Sunday, April 30, 2017

When is "OK" Not OK?

Media Trolled? Liberal Reporter Claims ‘OK’ Gesture Is ‘White Power’ Signal
A couple of White House reporters posted Twitter photos of themselves at the briefing room podium making the “OK” sign, and a liberal journalist wrote an entire story claiming that this common gesture is a secret “white power” signal. Apparently, this claim originated with Reddit pranksters who, in February, explained that “our goal is to convince people on twitter that the ‘ok’ hand sign has been co-opted by neo-nazis.” They dubbed their hoax “Operation O-KKK” and, it would appear, within two months had fooled liberal journalists into believing it.
 Whodda thunk that Emma Watson would be a white supremacist?

A Hot Day at the Beach

The backyard thermometer read 92 F when Skye and I headed off to the beach before lunch. We tried to stay in the shade as much as possible on the way down, but once we reached the beach, a 15 knot south wind helped keep us cool while we walked down to Matoaka Cottages and back.
Skye had fun splashing at the waters edge and meeting kids and a dog or two, and I found a couple of small sharks teeth.
By the time we got back to the parking lot, the beach crowd was starting to get going, sun bathing, fishing, flying kites and looking for fossils.

Reason #5534 That Trump Was Elected

Less for kids means more for her, right?
Nothing is too trivial for the Democrats to try to enfold into the Federal Government's embrace, and ruin: USDA to make school lunches edible again. Michelle Obama hardest hit.
With Sonny Perdue in at Agriculture you might expect him to kick things off with some changes to ethanol subsidies or President Trump’s new executive order designed to help out farmers. But he’s got something else on the menu (pardon the pun) which is long overdue and should be considerably easier to accomplish. While Barack Obama was in office there were some big changes to school lunches which were ostensibly intended to make them more nutritious, but actually wound up making them mostly inedible. (A project championed by Michelle Obama as her signature issue.) On Monday, those rules may be changing, much to the relief of students around the nation. (The Hill)
Newly minted Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is expected to unveil a new rule Monday aimed at giving schools more flexibility in meeting federal nutrition standards for school lunches.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Friday that Perdue and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) will make the announcement at the Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, Va., where they are expected to eat lunch with the students.
Republicans have long been trying to dial back the standards that became a pillar of former first lady Michelle Obama ’s initiative to curb childhood obesity in the U.S.
I’m sure they’ll find better ways to describe it for PR reasons, but what we’re mostly expecting is a revamp of the program to “Make Lunches Edible Again.” Taking virtually all the salt out of the menu items and pushing raw veggies while scaling back on meat or anything with any fat in it was a disaster in the making from the beginning.
Food "policy" in the United States has been a politicized disaster from the beginning, and probably is a major contributor to the obesity issue. Let parents decide what their children get to eat.

Linked at Pirate's Cove weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup."

Morning Music - "Smoke on the Water"

Emily Hastings:

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fishing Report 4/29/17

The big day came at last, time for Trevor's late Spring charter trip with Walleye Pete. Trevor, his buddy Kenny, Tom, and Ski met at 5:30 in Solomons. By sunrise, we were fishing "Location X"
Tom got the big fish of the day in the rips at "Location X," this 32 inch Striped Bass, three inches below the legal limit for this years "Trophy Season", so after a quick photoshoot, back it went.
 A rising west wind sent us scurrying for quieter water, in this case, a long way south in the Honga River, where we fished points and other structure down to South Marsh Island.
 Pete at the helm. Note the shirt. It was warm, and mostly overcast today, both of which make the fishing better.
Just one of many places we stopped to fish. We caught fish at most places we stopped, usually a few each, until the bite slowed. Pete kept track of fish with a "clicker"
Trevor with a typical "skinny water" fish. High teens to low 20 inches were typical, a few larger. We had one unfortunate moment when both Ski and Kenny caught bigger fish, and they crossed lines, and we lost Ski's as a result.
Trevor caught the rare fish of the day, this Speckled Trout, the 5th that has been caught by Pete's crews since this season started.

According to the clicker we caught a total of 179 fish. and the GPS showed a total of 97 miles

Reason #5533 That Trump Was Elected

Trump: ‘eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms’ is over
Today, President Trump became the first president since Ronald Reagan to speak to the National Rifle Association. His message was simple: The Obama era is over and gun owners now have a “true friend” in the White House. From NBC News:
“The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end,” Trump told the members of the National Rifle Association, assuring them that they now “have a true friend and champion in the White House.”
“I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” Trump said. “Never ever.”
After a minute’s long rehash of his election victory, Trump said, “You came through for me and I am going to come through for you.” “No longer will the government be trying to undermine your rights and freedoms as Americans,” Trump said.
It's no secret that gun control is hot button issue, and nobody who values the right to keep and bear arms would trust Hillary or any other democrat on this issue. Trump is probably squishier than I'd like, but hell of a lot reflexively anti-gun than Hillary.

