Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I'm Not So Sure This Is a Good Idea

World’s first talking killer whale: Wikie the orca learns to say ‘hello’ and ‘bye bye’
Scientists say they have recorded a killer whale named Wikie repeating the words ‘hello’ and ‘bye bye’, counting up to three, and even saying the name of her trainer ‘Amy.’

The 14-year-old orca lives in Marineland at Antibes, France, and is the first in the world ever recorded by scientists allegedly saying human words.

The achievement is even more remarkable because whales do not have the same vocal ability as humans having evolved to make their own sounds underwater. While humans use the larynx to speak, whales produce sounds through their nasal passages using bursts of air.

Recently scientists have discovered that whales have different ‘accents’ or ‘cultures’ and the new study suggests that those differences are picked up when young through imitation of adults, in a similar way to how children learn to speak through copying.

In the new trial, Wikie was trained to understand a ‘copy’ signal then invited to repeat 11 completely new sounds given by her trainer. They included words and also noises such as an elephant call, a wolf howl and a creaking door.

Wikie was given a fish or an affectionate pat when she achieved the sound to reinforce the learning. Six judges were then asked to rate whether the vocalisation matched the original word or noise.

The researchers concluded: “In sum, Wikie made recognizable copies of the demonstrated sound judged in real time by two observers, Wikie’s trainer and one experimenter, later confirmed by both after listening to the recordings.

“The subject’s matching accuracy is all the more remarkable as she was able to accomplish it in response to sounds presented in-air and not in-water, the species’ usual medium for acoustic communication.

“It is conceivable that our data represent a conservative estimate of the killer whale’s capacity for vocal imitation.”

The whale words were also analysed in waveform and matched the human words when the acoustical recordings were compared.
Are we sure that teaching the world's largest and strongest predator our language is such a good idea?

Pruit Reconsidering Bay Journal Defunding

Pruitt says EPA reconsidering Bay Journal grant decision
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told a Senate committee on Tuesday that his agency’s decision to terminate a six-year grant that partially funds the Bay Journal was “under reconsideration.”

Pruitt, appearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, was questioned by Sen. Ben Cardin and Sen. Chris van Hollen, both Maryland Democrats, about the agency’s decision last summer to end the six-year grant after just two years of funding.

The questions followed reporting earlier this month by Energy & Environment, an online news service, that quoted former EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Director Nick DiPasquale, who retired Dec. 31, as saying the decision was “totally ideologically driven” and not based on a “shift in priorities” as the agency had stated.

“I learned of that decision after the fact,” Pruitt said of the grant action, “and I think it was probably a decision that should not have been made in the way it was.” He later reiterated that the grant was “under reconsideration and we are going to deal with it fairly.”

The questioning by the two senators followed a letter last week by Rep. John Sarbanes, D-MD, to Pruitt seeking an explanation of the grant decision.
I'm a little conflicted on this one. The Bay Journal is a thinly disguised  propaganda medium for the environmental lobby, largely funded by the government. Nominally journalistically independent, it is in fact, a reliable echo of progressive environmental thoughts. However, I cite it a lot, precisely for that reason.

Pruit has the opportunity here to exert some pressure to moderate their tone, if he has the will to exert the "golden rule": He who has the gold, rules.

Last Night . . .

We followed our customary habit of watching anything but the State of the Union Address, preferring to get the digested material later. but I hear it was "An excellent speech, extremely well delivered," and that it received 75% approval ratings:
Even the Democrat-controlled media can’t deny it:
Three in four Americans who tuned in to President Trump’s State of the Union address tonight approved of the speech he gave. Just a quarter disapproved.
Eight in 10 Americans who watched tonight felt that the president was trying to unite the country, rather than divide it. Two-thirds said the speech made them feel proud, though just a third said it made them feel safer. Fewer said the speech made them feel angry or scared. . . .
Nine in 10 Republicans said the speech made them feel proud, while just over half of Democrats said it made them feel angry. Independents who watched the speech — nearly half of whom counted themselves the President’s supporters — tended to approve of the speech, and said it made them feel proud.
. . . Rep. Luis Gutierrez, walked out of the speech when Republicans began chanting, “USA! USA! USA!”
Then again, there may be a certain bias in who chose to watch it. Certainly the Democrats in the chamber were unhappy:  5 Things Democrats Refused To Applaud During SOTU
1. The National Anthem
2. ‘In God We Trust’
3. Tax Cuts
4. Record Low In Black Unemployment
5. Veterans 

But there were some things they did approve of: Stacy McCain assembles A few headlines from
Democrats Bringing More Than Two Dozen Illegal Aliens to Trump’s SOTU
Rep. Paul Gosar: I’ve Asked Capitol Police, Jeff Sessions to Arrest ‘Any Illegal Aliens’ Attending Trump’s SOTU
New York Times: Immigrants Are Superior to Americans and Their Kids
‘Dreamers’ Arrested for Human Smuggling — Twice in Two Days
11 Democrats to Boycott Trump’s State of the Union Address — 49 Fewer than Snubbed Inauguration
That's some great optics there.

Nancy Pelosi looked like she was sucking on a lime:

Linked by Evi L. Blogger Lady in "Blondie SOTU: Dreaming and Atomic""Natalie Wood",  "Margot Robbie: I, Tonya""Julie Ertz""Marissa Van Noy" and  "I, Tonya: A Review".

Did Deputy Dog Slow Roll The Clinton Investigations?

It's starting to look like FBI Deputy Director Andrew (Andy) McCabe got eased out over his failure to follow up on the finding of Hillary's classified emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop: Internal Justice Department probe eyes McCabe’s role in final weeks of 2016 election
The Justice Department’s inspector general has been focused for months on why Andrew McCabe, as the No. 2 official at the FBI, appeared not to act for about three weeks on a request to examine a batch of Hillary Clinton-related emails found in the latter stages of the 2016 election campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.

