Monday, July 31, 2017

Bay Anoxia Better than Expected, Maybe

Following what could have been bad news that broke in June for the Chesapeake Bay’s low-oxygen zone, scientists have found that the “dead zone” is “much better than average for early June,” according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Dead zones are hypoxic areas of the Bay with little to no oxygen, which stresses fish and other Bay life, like oyster and crabs, which need oxygen to support life. They are fueled by excess nutrient pollution, which feeds algae blooms, and when the algae dies it settles to the bottom and absorbs the oxygen in the water.

The dead zone was originally expected to be larger than average this summer, with scientists in June pointing to higher than average spring rainfall amounts in New York and Pennsylvania, and that stormwater would makes its way to the Susquehanna River, which flows south until it reaches the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay, and this spring brought with it above average nitrogen loads, a nutrient that helps fuel algae growth.

The predictions were made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and University of Michigan scientists.

But, dissolved oxygen conditions in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay’s main steam were much better than predicted.

“The better-than-average conditions could be partially attributed to sustained westerly winds during the sampling period, which mixed oxygen deeper into the water column in the main Bay channel,” the Maryland Department of Natural Resources stated in a press release dated July 25. “The winds, however, pushed surface waters eastward, allowing lower dissolved oxygen bottom waters to percolate toward the surface on the western side of the lower Bay.”
So the better water in the channel was paid for with more anoxia near the surface on my side? I'm not so sure that's really good news. And maybe it's just a sampling problem.
But, DNR said winds and rough water conditions around a sampling station near the Maryland-Virginia state line, and the lower Potomac station, prevented them from being sampled.

“It should be noted that the absence of data from these stations could produce lower than average estimates of hypoxia,” DNR stated.

Reason #5624 That Trump Was Elected

Dear Taxpayers: Thanks For Funding Housing For These “Nonexistent Tenants”
The federal government spends a massive amount of money either paying for or partially subsidizing public housing for lower income Americans. It’s a set of programs which have always been fraught with problems, but it does at least serve a very real need for some of the most vulnerable citizens. But if we’re going to be spending the money on paying the rent, it would be nice to know that the people benefiting from Uncle Sam’s largess at least… exist, right? Turns out you really can’t assume anything these days. (Free Beacon)
The Department of Housing and Urban Development spent over $500,000 on apartments for people who “did not exist,” according to the agency’s inspector general.
An audit released last month found that managers of Section 8 housing in Jefferson County, Texas, defrauded the government by stealing the identities of former tenants and falsifying incomes.
The government subsidizes the rent of 99 units at Beverly Place Apartments in Groves, Texas, and paid the complex $1.8 million between January 2013 and December 2015.
The HUD Inspector General’s office had a number of things to say about Beverly Place Apartments and other units like it, most of them phrased in rather low-key ways. They assert that the owner billed the government for 97 tenants who either “did not exist or whose income eligibility was either falsified or unsupported.” In other words, some of the residents of Beverly Place probably earned too much money to qualify for subsidized housing. And for the rest of the units, the people supposedly living there were entirely fictional or had moved out some time ago. But the owner was still billing Uncle Sam (or, in other words, billing you the taxpayers) and essentially just pocketing the cash.
Now multiply that times thousands of counties around the US where bureaucrats are judged for their ability to push money out the door than justifying that spending.


Artist slathers models in honey
Portrait photographer Blake Little covered models in honey for his series entitled "Preservation." Caught in movement, but trapped in the viscose honey, the models in "Preservation" begin to look like sculptures in motion.

The idea was born when he used a little honey as a prop in a more traditional photo shoot. Little immediately noticed how a hand drenched in honey looked like it had been preserved in amber.

One for the ladies.

More at the link.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Tuesday Weld"  ready for business.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Beach is Almost Gone

After two days of rain from the Nor'easter that hammered the coast, and gave us 3 inches of rain and 30 mph winds, the sky finally cleared, the temperatures dropped to sensible seventies with low humidity. I didn't struggle too hard when Skye wanted to go walking before lunch.
The tide was high, above normal due to the winds, which were still 15-20 from the NE when we set off. As you can see, the waves have nearly eaten the beach back to the beginning of the dunes, the water is muddy, and the waves are still crashing. It will take a while for the beach to build back up.
We couldn't even get around the rocky corner at Calvert Beach, and had to turn around for home.

We did find one Zebra Swallowtail braving the winds to puddle

Who or What Killed the Megalodons?

Georgia in Megalodon's jaw
I never really thought about it much. I just assumed with changing climates and evolving prey they failed to adapt and died out, but according to this work, they may have been pushed out by Killer Whales.

 The mighty Megalodon shark may have starved to death
For many years, climate change has been considered the main reason why Megalodon disappeared. The Earth has been in a cooling trend beginning 15 million years ago, with global temperatures declining until it culminated in the last ice age that started 2.5 million years ago, roughly around the same time the shark is believed to have gone extinct. This led scientists to theorize it could not cope well with the decreased temperatures of the oceans, restricting its population to the tropics until its ultimate demise.

