Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Yes, Your Dog Knows What You're Saying

Researchers in Hungary scanned the brains of dogs as they were listening to their trainer speaking to determine which parts of the brain they were using.

They found that dogs processed words with the left hemisphere and used the right hemisphere to process pitch — just like people.

What’s more, the dogs only registered that they were being praised if the words and pitch were positive. Meaningless words spoken in an encouraging voice, or meaningful words in a neutral tone, didn’t have the same effect.

“Dog brains care about both what we say and how we say it,” said lead researcher Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, said in an email. “Praise can work as a reward only if both word meaning and intonation match.”
I know our first dog, Sybil, half husky and half shepherd, knew several words, of which "squirrel" was the most prominent. Both Skyes have been less obviously verbally receptive, clearly responding to body cues and emotions, but not so much to actual words.
Researchers imaged the brains of 13 dogs using a technique called functional MRI, or fMRI, which records brain activity.

The dogs— six border collies, five golden retrievers, a German shepherd and a Chinese crested — were trained to lie motionless in the scanner for seven minutes during the tests. The dogs were awake and unrestrained as they listened to their trainer’s voice through headphones.
 Doggie headphones? Maybe for Christmas.
“The most difficult aspect of this training is for dogs to understand that being motionless means really motionless,” said Andics, who published the findings in the journal Science.
Well, that explains why they didn't use any Siberians. The idea of being motionless when not asleep is foreign.

Wombat-socho has the  "Rule Five Sunday: Labor Day Weekend Edition" up and running at The Other McCain.

I've Got a Bridge to Sell You

Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday that the state will spend $5 million and up to four years studying where to put — and how to pay for — a possible third span across the Chesapeake Bay.

The study is the first in a multi-stage process to seek federal funding. It would likely be many years before any construction could begin, if ever.

The congested and aging Bay Bridge has vexed transportation planners for decades. Studies show that the bridge, if properly maintained, should remain structurally sound until 2065. But increased traffic is projected to cause daily 13-mile backups by 2040 unless a new span is built. A new span could cost up to $6.85 billion, and would require other road network upgrades.

The governor declined to speculate whether engineers would suggest a new span alongside the two existing ones or elsewhere in the state, but he said the process would involve a lot of public input.
Rumors of a new bridge have circulated for years, but nothing official has been seen. One rumor of local color is that former Maryland Comptroller and Calvert County local Louis "Louie" Goldstein was  so sure a new bridge would be built at Cove Point (the narrowest area of the bay south of the current bridge) that he bought a bunch of land on both sides, anticipating a run up in the price. But then, he own a lot of land in the area. We're pretty sure he left a codicil in his will threatening to disinter some political skeletons if MD Rt. 4  wasn't paved regularly.

More Benghazi Emails at

Newly Revealed Benghazi Emails Bring Hillary Clinton's Server Scandal Full Circle
The FBI successfully recovered nearly 15,000 emails previously deleted from Hillary Clinton's private server, and we now know that at least 30 of those emails discussed the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

These newly discovered Benghazi emails will add fuel to the fire surrounding Clinton's decision to use a private email server while she was Secretary of State and could raise further questions about whether she fully cooperated with an investigation into the attack that killed four American diplomats in Libya on September 11, 2012.
So 30 about Benghazi. How many more were other State Dept. records?

I was pretty sure the FBI would recover a lot of emails from the servers, and I was pretty sure it would turn out that many of them had to do with State Dept. business, and even Benghazi. I'm also fairly sure that many more will turn out to be business, vaguely worded emails to avoid explicit quid pro quo while amassing as big a fortune as possible selling influence. And very few about yoga routines. Does she look like a woman who does yoga?

Of course she lied about turning over all her work related emails. No one thought any differently. But I'll bet the FBI will not see that as a lie to them, which is all that counts, apparently. Did she, in fact, tell the FBI that the servers might contain State Dept. business that was swept up and deleted using the search terms that her lawyers used to decide what to purge? That would be my guess.

October surprise? The State Department's lawyer said it would need until the end of September to review the emails and redact potentially classified information before they are released.
How badly will this damage Hillary? Well, don’t get your hopes too high. The corruption issues between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department should have already forced her out of the race, and yet … here we are. Anything less than an e-mail from Hillary that explicitly describes a cover-up attempt is not likely to derail her candidacy, and it may be that these 30 e-mails are ancillary to the investigation. That doesn’t seem likely either — if they were ancillary, why not turn them over with everything else? — but until we see them, we won’t know.
What I want to see it the edit trail in "mark changes." FBI to release report on Hillary Clinton email investigation:
The FBI expects to publicly release in the coming days the report the bureau sent to the Justice Department in July recommending no charges in the Hillary Clinton email server investigation, according to multiple law enforcement officials. The release is in response to numerous FOIA requests including from CNN.

Also to be released is Hillary Clinton's 302, the FBI agent notes from Clinton's voluntary interview at FBI headquarters. The report is about 30 pages, and the 302 is about a dozen pages according to the officials.
Hat Air's take:
Don’t expect too much out of the document dump. Members of Congress, including House Oversight chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), complained about the amount of redactions in the files they accessed in the FBI’s cooperation with Capitol Hill. Chaffetz argued that the heavy black ink in the files demonstrated that Hillary lied about exposing sensitive information, and raises questions about why the FBI decided to punt on recommending prosecution. . .
And fresh this morning:  Clinton emailed classified information after leaving State Dept.
Hillary Clinton continued sending classified information even after leaving the State Department, The Post has exclusively learned.

On May 28, 2013, months after stepping down as secretary of state, Clinton sent an email to a group of diplomats and top aides about the “123 Deal” with the United Arab Emirates.

