Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Back From Fishing

Actually, it was better than that, except for the hot chick. Pete called last night with a last minute opportunity to go commercial hook and lining, since his charter for today washed out due to the threat of muddy water and possible weather.

Four of us, Pete, Mike, Dan and I fished down the Eastern Shore Islands from the Honga River Bridge to well south of Holland Island, site of the famous Backhoe in the Bay.  We had a very high tide, and lots of structure in the water, and water up into the grass on the salt marsh islands.

 What is that funny stuff on that low lying island

I would not be lying if I said we caught a shitload of fish. The count may be a little off but we think we caught and kept about 150 fish over 18 inches, the commercial size limit for Striped Bass. We caught them at numerous sites, 5-20 at a time. Bigger on average than last week, there were about 2 keepers for every throwback.
 A few Brown Pelicans (and a few Cormorants) .
 In the afternoon, we we overtaken by a huge low line of black clouds from the north. The was only a few drops of rain, but it signified a shift in the wind from SW to NNE, and a decided cooling and drying trend.
We found a few more bunches of fish at a few more sites, one near this pound net inhabited by many Cormorants

Oh, and somewhere along the way, I lucked into this Speckled Trout, my first of the year.

By the time we were headed back across the Bay, the wind was up to 15-20 N, and waves up to 4 ft in places. Pete was pretty careful on the way back and it was hardly even uncomfortable.

Gone Fishing

But not like this.

Wombat-socho has the big list "Rule 5 Sunday: Time For The Professionals", ready at The Other McCain.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Feature, Not a Bug

Via Stacy McCain: General: Military ‘Degraded’ by Obama
Barbara Hollingsworth at CNS News reports:
The military readiness of the United States is being “degraded by social experimentation,” Maj. Gen. Robert Dees (U.S. Army-Ret.) said Saturday at the Values Voter Summit in Washington.
Dees said that the Obama administration’s use of the military for “social engineering” on controversial gay and gender issues is detrimental to the nation’s ability to defend itself.
“Not only are we losing physical readiness to fight, we have to fix the problem of moral readiness,” he said on a panel chaired by Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (US Army-Ret.).
“I think the moral readiness of our forces is even more important than the physical readiness, which is very low,” Dees later told “The moral readiness is degraded by social experimentation within our military.
“In fact, social experimentation is improperly named because it’s not an experiment at all. It’s a top-driven mandate for social agendas that occurs by this administration within the military, which is a captive audience.
“It is not enhancing our readiness; it declines our readiness. We’re spending more time on some of these social engineering projects than we are on developing and maintaining readiness in our force.”
Meanwhile, at People magazine, Susan Keating reports:
Way back in January, long before the first women attended the Army’s elite Ranger School – one of the most grueling military courses in the world — officials at the highest levels of the Army had already decided failure was not an option, sources tell PEOPLE.
“A woman will graduate Ranger School,” a general told shocked subordinates this year while preparing for the first females to attend a “gender integrated assessment” of the grueling combat leadership course starting April 20, sources tell PEOPLE. “At least one will get through.”
That directive set the tone for what was to follow, sources say.
“It had a ripple effect” at Fort Benning, where Ranger School is based, says a source with knowledge of events at the sprawling Georgia Army post. “Even though this was supposed to be just an assessment, everyone knew. The results were planned in advance.”
On Tuesday, PEOPLE revealed that Oklahoma Republican Rep. Steve Russell had asked the Department of Defense for documents about the women who attended Ranger School after becoming concerned that “the women got special treatment and played by different rules,” sources say.
Read the whole thing. It will make your blood boil. These women were the beneficiaries of a deliberate and systematic unfairness intended to achieve a politically approved outcome. The waste of resources involved in this dishonest endeavor — including extra training that required personnel to be specially assigned to prepare the women trainees — was conducted at taxpayer expense. The demoralization of male troops involved in this fraud was not least among the detrimental effects.
The left has always had a bone to pick with the military. Either it was consuming too much of the money they wanted to spend on entitlements (I've heard that a billion time from my coworkers sucking the government teat), or it's a misogynistic threat to the nation's morals.

If you can't cut their budget, make them waste it on "social justice" goals. If it hurt their morale, so much the better. They weren't supposed to have any. Obama is just giving the left what it has long desired.

A Day in the Life at

So what's new over in the war room at

Former Viginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, no stranger to partisan witch hunts says: Yes, Hillary Clinton broke the law:
According to the law, there are five elements that must be met for a violation of the statute, and they can all be found in section (a) of the statute: “(1) Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, (2) by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, (3) knowingly removes such documents or materials (4) without authority and (5) with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location [shall be guilty of this offense].”

The Petraeus case meets those conditions. Does Clinton’s?

Clinton originally denied that any of her emails contained classified information, but soon abandoned that claim. So far, 150 emails containing classified information have been identified on her server, including two that included information determined to be Top Secret.

She then fell back on the claim that none of the emails in question was “marked classified” at the time she was dealing with them. The marking is not what makes the material classified; it’s the nature of the information itself. As secretary of state, Clinton knew this, and in fact she would have been re-briefed annually on this point as a condition of maintaining her clearance to access classified information.

Then there’s location. Clinton knowingly set up her email system to route 100 percent of her emails to and through her unsecured server (including keeping copies stored on the server). She knowingly removed such documents and materials from authorized locations (her authorized devices and secure government networks) to an unauthorized location (her server).
. . .
It borders on inconceivable that Clinton didn’t know that the emails she received, and more obviously, the emails that she created, stored and sent with the server, would contain classified information.

Simply put, Mrs. Clinton is already in just as bad — or worse — of a legal situation than Petraeus faced.
Ms. Clinton may have a friend to console her while wearing her orange jump suit: Clinton Aide Shared Classified Information With Foundation, Email Shows
A member of Hillary Clinton’s staff at the Department of State emailed classified information about the government in Congo to a staffer at the Clinton Foundation in 2012, according to a copy of the correspondence obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department, sent the email to the Clinton Foundation’s foreign policy director, Amitabh Desai, on July 12, 2012.
The message, which was originally obtained by the group Citizens United through a public records request, is partially redacted because it includes “foreign government information” that has been classified as “Confidential” by the State Department.

