Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bundy Protesters Off the Hook

A federal jury in Las Vegas refused Tuesday to convict four defendants who were retried on accusations that they threatened and assaulted federal agents by wielding assault weapons in a 2014 confrontation to stop a cattle roundup near the Nevada ranch of states' rights figure Cliven Bundy.

In a stunning setback to federal prosecutors planning to try the Bundy family patriarch and two adult sons later this year, the jury acquitted Ricky Lovelien and Steven Stewart of all 10 charges, and delivered not-guilty findings on most charges against Scott Drexler and Eric Parker.

More than 30 defendants' supporters in the courtroom broke into applause after Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro ordered Lovelien and Stewart freed immediately and set Wednesday morning hearings to decide if Parker and Drexler should remain jailed pending a government decision whether to seek a third trial.

"Random people off the streets, these jurors, they told the government again that we're not going to put up with tyranny," said a John Lamb, a Montana resident who attended almost all the five weeks of trial, which began with jury selection July 10.

"They've been tried twice and found not guilty," Bundy family matriarch Carol Bundy said outside court. "We the people are not guilty."
. . .
nbsp;Prosecutors characterized the six as the least culpable of 19 co-defendants arrested in early 2016 and charged in the case, including Bundy family members. With the release of Lovelien and Stewart, 17 are still in federal custody.

The current jury deliberated four full days after more than 20 days of testimony. The six men and six women returned no verdicts on four charges against Parker — assault on a federal officer, threatening a federal officer and two related counts of use of a firearm — and also hung on charges of assault on a federal officer and brandishing a firearm against Drexler. Navarro declared a mistrial on those counts.

None of the defendants was found guilty of a key conspiracy charge alleging that they plotted with Bundy family members to form a self-styled militia and prevent the lawful enforcement of multiple court orders to remove Bundy cattle from arid desert rangeland in what is now the Gold Butte National Monument.
You might remember that the Bundy standoff in Arizona resulted in no shootings, and no violence, so charging them with assault seems like a stretch. I don't think they even verbally threatened violence, and I don't see how legally carrying a firearm can be considered a threat. However, a later demonstration, where two Bundy sons and others took over the headquarters at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, resulted in the death of one rancher, when local law enforcement killed LaVoy Finicum, after an FBI agent fired the first shot at a car carrying Ryan Bundy, Finicum, and two women to a meeting in Burns, Oregon at a road block.

Compare the pursuit of charges against the non violent Bundy protestors with the lack of charges against the repeatedly violent antifa protesters, before and after the election.

Summer Bay Continues Better than Expected

Back in July, we saw how the Bay was apparently doing better (in terms of low dissolved oxygen) than had been expected, but that it might be due to sampling problems. Good news. The trend has continued into August, near the end of the season of concern:

Early August 2017 Hypoxia Report

Dissolved oxygen conditions in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem were much better than average for early August, reports the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The hypoxic water volume (areas with less than 2 mg/l oxygen) was 0.91 cubic miles, which is much smaller than the early August 1985-2016 average of 1.31 cubic miles. No anoxic zones (areas with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen) were detected.
. . .
The better-than-average conditions follow similar results from early July. While hypoxic volume estimation was not available for late July, conditions could be more favorable due, in part, to lower than average temperatures in the week leading up to sampling. Higher temperatures generally cause more stratification of the water column, which inhibits oxygen from mixing into deeper waters. Waters with higher temperatures also hold less oxygen.

In the beginning of June, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and University of Michigan scientists predicted a slightly larger than average hypoxic volume for the bay due to higher spring flows (January-May) and nitrogen loading from the Susquehanna River.
Looking at the third figure, it appears we had an average hypoxia year when they were expecting a worse than average year. That's progress, of sorts.

Reason #5655 That Trump Was Elected

In last night’s speech on Afghanistan, President Trump said:
No one denies that we have inherited a challenging and troubling situation in Afghanistan and South Asia, but we do not have the luxury of going back in time and making different or better decisions. When I became President, I was given a bad and very complex hand, but I fully knew what I was getting into: big and intricate problems.
Every president inherits plenty of trouble, but Trump isn’t just whining here. On issue after issue, Barack Obama passed the buck, making the situation worse than he found it and leaving his successor to pick up the pieces. Health care, military preparedness, the national debt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, North Korea and Afghanistan are some of the instances that come to mind.

What is galling is that because he is a Democrat, Obama was never held accountable for his fecklessness (or worse). The press, and the establishment in general, allowed him to skate. This is a big topic, but let’s limit it to Afghanistan for the moment. Glenn Reynolds reminds us of Obama’s false claims and promises:
Just one for a starter:

OK, maybe just one more:

Way Back Wednesday

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Lingering Obamacare Schadenfreude

Obamacare continues to spiral down as the Last Obamacare Insurer In Iowa Wants 57% Rate Hike Next Year. But that doesn't mean business is bad for all;  New Centene CEO is another example Obamacare's architects getting rich off Obamacare. Another Obamacare architect,  Jonathon Gruber, Fired after Fraudulent Billing Probe.
Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan said his office has concluded an investigation into the invoices and billing practices of Dr. Jonathan Gruber, an economic consultant who contracted with the state to provide policy expertise, research and economic modeling for Vermont’s abandoned single-payer healthcare system.

Former Gov. Peter Shumlin sought to create the single-payer system, known as Green Mountain Care, but eventually walked away from the plan after determining it would cost too much. The attorney general’s office’s began the investigation into Gruber’s billing after receiving a referral by State Auditor Doug Hoffer.