But the email, which was obtained by the Republican National Committee through a Freedom of Information Act request, was heavily redacted upon its release by the State Department because it contains classified information.

The markings on the email state it will be declassified on May 28, 2033, and that information in the note is being redacted because it contains “information regarding foreign governors” and because it contains “Foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.”

The email from Clinton was sent from the email account — — associated with her private email server.
Sure; SecState is not a job one steps away from instantly.

The liberals at the Hill see problems with Foundation headaches mount for Clintons, Even the NY Times: NYT to Hillary: Respond to an “ethical imperative” now, not later
CUE WORLD’S SMALLEST VIOLIN: Bill Clinton eyes exit from charity that has shaped legacy.

When Bill Clinton told the staff of his global charity he would have to step down if Hillary Clinton won the White House, he was vividly clear about how that felt: Worse than a root canal, he said.
For Clinton, the foundation that bears his name has shaped much of his post-White House legacy, helping transform him from a popular yet scandal-tainted former president into an international philanthropist and humanitarian.
The Clinton Foundation’s charitable works amounted to just “15% of its revenues while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, and just 6.4% in the first year after it.” In 2013 he Foundation spent as much on travel for its executives and staff as it did on charitable grants.

It’s easy to see why giving that up would be painful, but it isn’t as though being First Spouse doesn’t come with perks of its own.
On the Abedin/Weiner lack of affair: Huma Abedin distractions hinder Clinton campaign, provide opening for Trump; Huma Abedin does What Hillary Never Could, throw the bum out. Texts reveal Anthony Weiner knew his marriage was ‘busted’, she loved Hillary more. The Huma-Weiner Scandal Is More Than Just Casual 'Sext'. Did he want out, and was getting caught his way to make it happen? Insty shouts: WHAT KIND OF TRAGEDY WAS ANTHONY WEINER?, asks Dave Weigel of the Washington Post.
To be fair, not everybody can bounce back from their mistakes and public dissembling as effortlessly as Dave Weigel of theWashington Post.

Exit quote: “The second question is whether Weiner had a skill set that New York, or the country, missed out on when he fell. That’s harder to answer.” No it’s not.
Shot: What would media say about naked Hillary statues? —The Hill, August 19th, 2016.

Chaser: “Nearly Naked Hillary Clinton Portrayed as the ‘Beast’ in Hollywood Street Art,” the Hollywood Reporter,err, reports:
About 20 posters featuring an unflattering image of the Democratic nominee for president were hung Monday morning in the area by Sabo, a conservative street artist known for creating fake ads and traffic signs and affixing them illegally to bus stops and light poles in the dead of night.
His latest work is largely an anti-abortion statement, though it touches on feminism and alleged scandals involving the Clinton Foundation. And, with the number “6-6-6” tattooed around her neck, the rendering insinuates she may be Satan, or at least a devil worshipper.
An image of Saul Alinsky, the writer of Rules for Radicals who was allegedly a mentor of Clinton’s, is tattooed on one arm and $100 bills are on the other. There’s also a skeletal fetus about to be cut by scissors, a wire hanger, a vulture and the slogan “no bras, no masters.” (See the images below; the black bars were added by The Hollywood Reporter.)
I love the “alleged” and “allegedly” – that’s ever-so adorable, THR. The queen must be protected!
Meanwhile, the Clinton plan for the US continues to emerge: Hillary Clinton’s economic agenda risks another recession, what's wrong with tax, regulate and demonize? Let Them Drink Lead: So whatever happened to Hillary’s primary season Flint Initiative? Not convenient, of course. Bill Clinton: Rebuild Detroit with Syrian Refugees. Do they think middle easterners are immune to lead?

But apparently, it's working: A record number of Americans now dislike Hillary Clinton 56-41. Hillary Is Way More Awful than Trump. Know your place, boy! Insty again:

Not her socialist ideology, which has been largely fixed in place for most of her adult life, but how to best sell it. (Read: lie about it.)
Hillary's 'alt-right' smear will backfire. Kind of like the cowboy and the lesbian joke; I didn't know what they were, but now I am one. Clinton’s Alt-Right Kill-Shot and Trump’s ‘One-Way Man-Crush’ - It’s not every day you have two fabulously wealthy white senior citizens publicly yelling 'Racist!' at each other. One nice thing about Trump is he won't go into a gun fight unarmed.

Some humor from Infowars: SPECIAL REPORT: ALEX JONES ASKS HILLARY CLINTON NOT TO KILL HIM. They save the kiss of death for those they love. More from Stand United who proposes to dock Barack Obama's pay for the time he spends campaigning for Hillary. An amusing concept, but unlikely to happen.

Did You Ever Want to Vote in a Foreign Election?

If so, then here's your chance. Belize has it's candidates for Miss Belize on the internet to vote on:

Personally, I like Rebecca Rath, Miss Dangriga, who seems to be the popular choice:

But Marlanie Heron of Punta Gordo is a good choice too:

Wombat-socho has the  "Rule Five Sunday: Labor Day Weekend Edition" up and running at The Other McCain.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Power Company Settles Potomac, Patuxent Pollution Claims

The owners of two Maryland power plants in the Washington suburbs will pay $1 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging illegal releases of nitrogen into rivers, a leading cause of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

State Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) and Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles on Monday announced the settlement with NRG Energy subsidiaries that own coal-fired generators at the Chalk Point station in Prince George’s County and the Dickerson station in Montgomery County.