Rule 5 Saturday - Another Brazilian - Izabel Goulart

This week's lucky Rule 5 special goes to Brazilian super model Izabel Goulart, no known relationship to Ron.
Goulart was born on October 23, 1984, in São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil. She is of Italian and Portuguese descent and has four brothers and one sister. Goulart once said, "the hardest part about being [a Victoria's Secret Angel] is I spend time away from my mom's food and away from my home with my five brothers and sister". School was a particularly rough time for Goulart, as she was made fun of for her skinny build and was called names such as "giraffe".
She does have remarkably long legs. ranks her number 12 on the Top 20 sexiest models, and 29th in The Money Girls rankings. In 2007, she won the Cool Magazine's "Toshiba Cool Planet Award" in the category of "Best Model". As a Victoria's Secret Angel, she was chosen as one of People magazine's annual "100 Most Beautiful People in the World" in May 2007.

She is fluent in Portuguese, English and French.

Goulart, whose brother has type 1 diabetes, does charitable work, helping hospitals in her native Brazil to raise money to provide free insulin for diabetic children in need. She also has taken an active role with the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami, a recognized leader in cure-focused research. In 2009, Goulart became the DRI's international ambassador and in that role helps to promote the work of the DRI throughout her travels.

She's Brazlian, so there's some NSFW material out there.
During Goulart's first ever fashion show appearance, she experienced a wardrobe malfunction when her top fell open. The incident made many Brazilian newspapers.
Over at GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE (290th Issue) a photo dump of Helly Von Valentine (aka Disharmonica) leads this week's  gigantic meta blog post, along with his usual assortment of science, science fiction and udder ultra cool stuff. Wombat-socho is back on schedule with "Rule 5 Sunday: Formal Affairs" and "FMJRA 2.0: The Way It Is". Linked at Pirate's Cove weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup"

Friday, April 28, 2017

Beach Report April 28, 2017

 A nearly summer like day down at the beach; mid 70s, a touch of humidity (but not obnoxious), sunny, and a light south wind, that didn't even ripple the water.
 As a week day it was nearly, but not quite deserted. Sky got to say hello to this aging lab (a spry 13).
Skye also photo-bombed this picture of the my best tooth of the day, a "Mako" a little over an inch long. The camera preferred to focus on Skye for both takes. I tried to sharpen it acceptably, but you can only do so much with the pixels.
Bikini weather!

Reason #5531 and #5532 That Trump Was Elected

Clinton Corruption: While at State, Hillary Clinton Aides Threatened Bangleshi Prime Minister's Son With IRS Audit to Stop Investigation of Donor to Clinton Foundation
Exclusive, and I'm sure the MSM will not be following up the Daily Caller's explosive report.
A Bangladesh government commission was investigating multiple charges of financial mismanagement at Grameen Bank, beginning in May 2012. Muhammad Yunus, a major Clinton Foundation donor, served as managing director of the bank.
Sajeeb Wazed Joy, son of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and permanent U.S. resident, recalled the account of the threatened IRS audit to TheDCNF. The allegations mark the first known instance in the U.S. that Clinton's Department of State used IRS power to intimidate a close relative of a friendly nation's head of state on behalf of a Clinton Foundation donor.
Can we impeach a losing presidential candidate for High Crimes and Misdemeanors?

Appoint a special prosecutor. That's what Adam Schiff always wants for this sort of thing, right? Let's have an independent commission explore these allegations while a special prosecutor investigates possible criminal charges.
And this explosive news.  Judicial Watch: FBI got subpoenas from grand jury targeting Hillary Clinton
Judicial Watch reported last night that new documents provided in response to a FOIA lawsuit shows that the FBI got subpoenas from a grand jury to seize records of the former Secretary of State’s communications. It didn’t turn up much, but the existence of the grand jury is a new development:

Judicial Watch today released new State Department documents including a declaration from FBI Special Agent E.W. Priestap, the supervisor of the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email activities, stating that the former secretary of state was the subject of a grand jury investigation related to her BlackBerry email accounts.
The declaration was produced in response to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit seeking to force Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to take steps to “recover emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton” and other U.S. Department of State employees (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Rex Tillerson (No. 1:15-cv-00785)). The lawsuit was originally filed against then-Secretary of State John Kerry. The Trump State Department filing includes details of the agency’s continuing refusal to refer the Clinton email issue to the Justice Department, as the law requires.
According to this new information, however, the DoJ did take some action. The FBI got subpoenas from a grand jury to get records from Hillary’s Blackberry accounts at some time in 2016, which JW’s release claims was specifically investigating Hillary. However, those subpoenas turned up nothing new:
In the filing Priestap declares under penalty of perjury that the FBI “obtained Grand Jury subpoenas related to the Blackberry e-mail accounts, which produced no responsive materials, as the requested data was outside the retention time utilized by those providers.”
In other words, the delay strategy was successful.
As recently as last November, critics of the DoJ’s actions regarding the Clinton administration cited a refusal to empanel a grand jury as one of the-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s major failings (although hardly the only one). If Judicial Watch accurately reports the data in these documents (not included in the press release), then it appears that either the DoJ did take its case to a grand jury, or that they had another reason to have a grand jury look into Hillary’s activities.
Expect this to be covered nonstop by MSNBC et al. Not.

Experience . . .