The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, has been asking witnesses why FBI leadership seemed unwilling to move forward on the examination of emails found on the laptop of former congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) until late October — about three weeks after first being alerted to the issue, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

A key question of the internal investigation is whether McCabe or anyone else at the FBI wanted to avoid taking action on the laptop findings until after the Nov. 8 election, these people said. It is unclear whether the inspector general has reached any conclusions on that point.
More from Hot Air:
Whatever logjam formed in McCabe’s office finally broke after the Wall Street Journal reported, on Oct. 24, 3016, that McCabe’s wife had received substantial donations from Clinton-ally Terry McAuliffe, the Governor of Virginia. It was less than a week later that Director Comey decided to inform Congress that the FBI was looking into the emails on Weiner’s laptop. Clinton supporters (and Clinton herself) have long blamed that announcement for costing her the 2016 election. But the Post story says there was more than one Clinton investigation which stalled in McCabe’s office:
At the same time, the FBI was facing a new set of questions, this time about McCabe’s role in a stalled probe into the Clinton Foundation. Some within the FBI felt McCabe had repeatedly moved to hamstring that probe and were suspicious of his motives for doing so, according to people familiar with the matter.
McCabe’s defenders inside federal law enforcement have repeatedly said he tried to navigate a sensitive political investigation between Justice Department officials who thought the probe was going nowhere and FBI agents who believed they were being blocked from issuing subpoenas and taking other steps that could uncover critical evidence.
It’s interesting that unnamed DOJ officials thought the investigation was going nowhere. Is that a possible reference to Loretta Lynch who also told Director Comey to downplay the FBI’s investigation into Hillary’s email server by calling it “a matter”? It begins to appear as if the DOJ was acting as a drag on more than one Clinton investigation. More importantly, it seems as if McCabe himself was responsible for slow-walking these investigations.
And this amusing speculation:
You have to wonder if, by delaying this for several weeks, McCabe actually made the impact of Comey’s announcement worse. If the same thing had come out sooner, there would have been more time for Team Clinton to recover.
This IG report is going to be a blast.

Linked by Evi L. Bloggerlady in "Blondie SOTU: Dreaming and Atomic""Natalie Wood""Margot Robbie: I, Tonya""Julie Ertz""Marissa Van Noy", "BREAKING: Andrew McCabe out at FBI" and "I, Tonya: A Review".

Midnite Music - "One Meat Ball"

I was acquainted with this song through Dave Van Ronk, but an Althouse commenter posted this video for some reason or another:

The singer is one of the Andrews Sisters:

Original by Josh White, and another cover by Ry Cooder.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Eagles With Elbows" ready and waiting.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Candy is Dandy

But sex won't rot your brain: The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer's
In some cases, the path from sugar to Alzheimer’s leads through type 2 diabetes, but as a new study and others show, that’s not always the case.

A longitudinal study, published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia, followed 5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.
. . .
Melissa Schilling, a professor at New York University, performed her own review of studies connecting diabetes to Alzheimer’s in 2016. She sought to reconcile two confusing trends. People who have type 2 diabetes are about twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, and people who have diabetes and are treated with insulin are also more likely to get Alzheimer’s, suggesting elevated insulin plays a role in Alzheimer’s. In fact, many studies have found that elevated insulin, or “hyperinsulinemia,” significantly increases your risk of Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, people with type 1 diabetes, who don’t make insulin at all, are also thought to have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. How could these both be true?

Schilling posits this happens because of the insulin-degrading enzyme, a product of insulin that breaks down both insulin and amyloid proteins in the brain—the same proteins that clump up and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. People who don’t have enough insulin, like those whose bodies’ ability to produce insulin has been tapped out by diabetes, aren’t going to make enough of this enzyme to break up those brain clumps. Meanwhile, in people who use insulin to treat their diabetes and end up with a surplus of insulin, most of this enzyme gets used up breaking that insulin down, leaving not enough enzyme to address those amyloid brain clumps.

Trump Bringing Red Back to Virginia

Trump signs bill giving federal recognition to Virginia Indian tribes
President Donald Trump has signed legislation to grant federal recognition of six Virginia Indian tribes, opening opportunities for them to receive benefits such as aid for schools, housing and health care.

The federal recognition successfully ends a quest of nearly two decades by the tribes and by Republicans and Democrats in Virginia’s congressional delegation.

Rep. Rob Wittman, R-1st, announced the president’s action on Monday evening after informing leaders of the six tribes — the Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Nansemond and Monacan.

Wittman introduced H.R. 984, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017, in February. The House of Representatives passed the bill by voice vote in May, and the Senate adopted it by unanimous consent on Jan. 11 after U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats, forced a surprise vote.
So, really, Trump had not much to do with it, other than sign it, and it had no opposition in Congress.
“It’s definitely a historic day for the tribe and for the commonwealth,” said Wayne Adkins, first assistant chief for the Chickahominy, based in Charles City County.

“We’re really looking forward to planning the future of our tribe.”

Adkins, currently on leave for his tribal post, also is president of VITAL, or the Virginia Indian Tribal Alliance for Life, created in 1999 as an advocacy organization for the six tribes that chose to seek recognition through Congress rather than the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Federal Acknowledgment.

“It’s something we’ve been working on for 19 years,” he said. “To see it finally come to fruition is gratifying.

Wittman said in a statement Monday evening: “Today, we celebrate a decade of hard work.”

