Sunday, November 30, 2014

Late November Beach Report

We took the first half of the Redskins game off to visit the beach. It's a gorgeous fall day here, with afternoon temperatures climbing above 60 F with blue skies and a few light clouds. The wind was moderate 10-15 but southwest, which gives good protection.

Georgia pokes around for a sharks tooth.  I believe she found one here, too, one of the mere six that we found (3 and 3, if you must know the score).

The water is exceptionally clear, as it often is in fall.

The raft of Buffleheads was still sitting off Calvert Beach. Someone with binoculars told me there were Oldsquaw (the un-PC name for the  Long-Tailed Duck), a distinct possibility, but I couldn't find any.

Moon over the Flag Harbor jetty.

Redskins Try to Kill Baby Horses

The hard luck Redskins (3-8) (bad owner choice) face the 7-4 Indianapolis Colts at 1 PM in Indianapolis. Good Luck with that, because it will take good luck.

The big Redskins news, of course, is that "franchise" quarterback Robert Griffin III has been benched in favor of 2nd up Colt McCoy, in a move which may presage the end of his career with the Redskins: Report: Redskins plan to start Colt McCoy over Robert Griffin III

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is "highly unlikely" to return to the team next season, according to a report from Jason Reid of The Washington Post.

Coach Jay Gruden announced Wednesday that Colt McCoy will start over Griffin in the the Redskins' game against the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Griffin, whom the Redskins selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft after trading three first-round picks and a second-round pick to the St. Louis Rams, is set to earn $6.7 million in 2015 under the terms of his rookie contract. The Redskins have until May 3 of next year to decide whether to pick up his fifth-year option.
Getting rid of losing quarterbacks is the rare exception to the Washington DC rule that no one gets fired for non-performance. Well, maybe Chuck Hagel.

In the ongoing war against football, the liberals lost some ground as former Baltimore Ravens wife beater running back Ray Rice won a judgement against the NFL, and will be permitted to play in the NFL again, if he can find a team:
Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has won his appeal of an indefinite suspension and has been reinstated to the NFL. Rice is now eligible to sign with any NFL team.
. . .
Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, who heard Rice's appeal earlier this month, concluded in her decision, which was obtained by ESPN, that Rice did not lie to or mislead NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
It always struck me as odd that Goodell
"In this arbitration, the NFL argues that Commissioner Goodell was misled when he disciplined Rice the first time. Because, after careful consideration of all of the evidence, I am not persuaded that Rice lied to, or misled, the NFL at his June interview, I find that the indefinite suspension was an abuse of discretion and must be vacated," Jones' decision stated.

"I find that the NFLPA carried its burden of showing that Rice did not mislead the Commissioner at the June 16th meeting, and therefore, that the imposition of a second suspension based on the same incident and the same known facts about the incident, was arbitrary," Jones also wrote. "The Commissioner needed to be fair and consistent in his imposition of discipline.

Ray Rice, through the player's union has a separate suit against the Ravens to attempt to force them to take back his dismissal.

Janay Rice, clearly upset by the potential loss of her gravy train, spoke to ESPN and gave her side of the story:
I was going to surprise Ray at the hotel with a couples massage, but the manager spoiled the surprise by calling Ray to confirm the time, instead of checking with me. From that moment on I was annoyed with everything, but I continued to act as if I was fine. We weren't even in Atlantic City yet and nothing seemed to be going right.
 I think we've all been to this point.

After a silent, three-hour car ride we arrived at the hotel, where everything seemed to be much better. There were two other couples hanging out with us -- Ray's brother and his girlfriend, plus another couple we'd become close to in Baltimore. All of us went to dinner, and then met up again later at the club inside of the Revel Casino. We were drinking and having a good time. The six of us shared two to three bottles of liquor, which we also shared with a few fans who came up to us.

After the club, our friends from Baltimore, Ray and I decided to go to the late-night restaurant in the casino. Ray and I were bickering. We were drunk and tired and while I know that some people may find it hard to believe, none of the six of us can remember exactly what Ray and I were arguing about. It was that insignificant.
As we were arguing, he was on his phone and not looking at me. I went to reach for his phone, and when he grabbed it back, he spit at me and I slapped him.

We got into the elevator and what happened inside is still foggy to me. The only thing I know -- and I can't even say I "remember" because I only know from what Ray has told me -- is that I slapped him again and then he hit me. I remember nothing else from inside the elevator.
We've all seen the video. She went down like a sack of rocks. If she'd been hit just right, it could have killed her, she's lucky to have gotten off without any broken bones, and with just a minute or two of missing time.
The next thing I do recall is being in the casino lobby, surrounded by cops.

The police separated us and arrested us. They told me they had the entire incident on video. I was bawling. The cops tried to tell me what happened and I refused to believe them. If anything, I just felt like I was still drunk. I said to one officer, "That's not us. What do you mean?" There were no marks on my face or body, and I felt perfectly fine. I was in complete shock.
 Clearly a concussive event.
They took Ray and I to the police station, where they held us together in the same room, but they kept us far enough apart so that they could talk to us separately. Eventually, we were left alone and Ray kept saying, "It's going to be OK. We'll be OK." He just kept crying and apologizing, but I didn't really want to speak to him.
I strongly suspect that Rice is far from the only domestic abuser in the NFL. It would be amusing to check for domestic violence arrest reports among the coaching, management staff and announcers. That could prove interesting.

While I don't condone what Rice did, I'm generally a believer in second chances (and third chances, etc.). I hope Ray moves past this. Whether he does it in the context of the NFL is yet to be decided.

Well, enjoy the game, whichever game you choose to watch.

Wombat-socho has the father of all Rule 5 posts, "Rule 5 Sunday: Ton O’ Luv" ready at The Other McCain.