Donovan said Thursday his office and Gruber reached an agreement to settle the state’s potential legal claim that Gruber submitted false claims to the state under Vermont’s Civil False Claims Act. Donovan said his office concluded that Gruber’s conduct violated the Vermont Civil False Claims Act. Gruber denied a violation, but in order to resolve the case, he agreed to forgo any further payments from the state that he might be owed.
Speaking of Gruber, Obamacares litany of lies are resurfacing, and consumers will pay the price.
Medicare Expansion: What Could Go Wrong? Using Medicaid as an example, plenty. Estimated $72 Million in Medicaid Payments Made to Ineligible Beneficiaries, and that's just Kentucky. I expect it's far from the worst offender.

Trump could moot this dispute at any time by refusing to make the CSR payments to the insurers. However, the CBO report predicts a number of unintended consequences if he does. It could save $118 billion in CSR payments over the next decade, but insurers – still stuck with the statutory requirement to lower out-of-pocket costs in Silver plans – would have to raise their premiums by as much as 25 percent, the CBO predicts. Enrollees only pay a set fee for insurance at all levels based on their income, benchmarked on the Silver plan, so taxpayers would end up footing the bill not just for the increased subsidies on these specific Silver plans but all plans. That would increase subsidies by $365 billion in the same time period, resulting in a net increase of deficit spending of nearly $200 billion.
Repealing ObamaCare Is The Key To Restoring Economic Growth That might be an overstatement, but it would help. McCain: 'I Still Believe' Obamacare Can be Replaced; 'I Believe We Must'. Then why did you stop it; just to spit on Trump?  Health Care: Is It Time to Replace the Majority Leader? I have no emotional attachment to Mitch. Could A Democratic Corruption Scandal Help Repeal ObamaCare? If Bob Menendez is tossed out of the Senate for corruption, Gov. Christy gets to name his successor. It could be the final nail in Obamacare's coffin.

Keith Ellison: Pelosi Supports Single-Payer But Doesn’t Want To Say So In Public.
“Is anybody taping me right now? OK, so, you may have heard that Nancy [Pelosi] is not for it, but that’s not really true,” Ellison said. “Nancy has to represent a very diverse caucus. She does not like getting out ahead of the caucus too fast. So she’s trying to get, she’s, you know, you know, she actually likes the concept.”

“She’s trying to get, you know, you know, she actually likes the concept. She says it’s the best way to do it. She says it’s the cheapest way to do it, but she’s got to make sure that she brings our Blue Dog friends along,” Ellison added. “And by the way, for any of us progressives who get mad at the Blue Dogs, if we didn’t have them, some of them would be replaced by Republicans.”
So why should that be a big secret?

Reason #5653 - 5654 That Trump Was Elected

President Trump has disbanded a 15 person committee whose job was to interpret a 13 agency, 600+ page climate report, and tell the President what to do. But the credibility of the report is in tatters, after it was discovered that the authors edited out a highly embarrassing section from an earlier draft, which would have distracted from their doomsday narrative.
The Trump administration just disbanded a federal advisory committee on climate change
By Juliet Eilperin August 20 at 7:00 AM
The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government’s climate analysis into long-term planning.
The charter for the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment — which includes academics as well as local officials and corporate representatives — expires Sunday. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Ben Friedman, informed the committee’s chair that the agency would not renew the panel.

The committee was established in 2015, but its members were not appointed until last summer. They convened their first meeting in the fall. Moss said members of the group intend to keep working on their report, which is due out next spring, even though it now will lack the official imprimatur of the federal government. “It won’t have the same weight as if we were issuing it as a federal advisory committee,” he said.
Read more:

This particular climate report may go down as one of the most ineptly politicised documents in Washington DC history.

First we had the ridiculous claim from the New York Times that they had to leak the climate report, to prevent the Trump Administration suppressing it – even though draft copies are publicly available.

The New York Times later appended the following corrections to their sensationalist claims that the report was being suppressed;
Correction: August 9, 2017
An article on Tuesday about a sweeping federal climate change report referred incorrectly to the availability of the report. While it was not widely publicized, the report was uploaded by the nonprofit Internet Archive in January; it was not first made public by The New York Times.
Correction: August 15, 2017
An article last Tuesday about a sweeping federal climate change report misstated the professional credentials of Katharine Hayhoe, who contributed to the report. She is a professor at Texas Tech University, not a government scientist.
Read more:

The botched NYT story focussed (sic) attention on the report, which revealed multiple climate shenanigans – alleged adjustments to published data, and the removal of an entire section which suggested the 1930s dust bowl years experienced more extreme hot weather than today’s climate.
"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past," said George Orwell, "1984", who didn't intend it as an instruction manual.

Congressman 'Seeing So Many People Bail from NOAA and EPA' Over Climate 'Fear'
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said many federal employees are leaving the Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration over “fear” that the Trump administration is going to “suppress their viewpoints” or move them to irrelevant positions.

Beyer, ranking member of the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Oversight, was asked if he would have full access to the “unfiltered” final version of the latest federal government report on climate change. The New York Times published a leaked draft of the report, which was submitted to the Trump administration for review.
They should buy Krugerrands and guns and go live in the woods and wait for the climate apocalypse.