The plant operators will pay an additional $1 million to support environmental restoration projects in their watersheds and invest a total of $10 million to upgrade the wastewater filtration systems at the two plants to reduce future pollution.
So $2 million total? Seems like a rather trivial fine considering the scale and value of the power plants. It probably cost more than that to prosecute the cases.
Maryland filed a lawsuit in 2013 alleging the power plants had discharged wastewater that contained illegal amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Potomac and Patuxent rivers.
Dickerson Generating Station
Interestingly, the problems arose in systems designed to remove nitrogen oxides from the stack gases of the power plants that were mandated by the government. But then you have the problem of disposing of the nitrogen you've trapped chemically.
 In 2009 and 2010, the plants set up wastewater treatment systems that included pollutant-eating bacteria, which were supposed to minimize the presence of chemicals harmful to the bay.

But the lawsuit filed by the state alleges that those bacteria died shortly after installation of the systems. The lawsuit said that in some years, the Chalk Point facility released 20 times as much nitrogen into the Patuxent River as its permit allows.
The trouble with biological treatment systems is that they tend to be more fragile than purely chemical systems. When the bugs die or go on strike, the systems refuse to work
NRG Energy is not admitting violations under the settlement.

“It's in the best interests of everyone for us to settle and move on,” said Dave Gaier, an NRG spokesman.
I'm pretty sure that NRG didn't even own Dickerson and Chalk Point over the time in question. Yep:
Mirant was merged into GenOn Energy in 2010,and GenOn merged into NRG in 2012.

The Weiner is Out at

said busty brunette
Of course, you've all heard the story, how Anthony Weiner sexted busty brunette while his son was in bed with him showing off his engorged underpants. What is wrong with that dude? Well, she turned out to be a Trump supporter, and the rest is recent history. Soon after, reports came out that Huma was showing him the door: Humiliated Huma FINALLY dumps sexting Weiner: Hillary aide separates from husband just hours after it is revealed he sent photo of his crotch while their four-year-old son slept beside him. Ace: "Stay at Home Cad:" NY Post Reports Anthony Weiner Was Sexting a New Lady, While Son Was in Bed With Him, Just Last Year - Update: Huma Says She's Separating from Her Weiner. Althouse, after noting the scandal with "It's just another phallic Monday" comes back with: "So Huma is separating from her husband... but wasn't she already separated... kinda?"
Carlos is into the danger. Have a little empathy. You know I do. It's his sexual orientation. And it's safe sex. Except the part where you humiliate your wife, whose name I'd put right next to the word "humiliate" if a thousand writers hadn't already done that juxtaposition. It's not a new humiliation, just another iteration of the old humiliation.
Aren't they a cute couple?
Stacy McCain catches Drudge "Having Plenty of Fun" with the scandal (see left), and Ace takes another cheap shot: Hillary's Poll Lead Breaking In Half, Like Huma-Weiner Marriage of Convenience
A new Morning Consult poll has Hillary's national lead down from 6, to 3.

Last week, Reuters -- which generally has Hillary ahead more than other outfits -- showed Hillary ahead by five. But she had been ahead by 12 in the same poll.
Chris Cilliza, a reliable Hillary shill at WaPo wants us to stop picking on Weiner, Huma and Hillary: Anthony Weiner is gross. Let’s stop paying attention to him. Absolutely no political motive, I'm sure. But Larry O'Connor at Hot Air asks Can we talk about the national security implications of Anthony Weiner’s… habit?
But the disturbing habits of the now-separated husband of Hillary Clinton’s closest confidante is a very serious issue when it comes to national security.

I asked Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer (ret.) a former intelligence officer, about the potential vulnerability Weiner poses when engaged in this kind of behavior while his spouse is in the tightest circle of trust with a potential leader of the free world.

“Weiner’s continued personal habits present an opportunity for exploitation by foreign intelligence or terrorist groups,” Shaffer told me. “There is a heightened potential for blackmail.”
. . .
“This would be an intelligent operative’s ‘wet dream’ to find this opportunity to gain access to intelligence and have the ability to manipulate a nation’s political figures with such direct access,” Shaffer said.

And what if the Clinton Administration promised a “firewall” between Abedin and Weiner, like the firewall they built between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation?

“It doesn’t work that way,” Shaffer explained. “Spouses will have access to scheduling, contacts and state of mind of Huma and of the Clintons,” he continued. “That is far more important than access to classified data.”
Kyle Scheider at Counter Jihad systematically dismantles Glenn Kessler's (the WaPo fact checker spinner) rather casual dismissal of the Huma's relationships with Jihadis through her mother and her background. WaPo Fact Checker Misleads on Huma Abedin & the Muslim Brotherhood: What’s the Truth?

On the Clinton Foundation front, A Major Contributor to the Foundation Denied Entry to the U.S. Due to Terror Ties: 
The name Gilbert Chagoury will be familiar to many readers. He’s a friend of Bill Clinton and a major donor to the Clinton Foundation. According to Judicial Watch, which cites Clinton Foundation documents, Chagoury has appeared near the top of the Foundation’s donor list as a $1 million to $5 million contributor.

Chagoury’s name came up recently in a newly released 2009 email from Clinton Foundation official Doug Band to Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, who were then top aides to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Band told Mills and Abeden to put to put Chagoury in touch with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon. Band explained that Chagoury is a “key guy [in Lebanon] and to us.”
. . .
But Chagoury isn’t just a crook. The Los Angeles Times reports that Chagoury was denied entry into the U.S. last year because of his ties to a Lebanese organization that has allegedly given money to the terrorist group Hezbollah. (Hat Tip: Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller.)