Generic Obamacare Schadenfreude

A little dash of Obamacare Schadenfreude to start the week:

Obamacare Twice as Likely to Hurt Americans than Help
A rising number of Americans are claiming that Obamacare has negatively impacted their health insurance policies.

Only 14 percent claim they have been helped by Obamacare, while more than twice as many (35 percent) say they have been hurt by it, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll release Monday.
“Among voters who say their health insurance has been changed by the law, 17% say they have been helped, but 66% report being hurt by it.
A majority of voters (55%) still views the health care law unfavorably, while 39% share a favorable opinion of it. This includes 38% with a Very Unfavorable view versus 16% with a Very Favorable one. Negative opinions of the law fell to a recent low of 50%. . . two weeks ago.”
The majority of Americans polled (60 percent) believe the government’s monopolization of the health care industry will only stifle free market competition and exacerbate costs.
Peak Number Of Americans Delaying Medical Care Over Costs
One in three Americans has put off seeking medical treatment in 2014 due to high costs, according to Gallup — the highest percentage since Gallup began asking the question in 2001.

Thirty-three percent of Americans have delayed medical treatment for themselves or their families because of the costs they’d have to pay, according to the survey. Obamacare, of course, had promised that it would help make health care more affordable for everyone, but the number of people who can’t afford a trip to the doctor has actually risen three points since 2013, before most Obamacare provisions took effect.

The hardest-hit: the middle-class. Americans with an annual household income of between $30,000 and $75,000 began delaying medical care over costs more in 2014, up to 38 percent in 2014 from 33 percent last year; among households that earn above $75,000, 28 percent delayed care this year, compared to just 17 percent last year.

The lowest-income section, some of whom can take part in Medicaid and who are more likely to qualify for significant premium and cost-sharing subsidies on an Obamacare exchange, are less likely to delay care this year. Now, 35 percent of those who earn under $30,000 a year are putting off seeking medical care, down from 43 percent last year.
So is that what the democrats intended when they said they wanted to help the middle-class; make them more like the poor? This is not the income redistribution the middle was looking for.

U.S. CEOs threaten to pull tacit Obamacare support over 'wellness' spat
Leading U.S. CEOs, angered by the Obama administration's challenge to certain "workplace wellness" programs, are threatening to side with anti-Obamacare forces unless the government backs off, according to people familiar with the matter.

Major U.S. corporations have broadly supported President Barack Obama's healthcare reform despite concerns over several of its elements, largely because it included provisions encouraging the wellness programs.

The programs aim to control healthcare costs by reducing smoking, obesity, hypertension and other risk factors that can lead to expensive illnesses. A bipartisan provision in the 2010 healthcare reform law allows employers to reward workers who participate and penalize those who don't. But recent lawsuits filed by the administration's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), challenging the programs at Honeywell International and two smaller companies, have thrown the future of that part of Obamacare into doubt.

The lawsuits infuriated some large employers so much that they are considering aligning themselves with Obama's opponents, according to people familiar with the executives' thinking.

"The fact that the EEOC sued is shocking to our members," said Maria Ghazal, vice-president and counsel at the Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives of more than 200 large U.S. corporations. "They don't understand why a plan in compliance with the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is the target of a lawsuit," she said. "This is a major issue to our members."
The relationship between the Obama administration and the insurance companies throughout the Obamacare process has been amusing to say the least. Instead of the single payer system that Obama and his crowd would like, the insurance companies were offered guaranteed business if they would play ball and accept a mandated insurance system through the government. What they are finding out, like many other businesses before them, is when you accept government largess, the government determines the terms, which may change on a whim.

Bad Obamacare month could haunt White House
November has been a terrible month for President Obama, between his party losing control of the Senate and seemingly unending bad news for Obamacare.

The last few weeks were the worst stretch for his signature domestic initiative since the botched rollout of Obamacare in fall 2013, stoking doubts about whether the president can ever sell his healthcare policies to the American public.

First, the Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments on the legality of Obamacare subsidies, a move that could gut the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act.

Then, a string of videos surfaced in which Obamacare architect and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber said the legislation passed because of the “stupidity of the American voters.”

Next, the White House had to account for a pair of enrollment problems. The Department of Health and Human Services projected that between 9 and 9.9 million people would enroll in Obamacare plans next year, well short of the 13 million predicted by the independent Congressional Budget Office. Just a few days later, administration officials admitted they inflated sign-up figures for Obamacare in 2014, including dental plans, to pad the numbers by 400,000 — allowing the administration to meet its original goal of enrolling 7 million consumers.

Perhaps most surprisingly, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a major Obama ally, admitted this week that Democrats wasted political capital in passing Obamacare instead of other initiatives so early in the president's first term.

“Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them,” Schumer told reporters. “We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem — healthcare reform.”

And for good measure, Republicans finally filed a long-anticipated lawsuit against Obama for his unilateral delays of the healthcare law.
Dark days ahead for ObamaCare
The Obama administration is facing a slew of healthcare challenges as the winter holidays approach.

While this fall has been a far cry from last year, when was melting down, 2014 has brought wholly unexpected problems to the fore for federal health officials and the White House. . .

Take the conflict surrounding Jonathan Gruber, the ObamaCare consultant whose suggestion that a "lack of transparency" and voters' "stupidity" helped the law pass, went viral.

ObamaCare's health insurance exchanges have opened for enrollment with few stumbles this year, in a victory for Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. But that doesn't mean the open enrollment period doesn't come with other difficulties. The administration has just until Feb. 15 to bring millions of new customers into the system and encourage existing enrollees to come back and shop again.

The three-month window — about half as long as last year — is proceeding while the back-end of remains partly unfinished. Health insurers have been exasperated by the delays, as health officials verify some account and application details by hand.