Although the information was not marked classified by the State Department until this past summer, intelligence sources tell the Free Beacon that it would have been classified at the time Mills sent it because “foreign government information” is considered classified from inception.
Madeline Albright damns Hillary Clinton with faint praise:

As part of his overall policy of giving Democrats, and Hillary Clinton in particular (while holding Republicans to a higher standard than truth) Glenn Kessler skinflintedly  gives Hillary three out of four Pinocchios for her outright lies concerning the origin and timing of the State Departments request for her emails:
It remains a mystery to the Fact Checker why Clinton persists in saying the timeline began with the letters to all of the former secretaries. (To be fair, Clinton aides seemed mystified by our questions and why this was even an issue.)

The letters to the former secretaries all asked for copies of business-related e-mails that might have been sent from a personal account. There was certainly some historical value in that. But there was a pressing need for the State Department to seek Clinton’s e-mails because of the the Benghazi inquiry — and the State Department had made clear that its interest in the Clinton e-mails months before an official letter was sent.

Clinton appears to be sticking to her timeline because it obscures the fact that she exclusively used a private e-mail for company business. If she had used a State Department e-mail, just as many other cabinet officials in the Obama administration used “.gov” addresses, it’s likely the State Department would not have had trouble responding to congressional requests. That’s why there are “gaps in the record keeping.”

As part of Clinton’s effort to clear up questions about her e-mail set-up, Clinton should begin using a more complete timeline regarding her staff member’s dealings with the State Department on this matter. The current timeline is incomplete.
THE EMPATHY MODULE IS A KNOWN ISSUE THAT WILL BE PATCHED IN THE NEXT UPGRADE CYCLE: Hillary Clinton Shows Zero Emotion as Mother Tearfully Recounts Son’s Suicide.
A feature and not a bug: How Hillary Wrecked the State Department's Digital Information System
Richard Pollock of the Daily Caller provides the details. He cites scathing audits issued by the State Department’s former acting IG, Harold Geisel, a hand-picked Clintonista. During Hillary’s tenure, Geisel issued eight reports warning about worsening problems and growing security weaknesses within the Bureau of Information Resource Management (IRM). One of Geisel’s reports, issued not long after Clinton left the State Department, was so damning that the IRM became the butt of caustic comments throughout the IT world, according to Pollock.

In 2013, Geisel’s successor, Steve Linick, issued a “management alert” to State Department leadership, warning that IRM’s security deficiencies persisted. “The department has yet to report externally on or correct many of the existing significant deficiencies, thereby leading to continuing undue risk in the management of information,” Linick said.
. . .
The IRM’s deterioration isn’t unrelated to the Clinton email scandal. As Pollock points out, Clinton put Bryan Pagliano, her 2008 presidential campaign IT director, in the IRM in early 2009 as a “strategic advisor” who reported to the department’s deputy chief information officer. Pagliano had no prior national security experience and apparently lacked a national security clearance.

The IRM scandal also brings to mind Benghazi. In that case, Clinton failed to respond to repeated warnings about the deterioration of security at U.S. embassies in the region. In this instance, she failed to respond to repeated warnings about the deterioration of a vital information network.
Hillary Clinton not sure if Bill Clinton would get West Wing office
“He's a pretty busy guy, I don't know anything like that,” Hillary Clinton said after MSNBC’s Chuck Todd asked her what role Bill Clinton might play on her team.

“I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch.  I just want to be sure that we get the chance to earn the votes of the American people and to win the White House back,” the front-runner for the Democratic nomination said in response to a question about Bill Clinton having a West Wing office.

In the interview airing on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” Clinton lauded her husband as a “great adviser” who “knows as much about the economy and how to get jobs created and how to help people see their incomes rise as anybody that I could talk to.”
That would be waaaaaay too close for comfort.

As Instapundit quips, he wants a suite at the Hay-Adams Hotel, and the position of Internship Director.

Syrian War Opens the Doomsday Vault

Syrian Civil War Prompts First Withdrawal From Doomsday Seed Vault In The Arctic
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, built in 2008, stores more than 850,000 seed samples from nations all over the world. Extending nearly 500 feet into the mountain, it's intended to safeguard the planet's food supply and biodiversity in the event a doomsday catastrophe like nuclear war or crippling disease wipes out varieties of plants. Crop Trust, the company that runs the seed vault, says on its website that the vault is "the final backup":

"The purpose of the Vault is to store duplicates (backups) of seed samples from the world's crop collections. It will secure, for centuries, millions of seeds representing every important crop variety available in the world today. It is the final back up."

But now, less than 10 years after the opening, officials are preparing to withdraw seeds for the first time. What apocalyptic event prompted the removal of some of humanity's food backups?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was inaugurated in 2008. The "doomsday vault" lies inside an Arctic mountain in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. For the first time, scientists are taking some seeds out.

"We did not expect a retrieval this early," Crop Trust spokesman Brian Lainoff told NPR. "But [we] knew in 2008 that Syria was in for an interesting couple of years. This is why we urged them to deposit so early on."
. . .
Reuters reports that the seeds requested by researchers include "samples of wheat, barley and grasses suited to dry regions" to replace "seeds in a gene bank near the Syrian city of Aleppo that has been damaged by the war."
"Grethe Evjen, an expert at the Norwegian Agriculture Ministry, said the seeds had been requested by the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA). ICARDA moved its headquarters to Beirut from Aleppo in 2012 because of the war.
"ICARDA wants almost 130 boxes out of 325 it had deposited in the vault, containing a total of 116,000 samples, she told Reuters. They will be sent once paperwork is completed, she said."
No danger of any war in Svalbard, except maybe those damn Polar Bears:

Midnite Music - "Fire"

Project Grand Slam takes on Jimi Hendrix's "Fire" featuring  Kat Robichaud

Wombat-socho has the big list "Rule 5 Sunday: Time For The Professionals", ready at The Other McCain.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Obama Admin Pays Protesters to Throw Condoms at Fiorina

Planned Parenthood paid some of its supporters who threw condoms at GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and at her supporters during an Iowa Hawkeye tailgate on Saturday.

