Friday, June 30, 2017

Quickie Obamacare Schadenfreude

That was quick. It's coming fast and loose, just like the good old Gruber days.

Scenes From The Collapse: Another Ohio Insurer Bails Out Of ObamaCare, and Obamacare Is Killing PeopleMissed It By That Much – The Obamacare Enrollee Lie. Lesson, don't believe enrollment projections from the CBO.

Via Wombate-socho's "In The Mailbox: 06.29.17"Remember When 93 Million Health Care Plans Could Be Canceled? Things are rarely as good, or as bad, as they seem. and Just So You Realize The Senate Healthcare Bill Is Going To Pass. Yeah, maybe. BETRAYED! McConnell & Senate GOP Put The Penalty Back In Healthcare Bill!

When Ted Cruz, GOP saw troubled future of Obamacare repeal. You don't need to be Nostradamus to predict that repealing a give away is going to be hard.  Poll: Plurality Of Americans Supports Single-Payer Health Care, But… it depends on how you ask the question. 27% Favor Senate GOP Health-Care Plan. See above.

Ben Sasse proposes to Repeal ObamaCare Next Month And Replace It In August. I'd be OK with that.

The serious. Enough about Medicaid. What about the rest of us? "Why did we have to destroy the entire market just to expand Medicaid?"

Laslo Spatula said...

""Prostitutes: Senate health care bill will devastate us." Prostitutes!"

Angry Hooker With No Health Care says...

What is wrong with you people? What the Hell am I supposed to do without Government Health Care? You think my Pimp offers insurance benefits? You think my chlamydia is going to cure itself...?

Sure, I can go to the drug store and buy Monistat® 7, but that over-the-counter shit don't work a damn on my yeast infections anymore! I get the yeast infections REAL bad, people! Trust me, you DO NOT want me sitting on your bus seat before you, I tell you that...

Without Health Care I can't get my anal fissures fixed, much less my anus bleached! No one wants a hooker that doesn't bleach her anus anymore! Make America Great Again? How about Make My Asshole Great Again, okay...?

Is that what you want, America? You want prostitutes with swampy-ass vagina infections and ugly stained assholes? Hell, I won't even get into the costs of the vaginal reconstructive surgery I'm gonna need in a few years...!

All I'm gonna say, America, is -- when all your men are walking around with their dicks about to fall off -- don't blame me: my vagina is getting RIPE...!

And -- while we're at it -- can't we get the Government to fucking cure Herpes? This Herpes Shit HURTS...!

I am Laslo.

DOJ Declares Treaty with Redskins

Justice Department gives up Washington Redskins name fight
The Justice Department is giving up the legal fight over the name of the Washington Redskins.

In a letter to a federal appeals court, the department said last week's Supreme Court decision in Matal v. Tam in favor of an Asian-American band calling itself the Slants means the NFL team will prevail in a legal battle to cancel the team's trademarks because the name is disparaging to Native Americans.
I covered the decision previously in "High Court Rules for the Redskins" It was a unanimous decision, shocking only in the sensibility of the liberal faction.
"Consistent with Tam, the Court should reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Pro-Football," Mark Freeman, an attorney for the Justice Department's civil division, wrote to the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Redskins case had been on hold in the federal appeals court while the Slants decision was rendered. The Supreme Court found that Simon Tam could trademark the Slants as the name of his Asian-American rock band because it would be unconstitutional for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to discriminate against it, citing the First Amendment's free speech protection. The justices were unanimous in saying the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes free speech rights.
So, to allow Tam to trademark the name, and deny Snyder would clearly be viewpoint discrimination, which, while widely practiced in the federal government, needs to be at least subtly hidden.
Redskins' owner Dan Snyder said last week he was "thrilled" by the Supreme Court's ruling, and lawyer Lisa Blatt said it resolves the team's dispute and vindicated its position. Snyder has refused to change the name despite intense public pressure, saying in the past that the name "represents honor, respect and pride" for Native Americans.
Now if the team can just win a few more games.

Wombat-socho chimes in with "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: All-American Catgirl".

So, Which is It?

Contrasting headlines in the Chesapeake Bay News feed today:

The Baltimore (Md.) Sun - Feds don't care about clean water so now it's up to us
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Vice President Kim Coble is correct: States and localities not only should but must have their own plans for maintaining clean water – especially when a president like the one currently in office doesn’t have a clue (“Trump administration moves to withdraw clean-water rule,” June 27). Our president’s vow to rescind certain clean water actions is being described as federal overreach. In truth, President Donald Trump is being short-sighted as usual but he is not preventing us from doing what we know we must do. Maryland will continue to clean up the bay watershed and reap the benefits.
I agree with that, at least in part. Local, county and state jurisdictions should keep their own messes cleaned up, using their own money to the greatest extent possible. Now compare that to:

ABC 47 (Salisbury, Md.) WMDT - TV - Maryland senators announce $4.6M in federal funding for Chesapeake Bay

U.S Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen announced $4.66 million in federal funding for the Chesapeake Bay, given by several U.S Environmental Protection Agency grants, on Thursday afternoon.