Fish Pic Friday - Mahi-Mahi

Darcizzle with a pretty one
This week's fish goes by a lot of names, but at least Mahi-Mahi is generally understood.
The mahi-mahi (/ˈmɑːhiːˈmɑːhiː/) or common dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Also widely called dorado and dolphin, it is one of two members of the Coryphaenidae family, the other being the pompano dolphinfish. Mahi means very strong in Hawaiian.
Luiza with a big bull
A remarkably beautiful fish whose colors fade rapidly after it's been caught.
The name mahimahi means very strong in Hawaiian. In other languages, the fish is known as dorade coryphène, dorado, dolphin, lampuga, llampuga, lampuka, lampuki, rakingo, calitos, ti-rone or maverikos.

The common English name of dolphin causes much confusion. Additionally, two species of dolphinfish exist, the common dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) and the pompano dolphinfish (Coryphaena equiselis). Both these species are commonly marketed by their Pacific name, mahi-mahi. Being fish, they are not related to dolphins. See Coryphaena for the possible etymologies of "dolphinfish".
Brooke took this one out of the cooler

The fish is called mahi-mahi in the Hawaiian language, and "mahi mahi" is commonly used elsewhere.

In the Pacific and along the English speaking coast of South Africa they are also commonly called by the Spanish name, Dorado. In the Mediterranean island of Malta, this fish is referred to as the lampuka.

Linnaeus named the genus, derived from the Greek word, κορυφή, koryphe, meaning top or apex, in 1758. Synonyms for the species include Coryphaena argyrurus, Coryphaena chrysurus and Coryphaena dolfyn.
Nope, I've never caught one.

Wombat-socho is back on schedule with "Rule 5 Sunday: Formal Affairs."

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Good Sign: Bay Grasses Up Again

Underwater grasses up 8%; acreage is highest in decades
Underwater grasses, one of the most closely watched indicators of Chesapeake Bay health, surged to the highest levels seen in decades, according to survey results for 2016.

This is the second straight year that grasses have set a record.

Nearly 100,000 acres of the Bay’s and its tidal tributaries were covered by the underwater meadows, which provide habitat for juvenile fish and blue crabs, as well as food for waterfowl.

That was an 8 percent increase over 2015, and more than twice what was in the Bay just four years ago. “It was an impressive year following a previously impressive year and we are at numbers that we’ve not seen — ever,” said Bob Orth, an underwater grass expert with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science who oversees the annual aerial survey, which began 33 years ago.
 I would hate to be overly optimistic, but my feeling that the bay has turned a corner (for the better) is being reinforced. I'll be fishing on the Eastern Shore Saturday, and maybe we'll see some.

Zombie Obamacare Schadenfreude

Like a zombie, it rises from the grave, and keeps killing: Judge Rejects North Carolina Blue's $130M ACA Program Claim 
A federal judge dealt a major blow to a health insurer's attempt to recoup millions of dollars it says it is owed under an Affordable Care Act program designed to incentivize insurer participation in the ACA public exchange program.

Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit brought last June by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. The company had accused the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of failing to make good on its obligation to pay nearly $130 million under the ACA risk corridors program.

The opinion further widens the divide among Claims Court rulings addressing the issue of the federal government's nonpayment of risk corridor funds.
You fucked up, you trusted them. In an effort to keep people confused, the Trump administration succeeds:  White House commits to ObamaCare subsidies … for now; Update: Or not?

Is this Ivanka's fault or just left over Obama appointees in Justice? Trump administration to defend contraception mandate required under Affordable Care Act Contraception is a good idea, but mandates are not. Obamacare tax delay unlikely in government funding bill. Time to stop polishing this turd.  As if we didn't already have reasons to distrust the UN, they think repealing Obamacare could violate international law, but even Dana Milbank is dubious:
Though of questionable legal value, the U.N. letter is at least a bit of moral support for those defending Obamacare. Those attempting to deny health care to tens of millions of Americans would hurt their own constituents in a way that falls short of the standards we hold for ourselves and other countries.
But enough about the old failing Obamacare, what about the Republican attempt to repeal and replace?  White House Still Pressing to Hold Obamacare Vote This Week, but more likely in early May. Trump: 'Doesn't matter' if healthcare vote is next week I agree. Who cares about 10 square days?  But do it soon. Obamacare Cost-Sharing Subsidies Will Not Be Part of the Deal Republicans Make to Keep Democrats From Shutting the Government Down, Ryan Claims:
John Sexton explains what cost-sharing subsidies are: Direct payments to insurance companies
Cost-sharing reduction payments are separate from the subsidies used to lower the cost of insurance premiums for people buying Obamacare plans on the exchanges (those who make under 400% of the federal poverty line). CSRs are additional payments made directly to insurers to lower out-of-pocket costs including copayments and annual deductibles. However, the way the law is written means that insurers must discount those items for people at the low end of the income scale whether or not they are receiving the money to cover it from the federal government. So if the CSRs are cut off, as Democrats worry the Trump administration made decide to do, insurers will be losing, even more on the exchanges than they already are.
Insurers are mandated to offer discounts to the poor, Sexton reports, so the cost-sharing subsidies are really just a gimmicky rigged game to try to disguise the fact that yes, you are subsidizing other people for their insurance. The government taxes you, the government orders insurers to lower costs for the poor, the government taxes you more and gives some money to the insurers.