The payments were briefly mentioned in a story by the New York Times. “On Saturday, women wearing pink, some of whom were paid by Planned Parenthood, protested Mrs. Fiorina at a campaign appearance in Iowa, throwing condoms and chanting, ‘Women are watching, and we vote,'” reported the New York Times.

[UPDATE: The Times has since changed the language of this sentence without notification. It now reads: “some of whom were affiliated with Planned Parenthood.”]
And where did that money come from?
Planned Parenthood receives roughly $542 million dollars from tax-payers each year.
As if Congress didn't already have enough justification to shut down Planned Parenthood. I think spending government money to campaign against a candidate should probably count. Might want to look into PP's tax free status too.

Water on Mars!

In an article published in Nature Geoscience, a team led by Lujendra Ojha of the Georgia Institute of Technology confirms that seasonal flows in mountainous regions of the planet correspond with the presence of briny water. The seasonal flows were first noticed in 2010, with water the strongest suspect. Spectral observations of season data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate the presence of hydrated salts on the surface, or water mixing with a thick brine of salts.
These dark, narrow, 100 meter-long streaks called recurring
 slope lineae flowing downhill on Mars are inferred to
 have been formed by contemporary flowing water.
However, the observations don't have a "smoking gun" as to how the flows occur. Some of the hypotheses include an underground aquifer, accumulations of humidity, or possible seasonal melting, though there is a counter for each. (Like an aquifer extending into mountainous regions, possible lack of sufficient humidity, or lack of regional surface ices, respectively.) The team also is working under the idea that it could be a mix of all of these.

Of course, the question will come up: what does this mean for life on Mars? It's an incremental process to find it, first determining whether the conditions are right for it, then determining further if it's present. All Ojha says is that if there is life currently on the surface, these conditions would be the place to look.
I suspect this means that below Mars surface, where it's warmer and at higher pressure than at the surface, liquid water is rather wide spread. This would be moderately good conditions for life to evolve (or persist if introduced). The water is very salty from minerals leached out of the rock, since there's not a hydrological cycle like Earth's to concentrate the salts in the ocean, and allow fresh water to fall on the land. And some of the chemicals would be inimical to most terrestrial life (the perchlorate which apparently quite common on Mar's surface due to extreme oxidizing conditions). But life on Earth manages to get by in boiling sulfuric acid, so there's still a chance. But if we eventually find life there, it won't be Dejah Thoris:

and that's a shame.

Wombat-socho has the big list "Rule 5 Sunday: Time For The Professionals", ready at The Other McCain.

What Does a 100 lb Catfish Eat?

SERC intern womanhandling a Blue Catfish
Answer, anything it wants: DNA solves puzzle of catfish dinners
DNA analysis is proving to be a valuable tool for scientists trying to gauge the environmental impact that invasive blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) and flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) are having on native populations of fish in eastern Virginia waterways. Both species are strong predators native to the Midwest and western North America; flathead catfish were introduced to the rivers of Virginia in 1965 and blue catfish from 1975 through the 1980s.

By studying the stomach contents of blue and flathead catfish caught in the waterways of tidewater Virginia, biologists are piecing together just which native Virginia fish species these invasive catfish are eating. Sifting through partially digested earbones, spines and scales, the researchers using only their expertise in fish morphology, can identify 65 percent of the species found in catfish stomachs. However, the rest of the material—25 to 30 percent of the stomach contents—often consists of heavily digested, indistinguishable remains.
Ah, yes, sifting through fish vomit; a classic intern  job. But what happens when we have a machine that identifies the fish in the glop? Do interns become unnecessary?
“You may get a chunk of flesh on a bit of spine, and you know it was a fish, but not what [fish] it was,” explains Robert Aguilar, a biologist at the Smithsonian’s Environmental Research Center (SERC) and co-author of a recent paper in the journal Environmental Biology of Fishes.

Enter DNA barcoding. By taking 10- to 25-milligram samples of the unidentified remains and subjecting them to DNA amplification and sequencing, the scientists increased the identification rate to 88 percent of fish prey
items overall. DNA recovered in catfish stomach contents is matched to a global genetic barcode library of species, which includes many samples collected in the Chesapeake Bay. The growing database includes fish, shellfish, insects and plants.
In other words, just about anything it encounters with enough calories to make it worth the trouble.
“Many of the highly digested samples were identified as species of conservation and management concern,” the scientists report, “including striped bass and white perch or American shad, alewife and blueback herring…” Their results show the catfish eat a varied fish diet.
I can't imagine that they really thought that the big cats would turn up their noses at the endangered fish that wander past their whiskers. It's not like they have signs identifying them, They probably don't even know (or care) what it is until it's past their gullet and into their stomach.

Wombat-socho has the big list "Rule 5 Sunday: Time For The Professionals", ready at The Other McCain.

Sunday School at

It’s totally ridiculous. It never crossed my mind.
Only because it was front and center in your mind the whole time.

She can't explain why she didn't have the missing emails. If she deleted them, she's guilty of destroying government records (Sandy Berger, anyone), and if she withheld them, she's guilty of a cover up. Take your pick.

This clip also confirms my suspicion that the server was already in place as the email server for the Clinton Foundation, and she simply had her and her aides accounts run out of it. Nothing wrong with, just using it for government business.

