Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Baltimore to Ban Styrofoam?

The Baltimore City Council has moved a bill forward that would ban plastic foam containers for carryout food and drinks — a measure that Mayor Catherine Pugh has supported.

Our media partner The Baltimore Sun reports a vote Monday night unanimously gave preliminary approval to the bill. The ban aims to cut down on litter in the city.

The bill would create criminal fines for businesses that fail to comply with the ban on containers made of polystyrene foam, a substance more commonly known by its brand name, Styrofoam.

Styrofoam has long been used as an inexpensive convenience, but it isn’t free of other costs. It’s a major source of Baltimore’s litter, with much of it washing off streets and alleys and into the Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay. And it isn’t cheap to recycle.

Mercedes Thompson, a student organizer at a rally at Baltimore City Hall in support of the bill earlier this month, said “Styrofoam is recyclable, but it’s extremely difficult.”
I thought difficult was the point of recycling; certainly it isn't mostly about the planet.

I wonder if this ban extends to structural and other major uses of styrofoam as insulation?

Oregon, My Oregon

On February 17, Portland State University held an event to discuss viewpoint diversity moderated by PSU philosophy professor Peter Boghossian, with a panel including former Evergreen State biologist Heather E. Heying, writer Helen Pluckrose, and former Google engineer James DaMore, who was fired in 2017 after writing a memo about the biological differences between men and women. When Heying spoke of the simple biological differences between men and women, some leftist activists hilariously threw a fit, rising up in protest and sabotaging the sound system as they exited.

At the event, which was titled, "We Need to Talk About Diversity," Boghossian preceded the brouhaha by asking Pluckrose what “social constructivism” meant. Pluckrose responded, “It’s the idea that all of our traits, our characteristics, abilities, cognitive, psychological, behavioral, are learned from societal norms; the idea that there can be innate or biological or inherited differences are dismissed. And so, we’re in a position where if there is injustice, or if there is an imbalance anywhere, sort of an inequality of representation, then the explanation for that can be the societal injustice.”

Boghossian turned to Heying, asking, “What can we take from what Helen said to help us make sense of James’ memo?”

Heying answered, “James argues, accurately, that there are differences between men and women. This is a strange position to be in, to be arguing for something that is so universally and widely accepted within biology. What is not as widely accepted is that culture is also evolutionary; but I’m going to argue that both biology and culture are both evolutionary. Let’s look at differences between men and women that are explicitly anatomical and physiological; are men taller than women on average? Does anyone take offense at that fact? I would say you could be irritated by it; you could be irritated by the fact that women have to be the ones who gestate and lactate; you could be irritated by a lot of truths—”

At that point a young woman with green hair stood up and led the protesters out.

Heying continued, “—but taking offense is a response that is a reflection of reality. So, men and women are different on height; they’re different on muscle mass; they’re different on where fat is deposited on our bodies. Our brains are also different.”
At this juncture the exiting protesters knocked over something in the rear of the auditorium, deliberately sabotaging the sound system.

Heying calmly continued, “So there are some binaries—”

Someone called “Security!”

Boghossian interrupted, “This is what happens — did they shut off the volume? Can everybody hear?"

As one woman was led away by police, she ranted, “He’s a piece of s***. That is not okay. Even the women in there have been brainwashed!”

A young male protester pontificated, “… should not listen to fascism. It should not be tolerated in civil society. Nazis are not welcome in civil society."

As the young woman left, she called out, “F*** the police! Power to the people!”

Meanwhile, because the sound system had been damaged, Boghossian called out, “All right, we’re going to raise our voices. The conversation’s going to go on,” prompting cheers and applause from the audience. He continued, “Let me be crystal clear: that sort of behavior is unacceptable in civilized society. (applause) And if that person is a student, they should be given a warning, and if they do it again they should be expelled from the university.”
Actually, once the idiots were kicked out by security, they had a remarkably intelligent conversation, and Q & A with the remaining Portland State students. After you watch the idiots do their thing and get kicked out by security, if you have the time, watch the whole thing.

I'm actually proud of Oregon. Maybe there's hope after all.

Bringing a Gun to a Knife Fight

Works better than the other way around: Man With AR-15 Stops Man With Knife
News from Illinois:
A man armed with an AR-15 rifle stopped an attack by one of his neighbors and held him until police arrived.
It happened Monday at an apartment building on Harbor Drive in Oswego Township.
Police say it all began when someone with a knife attacked another person during an argument.
Neighbor Dave Thomas, who witnessed the attack, went into his home, got his rifle and ordered the suspect to stop.
“I poked my head out the door. There was a pool of blood, blood was everywhere in the hall. There was still a confrontation going on, there were about three or four people involved at this point,” Thomas said. “So I ran back into my house and grabbed my AR-15. I grabbed the AR-15 over my handgun — bigger gun, I think a little more of an intimidation factor. Definitely played a part in him actually stopping.”
The suspect was able to get away briefly, before he was captured by police.
The stabbing victim was taken to the hospital. No word yet on that person’s condition.
Police say Thomas has a valid firearm owner’s identification card and a concealed carry permit.
“The AR-15 is my weapon of choice for home protection,”Thomas said. “It’s light, it’s maneuverable. If you train and know how to use it properly, it’s not dangerous. And this is just a perfect example of good guy with an AR-15 stopped a bad guy with a knife. And there were no lives taken, so all in all it was a good day.”
The “intimidation factor” — the fact that the weapon is scary-looking — is also, unfortunately, part of the psychology involved in media distortions about so-called “assault rifles.” The phrase itself is misleading. An actual assault rifle is fully automatic, and such weapons have been strictly licensed by federal law for more than 80 years. What we are talking about are semi-automatic weapons, and I got my first semi-automatic rifle (a .22-caliber Winchester) for Christmas when I was 12 years old.
I might have been 14 when I got my first .22, but it was only a bolt action. We need kids these days to know more about firearms, not less. High schools should have firing ranges and safety classes.