Prego Blogger Pisses Off Competition by Not Fattening

6 months
Pregnant fitness model shamed for flat stomach responds to social media critics
Fitness model, Sarah Stage, took to Instagram last week to show off what she does to stay fit and healthy while pregnant. However, in addition to her impressive fitness routine, Stage took some time to let off steam about the hate she has been receiving for her toned body.
Somebody will find fault with almost anything.
Getting ready to pop

As I'm nearing #8months I've wanted to share what's been on my mind. Since I've announced my second pregnancy, I've had certain "Instagram medical experts" tell me what I should and shouldn't do.. And while I find some of the comments hilarious, I choose to only listen to my OBGYN and of course I also listen to MY body. If something feels off, I don't do it! I always do what's best for my growing baby and put him first! It's a proven medical fact that continuing exercising while pregnant has many health benefits for you and baby 🤰🏻👶🏻 Clearly, I have greatly reduced the intensity of my workouts and stick to at home home exercises from my Fitness Ebook 2-3x a week. There are also some people who assume that since I am exercising while pregnant, that I'm obsessed with how I "look" but in fact I'm obsessed with maintaining a healthy lifestyle that will give my baby and myself the best possible quality of life 😊 Alternatively, I don't judge anyone who chooses to not be active while pregnant etc. as it's their own life... I'm just sharing my pregnancy journey and appreciate the positive support from most of you ❤️ #thirdtrimester #7monthspregnant#8monthspregnant
It's been my experience that skinny chicks don't show as much as women with more space.  But she does take that to an extreme, but it seems everything came out OK, so it's all good.

Shamelessly ripped off from Instapundit.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Growing the Swamp

Well, marsh actually, but it would work for swamps too, if not as well with trees: Sea level is rising. Delmarva refuge's solution? Build taller marshes
There's an old country song whose chorus goes, "Give me 40 acres, and I'll turn this rig around."

It's unclear whether that Red Simpson ditty is popular inside the headquarters at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. But trade the word "rig" for "marsh," and that's exactly what federal officials and conservation groups are doing to combat the twin threats of rising seas and sinking land there.

They hope that the $2.1 million marsh restoration project, which at 40 acres is the largest of its kind ever attempted in the Chesapeake Bay region, provides a road map for similar efforts elsewhere around the estuary.
Let's, that's around $50,000 an acre. A little more than a building lot would cost in our neighborhood, but a lot more than undevelopable land would be worth. But if you really value the marsh, yeah, it's worth it. And I assume that if they really get into the business, the costs will go down due to economies of scale. There's plenty of deep mud available in the region. How about some of that stuff at the bottom of the Conowingo Pool, that we're worried about how to get rid of?
"We literally have life that would be gone," U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland said Sunday as he toured the recently completed project. "We can't stop sea level from rising, but we can adapt to the consequences."

Late last year, workers dredged 26,000 cubic yards of inky mud from the bottom of the Blackwater River and piled it up on a largely submerged marsh. Returning the following spring, they plugged about 220,000 sprigs of cord grass and other water-loving natives into the newly formed earth.

With the benefit of a summer's growing season, a deep green pasture of marsh now stands where there had been open water a year earlier, officials say.

That grass is perched on land that is up to nearly 8 inches higher than it was before. That should extend its life by "several decades" beyond what is currently forecast for other, untouched marshes inside the nearly 30,000-acre refuge, they say.

"You're maximizing the ability of these plant communities to respond to future sea level rise," said Matt Whitbeck, a wildlife biologist at the refuge.

It worked in New York:

Eclipse 2017

The solar eclipse was due to pass by today from 1:30 to 3:30. peaking at 2:42 at about 80%. I went out around 2 PM, and, using the eclipse glasses that Georgia had thoughtfully purchased from Amazon, saw this:

I took this picture by crudely slapping the eclipse glasses over the lens of my Lumix DMC LZ40 point and shoot camera.
I went back in and taped the glasses over the lens, and went back out to try some more. We are mostly cloudy today, with occasional patches of blue, so here's one that is through thin clouds (and a faint doubling from shaking).
Getting close to as total as we were going to get.

About 2 minutes after the peak. At this point, it was noticeably darker with the sun out, and according to my weather station, the temperature dropped from 88 to 82 F from 2:15 to 3 PM. Was that the eclipse? It's started rising again.

 A Painted Lady who seemed unaffected.
And a Tiger.

Reason #5652 That Trump Was Elected

The Antifa movement. Nominally the "anti fascists", they could as readily have chosen their name for being anti-first amendment. They claim to be responding in self defense against violence from fascism and fascists. Powerline has a powerful visual essay rebutting that (and trashing the duplicitous New York Times along the way): New York Time Applauds Far-Left Violence.
Here is a photo of antifa responding to a violent window in Washington, D.C. during President Trump’s inauguration:

This violent car was one of many set on fire by antifa during the inauguration:

Here, antifa members burn an American flag, the mere existence of which is “violent”:

I’m not sure what this object is, but since antifa set it on fire at Berkeley it must have been violent:

Antifa rioters at Berkeley beat a violent man who is lying unconscious on the ground:

Funny how the heroes of antifa don’t like to be photographed. Why do you suppose that is?

This bystander was attacked on the street by antifa thugs at Berkeley:

Here, antifa trashes a violent Starbucks store:

This bank must have been really violent. It was destroyed by antifa:

Antifa rioters in Seattle burn another American flag. Those things must be really violent!

