Tuesday, July 31, 2018

How America Uses It's Land

Here's How America Uses Its Land - A slideshow from Bloomberg

The most interesting slide:

Entirely too much golf!

Thanks to Schwing.

In the Wake of the Flood

The news that a massive amount of debris from above Conowingo Dam has been washed into the Bay as a result of the recent heavy rains has reached the Bay newsfeed:

Beach at Sandy Point Park (Jay Fleming)
Chesapeake Bay Clogged With Debris After Historic Rainfall
A stream of debris flushed into the Chesapeake Bay because of flooding from intense rainfall in Maryland.

After the floodgates of the Conowingo Dam were opened, water rushed down from the Susquehanna River, carrying large clumps of sticks and twigs.

Now, the Chesapeake is so clogged that Maryland Natural Resources Police issued an advisory to boaters, warning of the potential danger of the large debris floating on the water.

"If you have to be out, then just be cautious of your speed," Sgt. Cameron Brown said.
A video from Facebook:

City Dock, Annapolis 
More here: Maryland officials urge boating caution to navigate post-storm fields of 'marine debris'
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is asking people to use “extreme caution” while boating in and around the Chesapeake Bay due to large amounts of debris in local waterways.

Officials say a large amount of “marine debris” including tree limbs and other natural materials — the result of heavy rains that have swept across the region over the past week — is now in the mid-bay area.

DNR officials posted a tweet urging boaters to make a plan for traveling, go slow and wear life jackets.

On Mondays, crews from the Annapolis Harbormaster’s Office worked to clear a field of debris that floated into Ego Alley in Annapolis. Officials said the debris and sediment from the Susquehanna, Patapsco and Severn and other Chesapeake Bay tributaries after particularly heavy rains.
And the inevitable "The Bay is Doomed" article:  Long-term Storm Impact on Ecosystem Predicted, Karl Blankenship & Jeremy Cox, Bay Journal News Service
The persistent storms that pounded the mid-Atlantic region in late July could have lingering impacts on the Chesapeake Bay, though it will take weeks, if not months, of monitoring for scientists to fully assess the potential damage.

The deluge, which dumped 7 inches or more of rain on much of the Bay watershed over a five-day span beginning July 21, could be a temporary setback for Bay recovery efforts, where underwater grasses and dissolved oxygen levels have shown signs of recovery in recent years.

Large rainfall events generally have significant impacts on water quality because they wash more nutrients and sediment into the Bay and its rivers, where they cloud the water, spur algae blooms, bury bottom habitats and contribute to oxygen-starved “dead zones.”


The July rainfall was especially heavy in a band extending north and south along Maryland’s Western Shore into southern Pennsylvania. Storms dumped at least 10 inches of rain in the area, with one spot in Baltimore County receiving as much as 15 inches, according to the National Weather Service. BWI Marshall Airport got inundated with nearly 11.2 inches of rain. Norfolk, at the base of the Bay, received slightly more than 4 inches. Dulles Airport and the District of Columbia’s Northern Virginia suburbs got hit with 5 inches of rain on July 21 alone, fueling a total of 7.7 inches over those five soggy days.

The rain boosted flows on the Susquehanna River — which provides about half of the freshwater entering the Chesapeake — to about 400,000 cubic feet per second at the Conowingo Dam, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The river hits that level, on average, about every five years but hasn’t peaked at that number since 2011.

That flow was far above the average July rate of 38,800 cfs for the river. The gates on Conowingo Dam were opened to release the rising water, and Maryland issued voluntary evacuation orders for the Cecil County town of Port Deposit, about 6 miles downstream of the dam.

The timing of the recent rain event — during a typically dry midsummer month — is unusual. Very high stream flows are usually associated with spring rains and snowmelt and with tropical storms and hurricanes that occur in late summer or fall. (But Tropical Storm Agnes, the most severe storm in recent decades, hit in June.)

High flows in the summer can be more damaging than at other times because it’s the peak of biological activity for many important Bay species, from underwater grass beds to juvenile fish and crabs. Indeed, a recent report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Maryland Department of the Environment examined the impact of high flow events from the Susquehanna River on the Chesapeake during similar storms in January, June and October. The June storm, it found, had “greater adverse impacts to water quality, habitat, and living resources than October and January events.”
On today's beach walk, there seemed to be a bit more ground up bark and leaves washed up. This could be from more local sources; I don't think the big mass of junk has arrived yet. I'm hoping it will mostly wash up further north and spare us.

Rah, Rah Russiagate!

Too much!

By way of news, the Manafort trial starts today: Liz Shield Mornign Brief at PJ Media: Manafort Trial Begins Today and Much, Much More. “Manafort is not on trial for anything related to treasonous RUSSIAN-collusion, he is on trial for working for President Trump’s campaign and for being a sleazy political consultant, which is a crime every other person is guilty of inside the beltway.” Jazz Shaw at Hot Air: So What’s Paul Manafort On Trial For Again?
"Hold the phone. So you’re saying that after all the hemming and hawing, immunity deals for witnesses and all the rest, the result of Manafort’s role in the Russian collusion scheme is a list of charges for… tax evasion?"
. . .
There are more dominos yet to fall and other people who may or may not be pleading guilty to something or going before a jury. But if this is typical of what Mueller has discovered from the past couple of years worth of campaign activity, there are going to be some very different questions for the Special Counsel to answer.
Bloomberg: Manafort Made More Than $60 Million in Ukraine,  Mueller Says Trial by envy and politics. The Dersh: Mueller Hoping Manafort Will Choose to Testify Against Trump Rather Than 'Die in Prison'
Dershowitz added that in D.C., Manafort is less likely to get a sympathetic jury and that the courts have "two shots" at him.