“This is an issue of respect,” he said. “Federal recognition acknowledges and protects the historical and cultural identities of these tribes.”
My question is whether this will mean some more casinos nearby? And when do the Patuxent Indians get their reservation?

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Eagles With Elbows" ready and waiting.

Deputy Andy Has Left the Building

Andrew McCabe
Andrew McCabe, the Deputy Director of the FBI, and one time Acting Director after the firing of James Comey, has been forced out by Director Wray, one day after Wray went to Capitol Hill to read the infamous Nunes memo outlining FBI and DOJ abuses in the 2016 campaign and afterwards, and the day the House voted to release the memo to the public (the process could take five days, depending on whether Donald Trump decides to hurry it or slow it). The New York Times reports that Wray saw something bad enough in the upcoming Horowitz IG report, that he asked his friend McCabe to accept a lesser post while counting his days to full vestment of his pension, and McCabe decided to use his accumulated leave instead.

McCabe was notorious in for his wife running for state Senate in Virginia in 2016, and accepting a $700,000 campaign donation from Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton crony, and losing, as well as apparently hosting secret meetings in his office with Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, where they discussed contingency plans for the outside possibility that Donald Trump could be elected, at least according to some Page/Strzok texts.  McCabe has testified behind closed doors to the House  committee investigating the 2016 election shenanigans.

We Americans generally prefer our top cops and spy masters to keep their official fingers out of politics. If it turns out, as I expect, that McCabe and his small band of merry men and women at the FBI and DOJ acted to protect Hillary from the email scandal, and to gin up a crazy Russian collusion investigation around the Trump campaign, he needs to spend a considerable portion of his retirement in 'Club Fed.'

Rumor has it more "resignations" are to come:

Linked by Evi L. Bloggerlady in "BREAKING: Andrew McCabe out at FBI."

#HimToo: Chachi's Turn in the Barrel

'Charles in Charge' Star Nicole Eggert Claims Scott Baio Molested Her as a Minor
Actress Nicole Eggert is accusing actor-director Scott Baio of having "molested" her repeatedly when she was 14 until she was 17.

In a series of tweets Saturday morning, the former Charles in Charge and Baywatch star told another Twitter user commenting on Baio's support for President Donald Trump, "Ask @scottbaio what happened in his garage at his house when I was a minor. Creep."

In subsequent replies to Twitter users commenting on her tweet, Eggert described herself as a "molested child" and said that she was 14, 15, 16 and 17 when the alleged incidents occurred. To another user, she described the alleged assaults: "What is ur explanation for him fingering me at age 14?"
Scott is 4 years older than Nicole, so yes, if true, 14 was kind of young, although in the picture above, they look of a similar age.
The pair starred together on Charles in Charge, which ran from 1984 to 1990, on which Baio played the title character and Nicole played Jamie, one of the children college student Charles became a caretaker for when he moved into a house off-campus.

In response, Baio's wife, Renee Baio, tweeted that his legal team had served Eggert with two cease-and-desist letters.

Baio added, on Twitter, "I'm about to do a Facebook live to prove her claims are 100% lies! #NicoleEggert."
 I never watched "Charles in Charge", I'm familiar with her from "Bay Watch."
In his video, Baio, whose wife can be heard from off-camera, addressed Eggerts' claims, saying, "The reason I’m doing Facebook Live is because no one can edit me…. This is the truth."

He went on to say that in 2012 and 2013, when Eggert first made claims against him, the actress was promoting reality shows she appeared in. Baio said he opted not to respond to the claims at that time. He then produced two letters, dated from last year, to Eggert and Charles in Charge costar Alexander Polinsky, who Baio claims "decided to team up against" him, telling them both to go to the police if they had legitimate claims.

Baio ended his video by saying, "I don't know what else to put out there. She's my best friend in the world, then all of a sudden I'm the bogeyman. The problem with almost all he said/she said cases is they're he said/she said. Now, go prove it or disprove it...the real problem with this is people with legitimate claims aren't taken seriously, and that's too bad."
 There is a problem with the statute of limitations here (assuming this occurred in California):
To seek damages for harm resulting from sexual abuse, an individual must file a civil lawsuit. If filing a civil sexual abuse suit against a private entity (i.e., an individual), a California victim must file the claim within 8 years of reaching majority. The age of majority in California is 18, so the person alleging abuse must file the lawsuit before reaching age 26.
A late hit.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Eagles With Elbows" ready and waiting.

Monday, January 29, 2018

New Earthquake Threat Found Near the Home Ground

New data from state geologists show that an earthquake fault runs below Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills’ shopping district, heightening the known seismic risk in an area famous for Cartier, Gucci, Prada and other luxury brands.

The California Geological Survey’s final map has the Santa Monica fault zone cutting through the so-called Golden Triangle, running between Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards.

The new map is a change from a draft version released last year that showed the fault zone ending on the western edge of Beverly Hills, near the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. Based on more information, the state now says the fault zone extends a mile farther northeast, through Beverly Hills’ central district and into the city’s civic center area.

The Santa Monica is one of several faults running through highly populated areas of Southern California to generate interest and concern from seismic experts and government officials. The fault zone cuts through the heart of the Westside, straddling or paralleling Santa Monica Boulevard through Century City and Westwood before veering due west, with segments running into Brentwood, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades.

It’s capable of producing a magnitude 7 earthquake. Experts believe the most recent major earthquake on the Santa Monica fault occurred 1,000 to 3,000 years ago.
I grew up in the West Side, Culver City for 12 years, and then the next several in Rancho Park, not far from the junction of the 405 with the Santa Monica Freeway. I only recall one earthquake, a mild 5 or so, while I was growing up (although I apparently slept through a larger one as an infant).

A magnitude 7 quake would devastate the area.