According to the LA Times, the State Department denied Chagoury’s visitor’s visa after he applied for one at the U.S. embassy in Paris last summer. The State Department made its determination based on a 2013 FBI intelligence report which cited sources saying that Chagoury gave money to Michel Aoun, a Lebanese politician who was suspected of “facilitating fundraising for Hezbollah.”
What good is a million bucks if it can't buy you entry into the United States. Even the dumbest Mexican knows a "Coyote" who can smuggle him in for a few thousand. Even David Ploufe, a senior political adviser to President Obama in his first term, admits There are 'legitimate questions' about the Clinton Foundation. And via Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 08.29.16", Scott Johnson at Powerline admires Charles Krauthammer's column on The Clinton Bribery Standard.
Charles Krauthammer devotes his weekly column to “The Clinton bribery standard.” Charles is disgusted by the evidence of corruption that is revealed in the latest tranches of Clinton emails. He accurately states the defense advance by Hillary Clinton and her retainers: “There was no quid pro quo.”

Krauthammer comments: “What a long way we’ve come. This is the very last line of defense. Yes, it’s obvious that access and influence were sold. But no one has demonstrated definitively that the donors received something tangible of value — a pipeline, a permit, a waiver, a favorable regulatory ruling — in exchange.”
It's pretty sad when a leading contender for the presidency's defense is "You can't prove it, coppers!" Interim-Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee Donn Brazille basically says "Everybody Does It"  and then Completely Dodges Questions About State Department Links to Clinton Foundation. CNN goes after fellow news organization for embarrassing the wanna be Preznit: CNN attacks Associated Press report on Hillary’s Clinton Foundation meetings in “Associated Press botches Hillary Clinton report and response.” And Insty shouts: BUT OF COURSE THEY DO:
And CNN’s young successor to Howard Kurtz is playing palace guard as well: Stelter Attacks AP for Exposing Clinton Foundation Donor Access to State Department.

As with creating “The Wright-Free Zone” to keep Obama afloat in 2008 and Candy Crowley sabotaging Mitt Romney during his debate with Obama four years later, this is simply what the propaganda wing of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO does for their party during every election year.
It's a long sordid story of the takeover of the free press by the left: Media Orgs Donate to Clinton Foundation Then Downplay Clinton Foundation Scandal. Nice news organization you have there. It would be a shame if something happened to it. Breitbart contends that Google Hides Popular Hillary Clinton Health Searches. Google says they moderate out equally. I have to say, if you try to google the equivalent question for Trump "Donald Trump mental health" you find similar selections. I'd rather see Google play it straight and give us what we most likely want to see: MEDIA: Hillary’s physical health is off limits, but Trump’s mental health? Game On! If it wasn't for double standards, they'd have no standards at all. IT HELPS IF YOU HAVE THE REFEREES ON YOUR SIDE: Elections are a game — and Clinton plays it better.

Clinton's use of BleachBit avoided 'money trail' in email destruction
Hillary Clinton's decision to use BleachBit to scrub her private email server could have been based on the fact that the free software can be downloaded and used with complete anonymity, the program's developer said.

Andrew Ziem, the creator of BleachBit, pointed to a recent CNN report about his software in which a computer security expert had speculated that Clinton's team would have selected a more expensive, more sophisticated service if it truly sought to conceal records.

"While there may be some merit to that, there is also an argument to be made for hoping that this doesn't leave a money trail," Ziem told the Washington Examiner.
Security was too onerous for the State Dept, but now that she's running for Preznit nothing is too much trouble: CLINTON CAMPAIGN USES ‘SNOWDEN-APPROVED’ ENCRYPTION APP TO DISCUSS TRUMP  But as a game, it's like Calvin Ball, with the rules ever shifting at the whim of the participants.
The Clinton campaign is using a “Snowden-approved” encrypted messaging app in order to privately discuss Donald Trump.

According to a recent report from Vanity Fair, a person close to the DNC and Clinton campaign states that following the DNC hack staffers were told to use “Signal” when mentioning the Republican nominee.

“In the intervening weeks, staffers were told, according to a person who works with the committee, that if anyone was going to communicate about Donald Trump over e-mail or text message, especially if those missives were even remotely contentious or disparaging, it was imperative that they do so using an application called Signal,” Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton writes.

Signal, an app for Android and iPhone, is considered by leading security experts, including NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, to be the gold standard for end-to-end encrypted communications.
The Race Card Cometh. Nope, it's already been played. Pence: Clinton's 'racial attacks' an 'act of desperation' More like an SOP. Kaine once blocked three potential jurors from hearing a case because they were white
Kaine explained later that the move was aimed at securing more black people on the jury, thus increasing his client's odds of winning her housing discrimination suit.
Now all I'm left with is a bunch of miscellaneous stuff:

Funny girl Barbra Streisand claims she will relocate to AUSTRALIA if Donald Trump beats Hillary Clinton in US election - OK by me.

A pretty good primer on why Hillary refuses to hold press conferences: If Clinton had a news conference, here’s what she should be asked

Donald Trump: “war” on farmers coming if Hillary Clinton elected Let 'em eat Chinese cake. Can't have successful non-nationalized business.

Coal Country Is Wary of Hillary Clinton’s Pledge to Help. As well they should be. Expect more of that money to go to hangers on than any real help.

A pretty good set of links from Maggie's Farm:  Poll: Just 29% Of U.S. Voters Think Hillary Clinton Is “Honest”… Does it matter? The Clinton bribery standard, " there may be smoke but there’s no fire..." What? The Clinton Foundation Is Not a Scandal. It’s a Phenomenal, Life-Saving Success. Ethicists scoff at Clinton Foundation transition plan, Clinton's new strategy: I may be a crook, but he is a racist, Hillary’s Race War - Disgusting lies, smears and hate. Hillary's Email Server Was Wiped Clean With Something Called 'BleachBit', Was this done after they were requested?

Wombat-socho has the  "Rule Five Sunday: Labor Day Weekend Edition" and "FMJRA 2.0: Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues" up and running at The Other McCain.

RIP: Gene Wilder

A comic genius. Everyone has their own favorite clip, I suppose. Here's mine.

Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83.
Wombat-socho has the  "Rule Five Sunday: Labor Day Weekend Edition" up and running at The Other McCain.