Officials say that the EPA is the top federal partner in a multi-agency efforts that supports regional execution of programs that help a healthier Chesapeake Bay.

Officials said that the Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure and an economic engine for Maryland and the region.
• $4.01 million will go towards assisting the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to create a Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant program.
• $536,808 will go towards assisting the Chesapeake Research Consortium Inc. in supporting the outcomes and goals of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
• $61,017 will go towards assisting the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, which offers data management and analysis services to the Chesapeake Bay Program and produces accessible water quality and biological monitoring data and information that help science-based decision-making.
• $54,100 will go towards assisting the Chesapeake Stormwater Network Inc. in giving technical information to local, state, and federal stormwater managers to push the implementation of the most cost-effective nutrient and sediment load reduction practices at existing development, new development, and redevelopment sites
Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee says, "These grants represent a federal investment in the Chesapeake Bay and the countless locally-owned businesses, watermen and farmers whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Bay. It is precisely why I just led a bipartisan bill reauthorizing the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program: it funds projects like these, which are absolutely critical for the Bay's health and our region's economic growth. A healthy Bay means a healthy economy. I'll keep fighting to ensure the Chesapeake Bay Program is fully funded in the 2018 budget."
That doesn't sound like neglect.

Nuclear Cleaner Than Solar?

Waste From Solar Panels: 300 Times That of Nuclear Power
Last November, Japan’s Environment Ministry issued a stark warning: the amount of solar panel waste Japan produces every year will rise from 10,000 to 800,000 tons by 2040, and the nation has no plan for safely disposing of it.

Neither does California, a world leader in deploying solar panels. Only Europe requires solar panel makers to collect and dispose of solar waste at the end of their lives.

All of which begs the question: just how big of a problem is solar waste?

Environmental Progress investigated the problem to see how the problem compared to the much more high-profile issue of nuclear waste.

We found:
  • Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants.
  • If solar and nuclear produce the same amount of electricity over the next 25 years that nuclear produced in 2016, and the wastes are stacked on football fields, the nuclear waste would reach the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (52 meters), while the solar waste would reach the height of two Mt. Everests (16 km).
  • In countries like China, India, and Ghana, communities living near e-waste dumps often burn the waste in order to salvage the valuable copper wires for resale. Since this process requires burning off the plastic, the resulting smoke contains toxic fumes that are carcinogenic and teratogenic (birth defect-causing) when inhaled.
The study defines as toxic waste the spent fuel assemblies from nuclear plants and the solar panels themselves, which contain similar heavy metals and toxins as other electronics, such as computers and smartphones.
There is, however, a distinct difference between the properties of the nuclear waste and the solar panel waste. The radioactivity of fresh waste from a reactor is intense, and it can be deadly to spend even a few minutes near unshielded waste. The toxic properties of the metals and plastics in solar waste won't jump out to kill you. The intense radiation fades after a few years, and the waste can be handled with some reasonable precautions.

I'm a supporter of nuclear power but making an assertion like this without this qualification is misleading at best.

However, it is useful to help point out that nuclear power produces the best steady source of power with the least environmental footprint.

Wombat-socho chimes in with "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: All-American Catgirl".

Just a Reminder

Harvard Is Decadent and Depraved - Actually, I think the lesson here is that Harvard doesn't believe in hates  freedom of speech; but them we already knew that.
Harvard College rescinded admissions offers to at least ten prospective members of the Class of 2021 after the students traded sexually explicit memes and messages that sometimes targeted minority groups in a private Facebook group chat.
A handful of admitted students formed the messaging group — titled, at one point, “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens” — on Facebook in late December, according to two incoming freshmen.
In the group, students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”
After discovering the existence and contents of the chat, Harvard administrators revoked admissions offers to at least ten participants in mid-April, according to several members of the group. . . .
The chat grew out of a roughly 100-member messaging group that members of the Class of 2021 set up in early December to share memes about popular culture. Admitted students found and contacted each other using the official Harvard College Class of 2021 Facebook group.
High school age teens being obnoxious and provocative? I'm shocked, shocked. I'm sure this censorship only runs to the right, and that prospective students who advocate violence against the right wing are made to feel right at home.

and Feminists Hate Men: The Brutal Truth About Feminism
Inez Feltscher slams it home:
Having been sold a pack of feminist lies that make both men and women unhappier, those of us in the millennial generation who are interested in happy marriages have had to rediscover a lot of politically incorrect truths from scratch.
But there’s one truth that is particularly difficult for our genderless, sexless culture to accept, because it eviscerates not one, but two shibboleths of the age: first, that men and women desire the same things in relationships, and second, that a selfish, “be yourself” attitude is a good prescription for marital bliss. . . .
Read the whole thing. The problem is, feminists are against male happiness. The typical feminist approach is to (a) identify something men like, (b) argue that it is oppressive to women, and (c) destroy it. Feminists don’t care whether this destructive process actually makes women happier. The whole point is to prevent men from being happy.
I think a strain of this runs through all, or at least most, women. They don't fully understand what motivates men, and they don't always appreciate the things that men want to do. Feminists, however, seem to have made a religion out of it.