EPA Lifers Protest Pro-Trump Posters

Scott Pruitt may be in charge of the EPA, but you can rest assured that among the rank and file staffers there are a bunch of folks from old Obama era gang who are still hanging around. Needless to say, they’re not exactly thrilled with the direction the Trump administration has taken in terms of rolling back costly and oppressive regulations to focus on projects which actually produce results. So when the management started putting up a few promotional posters reinforcing the ongoing work and their successes to date, not everyone was happy.

What do you do when you’ve seen something relating to current policy which upsets you? Why, you leak it out to somebody at the New York Times immediately, of course:
The Environmental Protection Agency wants its employees to know it is proud of all they accomplished in 2017, even if that amounted to undoing the work they did in 2016.
In an array of posters displayed at EPA offices across the country, the agency is applauding “a year of great environmental achievements for America.” The posters include among notable accomplishments the preliminary repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and walking back the Waters of the United States rulemaking. In a display listing its “New Environmental Achievements,” EPA notes it provided “confidence for American families” and “certainty for American businesses.”
The agency also boasted that its Superfund taskforce is “encouraging private investment” while expediting cleanup and land reuse.
It was John O’Grady, the president of the government workers union representing many EPA workers (the AFGE), who called the posters “propaganda” according to the article.
Hopefully it was undoing more than just what they did in 2016.

It's not like propaganda is foreign to the EPA. They have always steered pretty close to the line of illegally lobbying for their agenda. I would argue they have overstepped it many times, but they rarely get called on it. Calling attention to your own accomplishments in the office (even if the NYT fails to agree) doesn't even come close to the line.

Sauce for the goose.

Graduate Student Reinvents Tides

Rising sea levels already altering tides in Chesapeake Bay
Researchers have found evidence that sea-level rise is already affecting high and low tides in both the Chesapeake and Delaware bays, two large estuaries of the eastern United States.

The team combined a computer model with 100 years of observations to tease out the fact that global sea-level rise is increasing the tidal range, or the distance between the high and low tides, in many areas throughout each bay.

Tides, or the rising and falling of the ocean’s surface, occur on regular intervals and as a result of numerous factors, the biggest of which is the gravitational pull from the sun and moon.
. . .
In 2015, Andrew Ross, a meteorology doctoral student at Penn State, noticed an odd pattern emerging while testing a numerical computer model for tidal research. Adding one meter of sea-level rise to the model resulted in a distinct pattern of changes to the high and low tides throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

“We weren’t sure why it was there, but it was unique enough that we thought it should show up in observations, too, if it was actually real,” says Ross, now a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University. “So we started looking at the observations, doing more comparisons.”
. . .
The team analyzed tidal gauge records from 15 locations in the Delaware and Chesapeake bays, the oldest of which dates back to 1901. They also studied nearby cities outside of each bay to control for larger changes affecting the ocean more broadly.

Once they isolated sea-level rise’s influence on the tides using the tide gauge records, they compared this information with a computer model in which they could adjust the overall sea level, simulating the effects of the past or future.

As they report in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, both the tide gauge data and the model generally agreed on the main effects of sea-level rise on tides. The analysis shows that one meter of sea-level rise increased the tidal range by up to 20 percent in some areas. The exact amount of change from sea-level rise varied based on physical characteristics such as the shape of the bay.
Tides can be pretty complicated in a place like Chesapeake Bay with many tributaries, and regions with different depths. We understand the astronomical factors which drive tides, but the actual motion is also a function of water depth and shape of the basin. But we know from first principals that increasing the depth will change the tides. This has happened before, as sea level fell and rose with the passing of ice ages.

Did they also consider the counter-effect of sedimentation having the effect of countering the effects of sea level rise bu making the water shallower? Sedimentation rates in the Bay are on the same order of magnitude as sea level rise, but are much more variable geographically. Probably not, because they weren't looking for contrary arguments.

Reminder: Hillary Clinton Belongs in Jail

As usual, Judicial Watch does the heavy lifting that the new media won't do: New Documents Reveal More Instances of Classified Information on Hillary Clinton’s Unsecure, Non-‘’ System
Judicial Watch today released 78 pages of new documents from the U.S. Department of State containing emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent and received over her unsecure, non-“” email system. Three of the email exchanges include classified information. The emails also reveal that Clinton had detailed knowledge about the security issues with in her non-State Department email system.

On March 8, 2011, Hillary Clinton sent classified information regarding Bahrain to Justin Cooper, who reportedly had no security clearance, with instructions to show it to Bill Clinton. Cooper was the Bill Clinton aide, who asked State Department IT specialist Bryan Pagliano to build a server for Mrs. Clinton in early 2009 as she started her new job as Secretary of State.

On August 24, 2010, Clinton emailed Cooper additional classified information to print, including the secretary’s call sheet for Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

In a February 13, 2010, email exchange, Hillary Clinton passed along classified information to Cooper, which originally was sent to Cheryl Mills (Clinton’s then-chief of staff) by U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual. The classified information included a note from Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa to Hillary Clinton. In the email to Cooper, Clinton asks him to “look for Espinosa’s note and respond.”

The documents are part of the accelerated schedule of production ordered by U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg, which requires the State Department to complete processing by September 28, 2018, the remaining documents of the 72,000 pages recovered by the FBI in its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illicit email server. These new classified and other emails appear to be among those that Clinton had attempted to delete or had otherwise failed to disclose.

