Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 In Review

It seems like everyone is calling 2016 the worst year ever, for various reasons, so I'd like to present my view.

Starting at the beginning, at the end of the year previous, on Halloween day, we broke down and adopted a new dog. Suspiciously similar to our last one, Skye, she was a Siberian Husky, of the black and white "felty" furred variety, also named Skye. The only physical difference is two blue eyes instead of one, and about 5 lbs greater in size and strength. In personality, she has similarities, friendly with both people and other dogs, a stubborn streak, a desire to walk and run, but some major differences. She is much "mouthier" barking to get things, like food, walks, and attention both from people and dogs. She is a runner and can't be left off the leash in an unfenced area, most particularly the beach. As dogs will, she has made a big change in our life. Leaving the house is sometimes problematic; you have to plan more. But most of all, she demands (and I do mean demands) a big exercise event each day, either a long walk, or a visit to the dog park. Our choice. One result is that I have unexpectedly lost about 10 lbs this years, despite no better attention to my diet.

For 65, I think I'm in reasonable health. Sure, I have some achy joints, but nothing life altering. I can walk, fish, garden, and get out as much as I would like. Between gym exercise 3 days a week, and walking Skye, I'm probably as strong and fit as I have ever been, but that's never been an especially high bar. My eyes continue to be a problem; the "leaky" left eye (vitreous hemorrhage) remains unsettled. I think it still leaks a little once in a while; I see more little spots that are the shadows of blood cells on the retina, but nothing like the torrent from earlier in the year. The retina Dr. thinks I'm wrong, but can't find a source. The other eye is now ready, as defined by insurance, for cataract surgery, but I just got new glasses to keep that at bay a little longer. Maybe another year, maybe not.

Georgia continues her long battle with what can only be described as chronic fatigue syndrome, only because nothing striking can be found physically. There have been a lot of hints, many conflicting, but little actual progress. She still tires early in the day, but can't sleep. Many treatments have been tried, but none have produce more than a hint of success. We keep hoping to find the magic bullet, but it continues to elude us. It's extremely frustrating.

Of course, there's the family story. Our first grandson, Graham Robert, was born to our son Alex his wife Kelly on Jan. 24, 2016. We've been able to see him several times, but not as often we'd like. We hear he started walking a few hours after we left on our last visit. We should see him again on his birthday later in Jan.

2016 will also be memorable as the year my mother, Mary Elizabeth passed on. But first, the whole family, my parents, my brothers and their while families, and both my sons and their families, got together for a family reunion. There was never one as complete before, and cannot be again.

It was less than a month afterwards that mother suffered a fall, a blood clot, and the decline which lead to her death. We had to travel back to California to help with the arrangements. Father, almost as old, continues on without her, still living in their house in Murphys with the help of my brother Ted and his family, and a housekeeper.

Alex and Kelly seem to be doing well in their work; Alex at his studio/music store. U Rock Music Center in McMurry, PA, and Kelly at her corporate job.

The year is also also notable for the late return of our prodigal (for more reasons than one) son, Corwin, who asked if he could come home from his years of wandering in the wilderness this Christmas. We said yes, and picked him up from the bus station just before Christmas, even though we were fresh out of fatted calf. He is home now, and working at job and trying to put his life back together again. We're holding our breathes.

So, did you hear there was an election in the United States this year?  A Republican with a libertarian streak, my preferred candidates did not win the nomination. Well, with 14 candidates, it was unlikely all along. I was not pro-Trump, but I was never never-Trump. At least now Hillary will never be President. For better or worst, next year should be interesting politically.

And I hear a few celebrities died. Well, that's the way it goes. Celebrities are just people. They may be better known than the rest of us, but for the most part they are not better people, do not have better lives or live healthier lives. They arise from the populace slowly, by dint of newsworthy activities in music, politics, entertainment or sports, like trees growing in the forest. They are only notable in when they fall, and only because there are people there to hear and pay attention. A new crop is growing all the time.

Free Enterprise Finds the Answer to the Silver Carp Problem

Sell them back to the Chinese, where they came from: Floating factory vessel to process Invasive Asian Carp in Tennessee
Leaping from rivers and lakes like aquatic projectiles and ravaging the food base of native fish, Asian carp are loathed by outdoors enthusiasts and state wildlife officials alike for being not just a nuisance, but a threat to boating and fishing industries worth $2.9 billion and $2.1 billion, respectively, in Tennessee. Enter Joe Gillas. He sees the invasive fish as an opportunity. Gillas’ company, Riverine Fisheries International, plans to moor a factory fishing vessel at the Port of Cates Landing, located on the Mississippi River near Tiptonville, Tennessee, about 100 miles north of Memphis. The nearly 350-foot-long boat would process Asian carp caught in the Mississippi and other rivers and lakes into food products to be exported to some 20 countries, including China and Russia. “I think there’s a good business model here,” said Gillas, 53, who was born and raised in Alaska and has fished all over the world. “I think we can do something good and make money at the same time.” Read the story here 08:35
Imported and invasive carp have threatened havoc in ecosystems across the country, and provided fodder of numerous funny fishing videos.  I expect if this fishery is a success, the government will come in and regulate the crap out of it to prevent it from depleting the numbers of the carp.