Without the subsidies, the insurance companies will lose money even faster.
Evidence you can't fool all of the people all of the time, Poll: 50 Percent Have Little to No Confidence in GOP Health-Care Push. Experience suggests this is wise. But this time they'll get it right, right? House, White House considering Friday health care vote. Hey, that's tomorrow! So what's different this time? They got the Freedom Caucus on board: Changes to GOP ObamaCare repeal flips some conservatives, but of course, that means they could lose so-called moderates: Trump’s Health Care Bill Won Over The Freedom Caucus — But Risks Losing Everyone ElseThe Hill's Whip List: 19 GOP no votes on new ObamaCare bill. New House Health Repeal Bill Is Already Losing The SenateCentrist Republicans face growing pressure on Obamacare repealTo rephrase the immortal words of Will Rogers. "I belong to no organized political party; I'm a Republican". House leadership now open to changes to the AHCA after learning new info about EHBs/the reconciliation process, per leadership aide. Rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules!

Wombat-socho is back on schedule with "Rule 5 Sunday: Formal Affairs" and "FMJRA 2.0: The Way It Is".

Reason #5530 That Trump Was Elected

The celebrity media complex. Let's go to Ace: Media Now Whining That Trump Is Holding Rally on Night of "#NerdProm," Thus Keeping Some Reporters From Attending
White House correspondents would have to cover a White House-related event.

They had wanted to spend #NerdPromNight sipping other people's champagne and eating other people's caviar.

Now the Bad Man is making them work.

And make them miss all the side boob! The horror!

Progress in Human History

I think I saw her in Walmart last week
A few interesting items in the older history of the human race. First, this news that the Indonesian Hobbit, Homo floresiensis, was probably a more distant relative of humans than we might have thought: Origins of 'hobbit' species discovered
Scientists have discovered the origins of a short, ancient species of human nicknamed 'hobbits' due to their small stature, putting to rest several other theories that had been hotly debated ever since its discovery.

Homo floresiensis stood at an average height of three feet and six inches. Fossils from the species were found on the island of Flores in Indonesia in 2003.

One popular theory about its origins was that the species evolved to a smaller size from the taller Homo erectus, which has been found on nearby Java in Indonesia.

Another theory was that it wasn't a new species at all but an early human ancestor with some kind of genetic disorder — possibly Down Syndrome.

But new research by Dr. Debbie Argue from the Australian National University in Canberra, and published in the Journal of Human Evolution, has determined that Homo floresiensis is its own distinct species with roots dating back 1.75 million years.

Argue and her team studied 133 different characteristics of the Homo floresiensis skull, jaw, teeth, shoulders, legs and arms, and compared them to all other known hominid species.
I'd feel better about it if this were DNA evidence, but that's a lot to ask at this point. Even if they got good DNA from an H. floresiensis tooth or bone (and I'm sure they're trying), where would they get H. habilis DNA to compare it to? It's remarkable enough that they have good DNA from the Neandertals and Denisovans, much more recent.

They found that it's a long-surviving cousin of Homo habilis, an early human ancestor with roots in Africa. None of their tests yielded evidence to support the theory that Homo floresiensis evolved from Homo erectus.

"These two species are most likely to have shared a unique common ancestor that was not shared with any other species in our analysis," she said. "But [Homo floresiensis] lived half a world away, and is separated in time by maybe two million years."

Argue says one of the most interesting things about the species is that it lived until about 54,000 years ago — which is very recent, evolutionarily speaking.
Apparently, the little guys and gals were pretty successful in their own little world, and hung around a long time on the Indonesian  archipelagos. I suspect that when they really start looking around they'll find more relatives. They clearly overlapped with a number of other primitive humans, Homo erectus, Denisovans, and Neandertals and modern Homo sapiens to name a few.

Moving forward a few tens of thousands of years, Ancient humans may have reached Americas 100,000 years earlier than thought
In a provocative and controversial claim, scientists say a scattering of bones and stones suggests ancestral humans reached the New World more than 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Most genetic and archaeological evidence shows humans first entered the Americas some 15,000 years ago. But a study nearly 25 years in the making in this week’s Nature finds that the 130,000-year-old bones of a mastodon, an extinct relative of the mammoth, unearthed in California were split open with blows from rocks. Rocks discovered near the bones bear the hallmarks of use as hammers, the scientists report.

The smashed bones may have been the handiwork of a Neanderthal, the scientists say, or the more ancient human relative called Homo erectus, or even our own species, Homo sapiens.

“We are making a claim that’s kind of out there,” acknowledges study co-author Daniel Fisher of the University of Michigan. “We have had to toil over years to make sure we have considered every angle.”
Again, if true, this really revolutionizes our ideas of how the Americas were colonized. Did Neandertals or even Homo erectus get there across Beringia during a previous glaciation? Did they muck around on the continent long enough to bump into (and interbreed) with the proto-Amerindians? Cool if it happened. I'd be much happier with this if there were actual hominid bones to go with it, but I wouldn't expect them to bury their dead with their dinner.