Judge Boasberg’s November 30, 2017, order came in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on May 6, 2015, (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)) seeking:
All emails sent or received by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in her official capacity as Secretary of State, as well as all emails by other State Department employees to Secretary Clinton regarding her non-“” email address.
The newly released documents also reveal Hillary Clinton’s knowledge of system vulnerabilities; Cooper giving computer security advice; and foreign policy advice from Sidney Blumenthal, who was rejected by the Obama administration for a position at the State Department:
The emails reveal that Hillary Clinton was warned about “overseas” and other security issues concerning her emails and her personal BlackBerrys. An email from Cooper to Clinton on June 6, 2011 states:
All of your older messages will remain on the server. There is a way for me to move everything on to the new device, but the security whizzes have convinced me that this is a horrible thing to do because you also transfer any viruses, spyware and junk overseas providers hide on there. We also have some new security features and polices [sic] that I would like to add to any new berry you have — the most noticeable difference will require a more complex password. It is a constant fight to keep up with the security measures and unfortunately we keep seeing reminders of why we need to.
Clinton was the subject of a grand jury investigation into her BlackBerry email accounts. In June 2017, Judicial Watch submitted evidence to the court that Clinton knowingly used an unsecure BlackBerry device despite being warned by “security hawks” against doing so.
The emails also reveal that despite Clinton’s claims that she “really didn’t stop to think about what kind of email system there would be,” she was deeply involved in a wide variety of issues involving her server and her use of the non-secure email system. Discussions include:
A March 8, 2012, email exchange among Cooper, Pagliano and Clinton about the server and email.
A September 29, 2009, email exchange between Cooper and Clinton discusses the backup of emails.
An August 31, 2011, email between Cooper and Hillary Clinton discusses the setting up of Clinton’s iPad.
In an email on February 12, 2010, Sidney Blumenthal writes Clinton a memo passing along a speech on Saudi Arabia by Chas Freeman, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, urging closer U.S. ties with the Saudi Kingdom. Blumenthal also reportedly worked for the Clinton Foundation.
“The fact that Hillary Clinton and her agents tried to destroy or hide emails shows how she flagrantly and knowingly violated the laws that protect classified information and government records,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And these new emails refute Hillary Clinton’s repeated claims of having little or no knowledge about her email system. She clearly was fully in charge of setting up her outlaw email system and overseeing its use. When will the Justice Department act?”
She should be in jail; instead she's at the Grammy's whipping up sympathy for  the election that she tried steal and lost.

#NotHerToo: Sharon Stone Thinks #MeToo Going Too Far

'You can't charge a person with murder when they've only got a parking ticket': Sharon Stone slams Harvey Weinstein - but risks #MeToo backlash as she warns against punishing all sexual predators the same way
Hollywood predator Harvey Weinstein should be locked up, says Sharon Stone, but she has warned against punishing all men accused of sexual misbehaviour in the same way.
 Sharon's Rule 5 post.
In a frank interview with The Mail on Sunday’s Event magazine today, the actress says: ‘In every crime there are misdemeanours and felonies, and I think if someone’s committed a misdemeanour they can’t be treated like they’ve committed a felony. You can’t charge someone for murder when they’ve got a parking ticket.’ Her comments echo those of Matt Damon, who was criticised by #MeToo campaigners for saying there is a ‘difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation’.

Ms Stone – famous for her sexually charged scenes in the 1992 movie Basic Instinct – condemns Weinstein, saying: ‘I hope he goes to jail,’ adding that the producer, who has been accused of rape, is ‘coarse and mean and violent and abusive’. She adds: ‘He thinks he’s a big martyr but he’s a pisher [a nobody]’. In a forthright assertion of how women should deal with predatory men, Ms Stone says: ‘We have two legs. You can leave a room. You can say “stop it”. You have an opportunity not to participate.’
Common sense from a Hollywood actress. Has anyone checked the temperature in Hell recently?

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Eagles With Elbows" ready and waiting.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

First Fish of 2018

Around 2 PM Pete called and suggested a short trip out to "Location X" to find out if there were any fish there. There were. Lots of them. But not all this big.

It was cool and rainy and foggy, and it's a good thing he has radar and a GPS and is comfortable using them.

Home by 5 PM.

More Lovebird Chatter

Byron York clears up some of the fog surrounding the texts between Superdooper FBI agent Peter Strzok, and his DOJ sugar honey attorney Lisa Page, and clears up some misunderstandings: Justice Department withholds majority of FBI texts
There is much confusion over some basic facts of the Strzok-Page texts. How many are there? How many relate to the two most politically-charged investigations in years, the Trump-Russia probe and the Hillary Clinton email investigation? How many have been turned over to Congress? And how many are left to be turned over to Congress?

The answers are complicated, but here is what I have been able to figure out from conversations with the Justice Department and Capitol Hill investigators.

The Justice Department has identified about 50,000 Strzok-Page texts. But that is apart from the texts between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017 that were declared missing a week ago but are now being recovered. So, the total is apparently 50,000 plus the currently unknown number of formerly missing texts.
So the 50k number I used two days ago was not across the 5 month gap, but all texts before and after, so we can't do the simple math and conclude that they were texting each other every 6 minutes. But still, that's a lot of texting.
But that number refers only to the Strzok-Page texts that were sent and received on FBI-issued Samsung phones. There are a number of instances in the texts in which the two officials say that they should switch the conversation to iMessage, suggesting they continued to talk about FBI matters on personal Apple phones. For investigators, those are particularly intriguing texts – what was so sensitive that they couldn't discuss on their work phones? – but the number of those texts is unknown. And of course, they have not been turned over to Congress.
So, that, deliberately  switching to an unarchived media for work conversations, is clearly in violation of government policy regarding document and data retention, and doing so deliberately to avoid discovery could be reasonably construed as obstruction of justice.When wouking for the Smithsonian, one of the things drilled into us in our annual IT training was not to use personal accounts for work business.
How many texts have been turned over? Both Justice Department and Capitol Hill sources say the total number is in the 7,000 range, which includes all the texts handed over on two separate occasions.