A Republican investigation revealed Nov. 20 that ObamaCare enrollment figures at HHS were inflated by roughly 400,000 people after the department miscounted dental plans as medical coverage. The finding was a public relations setback for Burwell and the Obama administration, bringing back partisan strife over enrollment figures that had quieted since the spring.

The Obama administration was not pleased with the Supreme Court this month when it decided to hear King v. Burwell, a case that challenges the validity of subsidies distributed through ObamaCare's federally run exchanges.

Coverage of that case distracted from the fact, however, that the administration faces mounting challenges to the law's birth control mandate from non-profit groups.
I foresee a lot of golf in the President's future.

Chinese Chicken Dance

Wombat-socho has the father of all Rule 5 posts, "Rule 5 Sunday: Ton O’ Luv" ready at The Other McCain.

Watch for Flying Boats

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Four . . .

 . . .years ago about this time I made the first post on this blog: First Post (how original is that?)

Since then I've made 7688 more posts, had 2,631,254 and counting page views from people and robots (I wish I could discriminate against robots, but I can't), and had 1022 more or less non-spam comments. I'm currently averaging somewhere near 1800 hits daily.

There have been a few changes in our lives. We retired, and Skye, the dog featured in the first post, and many others, died of old age. We have not yet found a suitable replacement.

I thank my readers, regular and irregular, as well as Georgia, and the rest of my family for support. I also thank the circle of other bloggers who occasionally link (and vice versa), my brother is real life Ted at A Man, a Dog and a Gun, William Teach at Pirate's Cove. Doug at The Daley Gator, GOODSTUFF of GOODSTUFF's Cyberworld, John Cox at Proof Positive, Samuel Gonzalez at The Last Tradition, and most of all, Wombat-socho at the Other McCain, whose Rule 5 and FMJRA posts are a significant fraction of my weekly hits.

Not that this blog makes any money. The little I've made off the Amazon widgets on the right side bar have been more than offset by image hosting costs. But that was never exactly the point. The point was to contribute to the conversation, the alternative media that bypasses the ignorant and biased media. And to have some fun. In that vein, I also thank the politicians for their endless dishonesty, the media for their endless sycophancy, scientists for their endless hubris, and all the regular folk for their, well, everything, all of which together have provided me plenty of material.

Rule 5 Saturday - Lily Aldridge and the Gap

The subject of this weeks Rule 5 bonus post is Lily Aldridge, one of the crop of new models to show up on the cover in this year's SI swimsuit issue.  A native of my own natal city, Santa Monica, where she was born in 1985, she is the daughter of an English artist, and an American Playboy centerfold (Laura Lyons, Feb. 1976) (NSFW links). Fashion is in the blood:
Her siblings include half-sister Saffron Aldridge, who was a multiyear face of Ralph Lauren in the 1990s; half-brother Miles Aldridge, who is a fashion photographer and was married to model Kristen McMen.
She has been modeling since the age of 16 and had racked up a long list of credits including Victoria's Secret.

Amusing facts about Lily. She is cruel. She makes her poor husband watch her practice her runway strut, over and over and over. 
While the model is a pro at working the runway, she admitted that when she has to practice she does so in the comfort of her own home. “My husband, [Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill], has to watch me all the time,” Lily said . . .
Oh, the humanity! But then, she probably has to listen to him practice.
She is also resentful when photographers Photoshop out her Alfred E, Neumanesque tooth gap.
"I honestly don't like Photoshop. I think when people Photoshop things, all of a sudden you're like, 'That's not even me anymore.' It takes away the natural beauty of a person. I think Gisele [Bundchen] had just said something like there's no more rawness, like the little quirks. You know, I have a gap in my teeth and sometimes people take it away. But I'm like, 'I love my teeth.' You know, that's me."
I've carefully chose the first three photos to highlight this horrible blemish. . .

A number of her videos:

Before I Was a SupermodelSI Swimsuit Profile, Intimates, On Location in the Cook Islands, Hottest Outtakes, Shares Her Secrets, Train Like an Angel.

For his 166th Blogging Magazine issue, GOODSTUFF is featuring the various incarnations of Selena Kyle, aka Catwoman. Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho's "Rule 5 Sunday: Thanksgiving Tryptophan Coma Edition" is up at The Other McCain.

Is It Bad To Laugh at This?

If so, I'm bad.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fracking Maryland!

O’Malley says he is ready to allow ‘fracking’ in Western Maryland, with strict safeguards
Outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley says he is ready to allow drilling for natural gas in Western Maryland, but only if energy companies adhere to some of the most restrictive public health and environmental safeguards in the country.

O’Malley (D) will propose regulations next month that start with the “best practices” of other states and nations where hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is permitted, administration officials said. The regulations will include additional restrictions on drilling locations and efforts to limit the risks of drinking-water contamination and air pollution.

The rules would not take effect until after O’Malley is succeeded by Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R), who on Tuesday criticized the governor for taking action on a number of controversial issues “on the way out the door.”

“We’re going to review every single one of them, I can assure you,” said Hogan, who has called drilling opportunities in Western Maryland “an economic gold mine” and faulted the state for taking too long to decide whether to allow fracking — which is already permitted in neighboring Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
I don't regard this as a sincere effort to allow fracking in Maryland, rather I see it as one of O'Malley's outgoing gifts to his environmentalist base. It will be some time a trouble for the incoming Governor Hogan to undo, especially with the state bureaucracy still on O'Malley's side.