Scientists Create New Shark Species

Well, maybe "create" isn't quite the word we're looking for, but then neither is "discovered." The shark was already known to science, but two species were being considered as one. New DNA technology showed that the sharks, apparently identical in real life, had very different genetics. We call that cryptic speciation, and it's not all that uncommon with small critters.

New shark species discovered by research team led by Florida Tech professor
Toby Daly-Engel, a shark biologist at the Florida Institute of Technology, has helped solve a taxonomic puzzle and spearhead the discovery of a new deepwater species: the Atlantic sixgill shark.

How so? Daly-Engel and a team of researchers determined that bigeye sixgill sharks in the Atlantic Ocean — specifically Belize, the northern Gulf of Mexico and The Bahamas — differ genetically from their counterparts in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

"This is like discovering a brand new living fossil," Daly-Engel said during an interview in her office at Florida Tech's Shark Conservation Laboratory.

"What's exciting about this is that we're still discovering cryptic species of shark. And not just little sharks. And there are lots of little sharks out there. But big sharks — sharks that are 5, 6 even 7 feet long — that have been around for hundreds of millions of years, since before the dinosaurs, and yet have not been identified by science," she said.

Daly-Engel headed a group of shark scientists from the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory, NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Panama City, and MarAlliance in Belize. Their findings were published Feb. 13 in the online edition of Marine Biodiversity, a peer-reviewed international journal.
. . .
The Atlantic sixgill (Hexanchus vitulus) is a newly discovered variety of the bigeye sixgill (Hexanchus nakamurai).

The bigeye sixgill shark evaded discovery until 1962 near Taiwan. In the Atlantic, the species was first recorded in 1969 in The Bahamas, Daly-Engel said.
Six Gilled Shark (We call them Cow Sharks) teeth are among the fossils we collect at the beach, and good ones are highly prized as being fairly rare. These date from the Miocene era, approximately 5-23 million years ago. I wonder if this finding will affect their nomenclature?

Reason #5891 That Trump Was Elected

Heritage Foundation: 64% of Trump's agenda already done, faster than Reagan
With unprecedented speed, the Trump administration has already implemented nearly two-thirds of the 334 agenda items called for by the Heritage Foundation, a pace faster than former President Reagan who embraced the conservative think tank’s legendary “Mandate for Leadership” blueprint.

Thomas Binion, director of congressional and executive branch relations at Heritage, said that Trump has implemented 64 percent of the “unique policy recommendations” from the group.

At this stage of his presidency, Reagan had completed 49 percent of the Heritage policy recommendations.

“We’re blown away,” Binion said in an interview. Trump, he said, “is very active, very conservative, and very effective.”

What’s more, he said, Trump hasn’t just focused on one agenda area, but he and his team has pushed through administrative moves on foreign policy, deregulation, immigration, tax reform and health care, moves often ignored by the media.

“It is a huge volume that his administration has worked on and it is a huge spectrum of issues,” said Binion.
Maybe I need to add a few hundred more to the count. This, as Instapundit notes, from a man "reliably assured by all the best people that he has the attention span of a toddler and can’t focus on anything."

#HerToo! Drunk and Stupid is One Way to Go Through Life

The 56-year-old actress allegedly chomped on boyfriend Chris Heisser during a dust-up Sunday at her home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., the Daily Mail reported.

When officers spotted a mark on Heisser’s body, they decided to arrest her on domestic-violence charges, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian told The Post.

“She claimed to be injured, but we didn’t see any sign of that,” he said. “We determined she had battered her boyfriend.”

So she's a biter?
But when four officers tried to cuff Locklear, who played a cop on the ’80s TV series “T.J. Hooker,” she flipped out and attacked them while screaming, “F–king a–holes,” a police source told the Mail.

Locklear punched two officers, called a female cop a “c- -t” and kicked a male officer in the groin — all in front of her 20-year-old daughter, Ava, the Mail reported.

Ava (Sambora) is a previous Rule 5 recipient and probably the best production Heather has ever made.

“She was uncooperative and combative,” Kuredjian said.

Locklear was charged with a felony count of domestic violence and three counts of misdemeanor battery on a peace officer, according to police.

Less than an hour later, Heisser was arrested on a DUI charge, according to TMZ.

Fighting with the cops is always a bad idea, especially while drunk.

Heisser was pulled over for driving too slowly on Highway 101 and allegedly had a 0.20 blood alcohol level, TMZ reported.

She later posted $20,000 bail.
She was hot, in her day.  EBL is also on the story. Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Larger Than Life" up and running on time and within budget at The Other McCain.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ring Around the Rosie

Jamal Munshi, Sonoma State University

Date Written: February 26, 2018


A literature review shows that the circular reasoning fallacy is common in climate change research. It is facilitated by confirmation bias and by activism such that the prior conviction of researchers is subsumed into the methodology. Example research papers on the impact of fossil fuel emissions on tropical cyclones, on sea level rise, and on the carbon cycle demonstrate that the conclusions drawn by researchers about their anthropogenic cause derive from circular reasoning. The validity of the anthropogenic nature of global warming and climate change and that of the effectiveness of proposed measures for climate action may therefore be questioned solely on this basis.

Keywords: : logical fallacy, circular reasoning, model validation, data analysis, mathematical models, learning set, test set, climate change, global warming, field data, statistics, scientific method
The whole paper can be downloaded at the site or here.

Circular reasoning is probably more common in scientific literature than one thinks. It's pretty easy to assume you're right, base your study on that, and find data to support it, especially in biology.

I would direct you in particular to the final example of the paper concerning carbon flows, that suggest, when considering the measurement errors, we cannot be certain where the added carbon coming into the atmosphere is actually coming from. When the fluxes between biosphere, atmosphere and ocean are on the order of a order of magnitudes greater than the fossil fuel flux, this is a reasonable conjecture.