EPA to Poor Alaskans: "Freeze in the Dark"

EPA To Alaskans In Sub-Zero Temps: Stop Burning Wood To Keep Warm
In Jack London’s famous short story, “To Build A Fire,” a man freezes to death because he underestimates the cold in America’s far north and cannot build a proper fire. The unnamed man—a chechaquo, what Alaska natives call newcomers—is accompanied by a wolf-dog that knows the danger of the cold and is wholly indifferent to the fate of the man. “This man did not know cold. Possibly, all the generations of his ancestry had been ignorant of cold, of real cold, of cold 107 degrees below freezing point. But the dog knew; all its ancestry knew, and it had inherited the knowledge.”

If only the bureaucrats in Washington DC knew what the wolf-dog knew. But alas, now comes the federal government to tell the inhabitants of Alaska’s interior that, really, they should not be building fires to keep themselves warm during the winter. The New York Times reports the Environmental Protection Agency could soon declare the Alaskan cities of Fairbanks and North Pole, which have a combined population of about 100,000, in “serious” noncompliance of the Clean Air Act early next year.

Like most people in Alaska, the residents of those frozen cities are burning wood to keep themselves warm this winter. Smoke from wood-burning stoves increases small-particle pollution, which settles in low-lying areas and can be breathed in. The EPA thinks this is a big problem. Eight years ago, the agency ruled that wide swaths of the most densely populated parts of the region were in “non-attainment” of federal air quality standards.

That prompted state and local authorities to look for ways to cut down on pollution from wood-burning stoves, including the possibility of fining residents who burn wood. After all, a declaration of noncompliance from the EPA would have enormous economic implications for the region, like the loss of federal transportation funding.

The problem is, there’s no replacement for wood-burning stoves in Alaska’s interior. Heating oil is too expensive for a lot of people, and natural gas isn’t available. So they’ve got to burn something. The average low temperature in Fairbanks in December is 13 degrees below zero. In January, it’s 17 below. During the coldest days of winter, the high temperature averages -2 degrees, and it can get as cold as -60. This is not a place where you play games with the cold. If you don’t keep the fire lit, you die. For people of modest means, and especially for the poor, that means you burn wood in a stove—and you keep that fire lit around the clock.
. . .
Of the earnest bureaucrats at the EPA fretting over the smoke from Alaskans’ wood stoves in the dead of winter, we might say something similar: they understand facts but not the significance of them. Burning wood when it’s -20 degrees outside will indeed cause the smoke to descend, and breathing such air is admittedly not very healthy. What the EPA doesn’t accept, or even grasp, is man’s place in the universe: in the face of Alaska’s deadly cold interior, there’s only so much we can do. So we build a fire.
EPA Delenda Est. Hopefully Donald Trump can begin the process. One way to get the message across to the EPA bureaucrats would be to prohibit heating or air conditioning for human comfort in EPA buildings across the country, on the grounds that it contributes to life threatening "carbon" pollution and global warming. That ought to spur some indignant sputters.

Rule 5 Saturday - Another Brazilian - Sophia Resing

This week's Rule 5 extravaganza features Sophia Resing, one of the rookies at SI Swimsuit this year.
Sofia Resing is a Brazilian model. She was born on September 25, 1991. . . Resing was born in Porto Alegre in Brazil, but later came to New York to live. She is currently living in New York. Resing was in Brazil during the 2016 Rio Olympics and worked as a sideline reporter to cover the women’s beach volleyball events. 
She would dramatically improve the appearance of Brazil's Beach Volleyball teams, IIRC.

Resing was actually discovered by accident. She was at a Halloween party in New York dressed like the Green Hornet, when her potential as a model was seen. From then on her career as a model started. She started as a runway model in 2013 for designers like Tracy Reese and Sally LaPointe. Resing has also been a model for L’Oreal cosmetics. In 2016, she made her debut as a swimsuit model in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. She was named in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s 2016 Rookie Reveal.
I'd like to see her in that Green Hornet outfit. She's from Brazil, so you know what that means (NSFW links)
This week GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE (274th Issue) closes out this horrendous year with a tremendous meta blog post, with old friends, as Tara Reid's notorious boobs lead some spurious Arctic climate change reporting. Wombat-socho at The Other McCain steps up with "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!" and "FMJRA 2.0: Grand Finale." Linked at Pirate's Cove in "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup – Happy 2017 Edition."

Friday, December 30, 2016

Farmer Mounts Chicken Shit Defense

From the Chesapeake Bay newsfeed, a chicken farmer promotes his second product, chicken manure: It’s not poultry waste – it’s organic fertilizer
I would like to set the record straight on the value of poultry litter as organic fertilizer.

Poultry litter is a mixture of chicken manure and wood shavings. The wood shavings are the bedding used in poultry houses. Chicken manure, which has very little moisture, mixes with the shavings. It produces a dry product that is easily handled and very stackable.

Contrary to many assumptions, poultry litter is low in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, but high in organic matter. It carries a nutrient value of 4 percent nitrogen, 3 percent phosphorus, 3 percent potassium and 90 percent organic matter. It is considered one of mother nature’s perfect fertilizers.

The organic matter improves the soil’s water-holding capacity, as well as soil health. Poultry litter is one of the only sources of fertilizer for organic growers on the Eastern Shore and in most of Maryland.