O'Malley really expects these regulations to be sufficiently onerous as to effectively put off fracking in Maryland for the indefinite future, and he as much as admits that:
“In the short term, as a practical matter, the industry will probably choose to frack in other states than Maryland where the standards are lower,” O’Malley said. 
But I don't care. Maryland is a smallish state, and while fracking would be a nice source of jobs out in the rural Appalachian portion of the state, it is not going to be important in supplying the much needed energy to the nation. Let North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Texas carry that load for a few years. When the time is right, Maryland's will still be available.

Saudis Attempt to Kill Shale Oil

OPEC Policy Ensures U.S. Shale Crash, Russian Tycoon Says
OPEC policy on crude production will ensure a crash in the U.S. shale industry, a Russian oil tycoon said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries kept output targets unchanged at a meeting in Vienna today even after this year’s slump in the oil price caused by surging supply from U.S shale fields.

American producers risk becoming victims of their own success. At today’s prices of just over $70 a barrel, drilling is close to becoming unprofitable for some explorers, Leonid Fedun, vice president and board member at OAO Lukoil (LKOD), said in an interview in London.
Cut baby, cut. Sell us your oil cheap to try to get the price below the point at which shale is economical. All that will happen is that you'll run out faster, and our oil will still be available in the ground. I can't wait for day the world becomes less dependent on the Arab oil producing states.

When Black Friday Comes . . .

I'm gonna dig myself a hole. . .

Three Cups a Day Keeps Dementia Away

Just THREE cups of coffee a day could slash risk of Alzheimer's, study finds
Scientists have discovered a link between regular daily intake of the hot drink and a reduction of up to 20 per cent of the chances of developing dementia.

The report released today (thurs) from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee highlights the role nutrition can play in preserving cognitive function, especially during the preclinical phase of Alzheimer's before full-blown symptoms of dementia occur.
The fact that it's the  "Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee" should be a little bit of a red flag that they might have some skin in the game, but if I've learned anything in a career in science is that objectivity is an ideal, and is nearly as rare as an ideal gas.
It notes that a Mediterranean diet, consisting of fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil and red wine, has already been associated with a reduced risk for development of Alzheimer's Disease.

But it adds that the latest research now suggests that compounds called polyphenols and caffeine can also be responsible for this protective effect - and these exact compounds are also found in high quantities in coffee.
After visiting Italy, I wouldn't mind getting shipwrecked on the Amalfi Coast. But you have to be able to have gelato at least once a day.
It shows that regular, life-long moderate coffee consumption was associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease with the body of evidence suggesting that coffee drinkers can reduce their risk of developing the disease.

Dr Arfran Ikram, an assistant professor in neuroepidemiology at Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, who contributed to the report's findings, said: "The majority of human epidemiological studies suggest that regular coffee consumption over a lifetime is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease, with an optimum protective effect occurring with three to five cups of coffee per day."
Three to five?  Heck, I should be alert into the next century, if I can get everything else to keep working.
The details within the report were originally presented at the Alzheimer Europe annual conference in Glasgow last month and the Institute has released its final conclusions today (thurs).
The conference heard that moderate coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of developing dementia over a four year test period - by up to 20 per cent. However the effect diminished over a longer follow up period.

The researchers found caffeine helped prevent the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrulary tangles in the brain - two hallmarks of Alzheimer's Disease.
Note that my parents have been sucking down Dad's strong brewed coffee since forever, and they're both doing pretty well at 90+.

 Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho's "Rule 5 Sunday: Thanksgiving Tryptophan Coma Edition" is up at The Other McCain.

Not the Best Escape Plan

Didn't your mother tell you not to run into the street without looking both ways?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ya'll stay warm. . .

Plan a nice Thanksgiving supper . . .

Cook it up nicely. . .

And have a good after dinner drink.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wombat-socho's "Rule 5 Sunday: Thanksgiving Tryptophan Coma Edition" is up at The Other McCain.

Ebola Vaccine Passes First Human Trials

Something to be thankful for:

Ebola vaccine 'promising' say scientists after human trial
The first human trial of an experimental vaccine against Ebola suggests that it is safe and may help the immune system to combat the virus.
Twenty volunteers were immunised in the United States. Scientists at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) described the results as "promising".

The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine(NEJM).

None of those immunised suffered major side-effects and all produced antibodies.

Dr Anthony Fauci of the NIH told the BBC: "On safety and on the ability to produce an appropriate immune response we can call this trial an unqualified success, even though it was an early Phase One trial."
This is really good news; with almost nothing to lose, they should be taking this vaccine to Africa and using it on people really in harms way as soon as possible to find out if it really confers a practical immunity.
The vaccine uses a chimpanzee cold virus which has been genetically engineered to carry a non-infectious Ebola protein on its surface.
Oh noes; a GMO vaccine, not safe for liberals!

Local Law Enforcement Falls for Urban Legend

Beware of Non-Existent Threat, Warns Consumer Protection Czar
Let's hear it for Karen Straughn, Maryland Assistant Attorney General—Consumer Protection. She is so dedicated to protecting consumers that she has gone beyond reality and is now warning her constituents about mythical dangers.

According to ABC's, the consumer protection advocate is telling people that if they suddenly notice a $100 bill on their windshield, they should not get out of their cars:
Most people would, possibly thinking it's a holiday gift from a stranger, but, really, authorities say, it could just be how you get caught in a scam. Authorities in Maryland are warning people about the potential for this kind of scam, particularly around the holidays.
They're warning people that when the driver exits the car with the door open to grab the bill, a thief has the opportunity to steal the vehicle.
Um... before even discussing the fact that this is an urban myth, can we think about it logically for just a sec? How could you be in your car and then notice a $100 bill on your windshield? Did you get in with your eyes closed? And if someone was standing close by, ready to pounce, why would he bother with a $100 bill? You're there, he's there. Pounce.