But a new study led by Catalina Pimiento from the Paleontological Institute and Museum of the University of Zurich analyzed 200 records of Megalodon findings and, by researching the fossils and the ecosystems in which the sharks lived, came to an important conclusion: climate conditions weren’t the main drive behind the end of Megalodon’s reign.

The team found that, within the general trend of cooling, there were fluctuations of higher and lower average temperatures during the past 20 million years, and these fluctuations should have affected Megalodon’s numbers and distribution accordingly if the traditional theory was correct. But they didn’t.
But how did climate fluctuate without human intervention?

Instead, the researchers found that Megalodon seems to have thrived consistently until a peak abundance during the Middle to Late Miocene Period, around 10-5 million years ago, after which it started to decline until extinction. The species’ collapse seems to be tied to an important point in time, rather than showing several ups and downs.

What may have happened in this crucial period, the Late Miocene, is the disappearance of many species of small to medium-sized baleen whales and the appearance of some powerful competition: orcas.

Megalodon seems to have been heavily dependent on relatively slow-moving whales for food. Those experienced great diversity during the Miocene, with many more species known from fossils of that time compared to the number of species alive today.

But then, changes in sea level and nutrient distribution in the oceans happened around 2-3 million years ago with the onset of the last Ice Age, causing the extinction of many marine mammals. The ones that survived were either too agile for Megalodon, like dolphins and porpoises, or spent most of the year in polar regions where the shark couldn’t follow. This may even have caused an increase in cannibalism, with adult sharks preying on juveniles due to the lack of other options.

The appearance of the killer whale’s ancestors may have been the final blow to Megalodon. Just like their modern descendants, the prehistoric orcas were well-adapted to living in many different oceanic conditions, from the tropics to the poles, due to their mammalian metabolism and insulating fat. Being smaller, they could also survive on smaller prey than Megalodon while competing with it by attacking larger whales in pods.

Megalodon’s decline began causing significant changes in the ecosystems of the world: average size for baleen whales increased greatly, since they no longer had a major predator to keep them in check, leading to incredible giants like the blue whale. And other apex predators, like Megalodon’s smaller cousin, the Great White shark, could occupy the spaces left vacant.

It seems that this combination of factors, only indirectly related to the Earth’s cooling, was too much for the massive sharks. Being restricted to tropical waters with not enough food to sustain their large bodies year-round, they vanished from everywhere except our collective imagination – where they’re probably going to survive for a lot longer.
So, yeah, basically, I was right.

Reason #5623 That Trump Was Elected

A man accused of breaking into a 65-year-old woman's home, sexually assaulting her and stealing her car was arrested after allegedly assaulting another woman and running from police.

Sergio Jose Martinez, 31, was caught July 24 after officers chased him through a neighborhood.

According to court documents filed in March 2017, Martinez has a history of illegal entry into the United States. He has been a transient in the Portland area for more than a year and has been deported 20 times.

Martinez has at least five probation violations for re-entering the United States. His most recent removal was in November 2016, according to the March court documents.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodged an immigration detainer against Martinez, asking authorities to notify them before releasing Martinez to allow ICE to take him into custody. The Department of Homeland Security said a detainer was requested for Martinez in December 2016, but he was released into the community and authorities did not notify ICE.

Earlier this year, Multnomah County leaders and Sheriff Mike Reese wrote a letter to the community saying, "The Sheriff's Office does not hold people in county jails on ICE detainers or conduct any immigration enforcement actions."
It being Portland, Oregon, there's an excellent chance she voted for it, or at least for the candidate whose party supports sanctuary city policies.
Prior to the July 24 arrest, Martinez's criminal record shows a felony conviction for burglary and three misdemeanor convictions for battery, theft, and obstructing a public officer. The court document also said he told investigators in March that he has a long history of using methamphetamine and was currently using on a daily basis.

The new charges Martinez is facing include first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery (two counts), second-degree assault, first-degree sex abuse, first-degree sodomy and first-degree burglary.
Now that's the kind of citizen the democrats want voting for them!

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

Lady Golfer Protests LPGA Dress Code

Professional golfer who was 'slut-shamed' by the LPGA hits back at the decision to bring in stricter dress code rules which bans plunging necklines and shorter skirts
Professional golfer Paige Spiranac hit back after the LGPA released new dress guidelines eliminating short skirts and plunging necklines.

According to the rules, which went into effect on July 17, banned items also include leggings, unless worn under shorts or a skort; joggers; and racerbacks without collars.

The penalty for violating the dress code will be $1,000.

Which is a pittance if you're a winner, but prohibitive if you're up and coming.

The Association claims the policy change is to institute professionalism, but 24-year-old Spiranac says it takes aim at just a few distinct players.

The San Diego native has been criticized in the past for her revealing outfits on the course, and has attracted more than one million Instagram followers.

But she was scathing of the new rules, and insists it singles out 'curvier, fuller-figured' women.