"[They're hoping to say] look, you have two choices: die in prison or testify against your former associate. And most people will take the 'testify' option rather than the 'die in prison' option."
Kathryn Blackhurst at LifeZette: It’s Time ‘to Wrap Up’ Mueller Probe, Portman Says, "Although the Ohio Republican senator still supports the investigation, he believes it must be completed 'expeditiously'" Mueller's midterm elections at WaEx by Byron York. Will he finish by well before the midterms (it's getting kind of late for that), go dark for them, or continue to try and sink Trump? I know what I think will happen. Rowan Scarborough at WaT: No end in sight: Russia dossier investigation enters third year Jonathon Swan at Axios: Rudy on Mueller probe: "They don't have a goddamn thing". David Jackson at USA Today: Rudy Giuliani says Donald Trump team preparing report to counter Robert Mueller
Giuliani told USA TODAY that he believed Mueller's team is "writing the report as we speak.

Giuliani's own team worked on its "counter-report," which he said would be released after his team reviewed whatever Mueller filed with the Justice Department. It's unclear whether the special counsel will file anything with the DOJ.
By way of Wombat-socho's In "The Mailbox: 07.30.18" Power Line brings us a bit of satire in We've Only Just Begun.... But is it really satire?
. . . the story suggests to me that Mueller has many other angles he may have yet to explore. Mueller probably hasn’t exhausted the possibilities of building obstruction of justice charges against Trump based on his regular activities. Trump’s use of Twitter barely scratches the surface of the potential wrongdoing that falls within the scope of Mueller’s probe. Consider the possibilities:

• Trump has recruited and endorsed Republican congressional candidates in the midterm elections. If elected, these candidates might have to vote on articles of impeachment in the House and pass judgment on Trump in the Senate.
• Trump has raised campaign funds for the candidates he has recruited and endorsed. Now he has vowed to campaign for congressional candidates in the two months before election day.
• Trump has also criticized former Obama CIA Director and Gus Hall supporter John Brennan.
• Trump has in addition criticized Mueller’s supervisor in the investigation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
• Trump has exercised his authority as president in ways designed to enhance his standing with American voters. If they were persuaded to vote for candidates Trump supports, Mueller’s investigation of Trump would come to naught.
• Trump has held campaign style rallies in which he has expressed impure thoughts about the Mueller investigation itself.
• Trump’s criticism of Sessions and Comey pales next to his criticism of Mueller himself. Indeed, it is based in part on Mueller’s investigation and actually includes ridicule. Trump has failed to provide Mueller the praise and encouragement he deserves in the pursuit of his removal from office.

Surely this cannot stand.
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line explains why he doesn't think Rod Rosenstein deserved impeachment. Impeach Rod Rosenstein? I'm not so sure.

Mollie Hemingway at Da Fed: Media Gaslighting Can’t Hide Fact Trump Campaign Was Spied On. But it won't stop them from trying. When all you have is a hammer. . . Chuck Ross at Da Caller: 
Nunes: Americans Will Be ‘Shocked’ By Other Carter Page FISA Info. It would be hard to shock me anymore, but I've been following from the start.
After the Department of Justice released portions of the four FISA applications, Democrats claimed that the most damaging information about Page was found in the redacted parts.

"If you look at what they were saying... 'oh, but the really juicy stuff that proves collusion and how bad Carter Page really was and how they were colluding with Russians -- that's what's redacted!'"

He said the liberal media changed their tune when they found out that Republicans on the House Intel Committee were trying to get those portions unredacted.

An interesting prediction via ImperatorRex: Thread by @_ImperatorRex_: "1. They're priming the pump for declassification and release of the unredacted FISA in stages, to calibrate for maximum effect with the mid- […]" #SpyGate #MAGA "IMO it will reveal extensive illegal surveillance by the Obama administration, stretching way back to 2015, when Trump announced his candidacy." And another:  "1. The conspiracy to frame Trump was a co-ordinated effort, with Obama at the center. Consider just this timeline. Warning : you WILL (and s […]" #TheStorm #MAGA. Rowen Scarborogh at WaT explains How Hillary Clinton used the anti-Trump Russia dossier during the campaign and S. Noble at the Independent Sentinel has Greg Jarrett’s research shows Trump Was “framed…for crimes he didn’t commit.”

Sharyl Attkisson asks an interesting question, Say Whatever happened to the 'unmaskings' probe?. We seem to have lost sight of that. She hasn't.

Scott Johnson of Power Line on Contra the dross of April Doss
The Standard posted her cover story online under the headline “The Truth About Carter Page, the FBI, and Devin Nunes’ Conspiracy Theory.” Incidentally, Doss tried out another version of the piece for the Atlantic in “The FISA fiasco’s silver lining.” Both the Standard and the Atlantic identified Doss in part as former “senior minority [i.e., Democratic] counsel for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence[.]”

Here’s the funny thing. Doss’s cover story illustrates Fred’s observation that Nunes has been victimized by a Democratic campaign of personal abuse and name-calling. Indeed, it could serve as Exhibit A to illustrate Fred’s point. According to Doss, “Nunes [has] spun a crazy conspiracy narrative.”

Well, something’s crazy here and I don’t think it’s Nunes. Fred’s profile of Nunes comports with Kim Strassel’s Wall Street Journal weekend interview “Devin Nunes, Washington public enemy number 1” and Bill McGurn’s Wall Street Journal column “Abolish the FISA court” as well as Andrew McCarthy’s NR column “FISA Applications Confirm: The FBI Relied on the Unverified Steele Dossier.”
and Contra the dross of April Doss (2).