And how many pouncers have a cool, crisp $100 bill to use (and perhaps lose!) on this venture, anyway? Wouldn't a $10 bill work just as well? Or even a coupon for a free Chipotle?

But, of course, all that is beside the point. Straughn, a public protectress, says she has heard one "unknown resident" mention "one incident" of this happening—the old friend-of-a-friend grapevine—but "has not seen a police report about it." Of course not. No one has. Because it never happened. . .
Just like razor blades in the apples and poison in the home made brownies that people gave away for Halloween before the oversexed twenty year olds took over the holiday and made it into slut-fest. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But then consumer protection people have a long record of protecting people from trivial and non-existent threats.

Nice Rack!

And this one has been taking up space in the digital fridge for a while.

Wombat-socho's "Rule 5 Sunday: Thanksgiving Tryptophan Coma Edition" is up at The Other McCain.

An Unfortunate Bluefish Encounter

Sorry, you'll have to tilt your head. . .

My own first encounter with a bluefish was somewhat similar. After moving to Florida from the West Coas, where I had encountered very few toothy fish outside of aquariums, I soon caught a bluefish from the fishing pier at Melbourne Inlet. Not knowing them, while unhooking it, I mistakenly allowed my index finger tip to get caught between its jaws. It clamped on, and left a line of holes across the fingernail, in addition to tearing the other side, and leaving me dripping blood. The other fishermen thought that was hysterical too, just like these guys.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Emails Reveal Coordination Between IRS and White House

2,500 new documents in IRS / W.H. harassment cases
In a shocking revelation, the Treasury Inspector General has identified some 2,500 documents that “potentially” show taxpayer information held by the Internal Revenue Service being shared with President Obama’s White House.

The discovery was revealed to the group Cause of Action, which has sued for access to any of the documents. It charges that the IRS and White House have harassed taxpayers.

In an email from the Justice Department’s tax office, an official revealed the high number of documents, suggesting that the White House was hip deep in probes of taxpayers, likely including conservatives and Tea Party groups associated with the IRS scandal.
Incidentally, it is illegal for the IRS to reveal private tax payer information to any other agency, including the White House. The issue first came to light when Austin Goolesby, head of the Presidents Council of Economic Advisers casually revealed some of the Koch brothers confidential tax information.

Of the 2,500 emails, I expect most will be rather trivial; meetings being arranged, notes being compared. But a few might be pretty interesting; people at the White House requesting dirt on political opponents, orders to audit some Faux News figures, and the like.  This may explain why they need a few more weeks to clean the remaining 500 emails:
Below is the full email from Treasury:

My client wants to know if you would consent to a motion pushing back (in part) TIGTA’s response date by two weeks to December 15, 2014. The agency has located 2,500 potentially responsive documents and anticipates being able to finish processing 2,000 of these pages by the December 1 date. It needs the additional two weeks to deal with the last 500 pages to determine if they are responsive and make any necessary withholdings. We would therefore like to ask the court to permit the agency to issue a response (including production) on December 1 as to any documents it has completed processing by that date, and do the same as to the remaining documents by December 15. I note that the court’s remand was for a “determin[ation],” which the D.C. Circuit has recently explained can precede actual production by “days or a few weeks,” but we would prefer to simply agree on a date for turning over any of the remaining 500 documents that may be responsive.
Meanwhile, IRS High Commissar Koskinen has awarded the whole IRS (more or less), a 1% salary bonus for keeping the dirt hidden good perfomance.
Commissioner John Koskinen informed IRS employees in an email that they'll get a bonus next March of 1 percent of their base salary. The performance awards go to most employees.

"I believe that rewarding our high-performing employees is a vital investment for our nation's tax system," Koskinen said in the Monday email that was obtained by The Associated Press.
I thought the government already spent more than they took in. Where did he get the extra money?

Obamacare Schadenfreude for a Rainy Day

This is surprising. Schumer is a safe senator from deep blue New York and doesn't have -- unless he's insane -- any delusions about one day being president.

He's not actually denouncing Obamacare but this is kind of close to that.
"After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them," Schumer said. "We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem - health care reform."
The third-ranking Senate Democrat noted that just about 5 percent of registered voters in the United States lacked health insurance before the implementation of the law, arguing that to focus on a problem affecting such "a small percentage of the electoral made no political sense."
The larger problem, affecting most Americans, he said, was a poor economy resulting from the recession. "When Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, 'The Democrats aren't paying enough attention to me,' " Schumer said.
The health care law should have come later, Schumer argued, after Democrats had passed legislation to help the middle class weather the recession. Had Democrats pushed economic legislation, he said, "the middle class would have been more receptive to the idea that President Obama wanted to help them" and, in turn, they would have been more receptive to the health care law. . .
The Democrat Party can't "help" the middle class, because the middle class is where it gets all that money to redistribute from.
I see it as Schumer admitting that democratic attempts to fix the recession, the stimulus, the bailouts, and "cash for clunkers" were ineffective and actually counter productive.

Second Take: Schumer's Merely Attempting a Trial Balloon Tactic of Distancing Democrats From Obamacare, While Continuing to Support and Defend It
I thought the Schumer statement -- in which he criticized Obama for pushing Obamacare in 2010, instead of addressing the needs of the And The Middle Class -- was important.

But now I think it's just so much positioning.

With Elizabeth Warren now endorsing his statement (!!!), it seems obvious to me that this does not represent a true schism in the Democrat Party, but rather a way to snooker the voters again, to Gruber them anew.

The public has turned against government "solutions," starting with its longheld opposition to Obamacare. And Obama is more personally unpopular than ever.

As John Ekdahl is always saying, at some point the 2016 elections will require Democrats to separate themselves from Obama, at least rhetorically, if not in reality.