Reason #5586-5589 That Trump Was Elected

Gee, I wonder why this particular Hate Crime dropped off the national media radar in such a hurry.

Incidentally, he is suspected of having sexually assaulted another woman in the previous week:
The suspect charged with murdering a 17-year-old Muslim girl during Ramadan was accused of sexually assaulting another woman a week before the teen’s slaying in Virginia and is reportedly an MS-13 gang member.
Darwin Martinez Torres, of El Salvador, allegedly sent a woman to hospital after he punched and choked her, according to a Loudoun County Child Protective Services report obtained by the Washington Post.
Illegals Fleeing From Trump To Canada Not Faring Too Well There Either
So how’s that working out for them now? Apparently the reality of a flood of illegal immigrants (or should we go ahead and start calling them “undocumented” once they’re somebody else’s problem…) turned out to be a bit more than the system was prepared to handle. (Reuters)
Thousands of people who fled to Canada to escape President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal migrants have become trapped in legal limbo because of an overburdened refugee system, struggling to find work, permanent housing or enroll their children in schools.
Refugee claims are taking longer to be completed than at any time in the past five years, according to previously unpublished Immigration and Refugee Board data provided to Reuters. Those wait times are set to grow longer after the IRB in April allocated “up to half” of its 127 tribunal members to focus on old cases. The number of delayed hearings more than doubled from 2015 to 2016 and is on track to increase again this year.
Hearings are crucial to establishing a claimant’s legal status in Canada. Without that status, they struggle to convince employers to hire them or landlords to rent to them. Claimants cannot access loans or student financial aid, or update academic or professional credentials to meet Canadian standards.
So rather than the normal two month average, it’s taking new arrivals an average of almost six months (and in some cases nearly a year) just to get a hearing. Until then, they’re having a hard time finding a job, getting anyone to rent them an apartment or qualifying for the many other benefits the Canadian social welfare system would generally be passing out. Remarkably, the Canadians care so little for their border security, however, that even these folks “in limbo” are still able to collect C$600 ($453) a month in government social assistance. That’s not much, but it’s better than having to hunt and fish for all your meals I suppose.
As noted here before, the illegal immigrant community in Maryland, at least, seems to take a rather lax attitude towards our fishing regulations.

ICE Director: No Illegal Immigrant Should ‘Be Comfortable’
WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan said at a White House press briefing Wednesday that no illegal immigrant should “be comfortable” in the U.S.

Homan was at the briefing with U.S. Attorney John Huber to support two anti-illegal immigration bills that Congress is set to vote on. One of the bills will not allow jurisdictions that refuse to comply with immigration detainers to receive grants from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. The other bill would increase the punishments for a deported illegal immigrant who returns to the U.S.

The ICE director said that these bills signify additional tools in his toolbox to combat illegal immigration. The Daily Caller previously reported that while immigration reduction groups are in support of the laws, they don’t think they go far enough. The Davis-Oliver Act would also target sanctuary cities and illegal immigrants who have returned back to the U.S. in addition to several other measures.

Homan, however, said these laws represent the “most significant pieces of immigration legislation I have seen in my entire career.”
That's quote a change from the previous administration, who goal, it seemed, was to make the US as open as possible, and as comfortable as possible for as many illegals as possible.

Which brings us back to House Passes Kate's Law and threatens 'Sanctuary Cities'
Rather than attacking people like us, the TruCon Crying Eagle Brigade should just thank us for electing a Republican president while they were busy cheerleading for Hillary.

Neil Gorsuch and Kate's Law? You're welcome, "TruCons."
. . . Congress gets another chance to pass Kate's Law House Republicans took action Thursday to crack down on illegal immigrants and the cities that shelter them.
One bill passed by the House would deny federal grants to sanctuary cities and another, Kate’s Law, would increase the penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States.
Kate's Law, which would increase the penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States and caught, passed with a vote of 257 to 157, with one Republican voting no and 24 Democrats voting yes.

Fish Pic Friday - Sailfish

A Sailfish is a fish of the genus Istiophorus of billfish living in colder areas of all the seas of the earth. They are predominantly blue to gray in colour and have a characteristic erectile dorsal fin known as a sail, which often stretches the entire length of the back. Another notable characteristic is the elongated bill, resembling that of the swordfish and other marlins. They are therefore described as billfish in sport-fishing circles.
Brooke Thomas

Two sailfish species have been recognized. No differences have been found in mtDNA, morphometrics or meristics between the two supposed species and most authorities now only recognized a single species, (Istiophorus platypterus), found in warmer oceans around the world. FishBase continues to recognize two species
Being a confirmed lumper, I will only consider them to be one species.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Maryland Tightening Commercial Crab Regs

Modest Changes Coming to Maryland’s Commercial Crab Harvest
Following weeks of scientific review and discussion among key stakeholders, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is making modest but important changes to the commercial harvesting of Chesapeake Bay female hard crabs later this season.