Contrary to what is being taught, there is not an excess of poultry litter in Maryland. There is actually a shortage of organic fertilizer. When anti-poultry advocates say elevated phosphorus levels in soils near poultry houses proves there are too many chickens in the state, they are wrong. The fact is scientific researchers advised farmers for many years to build up phosphorus in the soil.

In recent years, scientists have determined there is a saturation point, after which no more phosphorus can be held by the soil.

In response to the scientific findings, Maryland’s Nutrient Management Plan was modified to require phosphorus be regulated and limited in 2006. In 2015, additional limitations were added through the Phosphorus Management Tool. This tool uses the soil P levels, topography and the closeness to water resources to determine where P must be limited — or in some cases banned altogether.

According to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, 312,393 tons of chicken litter are collected from Maryland poultry farms annually. Based on nutrient management regulatory calculations, we would need 156,196 acres of cropland to spread the litter produced each year. There are 469,767 acres on the Eastern Shore that are low in phosphorus and litter eligible.

Thus, there is three times the needed amount of land just on the Eastern Shore to properly use all the litter produced in Maryland.

Because of its organic value, poultry litter is a commodity poultry farmers can sell or barter. Poultry growers also often use the litter as fertilizer on their own crop operations for a significantly lower cost, and less carbon footprint, than transporting commercial fertilizer.

So what does this mean? If the legislature passed law that required poultry companies to take all the litter from farmers, it would only make the company richer. The companies would have a valuable commodity to sell to the highest bidder.
Quite a credible defense.

Post Christmas Obamacare Schadenfreude

The year is winding down, and soon a new Congress and a new President will take up the issue of what to do about Obamacare.

By way of Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 12.28.16", the usually sensible Megan McArdle admits, somewhat belatedly, that Obamacare as a failure, after all: Obamacare Didn’t Fail Because It’s Timid
Kevin Drum of Mother Jones thinks that making Obamacare work could have been a simple task for Democrats. All they needed was two things:

  • About twice as much funding, and
  • A higher tax penalty for not buying insurance.

More funding would have allowed them to offer higher subsidies to people with incomes above 200 percent of the poverty line, plus lower deductibles, while a mandate equal to the cost of an insurance policy would have left people with little choice other than to buy insurance. Since the people who forgo insurance today tend to be the folks who use little health care, this would have lowered the average cost of insurance for everyone.

Why didn’t they do this? Kevin blames timidity -- “Democrats were fixated on Obamacare costing under $1 trillion” -- and a “hack gap”:
If this were a Republican plan, and it were something they really wanted, they wouldn’t have bothered with funding. They would have just made up a story about medical inflation coming down (which it is) and broader health coverage leading to improved economic growth blah blah blah. Democrats weren’t willing to do that.
Judging from my interactions with readers and my friends and family who don’t happen to spend their days marinating in health-care policy, the view that Obamacare’s problems are due to Democrats not being sufficiently left-wing, or dishonest, is pretty common on the left. That makes it worth refuting, because -- with all due respect to Kevin -- it’s completely wrong. . .
Read the whole thing to find out why.

Meanwhile, in the real world: Another Obamacare Co-Op Exits Exchanges, Leaving Only 5 Co-Ops in 2017. Because it was so well planned.

Republicans prime the ground for Obamacare repeal
Republicans are trying to prime the ground for Obamacare repeal with a key message: The law was failing anyway.
. . .
"This law is hurting families in America," Ryan said before Congress left Washington for the holidays.

"This law is canceling insurance plans people wanted, this law is giving people repeated double-digit premium increases, this law is raising deductibles so high it doesn't even feel like you have insurance," he said. "So you have to bring Obamacare relief as fast as we possibly can in 2017, and that is our plan."
. . .
"Once Obamacare is repealed, we will make sure there is a stable transition period so that people don't have the rug pulled out from under them," Ryan's office said this week in a statement, one in a series of Obamacare-themed releases this month.
Making Good on the Promise to Repeal Obamacare
. . . Obamacare is the newest of our Big Government entitlements. It’s been completely operational for three years. So if Republicans can’t repeal this latest addition to the welfare state, then they ought to throw in the towel and go over to the Dark Side. Even though premiums and deductibles are soaring and the only people who like Obamacare are the ones not paying for it, Democrats say it would be heartless to take it away from folks. But we don’t have the money. . . 
GOP considers holding off on repealing ObamaCare taxes Repealing taxes is nearly as difficult as repealing an entitlement.

The NYT notices: Health Exchange Enrollment Jumps, Even as G.O.P. Pledges Repeal Yes, that's why they call it a mandate; something you have to do or pay a price. Obama to huddle with Hill Democrats on saving Obamacare He's not even gone yet, and he's already the worst ex-President ever.

Seal Dies in Bay Kayak Incident

Sailor who died after kayaking incident identified as Navy SEAL
Petty Officer First Class Devon Grube was assigned to an East coast-based Naval Special Warfare Command, the Navy says.

The Coast Guard says they were notified around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday that a kayak had overturned and a search was launched to look for Grube.

Authorities say the kayak overturned approximately two miles offshore.

The Coast Guard says Grube he was in the water for two hours wearing a lifejacket before he was rescued around 11 a.m.

The water temperature was 45 degrees.

Grube was transported to Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital on the Eastern Shore where he later succumbed to his injuries.