How many texts will be turned over? First, it's not possible to know how many texts from the Dec. 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017 time period will be recovered and turned over. But of the 50,000 the Justice Department already has in hand, officials say they have already turned over all they're going to give to Congress.
So, of 50,000 texts, about 43,000 were personal, or concerned details so secret (probably about the Russian meddling or Clinton email scandal investigations) that they can't be revealed even to Congress? Given that they were lovers, hiding an extramrital office romance, probably the majority are personal.

That's a lot of work time devoted to their love life. Using government devices for personal business is also against the rule and probably illegal, although it is a common indiscretion, and not widely enforced. At a minimum, the pair should be held accountable for the abuse of government phones, and waste of government time, and the cost of the resulting investigations. That would be a big bill.

It also seems to me that for the FBI Chief of the Counterespionage Section, having an unknown extramarital affair put Peter Strzok at considerable risk for blackmail by foreign intelligence services. Why hasn't this guy been canned instead of merely "laterally arabesqued" off to Human Resources?

This is gonna make a great movie if they do it fairly.

Linked by Evi L. Bloggerlady in "Nicole Eggert tries to make herself relevant with #MeToo",  "Sabo Strikes Again: Grammys 2018""Blondie SOTU: Dreaming and Atomic""Natalie Wood""Elsa Pataky""Vintage Disneyland Mermaids""Julie Ertz", "Marissa Van Noy", and "I, Tonya: A Review".

Blonde Finn Threatens Independence

Laura Huhtasaari, a 38-year-old former teacher, is trying to bring anti-immigration populist ideas back to mainstream Finnish politics and her campaign for the presidency has seen her reputation soar ahead of the first round of voting on Sunday.

Her Finns Party has employed tactics from a variety of populist politicians, echoing Donald Trump with her “Finland first” slogan and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, who used nationalism as a key theme in her campaign.

Her eurosceptic rhetoric sounds a lot like that of former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, even telling of her admiration for the 53-year-old’s Brexit campaign as she told supporters to “take their country back”.

She said: “I look at Nigel Farage’s example. It took 17 years, but Brexit came.

“I don’t plan to wait that long.”

She claims the EU has turned “Finland into its province” and has railed against the country’s political elite, who she argues do not represent the working class.

Huhtasaari has also demanded more immigration controls and has campaigned in favour of a burka ban – a far cry from Finland’s traditionally subdued politics.
I don't really have a strong bias against the EU personally, but I can understand how people resent the bureaucrats of Brussels trying to regulate their gnocchi, artisanal cheeses and lipeäkala.

Linked by Evi L. Bloggerlady in "Nicole Eggert tries to make herself relevant with #MeToo""Sabo Strikes Again: Grammys 2018""Blondie SOTU: Dreaming and Atomic""Natalie Wood""Elsa Pataky""Vintage Disneyland Mermaids""Margot Robbie: I, Tonya""Marissa Van Noy"  and "I, Tonya: A Review". Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Eagles With Elbows" ready and waiting.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Reason #5884 That Trump Was Elected

IMF raises global growth forecast, sees Trump tax boost
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Monday revised up its forecast for world economic growth in 2018 and 2019, saying sweeping U.S. tax cuts were likely to boost investment in the world’s largest economy and help its main trading partners.
Of course, they had to throw some anti-Trump BS in there
However, the IMF, in an update of its World Economic Outlook, also added that U.S. growth would likely start weakening after 2022 as temporary spending incentives brought about by the tax cuts began to expire. . . .

U.S. President Donald Trump signed Republicans’ massive $1.5 trillion tax overhaul into law in December, cementing the biggest legislative victory of his first year.

The tax package, the largest such overhaul since the 1980s, slashed the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and temporarily reduced the tax burden for most individuals as well.
It's only temporary if the Democrats won't agree to renew it.
Pointing to growth in the United States and China, the IMF forecast global growth to 3.9 percent for both 2018 and 2019, a 0.2 percentage point increase from its last update in October.

The U.S. economy has been showing steady but underwhelming annual growth since the last recession in 2007-2009. The IMF now expects it to expand by 2.7 percent in 2018, much higher than the 2.3 percent the fund forecast in October. U.S. growth was projected to slow to 2.5 percent in 2019, it said.

The IMF also revised up its growth forecasts for the euro area, especially for Germany, Italy and the Netherlands “reflecting the stronger momentum in domestic demand and higher external demand”.
With minor exceptions, what's good for the US is good for the world. 

On DACA Democrats Want an Issue, Not a Deal

Trump Offers Amnesty Deal; Democrats Immediately Reject ‘Hardline’ Proposal
When the news first leaked out that President Trump was offering Democrats an immigration deal with amnesty for 1.8 million “Dreamers,”conservatives reacted with dismay, because we had once again underestimated Trump’s political genius. As Ed Driscoll has remarked, “Trump’s ability to drive his opponents round the bend is one of his best assets,” and the Democrats responded predictably:
Democrats and outside progressive groups are quickly panning an immigration framework from President Trump as a nonstarter on Capitol Hill.
The White House’s proposal would provide a pathway to citizenship for up to 1.8 million “Dreamers” in exchange for $25 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall and other security measures, as well as sweeping changes to the legal immigration system.
But progressive Democrats and their allies are ripping the suggested framework, arguing the administration is trying to hold Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients “hostage”for changes to legal immigration.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) called the proposal a “ransom” that “doesn’t pass the laugh test.” . . .
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, added that the White House proposal is “shameful” and using the DACA program as a “bargaining chip.”
“President Trump is not just trying to shakedown Congressional Democrats; he is trying to shakedown the American people,” she said. . . .
Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said the proposal puts a “hardline immigration agenda … on the backs of these young people.”
“Dreamers should not be held hostage to President Trump’s crusade to tear families apart and waste billions of American tax dollars on an ineffective wall,” he said. . . .
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) called it a “compromise between the far right and the alt-right” that is “dead on arrival.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), considered a potential 2020 White House contender, said Trump is trying to hold immigrants “hostage to Steven [sic] Miller’s anti-immigrant wish list.”
Stephen Miller, a conservative White House aide known for his hardline immigration views, has been at the center of the debate.
. . .
Trump makes a proposal most Americans will view as extraordinarily generous — amnesty for 1.8 million illegal immigrants is no small thing — and Democrats respond by parroting the left-wing activists who denounce this as a “white supremacist” plan? That’s perfect.