This is CNN

This is not CNN:

Mind you, I'm not advocating the "forced" arming of teachers at schools. But since my father was a high school teacher for many years, and a very active one, I know that if financial incentives were put in place to encourage some number of teachers at schools to train with and carry guns, that some would accept the offer willingly. Many of the teachers I knew growing up were WWII vets, and not exactly shrinking violets.

No single action can prevent school shootings. but raising the chance that a shooter would meet armed resistance from the outset would be one measure that might make a difference.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Larger Than Life" up and running on time and within budget at The Other McCain.

Russia, Russia, Russiagate!

There, I said it three times, so it must be true. So dues Stacy McCain: Russia! Russia! Russia!
Andrew McCarthy on the Democrat Party’s obfuscation:
The FBI and the Justice Department heavily relied on the Steele dossier’s uncorroborated allegations. You know this is true because, notwithstanding the claim that “only narrow use” was made “of information from Steele’s sources,” the Democrats end up acknowledging that “only narrow use” actually means significant use — as in, the dossier was the sine qua non of the warrant application. The memo concedes that the FISA-warrant application relied on allegations by Steele’s anonymous Russian hearsay sources . . .
[B]ecause Page was an American citizen, FISA law required that the FBI and the DOJ show not only that he was acting as an agent of a foreign power (Russia), but also that his “clandestine” activities on behalf of Russia were a likely violation of federal criminal law. (See FISA, Section 1801(b)(2)(A) through (E), Title 50, U.S. Code.) It is the Steele dossier that alleges Page was engaged in arguably criminal activity. The Democrats point to nothing else that does.
Scott Johnson at Powerline comments:
The Democrats’ mainstream media adjunct has of course seized on the release of the memo to regurgitate the obligatory talking points. Read properly, however, the Schiff memo undermines the Democrats’ case.
Also at Powerline, The Silence of Susan Rice: 
By letter to Susan Rice dated February 8, 2018, Senators Grassley and Graham posed 12 numbered questions. I posted the Graham/Grassley letter in “Rice papers the file.” By letter dated February 23, 2018, white collar criminal defense lawyer Kathryn Ruemmler has now responded to the Grassley/Graham letter on Rice’s behalf. I posted Ruemmler’s letter nearby this morning in “Susan Rice responds, sort of,” and am embedding it again at the bottom.

Let’s take an inventory of Rice’s response to the questions: answered, partially answered, answered narrowly, or not answered. I have italicized my accounting below, subject to further thought and analysis:

Question 1. Did you send the email attached to this letter to yourself? Do you have any reason to dispute the timestamp of the email?
. . .
Susan Rice has lawyered up. For some reason or other, with respect to several pointed and important questions, she is resting on her right to remain silent.
The Schiff Obstruction
It is interesting to compare the two memos, both as rhetorical artifacts and as substantive contributions to the debate over possible “Russian collusion” in the 2016 presidential election. Even a comparison of their physical appearance is revealing. Let’s start there.

The Republicans’ memo, overseen by Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is a four-and-a-half-page précis of findings from an ongoing oversight investigation into the behavior of the FBI and Department of Justice during the 2016 election cycle. It is prefaced by a brief letter from presidential counsel Donald McGahn to Congressman Nunes laying out the rationale for declassifying the memo and releasing it to the public. Each page of the memo is marked “UNCLASSIFIED” and the legend “TOP SECRET NOFORN” (for “no foreign nationals”) on each page is struck through with a heavy black stroke. Otherwise it is clean.

The Democrats’ memo, overseen by ranking minority member Adam Schiff, spills on to a tenth page. It is probably only about a half again as long as the Republicans’ memo, however, because—in addition to bearing the “Unclassified” stamps and strike-throughs of the “top secret” advisories—its text is littered with redactions: many passages of the text are blotted out. Were those redactions required by the FBI? By the executive branch? It was not said. Nor was it said why the Democrats did not take the redactions on board and present a clean text. I do not know the answer. My suspicion is that they wanted the blocks of black to stand as mute, non-specific but nonetheless graphically incriminating witnesses to their allegations. . .
The battle of the Congressmen continues: Nunes: No, Schiff’s Memo Doesn’t Change Anything in My Memo. A point by point rebuttal. Nunes also goes on to warn the State Dept. that their turn is coming: ‘Slew of Subpoenas’ Coming for State Department Officials, Nunes Warns
High-ranking State Department executives — those both current and former — will be “hauled into Congress” next week to “answer publicly” questions about the “salacious and unverified” anti-Trump Steele dossier, according to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) in an appearance on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

“A week ago we sent a letter with a questionnaire to high-ranking former Obama and current Trump officials, asking them 10 questions about when they knew about the dossier, when they knew the dossier was used, when they knew the dossier was used to get a warrant to spy on an American — all questions that the public has a right to know and that the Congress definitely has a right to know,” said Nunes, who is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mighty white of him to warn them so they can start destroying hard drives ahead of time.

Chuck Grassley Connects Dossier Dots closer to the Democrats:
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is requesting an interview with a Washington-based lobbyist who served as an intermediary between a Democratic senator and two key figures in the Russia investigation, dossier author Christopher Steele and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

“The nature and extent of the relationship between Mr. Steele, Mr. Deripaska, and you are of potential relevance to the Committee’s work,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican, wrote Monday to the lobbyist, Adam Waldman. Waldman emerged earlier this month as a figure in the Russia investigation after it was revealed that he exchanged text messages last year with Virginia Sen. Mark Warner regarding Steele and Deripaska.
Deroy Murdock: The Russians Colluded Massively — with Democrats

How Michael Flynn’s Case Could Prove Democrats Wrong About Federal Agencies’ Abuse Of Courts
First, while the Democrats justify omitting information federal intelligence agencies presented to the FISA court to obtain surveillance powers on a U.S. citizen, it is an abuse of this secret-court system to withhold details that could bear on the court’s decision. That is true regardless of whether the information withheld reaches the legal threshold of materiality, a question that concerns the admissibility of evidence in a subsequent trial, not the propriety of prosecutorial conduct.