Antifa rioters always bring bats and clubs, just in case they encounter anyone violent:

Just think how violent this guy must have been! It took four masked antifas to beat him up:

Antifa is nothing more or less than a fascist organization. Hitler’s Brownshirts had nothing on them. I thought their childish trick of naming themselves the opposite of what they really are wouldn’t fool anyone, but apparently it has fooled the New York Times. Or maybe the Times is just on their side.
But as Billy Mays might say, wait, There's More!  Colorado Man Stabbed For Having Nazi Haircut
The New York Post reports:
“All I hear is, ‘Are you one of them neo-Nazis?’ as this dude is swinging a knife up over my car door at me,” he said.
“I threw my hands up and once the knife kind of hit, I dived back into my car and shut the door and watched him run off west, behind my car.
“The dude was actually aiming for my head,” he added.
Witt has no tattoos or anything else that could be mistaken for a neo-Nazi look. In speaking with his friends, they say it must be his haircut. “Apparently, my haircut is considered a neo-Nazi statement,” he told the New York Post.

Virginia is for Sturgeons

The endangered Atlantic sturgeon just got a double boost in Virginia as NOAA awarded federal funds to continue restoration efforts here and also designated the Chesapeake Bay “critical habitat” for the species.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is giving the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries $378,666 for fiscal year 2018 to locate and characterize key sturgeon habitat within the bay’s river systems.

The award follows nearly $357,000 in FY2016 and more than $365,000 in FY2017 in what’s known as species recovery grants for Atlantic sturgeon.

And it’s part of $5.8 million in grants just awarded for endangered or threatened species in the greater Atlantic, from shellfish to whales.
That's real money, by science standards, but not huge money. Most of a small labs salary expenses for a year, and some field time.
The new grant will go to continue the tagging work, in conjunction with Game and Inland Fisheries and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Researchers have been tagging in the James and York rivers, and will look for subadults using the Rappahannock, Hilton said.

The Chesapeake Bay is considered a “distinct population segment” of Atlantic sturgeon. Like other populations, it’s in danger of extinction, NOAA Fisheries says, because of its precipitous and prolonged drop in numbers, the limited amount of spawning and persistent impacts and threats to its survival.

Before 1890 and the onset of the sturgeon fishery, estimates are that about 20,000 adult females inhabited the bay and its tributaries. Today, the spawning population in the James River is estimated at less than 300 adults. There’s some historical evidence that the Rappahannock, Potomac and Susquehanna also were spawning rivers.
News on the Atlantic Sturgeon in Chesapeake Bay has been upbeat for a while now, but the situations was so dire, and the recovery of the populations so slow that we should not expect much in a short while.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

IRS Ordered to Put Up and Shut Up

Judge To IRS: Start Naming Names
Think the IRS targeting scandal had dissipated? So did the IRS, but it got a very unpleasant surprise on Thursday in federal court. Judge Reggie Walton ordered the agency to start identifying the employees who took part in the targeting of conservative non-profit groups and to provide specific explanation for the delays in approval of that status for dozens of them. “Why hide the ball?” Judge Walton asked (via TaxProfBlog):
A federal judge on Thursday ordered the IRS to name the specific employees the agency blames for targeting tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny and said the government must prove it has ceased the targeting.
Judge Reggie B. Walton also said the IRS must explain the reasons for the delays for 38 groups that are part of a lawsuit in the District of Columbia, where they are still looking for a full accounting of their treatment.
Judge Walton approved another round of limited discovery in the case and laid out six questions that the IRS must answer, including the employees’ names, why the groups were targeted and how the IRS has tried to prevent a repeat.
The IRS had hoped to close off demands for more discovery, arguing that too much time had elapsed and that there were no indications that further searches would be fruitful. In short, they argued that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit were merely on a fishing expedition. “The United States should not be held to respond to far-reaching inquiries,” the Department of Justice argued.
One wonders why Trump hasn't gone after the IRS. Are they holding his tax returns hostage?

Reason #5651 That Trump Was Elected

Federal Managers Have Some Bad News For Government Workers
The Office of Personnel Management has been fielding some unusual and uncomfortable questions from federal departmental managers this summer according to Government Executive. It seems that a terrible bit of reality is dawning on them at last and they need some professional assistance in figuring out how to perform a management function which most of them have never experienced before.

They’re going to have to start laying some people off, and for much of Washington, DC, that’s a completely foreign concept.
Federal agency managers are privately telling members of the Trump administration they will soon lay off employees, according to Office of Personnel Management officials, and are seeking advice for how to do so in the most effective manner.
Agencies are “pretty certain” they will need to institute reductions in force as they aim to satisfy an executive order from President Trump and ensuing guidance from the Office of Management and Budget, said Leslie Pollack, deputy associate director of OPM’s HR Strategy and Evaluation Solutions, on WJLA’s “Government Matters” program. Those documents required executive branch agencies to reorganize themselves and, in the process, cut the size of their workforces. Pollack’s office, which provides human resources consulting to federal agencies, has assisted officials across government looking at “closing down or realigning functions.”
On the one hand it’s rather tough to have too much sympathy for them. They’ve been getting warnings about this since the day President Trump was sworn in. (Did they think he was kidding?) Orders went out to begin planning for consolidation of redundancies and generally shrinking the federal behemoth. At first there was a lot of dancing around and alternative options being explored. Early retirement packages and generous golden parachutes were in the works. Some people were finagling for transfers to other departments before their positions were eliminated.

But the cuts are coming and eventually the harsh light of inspection falls on everyone. The stated goals will not be reached by simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. A smaller federal government means fewer workers. And that means some people will have to go.
Time to join the real world, folks.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and linkfest.


Nutella alert after 20 tonnes of chocolate spread stolen by gang
German police have issued an alert after up to €70,000 worth of Nutella was stolen from a lorry.

Thieves made off with the trailer – filled with 20 tonnes of Nutella, Kinder Surprise eggs and other chocolate products – from the German town of Neustadt.

