Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat!

One per trick or treater...

Halloween Music

Anti-Conservative Leaker Identified at IRS

A House committee investigating the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of right-leaning groups has identified the IRS agent who leaked the confidential donor list of the National Organization for Marriage, a conservative organization that opposes gay marriage. NOM’s donor list, contained in a Form 990 Schedule B, which it is required by law to file with the IRS, was obtained in March 2012 by its chief political opponent, the Human Rights Campaign, and subsequently became the subject of several national news stories that centered on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s donation to the group.

Though the House Ways and Means Committee, which began investigating the scandal in the wake of revelations that the IRS had inappropriately singled out conservative groups, has identified the individual who divulged the information as an employee in the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division, it can’t divulge his name to the public or to NOM. It can’t even confirm when the leak took place, whether the perpetrator was disciplined, or even whether he is still employed by the IRS or the U.S. government. That’s because of a peculiarity of the Internal Revenue Code’s section 6103, which is intended to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information. The law makes it a felony to disclose tax returns or related information to the public, but in an odd twist, the results of investigations conducted by congressional committees or by inspectors general are considered the confidential tax information of the alleged perpetrator.
But hey, you can always leak it, right?

And familiar names keep coming up.
Camp’s panel, nonetheless, has pieced together the NOM case and tells NRO that an IRS agent working in the Exempt Organizations Division — the same division that, until May, was under the direction of Lois Lerner, who retired under duress last month — leaked NOM’s Schedule B to Matthew Meisel, a former employee of Bain & Company, the management consultancy where former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney worked in the 1970s and 1980s and where he served as interim CEO in the early 1990s. Between his stints there, Romney founded the private-equity firm Bain Capital in 1984. After he obtained NOM’s donor list from the IRS employee, the committee says, Meisel then turned it over to the Human Rights Campaign. Neither Meisel nor the Human Rights Campaign returned calls seeking comment.
Both Lerner and the as yet unrevealed leaker need to be dragged back up to the hill and tarred and feathered interrogated closely regarding the leaks.  Give him immunity if he can implicate Lerner.

Hush, Katy!

Yet another 6 AM eye opener prompted by Wombat-Socho's "Live at 5."

Katy Perry Tells "Naked" Pop Star Peers To "Put It Away"
"Everybody's getting naked," Katy Perry lamented to NPR host Scott Simon in an interview that aired Saturday, Oct. 26. "I mean, I've been naked before, but I don't feel like I have to always get naked to be noticed," she said of her pop star counterparts who are becoming increasingly focused on stripping down.

Although Perry, 29, refused to discuss "anyone in particular," the "Roar" singer suggested in her interview that her fellow female artists -- "all of them" -- simply "put it away."

Perry's comments follow a particularly skimpily-clothed year of young female pop stars, including a naked Miley Cyrus, 20, swinging on a wrecking ball, Rihanna, 25, stripping down for magazine covers and Nicki Minaj, 30, shocking her social media followers with unwarranted pictures. "I mean, it's like everybody's so naked," remarked Perry in the pre-recorded session. In an odd overlap of commentary and action, Lady Gaga, 27, stripped down while on stage in a London nightclub on Saturday, Oct. 26 as she performed her new single, "Venus."

Perry, however, understands she should not be the judge of pop stars' lack of apparel these days. The California Gurls crooner, who appeared nude in the music video, admitted to NPR, "I've taken it out here and there. And I'm not necessarily judging."

She added, "I'm just saying sometimes it's nice to play that card but also it's nice to play other cards. And I know I have that sexy card in my deck but I don't always have to use that card."

But you should play it every few hands, just to prove you're not bluffing.

Wombat-Socho has the giant make up Veteran's Day Rule 5 post "Rule 5 Sunday: Double-Stuf Veterans Day Weekend Edition", containing two weeks of Rule 5 links (3 for me, Thank you, Wombat) up at The Other McCain.

Brit Scientist Fears Return to 'Little Ice Age'

Real risk of a Maunder minimum 'Little Ice Age' says leading scientist
It’s known by climatologists as the ‘Little Ice Age’, a period in the 1600s when harsh winters across the UK and Europe were often severe.  The severe cold went hand in hand with an exceptionally inactive sun, and was called the Maunder solar minimum. Now a leading scientist from Reading University has told me that the current rate of decline in solar activity is such that there’s a real risk of seeing a return of such conditions.
Hendrick Avercamp - Enjoying Ice - ca 1630
But think of the skiing and skating!  Who cares if agricultural production falls.  Let 'em eat ice.
...According to Professor Lockwood the late 20th century was a period when the sun was unusually active and a so called ‘grand maximum’ occurred around 1985. Since then the sun has been getting quieter.