She isn't rail thin, but I wouldn't exactly call her full-figured.

'As both an ambassador for golf and an advocate for the continued progress of women's rights and equality in society, I fear that these new rules are stifling the growth of the women's game,' the San Diego native wrote in Fortune.

Many took issue with what they regarded as a double standard between the men's league and the women's league.

Spiranac, who doesn't currently have a LPGA card, goes on to explain how other female athletes, such as pole vaulters and tennis players, have been allowed to reduce the amount of clothing they wear in order to achieve better movement.
I buy that. But I'm easy. You go, girl! Fight the power!

H/T American Power Blog. Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Tuesday Weld" ready for business.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

College Commies Quit - Too Rich and Spoiled

College Communists Collapse
The Swarthmore Anti-Capitalist Collective has crumbled into “the ash heap of history,” Matthew Stein reports at Campus Reform:
A Marxist student group at Swarthmore College disbanded itself earlier this year after realizing that its members were too rich and too white to be real commies.
According to screenshots confidentially provided to Campus Reform by an individual with access to the group’s private Facebook page, the demise of the Swarthmore Anti-Capitalist Collective (SACC) came in the wake of a farewell letter from a member who had decided the group could never be an effective proponent of “unproblematized anticapitalist politics” due to its “history of abuse, racism, and even classism.”
“From my understanding SACC disbanded because they realized the makeup and tactics of their group was at odds with their espoused principles,” Swarthmore Conservative Society President Gilbert Guerra told Campus Reform. “Their main support base was middle-upper class white kids who enjoy jogging.” . . .
Arguing that “low-income people of color should never be an afterthought in a group whose politics supposedly focus on their liberation,” the author [of the letter disbanding the group] then went on to accuse SACC of having a “history of abuse, racism, and even classism that was never adequately addressed or recognized despite constantly being brought up as an issue.”
. . .The annual cost of attending Swarthmore — tuition, fees, room and board — is $63,550, which amounts to $254,220 for a four-year degree. Rich white kids who hate themselves for being rich and white don’t seem to mind asking their rich white Mommy and Daddy to spend a quarter-million bucks for them to attend an elite private college.
That's remarkably insightful for college students.

McCaincare Schadenfreude

He broke it, he bought it. But first, Obamacare continues to spiral into its grave: Anthem Threatens To Leave Additional Obamacare Markets If Cost-Sharing Payments Are Cut. Of course, the cost-sharing payment are unconstitutional until Congress actually appropriates money for them, and what are the chances of getting 51 senators, let alone 60, to agree on that? 'Let Obamacare fail,' says Trump. It already has.

And now, the McCain letdown: Obamacare Repeal Collapses as Senate GOP Blocks Health Bill

A months-long effort by Senate Republicans to pass health-care legislation collapsed early Friday after GOP Senator John McCain joined two of his colleagues to block a stripped-down Obamacare repeal bill.

“I regret that our efforts were simply not enough, this time,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor after the vote. “This is clearly a disappointing moment.”

“It’s time to move on,” he added after pulling the bill from the floor.

The decision by McCain to vote no came after weeks of brinkmanship and after his dramatic return from cancer treatment to cast the 50th vote to start debate on the bill earlier this week. The GOP’s “skinny” repeal bill was defeated 49-51, falling just short of the 50 votes needed to advance it. Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also voted against it.
What Happened During Last Night’s Disastrous “Skinny Repeal” Vote
“Skinny Repeal” was a frankly terrible bill that would get rid of some of the more problematic aspects of Obamacare, but come nowhere close to a full repeal. The idea was that taking away the individual mandate and the employer mandate, but leaving everything else for the time being, would have been enough to make sure the conservatives and the moderates were all on board.
The idea as I saw it was to finish breaking Obamacare with a bill that was close enough to a repeal to brag about, and force more reforms at a later date. I could have lived with that.

Ted Cruz After Repeal Failure: “No Party Can Remain In Power By Lying To The American People” As the saying goes, it's not a lie if you believe it, but for the Senators who campaigned on Obamacare repeal and voted against it when the time came, yes, it was a lie. I'm looking at you John McCain (among others). Broken Promise: GOP-Run Senate Votes Down Clean Repeal Of ObamaCare, 45/54. Hall of Shame: The Six #FakeNewsRepublicans Who voted for Obamacare Repeal in 2015 But Voted to Save It Today

Alan Fischler runs a small law practice in Bethesda and buys health insurance for his family of four without the aid of federal premium subsidies. Fischler is a Democrat and a supporter of the ACA, but he says that the premium increases have, for the first time in his life, made him feel victimized. Last year, his family’s premium was $15,000 for the year, but it nearly doubled to $28,000 in 2017. The family deductible also went up, meaning that his family is essentially on the hook for $41,000 in medical costs before the “insurance” really begins to cover medical costs.

“This is for a family that probably uses under $10,000 of medical a year,” Fischler said. “It’s for the first time caused me to think about it — we’d never go without insurance, but the question is how do you not become a victim?”
Suck up and pay counselor, you voted for it.