The haul, believed to be worth between €50,000 and €70,000, was taken between Saturday evening and midday on Sunday.
 Man, it would take at least a week to eat that much Nutella!
According to The Times, Neustadt police released a statement urging people to immediately report “anyone offering large quantities of chocolate via unconventional channels”.

A police spokesman added: “It is not even clear if they were after the sweets or after the trailer — at this point we do not know what their motive was.” 
I wonder if they sell Nutella on the side of the road in Germany, the way we do crabs in Maryland?

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and linkfest.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sun, Moon Conspire in Discriminating Against African Americans

Something so stupid, it could only be written by a Harvard man woman: Excruciatingly Woke
In today’s competitive grievance culture, unearthing new sorrows, or reheating old sorrows, can require prodigious, indeed bewildering, feats of contortion. And so, in the pages of The Atlantic, we find one Alice Ristroph railing at the heavens. First, a little context:
On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will arrive mid-morning on the coast of Oregon. The moon’s shadow will be about 70 miles wide, and it will race across the country faster than the speed of sound, exiting the eastern seaboard shortly before 3pm local time.
Clouds permitting, it should be quite a thing to witness.
It has been dubbed the Great American Eclipse, and along most of its path, there live almost no black people.
There we go. If that one caught you off guard, here’s another:
As the eclipse approaches, the temperature will fall and birds will roost, and then, suddenly, the lights will go out. For each place within the path of totality, the darkness will last a minute, maybe two, and then daylight will return. Oregon, where this begins, is almost entirely white. The 10 percent or so of state residents who do not identify as white are predominantly Latino, American Indian, Alaskan, or Asian.
This goes on for some time. It’s an attempt at symbolism, I think. A beverage may be useful.
From Oregon, the eclipse will travel through Idaho and Wyoming… Percentage-wise, Idaho and Wyoming are even whiter than Oregon… The few non-white residents of Idaho and Wyoming are not black — they are mostly Latino, American Indian, and Alaskan.
Perhaps this is all building to some kind of point, a moment of profundity. Any minute now.
From Kansas, the eclipse goes to Missouri, still mostly bypassing black people.
Surely a contender for The Most Woke Sentence Yet Uttered.
Moving east, the eclipse will pass part of St. Louis, whose overall population is nearly half black. But the black residents are concentrated in the northern half of the metropolitan area, and the total eclipse crosses only the southern half.
If you laughed at that, tittered even, you’re a terrible, terrible person. . . .
I must be a terrible person.

Fierce Competition for Floron of the Week

Three strive for greatness, but only one can take home the prize.

Third place goes to the Woman caught snorting cocaine in parent pick-up line
An officer caught a woman in a Lee County school parent pick-up line snorting cocaine off her iPhone.

The report states the school resource officer at Lexington Middle School spotted Christina Hester, 39, through a second-floor window chopping a white substance on her phone. The officer said he saw Hester use a straw to snort the cocaine.
What, does she think this is still the 80s?

Second place for the McDonald's drive-thru passenger who pulls out replica AR-15 rifle after ice cream dispute
A Delray Beach man wasn't happy that a nearby McDonald's didn't have any ice cream, so he pulled out a replica AR-15 rifle while he waited in the drive-thru line, police said.

Jerry Henry was arrested Monday after the incident at the McDonald's on Linton Boulevard.

Delray Beach police said Henry was a passenger in a car at the drive-thru when the driver, who was ordering food at the intercom, became upset with the employee who was taking his order.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the driver, identified as Michael Delhomme, was upset because the ice cream machine wasn't working.
It's hot in Florida, and when you need ice cream, you need ice cream now!

But going to the finals for Floron of the year: Jacksonville Beach police use 3 Tasers, baton, 4 handcuffs to arrest bar customer
Jacksonville Beach police used a Taser, a baton and four sets of handcuffs to arrest a man accused of punching a bouncer and walking out on his $235 bar tab on Sunday.

Facebook video of the takedown outside Surfer [the Bar] on 1st Street North is leading some beachgoers to question why the use of force was necessary in the first place, since Christopher Alan White did not appear combative when a Jacksonville Beach Police Department officer deployed the first Taser.

White pulled the prongs off the first Taser, seemingly unaffected.

“Stop doing that,” White can be heard saying in the video.

That comment led to a second Taser deployment from a second officer as well as an attempted headlock, from which White wriggled free.

“I’m not fighting,” said White as an officer beat his thigh with a baton.

White swatted at the officer during the beating.

A third officer deployed a third Taser, which brought White to the ground.

Jacksonville Beach resident Annsley Grantham said she’s disturbed about what led up to the first Taser being fired.
“He seemed pretty inebriated, so I don’t think it was necessary to tase him at all,” said Grantham.
And best of all, it's recorded on video:

Reason #5650 That Trump Was Elected

Trump’s Full-Court Press Is Squeezing the Nukes Out of North Korea
In March of this year, the Trump foreign policy team of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and the Tweeter-in-Chief himself began a coordinated attack on Kim Jong-un’s regime, with the interim goals of disrupting its political and military plans, psychologically rattling its leaders, and exposing the regime’s grave weaknesses. The ultimate goal was to set conditions for achieving the long-range goal: denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

The great Chinese strategist Sun Tzu said that the best strategy is to attack the enemy’s plans. With a soldier-scholar like Jim Mattis in the Trump administration, a stroke or two of Sun Tzu should surprise no one.