And the Cohen Follies continue: Rudy Breaks News: Team Cohen Is Privately Claiming A Second Meeting Of Trump Staffers About The Russians (Allahpundit). Sundance at CTH: Giuliani: President Trump Has Recordings of Dozens of Journalists Discussing Him With Michael Cohen…
President Trump has recordings, at least a dozen, of reporters discussing him, and their reporting/opinion of him, with Michael Cohen.
Apparently Michael Cohen recorded dozens of interviews with journalists about candidate Donald Trump, and President-elect Donald Trump, and President Donald Trump. Michael Cohen hated the Trump campaign; he made his opinion of the campaign abundantly clear. The media hate anything Trump etc. Now imagine what’s on those recordings…. The journalists did not know they were being recorded.
That could ruin their reputation for objectivity. Oh, wait, they have none. The Facts Behind The Trump Tower Meeting Are Incriminating, But Not For Trump from William Krumholz at the Federalist but but but MSNBC legal expert Jonathon Turley insists: Cohen flipping puts Trump 'one witness away' from catastrophe

A Deal is a Deal

She looks like she just ate the canary
If you document it. Weinstein lawyers claim actress Judd made sexual 'deal' with disgraced mogul
Harvey Weinstein's lawyers are calling on a US judge to dismiss a lawsuit from actress Ashley Judd -- who accuses the disgraced mogul of torpedoing her career -- on the grounds that she had made a sexual "deal" with him.

The 50-year-old actress says the once-influential Hollywood producer sabotaged her career by convincing Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson not to cast Judd after she rejected Weinstein's sexual advances.

Weinstein fell from grace after scores of women came forward with allegations against him ranging from harassment to rape.
Yes, I know, verbal agreements are supposed to be binding, but proving their existence can be problematical.
But in a motion filed Tuesday in a Los Angeles court, Weinstein's defense team insisted Judd had struck a "deal" with Weinstein allowing him to touch her if she "won an Academy Award in one of his films."

Weinstein's attorneys claim the ex-movie mogul then "attempted to live up to his part of the bargain" by working to cast Judd in "as many roles as possible" -- including opposite Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, a role for which Minnie Driver ultimately won an Oscar nomination.
Well, she's won a bunch of awards, but never an Oscar, so it looks like he might have jumped the gun, so to speak. I'd like to see the contract, though.

His action "reflects his motivation to advance her career, not ruin it" and undermines Judd's "defamation claim (as well as her retaliation claim) in its entirety," the court documents say.

In a statement responding to the filing, a spokesperson for Judd said: "Mr. Weinstein's arguments seeking to escape the consequences of his despicable misconduct are not only baseless, they are offensive."
Unless he's telling the truth, and she's lying.
"We look forward to opposing his flawed motion, moving forward with discovery into his outrageous behavior, and proving to a jury that Mr. Weinstein maliciously damaged Ms. Judd's career because she resisted his sexual advances."

Judd says Weinstein told director Jackson he'd had a bad experience with Judd, calling her a "nightmare."
In a veracity contest between Ashley Judd and Harvey Weinstein, the truth is the true loser.

Wombat-socho has "Rule Five Sunday: Summer Event Silliness" published on time and within budget.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Year in Hypoxia, So Far So Good

Dissolved oxygen conditions in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem improved in early July, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The department tracks hypoxia throughout the summer during twice monthly monitoring cruises.

The hypoxic water volume (areas with less than 2 mg/l oxygen) was 1.05 cubic miles, nearly 0.6 cubic miles less than in late June, and 0.33 cubic miles less than the early July average. No additional hypoxic volume was observed in Virginia’s portion of Chesapeake Bay, and no anoxic zones (areas with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen) were detected in the mainstem.

Hypoxic conditions were worst off the southern tip of Kent Island, occurring at around 6 meters below the surface to the bottom. Lower Maryland stations saw hypoxia begin at 11 meters or deeper. Hypoxia was generally more concentrated toward the bay’s deeper center channel, unlike in late June, which partially accounts for the improvement.

We haven't seen much sign of hypoxia at the beach; only one day did we spot a bunch of crabs and minnows hugging the shoreline.

It's quite likely that the flood of dirty water coming into the Bay from the Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers, along with the effect of having fresh waters sealing off the bottom from the atmosphere will spark a new round of bad water.
Historic rainfall observed July 21-25 throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania is expected to inject large amounts of freshwater and associated nutrients and sediments into Chesapeake Bay, possibly affecting hypoxia results well into August.

Russiagate Today

An odd mix; I guess the weekend had lots of hanging chads or something

According to the AP Manafort trial to focus on lavish lifestyle, not collusion. As Instapundit notes: The Mountain has Labored and Brought Forth a Mouse . . .  Hmm. Is the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua living a “lavish lifestyle?”
Jurors are expected to see photographs of his Mercedes-Benz and of his Hampton property putting green and swimming pool. There’s likely to be testimony, too, about tailored Beverly Hills clothing, high-end antiques, rugs and art and New York Yankees seasons tickets.

The luxurious lifestyle was funded by Manafort’s political consulting for the pro-Russian Ukrainian political party of Viktor Yanukovych, who was deposed as Ukraine’s president in 2014.

Lawyers have tangled over how much jurors will hear of his overseas political work, particularly about his ties to Russia and other wealthy political figures.

At a recent hearing, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who will preside over the trial, warned prosecutors to restrain themselves, noting the current “antipathy” toward Russia and how “most people in this country don’t distinguish between Ukrainians and Russians.” He said he would not tolerate any pictures of Manafort and others “at a cocktail party with scantily clad women,” if they exist.

Prosecutor Greg Andres reassured the judge that “there will be no pictures of scantily clad women, period,” nor photographs of Russian flags.

“I don’t anticipate that a government witness will utter the word ‘Russia,’” Andres said.
So now it's illegal to live life better than a government drone? Well, that may well work with a D.C. or NOVA jury. Damn, I wanted to see those scantily clad women, too.