So what did McCain get for his betrayal? 40 pieces of silver? No, something even more ephemeral, gratitude and plaudits from the left: Lefty Media Went From Assailing ‘Dishonorable’ McCain to Calling Him ‘Jesus’
On Wednesday, after voting to allow debate to proceed on repealing ObamaCare, the Huffington Post sneered that John McCain will “die with dishonor.” Now, he’s “Jesus.” That hyperbole came from MSNBC contributor and editor of Business Insider Josh Barro.

Writing on Twitter, he hyped, “John McCain is basically Jesus, taking the fall for killing Trumpcare so the Republican conference could be saved.” 
Brian Williams Lauds John McCain's Vote to Keep ObamaCare: 'Profile in Courage' Brian probably remembers being in the Hanoi Hilton right next to John. Accocrding to Chuckie McCain Ranks as Great as Ted Kennedy, without having drowned any office help. I'm still wondering if this was meant as praise.

By way of Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 07.27.17" Da Tech Guy notes "The Stupid Party Earns Its Name Again." and Megan McArdle sagely pontificates on "How Bureaucracies Creep Into Life-And-Death Medical Decisions."

A multitude in Wombat-socho's "in The Mailbox: 07.28.17": First Street Journal: Republicans Won’t Get Rid Of Federal Health Care Guarantee, EBL: Ted Kennedy Still Living In John McCain’s Head & Calling The Shots, American Power: Senate Rejects “Skinny Repeal” 49-51, Don Surber: (John) McCain Embodies What Is Wrong With DC, JustOneMinute: If You’re Not Yet Sick of Health Care…Power Line: Obamacare Lives, and Megan McArdle: RIP Repeal And Replace.

But have no fear, Bezos is here (maybe): Amazon May Be the Next Tech Giant Muscling Into Health Care. Healthcare by drone?

Reason #5622 That Trump Was Elected

The National Security Agency and FBI violated specific civil liberty protections during the Obama administration by improperly searching and disseminating raw intelligence on Americans or failing to promptly delete unauthorized intercepts, according to newly declassified memos that provide some of the richest detail to date on the spy agencies’ ability to obey their own rules.

The memos reviewed by The Hill were publicly released on July 11 through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union.

They detail specific violations that the NSA or FBI disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the Justice Department's national security division during President Obama’s tenure between 2009 and 2016. The intelligence community isn't due to report on compliance issues for 2017, the first year under the Trump administration, until next spring.

The NSA says that the missteps amount to a small number — less than 1 percent — when compared to the hundreds of thousands of specific phone numbers and email addresses the agencies intercepted through the so-called Section 702 warrantless spying program created by Congress in late 2008.
Here's a math problem for you. So if you collect 1 billion items, and only 1% of them are collected illegally, how many crimes have you committed? I know, it's a trick question. Were you a Democrat collecting intel on unfriendly Republicans or not?

House Intel Chairman: Obama Official Made ‘Hundreds’ Of Suspicious Unmasking Requests
A senior Obama administration official made “hundreds” of requests last year to unmask the identities of Americans in intelligence reports, including some members of the Trump campaign, says California Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

In a letter to Dan Coats, the director of the office of national intelligence, Nunes asserted that senior Obama administration officials, “offered remarkably few individualized justifications” for the unmasking requests.

He also said that some of the unmasking requests “were followed by anonymous leaks of those names to the media.”

Nunes has led a one-man campaign to find out whether Obama administration officials improperly requested the unmasking of Trumpworld figures identified in the intelligence reports. The Republican has also tried to find out who leaked the names of unmasked individuals, information which is classified.

Nunes does not name the Obama official who made “hundreds” of unmasking requests, but Fox News suggested that he was referring to former United Nations Amb. Samantha Power. Power is one of three Obama officials, along with former national security adviser Susan Rice and former CIA Director John Brennan, who have been subpoenaed by the Intelligence Committee.

Nunes says that the unnamed official “had no apparent intelligence-related function.” Of the hundreds of requests made by the official, “only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate and articulated why that specific official required the U.S. person information for the performance of his or her official duties.”

Rule 5 Saturday - A Tattooed Lady - Tori Praver

This week' cutie of the week is Tori Praver:
Tori Praver-Fuller (née Praver; born June 4, 1987, in San Diego, California) is an American model and swimwear fashion designer perhaps best known for her appearances in the 2007–2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, as a Global Brand Ambassador for Billabong in 2009, and for being the youngest face of Guess in 2006, at the age of 17. Praver stands at 5 feet 11 inches tall.
Born in San Diego, California, and raised on the Hawaiian island of Maui, Praver's childhood was spent surfing, swimming and hanging out at local beaches with her friends. Discovered at age 13 at a Lahaina supermarket, Praver has gone on to work for Guess, Yamamay, Tally Weijl, and Liu-Jo. She has been on multiple covers of Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Cover magazines. She made Sports Illustrated shoots and was the object/subject of Joanne Gair body painting works in the 2007 and 2008 editions and appeared again the following year in 2009.
The photo on the left shows one of the tattoos on her arms and side. Curiously, they seem to come and go in photo-shoots.
Her initial career goals were to become a fashion designer and in 2009, Praver started her own line of swimwear, Tori Praver Swimwear. The successful swimwear line is sold through major retailers, boutiques and online. In 2013, she married long-time boyfriend and professional surfer Danny Fuller. Their wedding was photographed by Maui Maka Photography and featured in Vogue. The couple have a daughter, Ryan, and a son, Phoenix, and split their time between Kauai, Los Angeles and New York.
Sounds like  a pretty good life.