By looking back at certain isotopes in ice cores, he has been able to determine how active the sun has been over thousands of years. Following analysis of the data, Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years. He found 24 different occasions in the last 10,000 years when the sun was in exactly the same state as it is now - and the present decline is faster than any of those 24.
I take such claims, that "X is increasing (or decreasing) at an unprecedented rate" with a large grain of salt.  Our knowledge of past climate pattern is almost entirely gathered with methods that give us rather crude estimates of the rate of change, low pass filters that tend to damp the rapidity of the signal.

Based on his findings he’s raised the risk of a new Maunder minimum from less than 10% just a few years ago to 25-30%. And a repeat of the Dalton solar minimum which occurred in the early 1800s, which also had its fair share of cold winters and poor summers, is, according to him, ‘more likely than not’ to happen.

Andreas Scheffelhout - Winter Landscape - ca 1840
Still, it's worth continuing research into the sun-climate connections.  We have historical evidence that periods of low solar activity (as defined by sunspot cycles), but we don't yet understand the causal connection.  The change in total solar irradiance is insufficient to account for more than a fraction of the observed climate swings, leading us to infer other mechanisms.  At this point, the leading contender would have to be the Svensmark Hypothesis, in which the solar magnetic field, which varies with the solar cycle, shields the earth from cosmic rays less during periods of low solar activity.  The cosmic rays, in turn, produce ions in the atmosphere that aid cloud formation, and cool the climate.  Preliminary tests of the hypothesis in cloud chambers confirm that it could be a factor.

Damn that Pleistocene; just when you get used to the climate, it changes again.

Previous posts on the solar activity/climate connection:

Solar Magnetic Activity Linked to Climate Via Cosmic Rays
Solar Breakdown - AAS Predicts Solar Minimum
CERN Head Censors Scientific Thinking
Dalton or Maunder?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Farmers Crow Over Victory in Chicken Shit Law Suit

Hardy County chicken farmers talk about victory over EPA
Two Hardy County chicken farmers said they knew they had to stand up against the federal Environmental Protection Agency and fight for all poultry farmers.

“All my years, I’ve been taught that, if you believe in something, you fight for it,” said Lois Alt. Both Lois and Tony Alt were guests on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” to talk about the results of the lawsuit they filed against the EPA and won.

“It’s not just about us. Our name is on the case, but it’s all farmers. We have neighbors. Here in this area of West Virginia, poultry is the industry,” said Lois Alt.

Last week, U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey ruled that stormwater from the Alt Eight is Enough farm in Hardy County, and sites like it, is not subject to EPA regulation under the Clean Water Act.
The rest of the article is a pretty decent (and mostly objective) review of the actions that led to this ruling. It's worth the read.  Or you can dig up my old posts on it:

Chesapeake Farmers Fear Regulation
EPA Drops Chicken Shit Law Suit
EPA to Farm Bureau: Butt Out!
Farmers Win Right To Help Fellow in Fight With EPA
Chicken Shit Farmer Wants Day In Court
Chicken Rancher Sues EPA
Man Bites Dog
CBF Denied Entry into Shitty Court Case
CBF Challanges Exclusion from Chicken Shit Law Suit
EPA Loses Chicken Shit Law Suit

How long before EPA goes to Congress to ask modify the Clean Water Act to cover ag runoff?

Southern Racist Proposes Obamacare Changes

Sen. Mary Landrieu said Wednesday she would propose legislation to ensure all Americans could keep their existing insurance coverage under Obamacare, a fresh sign of the political problems the law’s rollout has created for congressional Democrats.

Landrieu, a Democrat who faces a tough reelection in Louisiana in 2014, said she would either offer her own bill or formally sign onto another measure that would ensure that the law would not force anyone off of their existing health policies.

“The promise was made, and it should be kept,” Landrieu said in the Capitol Wednesday. “And it was our understanding when we voted for that bill that people when they have insurance could keep with what they had. So I’m going to be working on that fix.”
We all know that opposing Obamacare, or proposing to change its flawless design is racist; just ask fellow Louisiana Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Carter Peterson:
Louisiana Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Carter Peterson says opposition to President Obama's health care overhaul boils down to one thing: racism. "It's not about how many federal dollars we can receive. It's not about that. You ready? It's about race," Peterson said in a floor speech in the Louisiana state Senate. "I know nobody wants to talk about that. It's about the race of this African-American president."