Old Prosecutors Speaking Frankly by Clarice Feldman at the American Thinker:
About once a year the Society of Old Prosecutors meets in a private libation spot the name of which I am honor bound not to disclose. We met to discuss the week’s events and, as long as I don’t name the participants, I was given permission to share some of the talk. (Given the mad-dog operations of the Special Counsel some feared that to publicly state their views they’d be subject to midnight FBI raids with their nightgown-garbed wives rousted from bed and felt up by armed agents, or all their assets seized and their private correspondence unrelated to anything handed over to Democratic spinners like Lanny Davis to be megaphoned on CNN.)
Lawyer 1: The President is denying his former lawyer Cohen’s claim that he approved the meeting in Trump Tower. Funny that meeting, isn’t it? I mean, why did Loretta Lynch allow Natasha Veselnitskaya to have a special visa to enter the country and why did Natasha choose as her translator Anatoli Samochornov, who for over a decade was a U.S. State Department Translator?’ I’ve handled far weaker entrapment cases.

Lawyer 2: Funnier yet, the meeting was ostensibly to discuss Russian orphan adoption issues. But even if it had been to hear the dirt Russia had on Hillary, when and why and how would it be unusual or illegal for a campaign to want to hear dirt on a competitor? I mean, get real -- Hillary paid for the Dossier which was confected by an anti-Trump former UK spy whose sources were all Russian. Not since I read Alice in Wonderland as a kid, have I seen such an upside down universe.

Lawyer 3: Now speaking of the Dossier, how much longer will the FISC continue in operation after having rubberstamped over and again widespread spying on a political campaign based on the most idiotic of warrants? I cannot imagine a regular court granting these and FISC was, we were told by most (but not the late Robert Bork) that it would provide greater protections for citizens against unwarranted privacy intrusions. . . .
At NewsBusters: NBC’s New Anti-NRA Attack Line: They’re Infiltrated By the Russians! We knew that was coming. Another Instaquip: MAN, THE LEFTIES AT NBC TURNED INTO THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED. This may well be Putin's intention.

DAMN son! Sharyl Attkisson takes TROLL defending John Brennan APART in EPIC point-by-point tweet

Indicted Senate Staffer James Wolfe Leaked a 2017 Copy of Full FISA Warrant Against Carter Page to Reporter Ali Watkins… (Sundance, CTH)
Note the FISA application (original first application) is 83 pages, with a blank page. That’s 82 pages total.

Note page #6 of the Wolfe indictment: “82 text messages” corresponds with James Wolfe texting 82 images of the FISA application to Ali Watkins. Wolfe likely took pictures of each application page and sent them to Ms. Watkins.
. . .
Important to note: depending on how the FISA copy was processed by the DOJ(?), and considering this was to the Senate Intel Committee, it is likely the SSCI copy was not heavily redacted (if at all).

♦Yes, that means reporter Ali Watkins (Buzzfeed then New York Times) has had a copy of the original FISA application against Carter Page since March 17th, 2017.

♦Yes, that also means the U.S. DOJ has known since December 15th, 2017, that SSCI Chief Staffer James Wolfe leaked the FISA application to the media in March 2017.

♦Yes, that also means the U.S. DOJ has known the media has been holding a copy of the original FISA application since March 17th, 2017.
The Curious Case of James Wolfe Continues… Sundance at CTH makes the case that James Wolfe, the Congressional Security chief recently indicted for lying to the FBI probably leaked a doctored copy of the unredacted Carter Page FISA application to the his girl friend and NYT reporter, Ali Watkins. A false date on the doctored application was used to catch him in the act.
Some key things about this leak:
  1. It is highly likely there were no redactions in the copy Wolfe leaked to the media.
  2. It is highly likely Wolfe was caught in a leak hunt, and the copy given to him included a specific, and intentionally wrong, internal date using October 19th as the origination date for FISA application approval. (The actual date was Oct 21st).
  3. The October 19th date then shows up in subsequent media reports which were based on the leak. The New York Times and Washington Post used the wrong date; the concentric reporting of the NYT and WaPo spread the wrong date like a virus.
  4. However, despite overwhelming and easy to prove evidence against him, Wolfe was never charged with the Carter Page FISA leak. The DOJ/FBI have him dead-to-rights on that leak, but he was charged with the more disingenuous crime of lying to the FBI.
 Much more here: Wolfe’s Indictment, Media Leaks & the Page FISA Application

Brett Samuels at Da Hill: Trump lashes out at Mueller for alleged conflicts of interest

Trump has alleged on multiple occasions via Twitter that Mueller has unspecified conflicts of interest, however, Sunday's tweet marks the first time he's elaborated beyond such accusations. The president seemingly confirmed a New York Times report from January that said Trump attempted to fire Mueller in June 2017 over alleged conflicts of interest.

The Times reported that Trump listed three conflicts he believed should disqualify Mueller: A dispute over fees at Trump’s National Golf Club in Virginia, his interview for FBI director before being named special counsel, and Mueller’s previous employment at a law firm that represents Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Trump reportedly backed off his demand after White House counsel Don McGahn refused Trump’s order and threatened to quit. Multiple reports indicated Trump interviewed Mueller for the vacancy, but it's unclear if Trump turned him down for the position before he was named special counsel in May 2017.

Trump's accusations about Mueller's alleged conflicts of interest came amid a string of tweets in which he claimed the special counsel's team is filled with Democrats.
John Bowden at Da Hill: GOP lawmaker: 'Nobody’s going to be surprised' if Trump approved Russia meeting
“If he’s proven to have not told the whole truth about the fact that campaigns look for dirt, and if someone offers it, you listen to them, nobody’s going to be surprised,” Issa told Cavuto. “There are some things in politics that you just take for granted.”
Allahpundit: Chris Wallace: So What If Trump Knew About Don Jr’s Meeting With The Russian Lawyer?
And even the meeting itself – while it certainly doesn’t seem praise-worthy that American political candidates or their team would be meeting with a Russian lawyer to try to get dirt on Hillary Clinton that was being offered to them – that falls a long way from any hint of collusion between Trump and the Kremlin.”