Especially after the Schumer shutdown, it’s now obvious that Democrats are the ones whose extremist agenda is preventing any resolution to the DACA controversy. Trump has shrewdly positioned himself as the reasonable proponent of compromise, and Democrats look like a bunch of radical kooks, shrieking about KKK cross-burnings.
For years, Democrats have been whining about the need for a comprehensive immigration solution. Did Obama and his Democrats pass one when they had control of the government? No! Trump has now offered them a comprehensive immigration package, with more generous terms than they demanded on "Dreamers", but with tough controls on chain migration, and funds for a border barrier (among others), and all they can do is call him racist.

Wake up Dreamers. The Democrats are using you. They don't want a solution, they want an issue.

Rule 5 Saturday - Kerry-Lee Cousins

This week's Rule 5 special features Kerry-Lee Cousins:
Today's model hails from Cape Town and as you will find out, she's pretty keen on sports and probably the only lady in the world that understands the off side rule in football, since the sport is so dear to her, just a pity about the team she supports. Anyway, here she is to tell you more!
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Is Sea Level Rise Turning Sewage into Beer?

. . . withdrawals from the Potomac aquifer have been deflating it so dramatically that the ground on which we stand is sinking – so fast that subsidence is the single biggest contributor to Hampton Roads’ sea level rise problem.
Henifin reasoned, and so have regulators who’ve fast-tracked his idea, that reinflating the aquifer with super-cleaned water from HRSD would slow the rate of the subsidence.

Beginning by April, Henifin’s theory will be put to the test at the Nansemond Treatment Plant in northern Suffolk. There, HRSD will start injecting 1 million gallons a day into the aquifer. Specialized equipment will measure for any changes in the subsidence rate, and monitoring wells will track how fast the water spreads below.

The Nansemond project is a $23 million down payment on what Henifin envisions as a $1 billion program involving seven HRSD treatment plants from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg. The program is called SWIFT, Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow. It’s garnering worldwide attention in science and engineering circles.

If it all comes off, there never will have been a larger aquifer injection, nor one with more potential impact on sea level rise.
Yeah, but what about the beer?
That water will have been put through a series of tests to assure that it’s safe to drink, but it’ll also come with a disclaimer – that, technically speaking, it doesn’t have Virginia Department of Health approval. Henifin said that’s because the department’s rules don’t allow it to certify for human consumption any beverage from a reclaimed source, even if it had been transformed into the purest water in the world.

It was during this explanation that Henifin segued into beer.

He’s hoping, he said, to someday make some SWIFT water available to craft breweries and let them do their thing with it.

It’s happened elsewhere with wastewater – in California, Florida and Wisconsin, to name a few examples. In Oregon, 40 homebrewers faced off in a competition last August using water purified from a wastewater treatment plant. A saison won best in show in the “sewage-to-brewage” smackdown. A Portland brewery then turned it into a limited release.
Oregon? Yeah, they'll drink anything that's called beer.
In brewing circles, Henifin said, transforming wastewater has “become quite the buzz, if you’ll excuse the pun.”

Making it happen in Virginia would take some changes in regulations – “a windmill I’d like to take a tilt at.”
All water everywhere has been strained through somebodies kidneys (or equivalent) sometime.

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Our Lovebird Update

As of yesterday's post, there were still approximately 50,000 missing text messages between super dooper FBI agent Peter Strzok and his mistress, and DOJ lawyer Lisa Page over the 5 month gap. That's roughly one message every three minutes, assuming they restricted their texting to work hours (which is doubtful). But if they slept 8 hours per day, even with each other, that would still be one message every 6 minutes! That's an astonishing amount of texting! The good news for Donald Trump is that they obviously spent a lot of time doing something other than work.

Anyhoo, today, it turns out those messages were in the last place they looked: DOJ recovers 50,000 missing text messages between Peter Strzok, Lisa Page
Lo and behold, the missing FBI text messages between agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page have been found, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in a letter Thursday, the Washington Examiner reported.

Roughly, 50,000 text messages spanning from Dec. 14, 2016, to May 17, 2017, went missing from the pair’s FBI-issued mobile phones that reportedly “failed to capture” them.

Why are the messages important?

The recovered messages are considered a critical part of FBI special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Forensic tools” were successfully used to retrieve the texts, Horowitz said in the letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) and Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, (R-Wis.), the Examiner reported.

GOP lawmakers contend that those texts contain evidence of political bias against President Donald Trump in the Russian investigation and inside the FBI.

“Our effort to recover any additional text messages is ongoing,” Horowitz said.
Did they ask the NSA to give them to them? I pity the poor slug who has to wade through these texts. It'll be like a Harlequin novel.

One interesting fact about the missing messages, the timing. The gap in the message retention started 12/14/16, same date WaPo cites unnamed intel officials stating... wait for it... Russians tried to hack election for Trump, and the End date: 5/17/17: same date Mueller is named Special Counsel. Yeah, I'm pretty sure nothing much important happened during that period.