I remain convinced that the information withheld was material. But even if the omissions were immaterial, Americans of all stripes should be concerned that prosecutors hold the power to unilaterally decide whether to share potentially exculpatory or impeachment evidence with a secret court when that evidence, under normal circumstances, will never come to light should the target later be charged criminally.

Second, the Democrat response counters claims of misconduct by stressing that the FISA application “made only narrow use of information from [Christopher] Steele’s sources about [Carter] Page’s specific activities in 2016, chiefly his suspected July 2016 meetings in Moscow with Russian officials.” But that information provided the lynchpin for claims that Page engaged in criminal conduct—something necessary under FISA to obtain a warrant against a U.S. citizen. Significantly, that information also came from unnamed Russian sources and was not corroborated. As I explained at length before, a court cannot find probable cause based on such uncorroborated hearsay.

Third, Schiff’s rebuttal highlights investigators’ interest in Page prior to receiving the Steele dossier funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, as well as evidence indicating Page served as a foreign agent. But none of that evidence indicates Page had committed a federal crime. Only the hearsay from the Steele dossier did that and, as just noted, that is not enough.
It would be amusing if Trump were to announce that FISA warrants had been obtained on a slew of prominent Democrats based on flimsy reporting from the internet (aka "fake news"), even or especially if it weren't true.

How to Lose a Billion Bucks . . .

That isn't even yours: In One Tweet, Kylie Jenner Wiped Out $1.3 Billion of Snap’s Market Value. The bubble wasn't all in her butt.
Snap Inc.’s flagship platform has lost some luster, at least according to one social-media influencer in the Kardashian-Jenner clan.

Shares of the Snapchat parent company sank 6.1 percent on Thursday, wiping out $1.3 billion in market value, on the heels of a tweet on Wednesday from Kylie Jenner, who said she doesn’t open the app anymore. Whether it’s the demands of her newfound motherhood, or the recent app redesign, the testament drew similar replies from her 24.5 million followers. Wall Street analysts too have begun to notice, citing recent user engagement trends noticed since the platform’s redesign.

It's amazing that someone so young and inconsequential can cause such mammoth market movement with a single tweet. I can't blame her, though, a girl has to use what she's been given. And she's been given a lot.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Larger Than Life" up and running on time and within budget at The Other McCain.

Monday, February 26, 2018

I Hate It When They Make Stuff Up

Washing Away - The disappearing islands of Chesapeake Bay
Imagine, if you will, sailing along the eastern Chesapeake, searching for your next port when a solitary wooden house appears before you. It is covered in cormorants with waves splashing into the windows. Odd, you think, what is that doing out here and who would live in a place like that?
 No need to imagine it. I've been there, many times. 
Photo by Forgemind ArchiMedia, Flickr A single house was all that remained
 of Holland Island in Chesapeake Bay. The house burned in 2010, and its remains
are now submerged.

A quick check of the chart that day in the early aughts revealed nothing there but a tiny spit of land; no more than an oyster reef in the middle of the bay. We could only speculate about the purpose of the ghost structure — perhaps it was an abandoned lighthouse or a fish camp.

I was shocked to learn later that we had been looking at the last remnant of Holland Island, once a large community of farmers and fishermen who lived on the island until it eroded away to the point where it was abandoned in 1922. The buildings there had either been removed or washed away — with the exception of this last wraith.

The fact that the house remained was due to the heroic efforts of Stephen White, a retired Methodist minister who purchased the disintegrating island in 1995 and spent thousands on sunken barges and levees in a vain attempt to save the place he had loved as a boy. But his efforts only delayed the inevitable: In 2010 he capitulated by putting a match to the house and sailed away. Today all that remains of the town, the church, and the cemetery is a shallow spot on Google Earth.
I saw him working there once.
The day we first sailed by that house the term “global climate change” was unknown to me. We carried on down the East Coast to our new home in Florida, and didn’t return to the bay until summer 2017 — again in a boat.
Contrary to the article, Holland Island is still alive and well, and above water; at least it was the last time I went by it this fall, as a quick check Google Maps will confirm:

Indeed, the end of the island where the house stood is gone, and the land has retreated to the south, where the largest part of the island remains. If you zoom in on the body of the island you can still see the remains of the old town. This is the site of one of Chesapeake Bays few Great Blue Heron. If you look north, a remnant of the island looks like a sand bar (which it basically is), usually covered with Brown Pelicans and gulls. A bit further north, and you can find the outline of the missing house, along with the sunken barge next to it, and the excavator in the water. This is a well known premier fishing spot.

While Holland Island is shrinking, I hate articles like this that lie about it, saying it's gone when it isn't (yet). Yes, it's going, and will go eventually, probably in my lifetime, but it's not caused by "anthropogenic sea level rise"

No acceleration of the slow rise in sea level we are still experiencing from the end of the last glacial advance.

Russiagate Keeps Rolling On

The "Schiff" memo was released on Saturday afternoon during the Olympics. I guess they didn't really want anyone to take the time to read it after all.
The Democratic memo, which is 10 pages, says that contrary to the GOP memo's assertion, the DOJ did inform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court "accurately that Steele was hired by politically-motivated U.S. person and entities and that his research appeared intended for use 'to discredit' Trump's campaign." It adds that the FBI "properly" notified FISC after it terminated Steele as a source for making "unauthorized disclosures to the media," and that the GOP memo cites no evidence to support the notion that the FBI, prior to the initial October 2016 application, knew or should have known of any alleged inappropriate contact with the media. Also, the DOJ noted in its FISA renewals that Steele has been terminated as an FBI source along with the corroborative sources, the Democratic memo says.
Trump deems it a 'bust' (memo text available here)
Nunes Says Dems’ Memo Defends ‘Dirty Dossier with Their Own Dirty Dossier’
“The American people now clearly understand that the FBI used political dirt paid for by the Democratic Party to spy on an American citizen from the Republican Party.”