Fight Fiercely, Iowa, Fight, Fight, Fight!

Herky the Hawk’s grimace too ‘aggressive’ for fragile students, Iowa professor says
A University of Iowa professor is asking the athletics department to make the university’s mascot, Herky the Hawk, display friendlier facial expressions, arguing that his angry grimace is traumatizing students.

“I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages,” Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of pediatrics, wrote Tuesday in an email to athletic department officials, obtained by the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
Unless they're a head banger or an emo. They should be met with vigorous resistance, and petulant whining, respectively.
“And our campus community is doing a great job in that regard when it comes to words. However, Herky’s angry, to say the least, faces conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence are not compatible with the verbal messages that we try to convey to and instill in our students and campus community,” she argued . . . 
I suppose the next to go will be the Maryland Terp, because of the vaguely mean look on the terrapins face (see right).

In fact, very few school mascots are likely to pass this SJW test. The whole purpose of a mascot is to show fierce determination to win the game. Unless, of course, you don't really cares who wins the game, in which case you might pick a mascot like UC Santa Cruz Banana Slug:

My brother Ted, has a daughter who goes to Santa Cruz. But then, he also has a son who goes to UC Berkeley, whose mascot, the Golden Bear is not very fierce either. But then, nobody expects the Berserklians to win may games. Maybe it's a UC thing.

Kind of like Harvard:

Wombat-socho has the  "Rule Five Sunday: Labor Day Weekend Edition" up and running at The Other McCain.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bay Scientists Seek Missing Gas

Scientists digging up the dirt for clues to disappearing nitrogen
For decades, scientists have wondered what happens to the nitrogen that farmers apply to fields. On the farm, levels of the nutrient are high. But downstream, they’re lower — sometimes only half as much. In an attempt to figure out where it went, scientists have undertaken “mass balance studies” to solve the mystery.

Does the nitrogen dissipate into the air as a harmless gas? Does it convert to nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, and pollute the air? Does it stay in the soil — as the other plant nutrient, phosphorus, does— and eventually ooze into streams over time?

Two recent studies — one focused on the Mississippi River and one on the Chesapeake Bay — suggest at least partial answers.
This isn't rocket science; it's more complicated. When in doubt, the usual answer is both:
Nandita Basu, an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, and doctoral student Kim Van Meter looked at more than 2,000 soil samples throughout the Mississippi basin and found an accumulation of nitrogen in the soils. In the March issue of Environmental Research Letters, they reported finding that the nitrogen often was not in the first layer of soil, but 10 to 39 inches below the surface. There, it converts to nitrate, an inorganic compound that is the most common drinking water pollutant in the United States.
However. . .
Closer to home, Tom Fisher, an ecologist with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, began his own investigations into the missing nitrogen with graduate students John R. Gardner, Thomas Jordan and Karen L. Knee. The group found that 74 percent of the nutrient applied to the crops was leaving the fields in the Choptank and Nanticoke river watersheds where the team conducted its research. But most of it never got into streams because it was transformed through natural biological processes into harmless nitrogen gas and released into the air.
Next question: why do the farms in the Bay region process nitrogen more completely than farms in the Mississippi?

LA Cops Finally Arrest Zorro

That only took about 200 years.  Mass evacuation at LAX caused by ZORRO! Actor on way home from audition dressed as masked hero with plastic sword is arrested amid reports of an 'active shooter' grounding flights
An actor returning from an audition dressed as masked hero Zorro, complete with plastic sword, shut down LAX airport and sparked fear of an active shooter situation on Sunday night.

The unidentified, middle-aged black man dressed in an all black satin costume with gloves, hat and large belt was apprehended on a bench as he waited 'for a ride home'.

Police were initially responding to claims that a man had opened fire near a baggage reclaim, and set about evacuating thousands of passengers and grounding flights.

After a thorough search and the eventual arrest of the costumed man outside a terminal, LAPD admitted the entire incident was a false alarm.

'Report of shooting at LAX proven to be loud noises only no shots fired no injuries investigation continues to locate source', LAPD posted on Twitter.
Hey, Black Lives Matter!

More Monday Morning Obamacare Schadenfreude

It takes about a week for the Obamacare Schadenfreude digital bank to fill up to the point it needs to be emptied, and Monday seems to be a good day since the amount on new material on seems to slack off on Sunday.

So it seems we were right: Princeton health economist: We’re now seeing a ‘mild version’ of the Obamacare death spiral:
SK: So what happens in a system like this? Does it eventually right itself, or does it fall apart?

UR: Liberals think this will settle itself. Eventually, though, we all know about the death spiral that actuaries worry about, and I think what you’re seeing now is a mild version of that. These things accelerate, as premiums keep rising.

We’ve had two actual death spirals: in New Jersey and in New York. New Jersey passed a law that had community rating but no mandate, so that market shrank quickly and premiums were off the wall. You look at New York and the same thing happened; they had premiums above $6,000 per month. The death spiral killed those markets.