As a result, the Trump team is taking diplomatic, economic and military actions—not drawing feckless rhetorical red lines. Its actions are seizing the initiative, limiting the enemy’s options, and exploiting the enemy’s weakness. These actions are designed to force the thugs in Pyongyang to ditch their nuclear weapons and quietly rot within the starving confines of their Communist gulag.
. . .
Has the Trump pressure strategy produced positive results?

North Korea has blinked, but the sensationalist mainstream media, from The New York Times to CNN, have missed it.

But the sharp minds at didn’t. They reported, “Anyone familiar with the North’s statements knows that over the past month there has been a major shift in Pyongyang’s formulation about negotiating.” . . .
Read the rest. We'll see, but nothing has worked in the past. Certainly the situation got exponentially worse under Obama coddling.

Rule 5 Saturday - Samantha Hoopes

This week's Rule 5 selection is Samatha Hoopes, just because why not?
Samantha Hoopes (born February 10, 1991) is an American model, best known for appearing in Carl's Jr. and Hardee's Most American Thickburger advertisement and the Sports Illustrated's 50th Anniversary Swimsuit issue in 2014.

Hoopes was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. She is the youngest of five sisters. She went to Barbizon Performing Arts Academy studying modeling and acting. She then attended Penn State University and majored in business after changing her major from kinesiology.
On life after the Swimsuit Issue:
Has your life changed?

My life has changed pretty drastically. People that I’ve looked up to forever will find me on Twitter, or I’ll have a model try to set me up with another famous person. I was in Vegas not too long ago, walking to my hotel room, and people were stopping me left and right. It’s so weird to me because I’m still not used to it.

Did you ever think modeling could be a full-time career?

No, I never thought I could actually become a model and make a living at it. I always thought I would end up being a housewife. I was going to school to be a gym teacher for a little bit. This is just incredible.
This week, in GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE (306th Issue) some famous spicy Korean chicks lead the huge meta blog post, along with too much North Korea stuff and current events in the planetary science world. Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and linkfest. Wombat-socho has both "Rule 5 Sunday: OUTRAGE!" and "FMJRA 2.0: Thousand Mile Stare" up on time and within budget.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bannon Banned

“Dance with the one that brung ya,” is always good advice in politics. Elected officials must represent the people who elected them, and the guy whose mission it was to speak for those people inside the Trump White House was Steve Bannon. It was Bannon’s self-chosen task to fight what he called “the Deep State,” the entrenched political interests in Washington opposed to any fundamental change in U.S. policy. Bannon understood, better than almost anyone in D.C., that the kind of voters who made the difference for Trump in last year’s election — swinging formerly “blue” states like Pennsylvania and Michigan into the GOP column for the first time in nearly 30 years — wanted a drastic change to the status quo. Bannon spoke of “economic nationalism” as the basis of Trump’s appeal to disaffected white working-class voters, and he understood that the liberal media — determined to defend the bipartisan globalist/welfare-state policy agenda — would wage an all-out war against the Trump administration. It was therefore perhaps inevitable that Bannon would become a casualty in that war:
Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, will leave his position at the White House after eight months on the job, the White House said on Friday.
The announcement came on his last day in the administration, the White House noted, announcing that Trump and chief of staff John Kelly had jointly arrived at the decision. They decided his last day would be today, according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
Bannon’s exit will cap off a period of upheaval for the West Wing that has already seen the ouster of Trump’s chief of staff, press secretary, communications director, and several national security staffers.
As the former head of Breitbart, a fiery news outlet, Bannon had long drawn the ire of Democrats who viewed him as sympathetic to the “alt-right” movement. Calls for his resignation grew louder in the wake of racially motivated violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.
Kelly, who took over from Reince Priebus last month, bristled at Bannon’s unorthodox style from the beginning, sources familiar with the situation have said. Kelly suspected Bannon was responsible for a series of negative stories about national security adviser H.R. McMaster, with whom Bannon had feuded over ideological differences.
Those sources have also said Bannon’s position as chief strategist came with an ill-defined portfolio that likely left his job duties unclear to Kelly.
Reports are that Bannon will return to and “go ‘thermonuclear’ against ‘globalists’ that Bannon and his friends believe are ruining the Trump administration, and by extension, America.” This is good news, insofar as Bannon will be more effective outside the White House than inside an administration where he had reportedly been “marginalized” by his enemies, but it is a bad omen for Trump’s prospects of keeping his promise to “Make America Great Again.”

The media’s smear against Bannon as a proponent of “white supremacy” or “white nationalism” is easily refuted. David Horowitz mourned Bannon’s departure from the White House as a “sad day” and, if you know anything about Horowitz, you know how much he loathes racism.
Hmmm . . .

Top Democrat IT Staffer Indicted

The other shoe falls on the Democrat IT scandal.
Here’s a huge scandal that CNN will pretend doesn’t matter:
FOX News reports former IT aide for Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Imran Awan, has been indicted on four counts. In July, Awan was arrested at Dulles airport while trying to flee the United States.
More details from Fox News:
Imran Awan, a former IT aide for Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was indicted Thursday on four counts including bank fraud and making false statements.
The indictment also includes his wife Hina Alvi.
The grand jury decision in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia comes roughly a month after Awan was arrested at Dulles airport in Virginia trying to board a plane to Pakistan, where his family is from.
Awan and other IT aides for House Democrats have been on investigators’ radar for months over concerns of possible double-billing, alleged equipment theft, and access to sensitive computer systems. Most lawmakers fired Awan in February, but Schultz had kept him on until his arrest in July.
The indictment itself, which merely represents formal charges and is not a finding of guilt, addresses separate allegations that Awan and his wife engaged in a conspiracy to obtain home equity lines of credit from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by giving false information about two properties — and then sending the proceeds to individuals in Pakistan.
The case has put renewed scrutiny on Wasserman Schultz for keeping Awan on the payroll for months, even after a criminal investigation was revealed and he was barred from the House IT network.
(Hat-tip: Memeorandum.) We expect CNN to blame this on Russian hackers, just as soon as they finish blaming the Barcelona attack on Confederate monuments. Must! Defend! The Narrative!
And we're supposed to take a Democrat hired groups word for it that the Russians hacked their system, when they had a foreign mole inside all along:  What if the DNC Russian “hack” was really a leak after all? A new report raises questions media and Democrats would rather ignore