On Thursday the Grube family released a statement:
"The Grube family would like to extend their gratitude to the community for their interest in our beloved Devon. Thank you to those who showed up to look for him. He was a devoted father, a true professional and a wonderful husband."
A YouCaring crowdfunding account has been set up to show love and support for Devon and to give the Grube family a savings account with USAA.
Cold water is relentless and unforgiving, and it doesn't care about how well you can swim. Sometimes all the life jacket is for is body recovery.

Be careful out there.

Ariana Grande Objects to "Objectification"

Ariana Grande, the Objectification of Women, and Our Culture
Apparently we need a national conversation on the objectification of women, spurred by a fan’s interaction with pop star Ariana Grande.

In Grande’s account, she was out with her boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, picking up food from a restaurant when an enthusiastic “young boy” told Miller, “Ariana is sexy as hell, man, I see you hitting that!”

Now, that’s rude. Gentlemen ought to be gentlemen, at any age. And no, the fact that Grande dresses in skimpy or revealing outfits in her performances does not give any male fan carte blanche to say or do whatever he likes without consequence. How you choose to treat people doesn’t make a statement about them and their standards; it’s about you and your standards.

But let’s add two other notes: Grande said “it hurts my heart that so many young people are so comfortable enough using these phrases and objectifying women with such ease.”

Indeed, but many of us on the Right feel like we’ve been making this argument about a coarse, vulgar public discourse for years and we’ve been dismissed as old-fashioned prudes. You can’t have people marinating in a culture that moved from Hugh Hefner to George Carlin to Madonna to Andrew Dice Clay to Howard Stern to Bill Maher to Marilyn Manson to twerking to rappers walking around with women on leashes and then be surprised that people say vulgar, sexual things on the street. (Fun question: How would the American society of a generation or two generations ago greeted Donald Trump’s more vulgar comments and moments? Would they have deemed it disqualifying for a president?) If you have a culture that is extremely open about sexual topics, you’re going to have people expressing thoughts about sex in ways that offend other people – i.e., “I see you hitting that.”
 A little juvenile looking for my taste.

Grande points out that she is in a relationship with “a man who treats me with love and respect.” Wonderful! But if she’s wondering why one of Mac Miller’s fans might have thought it was acceptable to objectify her, she may want to peruse the lyrics to his “Break the Law” or “God Is Fair, Sexy Nasty.” They’re way too explicit to print in NR. The first words of the latter are “Open your legs,” and I think you can get the idea from there.

Grande adds that she’s “felt really quiet and hurt since that moment.” She is 23 and has a net worth estimated to be around $25 million. Movies, television, music, concerts – the world is her oyster right now. It seems a little odd that one crass comment from one “young boy” is being treated as this major event that requires a national conversation about the objectification of women. If you become a celebrity, you accept the risk of running into an uncouth fan.
My objection to the concept of "objectification" is that it denormalizes one of the most normal aspects of human attraction."

So, here is a list of eight truths about males and sexual objectification for those who have a degree in any of the “social sciences.”
1. It is completely normal for heterosexual men to see women to whom they are sexually attracted as sex objects.

2. That such sexual objectification is normal and has nothing to do with misogyny is proved by, among other things, the fact that homosexual men see men to whom they are sexually attracted as sex objects. If heterosexual men are misogynists, homosexual men are man-haters.

3. One reason for this is the almost unique power of the visual to sexually arouse men. Men are aroused just by glancing at a female arm, ankle, calf, thigh, stomach — even without ever seeing the woman’s face. Those legs, calves, arms, etc. are sexual objects. That’s why there are innumerable websites featuring them. There is nothing analogous for women. Of course, a woman can be aroused seeing a particularly handsome and masculine man. But there are no websites for women to stare at men’s legs or other male body parts.

4. Every normal heterosexual man who sees a woman as a sexual object can also completely respect her mind, her character, and everything else non-sexual about her. Men do this all the time.

5. Most heterosexual women also see sexy women as sex objects — and they are hardly misogynists. Ask your wife or girlfriend which would turn her on more: watching a male strip show in front of a female audience or a female strip show in front of a male audience.

6. Lucky is the couple in which the man can sexually objectify his partner. The longer a husband can at least occasionally regard his wife as a sex object, the better their marriage. It is not always easy to perceive the woman you see every day, the mother of your children, as a sexual object.

7. The whole purpose of lingerie and other sexual attire is to render the woman a sex object in her partner’s eyes. Are all the women who wear lingerie, bikinis, cheerleader outfits, or whatever else turns their partner on — and hopefully them as well, one might add — haters of women?

8. If your husband denies these assertions, he is lying to you because he is afraid you will react angrily or because he is afraid of hurting your feelings. He may also be lying to himself — after all, he, too, may have gone to college or reads liberal opinion pieces on misogyny, and he wants to be an “enlightened” male.
Now tell me she doesn't want to look attractive. It's just reflexive feminism.

Now read Stacy's "Bitches and Hoes and Feminism". Wombat-socho at The Other McCain steps up with "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!" and "FMJRA 2.0: Grand Finale." Linked above the line at Pirate's Cove in "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup – Happy 2017 Edition."

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Trickle Down Conservation

CBF gets $1.1M to help livestock farmers with conservation
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its partners received a $1.1 million award to help livestock farmers in Maryland carry out conservation practices like raising animals on pasture rather than in confined areas.