Finally, moving to (almost) civilized man, some scientists are claiming that one of the earliest stone monuments of man, via Dieneke's Blog:  Younger Dryas comet impact encoded in Göbekli Tepe?
We have interpreted much of the symbolism of Göbekli Tepe in terms of astronomical events. By matching low-relief carvings on some of the pillars at Göbekli Tepe to star asterisms we find compelling evidence that the famous ‘Vulture Stone’ is a date stamp for 10950 BC ± 250 yrs, which corresponds closely to the proposed Younger Dryas event, estimated at 10890 BC. We also find evidence that a key function of Göbekli Tepe was to observe meteor showers and record cometary encounters. Indeed, the people of Göbekli Tepe appear to have had a special interest in the Taurid meteor stream, the same meteor stream that is proposed as responsible for the Younger-Dryas event. Is Göbekli Tepe the ‘smoking gun’ for the Younger-Dryas cometary encounter, and hence for coherent catastrophism? Link (pdf)
I looked at the link, and you have to give them bonus points for creativity. Their interpretations of ancient star maps carved in stone are interesting, but not convincing. But they get double bonus by combining it with the Younger Dryas cooling event.

Wombat-socho is back on schedule with "Rule 5 Sunday: Formal Affairs".

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Chesapeake Oysters Reveal Long Standing Water Quality Problems

I know that dock
Oyster shells show evidence of early human pollution of Chesapeake Bay
Studying oyster shells dating back to 1250 BC, researchers found a dramatic increase in nitrogen content that began in the early 1800s and increased almost exponentially until present day. That timeline corresponds what is known about human activities in the Chesapeake Bay region at that time: dramatic increases in population, agriculture and forest clearing. While American Indians altered their environment and contributed to higher nitrogen levels in the water, the effects were local. Beginning in the 17th century, an influx of European colonizers led to an increase in agriculture and forest clearing— but it wasn’t until the 19th century that human effects began to dramatically alter nitrogen levels in oysters.

Industrialization and population increases in the 1800s left their mark on the Chesapeake Bay. Between 1830 and 1880, the area’s population tripled. As a result, over 80 percent of forests surrounding the Bay were cleared for farming and development. Plowing and erosion increased the amount of sewage and sediment entering the water, increasing nitrogen levels in the water as well. Oyster populations also declined, thus limiting the ability of the Bay to filter out this influx of pollution.
That was the period when, having mined out the oysters of Long Island Sound and the surrounding areas, the fishermen moved to Chesapeake Bay to continue their rape and pillage.

A second article  Oysters hold secrets to Chesapeake Bay’s past identifies the FIU graduate student who conducted the study, Heather Black.

I do wonder about the preservation of the nitrogen in the really old oyster shells.

Reason #5529 That Trump Was Elected

Trump wants a review of national monuments
President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order Wednesday directing his interior secretary to review the designation of tens of millions of acres of land as “national monuments,” an action that could upend protections put in place in Utah and other states as Trump tries to rack up accomplishments in his first 100 days.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the president to declare federal lands as monuments and restrict how the lands can be used.

“The executive order will direct me as the secretary to review prior monument designations and to suggest legislative changes or modifications to the monuments,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters at the White House Tuesday evening.

While Zinke acknowledged criticism that the act has been over-used by past presidents, he insisted he’d approach the topic with an open mind.

“I’m not going to predispose what the outcome is going to be,” he said.

Former President Barack Obama infuriated Utah Republicans when he created the Bears Ears National Monument in late December on more than 1 million acres of land that’s sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings.
Doing the math to more useful units, that roughly 2,100 square miles. That's not a monument, that's a state. Rhode Island is only 1,200 square miles.
Republicans in the state said it was an egregious abuse of executive power and have asked Trump to take the unusual step of reversing the designation, arguing it will stymie growth by closing the area to new commercial and energy development. The Antiquities Act does not give the president explicit power to undo a designation and no president has ever taken such a step.
It's the liberal ratchet; power (and land) that they grab can never be undone. Liberal judges will try to see to that.
But Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said that if Trump truly wants to make America great again, he should use the Antiquities Act to protect and conserve America’s public lands. In New Mexico, Obama’s designation of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument have preserved important lands while boosting the economy, Heinrich said, a story that has been repeated across the country.
May I suggest Manhattan?

Orin Hatch: It’s time to undo the federal land grab of Bears Ears

Why Isn't This "Cultural Appropriation"?

Nordstrom's Sells Faux Muddy Jeans for $425 a pair: 

Off to Mike Rowe, of "Dirty Jobs" fame for comment. Jeans made to look like you Work Hard so you don’t have to:
This morning, for your consideration, I offer further proof that our country’s war on work continues to rage in all corners of polite society. Behold the latest assault from Nordstrom’s. The “Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans.”
Finally – a pair of jeans that look like they have been worn by someone with a dirty job…made for people who don’t. And you can have your very own pair for just $425.00.
And what do you get for this ridiculous sum?
Here’s the official description, from their website.

“These heavily distressed medium-blue denim jeans embody rugged, Americana workwear that’s seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.”
On the positive side, Nordstrom’s isn’t purging their shelves of work-related imagery, like the owners of Monopoly did when they replaced the wheelbarrow with a rubber ducky. They seem to value icons work. What they don’t value – obviously – is authenticity.
As they say, if you can fake authenticity, you fake anything.