And from Patterico's Dave Weigel Reminds Us Of — And Minimizes — Hillary 2008 Strategy Memo “Otherizing” Obama
Dave Weigel has a piece at the Washington Post titled Republicans are blaming Hillary Clinton for the ‘birther’ movement. That’s wishful thinking. But as John Nolte argues, Weigel has dug up some old material that undercuts the simplistic thesis of that headline.
Weigel’s main claim is that the Birther claim was “never pursued” by the Hillary 2008 campaign proper, but only its supporters:
But the Clinton campaign never pursued the idea that Obama was literally not American, and therefore ineligible for the presidency. A small group of hardcore Clinton supporters did.
Weigel acknowledges that the Clinton campaign discussed Obama’s limited American roots as a “strong weakness,” citing an all-but-forgotten internal campaign memo from Clinton pollster Mark Penn. However, Weigel minimizes the nastiness of Penn’s memo, which is very eye-opening in its frank desire to exploit Obama’s lack of ties to this country. Here’s Weigel:
“All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared toward showing his background is diverse, multicultural, and putting that in a new light,” wrote Penn. “Save it for 2050. It also exposes a very strong weakness for him — his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited.”
But Penn wrote that as a warning, not a strategy.

Is that so?

The memo can be read here, and here is a screenshot of one relevant passage. I dare any fair-minded person to read this and conclude that Penn wrote this “as a warning, not a strategy”:

How can we give some life to this contrast without seeming like assholes turning negative?

Always remember, Hillary's troops gave birth to the "birther" movement.

More Gratuitous Kate Upton

So her uncle is a congressman? I'll try not to hold that against her.

Wombat-socho has the big list "Rule 5 Sunday: Time For The Professionals", ready at The Other McCain.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Walk in the Woods

The beach is all but unwalkable today due to high waves and tides from a storm system which has been teasing since early in the week, making consistent strong NE-E winds which whip the the bay, as well as the nearly full moon (tonight is the eclipsing blood moon) which has pushed the water almost up to the dune grasses. Unfortunately, there has been no rain, which we need.
So we did something on the long list of things to due in Calvert County; visited the American Chestnut Land Trust's Parkers Creek property, where they have marked trails just north of us, on the Parker's Creek watershed.
We chose a short loop trail, the Nature Introductory Loop trail. The trails are well marked with blazed trees, and at least on the Nature trail, there were signs pointing out most of the tree species. On the right, is a Persimmon Tree with some ripe fruit.
A Sassafras, with the classic three lobed leaf, starting to get fall color. Sassafras used to be the flavoring for sarsaparilla and root beer (it's synthetic now), but if you get into the roots you can smell the classic "root beer" odor.
The trail winds through some very tall woods, mostly big Tulip Poplars, with lots of underbrush.
Georgia with an unknown (but interesting) fruit cluster we found along the trail, growing on a slender stalk.
 Shelf fungus starting to recycle a dead tree into
There's even a very small Bald Cypress grove in a wet spot along the way back. We're very close to the northern edge of their range, but there are at least three places in the county that they can be found.

So, I Hear Speaker Boehner is Resigning

Of course, the news is all over, to the glee of the more extreme partisans of both parties and the (possibly faked) dismay of the centroids.

I don't worship Congressmen, as Mark Twain once noted "There is no native criminal class except Congress." Many of his other quotes exude similar disdain.  I think that might be a little strong. I have no particular animus against Boehner, however, but I think he was not particularly effective in getting Republican ideals enacted into legislation. Admittedly, he had a tough road to hoe, without veto proof majorities in Congress, and with a President not noted for graciously compromising.

The point of this post, however, is to compare and contrast two points of view; one from the usually sensible Megan McArdle, who echoes Mick Jagger in saying you can't always get what you want. After a business like lecture on negotiating tactics:
  1. The main obstacle to getting what they want is not the lack of leaders who are willing to fight; the main obstacle to getting what they want is that what they want is well outside the ZOPA (Zone of Possible Agreement). I’m not saying this to taunt my conservative friends; I agree with many of the things they want. But I recognize that there is a wide gap between what I (we) want, and what can be foisted upon the American public by its elected representatives. If I want outcomes closer to my preferences, then the primary problem is not the folks in office, but the preferences of the average American voter. Focusing your attention on politicians, instead of the hearts and minds of your fellow citizens, is like attempting to fix a faulty car engine by swapping out the dashboard gauges.
  2. Intransigence and bold demands do not necessarily get you closer to what you want; they often push you further away. Next year, Republicans will be trying to take back the presidency. A Congress that shuts down a few times or spends all its time passing strong, base-pleasing bills that can’t get past the Senate, much less the president’s veto pen, is not going to improve their chances. And for all the complaints about candidates who are Republican in name only, any of them would deliver more of what the party wants than Hillary Clinton would.
  3. This is really a return to the first: “more of what the party wants” is all you’re going to get. You’re not going to get it all. You live in a country with 300 million people, many of whom have very different desires than you, and, well, welcome to representative democracy. Republicans who currently enjoy their House majority thanks to the previous majority’s Obamacare suicide charge should know this better than anyone.
She's not really very hopeful.

In contrast, or at least right angles, Stephan Miller (who I've never heard of before, sorry) has this to say: John Boehner Never Adapted to the New Generation of Media and Politics
Boehner’s exit isn’t so much a sea change in party ideology as it is a generational beacon. Boehner represents an aged cliche of “Boardwalk Empire”-style GOP politicians sipping on brandy, chomping on tobacco in dark oak paneled smoke filled rooms and coming to political agreements on handshakes. Barack Obama’s Alinsky street fight tactics changed all of that, and Boehner’s backroom, down home gentleman style never adapted.
Having watched the mass murder scenes at the end of Boardwalk Empire's 3rd season just last night, I think that bordered on a smear; but was still amusing.
It was never so much about Boehner screwing over the base and lighting cigars with donation dollars as much as it was about not adapting to a playing field of new politics and new media that had completely shifted under his feet. When a younger, bolder GOP base more focused on grass roots and social media stood up in insurrection, he of course handled them about as well as he did Obama.

Upon Boehner’s exit, Obama was quoted saying that he “has always conducted himself with courtesy and civility with me. He has kept his word when he has made a commitment,” which is no different than beating him over the head with a bat for seven years, and then handing him that bat as a going away present. But if Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, as well as their many acolytes in media think this is somehow a fracturing of the Republican party’s establishment and its frustrated base, they’d be wise to rethink their position.