The Dersh at Breitbart: Dershowitz: Even if Cohen’s Claims Are True, ‘It’s Not a Crime’ – It’s ‘A Political Problem’
“I think the big picture is that even if everything he says is true, it’s not a crime. … Even if the president actively sought material dirt on Hillary Clinton, terrible thing, but even if he sought it, but the dirt had already been gathered, and he wasn’t asking them to hack the DNC or do anything criminal, that would not be a crime. It would show, quote, perhaps collusion, but there’s nothing in the federal code that makes collusion itself a crime.”
Giuliani says experts think 'someone messed' with Cohen tape
According to Giuliani, analysts say the public audio is a “tape of a tape,” and because of that, they are unable to determine if Cohen cut off the recording in the room, in real time, or altered and/or erased parts of it at a later date.

“Since we don’t have the original, we asked for it,” Giuliani said. “Our expert analysis is done until we get the raw copy, which we are seeking.”

Giuliani speculated that the chances of success for obtaining the raw tape are narrow.

The Prudes Are Winning

Change is coming to the Dallas Mavericks, including the dancers’ uniforms which will show less skin.

The team told CBS 11 this change is part of the Mavs’ effort to revamp its image after a recent sexual harassment scandal.

The Mavericks are still working on what the new uniform will look like, meaning imagines of the new design aren’t available yet, but the team said it won’t be drastically different to the current uniform.
At least that means burkas are out. For now.
The Mavs said they’re also hoping to include dancers with different body types in the future.
I suppose that means they want to include a few fat girls in the mix? Or maybe a transwoman? These days it's not safe to assume.

Anyway, they already have dancers with a different "body type":

Now you have to admit that was at least fun.

And just who is dying for this change?
Current CEO Cynthia Marshall, hired to clean up the organization, says the team wants the focus to be on the dancers as artists and to highlight their skills, “not be eye candy or sexualized.” Changes will also be made to the dance routines, and a calendar featuring the dancers is gone, too.

“Sometimes it may get out of hand with the provocative dancing and stuff like that,” said Mavs fan Terry Rodgers. “I’ve taken small kids to the games and I go…hmmm.”

One former dancer who didn’t want to be interviewed on camera told CBS 11 the culture of harassment needs to change, not the uniforms.
Yeah, don't touch the talent! I say they should have a vote among the fans. If the dancers don't like it, though, they can quit.

Wombat-socho has "Rule Five Sunday: Summer Event Silliness" published on time and within budget.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Weekend Beach Report

We've had pretty good weather for July in slower Maryland. Low 80s yesterday, and high 70s today, with a decent breeze. Low tide was in the mornings to we started early (I like to think a low, but rising tide is best for tooth hunting).
We walked a long way up past Matoaka, to the open beach between Matoaka and Western Shores. Georgia swears, and I think she's right, that that long log to the right swapped ends during recent storms.
The good weather had a lot of people out on the beach, a surprising number of them also hunting for fossils.
Georgia found this "Mako" (probably a White Shark) on the high tide line, well above the surf.
 A Red Admiral stopped by to sip some of the water draining off the cliff.
An assortment of teeth (and one crab claw) from yesterday. The long one in the middle is a Sand Tiger Shark tooth.  This isn't the whole story, we had 33 teeth yesterday and 21 today, mostly small to very small.

Rapping Up Russiagate

Wrap it up, Mr. Mueller by Richard Jack Rail at the American Thinker:
It's beginning to look like the Mueller "investigation" is really just a jobs program for a bunch of hard-left D.C. ambulance-chasers.  Mueller himself is so discredited that only a smoking gun with Trump's fingerprints all over it would even have a chance of rescuing the tatters of his dubious program, much less his dubious reputation.  By now everyone knows that Mueller isn't disinterested.  Everyone knows his report will be slanted every possible way to reach its predetermined conclusion.  And everyone, once the report is issued, will cut loose with a lengthy yawn.

One can hope that Mueller's futile chase after his own tail will result in the demise of the special counsel statute.  While it isn't clear that Kenneth Starr's effort to nab Bill Clinton ran as far off the rails as the Mueller probe has, both investigations were constitutionally problematic and ended up exacerbating tensions between the two parties.

As if exacerbation were needed.  Maxine Waters and Cory Booker busily call for in-your-face confrontation with Trump officials.  This thinly disguised call for racial violence will get just that if something isn't done to shut up these black racialists.

Shut it down, Mr. Mueller.  The whole country is fed up.  You are the Vietnam war all over again, the Establishment doing something the people do not support, something that embitters foes, ruins lives, and threatens to run completely out of control in America's streets.  Wrap it up and let it go.  Your side lost.  You lost.  Deal with it.

Can't wait for this to leak! Allison Elyse Gualtieri, WaEx, Judge orders firm behind Trump dossier to give deposition in lawsuit: Report
Political research firm Fusion GPS will have to give a deposition in the lawsuit brought by a Russian technology executive against BuzzFeed and British former spy Christopher Steele regarding the Trump dossier, according to reports.

Fox News reported U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled Thursday that the firm, which had hired Steele to work on the controversial dossier, had to answer questions about what direction it had given Steele. The judge rejected Fusion GPS' claims that a deposition would impinge on its First Amendment rights and require it to disclose confidential business relationships, according to a copy of the ruling published by Fox News.
OUCH! Sharyl Attkisson turns lib media concern about Trump & election security in an AWKWARD direction

Asche Schowe at the Daily Wire: The Root Claims There’s Evidence of Russia Changing Votes In 2016 — There’s Just One Problem
On Thursday morning, The Root, an online magazine typically devoted to African-American culture, published an article titled: “Evidence Shows Hackers Changed Votes in the 2016 Election But No One Will Admit It.”

