that drive the plant patterns follow this monsoon circulation. We found a correlation between changes in the environment and planetary movement."...
You mean the sun influences the climate?  That would be news to some climate modelers.

"Early humans went from having trees available to having only grasses available in just 10 to 100 generations, and their diets would have had to change in response," Magill said in a statement. "Changes in food availability, food type, or the way you get food can trigger evolutionary mechanisms to deal with those changes. The result can be increased brain size and cognition, changes in locomotion and even social changes — how you interact with others in a group."

This variability in the environment coincided with a key period in human evolution, "when the genus Homo was first established and when there was first evidence of tool use," Magill said.
 We are the children of a changing climate.  

Wombat-socho links this post at The Other McCain in his Christmas Edition "Rule 5: Come Dancing."

Your Friday Overly Cute Monkey Dacking Kitten

Thursday, December 27, 2012

'Richard Windsor' Abandons EPA

Lisa Jackson's forthcoming departure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a major victory for transparency and accountability in Washington.

After years of whispers that EPA officials frequently used private email addresses, fake names and coded messages to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, Jackson admitted recently to using "Richard Windsor" as her chosen nom de plume on a government email account.

That was her choice because it reminded her of a much-beloved family pet, she claimed. (At least she didn't ask how anybody could suspect a puppy lover like her of any wrongdoing.) The EPA inspector general opened an investigation into the matter because it is against federal law to use nonofficial or secret email addresses to conduct official business.
I can see where having a "public" and a "working" email address would be a necessity for a high ranking official in any major agency.  Government e-mail addresses follow a simple naming scheme, and the "public" address would use that one.  It would attract endless missives, and probably would require a whole team of people to monitor, evaluate, and arrange for action on any that require anything more than a cut and paste reply.  It's really only a problem when you try to keep the account hidden from the legislative branch.

However, that said, the choice of 'Richard Windsor' from a dog named Dick seems kind of unusual.  Fortunately, there seems to be an alternative explanation:
Richard Windsor was a Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) enforcement attorney who, in 1997, began working for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In an article announcing Windsor's new job staffing a PEER sponsored environmental hotline, he had this to say:
``Once upon a time, Florida [had] an environmental agency that tried to enforce environmental laws,'' Windsor said. ``That's not the case now.'' Windsor was an attorney in a court case in 2000 involving Florida's DEP. That same year, he corresponded with then EPA director Carol Browner. We know that because of footnote #39 on page 20 of a 2004 letter from Eric Huber of the Sierra Club addressed to Michael Leavitt of the EPA. We know that Richard L. Windsor was an attorney involved in a 2003 case involving Florida's DEP.
And, sadly, The Florida Bar News reported that Richard Lee Windsor shuffled off his mortal coil on December 7th, 2008. It turns out that the deceased environmental lawyer, Richard Windsor, worked with Carol Browner when Browner was head of Environmental Regulation in Florida. The article about the PEER sponsored environmental hotline notes: "Windsor and Medina worked for 11 years as state regulators." So, Windsor would've worked at DEP from 1986 to 1997 (roughly). Browner was Secretary of Environmental Regulation for Florida from 1991 to 1993.
The article goes on to speculate that 'Richard Windsor' was an email account set up by Carol Browner during the Clinton years for Richard Windsor, and that it continued to exist, and was picked up for use by Lisa Jackson as an account to use for surreptitious activities.

It will be amusing to find what kind of issues were discussed on the 'Richard Windsor' account.

RIP: Stormin' Norman

A U.S. official says retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991, has died. He was 78.

The official tells The Associated Press that Schwarzkopf died Thursday in Tampa, Fla. The official wasn't authorized to release the information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as "Stormin' Norman" for a notoriously explosive temper.

He lived in retirement in Tampa, where he had served in his last military assignment as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command. That is the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and Africa to Pakistan.

Pipkin Pokes State Powers on Conowingo Dam

Continuing to voice his concerns over the Chesapeake Bay pollution diet and the Conowingo Dam, state Sen. E.J. Pipkin has written to two of the state's environmental secretaries demanding answers to his questions... While the letters are not identical, many of points were the same in each – namely that the model used by the Environmental Protection Agency used to set total maximum daily load numbers for pollution reduction is flawed. “It does not account for a Conowingo reservoir with dangerously diminished capacity to contain sediment and nutrients,” wrote Pipkin to both secretaries.
Why the focus on Conowingo?
In his letter to Griffin, he challenged the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for calling the Conowingo a “red herring” in questions about the TMDL model. He said data from a U.S. Geological Survey report shows that 39 percent of the sediment, 22 percent of phosphorus and 5 percent of nitrogen that flowed through the dam between October 2002 and September 2011 was caused by Tropical Storm Lee last year.