This week's exciting issue of GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE (303rd Issue)  explores the concept of cosplay, along with some amazing cartography and some "wow me out" science. Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Burger Girls" and "FMJRA 2.0: Outskirts" ready at The Other McCain.

Friday, July 28, 2017

I'm Sorry I Missed This

A waterspout off of Port Republic, MD, a short walk up the beach from us earlier today. You can occasionally see the pier shown in the video in some of my photos. I'm pretty sure this would have been visible from the beach.

To Be Fair, the Boat Was an Attractive Nuisance

People on a charter fishing boat off Long Island got a surprise when a shark jumped into their boat and became tangled in the vessel's guard rail.

The estimated 180-pound mako jumped onto the boat July 6, according to news reports.

In the now-viral video taken by those on the boat, someone can be heard saying "He jumped on the boat, oh my god!," as crew members decide how to handle the situation.

After becoming trapped, the shark's mouth becomes bloodied as it bites at the railing in an attempt to free itself.

It can't be seen in the video, but the shark was finally freed after the boat's captain tied a rope around its fin while another crew member kept the creature's head toward the ocean by hooking it with a fishing line.
Go to site for auto start video.
The attractive nuisance doctrine applies to the law of torts, in the United States. It states that a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by an object on the land that is likely to attract children.

The doctrine is designed to protect children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object, by imposing a liability on the landowner. The doctrine has been applied to hold landowners liable for injuries caused by abandoned cars, piles of lumber or sand, trampolines, and swimming pools. However, it can be applied to virtually anything on the property of the landowner.

There is no set cut off point that defines youth. The courts will evaluate each "child" on case by case basis to see if the "child" qualifies as a youth.

If it is determined that the child was able to understand and appreciate the hazard, the doctrine of attractive nuisance will not likely apply.
A 180 lb Mako Shark is by no means grown up, and clearly doesn't have the capacity to understand and appreciate the hazard.

What Are They Trying to Hide?

The interesting case of the Awan family and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Leningrad) keeps getting stranger and more disturbing. You might remember that the Awan family was involved in the IT management for the DNC, and that the Imran Awan was accused of home equity loan fraud. Imran was just arrested trying to flee the country to Lahore, Pakistan.

Ace has a good summary of new developments:
So let's digest this story. In a media environment obsessed with the DNC hack, it turns out five individuals were abusing their access to the DNC email system while -- possibly -- committing an assortment of crimes.
* Imran Awan's wife (herself one of the IT 5) already fled to Pakistan, carrying $12,000 in cash with her.
* Imran Awan man himself wired $280,000 to Pakistan, then attempted to flee there.
* Debbie Wassman-Schultz has threatened "consequences" against the Capitol Police unless they return her hard drives before the police are done using them as evidence in a case they're investigating against the IT 5. Almost as if she has something to hide.
* Despite the IT 5 taking all sorts of liberties with the DNC email and passwords while the DNC freaks out about an email hack, and despite them doing shady shit on the side (Imran Awan was arrested for bank fraud), they somehow manage to land a big attorney with deep DNC/Clinton connections.
* The Daily Caller reported that stolen hard drives were recovered from Imran Awan "smashed" by hammers. (His new Friend of Bill lawyer denies this.)
* Despite all these goings-on, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz actually kept Imran Awan on the payroll for reasons unknown, even as he was subject of a Capitol Hill police probe. She only (finally!) fired him after his arrest, then refused comment.
Mark Steyn provides some color commentary on Tucker Carlson:

The big media (other than Fox) are falling all over themselves trying to run away from the story: ABC, NBC, And CBS Pretty Much Bury IT Scandal Engulfing Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Office

By way of Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 07.27.17" EBL sends "Imran Awan’s Arrest And His Disturbing Connections To Democratic Leadership" and  Powerline tentatively connects the Awans with Hezbollah:
Raisley also says the Awans controlled a limited liability corporation called Cars International A (CIA), a car dealership with odd finances that took, but did not repay, a $100,000 loan from one Dr. Ali Al-Attar. According to Raisley, laundering money through used car dealerships is a known Hezbollah tactic.