Boehner’s exit removes a maligned distraction heading into a generational presidential election for a party that is attempting to find its soul, and finding it more with the younger faces of the 2010 and 2014 midterms than the 2008 presidential election.
One is a word of caution not to expect to much; and one a word of hope to demand better. Both messages are worth heeding. Still Bleeding from Email Scandal

String of Emails Raises Questions About When Hillary Clinton Began Using Personal Account
A string of emails that has been provided to the State Department raises new questions about whether Hillary Rodham Clinton has accurately described her use of a personal account when she was secretary of state.

Mrs. Clinton has said that she retained no emails from her first two months in office because she used an account that she no longer has access to. She has said that on March 19, 2009, she began using the personal account — — that she relied on for the rest of her time in office.

But on Friday, State Department officials said they had been given copies of an email chain between Mrs. Clinton and David H. Petraeus, the commander of United States Central Command at the time, that shows that Mrs. Clinton was using the account by Jan. 28, 2009.

Mrs. Clinton has said publicly and in a court filing under oath that she gave the State Department last year all of the 30,000 work-related emails in her possession. It is not clear why she never provided the newly discovered email chain to the State Department or why she said she did not begin using the account until two months after she took office.
She lied again. It's reflexive with the Clintons. It may not even serve a purpose other than to throw a cloud around everything.

Sharyl Attkisson explains What did Hillary Clinton do wrong? A pretty decent review of the facts of the Clinton email scandal, useful because so much has gone by that the early facts have been forgotten in the swirl of accusations, lies and slow rolling the email discoveries.

Trey Gowdy Just Got What He Was Looking for in 925 Hillary Emails that the State Dept. Coughed Up
Among the emails released thus far are revelations about what Clinton was doing the night of the Benghazi attacks, how her team coordinated with the White House to assign blame for the attacks, and the role of Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal in assisting Clinton on intelligence in the region.

The Clinton emails, which total over 55,000 pages and were turned over to the State Department by Clinton this spring, were originally sorted by Clinton adviser Heather Samuelson. It is not clear whether Samuelson possesses a security clearance.
The scandal is beginning to take a toll at the "institution" at the center of the Clinton empire:  Clinton Foundation snubbed by the pope, Elton John, Janet Yellen
The glitzy Clinton Global Initiative gathering in New York, which has the lofty title “The Future of Impact,” was supposed to have been a celebration of the accomplishments of the $2-billion Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation’s past work as it pivots towards a future with Chelsea Clinton at the helm.

Instead, it’s become emblematic of the foundation’s struggles to regain its luster, while scaling back some of its ambitions and restructuring amid heightened scrutiny of its internal workings, the diminished role of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the prospect that former president Bill Clinton also could be forced to step back.
. . .
The documents, reviewed by POLITICO, also show that the foundation had hoped to land either Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen or French economist Thomas Piketty to deliver a presentation on income inequality. Both declined, as did Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Rock legend Elton John was invited to receive an award for his efforts to fight AIDS, but he’s not coming, and neither is New York City Mayor de Blasio. He had been invited as a guest rather than as a speaker and notably has refused to endorse Clinton, despite having managed her successful U.S. Senate campaign in 2000.
Almost Certainly: Is the IRS in Collusion with the Clinton Foundation?
The answer is a whistle-blower in the mold of Markopolos has come to my attention and his name is Charles Ortel. Like Markopolos, Ortel has a background as a financial industry executive in addition to a successful track record of identifying economic trends and systemic problems within companies, most notably General Electric.

Throughout 2015, Ortel has carefully studied and documented a decade’s worth of domestic and global fraud, theft, corruption and violations of strict IRS rules being perpetrated by a prestigious multi-billion dollar charitable organization known as the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Unlike Markopolos, who went to the SEC and was largely ignored because of incompetence, Ortel believes that the IRS is actively in collusion with the Clinton Foundation.

Collusion with the high-profile charity explains why the IRS is not thoroughly investigating Ortel’s carefully documented allegations of illegal activity on a scale so grand that a major audit would certainly be triggered if the name of the foundation was not “Clinton.”

Only collusion explains why, for over a decade, the IRS has allowed the Clinton Foundation, and all its umbrella organizations with different names to operate outside the strict rules and regulations under which all tax-exempt charities must operate or risk losing their tax-exempt status.

Ortel calculates that 2004 was the year when the foundation began engaging in massive fraud. Now guess who was director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Rulings & Agreements Division at that time? And guess who in December of 2005 was promoted to director of the entire IRS Exempt Organizations Division? Does the name Lois Lerner ring a bell?
It has often occurred to me that the Clinton Foundation (the major source of slush money for has to be all over the line for non-profits, but that it was being ignored while the IRS went after the little guys trying to start Tea Party groups. Why wasn't any attention being paid to the Gorilla in the room?

A great essay by Sultan Knish: The Last Days of Hillary
. . . The only lesson that Hillary Clinton drew from her last election was to double down on all the things she did wrong. Her organization was big last time so she made it even bigger. It got so big that the different Super PACs were fighting each other over fundraising for her campaign. She had lots of money last time, so she was determined to have even more money this time. But that money has been wasted paying an army of useless people who couldn’t even do something as basic as produce a good logo.

Hillary Clinton was paranoid, controlling and dishonest last time. She decided to be twice as paranoid and dishonest this time around and it destroyed her image and her campaign.

Even before the rope lines and the interview boycotts, the media hated her. Once she began to aggressively shut out the media, its personalities gleefully reported on every email server scandal detail that her enemies in the White House fed to theNew York Times and other administration mouthpieces.

It wasn’t a vast right wing conspiracy or even a more real left wing conspiracy that destroyed Hillary Clinton. If she were a stronger candidate, Obama and the left would have fallen in line behind her.