I understand the appeal of buying broken-in jeans. I mean really, who has time these days to wait for a pair of jeans to naturally fade? I also understand the different cuts. Might as well get something that fits and feels comfortable. But they lost me years ago with their various stages of “distress.” The stone wash and the acid wash the rinsed wash and the bleached wash… And they really lost me when they started tearing holes in them on purpose.

I saw a pair of jeans at Macy’s the other day that looked like they’d been bathed in boric acid, hung up and shot multiple times with a twelve-gauge, and then pounded on a rock down by the river. They too, were on sale, for $249.00.
That's a lot of work, and ammunition and boric acid ain't cheap. Muriatic acid (HCl) is much more effective.
But forget the jeans themselves for a moment, and their price, and look again at the actual description. “Rugged Americana” is now synonymous with a “caked-on, muddy coating.” Not real mud. Fake mud. Something to foster the illusion of work. The illusion of effort. Or perhaps, for those who actually buy them, the illusion of sanity.
Muddy clothes for people who hate mud.
The Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans aren’t pants. They’re not even fashion. They’re a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic – not iconic. To them, might I suggest the revolutionary new “Borax Wash,” which I discovered some years ago while rescuing birds who had the misfortune of falling into Searle’s Lake in the lovely and picturesque town of Trona. . .
The title of this post is a silly question, of course. It's not cultural appropriation when you steal a thing associated with working white people., Although the four El Salvadorans working in my garage today should be able to get a more than days wages just by selling the jeans they wore today. And they could start over fresh tomorrow.

Wombat-socho is back on schedule with "Rule 5 Sunday: Formal Affairs."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Professors Behaving Badly

Report: Police Investigating Eric Clanton in Berkeley ‘Anti-Fascist’ Attack
Last week, Diablo Valley College instructor Eric Clanton was accused of being the masked anarchist who used a heavy bicycle lock to smash the head of a Trump supporter at an April 15 Berkeley rally.

Now the Golden Gate Xpress, a student newspaper at San Francisco State University, has confirmed that Berkeley police are investigating Clanton, and the interim president of Diablo Community College has issued an email statement: “The adjunct faculty member that has been alleged to have committed this crime is NOT currently teaching at DVC.”

An editorial in the Diablo Valley College student newspaper complains:
National news networks from all the way from Florida to New York were calling DVC offices for an explanation or a confirmation of the internet witch-hunting allegations. . . .
4chan is notorious for their past as internet renegades who pride themselves as witch-hunting investigators hunting through the internet looking for clue to unravel internet anonymity. . . .
However, this style of investigating in the open also removes the private and personal aspect to an investigation.
What if the person being targeted had nothing to do with this event? Their reputation has been tarnished without any due process.
What happened to being innocent until proven guilty? Instead, one is guilty until proven innocent.
When did the Left suddenly discover this concern for due process? Too bad leftists weren’t worried about due process when feminist witch-hunters were destroying male students in what K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor have called The Campus Rape Frenzy. Oh, but the Obama administration and Democrats approved of denying students due process in those cases, whereas in the case of masked thugs committing violence against Trump supporters, Democrats find themselves on the other side of the “due process” argument. The inconsistency of the Left in such matters exposes the crude partisanship of their politics, which is based on a blind hatred of Republicans, and which justifies any means of advancing the Democrat Party agenda. One can defend due process (and abhor vigilantism) while at the same time recognizing that citizens attempting to identify a masked criminal are on the side of truth and justice . . .
If true, he's certainly unfit to teach students, except maybe in California. If he's lucky he won't be the person who brings a bicycle chain to a gun fight.

Having Killed Coal, Greenies Go After Gas

Now that coal has been toppled from its perch as America’s biggest source of power, environmentalists are ready to move on down the fossil fuel list and tackle what they perceive as another enemy of the planet: natural gas. Bloomberg reports:
U.S. environmentalists have vowed to go after gas-fired power plants with the same vengeance they’ve used to force the retirements of hundreds of coal facilities. Even coal miners are warning their fossil fuel kin to beware. Gas producers “will be next on the list of the industries to be destroyed,” says Robert Murray, chief executive officer of U.S. coal miner Murray Energy Corp.
This is a farce, if for no other reason than because natural gas—not environmentalist lobbying or renewables—is responsible for dethroning Old King Coal. A flood of cheap shale gas has been outcompeting coal on price, and this past year the hydrocarbon supplied 33.8 percent of America’s electricity, more than any other source. To put that in perspective, coal made up 30.4 percent of our power production, while wind and solar contributed just 5.6 and 0.9 percent, respectively.
As seen above, the demise of coal is much more in the news than in reality. Natural gas has barely passed it as the largest source of electric power, largely through the work of fracking, and it's a damn good thing, because gas is cleaner, easier to transport, and now, cheaper.Win win. Sorry coal miners, if you can't sell coal, learn to work on a fracking rig.

Governor Cuomo of New York is well ahead on the plan: Cuomo’s war on pipelines is crushing New York’s economy. How is that working out for New York?
When Team Cuomo blocked a gas pipeline this month, and another last year, we warned of the fallout. A new report out Monday puts a price tag on such bans — and points out what’s really going on.

The study, by the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, found that the Northeast (New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) is paying more for natural gas, losing tens of thousands of jobs and emitting more greenhouse gases than necessary thanks to “self-imposed” local “pipeline constraints.”