The money, a Regional Conservation Partnership Program award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will support about 20 livestock farmers convert cropland to pasture, the USDA said.
So the program is aimed at converting CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations) into pasture raising operations? I question the efficiency, as the same number of animals will eat the same amount of forage or more if left in the field. And $1.1 million between 20 farmers is roughly $50 thousand each. I wonder how many farmers will be find that attractive.
"Putting livestock back on pasture, as farmers did for generations, is one of the best means for restoring both farm profits and clean water," Chesapeake Bay Foundation Executive Director Alison Prost said in a statement. "Pasture-raised animals are generally healthier, input costs are lower, and farmers are often paid a premium for selling 'grass-fed' products."
Yes, and I have occasionally even noticed a change in quality. And even more occasionally, a change for the better. YMMV.
Converting cropland to pasture also results in less potential runoff of fertilizer and manure from farms into local streams, Prost said. 
However, in most cases, CBF and it's allies tend to oppose all agricultural land uses as pollution sources.
The projects will target counties within the Upper Potomac watershed, which represent the highest number or concentration of dairy livestock operations in Maryland, the USDA said.
Will this be a typical bait and switch operation, where the money goes to CBF, who spends it on "education" or will this money actually be used to offset the "costs" of converting cropland to pasture. And how much overhead will CBF extract along to way to support its operations. 10%, 20%, 30%?

Surfing into Thursday

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain steps up with "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!" Linked at Pirate's Cove in "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup – Happy 2017 Edition."

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

And Yet Another Baltimore Fish Kill

About 6,000 fish were found to have died in eastern Baltimore County waterways, according to a Maryland Department of the Environment investigation.

Preliminary results point to algae-created toxins as the likely cause of the fish kill, which was discovered last week after dead fish were first seen in rivers that include the Gunpowder and Bird, said MDE spokesperson Jay Apperson Monday evening.

The kill has affected at least nine species: yellow perch, largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, carp, black crappie, gizzard shad, spottail shiner and channel catfish.
. . .
The investigation has not shown any signs of pollution as a potential cause, suggesting instead that the kill is due to toxins produced by algae, he said.

"Monitoring has shown elevated cell counts of Karlodinium venifecum algae in the Gunpowder River," Apperson said. "We are awaiting results of laboratory tests for algae toxins and of fish tissue. The investigation is ongoing."
It's a little disingenuous to clear pollution of the blame, and then turn around and say that it was caused by an algae bloom. Toxic algae blooms, are generally acknowledged as being fueled by excess nutrients; in this case from the Baltimore area. If a similar bloom were to occur in a rural tributary with substantial chicken farming and crop land, I doubt if MDE would fail to point out the role of agriculture in exacerbating the problem.

To The Stars, Alice!

Scientists in China claim they’ve created a working prototype of the ‘impossible’ reactionless engine – and they say they’re already testing it in orbit aboard the Tiangong-2 space laboratory.

The radical, fuel-free EmDrive recently stirred up controversy after a paper published by a team of NASA researchers appeared to show they’d successfully built the technology.

If the physics-defying concept is brought to reality, it’s said the engine could get humans to Mars in just 10 weeks.

But now, scientists with the China Academy of Space Technology claim NASA’s results ‘re-confirm’ what they’d already achieved, and have plans to implement it in satellites ‘as quickly as possible.’

It's kind of a shame that NASA has been converted from an agency that actually researches space-flight into one the promotes Muslim outreach into STEM and proselytizes reverting to a 19th century life style to halt "climate change", but that's where we are. Maybe The Donald will be able to change that; maybe not

Meanwhile, the Chinese are getting ready to go to the stars. Maybe those stories about Ming the Merciless, Princes Aura, and the hapless Flash Gordon will turn out to have some relevance after all.

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain steps up with "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!"

How About Some Paint for Wednesday?

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain steps up with "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!"

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

RIP: Princess Leia

Aka, Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher, the actress best known as Star Wars‘ Princess Leia Organa, has died after suffering a heart attack. She was 60.

Family spokesman Simon Halls released a statement to PEOPLE on behalf of Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd:

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” reads the statement.

“She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly,” says Lourd, 24. “Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”

Fisher was flying from London to Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 23, when she went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics removed her from the flight and rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for a heart attack. She later died in the hospital.

The daughter of renowned entertainers Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Fisher was brought up in the sometimes tumultuous world of film, theater and television.
Too young.

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain steps up with "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!" and "FMJRA 2.0: Grand Finale."

I Went Speckled Trout Fishing Today

But all those pesky little Striped Bass kept grabbing my lure instead:

However, Ron caught this nice 21 inch Speck:

It was a really remarkable day for Dec.,  with the high temperature reaching 62 F. A stiff 20kt WSW breeze dropped to nothing when we went out.

¡ Cómo el Grinch robó la Navidad !

Socialism continues to work it's usual magic in Venezuela as The Dictator Who Stole Christmas
Stealing Christmas is not easy. It takes practice, and the Venezuelan government has gotten good at it.