IRS: Audits for Thee, Not For Me

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration today released Weaknesses in Asset Management Controls Leave Information Technology Assets Vulnerable to Loss:
...TIGTA found that information technology asset data successfully migrated from the legacy inventory system to the KISAM–Asset Manager. However, the audit log used to capture events was not being reviewed to ensure that only appropriate accesses were made. In addition, information technology asset data within the KISAM–Asset Manager are inaccurate and incomplete because the IRS is not following its procedures to ensure that all assets are accurately recorded and timely updated in the KISAM–Asset Manager.

TIGTA also found that ineffective inventory controls created an environment where information technology assets are vulnerable to loss. TIGTA selected 146 information technology assets to physically verify and could not locate and verify or find proper supporting documentation for 34 information technology assets worth more than $948,000. In addition, IRS offices improperly completed the annual inventory reconciliation process.
Take that million out of the budgets of the groups that couldn't find the goodies.  And then check 'em again the next year. 

New Anti-Piracy Weapon: Britney Spears

Another 6 AM Eye Opener  brought to you from that news collecting agency extraordinaire, Wombat-Socho at the The Other McCain's Live at 5, everything the Instapundit is going to post all day.

Britney Spears songs used to scare off pirates in Somalia
Her hits are blasted out to deter kidnap attacks, merchant navy officer Rachel Owens revealed.

Spears’s chart-toppers Oops! I Did It Again and Baby One More Time have proved to be the most effective at keeping the bandits at bay.

Great Moments In Environmental Hypocrisy: Al Gore Invests $200 Million in Fracking, Oil Shale

Al Gore invested $200 million in a Canadian fracking company, PetroBakken
In a statement to shareholders, Canada-based PetroBakken Resources announced that Gore and his investment partners would be pumping $200 million into the company in return for a 15 percent stake.

The move comes just weeks after Gore sold his shares in cable broadcaster Current to Al-Jazeera, a Middle Eastern channel backed by oil wealth. Both transactions have raised eyebrows because of the dissonance between Gore's high-profile environmental activism and his investment strategy.

The PetroBakken investment in particular has come under harsh scrutiny because the company develops unconventional resources like shale gas and tar sands, both highly controversial with environmentalists.
In an interview with Canada's BNN news channel, however, Gore offered a robust defense of his actions.

"First of all, if I didn't invest in this company somebody else would," he explained to anchor Bill McAvoy. "Do you think Mother Nature cares about the shareholding structure of companies that cause pollution?

"A kilogram of CO2 is a kilogram of CO2. It doesn't matter who owns the company that made it. This investment doesn't put a single extra molecule of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere."

"Well, to be frank Mr. Gore that isn't the issue," interrupted McAvoy. "No one is saying that this investment increases the overall amount of pollution. What we're saying it that you're failing to set a moral example.

"You've asked people to cut their own carbon footprint by driving less, buying new light bulbs, insulating their houses, carpooling, et cetera. All of these things require sacrifice. Isn't it hypocritical to ask others to sacrifice financially, if you can't seem to make similar sacrifices yourself?"

"Well, no, I don't think it's hypocritical at all," Gore said. "You see what I am doing, I'm recycling this money. I'm taking this dirty, polluting cash made from fossil fuels and putting it into my company.

"From there I plan to reuse it to fund new documentaries about the threat of global climate change. This isn't some Gordon Gekko thing. I consider myself to be a sort of Robin Hood."
So, he's going to rob from the rich and give to... himself.
"A Robin Hood?" McAvoy replied. "Does that mean you're committing to give all the money made from of this investment to environmental causes?

"Well, not quite all of the money," Gore responded. "We do have expenses, after all. But I can promise to give away a decent amount, once my costs have been covered.
And a healthy fraction siphoned off into his pockets, no doubt.

Midnite Music - Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Wombat-Socho has the giant make up Veteran's Day Rule 5 post "Rule 5 Sunday: Double-Stuf Veterans Day Weekend Edition", containing two weeks of Rule 5 links (3 for me, Thank you, Wombat) up at The Other McCain.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Do School Anti-Bullying Programs Lead to Teen Suicides?