The article, naturally, took Anti-Trump Twitter by storm, with many commentators failing to look past the headline to see that the author, Michael Harriot, was talking about circumstantial, not direct, evidence. The article was also an op-ed and not, as the headline suggested, a news article (this may or may not have been Harriot’s fault; sometimes writers don’t get the final say in their own headlines).

Still, on Friday afternoon, the piece was updated with a correction because Harriot had referred to Russians as “Soviets” on a couple of occasions. By Saturday morning, however, the article was taken down and an editor’s note put in its place that reads:
This story was an opinion piece asserting there was evidence that hackers changed votes in the 2016 election. However, a number of statements in the piece are disputed by experts. As a result, we have pulled it down for editorial review, and will update it once that review is completed.
As Instapundit noted "They had a time machine, and they still lost the cold war?"

The Dersh wants to know Who Leaked the Trump Tape?
Someone leaked the lawyer/client confidential tape containing a conversation between President Donald J. Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen. A former judge, assigned by the presiding judge to evaluate the seized tapes, reportedly concluded that this conversation was privileged. Yet someone leaked their contents. The President Trump's current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, then waived the privilege as to that tape. He said he never would have waived it had its existence and content not been improperly leaked.

So, the question remains: Who leaked this privileged material? If it was anyone in the Trump camp, there would be no violation of confidentiality, as the privilege belongs to the client, namely Trump, who can waive it. But no one else, most especially his lawyer, may properly waive the privilege. And Giuliani has categorically denied that it was leaked by Trump or anyone on his behalf. Indeed, he has expressed outrage at the leak.

Whom does that leave? Cohen is an obvious suspect, although I am confident that his excellent and experienced lawyer, Lanny Davis, would not have done so. Perhaps Cohen himself, who ran into Michael Avenatti at a restaurant, told him about the tape. We simply do not know.

It is unlikely that any judicial or prosecutorial authority is responsible for the leak, because they would have more to lose than to gain if they were caught.

The reason this is important to all Americans, beyond the immediate parties to this taped conversation, is that it may well discourage clients, patients, penitents and others from confiding in their lawyers, doctors, priests and the professionals who promise them confidentiality. Cohen promised confidentiality and yet the world heard what his client confided in him. We know he recorded the confidential conversation without the knowledge of his client. That is bad enough. Then it was deliberately leaked by someone who must have believed he or she would reap some benefit or advantage from having the public hear it.

We must find out who is the source of this damaging leak — damaging to all Americans who place their faith in the promise of confidentiality from the professionals in whom they confide.
It's Cohen. His career as a lawyer is over. Who would trust him at this point? He will probably be disbarred anyway even if he escapes prosecution. HE LIED: Cohen’s Testimony to the Senate Refutes His Claim That Trump Knew About Russian Trump Tower Meeting. It's not like anyone ever gets prosecuted for lying to the Senate (or House)

#ThemToo: Six Women Come Out With Accusations Against CBS's Les Moonves

Said the writer-actress Illeana Douglas to Les Moonves, at the end of this incident (described by Ronan Farrow in "Les Moonves and CBS Face Allegations of Sexual Misconduct/Six women accuse the C.E.O. of harassment and intimidation, and dozens more describe abuse at his company" (The New Yorker)):
When Douglas met with Moonves at his office, she began to raise concerns about the “Queens” script, but Moonves, she recalled, cut her off. “He interrupts me to ask me am I single,” she said. Douglas, whose nearly decade-long relationship with Scorsese was coming to an end, was caught off guard. “I didn’t know what to say at that point,” she told me. “I was, like, ‘I’m single, yes, no, maybe.’ ” She began talking about the script, but Moonves interjected, asking to kiss her. According to Douglas, he said that they didn’t have to tell her manager: “It’ll just be between you and me. Come on, you’re not some nubile virgin.”
 She's familiar; but I can't place her.
As Douglas attempted to turn the focus back to work, Moonves, she said, grabbed her. “In a millisecond, he’s got one arm over me, pinning me,” she said. Moonves was “violently kissing” her, holding her down on the couch with her arms above her head. “What it feels like to have someone hold you down—you can’t breathe, you can’t move,” she said. “The physicality of it was horrendous.” She recalled lying limp and unresponsive beneath him. “You sort of black out,” she told me. “You think, How long is this going to go on? I was just looking at this nice picture of his family and his kids. I couldn’t get him off me.” She said it was only when Moonves, aroused, pulled up her skirt and began to thrust against her that her fear overcame her paralysis. She told herself that she had to do something to stop him. “At that point, you’re a trapped animal,” she told me. “Your life is flashing before your eyes.” Moonves, in what Douglas assumed was an effort to be seductive, paused and asked, “So, what do you think?” Douglas told me, “My decision was to get out of it by joking my way out, so he feels flattered.”
For his part, Moonves admitted  "I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances,” Moonves said" adding that he regretted that.
Douglas maintains that after the trauma of her meeting with Moonves, she was let go from the pilot and CBS tried to renege on her $300,000 holding deal for the show. After her lawyer pressed the issue with CBS, Douglas settled out for $125,000, and she was offered a role in the CBS miniseries “Bella Mafia.”