Harvesting will close Nov. 20, and bushel levels for the month of November will be reduced compared to the previous harvest year.

These modifications are based on the results of the 2016-17 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, and subsequent review and approval by the Blue Crab Industry Advisory Committee and Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission.

“Since the release of the winter dredge survey, experts have cautioned that a scarcity of juvenile crabs could result in more challenging harvest conditions later this year and next,” said Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton. “This decision is the result of partners in science and industry developing consensus to achieve what is best for the health and ongoing productivity of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab fishery.”

You can review the Public Notice here.
The tightening may indeed be modest, but I have no doubt that the Eastern Shore crabbers will be protesting.

Obamacare Schadenfreude Still Smoldering

The WSJ asks Why Didn’t ObamaCare Make Us Healthier?, and the Instapundit answers "IT WAS NEVER INTENDED TO: What ObamaCare did accomplish was to concentrate more more money and power in Washington — which is most everything you need to know about why it has proven so “difficult” to repeal." Let Consumers Repeal Obamacare. We're most of the way there already.

But you promised.................from Rico

Jazz Shaw: The Decline And Fall Of Obamacare And The AHCA:
So is the fight to repeal Obamacare pretty much over? Let me take a saw to the limb I’m currently sitting on and say… yes. But really, the fight was over shortly after the original Affordable Care Act was passed. There’s an old maxim in American politics which tells us that any entitlement program or other initiative which gives away goodies to the public, once in place, is pretty much there forever. There have been a few rare exceptions, but for the most part this is a tradition which is written in stone.
The only exception is to expand the entitlement, so democrats are pushing "single payer" aka socialized medicine as the cure.  Mark Levin: Obamacare ‘Here to Stay’ — Single-Payer ‘on the Way,’ GOP ‘Will Help Bring It In’. The sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett: Single Payer is the 'Best System for America, we can afford it". Maybe he can, but the State of California can't. Remember That California Single Payer Plan? Yeah… Never Mind.
But fear not, California, because I HAVE A PLAN. Your problems will soon be a thing of the past. You know how west coast liberals are always preaching the evils of giving “tax cuts to the rich” and how the wealthiest among us should pay their fair share? Surely that applies at the state level also. With that in mind, I invite any California legislators to steal this idea from me at no cost and introduce the “Movie Star Single Payer Subsidization Act of 2017.”

Under this bold plan, every Hollywood Star, Writer, Director, Producer or Studio executive who earns more than two million dollars in a single year will generously forfeit all income in excess of that amount to fund a single payer health care system for the state. On top of that, the movie studios will be even more helpful. The profits from all films which exceed 25% of the production costs will go into the same fund. Just working off the back of a napkin here it seems to me that they could recover a nice chunk of that $400B this year alone with room to spare. 
Leaving them with $2 million a year seems pretty generous to me. Single-payer healthcare: if you think the pitch makes it too good to be true, you’re right 

The CBO scored the Republican plan and determined somehow that their plan would result in 22 million people dropping out of the insurance market. Never mind that Obamacare never covered the 34 million or so that they originally promised, only 10 million give or take, so this number is completely bogus from the start, and any CBO estimates of people being covered should be discounted. Nevertheless, Some GOPs Vow 'No' on Moving to Healthcare Vote After CBO Score Released.

And how is that Senate bill faring? According to the estimable Megan McArdle, brought to you as usual via Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 06.27.17", Senate's Obamacare Replacement Is a Suicide Mission. Republicans assume they’ll lose the next election anyway, so why not attempt to cut taxes while they can? From the Wombat's "In The Mailbox: 06.28.17". EBL: Dear GOP – Let Us Opt Out Of Obamacare and Power Line: Is The GOP Going About Health Reform Backwards? Given the GOP's history, that's a good bet. GOP & Health-Care Reform: Political Mistake Led to No-Win Situation  Do Republicans Even Remember Why Obamacare Should Be Repealed?  But the GOP agrees on one thing: ObamaCare taxes must go (annoying auto-ad at link).

Four Ways to Get Senate Conservatives to ‘Yes’ on Health Care
  • Do More to Lower Health Care Costs
  • Assure GOP Caucus on Full Repeal
  • Lower Premiums
  • Medicaid Flexibility
Faint praise: The GOP Senate Health Care Bill Isn’t Great, But It’s Better Than Obamacare.  CBO: Senate Health Care Bill Will Reduce Deficit By $321 Billion. A billion here, a billion there. Do politicians really understand how big a billion anythings is? I don't think so. How Will Senate Health Bill Lower Insurance Premiums? Corporate Welfare.