In the past we've explored how some school anti-bullying programs seem act a bullying training programs, actually giving bullies ideas on how to terrorize fellow students.  Now comes evidence that the school programs can also encourage the bullied students to commit suicide to end the abuse:

Anti-bullying videos questioned after two students' suicides
Two students from separate schools committed suicide within days of each other this month -- which is National Bullying Prevention Month -- and both boys apparently had been bullied. Now, parents are asking questions not just about bullying but also about anti-bullying videos, which both schools aired shortly before the incidents.

Brad Lewis' son Jordan, 15, a sophomore at Carterville High School in Illinois, killed himself Oct. 17 by shooting himself in the chest. Jordan left behind an affectionate, apologetic note that, according to Lewis, concluded with the line, “Bullying has caused me to do this. Those of you know who you are.”

Lewis criticized investigators for not pursuing the bullies more aggressively, but also turned some of his questions toward his son's school, which showed an anti-bullying video to students the day before Jordan killed himself.

"All I know is they were discussing the bullying, and showing kids bullying, and at the end of the show they showed pictures of kids that took their lives," Lewis said. "When a child or a person is at the end of their rope, and they don’t think there’s anywhere to go, and they don’t think anyone's doing anything about it, and they see something on video, and they relate."

Lewis added, "You’re dealing with kids. Kids don’t look at the long-term situation -- they look at the short term, they look at the pain they feel now, how can they end that pain.”
As my GrandFather used to say: "The Road to Hell is Paved with the skulls of unbaptized babies good intentions."  It's not enough for educational programs to have good intentions.  Teenagers don't have adult brains yet, and sometimes what seems perfectly innocuous educational material to adults just doesn't translate to them. They often get the message that the thing they're are being warned about is common, and normal.   As the old joke goes, I'm glad I took that sexual harassment training at work; otherwise I would not know how to do it.

Some Downhill Biking

Wombat-Socho has the giant make up Veteran's Day Rule 5 post "Rule 5 Sunday: Double-Stuf Veterans Day Weekend Edition", containing two weeks of Rule 5 links (3 for me, Thank you, Wombat) up at The Other McCain.

That Ain't Gonna Buff Out!

Thanks to Sandee.

Birds Busting Bait off the Beach

Yet another pretty nice fall morning at the beach.  Temperatures are in the mid to upper 50s, the wind is 5-10 NW (which gives us a little cover) and the skies are clear.
The first thing I noticed when we got down on the beach was this flock of birds diving on some kind of bait, most likely bait pushed to the surface by predators, stripers or blues.  We haven't seen this scene too many times this year.
Some fossil snail shell embedded in the clay cliff.  It was a terrible day for finding fossils otherwise; just two small shark's teeth, and one drum's tooth.
With the bait ball dispersed (or eaten), the birds went back to waiting on the jetty.

New Dolphin 'Discovered' Down Under

Previously unknown humpback dolphin species identified, researchers say
Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin
Researchers said Tuesday that they have identified a previously unknown species of humpback dolphin living off the coast of Australia, a critical first step in efforts to conserve the dwindling numbers of the marine mammal.

Scientists from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society reported in the journal Molecular Ecology that they used genetic testing and physical comparison of the cetaceans to settle a long-running controversy about the number of species that exists.
As much fun as it is to say "We discovered a new species of dolphin", what really happened here is that scientists took a group of dolphins originally lumped under one species, and split it into two, with two different names, based on minor morphological differences, and genetic evidence that the two groups do not exchange much genetic material.  Such splitting (and re-lumping) goes on often in biology.
Divided into two groups — one in the Atlantic Ocean and one found in other parts of the world — the population of humpback dolphins is actually composed of four distinct species, the researchers said. In addition to the newly discovered species, they said, one of the current groups should be divided into two. The species occupy the eastern Atlantic Ocean off West Africa, the central and western Indian Ocean, the eastern Indian and western Pacific oceans, and the waters off the coast of northern Australia.
The division of closely related groups of animals into species is inherently arbitrary. Only the dolphins know for sure.

Great Moments in False Modesty

“Sometimes it makes me feel guilty now that I am in this profession that makes certain girls insecure,” the Victoria’s Secret beauty, 28, told us. “I always say, I don’t look like the picture . . . If you put me in bad light with no hair and makeup, it’s not good
There is no light that bad...  And, yes, make up helps, but it's overrated.  I'd risk it.
. . . I wake up sometimes like, this is not what I see when I look at the magazine, who is this visitor in the bathroom?”

Spotted at Wombat-socho's Live at 5 this morning.

Liberals Finding Lies Less Objectionable Lately

MSNBC contributor and Chicago Tribune columnist joined conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday and admitted that when President Obama said Americans would be able to keep their plans if they like them, he was fully aware he was lying and exaggerating about it.