What we do have in the Affordable Care Act is the mandate, so it will be a slower process. If the premium increases go through for 2017, some are 8 or 9 percent, and that is stiff. If those rates get improved, those are big enough that a lot of people will drop out.
Yeah, but he's Ivy League. Since things are always bigger in Texas: Texas A & M professor: ‘We may be beginning to see the death spiral…’
Insurance start-up Oscar announced on Tuesday it would partially withdraw from the Texas market, joining veteran health plans Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and Scott and White on the list of companies that recently announced they would abandon the marketplace created by President Obama’s signature health law. The companies said their costs of providing coverage to middle-income Texans have been unsustainable, fueling concerns about a lack of competition and consumer choice within the health insurance market next year.
. . .
“I think what we should be expecting is premiums that are substantially higher, and I think there’s a real risk that other insurers pull out,” said Michael Morrisey, a professor at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. “We may be beginning to see the death spiral of insurance plans in the exchanges.”
Insurance Commissioner: Tennessee Obamacare exchange ‘very near collapse’
“I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse … and that all of our efforts are really focused on making sure we have as many writers in the areas as possible, knowing that might be one. I’m doing everything I can to prevent a situation where that turns to zero,” [Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix] McPeak said to The Tennessean.
Illinois Obamacare rates could soar as state submits insurance premium increases of 43 percent to 55 percent to feds. But at least they can sleep comfortably at night knowing that they voted for it. Obamacare sticker shock hits key Senate races. Somebody must pay! Democrats one hope?
“This may be the first election in a while where Obamacare won’t have a big role, if any, in these Senate races,” said former Harry Reid aide Jim Manley, a director at QGA Public Affairs. Any attacks about Obamacare, he said, are “going to be drowned out by the clown show that’s the Trump campaign.
Health Insurers’ Pullback Threatens to Create Monopolies - Analysis suggests ACA exchanges are likely to offer just one coverage option in 31% of U.S. counties

ObamaCare, we hardly knew 'ya........................from Rico
Remember Nasty Pelosi admonishing America that "we have to pass it [ObamaCare] to see what was in it?"

Remember being told ad nauseum how ObamaCare was going to increase competition and decrease premiums?

For any who have not yet concluded that today's Democrats are not their Grandparent's Democrats, but instead corrupt liars, scoundrels, and crooks, here is a reminder of what 'trusting' today's Democrats does for you:

- ObamaCare has accomplished the polar opposite of what was has decreased competition and increased premiums.

When will Americans get tired of being treated like mugs and played for suckers?

From the mystery men at Zero Hedge:  How Obamacare Destroyed The Middle Class In One Chart

Health care is rapidly eating away all other uses for money.

This bit from yesterday's Washington Post: Health-care exchange sign-ups fall far short of forecasts.
Enrollment in the insurance exchanges for President Obama’s signature health-care law is at less than half the initial forecast, pushing several major insurance companies to stop offering health plans in certain markets because of significant financial losses.

As a result, the administration’s promise of a menu of health-plan choices has been replaced by a grim, though preliminary, forecast: Next year, more than 1 in 4 counties are at risk of having a single insurer on its exchange, said Cynthia Cox, who studies health reform for the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Health insurance so good that they can't even force people to take it. Even Obama's website has quietly dropped its promise that you can Keep Your Doctor. As noted at Shot in the Dark:
 The conspiracy theory that Obamacare was intentionally designed to wreck the system to make single-payer inevitable looks less and less far-fetched every day.
What theory? As Insty notes shouts:
YES, THE PUBLIC OPTION IS A ‘TROJAN HORSE’ TO DESTROY PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE: The “father of the public option” said on video that his plan is to eventually create a single-payer health care system. We should believe him.
And if you only read one of these articles in toto it should be the almost invariable sensible Megan McArdles: Health Care Is a Business, Not a Right
.  . . Anthropologists tell us that there are two different economic systems by which members of groups obtain what they need to live. One kind, market exchange, is the form that we’re all familiar with. You go to the store, you give the clerk money, and you get to take goods away with you. Market exchange is impersonal, explicit, and limited: I know exactly what I’m getting, and once we walk away, we have no further obligations to each other. Market exchange is what modern societies use for most of their economies, but what foragers use for dealing with strangers.

The second form of exchange is "reciprocal altruism," and you’re also familiar with it, though you may never have given it a name. It is a system of mutual obligation: I do a favor for you now, and you do a favor for me at some unspecified point in the future. Reciprocal altruism is not explicit, and it is not limited in the same way that market exchange is. It is what you do in families: your sister comes over to help you clean your house, and at some point in the future, when she asks for help mulching the yard, you’ll have a hard time saying no unless you can point to some other obligation that you’ve already taken on.

Hanson is suggesting that we have a strong intuitive preference for altruistic health care -- for an enormous, practically unlimited amount of altruistic health care -- because health care is a way to demonstrate loyalty and caring to people you love. But the thing about reciprocal altruism is that it's not supposed to be an explicit quid pro quo. That may explain why we like insurance that covers as much as possible and dislike any suggestion that the people who provide our health care are calculating what it will cost them to provide it. Bringing money into an altruistic exchange taints it (as you’ll quickly find if you try offering your spouse cash to get romantic when they say they’re not in the mood).

The issue, in other words, is not necessarily profit -- health insurers are not particularly profitable as industries go, and hospitals and other care organizations are often nonprofit. The issue is making decisions based on money.

Unfortunately, this leaves us with something of a problem. Reciprocal altruism is fine if all you need is for Mom to sit with you and brew you some herbal tea. But in a modern society, you need to procure health care from strangers -- which is to say, through the transactional system of market exchange. Nationalizing the health care system does not fix this fundamental disconnect between our evolved instincts and the inevitable necessities of a modern economy. . .

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Prayers at

“The steady drip, drip, drip about Hillary Clinton’s too-cozy relationships with big-time donors to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state continued unabated this week.” Thus starts a Boston Herald editorial.

“This is the week that the steady drip, drip, drip of details about Hillary Clinton’s server turned into a waterfall,” writes Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel. She continues, “This is the week that we finally learned why Mrs. Clinton used a private communications setup, and what it hid. This is the week, in short, that we found out that the infamous server was designed to hide that Mrs. Clinton for three years served as the U.S. Secretary of the Clinton Foundation.”
I wouldn't have minded if Hillary essentially blew off the job of SecState in favor of the doing her own thing; I'm sure the perennial bureaucracy at State would have continued the work, probably even better than with her at the wheel (it wasn't that high a bar), but the fact that she used it for personal gain is inexcusable.