I'm pretty convinced it was a Brennan/Clapper op. If Russia hacked them, they wouldn't leave traces.

New York Times Pleads Imcompetence

NY Times Editor Claims Incompetence Led Him to Libel Sarah Palin
Testifying at a hearing in Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit, the editorial page editor of the New York Times, James Bennet, suggested that it was an accident — rhetorical clumsiness — which led him to falsely blame Palin for “political incitement” in a 2011 mass murder:
“What I wasn’t trying to say was that there was a direct causal link between this map and the shooting,” Bennet said. “What I was concerned about was the overall climate of political incitement.”
He continued: “I didn’t mean to suggest that Loughner wasn’t responsible. … I did not think that Jared Loughner was acting because of this map.”
Bennet testified that he had not, in advance of publication, read specific pieces of reporting in the Times about a potential connection between the PAC ad and the shooting, and said he did not know at the time of publication whether Loughner had seen the map. He also said that he had not personally seen the map. “I was not reporting the editorial, your honor, I was editing it,” Bennet said.
Hot Air’s John Sexton quotes the editorial in question and, even if Bennet’s testimony can protect the Times from an “actual malice” finding, he’s more or less confessed to “reckless disregard for truth.” An editor is responsible for the changes he makes to copy and, if his changes result in the publication of a factual error, the distinction between reporting and editing is of no consequence in a libel case. The New York Times cannot claim that it was impossible for Bennet to know Jared Loughner’s motive, because this subject was extensively covered — by me, in a January 2011 article for American Spectator:
In addition to being previously admitted by the Times itself. But I guess you can't expect the editorial page editors to know what their own paper says.

The 'Game of Thrones' Effect

"Game of Thrones" star Peter Dinklage is urging people not to buy huskies which have been made popular due to the breed’s similarity to the fearsome and protective direwolves portrayed on the popular HBO show.

The actor, who plays Tyrion Lannister on the fantasy drama, said Tuesday that fans are purchasing the dogs, known to be intelligent, independent and difficult to train, and then giving them up once the novelty has worn off.
Independent and difficult to train? I wish I had known! Oh right, I did. And we got a second one anyway.

The phenomena is often referred to as the “101 Dalmatians” syndrome in which fans of the Disney film or others like “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” succumb to the lure of the movie pets and go out and buy one only to discover that in real life the dogs are not as alluring. The demand causes puppy mills to churn out the canines who often end up languishing in shelters.
 Good on Peter.
“Please, to all of “Game of Thrones’” many wonderful fans, we understand that due to the direwolves’ huge popularity, many folks are going out and buying huskies,” Dinklage said in the statement released by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

“Not only does this hurt all the deserving homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned—as often happens when dogs are bought on impulse, without understanding their needs.”

According to SFGate, one group that takes in abandoned huskies began to notice about three years ago that the dogs were coming in with unusual names on their microchips.

Since Skye is now 8, as estimated from the age given to her when we adopted her, it is unlikely that Skye is the result of the "Game of Thrones" effect, unless her original owner was a reader. We do wonder about why she (and a brother supposedly) we given up for adoption at 6 years old, after spending hours to train her.
A closer look revealed that the canines were being named after popular characters that populate the show’s Seven Kingdoms where the mythical creatures are the symbols of the House of Stark.

The Bay Area Siberian Husky Club, as well as Northern California Sled Dog Rescue, reported that the numbers of unwanted huskies has doubled since the show debuted in 2011.

The same thing is also happening in Britain where one animal charity reported a 700 percent rise in abandoned huskies, SF Gate reported.
We get a lot of comments about how good looking Skye is when we walk her, and a lot of kids especially say "that's the kind of dog I want" or something similar. We have a pretty standard spiel that starts with "Do you like to walk a lot? Because they need a lot of exercise!" and goes quickly on to "And shed? Boy do they shed!"

Wombat-socho has both "Rule 5 Sunday: OUTRAGE!" up on time and within budget.

Reason #5649 That Trump Was Elected

Six months after President Donald Trump's inauguration, employees at the Environmental Protection Agency are still "crying at their desks."

The latest edition of Rolling Stone, which features Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on the cover with the question, "Why can't he be our president?" goes after EPA administrator Scott Pruitt for alleged "crimes against nature."

The article features quotes from fearful EPA employees, who are still distraught over President Trump's victory.
Think they hate Trump much? They hate you almost as much.

Fish Pic Friday - Hogfish

The hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus), is a species of wrasse native to the western Atlantic Ocean, with a range from Nova Scotia, Canada to northern South America, including the Gulf of Mexico. This species occurs around reefs, especially preferring areas with plentiful gorgonians. This species is currently the only known member of its genus.