Once again, Hillary Clinton destroyed her own candidacy. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows that the top three words people associate with her are “liar,” “dishonest” and “untrustworthy.” If she hadn’t planned a cover-up before there was even anything to cover up and then responded to its disclosure with a series of terrible press conferences climaxing in asking reporters if they meant that she had wiped her email server with a cloth, her old reputation might have stayed buried long enough to win an election. . .
As they say, read the whole thing.

When The Truth is Found To Be Lies

Good enough, just go with it: Liberal logic on display A hate crime is still a hate crime, even if there never was an actual hate crime!
Good Freaking Grief!
Students at the University of Delaware are taking it hard after the discovery that an alleged hate crime was just a misunderstanding. Some students even insist a hate crime still occurred.
So, even though there was no hate crime, it still happened because some people are only happy when they are pretending to be victims
The incident happened Tuesday night, when students thought they found several nooses hanging from a tree. Word quickly spread as campus officials swiftly released a statement condemning the foul hate crime. But come morning, police said a short investigation had led them to conclude the “nooses” were really just the remnants of paper lanterns from an event held all the way back in June.
But still, even though there were no nooses, it was still a hate crime
Or at least aggravated littering. Clean up, kids! Find the whole story here.
Unperturbed by the truth, students launched an assembly following the incident to speak as though the hate crime really did happen. According to The News Journal, a local paper, the assembly was held “to find ways to change the campus climate” in the wake of the bad atmosphere apparently exposed by a fictional hate crime.

When the truth is found
To be lies
And all the joy
Within you dies. . .

A creditable cover:

Wombat-socho has the big list "Rule 5 Sunday: Time For The Professionals", ready at The Other McCain.

"Give me your manic, your schizophrenic, your psychotic masses yearning to run wild"

New plan: we’ll pay to import formerly deported illegals with mental illnesses
They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney the immigration problem would become worse. I had no idea how right they would prove to be.

To set up your Saturday evening on a high note, some terrific news out of the southwest. We’ve clearly been in need of some creative solutions for what to do about illegal immigrants and we’re also very worried about problems arising from the mentally ill and our seeming inability to protect everyone, including the protecting the mentally ill from themselves. Now, at last, someone has come up with a project which is designed to tackle both of these issues at once. We’ll collect up some of the illegals that we already deported but who are mentally ill to boot and we’ll ship them back to the United States. (Fox News)
Hundreds of immigrants with mental disabilities who were deported from the U.S. after representing themselves in court may be allowed to return to the country under a settlement approved by a judge Friday.
Federal Judge Dolly M. Gee’s ruling will let immigrants with serious mental disabilities request to have their cases reopened in hopes of returning to the U.S. The ruling covers immigrants deported from California, Arizona and Washington between Nov. 21, 2011 and Jan. 27 this year.
“This is really a historic settlement,” said Carmen Iguina, staff attorney for the ACLU of Southern California, one of the groups that filed the 2010 lawsuit that led to the settlement.
My, my… that certainly is an historic settlement. In fact, nothing like this may have been attempted in the entire history of the world. When you’ve finished banging your head against your desk from just reading the lede, move on forward to the portion of the story buried at the bottom which truly represents the cherry on top of the dish. . . .
And we have to pay for their lawyers and transportation. Do we have a national death wish or something? 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Where the Rubber Hits the River

Nearly 10,000 gallons of latex used for coating paper in a paper mill spilled into the North Branch of the Potomac River in western Maryland, according to environmental officials.

The incident happened Wednesday at Luke mill in that area, according to Jay Apperson, a spokesman with the Maryland Department of the Environment. He said the latex spilled as it was being unloaded from a rail car.
. . .
The area where the latex spilled into the river is near the border of Maryland and West Virginia in Garrett County. It created a yellow-white look to the water, according to officials with the state’s environment department. The latex spilled into the river over a four-hour period.
. . .
Maryland officials said they have not seen any indication of fish being killed as a result of the latex spill in the area. As a precaution, however, authorities from the state’s Department of Natural Resources fisheries program were notified.
Try harder to keep it contained next time.

Residual Obamacare Schadenfreude

Remember now Obamacare was going to save the average family $2500 in healthcare costs and stop runaway healthcare inflation? Health plan deductibles are growing seven times as fast as wages

The Kaiser Family Foundation on Tuesday released the results of its annual survey of employer health plans, finding that while there was a relatively modest 4 percent increase in premiums, deductibles have continued a steep upward trend. Deductibles for a single person's coverage have risen nearly seven times as fast as wages and inflation and almost three times as fast as premiums over the past five years.
. . .
Higher deductibles are a tool to reduce unnecessary health-care use, because people are more likely to think twice about seeing a doctor or getting tests they might not need if they are footing more of the bill. But for chronically ill people whose wages are increasing slowly, such increased cost-sharing could be a new financial strain and even a deterrent to seeking care.
I generally agree with the idea of higher deductible, low cost health insurance; but as you can see here, with Obama care, we're getting the worst of both, higher premiums and higher deductibles. How about a system where you get to chose freely among plans that would suit you? What a novel concept.

Obamacare Database With Personal Information on Millions Had ‘Basic Security Flaws’
An Obamacare database storing personal information on millions of Americans including Social Security Numbers was riddled with “basic security flaws,” according to a report from an agency watchdog.

The government stored sensitive personal information on millions of health insurance customers in a computer system with basic security flaws, according to an official audit that uncovered slipshod practices.
. . .
The audit found several vulnerabilities with the MIDAS database. For instance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did not simulate an attack on the database that would have revealed obvious security weaknesses.

“Our database vulnerability scans identified 22 high, 62 medium, and 51 low vulnerabilities” with the system, the OIG said.

“It sounds like a gold mine for ID thieves,” Jeremy Gillula, staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group focused on technology, told ABC News. “I’m kind of surprised that this information was never compromised.”
And how can you be sure it wasn't. The government is still trying to determine the scope of the OPM hack, and they actually sort of care about that. Your information? No worry, mates. It's Not a Lie If You Believe It

Remember when Hillary said she had turned over all her work related emails to the State Dept? Well, she lied. This one earned a "flaming skull" from Ace: More work emails from Clinton's private account
The Obama administration has discovered a chain of emails that Hillary Rodham Clinton failed to turn over when she provided what she said was the full record of work-related correspondence as secretary of state, officials told The Associated Press Friday, adding to the growing questions related to the Democratic presidential front-runner's unusual usage of a private email account and server while in government.