Page told Hewitt that Obama knew “there was no guarantee everybody was going to keep their insurance because people couldn’t keep their insurance under the old system.”

Hewitt asked, “He knew he was lying?”

Page replied, “Probably, but that’s one of those political lies, you know.”
If they didn't have low standards, they'd have none at all.

Monday, October 28, 2013

They're Back!

What with a nice Fall day, a distinct lack of wind, and some spare time, I called Trevor, and we took off fishing this afternoon.  This weird ship, that looks like some kind of research boat, was operating offshore of "Location X."  Servicing the CBOS buoys maybe?
Anyway, they're back refers to the Speckled or Spotted Trout (Cynoscion nebulosis), which in years past have repeatedly shown up in the deep, warm waters of "Location X" right around the end of October or the beginning of November.  Trevor caught the first one, this little dinky 18 inch fish...
...while I caught this massive 20 inch specimen.  Conveniently enough, "Location X" is seen in the background.  Remind me to comb my hair the next time I catch a picture fish.
We also caught 1 keeper Striped Bass, a chunky 19 inch fish, about 10 between 14 and 17 inches, a couple of white perch, and this fine Bar Dog, which Trevor kept for supper.

We stayed through a fine sunset, going from gold...
to this pinkish sherbert color.  There was a little left in sky when we arrived back at the harbor.

Butterfly and Bald Eagles at the Beach

We got our act together a little late today, and wandered down to the beach around 10:30.  Today's weather is significantly warmer than yesterday's, pushing 60 F.   The skies are partly cloudy, but the wind is down after last night's strong breezes.
As you can see, the tide is up, and getting around the gray cliff was impossible without getting wet feed, and we declined. Georgia got a bit of a lead on me this morning, as I got distracted... this Common Buckeye up in the dunes.  I had to chase it a little, and sneak up without casting a shadow on it and spooking it.  It's not as nice a setting as the one I photographed down at Buzz's, but it's still a pretty specimen, and butterflies are getting harder and harder to find.
Bald Eagles, however, are not.  Even in this short walk we saw 4 different eagles.  This one looks like it has almost finished molting into adult plumage; it still has some mottling on the underside of its wings, and the tail isn't the pure white of most adults.
But it settled in the big Sweetgum tree that overlooks the cliffs down near the Calvert Beach steps with another eagle.  Do you see the other eagle through the leaves?

There was another pair that we've seen recently down near the harbor mouth.  Neither area was occupied by eagles much last fall or winter.  Are they new pairs trying to push into the cracks between older pairs?

Drunken Sluts Have Rights, Too!

In which Stacy McCain goes off on the feminists who are going off on Emily Yoffe, who says that college girls should avoid becoming victims of date rape by not going binge drinking.

The Drunk Sluts Rights Movement
Back in August, when I covered “SlutWalk DC,” I observed:
Date rape is an apparently common campus crime that usually involves two drunk young people, one of whom has an erect penis, and the other of whom is unable to avert what the erect penis typically does.
If there's no man, who gets the blame?

Not to mention, it makes the question of consent much more cloudy.  One of the more noted effect of alcohol is to reduce peoples inhibitions. There is a reason dating often involves alcohol.
Of course, feminists would denounce such a statement of fact as a misogynistic expression of “rape culture,” but facts are facts: Alcohol is a significant contributing factor in the incidence of date rape. Leslie Eastman at College Insurrection remarks, “Never let it be said that outraged campus feminists confuse themselves with common sense,” as she highlights a Washington Post column about a recent uproar:

The message of Emily Yoffe’s Slate article about binge drinking and sexual assault on college campuses was as important as it was obvious: The best step that young women can take to protect themselves is to stop drinking to excess.
Young women everywhere — not to mention their mothers — ought to be thanking Yoffe. Instead, she’s being pilloried.

A “rape denialism manifesto” full of “plain old victim-blaming,” Lori Adelman wrote on the feminist blog Erin Gloria Ryan, on, accused Yoffe of “admonishing women for not doing enough to stop their own rapes.”

Read the whole thing
When your car gets stolen after you leave it unlocked with the window down and the key in the the ignition while parked in a bad neighborhood, you are still entitled to blame the thief, but you also have to acknowledge your own head-slapping stupidity.

Now, more folly from drunken sluts....

Seal Lions Join War On Humanity

Do you think the Pelican was passing on intelligence?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thank CBS This Didn't Get Out Before the Election

When it might have had some impact.