Democrats “knew what they had to redact” and they “didn’t want this out,” Nunes said. “That’s why we wanted it out and they didn’t because it bolsters the case that we made … that the court wasn’t notified that the Clinton campaign and the Democrats paid for this dirt that ended up being phony. Just to sum up, this is almost like you have people defending the dirty dossier with their own dirty dossier.”
Schiff’s “Demo” Memo Tackles Tough Questions And Resolves… Almost Nothing,

DECONSTRUCTING THE SCHIFF MEMO: From the First Bullet, a Litany of Lies and Disinformation
So the FBI initiated the investigation in late July 2016 and only received the "dossier" in September?

James Comey, under oath, said otherwise ("Comey says FBI began investigation into Russia meddling in July").

Also, The New York Times -- which publishes intelligence leaks on a near-daily basis -- has reported otherwise. In fact, the FBI received the memo on July 5, 2016, according to the Times.
Maybe Adam Schiff has more of a sense of humor than I’d have given him credit for. The House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat begins his long-awaited memo — the minority response to the Nunes memo that was penned by staffers of the committee’s Republican majority — by slamming Chairman Devin Nunes’s unconscionable “risk of public exposure of sensitive sources and methods for no legitimate purpose.” The Schiff memo, which has been delayed for weeks because the FBI objected to its gratuitous effort to publicize highly classified intelligence, including methods and sources, then proceeds to tell its tale through what appear to be scores of blacked-out redactions of information Schiff pushed to expose.
Byron York: Assessing the new Democratic intel memo
In sum, it appears that of the four bullet points listed by Democrats to support the most important assertion in their memo, three would not be sufficient to win a warrant on Page, and the fourth is — yes — the unconfirmed allegations in the dossier. Democrats say the FISA warrant application made just "narrow" use of the dossier, while Republicans say the application made extensive use of the dossier. (And not just Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, but also the Senate Judiciary Committee, which conducted a separate investigation and concluded the dossier's allegations made up "the bulk" of the application.) We won't know who is right definitively until the application is released to the public, but it seems hard to believe a warrant would have been approved absent the dossier's allegations.
Devin Nunes: ‘The One Thing That’s Clear in This Whole Russia Fiasco Is That the Media Is Dead’
“The media in this country, the fair and balanced media is for the most part — I mean 90 percent of them are hard left. They rely on clicks to make a living. So, when they attack people like me, it actually means that I’m over the target, and I’m getting to them because they have to attack me in order, number one, to please their masters, their billionaire masters, and number two, they also have to do it because they’re in on this.”
How partisan. How true.

Is ‘Collusion with Russia’ Over? Yep. Now the only job left for Mueller is to protect the FBI and DOJ from it's consequences.
Still, that does not mean he has entirely given up the quest. At the very least, I believe, Mueller intends to demonstrate that FBI and Justice Department suspicions about possible collusion were reasonable, even if there is no criminal case to be made against the president or his campaign. Although it is highly unlikely that Trump will be accused of a collusion crime, Mueller intends to illustrate that he showed appalling judgment in putting his campaign in the hands of Manafort and Gates, who were up to their necks in collusion with agents of Putin’s regime.
The process is the punishment: Manafort's LA bankruptcy fight may offer new avenue for Mueller probe. His scheme is to use his team of lawyers and effectively unlimited budget to harass and bankrupt Trump supporters until they confess to a crime of his choosing.

Sharyl Attkisson's updated “Collusion against Trump” timeline. It's the Clinton's who are in bed with Putin. As per usual, the Democrats are deflecting from their own Russian ties.

Quote of the Day

Professor Reynolds regarding a Reason article on how impossible it will be to effectively ban guns:
But since the point of gun control is to humiliate and grind down flyover people and demonstrate that the Ruling Class is ultimately the, well, Ruling Class — not to control crime — the appearance of submission is probably enough. Plus, a seldom enforced and often ignored law is ideal if you want to be able to target troublesome individuals later.

Portman's Complaint

Just how are you supposed to know the rapists and pedophiles from the good people in Hollywood? Natalie Portman Has Some Regrets Over Her Support Of Roman Polanski
One of the people who signed the petition (demanding the Swiss release him immediately so he couldn’t be brought to the United States to face justice) was actress Natalie Portman. Now, the glaring light of the Me Too Moment she’s being asked about it again and, needless to say, she’s having some regrets. (The New Yorker)

Natalie Portman regrets supporting Roman Polanski and has very little sympathy for Woody Allen in light of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements.

“I very much regret it,” Portman, 36, told BuzzFeed about her decision to sign a 2009 petition demanding Polanski be freed from Swiss custody for the rape of then-13-year-old Samantha Geimer in 1977.
“I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough,” the “Annihilation” star said. “Someone I respected gave it to me, and said, ‘I signed this. Will you too?’ And I was like, ‘Sure.’ It was a mistake. The thing I feel like I gained from it is empathy towards people who have made mistakes. We lived in a different world, and that doesn’t excuse anything. But you can have your eyes opened and completely change the way you want to live. My eyes were not open.”
I signed a petition to have Ross Perot run for President, once. I regret that. What damage can he cause? I thought.

Is this a sign of true contrition or the panicked response of a deer caught in the #MeToo headlights and not wanting to be run down? Portman is 36 years old, meaning that at the time she signed the petition she was 27. She had been appearing in films and on television since she was 14. By 2009 she had landed starring roles in multiple major films and served as the youngest member of the 61st Cannes Film Festival jury. She was deeply into Hollywood society and knew all the players. Are we expected to believe she didn’t know anything about Polanski’s crimes when she signed that petition?