Democrats React To GOP Healthcare Bill With Same Hate Speech That Incited Scalise Shooting. ;Dems Say Goodbye To Truce, Use Inflammatory Rhetoric Against GOP Healthcare. Instapundit: WAIT, THERE WAS A TRUCE?

The Party of No. Schumer Blocks National Security Briefing For Senate Committee
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer used an upper chamber procedure Wednesday to block a national security briefing hosted by the Senate Judiciary Committee, irritating Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley.

The rule that Schumer had invoked, which he has been exercising the use of over the past two weeks, blocks Senate committee business from happening two hours after the Senate convenes session for the day.  Schumer has consistently used the procedure as a way to delay business in Senate to make demands on Republicans on the health care bill.
What kind of idiot rule is that? GOP ObamaCare fight faces do-or-die procedural vote.

As you may know, the Senate Bill did not get enough support, and so McConnell wants to try yet again. Portman and McConnell clash over health bill ,McConnell wants revised health care bill by Friday; holdouts ...,  McConnell is trying to revise the Senate health-care bill by FridayWhy Mitch McConnell and the Republicans Can't Fix Health Care. Because the Democrats broke it beyond fixing.

Reason #5585 That Trump Was Elected

So many choices this morning, but I try not to be greedy: EPA moves to rescind controversial Clean Water rule
It came as no surprise, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that it is moving to withdraw the so-called Clean Water Rule, potentially making it easier for farmers, builders and others to disturb some streams or wetlands.

The regulation, also known as the “Waters of the United States” rule, had been targeted for rollback since February, when President Trump issued an executive order instructing his administration to begin work on the “elimination of this very destructive and horrible rule.”

It had been adopted in 2015 by the Obama administration, but drew intense opposition from the American Farm Bureau, National Association of Home Builders and other agricultural and industry interests.

"We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in the agency’s announcement.

The Farm Bureau issued a statement saying farmers and ranchers were cheering the EPA’s action.

But it drew intense criticism from environmentalists, who argued that it made it easier for industry to pollute water Americans relied of for drinking, swimming and fishing.
. . .
The Clean Water rule never actually took effect, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit had issued a nationwide stay pending a full review of lawsuits challenging its legality.

The EPA said Tuesday that it was proposing to rescind the rule, and as a temporary measure, reinstate the regulatory language defining waters of the United States that had been in effect before the Obama action. The agency also said that it has begun “deliberations and outreach” toward drafting an entirely new interpretation of what streams and wetlands fall under federal jurisdiction.

High court decisions during the George W. Bush administration had provided conflicting guidance, though the more conservative justices had argued for much narrower federal oversight. Trump’s executive order suggested heeding the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s especially conservative opinion in one of the cases, which environmentalists and some scientists worry could result in the loss of federal protection for many more wetlands and streams.

Repealing the Obama Clean Water rule and adopting an entirely new one could take a year or more, and is likely to draw lawsuits from environmental groups that could sideline it as well.
The Obama administrations interpretation of the Waters of the US rule was the greatest land grab in US history. By essentially declaring that any land impacted by running water at any time (with some exceptions that an administration could cancel at any time, citing the need, was potentially subject to the EPA's regulation

I Guess We Left a Little too Soon

Emrat visits Italy: Emily Ratajkowski Can't Stop Instagramming Her Bikini-Filled Italian Vacation
Italy is the hottest vacation spot this summer. See Carly Rae Jepson, Riccardo Tisci, and even the Obamas. Most recently, model and actress Emily Ratajkowski spent some time in the European country. And, of course, Instagrammed the entire experience.
A post shared by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata) on

Ratajkowski has been exploring Italy this summer because she just finished working on a film Welcome Home with actor Aaron Paul (who also had a splendid time in Italia, thanks for asking!). The film is a thriller about a married couple who take a vacation in Italy but fall victim to their rental home's owner' s evil intentions— kind of an Airbnb horror story.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Big Hugs and Big Teeth at the Beach

Skye and I took off for the beach after lunch. It's another exceptional day, with temperatures in the low to mid 70s, clear skys. and a nice breeze.
Skye mugs her first gang of girls. She knows when they say "Oh, she's so cute", and takes advantage of it.
 Right after that, I found a pretty decent Snaggletooth in the surf zone,
 and then a good Mako lower tooth.
and then another, larger, but broken, Snaggletooth.
 Skye found some more suckers.
I also got a good Sand Tiger tooth. All in all I found 16 shark's teeth and one Black Drums tooth, not at all bad.
But not as cool as this.

The Squirrel Patrol Expands

This winter, a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks began hanging around our yard:

Pretty soon, they had selected a crotch of a large tree behind our house to build a nest in, and began settling in:

With the advent of spring, the "green wall" of leaves has obscured the nest, but the hawks have continued to come and go, and the spattering of hawk shit below the nest testified to their continued occupation. In the last week or so, there has been a great fuss in the general area, and we suspected the babies (we think there are two) were getting ready to fledge. Yesterday morning we were greeted by a great noise in the front yard and:

a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk dismantling a squirrel:

When we got out to check, there was only a little gray fur spread around. One down, a thousand more to go.