Thus Charles Schumer's attempt at what he thinks is a cagey fillip -- he will not actually come out against Obamacare, but attempt to channel the frustration of the voters ("They spent all their time trying to pass this bill which only helps 5% of the population, instead of us, the bruised and battered And The Middle Class") without actually giving an inch on Obamacare.
It's rarely wrong to accuse the democrats of trying to mislead the public from their true intentions.

New deception questions: Obamacare adviser warned of premium increases as Obama vowed savings
While President Obama campaigned on a promise that his universal health care plan would lower premiums, his controversial adviser and plan architect was privately warning the state of Wisconsin that Obamacare was poised to massively increase insurance costs for average residents, internal documents show.

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist currently under fire for suggesting the Obama administration tried to deceive the public about the Affordable Care Act, was hired by former Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle in 2010 to conduct an analysis on how the federal health-care reform would impact the state.

Mr. Gruber’s study predicted about 90 percent of individuals without employer-sponsored or public insurance would see their premiums spike by an average of 41 percent. Once tax subsidies were factored in, about 60 percent of those in the individual market were projected to see their premiums go up 31 percent, according to his analysis.

In addition, 53 percent of those insured by companies with fewer than 50 employees, would see their premiums rise by an average of 15 percent even after subsidies, Mr. Gruber forecasted. The report warned such increases could impact small companies’ decision whether to provide health insurance to their workers.
That would be Dr. Gruber to plebes like you.

It's possible that both Dr. Gruber and Preznit Obama believed what they were saying. Possible, but unlikely.  The Grube's models seem to hit closer to the truth.

Obamacare offers firms $3,000 incentive to hire illegals over native-born workers
Under the president’s new amnesty, businesses will have a $3,000-per-employee incentive to hire illegal immigrants over native-born workers because of a quirk of Obamacare.

President Obama’s temporary amnesty, which lasts three years, declares up to 5 million illegal immigrants to be lawfully in the country and eligible for work permits, but it still deems them ineligible for public benefits such as buying insurance on Obamacare’s health exchanges.

Under the Affordable Care Act, that means businesses who hire them won’t have to pay a penalty for not providing them health coverage — making them $3,000 more attractive than a similar native-born worker, whom the business by law would have to cover.
Unintended consequences are a bitch. But were they unexpected?

America, You’ve Been Grubered!
Grubergate is just one of the score of scandals, frauds, and failures that have destroyed any trust in this collection of creeps by anyone except the most leftist and the most stupid, two sets which, if graphed in a Venn diagram, would be represented by a single circle.

IRS oppression. Executive amnesty. VA death lists. The Benghazi filmmaker frenzy. You’d think that statistically this Administration would have to act honestly and/or competently sometime. Instead, Obama’s managed to create the political equivalent of a broken clock that’s never right.

The liberals are fuming, infuriated that Jonathan Gruber let the cat out of the bag. Then let out another. And another. In fact, he dumped out a whole bag of cats as new media detectives released fresh clips daily depicting his smarmy confessions that he thinks the people who fell for Obamacare are drooling idiots. No, don’t look at us conservatives – we saw through this crypto-fascist scheme from Day One. Your boy Gruber is just telling it like it is – when liberals aren’t liars, they’re morons.
That's just unkind. There are lots of intelligent liberals.But they consistently mistake good intentions for good policy.

I'm Only Happy When it Rains!

What a wild weather week we've had.  Woke up to 16 F Saturday morning, with everything outside frozen crispy.  By Monday it had warmed to an astonishing (for November) 75, although they had forecast it might reach 80.Yesterday from the Bay, I captured the vivid picture of a wall shelf  cloud going by, as a cool (I hesitate to say cold) front rolled through.

Today finds us on the warm wet side side of our first real winter storm, named "Cato" by the Weather Channel. It's been raining and blowing hard all morning, but given air temps of 40, there is no significant risk of snow sticking anytime soon. Thank goodness!

Wombat-socho's "Rule 5 Sunday: Thanksgiving Tryptophan Coma Edition" is up at The Other McCain.

A True Philanthropist

Frenchman develops pills to make flatulence smell of roses
A Frenchman has developed a range of pills aimed at making people’s flatulence smell sweeter - of chocolate or of roses - which he says will make the perfect Christmas present.

The 65-year-old artist and inventor says his pills are aimed at easing indigestion and are made of 100 percent natural ingredients such as fennel, seaweed and blueberries.
. . .
For this year’s festive season he has added a new product to the range which he has titled “The Father Christmas fart pill that gives your farts the scent of chocolate”.

They retail at €9.99 euros (£8) for a jar of 60 and bring benefits such as “the reduction of gas and bloating.”
. . .
Mr Poincheval said he came up with the idea for the pills one evening when he was enjoying a hearty meal with some friends. “Our farts were so smelly we were nearly suffocated. Something had to be done,” he said.
Just need a few more fragrances and they could start a "Fart of the Month Club."

Another Moment of Desperation

It ain't much, but it should pry your eyes open.

I worked through the Disco era without paying any attention.

Wombat-socho's "Rule 5 Sunday: Thanksgiving Tryptophan Coma Edition" is up at The Other McCain.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I'm Back

I got a call from Walleye Pete on Sunday night. It seems someone scheduled to go fishing with him today had to cancel and left a hole, and I was invited to fill his slot. Not having much to do, I agreed.
We left Buzz's Marina around 7 AM, with 60 F air temperature, with light winds and cloudy skies, with a large cloud bank looming to the north.  We headed south into the area near the mouth of Potomac River, where it joins the main portion of Chesapeake Bay, a place where Pete has been catching fish for the last week. We were joined there by about 50 boats, including an old friend "Fishamajig."
The trick today was to find where birds feeding on the surface showed where fish were pushing bait (peanut bunker in this case) up to the surface. Near these schools fish could be found at any depth from the surface to the bottom (as deep as 70 ft), where they could be caught using heavy metal (Li'l Bunker) spoons, or paddle tailed (Tsunami) jigs.