Two of my regular sources, Brooke Thomas and Darcizzle failed me this week. Fortunately, Luiza Barros seems unusually fond of Hogfish.
The hogfish is characterized by a large, laterally compressed body shape. It possesses a very elongated snout which it uses to search for crustaceans buried in the sediment. This very long "pig-like" snout and its rooting behavior give the hogfish its name. The caudal or tail fin is somewhat lunate and the pectoral fins are along the lateral sides of the body with the paired pelvic fins directly below. A prominent black spot behind the pectoral fins differentiates males from females. The dorsal fin usually is composed of three or four long dorsal spines followed by a series of shorter dorsal spines. It is a carnivore. It mainly feeds on small crustaceans.
With it's psychedelic colors, it's odd shape and protruding mouth, it looks like something out of "The Yellow Submarine."
Like many wrasses, the hogfish is a sequential hermaphrodite, which means it changes sex during different life stages. The hogfish is a protogynous, "first female" hermaphrodite: juvenile hogfish start out as female and then mature to become male. The change usually occurs around three years of age and about 14 inches in length. Females and juveniles will usually start out as pale gray, brown, or reddish brown in color, with a paler underside and no distinct patterns. Males are distinguished by a deep, dark band spanning from the snout to the first dorsal spine, as well as by a lateral black spot behind the pectoral fins. Hogfish reach a maximum of 91 cm (36 in) in total length and about 11 kg (24 lb) and have been recorded to live up to 11 years. Spawning in South Florida occurs from November through June. Hogfish social groups are organized into harems where one male will mate and protect a group of females in his territory.
How unwoke! Can't the females take care of themselves?
Hogfish, is a commonly targeted species for many spear and reef fisherman and is regarded highly by many for its taste and food value. In 2007, the Florida landings of hogfish totaled 306,953 pounds. 
That's a big pile of Hogfish.

Wombat-socho has both "Rule 5 Sunday: OUTRAGE!" up on time and within budget.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Midnite Music

Renowned Newport, Oregon, Oceanographer Bill Peterson Dies

A Three Percenter Speaks

Dr. Judith Curry Explains The Reality Of Bad Climate Science And Bad Politics

“On balance, I don’t see any particular dangers from greenhouse warming. {Humans do} influence climate to some extent, what we do with land-use changes and what we put into the atmosphere. But I don’t think it’s a large enough impact to dominate over natural climate variability.”
. . .
“The collapse of the consensus on cholesterol and heart disease – that one collapsed overnight. I can only hope that sanity will eventually prevail with the climate problem as well.”
Technically, this makes her part of the "97%" of scientists who allegedly support global warming theory, believing that CO2 contributes to global warming. I guess that makes me one too, since my beliefs align with hers.

Reason #5648 That Trump Was Elected

President Donald Trump will rescind an Obama administration policy requiring government agencies to take into account global warming-induced flooding and sea level rise for federally-funded projects.

Trump will repeal the climate order that President Barack Obama signed in 2015 as part of a broader effort to streamline infrastructure permitting. Administration officials said the current process is long and cumbersome.

“For far too long, critical projects have been delayed by duplicative permitting and environmental requirements which added time and unnecessary expenses to much needed projects,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg.

Trump wants to push a $200 billion infrastructure spending bill through Congress this fall, which he hopes will mobilize $800 billion in state and private funding. A cumbersome permitting process could hold up infrastructure projects.

Furthermore, Obama’s executive order to “improve the resilience of communities and federal assets against the impacts of flooding” could increase the upfront costs or even eliminate projects in the pipeline.
Now look at the data on sea level rise from Baltimore (one of the longest US records):

No hint of a modern acceleration of sea level rise due to global warming. There's nothing to take into account.

That said, it's not a bad idea to put your houses and other buildings above the reach of flooding. But if you want to, you should be prepared to pay for it yourself when it floods, or buy a flood insurance policy based on an appropriate probability of damage, not one subsidized by the feds.

Tanline Thursday in the News!

Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham flaunts her surgically enhanced assets and exposes her tanlines as she wears derriere-flashing jumpsuit in Las Vegas
She shot to fame in the MTV reality series 16 And Pregnant in 2009, before starring in the spin off show Teen Mom.

And Farrah Abraham, 26, put her best-known assets on display in a daring sheer jumpsuit at the VIP Back Door Key Party at Crazy Horse III in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Flaunting her surgically enhanced chest in the jumpsuit, the reality star exposed her tan lines and bronzed chest. . . 
I vaguely remember that such a show existed, I can't imagine why anyone would watch:

She's had more work than my Subaru.

Wombat-socho has both "Rule 5 Sunday: OUTRAGE!" up on time and within budget. More celebrity tanlines?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Floron du Jour: You're Supposed to Set the Hook!

Woman drunkenly bites man's fishing line at St. Johns County pier
St. Johns County deputies arrested a woman after she bit a man's fishing line and swam off with his lure, according to a police report.

Deputies were called to the St. Johns County Pier on Tuesday at approximately 6 p.m. A fisherman told deputies that 22-year-old Alexandria Turner appeared to be intoxicated when she swam up to his fishing line and cursed him out.

She bit the line and swam away with the rigging, according to the police report.

When deputies asked Turner to come to the pier office where the fisherman had rented the pole, she became belligerent and refused to walk inside, the report said. Deputies said Turner began creating a scene and upsetting the "sense of public norm at the pier" when they tried to take her into protective custody.

She refused to let deputies handcuff her and screamed, "I'm (expletive) naked!" several times, the report said. Deputies arrested Turner on suspicion of disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence.
Alcohol is involved? I'm shocked, shocked.