Reason #5584 That Trump Was Elected

Feds Spend $20,000 on Musical About Illegal Immigrant Lesbian
The National Endowment for the Arts is spending $20,000 for a musical about a lesbian illegal immigrant who is in love with an ICE agent.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe, a self-described socialist theater group, received the funding in the first round of grants awarded under the Trump administration. Jane Chu is the current chairman of the NEA, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama in 2014.

The musical is entitled "WALLS!" and stars a "bad hombre," mocking a phrase used by Trump to describe criminal illegal aliens during a presidential debate.
. . .
The lead character is Zaniyah, a criminal illegal alien and lesbian struggling with mental health issues.

"Zaniyah is a criminal, an illegal, a ‘bad hombre,'" the theater group said. "What part of herself will this American give up to pass as ‘American?' Will she? Can she? Should she? Can someone leave part of themselves behind without losing their mind? And is it better or worse that she crossed the border to find Agent L. Mary Jones – the woman she loves?"
As boondoggles go, that's a very small one. Certainly Chu has to go. But perhaps it's sufficient reason excuse for President Trump to shut down the NEA.  A couple of years of funding only plays praising Trump ought to be enough to make Democrats demand it.

Way Back Wednesday

Barbara Bouchet:

Wombat-socho chimes in with "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: All-American Catgirl".

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Trouble With Crabs

Though the last two years have shown growth, overall crab population in Chesapeake Bay is now declining.

A report released June 26 confirms that while the 2017 overall population of adult female blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay was higher than the original target, the overall population of the species declined.

The estimated 2017 population of 254 million adult females was higher than the target of 215 million set by the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. According to the Blue Crab Advisory Report, target levels are considered healthy, and threshold levels mark the border between healthy and unhealthy levels.
Not a keeper, the crab that is

 In 2016, 16 percent of all female crabs were harvested, below the target level of 25.5 percent and threshold levels of 34 percent. While numbers in adult female crabs in the Bay increased by 30 percent in 2017, the overall crab population fell by almost 18 percent from 553 million in 2016 to 455 million in 2017. Juvenile crabs also decreased by 54 percent from 2016 to 2017.

“The highly variable nature of blue crabs was on full display this past year,” said Glenn Davis, Chair, Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. “The largest abundance of spawning females from the Winter Dredge Survey time series was great news, and demonstrated what can happen when jurisdictions adhere to science-based management."

"The low recruitment served as a reminder that large inter-annual fluctuations can be part of the norm and that managing blue crabs is a continuous challenge,” he added.
I get a lot of questions from people about how the crabs are doing in the Bay (oysters and Striped Bass, too). I always cite inter-annual variability as a key feature of crabs.
The Blue Crab Advisory Report recommends considering scaling back the fall fishering from last years’ more liberal regulations. The report explains this would protect more juvenile crabs, and give them the opportunity to give these crabs time to grow old enough to spawn next year.
That'll piss off the watermen. It's the right thing to do, though.

Wombat-socho chimes in with "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: All-American Catgirl".

A Day at the Bay

I woke up at 5 PM, and decided to sneak out and go fishing. Sunrise was 5:45, and when I got down to the boat, I had sunrise on one side and a rainbow on the other. It was a full bow, about as tall as it can get because of the low sun angle

If you look carefully you can see a trace of a double rainbow. I know rainbows are supposed to come after the rain (at least in biblical telling), but this one marked a shower line which came and overwhelmed me while I was fishing at "Location X", kicked up 20 kt winds, and sent me home with my tail between my legs. But I did have time to determine there were no fish to be had this morning.
After lunch, Skye and I walked back down to the beach, and Georgia met us down there. I saw this on the way down, near the swamp.  Buttonbush, I've seen it before and never figured out what it was:
Buttonbush is a native perennial shrub, named for the round flower heads, which begins to bloom in early summer.
. . .
The inflorescence is a single globular head of flowers, on a long stalk from the terminal stem or from a leaf axil.

Flowers: The small white 4-parted tubular flowers that grow out of the round 1 inch wide head have a long protruding style, twice the length of the corolla, which is clearly evident in the photos. The style has a knobby tip. The white corolla forms 4 lips which flare outward slightly. The four stamens have dark anthers and do not protrude from the corolla; the receptacle has fine white hair; the calyx is short and green with 4 teeth; each flower is sessile. The entire head is on a very long stalk (peduncle) from the leaf axil and terminal stem bud.
The Wineberries are ripening. And people, or birds are eating them as fast as they ripen. Considered a non-native invasive species, I rather enjoy them.
One of the Green Herons that hang around the harbor stayed around for a photo-op.
Temperatures were in the low 70s at the beach, under partly cloudy skies.
We found some 24 teeth, of which this Snaggletooth symphysial tooth.
The Kudzu has reached it's summer glory, cloaking the cliffs in green and giving the Whistlepigs plenty of cover. Its spread onto the beach is limited by the tide, as the vine shrivels at the first touch of brackish water.