The projected loss to the region by 2020 adds up to 78,400 jobs and nearly $7.6 billion in economic activity and “the displacement of $4.4 billion in labor income.” New York alone would see $1.6 billion less in state GDP and the loss of 17,400 jobs. Youch.

Already, Northeasterners shell out 29 percent more for gas than the US average and 44 percent more for electricity. Industrial customers pay twice the national gas average — and 62 percent more for power.

The reason: lack of enough gas pipelines, says the study. It cites a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report that blames bottlenecks in the region’s distribution network for the high prices. A study by the nonprofit North American Electric Reliability Corporation echoed that finding.
I'm of two minds on this. New York has every right to elect an idiot as governor (goodness knows we in Maryland do it fairly routinely). As far as I'm concerned, the voters in New York City, can pay through the nose, or freeze in the dark. However, as usual, the rural residents of New York State are being deprived of good jobs, and being subjected to higher prices so the urban elite can virtue signal. Meanwhile: Fracking isn't contaminating groundwater, study finds:
A major anti-fracking argument by environmentalists may not have the facts to back it up, a new study conducted by Duke University found.

Fracking has not contaminated groundwater in northwestern West Virginia, according to the peer-reviewed study published this month in a European journal.

“Based on consistent evidence from comprehensive testing, we found no indication of groundwater contamination over the three-year course of our study,” explained Avner Vengosh, the professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

The growing industry could help create as many as 3.5 million jobs by 2035, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Studies keep finding this, and anti-fracking activists keep ignoring them. What, do they hate science or something?

They don't love the environment. They hate people.

There's Something About Those Names - Part II

MD DNR seize hundreds of Illegal Striped Bass
Continued enforcement at Fishing Creek Bridge in Dorchester County and the Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park in Talbot County this week resulted in 24 people receiving citations and 213 striped bass being seized.

On Sunday just after midnight, officers seized 83 striped bass from a vehicle leaving Fishing Creek Bridge and charged four men.
Striped Bass Regulations for March 1
through 3rd Friday in April
The area of the Bay where the Fishing Creek Bridge is located is currently closed to Striped Bass fishing to protect the spawning stocks, many of which are passing through the area this time of year.
Julio Mauricio Baquedano Moran, 22, of Greensboro, North Carolina; Luis Galeano Baquedano, 18, of Silver Spring; Samuel Nolasco Pacheco, 33, of Lanham; and Javier Reyes, 33, of Mount Ranier, were each charged with possessing undersized striped bass, possessing striped bass in a prohibited area, a possessing fish over the limit and possessing striped bass outside the legal time. Each charge carries a maximum fine of $1,500.

At about the same time, another vehicle was stopped leaving the bridge with 12 striped bass inside and the three occupants were charged with three fishing violations each: Ivan Alexis Interiano Gladamez, 21, of Germantown and Natividad Interiano Gladamez, 44 and Hermilo Sanchez Bentra, 24, both of Gaithersburg.

On Monday at about 3:30 a.m., officers stopped a vehicle leaving the bridge and found numerous fish in a cooler. The driver was instructed to pull off at a safer area so that citations could be written. As the vehicle drove to the area, someone began throwing fish from the passenger-side window.
Striped Bass Regulations for 3rd
Saturday in April through May 3
That would have been a sight to see.
Manuel Barahona Cruz, 33, of Temple Hill and Angie Campos Avila, 31, of Alexandria, Virginia, were each charged with possessing undersized striped bass, possessing striped bass in a prohibited area, a possessing fish over the limit. Cruz also was charged with possessing striped bass outside the legal hours.

Twenty-three striped bass were seized from a second vehicle containing Moises DeJesus Majano Canales, 36 and Maria Yohana Barahona Cruz, 34, both of Oxon Hill. Canales received four citations for illegal fishing and Cruz received three.

About the same time, officers charged five men and seized 62 striped bass as they left the bridge. Daniel Escobar Alvarado, 33, Ana Cuellar Jimenez, 42, Genesis Ivania Cuellar, 22 and Jose Roberto Medrano, 20 and John Bradak Medrano Canales, 27, of Temple Hill, each received four citations.

On Saturday night just before midnight, officers stopped a vehicle with five Silver Spring passengers and found 26 striped bass inside. Hector Samuel Martenez Carpio, 37, Esvin Leonel Najera Bueco, 22, Edinson Leonel Bueco Luch, 22, Ferdy Misael Bueco Luch, 24 and Raul Antonio Bueco Berganza, 28, each received three citations for illegal fishing.

All 21 defendants are scheduled to appear in Dorchester County District Court July 19. The maximum fine for each charge is $1,500.
This is the second time recently that large numbers of illegally caught Striped Bass have been found in the possession of a contingent of people with Hispanic surnames in the same area. Clearly the site has become quite well known as a good place to poach rockfish.

I don't know how many of them are US citizens, or even legal immigrants, but it's clear they come from a culture that doesn't value it's resources, or particularly respect the laws of this country. If they're illegal aliens or even green card holders they should face deportation. But how many of them do you think will actually show up for trial?