This time around the task was in the hands of a sad little man called William Contreras, superintendent of the Venezuelan price control authority (Sundde for its acronym in Spanish). As a staggering 784.5 percent annual inflation was eating away at Venezuelan salaries, Mr. Contreras led a government-enforced Black Friday, where store owners were ordered to reduce prices (by 30-50 percent) under the threat of being sent to jail if they didn’t.

This sort of December crackdown on businesses has become customary since a few years ago when President Nicolás Maduro ordered appliance chain stores to lower their prices so Venezuelans could shop at discounts which, of course, don’t answer to inflation and other economic nuisances. The measure obviously drove more than one business owner into bankruptcy.

But the breaking point of this year’s measure, the moment of the big, bad, beautiful headline would be December 10, when Mr. Contreras and a band of National Guards seized 3.8 million toys from the Kreisel toy distributing company. A family-run business that has been selling toys in Venezuela for well over 20 years. Contreras’s toy police confiscated dolls, board games, robots and the like, now to be distributed and sold at “fair prices” by the government distribution network “Clap.”
Which means they probably won't be around next year to steal the toys from. But that's OK, because the way it's going, there may be a lack of children to give toys to in the next few years because Venezuelan women’s response to the country’s economic crisis is to Get sterilized
In crisis-hit Venezuela, where raising a family is an increasingly grueling and expensive task, a growing number of young women are choosing to be sterilized.

With inflation spiraling out of control, food and medicine supplies dwindling and violent crimes on the rise, women as young as 27 are seeking out surgeons to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

A study by PLAFAM, the biggest family planning clinic in the country, estimates that about 23 percent more Venezuelan women are being sterilized today as compared to four years ago, said the clinic’s director, Enrique Abache. “The financial crisis is one of the main causes for this,” he explained.
My guess is, that unlike in "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas", the situation in Venezuela will not end happily ever after.

Mrs. Stephanopoulos!

Mrs. Stephanopoulos Flashes Breasts on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Wentworth appeared with Kimmel to promote her new book “Happily Ali After” and said she decided to flash the audience after she saw Miley Cyrus do the same in the previous segment. Stephanopoulos’ wife described how she and Cyrus “just bumped into each other” and they both exposed their breasts.

Wentworth then joked “I cannot wait until George Stephanopoulos sees this on “Pop News” tomorrow morning on GMA tomorrow morning” but claimed she had done “far worse” than exposing her breasts on national television.

Rather than discuss her husband’s recent conflict of interest regarding donations he made to the Clinton Foundation, Stephanopoulos’ ABC colleague spent the entire segment promoting Wentworth’s book.

Kimmel’s friendly interview with Wentworth comes on the heels of the more than six minutes Good Morning America devoted to shilling Mrs. Stephanopoulos’ book back in June. Prior to her GMA interview, Stephanopoulos canceled interviews promoting her book at the same time details about her husband’s Clinton Foundation donations came to light.
Well, now that Hillary has lost the election, and will never become president, Ali's boobs are a lot more interesting than anything George has to say.

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain steps up with "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!"

Monday, December 26, 2016

Liberals Suddenly Rediscover Freedom of Association

In Wake of Trump, Democrats Suddenly Discover Freedom of Association
Thursday, Madison Square Garden Company boss James Dolan announced that the Radio City Rockettes had to perform at the Trump inauguration. And the Rockettes went off their rockers. One Rockette wrote:
I usually don’t use social media to make a political stand but I feel overwhelmed with emotion. Finding out that it has been decided for us that Rockettes will be performing at the Presidential inauguration makes me feel embarrassed and disappointed. The women I work with are intelligent and are full of love and the decision of performing for a man that stands for everything we’re against is appalling. I am speaking for just myself but please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts. We will not be forced! #notmypresident
George Takei, an ardent Trump opponent, tweeted in their support. . .

Meanwhile, Anthony Bourdain has announced that he won’t eat at any restaurant hosted at Trump Tower; fashion icon Andre Leon Talley has said he won’t dress Melania anymore; artists whose products hang in Ivanka Trump’s apartment have asked her to remove their art.

Well, well.

Suddenly, it seems, the left has discovered freedom of association. After years of telling religious people that they had a moral and legal obligation to throw out their religion and serve same-sex weddings, provide contraception, and fund abortion, the left now realizes that the ability to pick and choose those to whom you give your services is actually rather vital.

Don’t expect it to last.
More to the point, don't expect them to adopt a consistent position on this. If it weren't for double standards, they would have none at all.

Also Heed @KurtSchlichter–The Godless Commies Hate You"Sorry, But Our Fight Against Liberal Fascism Has Only Just Begun"
I wish I could tell you that, having dodged the naggy bullet that was Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit, we can now spend the next four years being left alone. But that’s not in the cards. Liberals won’t – because they can’t – pause to reflect on how they should stop being such insufferable jerks and live with us normals in peace and mutual respect. Instead, they are doubling down on their gambit for unrestrained power over every aspect of our lives, fueled by a hatred for Donald Trump that is, in reality, a hatred for us.

Remember, they really do hate us. Just ask them.

Just watch what they do. They will always side against us – even when a professional scammer stages a fake “hate crime” on an airplane. They will side with the hoaxer even though every single “Trump-inspired hate crime” – and almost all others – turns out to be a hoax. Every. Single. One.
. . .
We must keep fighting. We must never give an inch, never back down, never give up. We must respond to every attack upon us, large or small, with overwhelming firepower. But defense is not enough – we must go on offense, seize the initiative, and aggressively destroy anything that will aid liberals in their long-term goal of rendering us silenced and subservient.