CNN Producer Admits Russia Flap is Bullshit

From the real ACORN killers at Project Veritas:

Watch the whole thing.

Related: Three CNN Employees Resign Over Retracted Story on Russia Ties
Three CNN employees have handed in their resignations over a retracted story linking President Trump to Russia, the network announced Monday.

The article was removed from on Friday after the network decided it could no longer stand by its reporting.

“In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on, CNN has accepted the resignation of the employees involved in the story’s publication,” a network spokesperson told TheWrap in a statement.
. . .
CNN blamed the mistake on a “breakdown in editorial workflow,” explaining that that “these types of stories” did not go through the usual departments such as fact-checkers, journalism standards experts and lawyers.

The gaffe cost three employees their jobs: Frank, who wrote the story, Eric Lichtblau, a unit editor, and the person in charge of the unit, Lex Haris.
More related: Did the FBI go after Gen. Flynn as payback for his support of sexual discrimination charges against FBI bigwig and Clinton supporter McCabe?   Did the FBI retaliate against Michael Flynn by launching Russia probe?
The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.

Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf. His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.

The FBI sought to block Flynn’s support for the agent, asking a federal administrative law judge in May 2014 to keep Flynn and others from becoming a witness in her Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case, memos obtained by Circa show. Two years later, the FBI opened its inquiry of Flynn.
Well, it could all just be coincidences.
"Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time it’s enemy action.’” - Ian Fleming

Reason #5583 That Trump Was Elected

Donald Trump will tout surging U.S. exports of oil and natural gas during a week of events aimed at highlighting the country’s growing energy dominance.

The president also plans to emphasize that after decades of relying on foreign energy supplies, the U.S. is on the brink of becoming a net exporter of oil, gas, coal and other energy resources.
. . .
With “Energy Week,” Trump is returning to familiar territory -- and to the coal, oil, and gas industries on which he’s already lavished attention. Trump’s first major policy speech on the campaign trail, delivered in the oil drilling hotbed of North Dakota in 2016, focused on his plans for unleashing domestic energy production. The issue has also been a major focus during Trump’s first five months in office, as he set in motion the reversal of an array of Obama-era policies that discourage both the production and consumption of fossil fuels.
Remember when Preznit Obama said "we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices?" Turns out we can. All we have to do is stay out of the way of domestic oil producers. It helps other industries too, for which oil is a feedstock: The Shale Revolution's Staggering Impact in Just One Word: Plastics
That boom in drilling has expanded the output of oil and gas in the U.S. more than 57% in the past decade, lowering prices for the primary ingredients Dow Chemical Co. uses to make tiny plastic pellets. Some of the pellets are exported to Brazil, where they are reshaped into the plastic pouches filled with puréed fruits and vegetables.

Tons more will be shipping soon as Dow completes $8 billion in new and expanded U.S. petrochemical facilities mostly along the Gulf of Mexico over the next year, part of the industry's largest transformation in a generation.

The scale of the sector's investment is staggering: $185 billion in new U.S. petrochemical projects are in construction or planning, according to the American Chemistry Council. Last year, expenditures on chemical plants alone accounted for half of all capital investment in U.S. manufacturing, up from less than 20% in 2009, according to the Census Bureau.

Integrated oil firms including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC are racing to take advantage of the cheap byproducts of the oil and gas being unlocked by shale drilling. The companies are expanding petrochemical units that produce the materials eventually used to fashion car fenders, smartphones, shampoo bottles and other plastic stuff being bought more and more by the world's burgeoning middle classes.
Jobs, jobs, jobs. And as a bonus, the more oil we produce, the weaker Russia's hand in global affairs.

Wombat-socho chimes in with "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: All-American Catgirl".

Morning Bathroom Humor

Wombat-socho chimes in with "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: All-American Catgirl".

Monday, June 26, 2017

Feds Investigate Tangier Watermen Over Oysters

Officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visited several watermen on Tangier Island and seafood businesses in Crisfield last week as part of an investigation they are conducting related to oysters.

The federal officials interviewed watermen on the Virginia island, asking for records related to oyster sales to Crisfield businesses. They took copies of records but did not seize any bivalves; it’s not harvest season.

Federal officials would not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, saying that’s their policy. But Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, did confirm “federal law enforcement activity” in Crisfield and Tangier last Wednesday.
. . .
Eskridge said the law enforcement inquiry apparently stems from a different method of counting oysters per bushel in the two states.  In Virginia, the oyster limit is 16 bushels; in Maryland, that equates to 20 bushels because of the different size baskets used. (Maryland’s bushel limit is 15, further complicating matters.) When the price of oysters, which has historically hovered around $30 a bushel, spikes to closer to $55, as it has at times in recent seasons due to shortages in the Gulf of Mexico, the watermen feel it’s worth the fuel costs to take their oysters to Crisfield.