Or perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe she was just a clueless starlet too wrapped up in her own world to pay attention to such things. Maybe she’d never even heard of the guy, right? But wait… nope. That can’t be true. Here’s a picture of her and Polanski when she was working for him.
Surely she had heard he liked his girls immature, and felt safe.
Let us not confuse this case with some of the others we’ve seen, where powerful men may have been pressuring younger women in the industry into sex under threat of having their careers ruined. Roman Polanski drugged, raped and sodomized a 13 year old child. This isn’t an allegation. He was convicted in court and fled the country to escape justice. Here are the stories of five more women who stepped up to recount their experiences of rape and abuse. And if the women coming forward to share their horrific stories at this site are to be believed, his victims number in the dozens. All children, ranging in age from 16 to as young as nine. And you do believe the women, right, Ms. Portman? That’s what we’re supposed to do, isn’t it, even if they are unknown faces in the crowd and not famous co-stars of yours?
Yes, this has a kind of convenient feel to it. She didn't seem to mind working with Polanski when he was still considered an artistic resistance hero by the people in Hollywood.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Larger Than Life" up and running on time and within budget at The Other McCain.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

McKinley Out Near McKinleyville

The statue of Mckinley in the Arcata Town Square 2013
Just in from a long article on virtue signaling: Until this week William McKinley thought he was home free.
. . . Finally, this just in: The Arcata, California city council voted Wednesday night to remove the statue of President William McKinley from the town square. The statue has been in place for over a hundred years. As per usual, McKinley’s sins have not been clearly elucidated. He was assassinated in 1901. Like Matt Lauer, the statue will vanish into the ether. One of the groups demanding the statue’s removal is the Humboldt State University student group, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanco de Aztlan, whatever that means. I’m embarrassed to admit I’m a resident of Arcata. Our neighboring town to the north is McKinleyville. The town’s name is probably not long for this world.
Some minor desecration
Georgia's sister and brother-in-law, and her nephews live in McKinley?ville. It's one claim to fame is the airport there, which was built to test instrument landings for WWII; being one of the foggiest places in the US.
These are just a sampling of the ways virtue signaling is dictating behavior far and wide. Being aware of its many manifestations will reduce your confusion and increase your amusement. It’s a shame it’s doing so much damage.
Although I played around, and probably climbed on the statue of McKinley during my undergraduate years in Arcata, I never thought much about him. Checking Wikipedia, though, I think I found why "Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanco de Aztlan" may have targeted him (besides being a Republican):
McKinley hoped to persuade Spain to grant independence to rebellious Cuba without conflict, but when negotiation failed, he led the nation into the Spanish–American War of 1898; the U.S. victory was quick and decisive. As part of the peace settlement, Spain turned over to the United States its main overseas colonies of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; Cuba was promised independence, but at that time remained under the control of the U.S. Army. 
It seems a shame to try to kill the past.
Historians regard McKinley's 1896 victory as a realigning election, in which the political stalemate of the post–Civil War era gave way to the Republican-dominated Fourth Party System, which began with the Progressive Era. McKinley defeated Bryan again in the 1900 presidential election, in a campaign focused on imperialism, protectionism, and free silver. However, his legacy was quickly cut short when he was shot on September 6, 1901 by Leon Czolgosz, a second-generation Polish-American with anarchist leanings; McKinley died eight days later, and was succeeded by his Vice President Theodore Roosevelt. As an innovator of American interventionism and pro-business sentiment, McKinley's presidency is generally considered above average, though his universally positive public perception was soon overshadowed by Roosevelt.

Reason #5890 That Trump Was Elected

. . . police were notified on February 16 about the threat being made against East High School. Staff within the Rochester City School District called police at 5:08 p.m about a threat posted on the East High School Facebook page. The threat said, "I’m coming tomorrow morning and I’m going to shoot all of ya bitches.”

RPD Deputy Chief La'Ron Singletary said it took investigators days to arrest track down because she made the threats from a fictitious social media account. It took time for investigators to track down the person to whom the account belonged.

When officers responded to the home of Abigail Hernandez on February 20, they said they found a shotgun inside the home. Police did not clarify if the shotgun was registered to Hernandez or anyone living at the home in which it was discovered.

Hernandez was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat. She was remanded to the Monroe County Jail at the time in lieu of $15,000 bail.

As officers were investigating, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents determined Hernandez was an illegal immigrant who was in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
I think most of us sympathize with the plight of the so called "Dreamers" who were brought to this country before they could have any role in the decision to break the law. But this constant drumbeat about "our wonderful Dreamers" is just nauseating. They are for the most part, the children of the bottom of the barrel of Mexican and Central American society, and many of them remain in that state in ours. Contrary to media reports they have higher rates of criminality than US Citizen.

President Trump is right to insist that any solution to the problem of DACA must involve better border control to ameliorate the problem of illegal aliens bringing in their kids, and forcing us to deal with the consequences.

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

Women in Red Dresses, Hot Cars, Apples and Crack

Are among the things discussed in the video by Jordan Peterson:

Peterson, a University of Toronto professor and clinical psychologist has been much in the internet lately, most particularly after his absolutely stunning interview with Cathy Newman, a British newsreader who epitomized the single mindedness of the liberal media. I like the way he thinks, and I think I think along the same lines. He's a much better speaker though.

In this video he discusses human vision, an interest of mine right now.

Oh yes, women in red dresses, red hot cars, and ripe apples all stimulate the same centers in the brain as cocaine.

And speaking of women in red dresses, did you watch the final of Figure Skating?

Gold medal - Alina Zagitova
Silver medal - Evgenia Medvedeva 
Bronze medal - Kaetlyn Osmond
Evgenia lost to Alina by less than 2 points out of 238 or so. Could she have made up the difference with a brighter red outfit? Should the Canadian Kaetlyn have worn red?