So we can look forward to plenty more fun texts from our new favorite political couple. But we have new information from the original tranche. It seems Lisa was not looking forward to her boyfriend asking Queen Hillary, and her court tough questions. By way of Wombat-socho's "Late Night With In The Mailbox: 01.25.18"More Texts Released – Were FBI Agents Pulling Their Punches On The Hillary Investigation?
As The Daily Caller reports, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley says the texts suggest the FBI was “pulling punches” in its investigation of Clinton.
In the text message flagged by Grassley, Page suggested that Strzok should not take an aggressive approach to Clinton because of the strong possibility that she would be elected president.
“One more thing: she might be our next president. The last thing you need us going in there loaded for bear. You think she’s going to remember or care that it was more doj than fbi?” Page wrote.
Strzok said he agreed with that assessment.
“I called Bill and relayed what we discussed. He agrees. I will email you and [redacted] same.”
“Bill” is likely Bill Priestap, the FBI’s chief of counterintelligence.
The more that’s uncovered, the more it seems people were really, really counting on Hillary Clinton being elected.
Incidentally, Strzok was a principal in the interrogations of both Hillary et al, and Michael Flynn, and the two interrogations could not have been more dissimilar. Hillary's interrogation was well scheduled in advance with her lawyer, Cheryl Mills in the room,  immunizations were handed liberally. Hillary was not sworn, and the interview was not recorded, and no notes were taken.  Michael Flynn's was an ambush under suspicious circumstances, and his lawyer was not present. You can bet it was recorded.  But it's OK, because the letter letting Hillary off the hook was already written. Former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy argues that President Obama's use of Hillary's bathroom server made it virtually certain that Hillary would be let off, because Barack was complicit: Obama’s Conflict Tanked the Clinton E-mail Investigation — As Predicted. It's old, but read it all because it is eerily prescient.

Reason #5883 That Trump Was Elected

The Iranian military has halted the routine harassment by its armed “fast boats” of U.S. naval vessels in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. military said, a turnabout that officials welcomed but were at a loss to explain.

The boats for at least two years would dart toward the U.S. vessels as they passed through the Persian Gulf, risking miscalculation, but haven’t done so for five months, U.S. military officials said.

The officials said they hoped the respite would continue. “I hope it’s because we have messaged our readiness…and that it isn’t tolerable or how professional militaries operate,” Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, told reporters traveling with him in the Middle East this week. Iranian officials didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The fast boats, typically armed with .50 caliber machine guns and rocket launchers, have come within shooting distance of American naval vessels, encounters that grew routine even though each one presents potential dangers to American vessels transiting through international waters.

In some of the more serious incidents, Iranian crews have directed spotlights at ship and aircraft crews, potentially blinding pilots as they conduct operations, according to U.S. military officials. In one case, an Iranian boat pointed a weapon at an American helicopter flying off a Navy vessel, officials said. In the most serious incidents, U.S. vessels have fired warning shots in return.
Yeah, it's quite a mystery. Maybe having someone willing to shoot back is a deterrent?

It Takes All Kinds . . .

Eight kinds, actually:

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

#FightFor$15: WSU SJW Scabs Charge Below Scale for Whinging About Halloween Costumes

Students earned $11/hour to complain about Halloween costumes
Washington State University pays “Peer Educators” $11/hour to host social justice workshops, but so far Halloween costumes seem to be the only target.

These Social Justice Peer Educators (SJPEs) were slated to work roughly ten hours per week facilitating workshops on social justice topics such as “Redefining Masculinity” and “Microaggressions 101,” according to the initial job description.
$11 an hour, when the SJW goal is $15? Totally unacceptable! They need to hold out  for more for this totally important work. Preferably, price themselves out of the market.

WSU is the third taxpayer-funded university known to offer to pay students to proselytize for social justice, following in the steps of the University of Arizona (UA) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), which both offered to hire “Social Justice Advocates” last year.

But while both UA and UCLA closed their Social Justice Advocates programs not long after Campus Reform broke news of them, WSU went full-steam ahead, hiring four students to work in the school’s Diversity Education office.

Despite each student “working” roughly 10 hours per week, Campus Reform has discovered that the peer educators only appear to have successfully pulled off one workshop last semester—an event dedicated to fighting “cultural appropriation” in Halloween costumes.

Hosted two weeks before the holiday, the SJPEs facilitated the “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume” workshop before a small audience, warning their peers of the harms that could arise if their Halloween costumes aren’t culturally sensitive enough.

“Spread the word, help educate others,” said SJPE Nicklaus McHendry, emphasizing the importance of education in combating offensive comments, reports The Daily Evergreen.

Another SJPE, Jayda Moore, encouraged peers not to engage in “cultural appropriation,” which she defined as taking aspects of other cultures out of context.

Cultural appropriation is “usually done by the dominant members group,” Moore explained, adding that the process works against people from a “marginalized or oppressed group.”

While the peer educators were initially hired to facilitate a variety of workshops, the costume workshop appears to be the only event they have successfully put on thus far.
I thought the purpose of Halloween costumes was to be offensive.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Monday: Winter Pinups" ready for your digital pleasure. Linked by Evi L. Bloggerlady in "National Chocolate Cake Day",  "Nicole Eggert tries to make herself relevant with #MeToo""Sabo Strikes Again: Grammys 2018""Blondie SOTU: Dreaming and Atomic""Natalie Wood""Elsa Pataky""Vintage Disneyland Mermaids""Margot Robbie: I, Tonya""Julie Ertz""Marissa Van Noy" and "I, Tonya: A Review".