The messages were exchanged with retired Gen. David Petraeus when he headed the military's U.S. Central Command, responsible for running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They began before Clinton entered office and continued into her first days at the State Department. They largely pertained to personnel matters and don't appear to deal with highly classified material, officials said, but their existence challenges Clinton's claim that she has handed over the entirety of her work emails from the account.

Republicans have raised questions about thousands of emails that she has deleted on grounds that they were private in nature, as well as other messages that have surfaced independently of Clinton and the State Department. Speaking of her emails on CBS' "Face the Nation" this week, Clinton said, "We provided all of them." But the FBI and several congressional committees are investigating.
 As Ace notes, this has legal consequences, or at least it would to a normal person:
This has legal consequences: Hillary previously certified, on pain of perjury, to a federal judge that she had now turned over all work related emails, and not just a Whitman's Sampler of them.

The size and scope of the "new email" release?
The State Department informed the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Friday that it would deliver to them approximately 925 new Hillary Clinton emails relating to Benghazi and Libya, among them a small number of Benghazi-related emails that it had missed.
These 925 new emails fall into three broad categories:
1. Benghazi-related emails that the State Department missed in its original review;

2. Hillary Clinton emails related to Libya which the State Department assessed not to be directly related to Benghazi. This makes up the vast majority of the 925 emails being released;

3. Benghazi-related emails that the State Department had previously assessed (PDF) to be of a “personal nature and unrelated to the former Secretary’s official capacity.”
One of the problems with lying is that it always leads to more lying to keep the ball in the air. At some point you have trouble remembering what lies you've told before, and start contradicting yourself. Team Hillary ‘completely changes story’ on wiped server (they’ve REALLY outdone themselves this time)
The Hillary Clinton campaign has apparently given up trying to keep track of what stories they told when and is just winging it from day-to-day:
According to Politico’s Playbook, the Clinton campaign’s “talking points” to spin the report that the FBI was able to recover emails from Hillary’s server are that “rumors” the server was wiped clean “were never true.”

Is that so?

In August, the AP reported that Hillary Clinton’s attorney told Congress her server had been scrubbed:

But now the Clinton campaign’s admission that her server had been wiped clean were just rumors that were never true? They don’t even believe themselves anymore!
Maybe she was thinking if we all thought the server was wiped we'd believe her, and just let it go? Believe her? Now that's funny.

Democrats Wake Up to How Bad a Liar Hillary Is
Democrats are starting to admit that the new scandals involving e-mails and the Clinton Foundation’s conflicts of interest are taking a worrying toll. Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware admitted to the PBS affiliate in his state this week that there has been “a real loss of support by of some of the folks who I had expected would be just diehard, enthusiastic Clinton fans, in part because it’s a reminder of the Clinton era, when there seemed to always be some scandal going on about something.” Coons also criticized Hillary’s attempts at explaining the scandals: “Her answers to it have been less open and artful than I’d expected they would be.”

Many Democrats pine for the days when Bill Clinton could talk himself out of almost anything. Now Clinton biographer David Maraniss says it’s becoming obvious that while Bill is an “authentic phony,” the hapless Hillary is just a “phony phony.”
 FBI mulling whether Hillary aides broke the law by sending her classified material on private server
If this question involved anyone except Hillary Clinton, the answer would be an unqualifiedyes. As it is, though, the FBI has treaded very carefully on questions of suspected criminal action in the dissemination of sensitive material through Hillary’s unauthorized and unsecured private e-mail server. The New York Times’ Eric Lipton and Michael Schmidt report that investigators still have not targeted Hillary herself in the probe into classified material on and through her secret server, but they may start probing her aides at the State Department:
The email described a deteriorating situation in Libya, with snipers shooting people in the streets as rebels tried to unseat President Muammar el-Qaddafi and worried American diplomats in the midst of a “phased checkout” from Benghazi. It arrived in the private email account of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, one Sunday morning in April 2011, with unforeseen consequences.
That email, which included an update from the Africa Command of the Department of Defense detailing Libyan military movements, is part of the evidence that law enforcement officials say the F.B.I. is now examining as it tries to determine whether aides to Mrs. Clinton mishandled delicate national security information when they communicated with their boss.
The Libyan dispatch, written by an aide to Mrs. Clinton and then forwarded to her by Huma Abedin, one of her top advisers, should have been considered classified, according to intelligence officials. And, they say, other emails to Mrs. Clinton they have found, including one addressing North Korea’s nuclear weapons system and a third discussing United States drone strikes in Pakistan, should have been marked “Top Secret.”. . .
The response from Team Hillary was, predictably, that no one did anything wrong ever. The State Department responded by disputing whether the information in the e-mails were really classified, or in the public domain — even the e-mail that discussed North Korea’s nuclear weapons and satellite data, which two intelligence Inspectors General marked Top Secret/Compartmented when they reviewed it. Their argument is that if none of this was actually classified at the time it was sent, then no crimes have been committed.
The real question is whether or not Obama wants to throw Clinton to the dogs, and let Biden and whatever black communist Obama designates as his heir rule in his place. I think, in characteristic Obama style, he's still dithering.

Rule 5 Saturday - Cindy Crawford Prepares for the Big 5 Oh

'My waist is thicker and my boobs are a little less perky': As Cindy Crawford prepares to turn 50, she reveals how the fashion industry really treats older women
With her long legs, killer curves and trademark beauty spot, Cindy Crawford's enviable figure and stunning good looks have made her one of the most successful supermodels in history.
Beauty spot? I always thought it was a fly!
However, as revealed in an extract published in the Sunday Times from her new book Becoming, even she's not immune to the effects of ageing.
Athletes get weaker and slower,  scientist's brains develop ruts. Yep, sucks to get old, but you have to consider the alternative.
Though most women nearing 50 would likely give anything to look like Crawford currently does, the model does admit to feeling a 'sense of loss' for her younger self.