The Democratic Party? Smash it.

The mainstream media? Crush it.

Academia? Nuke it ‘til it glows, preferably from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
. . .
Oh, and some spazz starts shrieking at you and your kids? Use appropriate force within the bounds of the self-defense laws in your state, of course, to protect yourself and your family.

Remember: Liberals are fearful because they know the kind of oppression they absolutely intended to inflict upon us if they had won, and they worry that we will do to them what they wanted to do to us. Well, I say let’s make their fears come true by demolishing their cultural edifice of hate and tyranny. Let them rule over the smoldering ruins of their dreams of power.
As Stacy says "You can’t stand the watch 24/7. But you do need to devote a random percentage of your time and effort to defending our values in some way."

California Man Charged with DUI for Caffeine

After being pulled over on 5 August 2015, Schwab was charged by the Solano County district attorney with misdemeanor driving under the influence of a drug.

Almost 18 months later, Schwab is preparing to go to trial. The only evidence the DA has provided of his intoxication is a blood test showing the presence of caffeine.

Shcwab was driving home from work when he was pulled over by an agent from the California department of alcoholic beverage control, who was driving an unmarked vehicle. The agent said Schwab had cut her off and was driving erratically.

The 36-year-old union glazier was given a breathalyzer test which showed a 0.00% blood alcohol level, his attorney said. He was booked into county jail and had his blood drawn, but the resulting toxicology report came back negative for benzodiazepines, cocaine, opiates, THC, carisoprodol (a muscle relaxant), methamphetamine/MDMA, oxycodone, and zolpidem.
So, if you can't charge him the DUI, just charge the reckless driving. Shouldn't that be sufficient? Apparently not.
The sample was screened a second time by a laboratory in Pennsylvania, according to documents provided to the Guardian, where the sole positive result was for caffeine – a substance likely coursing through the veins of many drivers on the road at any given time.
 Amen, if it's a crime, I committed it already today.
 Barrett has filed a motion for the case to be dismissed because the charges were not brought until June 2016 – nearly 10 months after incident. If that motion is denied, Schwab will take his case to a jury on 11 January.

Sharon Henry, chief deputy district attorney for Solano County, said in a statement that her office was “conducting further investigation in this matter”.

“The charge of driving under the influence is not based upon the presence of caffeine in his system,” she added.

Barrett counters that if the prosecution has evidence of a different drug in her client’s system, it should have to provided that to her, based on the rules governing criminal proceedings.
This has the smell of a personal vendetta.

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain steps up with "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!"

Happy Boxing Day!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

It's Not Exactly Hell Freezing Over . . .

We know the northern hemisphere has been getting colder, for example we reported earlier this week that the USA was colder than any time last year with an average temperature of 16 degrees F. It isn’t just the USA, in northern Africa, reports suggest that it is only the second time in living memory that snow has fallen on the Sahara desert. The last record is for February 18, 1979, when the snow storm lasted just half an hour.

Snow falling on the Saharan mountain ranges is very rare, let alone on the sandy dunes of the continent’s largest desert.
Photo by Karim Bouchetata of Meteo Algerie
No, weather is not climate, but climate is the long term average of weather.

Merry Christmas

I hope you got the presents you deserve.

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain steps up with "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!" and "FMJRA 2.0: Grand Finale."

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

A few left over Christmas carol videos:

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain steps up with "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!"

Saturday, December 24, 2016

I, For One, Welcome Our New Overlords

After all, how much worse than our politicians can they be? Sex robots would give us only what we think we want, and not what we truly desire
Nothing says Christmas like a conference called “Love and Sex with Robots”. While many spent the week contemplating the birth of a baby two millennia ago, Goldsmiths University played host to the second international congress on congress with machines. One of the team said drily that it was great to see such a large number of journalists at a specialist academic gathering.
. . .
What’s missing from this conversation, of course, is the extraordinary complexity of human desire; the fact it takes a lifetime to uncover your own true yearnings. So much of what we say we want in a partner, especially when young, is peer-approved twaddle: a naif daydream about someone who looks like a model, is always lucratively employed and charms everyone they meet. A few years on, you meet and fall for a geek in an anorak, whose livelihood is precarious and manner offhand – yet you would cross Siberian wastelands to be with him. Once uncovered, our cravings often evolve, or change, because our desires are at the core of all that motivates us; once we’re sated we need a new horizon to run towards. Observation of friends and family generally informs you that most humans don’t like love to be simple. Lust is so often piqued and swelled by frustration and denial.

Key to all this is the desire to be chosen. We want the elusive beloved to say of their own free will “Yes, it is you I want,” against all our previous expectation. This is the miracle most of us seek – not a pre-programmed machine. Indeed, when you consider the perverse and somewhat torturous nature of human longing, the best question (as posed by one woman at the conference) is: why would a robot want to marry a human?
The title assumption here is not immediately obvious to me. If robots equipped with AI were given sufficient information, why shouldn't they be able to be more objective about determining what people really desire, as opposed to us self centered, highly biased biological systems? Of course the general assumption is that more men than women would choose robots for sex, but the evidence suggests that both sexes find some solace in mechanical partners: 'We don't hurt anybody, we are just happy': Woman reveals she has fallen in love with a ROBOT and wants to marry it.