Superbugs Are Winning the Battle

'We've reached the end of antibiotics': Top CDC expert declares that 'miracle drugs' that have saved millions are no match against 'superbugs' because people have overmedicated themselves
The associate director of the CDC sat down with Frontline over the summer for a lengthy interview about the growing problem of antibacterial resistance.

Srinivasan, who is also featured in a Frontline report called 'Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria,' which aired Tuesday, said that both humans and livestock have been overmedicated to such a degree that bacteria are now resistant to antibiotics.

‘We're in the post-antibiotic era,' he said. 'There are patients for whom we have no therapy, and we are literally in a position of having a patient in a bed who has an infection, something that five years ago even we could have treated, but now we can’t.’.
However, the CDC director explained that people have fueled the fire of bacterial resistance through rampant overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

‘These drugs are miracle drugs, these antibiotics that we have, but we haven’t taken good care of them over the 50 years that we’ve had them,’ he told Frontline.
It sure was nice living most of my life in the golden era of antibiotics.

RIP: Lou Reed

Dead at 71.

Bay and Beach Day

By the time we got out this morning, the sun was gone.  However, the tide was pretty low, and the wind was down and west, so it was still a tolerable walk.
This afternoon, the sun was back, and the wind was down, so I did a little fishing.  However, the wind didn't stay down long, so I only stayed out long enough to catch a limit of Striped Bass, which I brought home for dinner.  Now I'm watching the Redskins. 

White House Stiffs Smithsonian over Unmentionable Armenian Rug

Armenian ‘orphan rug’ is in White House storage, as unseen as genocide is neglected
The rug was woven by orphans in the 1920s and formally presented to the White House in 1925. A photograph shows President Calvin Coolidge standing on the carpet, which is no mere juvenile effort, but a complicated, richly detailed work that would hold its own even in the largest and most ceremonial rooms.
There was hope that the carpet, which has been in storage for almost 20 years, might be displayed Dec. 16 as part of a Smithsonian event that would include a book launch for Hagop Martin Deranian’s “President Calvin Coolidge and the Armenian Orphan Rug.” But on Sept. 12, the Smithsonian scholar who helped organize the event canceled it, citing the White House’s decision not to loan the carpet. In a letter to two Armenian American organizations, Paul Michael Taylor, director of the institution’s Asian cultural history program, had no explanation for the White House’s refusal to allow the rug to be seen and said that efforts by the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, John A. Heffern, to intervene had also been unavailing.
Last week, the White House issued a statement: “The Ghazir rug is a reminder of the close relationship between the peoples of Armenia and the United States. We regret that it is not possible to loan it out at this time.”

That leaves the rug, and the sponsors of the event, in limbo, a familiar place for Armenians. Neither Ara Ghazarians of the Armenian Cultural Foundation nor Levon Der Bedrossian of the Armenian Rugs Society can be sure if the event they had helped plan was canceled for the usual political reason: fear of negative reaction from Turkey, which has resolutely resisted labeling the events at the end of the Ottoman Empire a genocide. But both suspect it might have been.
 Message to Turkey: drop it; the Armenian genocide happened. Live with it

Message to the White House: Grow a pair, or borrow rent Condi Rice's.

Sec. Sebelius Revokes Law of Cause and Effect

Blames Obamacare rollout shortcomings on Republicans, government shutdown.
“We did not have the luxury of that with a law that said it’s go time on October 1st and frankly a political atmosphere where the majority party at least in the House was determined to stop this any way they possibly could including shutting down the United States government. So it was not an ideal atmosphere,” she said.

A widely used modern definition of causality was originally given by David Hume.[8] He denied that we can ever perceive cause and effect, except by developing a habit or custom of mind where we come to associate two types of object or event, always contiguous and occurring one after the other.[9] In Part III, section XV, Hume expanded this to a list of eight ways of judging whether two things might be cause and effect. The first three:

1. "The cause and effect must be contiguous in space and time."
2. "The cause must be prior to the effect."
3. "There must be a constant union betwixt the cause and effect. 'Tis chiefly this quality, that constitutes the relation."

Date of Obamacare rollout, after three years of work - Oct. 1, 2013.
Date of government shutdown start, after several weeks of warning - Oct. 1, 2013:

Why do democrats and liberals hate logic and science?

Inspired from Ace's.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Speaking of Vulture Capitalism...