Raisley also cites a former CIA officer who says Dr. Attar, the man who loaned the Awans car dealership $100,000, “was observed in Beirut, Lebanon conversing with a Hezbollah official” in 2012, shortly after the loan was made.
Simon says  Imran Awan Case Needs Special Counsel 100X More than Russiagate
For years, Imran Awan had access to the secret data and correspondence of many House committees, including foreign affairs. What did he do with it?  As I said, that's the worst case scenario (I guess).  But I don't want to bury my own lede in a welter of ledes, so here it is:

Jeff Sessions should immediately appoint a special counsel in this case whose tentacles are so vast they reach the highest levels of our government.  The FBI, working unsupervised, has already been tainted by its heavily-criticized investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails, an investigation that actually may turn out to be related to this one.  It cannot be trusted to do this by themselves. We need a special counsel.

Further, unlike Russiagate, this is an investigation that already has a crime (Awan will be arraigned August 21).  It isn't in search of one.  It's just trying to find out its extent wherever it leads.  That's what special counsels do.  And in this case, Sessions should make sure that, unlike Mueller, the new special counsel picks associates on both sides of the aisle.  Unlike the biased Russia investigation, this should be even-handed.  We want to believe its conclusions in the end.
But really, the Russians hacked the DNC, swearsies!

Reason #5621 That Trump Was Elected

This headline says it all:

Planned Parenthood Targets Toddlers for Talks on Transgenderism, Masturbation

According to the Democrat Party, anyone who opposes spending federal taxpayer money on Planned Parenthood is a hater. Also, anyone who opposes transgender in the military is a hater. Democrats want to spend taxpayer money for Planned Parenthood to teach your boy that he’s a girl (or vice-versa), and then recruit him/her/they for the Marine Corps.

If you think this is crazy, don’t vote for Democrats.

Shark Week Fish Pic Friday

Cindy Nguyen
Well, it just had to be sharks, right?
Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Modern sharks are classified within the clade Selachimorpha (or Selachii) and are the sister group to the rays. However, the term "shark" has also been used for extinct members of the subclass Elasmobranchii outside the Selachimorpha, such as Cladoselache and Xenacanthus, as well as other Chondrichthyes such as the holocephalid eugenedontidans. Under this broader definition, the earliest known sharks date back to more than 420 million years ago.

Since then, sharks have diversified into over 500 species. They range in size from the small dwarf lanternshark (Etmopterus perryi), a deep sea species of only 17 centimetres (6.7 in) in length, to the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the largest fish in the world, which reaches approximately 12 metres (40 ft) in length. Sharks are found in all seas and are common to depths of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). They generally do not live in freshwater although there are a few known exceptions, such as the bull shark and the river shark, which can survive and be found in both seawater and freshwater. Sharks have a covering of dermal denticles that protects their skin from damage and parasites in addition to improving their fluid dynamics. They have numerous sets of replaceable teeth.
Brooke Thomas

Well-known species such as the great white shark, tiger shark, blue shark, mako shark, thresher shark, and the hammerhead shark are apex predators—organisms at the top of their underwater food chain. Many shark populations are threatened by human activities.
Unlike bony fish, sharks have a complex dermal corset made of flexible collagenous fibers and arranged as a helical network surrounding their body. This works as an outer skeleton, providing attachment for their swimming muscles and thus saving energy. Their dermal teeth give them hydrodynamic advantages as they reduce turbulence when swimming.
Luiza Barros

Unlike bony fish, sharks do not have gas-filled swim bladders for buoyancy. Instead, sharks rely on a large liver filled with oil that contains squalene, and their cartilage, which is about half the normal density of bone. Their liver constitutes up to 30% of their total body mass. The liver's effectiveness is limited, so sharks employ dynamic lift to maintain depth while swimming. Sand tiger sharks store air in their stomachs, using it as a form of swim bladder. Bottom-dwelling sharks, like the nurse shark, have negative buoyancy, allowing them to rest on the ocean floor.
Cassie Scerbo

In contrast to bony fish, with the exception of the coelacanth, the blood and other tissue of sharks and Chondrichthyes is generally isotonic to their marine environments because of the high concentration of urea (up to 2.5%) and trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), allowing them to be in osmotic balance with the seawater. This adaptation prevents most sharks from surviving in freshwater, and they are therefore confined to marine environments. A few exceptions exist, such as the bull shark, which has developed a way to change its kidney function to excrete large amounts of urea. When a shark dies, the urea is broken down to ammonia by bacteria, causing the dead body to gradually smell strongly of ammonia. 
Yep, caught a few sharks, although not in my end of Chesapeake Bay.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Burger Girls" ready at The Other McCain.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

More Than Everything You Wanted to Know About Bloodsworth Island

I've talked about Bloodsworth Island a few times in fishing posts. A salt-marsh island off the Eastern Shore of Maryland, it's shorelines and coves are one of Pete's favorite fishing grounds, which makes it one of mine: A look back at the history of a Chesapeake Bay island

Located in the Chesapeake Bay off the shores of Dorchester County, Maryland, Bloodsworth Island had its share of owners long before the Navy acquired it more than 70 years ago.