Lilly’s partner is a robot called InMoovator, who she 3D-printed herself and has been living with for a year. On her Twitter page, where she goes by ‘Lilly InMoovator,’ she says: ‘I'm a proud robosexual, we don't hurt anybody, we are just happy.’

Now, Lilly is reportedly engaged to the robot and says they will marry when human-robot marriage is legalised in France. Lilly said she realised she was sexually attracted to robots at the age of 19 because she dislikes physical contact with people, reported.

'The first marriage will be before, not after 2050,' best-selling author and robot expert Dr David Levy said during the Love and Sex with Robots conference at Goldsmiths University, London.

She insisted the idea is not ‘ridiculous’ or ‘bad’ but simply an alternative lifestyle. ‘I’m really and only attracted by the robots,’ she said.

However, she declined to say whether she and InMoovator have a sexual relationship.
‘My only two relationships have confirmed my love orientation, because I dislike really physical contact with human flesh.’
I can see where that might be a problem with most men. Other women found other benefits to the robotic partner:  Male sex robots with 'bionic penis' to offer ultimate pleasure experience
Real women can’t wait to wrap their arms around the cyborg lovers, sex experts claim.

Robot blokes will be armed with batteries and eventually will be able to be electrically charged to keep them going for as long as they are needed, top CEO of luxury sex doll company Matt McMullen revealed.

Verbal cues will be built into the cyborg so he can “respond” to her desires – such as “faster”, “slower” and “keep doing that”.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Online, the sex robot pioneer said: “We’re going to be working into equation the ability to plug the robot in.

“If it’s got power and you’ve got it plugged in it will go as long as you want.”

Conversation and back stories are also vital for giving women the sexual experience they want in the bedroom, Matt added.

The robots will come in all shapes and sizes – with only the “sky as your limit”.
And this differs from a vibrator and a novel on tape exactly how?

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain steps up with "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!"

Rule 5 Saturday - Santa's Little Helpers

Just a little celebration of Santa's Little Helpers.

This week GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE 273rd Issue tremendous meta blog post is celebrating the Winter Solstice with Natalie Portman, who is more than just teensy weensy boobs. Plus, at no extra cost, free entertainment. Pirate's Cove links in with "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup – Christmas 2016 Edition" and links.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Somewhere Today on Chesapeake Bay

I paid Pete back for one of many fishing trips today with a short trip on my boat. Ungratefully, he caught the biggest fish of the day, about 30 inches (yeah, I know it looks bigger). It was cooler today than yesterday, but not very windy, so fishing wasn't too hard
Here he is holding my biggest of the day, unmeasured, but certainly an upper 20 inch fish.
Corwin got his first today, a small one, for sure, but a fish! Also, he didn't lose a single jig, unlike both Pete and I.
Sunset. Just before we came home.

Calvin's Christmas Cosplay

Just a few of the many Christmas cosplay girls from Calvin, of Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool.

First a scary one, who may be Krampus's girl.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ivanka Trump Has Bad Taste in Art and Artists

A group of artists have come together demanding that Ivanka Trump remove their artwork from her New York City apartment.

According to Bloomberg, the artists, who formed the Halt Action Group, have initiated the "Dear Ivanka" Instagram campaign as a way to protest President-elect Donald Trump through his daughter.

Many of Ivanka Trump's Instagram photos show her posing in front of pieces of artwork in her apartment.
Last I heard, once you sold a piece of art, you were no longer in control of it. That's kind of what the exchange of money was all about.

These guys and gals (and probably everything in between) certainly are working hard to get the Donald re-elected.

And speaking  of  gay liberal assholes, Ivanka Trump Accosted by Passenger on Jetblue Flight.
Ivanka was on a JetBlue flight leaving JFK Thursday morning with her family when a passenger started screaming, "Your father is ruining the country." The guy went on, "Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private." The guy had his kid in his arms as he went on the tirade.
But then, if she flew on a private plane, liberals would accuse her of being elitist. But then, she is an elite.
A passenger on the flight tells TMZ Ivanka ignored the guy and tried distracting her kids with crayons.

JetBlue personnel escorted the unruly passenger off the flight. As he was removed he screamed, "You're kicking me off for expressing my opinion?!!"
No, they're kicking you off for harassing a paying customer.

The husband of the unruly passenger tweeted an hour before the plane took off, "Ivanka and Jared at JFK T5, flying commercial. My husband chasing them down to harass them."
But you have to bake wedding cakes for them.
BTW ... Ivanka, her family and bunch of cousins were all in coach.
I hope The Donald has his sights set on the NEA, too.

First Rockfish of the "Catch and Release" Season

Yesterday was the end of the recreational Striped Bass (or as we call them in Maryland, Rockfish) season. However, you can still catch 'em and throw 'em back. I went out with my son Corwin late this afternoon for a trial at the rips. I caught two fish, and he lost two jigs. Seems like a fair trade. Both fish were in the low to mid 20 inch range; I didn't even measure them.
When we left the dock, the bay was nearly still. In the 3/4 of an hour we were out the wind rose from almost nothing to about 20 NNW, and I decided to pull the plug after the third drift and run home through the building chop.