The extract in the Sunday Times sees her even confess to feeling shocked when confronted with unflattering paparazzi shots that don't match-up with the the now iconic images that have long created what she calls the 'illusion of Cindy Crawford'.
. . .
'I can still pull off a miniskirt and 5in heels on set - but probably not in real life.'
She's not been camera shy in the past, so there's lots of NSFW pictures.

In the 209th Issue of GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE red hair and cosplay go together like science and science fiction. Linked at Pirate's Cove in "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has the big "Rule 5 Sunday: Roll Tide!" and "FMJRA 2.0: Face Down In The Biltong"  posts up at the The Other McCain.

Now included in the "Canonical List of Rule 5 Posts".

And now, on with the illusion of Cindy Crawford!

Why Tanks Don't Have Windows

Friday, September 25, 2015

When I Lived in Oregon, We Knew How to Deal With This

A town in southern Oregon will hold a public meeting to discuss how to deal with droves of fearless deer that wander the streets, occasionally acting aggressively toward residents, state wildlife officials said on Tuesday.

The "Deer Summit 2015" will be chaired on Wednesday by Ashland Mayor John Stromberg as part of efforts to address deer that have stalked people, pawed at them with their hooves and even stomped on small dogs.

"The deer have no fear of humans," said Mark Vargas, District Wildlife Biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Deer that have not been hunted don't develop a lot of fear of humans.
The confident deer are a product of a long tradition in the town of 21,000 people of feeding and befriending them, Vargas said.
So they're "welfare deer."
For the last two or three decades, the black tailed deer have been known to roam into yards and stroll the downtown area of Ashland, which lies in the heavily forested foothills of the Siskiyou and Cascade Mountains.

"Deer just live there," Vargas said. "They live amongst all the people and when that happens there's going to be conflict."
I lived in Oregon as a graduate student for more years than I care to recount, and brother Ted and I filled our freezers with Black Tailed Deer that we hunted on family land down in Southern Oregon near Roseburg. As near as I remember, the locals had no particular reverence for the deer, and deer season was long, and fairly generous. Hunting does was not only permitted but encouraged.

However, Roseburg is not Ashland, which is best known for it's annual Shakespeare festival. While I doubt the bard would turn his nose up at a venison steak, my guess is that the artsy fartsy community in Ashland is not as broadminded. Oh well, it's their problem, not mine.

The deer around here are plenty bold too. It's too hard to hunt among the houses, so deer graze more or less at will. I saw a deer stare down a woman walking a large dog the other day, not willing to leave it's Hostas.

Opulence at the EPA

A couple of articles have surface in the last couple of days about the fine folk at EPA, and how they spend your money:

EPA’s fondness for high-end furniture costs taxpayers $92 million
The Environmental Protection Agency over the past decade has spent a whopping $92.4 million to purchase, rent, install and store office furniture ranging from fancy hickory chairs and a hexagonal wooden table, worth thousands of dollars each, to a simple drawer to store pencils that cost $813.57.

The furniture shopping sprees equaled about $6,000 for every one of the agency’s 15,492 employees, according to federal spending data made public by the government watchdog
Six grand ought to buy a lot of office furniture . . .
And the EPA doesn’t buy just any old office furniture. Most of the agency’s contracts are with Michigan-based retailer Herman Miller Inc. According to the contracts, the EPA spent $48.4 million on furnishings from the retailer known for its high-end, modern furniture designs.

Just one of Herman Miller’s “Aeron” office chairs retails for nearly $730 on the store’s website. The EPA has spent tens of thousands of dollars to purchase and install those types of chairs in its offices.
In it's defense, the EPA blame Congress for giving it so much space to fill. . .
 “EPA takes its fiscal responsibility seriously. As a result of GSA leases expiring, numerous EPA offices were required to move or consolidate space between 2000 and 2014. New furniture purchases provided the agency the opportunity to obtain space efficiencies,” the agency said.
And you know that furniture isn't being distributed evenly. For every one high muckety muck with fancy office furniture, there are probably 10 or more cube troglodytes with an old stinky chair, a plain desk and a filing cabinet that dates back to WWII. And that brings us to this one:

EPA Official Flew Home Every Weekend on Taxpayer’s Dime
An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official flew nearly every weekend from his office in San Francisco to his home in southern California, amassing $69,000 in “excessive trips,” according to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). A new audit found that the former Region 9 Administrator also charged taxpayers nearly $4,000 for ineligible travel costs, as the official made 88 trips that he said were work related in just three years.

“The former Region 9 Administrator made excessive trips to Southern California and claimed ineligible travel costs,” the OIG said. “He made 88 trips in total from October 2006 through January 2009. For 51 of the 88 trips (58 percent), the former Region 9 Administrator traveled to Orange County/Los Angeles County (OC/LA), California, near the former Region 9 Administrator’s residence, at a cost of approximately $69,000.”

The former official lived in Aliso Viejo, Calif., in Orange Country, though he mainly worked out of the Region 9 headquarters in San Francisco. The audit found that the official “traveled almost every weekend” to Orange County.
. . .
The official also claimed meal and mileage expenses while he was home. The OIG noted that junior employees were responsible for approving his travel and questioned whether “subordinates would adequately review their supervisor’s travel.”
Now there's a carbon footprint for you. You could move a little closer to your job, you know. That's what "normal" people do.

I'm sure this is not a novel thought, but the Federal government's bureaucrats have become analogous to the church of the middle ages, quite rich and powerful in the real world, but with very little accountability to people they nominally serve. They have a sense of entitlement that come from their belief that they are "doing good" The simile is particularly apt for the EPA, as most of them are "true believers" in the cult of environmentalism (as it applies to everybody but themselves) and feel that they are "saving the world" with expensive regulations, the result of which might be to stop 0.03 C of global warming over the next century.