At about 9 AM, the dark cloud previously on the horizon reached us, in the form of an impressive wall cloud which extended near the water surface.  However, it did not rain, although the wind shifted around to the north and picked up to 10-15 mph, and the temperature abruptly dropped about 10 F with its passage.

We caught a lot of fish; all striped bass. I lucked into the largest; this 32 inch, which received an invitation to dinner.

Gone Fishin' - Back Later

Maybe I'll have a picture or two.

I Don't Care What They Do, As Long As They Don't Scare the Horses

Horse Burlesque from Peter Salmon on Vimeo.

Look, they scared the horse, a little.

Wombat-socho's "Rule 5 Sunday: Thanksgiving Tryptophan Coma Edition" is up at The Other McCain.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bay Effect Snow?

Could Washington D.C. or Baltimore get Chesapeake “Bay effect” snow?
When frigid air streamed over the relatively warm waters of Lake Erie this week, a “lake effect” snow event for the ages unfolded in the Buffalo area, with up to 88 inches of snow.

This historic event has raised the question whether the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region could get snow from cold air passing over the Chesapeake Bay. The answer is no, but “Bay effect” snow can and does sometimes occur in southeast Virginia. The reason is simple geography.

Typically, the Bay Effect snow events only produce light amounts of snow because the Bay is narrow, providing limited real estate for bands to grow and then dump snow.

But couldn’t the D.C. and Baltimore areas get “Bay effect” snow if there was a strong wind from the south moving up the Bay?

No. When the Mid-Atlantic has strong winds from the south, air temperatures are almost always above freezing – so snow is a non-starter. Furthermore, the air temperature must be substantially colder than the water temperature for either lake or Bay effect snow to develop.
Thank goodness!

Google Engineers Reject Renewable Energy

Shocker: Top Google Engineers Say Renewable Energy ‘Simply won’t work’
A research effort by Google corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After 4 years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy “simply won’t work”.
According to an interview with the engineers, published in IEEE;

“At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope …
Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”
There is simply no getout clause for renewables supporters. The people who ran the study are very much committed to the belief that CO2 is dangerous – they are supporters of James Hansen. Their sincere goal was not to simply install a few solar cells, but to find a way to fundamentally transform the economics of energy production – to make renewable energy cheaper than coal. To this end, the study considered exotic innovations barely on the drawing board, such as self erecting wind turbines, using robotic technology to create new wind farms without human intervention. The result however was total failure – even these exotic possibilities couldn’t deliver the necessary economic model.

The key problem appears to be that the cost of manufacturing the components of the renewable power facilities is far too close to the total recoverable energy – the facilities never, or just barely, produce enough energy to balance the budget of what was consumed in their construction. This leads to a runaway cycle of constructing more and more renewable plants simply to produce the energy required to manufacture and maintain renewable energy plants – an obvious practical absurdity.
I think this has been pretty obvious to anyone with a background in the physical sciences for a long time. The problems of the intermittent nature of renewables, and power storage alone, combined with the extremely high cost of the equipment per kilowatt pretty much dictate that the economics don't work.

The answer, if you really worry about carbon dioxide and climate change, is to support nuclear power, and pray, if you can pray at all, for a breakthrough in fusion power. If you won't support nuclear power, don't bitch to me about carbon.

Obamacare Schadenfreude: Grubnado, Appendix A

Dr. Gruber looses some more of that sweet government cash
In a somewhat ironic fashion, if Jonathan Gruber has taught us anything, it’s that telling the truth won’t get you far in the political world. After famously describing how the success of Obamacare relied heavily on the gullibility and short attention span of the voters, both former and prospective employers have been scurrying away from him like he was an Ebola dog. First he saw his old friends Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi stricken with shocking bouts of amnesia where they seemed unable to even recall his name. Then a plush job with the the state of Vermont – to the tune of $400K – had the plug pulled on it. And now, North Carolina has shown Mr. Gruber the door.
North Carolina’s state auditor on Thursday terminated a contract with Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economics professor and health-care expert whose comments on the Affordable Care Act have generated fury among conservatives.

Earlier this week, Wood’s office decided they had to fire Gruber because it couldn’t “eliminate [the] appearance of an independence impairment,” according to a timeline released by the Auditor’s office. Wood met with Republican leaders of the General Assembly on Tuesday to inform them of the decision, then called Gruber on Wednesday.

“Gruber’s comment that it was all right to mislead people to get to a desired outcome that he favored led our auditors to determine he had at least the appearance of an independence impairment,” Bill Holmes, a spokesman for the Auditor’s office, told WRAL.
We probably shouldn’t feel too badly for Jonathan. He’ll still collect $100K on the North Carolina contract, and it’s not like he won’t have many other exciting appointments on his calendar to keep him busy. For example, in just a few weeks he’ll be given the VIP tour of the Capitol when he testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He can undoubtedly look forward to plenty of fascinating question and answer sessions there and the chance to make many new friends.
"Independence impairment"?   I think they mean"conflict of interest." I doubt that anyone ever doubted that his interests were in providing models that justified Obamacare; if so they should be fired for not doing their due diligence. It's one thing for much of the public to have been misled by the spin that Gruber et al put on the project, but actual health care insurance professionals should have seen past to smoke and mirrors. He is literally being fired for letting the cat out of the bag.

But with his fast talking style, perhaps he can get a gig selling Healthcare plans on the Home Shopping Network.