“The data leaves one certain conclusion. One major storm, like last year's Lee, has the ability to wipe out any advancements in the Bay's health,” Pipkin wrote.
As I pointed out last night, the "T" in TMDL stands for total.  Pollution that gets past Conowingo Dam is part of that total.  Any additional pollution that can be trapped at Conowingo doesn't count against that total, and permits municipal sewage systems, agriculture, to spend less money cleaning up to achieve that total.  There's a lot of money involved, and perhaps the owners and operators of Conowingo Dam, Exelon Corp. (it's a hydropower dam), need to come up with some plan to keep it operating as a sediment trap.

Yes, it's expensive.  It's estimated that it would cost $48 million annually just to dredge enough to keep up with the sedimentation.  But that's a drop in the bucket in the $20 billion estimated cost of the Bay diet plan over the next 10 years.

Comet of the Century to Come Early This Century

At the moment it is a faint object, visible only in sophisticated telescopes as a point of light moving slowly against the background stars. It doesn't seem much – a frozen chunk of rock and ice – one of many moving in the depths of space. But this one is being tracked with eager anticipation by astronomers from around the world, and in a year everyone could know its name.

Comet Ison could draw millions out into the dark to witness what could be the brightest comet seen in many generations – brighter even than the full Moon.
I hope so, but I've been disappointed before.  Anybody remember Comet Kohoutek?  No?  I didn't think so...
Before its close approach, Kohoutek was hyped by the media as the "comet of the century". However, Kohoutek's display was considered a let-down, possibly due to partial disintegration when the comet closely approached the sun prior to Earth flyby. This appartion was considered its first approach around the sun and that it was still frozen hard since the time of its creation. Although it failed to brighten to levels expected, it was still a naked-eye object... Because Comet Kohoutek fell far short of expectations, its name became synonymous with spectacular duds. However, it was fairly bright as comets go and put on a respectable show in the evenings shortly after perihelion.
Of course, historically many people have regarded comets as omens of doom; they didn't work out that well for the dinosaurs. Though to be fair, the comet/asteroid theory of dinosaur extinction is still under dispute.

'Wise Latina' Subordinates Church to State

Justice refuses to block morning-after pill rule
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has denied a request to block part of the federal health care law that requires employee health-care plans to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills.

Hobby Lobby Stores and a sister company, Mardel Inc., sued the government, claiming the mandate violates the religious beliefs of its owners.

In an opinion Wednesday, Sotomayor said the stores fail to satisfy the demanding legal standard for blocking the requirement on an emergency basis. She said the companies may continue their challenge to the regulations in the lower courts.

Company officials say they must decide whether to violate their faith or face a daily $1.3 million fine beginning Jan. 1 if they ignore the law.
Because free birth control is in the constitution and free religion isn't.

Swazi King Bans Miniskirts, Crop Tops to Prevent Rape

Keeps Bare Breasted Annual Gala for Wife Selection

'Rape-provoking' miniskirts and crop tops banned by king of Swaziland with offenders facing six months in jail
Women in Swaziland have been banned from wearing miniskirts and crop tops because they 'encourage rape' - and offenders face a six-month spell in jail.

Police in Swaziland, the last absolute monarchy in Africa and an incredibly conservative nation, have resurrected an archaic colonial criminal act from 1889 to stop women wearing clothes that expose their body.
Banned in Swaziland

Swazi police were responding to a march in the second city of Manzini last month by young women, some wearing miniskirts, who were seeking equal rights and safety.

In Swaziland women are legal minors and two-thirds of teenage girls have been victims of sexual assault, according to the South African Independent Online.

Police spokesperson Wendy Hleta warned: 'They will be arrested.

Liberals, MSM Stand Behind Gun Law Breaker

But I commit redundancy.

David Gregory appears to be in a little trouble over his  brandishing a 30 round magazine at Wayne LaPierre in NBC's Washington D.C. studio on "Meet The Press" this last Sunday.  The Washington D.C. Police Department has been advised of the infraction of DC's strict gun laws, and have launched an investigation of the alleged violation.  Furthermore it has been revealed that NBC sought permission from the police to have the magazine in the studio, and were denied, thus removing any hope of pleading ignorance to the charge, should it actually be made.

However, the mainstream media and liberals have rallied to his defense, apparently secure in their belief the liberals are allowed to violate the law in the interests of the agenda:

Harvey Kurtz of CNN and The Daily Beast, wrote
Was the moderator of Meet the Press caught on tape, armed and dangerous, liberating a few Slurpees from a 7-Eleven? No, he waved a high-capacity ammunition clip on the air while interviewing Wayne LaPierre, asking it shouldn’t be banned.

Was it a stunt? Yep, and an eye-catching one. Was Gregory being aggressive with the NRA chief, or seeming to push gun control in a confrontational interview? All that is up for debate.

But a police probe over what I assume was an empty ammo clip is a total waste of time.
Glenn Thrush, Politico's White House correspondent tweeted:
Why isn't Cathy Lanier* killing this stupid @davidgregory gun law story? He was clearly acting in the public interest.
* Washington D.C. Police Chief.