A dying mechanic wanted a few thousand dollars to leave to his wife, two sons and infant daughter. A politically connected millionaire, now running for Virginia governor, wanted to make some money. And a Rhode Island estate planner wanted to become ambassador to the Vatican.

All three came together on paper in late 2006 in a deal struck just two months before the 44-year-old mechanic died of cancer.

The mechanic got $5,000. The millionaire, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, made at least $47,000. But the estate planning lawyer, Joseph Caramadre, went to prison instead of Rome.

Caramadre helped McAuliffe place a bet on the dying man based on a loophole the estate planner had sniffed out in the fine print of insurance annuities. Although the loophole was legal, Caramadre has pleaded guilty to stealing the identities of the terminally ill as part of his scheme. He is in federal prison, awaiting sentencing.
But of course McAuliffe, canny businessman that he is, denies any specific knowledge of the deal.
“At the time that he invested, he was told Mr. Caramadre was a respected figure in his community and that he was led to believe that he was investing in a legitimate pooled annuity,” campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin said in an e-mail.

First Frost?

We got an early start this morning, and got out while there was still frost on the roofs of nearby houses.  What?  Frost you say?  Sure looked like it, but I never touched any. It was in the low 30s according to our thermometer, but windless, and so pretty tolerable at the beach; as long as you wore gloves or mittens.
 We have some fall colors starting to show, but the majority of the color is still a week or two off.
The beach was all but deserted.

Oystering: Business as Usual

Two Rock Hall watermen were charged last week with harvesting 26 bushels of oysters, of which many were undersized, from a Patuxent River sanctuary. Benjamin Leonard Reihl, 26, and Adam Vincent Reihl, 21, received citations for having a harvest containing 15 percent undersized oysters and for taking oysters from a closed area.

...Acting on a tip last Wednesday, Oct. 16, officers from St. Mary’s and Calvert counties placed the sanctuary near Greenwell State Park under surveillance and saw two oyster boats in legal waters, according to the press release. When one boat departed, the other moved to the Neal Addison Oyster Sanctuary.

As the patrol boat approached, the watermen moved back to legal waters. Officers inspected two bushels and found undersized oysters, according to the release. They escorted the boat to Solomons, where all 26 bushels were checked. Officers returned the oysters to the sanctuary.

Benjamin Reihl has been found guilty of multiple natural resources violations dating back to 2007, according to the press release. He was charged Oct. 4 with possessing a harvest with 9 percent undersized oysters taken from the Patuxent River in Calvert County. His oyster license is under suspension, but he was fishing last Wednesday as a designee on his father’s license, which is legal.
Revoke both licenses permanently.  If it were up to me, wild oyster harvesting would be banned for 5-10 years anyway while we figure out if it's possible for American Oysters to maintain a fish-able population in the Bay. That's two.  Where are the other two?
NRP officers also issued citations Oct. 17 to two watermen for having a harvest containing 9 percent undersized oysters.

Richard Brent Buff, 39, of Port Republic and Patrick Joseph Mahoney Jr., 33, of Annapolis are scheduled to appear in Calvert County District Court in December, the release states.
I have a little more sympathy here.  Oysters grow on each other and it's possible that the NRP officers are counting spat living on legal sized oysters.  On the other hand, they may not be measuring oysters, just "eying" them to determine whether they're legal.

Oyster poaching has a long history in Chesapeake Bay, starting with the "Chesapeake Oyster Wars" in 1865 and continuing to the present.  It will only be stamped out by firm enforcement of the rules, and will likely require an additional generation to work.  A long "time out" might help.

Rule 5 Saturday - Dancing with Brooke Burke

I have no particular excuse beyond the obvious for choosing Brooke Burke as this weeks Rule 5 feature.  Heck, I even had to Google her to see who she was. That revealed why I didn't know who she was; her primary claim to fame is starring in shows I wouldn't watch on a bet, including Wild One!, Rock Star, and Dancing with the Stars. Even if they do feature beautiful women.  I ain't judging, I just have no interest in these shows.
She has modeled for a number of magazines, including FHM, MAXIM and Playboy (NSFW links).

Anticipating age, perhaps, she has started doing voice work for video games etc.

Lucky Dog

Speaking of dogs:

SHAKE from Variable on Vimeo.

The later thanks to Janie.

Friday, October 25, 2013

What a "Coincidence"

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.

Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.

Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.
It's good to have connections.  Here's to successful networking!
As reported by the Washington Examiner in early October, the Department of Health and Human Services reviewed only CGI’s bid for the Obamacare account.