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Larger Than Life" up and running on time and within budget at The Other McCain.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Slalom Squirrel

Georgia roots for the snowboarder.

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

Square Root Triggers Students, Administration, Sheriffs

Student Faces Expulsion After Saying a Math Symbol Looks Like a Gun
Students at the Oberlin High School in Oberlin, La., caused an uproar when they spread rumors about a boy who had joked about a square root symbol looking like a gun. A joke quickly became a tall tale that claimed this boy had planned to attack the school with guns and bombs. The Allen Parish Sheriff's Office responded to a call from KPLC, saying they had received an anonymous tip claiming there was going to be a major shooting involving the jokester.

A discussion among students at Oberlin High School in Oberlin, La., about a mathematical symbol led to a police investigation and a search of one of the student’s homes, according to the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Assault symbol

On the afternoon of Feb. 20, detectives investigated a report of terroristic threats at the school, where they learned that a student had been completing a math problem that required drawing the square-root sign.
Students in the group began commenting that the symbol, which represents a number that when multiplied by itself equals another number, looked like a gun.
After several students made comments along those lines, another student said something the sheriff’s office said could have sounded like a threat out of context.
Police searched the student’s home, where they found no guns or any evidence that he had any access to guns. Authorities also wrote there was no evidence the student had any intent to commit harm.
Except that's not what Allen Parish Sheriff Doug Hebert told PJM.

"The whole notion that there was a SWAT raid over a math symbol is absurd," Hebert told PJM. "I got a call from a KPLC that they had a serious threat of a shooting at the school, so we went to the house to verify. There was no search warrant, we just sent two [deputies] to knock on the door," chuckled Hebert. "This is a small parish and everybody knows everybody and we found out very quickly there was no crime and no threat."

In spite of that declaration, the student is facing expulsion. In the wake of the shooting in Florida the school board set a new policy. According to KATC, "Any student accused of talking about guns or school shootings will be investigated by three entities: the school board, the sheriff's department, and the district attorney's office."
This is possibly even more stupid than the case of the kid who took a bite out of a pop tart, and pointed it at a fellow student and was suspended. Somewhere between this, and repeated warnings to the FBI and local authorities about credible threats of carrying out a school shooting, there must be a sweet spot.

Olympic Babe from Russia Fails Dope Test

In an interview with the Associated Press earlier this month, Russian bobsled pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva said other Olympic athletes had warmed to her once she had been allowed to compete in this year's PyeongChang Winter Games by the International Olympic Committee. During the interview she was wearing a sweatshirt that read, "I Don't Do Doping."

On Friday, Russian bobsled officials confirmed to the AP that Sergeeva had failed a doping test.
That's Nadezhda Sergeeva on the right, if it matters
 Maybe her mother bought her the shirt.
Sergeeva was one of the 168 Russian athletes who were specifically vetted before the Games by the IOC, which had banned Russia's Olympic federation from PyeongChang over past doping sins but allowed the preapproved Russian athletes to compete under the Olympic Athletes From Russia moniker.

She's now the second Russian athlete - and just the fourth athlete overall - to fail a doping test at these Olympics, joining curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, who tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.
I've written about meldonium before. Apparently it's widely used in Russia (and old Russian split-offs) military to increase fitness, and its use filtered into sports from there. A vasodilator, it allowes more blood (and hence more oxygen) to flow to reach muscles. It was banned by the  World Anti-Doping Agency in 2016, and shortly thereafter Maria Sharapova tested positive and was suspended for two years.
According to the AP, Sergeeva tested positive on Sunday for trimetazdine, a medication used for angina that has been banned because of its effects on metabolism. The president of the Russian Bobsled Federation says she denies taking the substance and that her initial drug test at the Games came back clean.
I think I could have used some before the deck project.
"She confirms she took no such medication and the team confirms she was not issued any medication," Alexander Zubkov told the AP. "Federation representatives at the Olympics" are starting to prepare a defense, he said.

"I can tell you that on the 13th it was clean, but on the 18th it gave a positive result for the heart medication," he said
She appears to be a multi-season athlete. Linked by Evi L. Bloggerlady in "Loving Vincent: A Review" and "South African Wine". Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Larger Than Life" up and running on time and within budget at The Other McCain.

Rule 5 Saturday - Haley Kalil

This week's lucky Rule 5 beneficiary is Haley Kali, former Miss Minnesota, and wife of Matt Kalil, left tackle for the Carolina Panthers. She's a new model for SI Swimsuit edition this year.

  • She applied to #SISwimSearch because… “Sports Illustrated has launched the careers of so many amazing women in modeling, fashion and entrepreneurship, and has a legacy of beautiful and powerful women. I want to join this legacy.”
  • Before modeling she… graduated Summa Cum Laude from St. Cloude State University with a 4.0 GPA.
  • Her favorite fast food joints are… Taco Bell and Chick-Fil-A.
Her Instagram, SI Swimsuit pages, Maxim.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has "Late Night With Rule 5 SundaySailor Moon Goes To The Olympics" and "FMJRA 2.0: Somewhere Within" open for business at The Other McCain. Linked by Evi L. Bloggerlady in "Loving Vincent: A Review" and "South African Wine".

Friday, February 23, 2018

It's Done

The deck I referred to in my previous post:

It's the replacement for a previous, somewhat smaller, ground level deck off our front door.

Prep work began a couple of weeks ago, removing the old deck, and filling in 3 tons of dirt to bring the grade back up to where it drains away from the house after 25 years of settlement.

My older son, Corwin, pictured in the center, did most of the construction, all the measuring, cutting, trimming and leveling, while I provided most of the grunt labor, and some nailing and screwing. It's a good thing, because he was much more detail oriented than I would have been, and knew the construction techniques much better.

We picked up the treated lumber on Monday, set the posts and band boards on Tuesday, finished the framing on Wednesday, did the bulk of the decking on Thursday, finished the last decking and the fascia boards today. The decking and fascia are Trex, a composite material with hopefully, a very long life and low maintenance. 