“I go from being sexually assaulted, fired for not having sex with Les Moonves, fired by everyone, to ‘We are going to pay you in full and we also want you to be on this miniseries,’” Douglas told Farrow. “My understanding is, this is what they were going to do in exchange for not suing.”
Screenwriter Janet Jones

Writer Janet Jones accuses Moonves of assaulting her during a pitch meeting at his office in 1985, when he was a TV executive at 20th Century Fox. When she tried to leave, she found the door locked. He unlocked it after she threatened to scream, Jones recalled. Afterward, Moonves threatened to ruin her career, Jones claims. CBS told the New Yorker that Moonves has no memory of the meeting with Jones.
Producer Christine Peters

Producer Christine Peters accused Moonves of making an advance to her in 2006 when she met with him in the hopes of landing the job as head of CBS Films, which was just starting up. Peters accused Moonves of putting his hand up her skirt and touched her thigh and underwear. CBS told the New Yorker that Moonves “categorically denies any alleged touching or inappropriate conduct during the meeting.”
I love it when the torpedoes launched to take out Donald Trump circle around and strike their owners.

Wombat-socho has "Rule Five Sunday: Summer Event Silliness" published on time and within budget.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Reasons #5951 and #5921 That Trump Was Elected

The economic growth number for the third quarter is in; 4.1% annual rate, and boy is the Washington Post pissed: Trump cheers ‘amazing’ economic growth as economists caution it could be a blip
U.S. economic growth jumped in the second quarter, a boost for President Trump and Republicans as they seek to make a strong economy a key part of their campaign message to voters heading into November’s midterm elections. But economists cautioned that the higher growth is probably a blip.
They must have found one or two of those one-handed economists.
The economy expanded at an annualized rate of 4.1 percent from April to June, the fastest growth since the third quarter of 2014 and a sharp jump from the first three months of the year, when the economy grew at a tepid 2.2 percent rate, according to the Commerce Department.

Trump cheered the numbers Friday, holding an impromptu news conference outside the White House, touting the “amazing” growth from his tax and trade policies.

“We’re going to get a lot higher than these numbers and these are great numbers,” Trump said, flanked by his economic team. “We are now on track to hit an average GDP annual growth of over 3 percent and it could be substantially over 3 percent.”

Most independent economists say this quarter’s growth was juiced by stimulus from the trillion-dollar tax cut and a one-time rush by foreign companies to stock up on U.S. goods before Trump’s trade war escalated and tariffs kicked in on many products. Consumer spending was also solid.

But the widespread expectation is that growth will be significantly lower in the third and fourth quarters, probably falling short of Trump’s 3 percent goal for the year.

“The bottom line takeaway is that this growth is not sustainable and it will slow in the second half of the year,” said Lakshman Achuthan, co-founder of the Economic Cycle Research Institute. “President Trump should celebrate this number because it is going to ease from here.”

The federal government will release its initial estimate of third quarter growth Oct. 26, just 11 days before voters go to the polls, making it a key test of whether high growth appears to be sustainable.
Other excuses I heard mentioned were Chinese rush to buy soybeans before the tariffs, and "well, I just hate Trump."

North Korea Sends Remains Of 55 Americans Killed In The Korean War Home and WaPo is downplaying that as well:
One of the key stipulations that President Trump brought to the U.S. North Korea summit in Singapore was the repatriation of our American soldiers killing in action during the Korean War. Today, 55 Americans are on their way home.
A U.S. Air Force plane carrying what are thought to be the remains of 55 Americans killed during the Korean War arrived at Osan Air Base in South Korea on Friday morning, the 65th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting.
The U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft departed for the Kalma Airport in the North Korean city of Wonsan before 6 a.m. Friday. It returned about 11 a.m. local time, where it was greeted by a crowd of several thousand U.S. service members and their families — all American service members in South Korea had been invited to the event.
When was the U.S. North Korea Summit in Singapore? June 2018. Not even two months ago. Yet the WaPo claims that what is happening today is happening more slowly than anyone thought. Really? To deal with the diplomatic paperwork dance plus ensure that those who come home are Americans… this isn’t instant DNA verification a la Star Trek so the WaPo can shut up about the “delay.”
If Trump,  Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric were to personally cooked up a cure for cancer, WaPo would denounce them for putting oncologists, and their nurses out of work.

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

Relishing Russiagate

A relatively light load this morning, so let's see what we have. First, Ann Althouse reads the Nation and found this: In The Nation, critique of "The Elite Fixation With Russiagate."By Aaron Maté:
The record of US intelligence, replete with lies and errors, underscores the need for caution. Mueller was a player in one of this century’s most disastrous follies when, in congressional testimony, he endorsed claims about Iraqi WMDs and warned that Saddam Hussein “may supply” chemical and biological material to “terrorists.” That does not mean Mueller perjured himself back then, or that he is concocting a false case now. It just means that government officials can make mistakes based on faulty information.

Suppose, however, that all of the claims about Russian meddling turn out to be true. Hacking e-mails and voter databases is certainly a crime, and seeking to influence another country’s election can never be justified. But the procession of elite voices falling over themselves to declare that stealing e-mails and running juvenile social-media ads amount to an “attack,” even an “act of war,” are escalating a panic when a sober assessment is what is most needed....

With the attendant suspicion of Trump’s potential subordination to Putin, it is obscuring the reality in front of us... All seemed to overlook what Trump actually did: openly criticize Russia’s prized Nord Stream 2 gas project with Germany and badger NATO members to increase military spending....

Amid fervent speculation that Trump may be a Kremlin asset, Israel’s brazen (and actually documented) foreign meddling barely registers....

From the outset, Russiagate proponents have exhibited a blind faith in the unverified claims of US government officials and other sources, most of them unnamed....
 And more Mueller from Doug Ross Journal: LIKE A SIEVE: Here is the Exhaustive List of Illegal Leaks by Robert Mueller’s "Very Special" Counsel. Some of them may not be from Mueller, (they could be from people at the Grand Juries) but a lot of them have to be; either that or there's a lot of fake news out there. Note that "both" is an acceptable answer. But from Ace: The Cucks' Favorite Bull Jake Tapper: Anyone Trying to Stop the Mueller Investigation Is "Unpatriotic".