According to the Cultural Resource Survey of the Bloodsworth Island Archaeological District, the first recorded ownership of the island dates back to George Thompson of St. Mary’s County in 1672. From that time throughout the 1700s, the island passed ownership in whole or in parcels to various individuals until 1799 when Robert Bloodsworth, Sr. became the sole owner of what was then known as Thompson’s Island. It wasn’t until sometime around 1850 that the island became known as Bloodsworth. Family members, oystermen by trade, inhabited the island until 1918 when the last residents relocated to the Dorchester County mainland.
A Red Fox on Bloodsworth Island
OK, I never knew it was inhabited.
In 1921, the island was purchased by Albanus Phillips of the Cambridge, Maryland-based Phillips Packing Company, which, among other items, packed food rations for the military during World Wars I and II. No canning factories were ever erected on the island, but small crab houses operated there. In 1923, it was transferred to The Bloodsworth Island Game Preserve and ultimately acquired by the Navy in July 1942, during World War II.

At approximately five acres, Bloodsworth Island is the largest in the combined 6,013-acre Bloodsworth Island Range (BIR), which also includes Adam, Northeast, Pone and the now submerged Great Cove islands.
Something is wrong here. Bloodsworth Island is much bigger than 5 acres.

“Back in the 1940s, in the World War II timeframe, the Navy utilized the island as a bombardment range and it was in continuous use for operations until 1996,” explained Chris Jarboe, Atlantic Test Ranges (ATR) Sustainability Office team lead.

With the exception of a no-fire zone on the northern part of the island — the location of a historic Bloodsworth family cemetery — the island was designated as an impact zone for naval and aircraft bombardment. During that period, both live and nonexplosive ordnance was fired or dropped on impact areas on Bloodsworth and Pone Islands, and a range-spotting tower was constructed on Adam Island to provide scoring capability.

In 1996, the decision was made by Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Norfolk, Virginia, to cease range impact operations, and the island stood abandoned for a number of years.
Abandoned tower on Bloodsworth Island

“At one point, there was discussion to turn it over to the fish and wildlife service, but it was determined it could be an asset to us,” Jarboe explained. “So Little Creek transferred it and we took over ownership in March 2001.”

With that transfer of ownership, management of the island became the responsibility of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division and NAS Patuxent River.
It might be Holland Island...

“While it is still considered an active range, we no longer do impact operations out there,” Jarboe said.
Current operations at the BIR involve the test and evaluation of aircraft, including their flying qualities and performance, propulsion, aircrew and mission systems; electronic warfare; search and rescue; flight crew proficiency; and evaluation of radar systems, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sensors, night vision systems, directed energy systems and other electronic systems.
I know a pilot who dropped bombs on Bloodsworth.
Salt water encroachment — due to rising sea level — is inundating the island, leaving the ground wet and spongy, with waves continuing to wear away its shoreline.

“When you approach by boat, you see [vegetation] but have to get right up on top of it to see land because it’s maybe only a foot above the water,” Jarboe said. “The highest point on the island is only about five feet above high tide.”

Environmental studies suggest that eventually, Bloodsworth Island will be completely submerged beneath the Chesapeake Bay.
As I've note before, salt-marsh islands grow upwards to match reasonable sea level rise. However, as you can see in my photos, the islands are vulnerable to erosion from the edges.

Reason #5619 and #5620 That Trump Was Elected

Defense Secretary James Mattis: Get unnecessary training off warfighters’ backs
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered a review of all the administrative and training requirements that prevent trigger pullers and pilots alike from focusing on warfighting.

In the memo obtained by Military Times, Mattis on Friday directed the services, the National Guard Bureau and the combatant commanders to determine what changes are needed to give each branch increased flexibility to organize, train and equip more ready and lethal forces.

Notably, Mattis has ordered a review of the “requirements for mandatory force training that does not directly support core tasks” – the many hours soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines spend prior to deployment meeting the Pentagon-required tasks that sometimes have little to do with the role they will actually fulfill when deployed.

“I want to verify that our military policies also support and enhance warfighting readiness and force lethality,” Mattis said.

Mattis also ordered a review of the retention or separation of permanently non-deployable service members, the civilian workforce hiring process, and he also has asked for an increased emphasis on counterintelligence training for each of the services’ law enforcement branches.
Related, Trump tweets out ban on transexuals in military, the usual suspects react with horror.

There are a long list of things which the military deems to be unsuitable in a serviceman, All Trump has done is restore transsexualism to its status in June, 2016.

Tanlines Thursday Meets Shark Week!

Irina Shayk Swims With Sharks In Tahiti

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Burger Girls" ready at The Other McCain.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Senate Republicans Do Something About Obamacare Schadenfreude!

The Senate on Tuesday voted by the narrowest margin to move forward with its Obamacare repeal push, a significant step for Republicans that still leaves senators searching for an agreement on how best to follow through on a campaign promise that has defined most of the last decade.

Vice President Mike Pence was forced to break a tie as the Senate voted 51-50 to start debate on proposals to change the landmark health-care law. The vote comes after weeks of setbacks for Republicans as party divisions stalled multiple versions of their plans to overhaul the American health-care system.