The Orange Ninja

Midnite Music - "Wade in the Water"

Larking Poe: Rebecca and Megan Lovell

Wombat-socho's "Rule 5 Sunday: Thanksgiving Tryptophan Coma Edition" is up at The Other McCain.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Redskins Attack Gold Miners

No, the Yanomami aborigines of Amazon jungle did not attack the Brazilian gold miners destroying their forest and polluting their water with mercury. Or if they did, it didn't make the news.

At 4:25 EDT, the troubled (3-7) Washington Redskins, led by the troubled Robert Griffin III, face the 6-4 San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara.  Or as Proof Positive has it, 6-4 SF 49'ers vs. 3-7 Politically Incorrect Washington Team Which Shall Remain Nameless.

As usual, I will take this opportunity to review the progress of the liberal war on football. And post pictures of cheerleaders. . .

There's really only one development in the progressives campaign of delegitimization and destruction against the NFL, but it's a big one.  In the same week that President Obama promised illegal immigrants that they would no longer be deported for "minor" drug crimes, Federal drug agents launched  surprise inspections of NFL teams following games.
Federal drug agents conducted surprise inspections of National Football League team medical staffs on Sunday as part of an ongoing investigation into prescription drug abuse in the league. The inspections, which entailed bag searches and questioning of team doctors by Drug Enforcement Administration agents, were based on the suspicion that NFL teams dispense drugs illegally to keep players on the field in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, according to a senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation.
While I'm not familiar with the Controlled Substances Act, I suspect that it's a wide spread practice to prescribe controlled substances to give people the ability to go work. If professional athletes are exempt from that rule, I suspect they have grounds to go to court.

The medical staffs were part of travel parties whose teams were playing at stadiums across the country. The law enforcement official said DEA agents, working in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration, inspected multiple teams but would not specify which ones were inspected or where.

The San Francisco 49ers confirmed they were inspected by federal agents following their game against the New York Giants in New Jersey but did not provide any details. “The San Francisco 49ers organization was asked to participate in a random inspection with representatives from the DEA Sunday night at MetLife Stadium,” team spokesman Bob Lange said in an e-mailed statement. “The 49ers medical staff complied and the team departed the stadium as scheduled.”

The Seattle Seahawks were subject to an inspection following their game in Kansas City, and the DEA met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Baltimore-Washington International airport following their win over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. It didn’t appear a full inspection took place, however.

“Authorities checked in w/our travel party @ BWI & after a 5 min. delay, we proceeded onto our plane w/o incident,” a tweet by the team’s media relations staff said. An NFL official said multiple teams met with federal authorities on Sunday. “Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement.

The DEA had reason to look at the teams inspected Sunday in particular, but the investigation is not restricted to them, according to the law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing. The official said the investigation focuses on practices across the 32-team league, including possible distribution of drugs without prescriptions or labels and the dispensing of drugs by trainers rather than physicians.

Federal law prohibits anyone but a physician or nurse practitioner from distributing prescription drugs, and they must meet myriad regulations for acquiring, storing, labeling and transporting them. It is also illegal for a physician to distribute prescription drugs outside of his geographic area of practice. And it is illegal for trainers to dispense or even handle controlled substances in any way.
So, lets just be clear about this. A physician traveling with Preznit Obama would be forbidden from supplying prescription an drugs for any kind of illness or pain? Give me a break.
DEA spokesman Rusty Payne confirmed the existence of the investigation and said it was triggered by a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in May by more than 1,300 retired NFL players. In the suit, they allege that NFL medical staffs regularly violate federal and state laws in plying their teams with powerful addictive narcotics such as Percocet and Percodan, sleeping pills such as Ambien and the non-addictive painkiller Toradol to help them play through injuries on game days.

Agents began “interviewing NFL physicians in several locations,” Payne said, after reviewing material contained in the lawsuit. Players described being given unlabeled medications in hazardous combinations, teams filling out prescriptions in players’ names without their knowledge, trainers passing out pills in hotels or locker rooms and medications handed out on team planes after games while alcohol was consumed.
I'll bet no one reading this has ever taken a prescription pain killer or a sleeping drug like Ambien to help them get to work the next day.

“The DEA has a responsibility under the Controlled Substances Act to ensure that registrants who possess, prescribe and dispense control substances are following the law,” Payne said. He characterized the DEA actions Sunday as “administrative” in nature, aimed at discerning whether NFL medical staffs adhere to federal regulations governing the dispensing of controlled substances across state lines. He would not speculate on any future action the DEA might take based on what it found. Penalties can range from suspension or revocation of licenses, civil fines or prosecution.

“The NFL team doctors strive to comply with all regulations in prescribing and dispensing drugs to our patients, the players,” Matt Matava, the St. Louis Rams’ team doctor and president of the NFL Physicians Society, said in a statement.
Regarding the Redskin's season, Jay Gruden may be about to pull RGIII in favor of Colt McCoy:
If Jay Gruden's stinging words this week about quarterback Robert Griffin III have not resonated, team sources tell ESPN that the Washington Redskins coach is prepared to speak louder if the third-year quarterback does not perform more consistently Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

That means Griffin could be yanked Sunday in favor of Colt McCoy, who is 2-0 as Griffin's sub, or an evaluation will be made to make a move next week.

Gruden's criticism has cited a breakdown in fundamentals, Griffin's inability to overcome adversity and even that he has been "coddled."

What isn't known is how owner Daniel Snyder will react to the harsh treatment of his handpicked franchise quarterback, especially if Griffin is benched Sunday in San Francisco.
I guess we'll find out in an hour or so.

Enjoy the game anyway!

Wombat-socho's "Rule 5 Sunday: Thanksgiving Tryptophan Coma Edition" is up at The Other McCain.