Russiagate in the Rain

A bit rainy here this morning, keeping us from going outside to finish the deck project which has sucked up so much of my time and energy this week. So let's use the respite to dive into "Russiagate."

How about we open with a little blue on blue action: Bernie blames Hillary for allowing Russian interference. Well, she was Secretary of State during much of the Obama era, though I think it was mostly to keep her out of his hair.
Bernie Sanders on Wednesday blamed Hillary Clinton for not doing more to stop the Russian attack on the last presidential election. Then his 2016 campaign manager, in an interview with POLITICO, said he’s seen no evidence to support special counsel Robert Mueller's assertion in an indictment last week that the Russian operation had backed Sanders' campaign.
He denies it, so he must be guilty! How The Media Enable Rep. Adam Schiff’s Russian Bot Conspiracy Theories. Just think of them as externally funded arms of the Democratic party, and it all makes sense. More media misconduct: Woman Receives Abuse, Violent Threats After CNN Tracks Down, Publicly Shames Her for Sharing ‘Russian’ Event on Facebook. Will they go after Michael Moore, who attended a Russian instigated Anti-Trump demonstration? To ask the question is to answer it.

McCain associate subpoenaed in Trump dossier probe and he Takes the Fifth! Speaker of the dossier,  Nellie Ohr: Woman in the Middle, Is it a surprise to find a Stalin apologist at the center of the Steele dossier scandal?
Did I mention Nellie Ohr’s Ph.D. thesis is titled “Collective farms and Russian peasant society, 1933-1937: the stabilization of the kolkhoz order”?

“Kolkhoz” order means “collective farm” order, so Ohr’s subtitle refers to the “stabilization” of the collective farm order. The phrasing alone is suggestive of some silverish lining after the six million or more people were killed by Stalin’s state-created famine, mass deportations, and general war of “de-kulakization.”
. . .
Speaking “revisionist” lingo, Nellie Ohr turns the millions killed by Stalin into “excesses,” which, in Ohr’s words, “sometimes represented desperate measures taken by a government that had little real control over the country.” (Poor Stalin.) She depicts purges as representing “to some degree a center-periphery conflict in which the ‘state-building’ central government tried to bring headstrong local satraps under control.”
What is the FBI hiding in its war to protect Comey? At a minimum Comey is guilty of leaking classified material. If it's illegal at all it's illegal for Comey. Put him on trial. Judicial Watch: 'The FBI Needs to be Shut Down,' Transferred to U.S. Marshals Service. A time comes eventually in the life of all institutions where they forget their reason for existence and become all about the survival and growth of the institution. Maybe the FBI has reached that point.

Not A Single Lawyer Known To Work For Mueller Is A Republican 13 out of 16 are Democrats with 3 "undeclared."I can see how it might be hard to find a Republican lawyer in Washington D.C. but you can't really expect fairness. Mueller has decided to load even more charges on Manafort, more than doubling the number of charges to fight in an attempt to force him to plead guilty and flip on Trump. Too bad he doesn't have any children in the business to threaten. But Only a fool would voluntarily talk to Robert MuellerThe Paradoxes of the Mueller Investigation. Why is Mueller apparently not interested in Russian interference in our elections via Christopher Steele? Robert Mueller’s Truth Is Out There, and Robert Mueller is a believer in the power of a prosecutor to frame the innocent. Ask Steven Hatfill.

Your Friday Swimware Ad

People really swim in these?

Wombat-socho has "Late Night With Rule 5 SundaySailor Moon Goes To The Olympics" open for business at The Other McCain.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Olympic Sore Loser of the Week

At medal ceremony after loss to USA, Canadian player immediately yanks silver off her neck
The disappointment showed on their faces and for Canadian defenseman Jocelyne Larocque there was no celebration in winning the silver medal.

After the United States won a thrilling shootout for its first Olympic gold in two decades, the medal ceremony took place. Larocque had the reaction that was most noteworthy — yanking off the silver immediately after it was placed around her neck.

It may not be that she hates the US. She may just hate losing.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in "If All You See…" Wombat-socho has "Late Night With Rule 5 SundaySailor Moon Goes To The Olympics" open for business at The Other McCain.

Lindsey Vonn Missed the Brass Ring

But got the Bronze medal: American Lindsey Vonn takes bronze in likely final Olympic downhill race
Lindsey Vonn knew the bronze medal she earned Wednesday came in her final Olympic downhill, the signature event of her singular career. She knew that, but she didn't have an easy time processing it.

That's why the words "probably" and "most likely" kept slipping into her sentences. Why she marked the occasion by posing with dozens of folks for a group photo near the finish line. Why she engaged in a series of warm, lengthy hugs -- with her sisters; with U.S. coaches; with the winner, her good friend Sofia Goggia of Italy; with the runner-up, Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway. With, seemingly, anyone she could grab a hold of.
Sofia Goggia
Ragnhild Mowinckel, mow that's a name that should make a Viking proud!
"I wish I could keep going. I wish this wasn't my last Olympics, but it is," Vonn said, looking down at the snow underfoot and shaking her head, "so I'm trying to accept that and deal with the emotions of that and enjoy the ride."

Ragnhild Mowinckel

Goggia finished in 1 minute, 39.22 seconds, just 0.09 seconds faster than Mowinckel. Vonn was 0.47 seconds off Goggia's pace.

"I came here ... with one goal: to beat Lindsey," Goggia said.
Well, it wasn't exactly a bad career.

Now we'll get to see how she stacks up against Mikaela Schiffrinin the Alpine combined.

Wombat-socho has "Late Night With Rule 5 SundaySailor Moon Goes To The Olympics" open for business at The Other McCain. Linked by Evi L. Bloggerlady in "Loving Vincent: A Review" and
"South African Wine".