Reason #5528 That Trump Was Elected

Freed Egyptian American prisoner returns home following Trump intervention
An Egyptian American charity worker who was imprisoned in Cairo for three years and became the global face of Egypt’s brutal crackdown on civil society returned home to the United States late Thursday after the Trump administration quietly negotiated her release.

President Trump and his aides worked for several weeks with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to secure the freedom of Aya Hijazi, 30, a U.S. citizen, as well as her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, who is Egyptian, and four other humanitarian workers. Trump dispatched a U.S. government aircraft to Cairo to bring Hijazi and her family to Washington.

Hijazi, who grew up in Falls Church, Va., and graduated from George Mason University, was working in Cairo with the Belady Foundation, which she and her husband established as a haven and rehabilitation center for street children in Cairo.

The couple and their co-workers had been incarcerated since May 1, 2014, on child abuse and trafficking charges that were widely dismissed by human rights workers and U.S. officials as false. Virtually no evidence was ever presented against them, and for nearly three years they were held as hearings were inexplicably postponed and trial dates canceled. Human rights groups alleged that they were abused in detention.
Trump rescued an American Muslim? But I thought he hated Muslims!

Liberal critics (that's you WaPo) were quick to criticize Trump for making concessions Egyptian tyrant President al-Sissi.
It was not until Trump moved to reset U.S. relations with Egypt by embracing Sissi at the White House on April 3 — he publicly hailed the autocrat’s leadership as “fantastic” and offered the U.S. government’s “strong backing” — that Egypt’s posture changed. Last Sunday, a court in Cairo dropped all charges against Hijazi and the others.
Hey, it's not like he dropped off a few billion in unmarked small American bills, or sent 5 Gitmo prisoners home to kill again. One theory on how he got them back? He asked . . .

Morning Music - "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

Mona and Lisa, the MonaLisa Twins:

Wombat-socho is back on schedule with "Rule 5 Sunday: Formal Affairs."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Good For Him!

Alexandria waterfront from the Potomac River
McAuliffe signs bill forcing faster replacement of Alexandria sewers
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a controversial bill Friday that forces Alexandria to move faster than it planned to replace Old Town’s 200-year-old combined sewers, which dump runoff and sewage into the Potomac River after rainstorms.

The statute, pushed by lawmakers from several downstream districts, demands that the city replace the sewers at all four of its overflow sites by 2025.

Alexandria had planned to address the three outfalls that flow into Hunting Creek first, leaving work on the biggest outlet, at Oronoco Bay, until the mid-2030s or later.

But environmentalists, local residents and some legislators raised an outcry, arguing that the city should move faster on what is expected to be an expensive and disruptive project, with local tax and fee increases set to rise later this year to help pay for it.

One legislator wanted to penalize Alexandria by stripping all state funding from the city if it didn’t replace the sewers by 2021.
I'm really tired of governments refusing to do their share of clean up, on the grounds that they can't afford it, an excuse government rarely accepts from individuals or business.

Scientists Behaving Badly

The journal Tumor Biology is retracting 107 research papers after discovering that the authors faked the peer review process. This isn’t the journal’s first rodeo. Late last year, 58 papers were retracted from seven different journals— 25 came from Tumor Biology for the same reason.

It’s possible to fake peer review because authors are often asked to suggest potential reviewers for their own papers. This is done because research subjects are often blindingly niche; a researcher working in a sub-sub-field may be more aware than the journal editor of who is best-placed to assess the work.

But some journals go further and request, or allow, authors to submit the contact details of these potential reviewers. If the editor isn’t aware of the potential for a scam, they then merrily send the requests for review out to fake e-mail addresses, often using the names of actual researchers. And at the other end of the fake e-mail address is someone who’s in on the game and happy to send in a friendly review.
I would like to point out that the same practice occurs with grant reviews. Even NSF requests you submit a list of likely reviewers, and even a list of people you believe couldn't review it fairly. I would hope they would vet those reviewers better than a journal would, since the granting programs have paid staff to do the work, but I'm not sure the same scam wouldn't work occasionally.
Fake peer reviewers often “know what a review looks like and know enough to make it look plausible,” said Elizabeth Wager, editor of the journal Research Integrity & Peer Review. But they aren’t always good at faking less obvious quirks of academia: “When a lot of the fake peer reviews first came up, one of the reasons the editors spotted them was that the reviewers responded on time,” Wager told Ars. Reviewers almost always have to be chased, so “this was the red flag. And in a few cases, both the reviews would pop up within a few minutes of each other.”
Now that's funny. They were busted because, in real life, real scientists are too busy to want to do many reviews, even though they know that the system requires them to function. So, to have three or four reviews come in on time without having to be nagged would be unheard of in any journal I ever published in or reviewed for.
It’s not always the authors providing the reviews. "There is some evidence that so-called third-party language-editing services play a role in manipulating the reviewing process,” said a spokesperson for Springer, the company that published Tumor Biology until this year. Scientists who work in a language other than English may use editing services to polish their papers before submitting to a journal, and some of these services can be unethical and predatory, says Wager.
Articles from foreign authors can be a bear to review. The English is often bad, and when it's not bad it's usually very stilted. I tried to make a point of trying to overlook it. I can easily imagine a "paper polishing" business turn into a "get it published by any means necessary" affair.