Passing the motion to proceed does not mean Republicans have a consensus on a bill they can pass. The procedural vote starts a complicated period in which senators will float varying alternatives for reshaping Obamacare.

Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who have pushed for a bipartisan Obamacare fix, opposed the motion to proceed. The return of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to the Senate on Tuesday after a surgery for a brain tumor meant it would have taken three "no" votes to block the motion.
How the GOP brought Obamacare repeal back from the deadTough road ahead for McConnell on ObamaCare.
The successful procedural vote sets up 20 hours of floor debate and votes on a virtually unlimited number of amendments, known as a vote-a-rama.

Many of these amendments will fail, and some will pit centrists in the GOP conference against conservatives, a division that has made it exceedingly difficult for Republicans to move forward on ObamaCare repeal.
Our Self-Interested Senators
The House bill isn’t perfect—no bill ever is—but it amounts to the biggest entitlement reform in history. It repeals crushing taxes. It dramatically cuts spending. And it begins the process of stabilizing the individual health-care market and expanding consumer freedom.

None of this is good enough for a handful of senators, so now it’s time to make this exercise all about them. Mr. McConnell should make clear that the overwhelming majority of the Republican Party stands ready to make good on its repeal-and-replace campaign promise—and that it would have done so already were it not for a cynical or egotistic few. It’s time for some very public accountability.
Sadly, probably true. It’s time to tell the truth to ourselves. We will not get rid of the government guarantee of health care coverage
William Teach of The Pirate’s Cove concluded, in an article entitled CNN Poll: Fewer Want GOP To Repeal And Replace Obamacare:
The time to kill Obamacare was the 2012 election. With a President Romney, he could have slowed or even stopped the implementation of Obamacare, even without control of the Senate. All the rules and regulations could have been spiked. Once it was implemented, though, getting rid of it would be damned difficult. How many Big Big Big Government programs have been killed off? A handful at best? Instead, most become institutionalized, and, even when they are failing, even with miserable performance, they still stick around.
Of course they do: even the worst government program has some beneficiaries, people for whom maintaining the program is far more important to their economic well-being than the waste of money is to taxpayers in general.
 Avik Roy: Why CBO Projections Of GOP Health Bills All Look About The Same . Because it's all driven by the individual mandate. Drop the mandate, and many people gratefully drop their insurance. Leaked CBO Numbers: 73% Of GOP “Coverage Losses” Caused By Individual Mandate Repeal112,000,000: Medicaid Enrollees Set to Climb 40,000,000 Under Obamacare

By Way of Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 07.24.17" the always insightful Megan McArdle explains that Obamacare's Big Win: It Helps Some People Be a Little Less Poor
But we’re spending more than $100 billion a year on Obamacare. That is a lousy way to save people $5.5 billion in medical debt. It will be troubling if we continue to find good evidence of small effects like these, and less compelling evidence of the substantial benefits we were promised in return for all that money.

A history of why the US is the only rich country without universal health care. Left out? Because we're smarter than they are. Cities Fear Obamacare Repeal, Warm To Single-Payer Cities always warm to being subsidized.

Medicaid: The Snag in Obamacare Repeal. That which can't be sustained, won't. But like, a long fall, it's the hard stop at the bottom that hurts. Have Repeal Efforts Always Been a Republican Ruse? For some, no doubt.

Trump Should Pocket Minor Healthcare Win and Move to Tax Reform Immediately
Unlike the insoluble healthcare reform, many forms of tax reform work or at least suffice. Just lower taxes, especially the absurdly high corporate taxes that keep billions in American corporate cash locked in foreign banks, add some incentives to bring it back, and watch our economy zoom. Among other things, employers will start giving more generous health plans -- you can depend on it -- with lower deductibles. They'll be competing for employees.

Meanwhile, Republicans and those Democrats who will abandon their party's conventional neo-Stalinist approach and actually work with the other side (assuming such an animal exists) can knock themselves out finding the final solution to healthcare. Let a hundred committees bloom. They should take as long as they wish. They have nothing to worry about. The day-to-day medical care of Americans will struggle along as it always has. People will go the doctor. Emergency rooms will treat the poor. (The actual death of Bessie Smith occurred in 1937. That's eighty years ago now.) It's worth noting that America has had a closet version of socialized medicine virtually forever on levels that may be greater even than Europe's. Who do you think pays for those emergency room visits by the indigent, Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer?
Time to get some points on the board.

Reason #5619 That Trump Was Elected

Donald Trump attends Boy Scout Jamboree, Liberals liken Boy Scouts to Hitler Youth:
Here’s a shocker: Trump managed to drive the media crazy during his appearance, both by delving into politics and by insisting the news networks wouldn’t show the massive crowd. Of course, they did pan across the audience; they were pretty much compelled to, right?

And then the Nazi comparisons began:

Ah, there we go, the liberal admits they hated the scouts before Trump anyway.