Tom Maguire at Just One Minute: I'm Living In An Alternate Universe. Or They Are.
And under my sun (still yellow, and what I can see of the sky is blue) people are marveling that Mueller might actually base a report to Congress on Trump's Tweets. This is how we run mysterious collusion ops these days - Twitter?

I can't even decide if the source of this leak meant to make Mueller look good, or ridiculous.
But just don't shine the light on the DNC or Hillary's antics. Insty cites Kimberly Strassel at the WSJ: Devin Nunes, Washington’s Public Enemy No. 1: What did the FBI do in the 2016 campaign? The head of the House inquiry on what he has found—and questions still unanswered.
Mr. Nunes has been feeling even more heat in Washington, where as chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence he has labored to unearth the truth about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s activities during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. Thanks in large part to his work, we now know that the FBI used informants against Donald Trump’s campaign, that it obtained surveillance warrants based on opposition research conducted for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and that after the election Obama administration officials “unmasked” and monitored the incoming team.

Mr. Nunes’s efforts have provoked extraordinary partisan and institutional fury in Washington—across the aisle, in the FBI and other law-enforcement and intelligence agencies, in the media. “On any given day there are dozens of attacks, each one wilder in its claims,” he says. Why does he keep at it? “First of all, because it’s my job. This is a basic congressional investigation, and we follow the facts,” he says. The “bigger picture,” he adds, is that in “a lot of the bad and problematic countries” that Intelligence Committee members investigate, “this is what they do there. There is a political party that controls the intelligence agencies, controls the media, all to ensure that party stays in power. If we get to that here, we no longer have a functioning republic. We can’t let that happen.” . . .

It got worse. This spring Mr. Nunes obtained information showing the FBI had used informants to gather intelligence on the Trump camp. The Justice Department is still playing hide-and-seek with documents. “We still don’t know how many informants were run before July 31, 2016”—the official open of the counterintelligence investigation—“and how much they were paid. That’s the big outstanding question,” he says. Mr. Nunes adds that the department and the FBI haven’t done anything about the unmaskings or taken action against the Flynn leakers—because, in his view, “they are too busy working with Democrats to cover all this up.”

He and his committee colleagues in June sent a letter asking Mr. Trump to declassify at least 20 pages of the FISA application. Mr. Nunes says they are critical: “If people think using the Clinton dirt to get a FISA is bad, what else that’s in that application is even worse.”

Mr. Nunes has harsh words for his adversaries. How, he asks, can his committee’s Democrats, who spent years “worrying about privacy and civil liberties,” be so blasé about unmaskings, surveillance of U.S. citizens, and intelligence leaks? On the FBI: “I’m not the one that used an unverified dossier to get a FISA warrant,” Mr. Nunes says. “I’m not the one who obstructed a congressional investigation. I’m not the one who lied and said Republicans paid for the dossier. I’m just one of a few people in a position to get to the bottom of it.” And on the press: “Today’s media is corrupt. It’s chosen a side. But it’s also making itself irrelevant. The sooner Republicans understand that, the better.”

His big worry is that Republicans are running out of time before the midterm elections, yet there are dozens of witnesses still to interview. “But this was always the DOJ/FBI plan,” he says. “They are slow-rolling, because they are wishing and betting the Republicans lose the House.”
Inexplicably, Sessions defends Rosenstein after move to impeach him (Bob Fredericks, New York Post), but Rep. Meadows Warns He Could Go Around Speaker Ryan To Impeach Rosenstein. I think re-establishing a precedent for impeaching officials who won't answer to Congress is a good idea.
Streif at Red State cites Rand Paul: John Brennan Leaked Top Secret Information That Blew A US Operation To Help Friends Make Money Some things are more important than secrecy. But it would be a violation of his constitutional rights to revoke his security clearance so he could do it again.

Ed Morrisey on perhaps the "story" of the day on cable: Cohen: Trump Knew In Advance Of Trump Tower Meeting With Russians; Trump: No I Didn’t. And sensibly, Chris Wallace ask "So What If Trump Knew About Don Jr’s Meeting With The Russian Lawyer?"

Rich Lowry at National Review reminds us Why Trump Will Survive the Cohen Tape
The tape’s political effect is muted because everyone is dug in. Trump’s foes have already concluded that he’s unfit for office and needs to be removed forthwith; Trump’s supporters (most of them) acknowledge his serious shortcomings but think it’s more important to focus on his agenda and accomplishments. It’s difficult to find a further personal peccadillo that can budge anyone from these trench lines, since there’s no real contest over his character to begin with.
Allahpundit: Avenatti: I Have Three More Clients Who Were Paid Hush Money Related To Trump. Unless these actually occurred while Trump was campaigning for President, this would actually strengthen the case against calling the payoffs of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal campaign spending violations. But he's not so eager for all publicity: Michael Avenatti Bars Media from His Own Testimony in Bankruptcy Court (Breitbart).

Rule 5 Saturday - Pam Anderson Warns About Modern Sex

This week's Rule 5 post inspired by Pamela Anderson  who answers your DMs about sex and love:
" It’s a dangerous time for good sex. We must do all we can to keep human connections – we are stronger in pairs. Maybe have this conversation with him as a caring friend. And look for love and a great lover who isn’t afraid somewhere else."
Look, she's a philosopher! Who knew?
Like you, I like to show how sexy I am, but I’m tired of receiving unsolicited dick pics from men in my DMs. How do I make idiots understand that I ain’t looking for their attention?

Pamela Anderson: Block and delete.
Is Pam Anderson better known as a Playboy model, the sex tape she and her husband, Tommy Lee made and leaked, or for playing the part of C.J. Parker on the original Baywatch? Who cares?
Oh alright, it's not like she's shy (NSFW).

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Tuesday Weld" and "FMJRA 2.0: Day Late & A Dollar Short" ready and waiting.