So, Eskridge said, the officers were finding a discrepancy in the catch records; a Virginia oysterman would report catching 16 bushels, but would sell 20 in Maryland.

“We weren’t breaking any laws by taking the oysters into Maryland. They were offering more money,” Eskridge said. “If they get the same measurement for both states, that problem will go away.”
Smells fishy, or maybe oystery, to me.

The Daily Beach Report

Skye and I walked down to the beach together after lunch. It's cooler today than the last two, only about 80, and the humidity is down, with a mostly clear sky. Altogether delightful, and well used today.
The largest of about 12 sharks teeth I found today, a bit of a chore when tethered to a wild animal. It's a large, but broken and worn Snaggletooth.
 A beer and a wave, one way to cool off.
A black morph Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly visiting the Milkweed that grows behind the dunes at the beach.
The weed du jour, Lizard Tail (Saururus cernuus) growing in a wet spot along the road to the beach
Lizard’s tail plants (Saururus cernuus), also known as lizard’s tail swamp lilies and Saururus lizard’s tail, are perennial plants that can grow up to 4 feet tall. They have a hairy stem with very few, if any, branches. Leaves are large and heart-shaped.

Found in marshes, along the banks of ponds and streams, it is not uncommon to see some of the plant growing under water. This provides habitats for small aquatic invertebrates, which draw fish and other species. In addition, after the plant dies, it is decomposed by fungi and bacteria which provide food for aquatic invertebrates.

This interesting plant produces white aromatic flowers on top of the hairy stems opposite the top leaf. The flower structure is a spike with lots of small white flowers that form an arch. The seeds form a structure that looks similar to a wrinkled lizard’s tail. This water-loving species has an orange aroma and spreads by rhizomes to form colonies.

Orcas Wage Guerrilla War on Alaskan Fishermen

In the Bering Sea, near the edge the continental shelf, fishermen are trying to escape a predator that seems to outwit them at every turn, stripping their fishing lines and lurking behind their vessels.

The predators are pods of killer whales chasing down the halibut and black cod caught by longline fishermen. Fishermen say the whales are becoming a common sight — and problem — in recent years, as they've gone from an occasional pest to apparently targeting the fishermen's lines.

Fishermen say they can harvest 20,000 to 30,000 pounds of halibut in a single day, only to harvest next to nothing the next when a pod of killer whales recognizes their boat. The hooks will be stripped clean, longtime Bering Sea longliner Jay Hebert said in a phone interview this week. Sometimes there will be just halibut "lips" still attached to hooks — if anything at all.

"It's kind of like a primordial struggle," fisherman Buck Laukitis said about the orcas last week. "It comes at a real cost."
The whales seem to be targeting specific boats, fisherman Jeff Kauffman said in a phone interview. FV Oracle Captain Robert Hanson said juvenile whales are starting to show up, and he thinks the mothers are teaching the young to go for the halibut and black cod the fishermen are trying to catch.

Hanson, a fisherman who's worked in the Bering Sea since 1992, said the orca problem has become "systemic" in recent years. There are more pods present, he said, and the animals are getting more aggressive.

In a letter he sent to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council last month, Hanson described a series of challenges he faced in recent years. On a trip to the continental shelf in April he said his crew was "harassed nonstop." He wrote that they lost approximately 12,000 pounds of sellable halibut to the whales and wasted 4,000 gallons of fuel trying to outrun them.
. . .
Hebert said the whales seem to seek out the longliners. He's tried using sonars that emit a frequency designed to keep the whales away, but he said it's not strong enough to deter them. He would like to see pots, instead of hooks, introduced as a method for catching halibut, similar to how black cod were harvested in the Gulf of Alaska as a result of sperm whales targeting longliners.
What does a hungry Killer Whale eat? Anything it wants.

Reason #5582 That Trump Was Elected

EPA Ends $1 Million Taxpayer-Funded Gym Membership Program
The Environmental Protection Agency has ended a nearly $1 million program that provided gym memberships for employees.

The new administration under EPA administrator Scott Pruitt identified the gym memberships as an abuse of taxpayer dollars. Examples of the program's misuse included $15,000 for gym memberships for 37 EPA scientists in Las Vegas last year.

"We have ended taxpayer-funded fitness centers at EPA; a program that was costing American taxpayers $900,000 per year," said EPA spokesperson Jahan Wilcox. "Disinvestment in using federal funds for EPA fitness centers will allow the agency to invest this money in core activities to protect the environment."
. . .
The campus gym includes a relaxation room with massage chairs, fitness assessments, personal trainers for hire, a registered dietician, a spa and leisure pool, indoor jogging, and a "gender neutral bathroom."

The EPA began notifying employee unions last week that the agency is discontinuing fitness subsidies and fitness center funding, according to an EPA official.
You want free exercise? Take a hike.