Schadenfreude: Kirsten Powers Discovers that Obamacare Will Double Her Insurance

If she wasn't dead, Helen Thomas would be crowing about how much money it saved her.

It's Good to Have Friends... Government.  But this financial adviser apparently doesn't have any. Prosecuted in DC for spent brass.

D.C. police and Atty General aggressively prosecute someone who is not David Gregory
The latest outrageous case of D.C. overreach and bullying of citizens who are not David Gregory is documented by Emily Miller at The Washington Times (via The Patriot Perspective), D.C. businessman faces two years in jail for unregistered ammunition, brass casing:
Mark Witaschek, a successful financial adviser with no criminal record, is facing two years in prison for possession of unregistered ammunition after D.C. police raided his house looking for guns. Mr. Witaschek has never had a firearm in the city, but he is being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The trial starts on Nov. 4.

The police banged on the front door of Mr. Witaschek’s Georgetown home at 8:20 p.m. on July 7, 2012, to execute a search warrant for “firearms and ammunition … gun cleaning equipment, holsters, bullet holders and ammunition receipts.”

Mr. Witaschek’s 14-year-old daughter let inside some 30 armed officers in full tactical gear.

D.C. law requires residents to register every firearm with the police, and only registered gun owners can possess ammunition, which includes spent shells and casings. The maximum penalty for violating these laws is a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.
This appears to have been initiated by a complaint from a vengeful ex-wife (is there another kind?).
Police based their search on a charge made by Mr. Witaschek’s estranged wife, who had earlier convinced a court clerk to issue a temporary restraining order against her husband for threatening her with a gun, although a judge later found the charge to be without merit.

After entering the house, the police immediately went upstairs, pointed guns at the heads of Mr. Witaschek and his girlfriend, Bonnie Harris, and demanded they surrender, facedown and be handcuffed.
Mrs David Gregory with D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan
Professor Jacobson is doing the good work of keeping the pressure on the D.C. government to justify it's decision to not prosecute David Gregory for blatantly ignoring DC gun laws by brandishing a 30 round clip in Wayne LaPierre's face on national TV from the network studio in D.C despite the fact that he was warned not to.

And another fine example of governmental overreach in the name of gun control a lttle closer to home, in Shady Side, MD, via Stacy McCain:

Police State: Feds Raid Investigative Reporter Audrey Hudson, Seize Notes
A veteran Washington D.C. investigative journalist says the Department of Homeland Security confiscated a stack of her confidential files during a raid of her home in August — leading her to fear that a number of her sources inside the federal government have now been exposed.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, journalist Audrey Hudson revealed that the Department of Homeland Security and Maryland State Police were involved in a predawn raid of her Shady Side, Md. home on Aug. 6. . . .

At about 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 6, Hudson said officers dressed in full body armor presented a search warrant to enter the home she shares on the bay with her husband. She estimates that at least seven officers took part in the raid.

After the search began, Hudson said she was asked by an investigator with the Coast Guard Investigative Service if she was the same Audrey Hudson who had written a series of critical stories about air marshals for The Washington Times over the last decade. The Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security. . . .
It seems her husband was "ineligible" for gun ownership in Maryland because of an arrest in Prince Georges County in 1986, so they felt they needed to prevent her from possessing them as well.  It was probably just a coincidence that she was an investigative reported who had written critical stories about the Department of Homeland Security.  They just happened to seize some files containing hand written notes that identified some of her confidential sources.  Purely coincidental, I'm sure.

Oh, and the warrant did not specify the files...

Bright, Cool Day at the Beach

We haven't been to the beach much lately for various reasons, but today we managed to find the time.  It's a nice bright, but cool and brisk day here in slower Maryland, with the temps in the lower side of the 50s, and NW winds of about 15 mph.  It looks like we may have abandoned shorts and short sleeves for the year, although the average high is still supposed to be 66.
Unlike our other visits recently, we had an exceptionally low tide, quite typical for astronomical tide combined with the north wind's "blow out" effect.
Despite lots of exposed beach, fossil hunting was tough.  We finished with a mere 15 teeth, of which this little Mako was probably the best.
 Eagles?  Yep, we have a few.  Both adult...
... and juvenile.  Damn Google pictures for wonking up the colors on this one.  I still have to look and see if I can find how to turn that off. I mean, doesn't everybody know how to use Photoshop or an equivalent?
 Seagulls have a confrontation over a dead fish.
And a cormorant watches for any sign of a meal for a convenient high place, the entrance marker for Flag Harbor.