More: Yes, Clinton foundation donors had direct access to the State Department
In the end, whether these people received any direct favors may prove nearly impossible to establish, but that’s not really the question. It would be a foolish politician indeed who would ever draw up a document saying that if you give millions to their family’s foundation they’ll do you this or that favor using the power of their office. The Clintons may be many things, but they’re not that stupid or they’d never have risen as high as they have. There’s also a standing defense available to them by simply saying that the favorable action was one which they were already considering anyway and they’d have done it with or without some particular meeting or donation.

But when it comes to earning the trust of the American voters, such verbal gymnastics aren’t really where we draw the line. Don’t come around peeing on our legs and then tell us it’s raining. Influence peddling is much like the old Supreme Court definition of pornography when it comes to this discussion. We know it when we see it.
Clinton Global Initiative Moderator Describes Group’s Events As ‘Creepy,’ ‘Disgusting,’ ‘Gross’
Adam Davidson, who hosts a show for NPR and has written for New York Magazine, also said during an appearance on Slate’s “Political Gabfest” podcast, that the Bill and Hillary Clinton-controlled group’s events are “all about buying access.”

And later in the podcast, he said that the Clinton Foundation has made the Clintons “beholden to scumbags.”
And the government is determined to ram her down our throats before the truth comes out: Remainder of Clinton Calendars Will Not Be Released Until After Election.  I wonder what's in them. Watchdogs warn of 'serious' conflicts of interest for Clinton FoundationSeven ways the Clinton Foundation failed to meet its transparency promises:
1. The Clinton Health Access Initiative didn’t disclose its donors annually.
2. The Clinton Health Access Initiative didn’t submit foreign government donations to State Department ethics officials for review.
3. The Clinton Foundation didn’t disclose a new $500,000 donation in 2010 from the Algerian government
4. The Clinton Foundation didn’t disclose $2.35 million of donations from a family foundation linked to a company with business before Clinton's State Department.
5. The Clinton Foundation was late in disclosing millions of dollars in speaking fees.
6. The Clinton Foundation hasn’t revealed all of the sources of money transferred from a Canadian charity.
7. Exact donation amounts and dates are unknown.
Hillary’s worst scandal is that she really thinks she’s clean
Step back from the endless news of Clinton Foundation/Clinton State Department sleaze and Clinton email abuse, and shake your head at this: Hillary Clinton still believes she did absolutely nothing wrong.

That jaw-dropper surfaced in Annie Karni’s report for Politico on the campaign’s damage-control efforts on the candidate’s scandals: Hillary’s minions plan to just “ride out” the clock to Election Day — “a strategy born … of a belief held deeply by Clinton herself that the email controversy is a fake scandal.”
But Hillary Clinton BleachBits her past. Shows knowledge of guilt. Prosecutors want until Sept. 19 to decide whether to retry McDonnell So what does this have to do with Hillary? Simple, the McDonnell prosecution was based on a rather expansive view of quid pro quo which could easily be extended to cover Clinton's work with the Foundation as SecState. Orange is Hillary Clinton’s color. Clinton campaign finds legal loophole to collect big donations. Getting big money out of elections is for suckers, or Republicans. Great news: “Extremely careless” ex-gov’t official arrives to view highly classified intel. What's the worse that could happen, that already hasn't?

After Hillary's speech condemn Trump for being supported by the KKK, KKKK Grand Dragon Endorses Hillary Clinton. Even Grand Dragons can have a sense of humor. Ann Althouse asks Did the Alt-Right play its big day right? How can you know; no one even seems to know who the Alt right are; just more straw men? Sorry, Hillary: Trump’s policies are clearly better for blacks. It's not that high a bar. Clinton faces decision in Trump attack strategy. Trying to find the right lie.

 Hillary’s health: Emails show Clinton obsessed with sleep, “exotic drugs”
Clinton herself says she's "chronically exhausted". Her staff calls her a "champion napper".

And then there's her email about the symptoms of “decision fatigue.” Another about Provigil, a drug “often prescribed to treat excessive sleepiness in patients with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and multiple sclerosis."

That’s just the beginning…
There's nothing quite like rigging the economy to favor your candidate: Barney Frank to Fed: Don’t raise rates before election. If that doesn't work, there's always prayer: For Hillary Clinton and Democrats, a Public Shift Toward ‘God-Talk’.  Hillary slide? Reuters poll shows Trump back within five.

Continued attention the Huma Abedin's links to Muslim extremism: Bill Clinton bombed Saddam to distract from the Monica Lewinsky scandal - what Huma Abedin's Muslim journal claimed about her boss's husband Analysis; probably true. Huma Abedin’s mom linked to shocking anti-women book, But, but but, the Washington Post claims mama Abedin is a moderate Muslim. You know, the kind that wants the extremist Muslims to kill you, instead of having to do it herself. Related: Immigration Expert: U.S. to Resettle Nearly One Million Muslim Migrants Under One Term of Clinton Presidency.

No! Not Fishing Licenses!