Dylan Beyers, also of Politico also apparently wrote something nasty about right-wingers obsessing over the violation and forcing the D.C. to investigate Gregory, before editing the post to an innocuous statement that Gregory would not host Meet the Press next week because a scheduled vacation.  Does he announce every wannabe Ron Burgandy's vacation?

As Alinsky said in RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.

The schadenfreude is so thick you could cut it with a knife.  And it tastes delicious.

UPDATE (even before posting),  Obama Bureau of Alcoholics and Firearms granted an indulgence to David Gregory and NBC.  I don't see how they can grant it, since the violation was a D.C. Law and not a Federal crime, but you know it's a government of man, not laws and all that.

There's a fun Twitter string over at Legal Insurrection starring Iowahawk and Ace.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Most of US Get White Day After Christmas

About two thirds of the US has snow cover today.  Found at WUWT.

Heads Loll* at State Dept. Over Benghazi Massacre

The senior State Department staffers who resigned included Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary for diplomatic security; Charlene Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security; and another unnamed person in the diplomatic security bureau, officials said. Raymond Maxwell, a deputy assistant secretary who oversaw Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, was identified by the Associated Press as the fourth official to resign.

They were held responsible for failing to act on requests for more guards and better fortifications for the U.S. compound in Benghazi, a city overrun by armed militiamen. The resignations were a rare step for the State Department and an indication of how seriously top officials consider the lapses, veteran U.S. diplomats said.
Apparently, we spoke without a deep knowledge of how the State Department rewards those who step forward to stop the bullets aimed at their superiors supervisors. Now we find out that the four individuals who "resigned" didn't really lose their jobs after all:

Benghazi penalties are bogus
The four officials supposedly out of jobs because of their blunders in the run-up to the deadly Benghazi terror attack remain on the State Department payroll — and will all be back to work soon, The Post has learned.

The highest-ranking official caught up in the scandal, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell, has not “resigned” from government service, as officials said last week. He is just switching desks. And the other three are simply on administrative leave and are expected back.

The four were made out to be sacrificial lambs in the wake of a scathing report issued last week that found that the US compound in Benghazi, Libya, was left vulnerable to attack because of “grossly inadequate” security.

State Department leaders “didn’t come clean about Benghazi and now they’re not coming clean about these staff changes,” a source close to the situation told The Post., adding, the “public would be outraged over this.”
*loll  \ˈläl\:  to act or move in a lax, lazy, or indolent manner

Baltimore Sun to Counties: Just Bend Over and Take It

Our view: A growing anxiety over bay's cleanup costs has caused some counties to consider taking the matter to court; they couldn't be more wrong
... Seizing on this discontent, a Baltimore law firm has sought to gather support for a potential lawsuit. At least seven counties have reportedly already signed up. That's disconcerting. Local governments have a right to seek redress for regulations they regard as unfair, but they ought not to invent excuses for avoiding their responsibilities. So far, the scientific claims made by the complainants sound suspiciously like the latter.
Take, for instance, the sudden interest in the Conowingo Dam. The opponents would have us believe that the nutrients flowing over the dam — particularly as the result of storms pushing around the growing amount of silt that has accumulated behind it — make the local pollution negligible by comparison. Thus, why force expensive fixes on them when nobody has solved the Conowingo problem?

But while nutrients do flow down the Susquehanna River (still the source of about half the freshwater flowing to the Chesapeake Bay), and the aging dam's declining ability to trap sediments is a concern, it hardly negates an equally justified concern about local pollution problems. Dredging behind the Conowingo (or other possible fixes at the site) won't help Chester River spawning grounds or Choptank River oyster beds. The declining health of tributaries is at least as much of a concern as the bay's main stem, and the tributaries are hardly affected by Susquehanna pollutants.
The reason counties care about the Conowingo Dam is obvious.  The bay restoration goals are based on a TMDL.  TOTAL Maximum Daily Load.  Whatever one source cuts back, above the goal, the others are not required tom to achieve the TOTAL. If half the pollution into Chesapeake Bay comes over the Conowingo Dam, and fixing the dam problem would solve half of that (numbers pulled totally out of my a$$, but they can't be too far off, in geochemical terms), that's 25% less pollution that other polluters have to control to meet the TMDL, which is not an inconsiderable amount.

And consider, cleaning up the last bit of pollution always costs a lot more than the first initial clean up did, due to declining returns on effort as things get cleaner.  Saving 25% on what they have to clean up to meet the TMDL might well save them 50% of the costs incurred.  There is a lot of money at stake, and it behooves the counties to make the best deal possible, and if that means the states and the owners of Conowingo Dam incur more expenses?  Well, just bend over.

The Wind Cries...


JIMI HENDRIX The wind Cries Mary by avajra

The wind came up here a while a ago, and peaked at about 35 kts, west.