The latest government data breach came from (wait for it…) fishing licenses
While it’s painful to admit, incidents of data hacking which expose personal data entrusted to the government are so common these days as to barely merit a headline. There’s been yet another breach this year and it’s not one which is likely to make a big splash in the media unless you happen to be an avid fisherman. In three northwestern states, the issuing of new fishing licenses had to be suspended recently because hackers attempted to access the database of information on anglers. How much – if any – data they obtained is not yet known, but there’s enough information in those files to have consumers worried. (AT&T Live News)
A breach in a vendor’s system that processes online sales of hunting and fishing licenses in Idaho, Oregon and Washington state exposed several million records containing buyers’ personal information, officials said Friday.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FBI are investigating the hack into Dallas-based Active Network, the Washington State Office of Cyber Security said in a statement. Washington halted all sales earlier this week, allowing anglers to fish license-free, while Idaho and Oregon have stopped only online sales…
Active Network, whose event and activity management software is used by tens of thousands of event organizers nationwide, including marathons and other races, said the potential threat was isolated to fishing and hunting licensing systems in the three states.
The data which was potentially exposed might not be as serious for consumers as a credit card or tax database being breached, but it was nothing to sneeze at either. The system included the names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, dates of birth and the last four digits of Social Security numbers of license holders. For any clever identity thieves, that’s a very solid starting point (particularly when combined with other discoveries) to build up a profile and hack into somebody’s accounts. When you consider the inclusion of home addresses tied to real names it’s also a treasure trove for stalkers.
It's not my home state (yet), so I'm not in danger, as far as I know. However, I assume the only reason anyone's "personal data" have not been hacked is that no one is trying. Our's was certainly hacked in the gigantic OPM hack where the federal government was "extremely careless" with the personal data of millions of government workers, or, as in our case, people who had a peripheral relationship with the government.

Midnite Music - "Heart of Glass"

No, not Blondie's original version of Deborah Harry's punk/new wave standard, but rather this Hollywood vamp version by PMJ and Addie Hamilton:

Wombat-socho has the  "Rule Five Sunday: Labor Day Weekend Edition" up and running at The Other McCain.

Addie Hamilton:

Saturday, August 27, 2016

We're Back

We had Trevor's "August" trip on the Bay today with Walleye Pete. There were six of us, Trevor, Tom, Major Ski (at least, I think he's still a major), Kenny, Scott (Kenny's dad the babe magnet) and myself, due to a slight miscommunication between myself and Trevor.

Sunrise over the Eastern Shore.
The plan for today was to cruise the channel edge of the eastern shore looking for birds with breaking fish under them, hopefully Striped Bass, Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel and maybe even Red Drum.  We found a few stripers and blues early as we cruised up as far as the mouth of the Little Choptank River.
After a long fish drought in late morning we found ourselves well south of the Patuxent, and finally started getting more action, under scattered birds and around big structures. We eventually managed a limit of legal (20+ inch) stripers, and enough blues to feed the smokers, as well as a few oddities, like the baby Summer Flounder Major Ski jigged up. . .

This Northern Puffer that I foul hooked.
And this legal Weakfish (a sea trout) that Kenny caught. Trevor actually caught 2 more, just under the legal size of 14 inches. Good to see them. It's been a few years since they were numerous.
We wandered back into Solomons about 3:30. A busy weekend day at the fuel dock

Rule 5 Saturday - No Kok Jokes, Please - Roosmarijn de Kok

This week's Rule 5 star is Roosmarijn de Kok, one of the younger new models on the move, getting ready to star in this years SI Swimsuit edition. Other than that, she is relatively scarce on the internet, except for the usual Instagram, Facebook, and her modelling agencies site.
Kind of a skinny young thing, a couple of years ago, at the age of 19 she was accused of stealing chocolate bars.
Roosmarijn de Kok was stopped as she left Whole Foods in Tribeca, Manhattan, on July 18 with three chocolates and bottle of fish oil in her bag which she had not paid for. She was arrested after a store detective spotted the alleged shoplifting incident and grabbed her before she left.
. . .
Her lawyer, Sal Strazzullo, said de Kok forgot she had the chocolates in her bag after buying fat-free yogurt and protein bars from the health food shop.
. . .
Prosecutors offered de Kok an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD), meaning the charges would be dropped if the beauty queen stays out of trouble for a period of time.
She looks like she could use them. Hell, I'd buy her a couple.

This week's 256th Issue of  GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE is hosted by Patricia Velasquez. Not by the Russian hackers! Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links.  Wombat-socho snuck in late with "Rule 5 Sunday: Viva Los Lobos!" and "FMJRA 2.0: Day Late & A Dollar Short."

Gone Fishing . . .

But Not Like This:

Hopefully have some stories and pictures later.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Is the Bay Breaking Bad?

Aquatic life is high on amphetamines leaking into Baltimore waterways. OK this headline is highly misleading; there's really no suggestion that any organisms got "high" on drugs.
The level of amphetamines leaking into the waterways of Baltimore, Maryland, is so high that it's affecting aquatic life, scientists have discovered. Moss, bacteria and insects are being negatively impacted by the chemical, according to researchers.
I don't know about moss and bacteria, but heaven help us if our mosquitoes  become meth addicts!
The drug residue was discovered by scientists from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies who tested streams in and around Baltimore. Levels were highest in urban areas.
What, drugs in Baltimore? I'm shocked, shocked!
When the scientists replicated the levels in the lab in a recreated ecosystem, they discovered the chemicals created significant impacts, according to their study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Biofilm – the slippery mix of bacteria and algae that grows in thin layers on stream bottoms – was suppressed after exposure to the drugs. Bacterial life was altered, and bugs that lived in the water developed more quickly.
Wow, meth suppressed scum in the water; the exact opposite of what it does on land. What do you want to bet that the levels that suppressed the biofilm was orders of magnitude higher than that found in the actual streams? That's the way I'd do the experiment the first time.
The concern is that the plants and bugs are the base of the aquatic food chain and could in turn be causing even more worrying effects in fish, frogs and birds farther up the food chain.

Contaminants in streams could also reach groundwater wells and affect reservoirs providing drinking water.
 Why worry about fracking when you can worry about meth instead?

Besides amphetamine contamination, scientists also found caffeine, antihistamine, acetaminophen and morphine in the waterways.
Pretty much anything that goes down a sewer, for some reason.