Thursday, February 28, 2019

That Ain't Gonna Buff Out

They might need some Bondo. Cargo Ship Led by Drunk Russian Captain Crashes Into Major South Korea Bridge

Groundbreaking, If True

Navy files for patent on room-temperature superconductor
A scientist working for the U.S. Navy has filed for a patent on a room-temperature superconductor, representing a potential paradigm shift in energy transmission and computer systems.

Salvatore Cezar Pais is listed as the inventor on the Navy's patent application made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday.

The application claims that a room-temperature superconductor can be built using a wire with an insulator core and an aluminum PZT (lead zirconate titanate) coating deposited by vacuum evaporation with a thickness of the London penetration depth and polarized after deposition.

An electromagnetic coil is circumferentially positioned around the coating such that when the coil is activated with a pulsed current, a non-linear vibration is induced, enabling room temperature superconductivity.

Electrical losses in transmission are huge, 2-4% of 3,911,000,000,000, kw h/yr in the US alone. If those could be eliminated, we could cut our need for production accordingly, with all the attendant benefits.

Or, this could be another case like cold fusion.

Reason #6993 That Trump Was Elected

From CTM at Watts Up With That: Trump’s ‘Energy Dominance’ Agenda Is Breaking Russia’s Grip On Poland
From The Daily Caller

Natural gas from the U.S. is flooding Polish markets as the European country seeks to loosen Russia’s grip on its energy security, The New York Times reports.

Russia supplies roughly half of Poland’s fuel, but long-term contracts with American companies signed by Poland’s state-owned gas giant PGNiG could displace all of Russia’s supply. U.S.-based companies Cheniere Energy, Venture Global LNG and Sempra Energy have all signed agreements with Poland in the last six months.

“The strategy of the company is just to forget about Eastern suppliers and especially about Gazprom,” PGNiG President Piotr Wozniak told The NYT. (RELATED: US Will Ship Gas To Poland For Next 24 Years)

Gazprom is Russia’s state-controlled gas company. Gazprom and Europe have a decades-long history of disputes over fuel supply and prices that have caused fuel shortages in many countries across the continent.

A major pipeline connecting Russia with much of Europe passes through Ukraine. Feuds between Gazprom and Ukraine have caused gas shortages across Europe. The disputesusually involve Gazprom negotiating with Ukraine to raise prices.

As the two countries work towards a deal, potentially millions across Europe, including Poland, may be left struggling to stay warm in the dead of winter. Such an event happened in January 2009, after which Poland began trying to diversify its fuel supply away from Russia.
I don't know if natural gas from the Dominion Cove Point gas export facility is getting to Poland, but if it's going anywhere across the pond, it's helping to weaken Putin's grip on Europe's testicles. The facility is constantly busy, with 2-3 ships per week, loading gas and taking it somewhere.

Related: Trump Admin Ecstatic with Late-Night Deal That Broke Deadlock Over Natural Gas Exports
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) broke a two-year partisan deadlock Thursday night to approve a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana.

Top Department of Energy (DOE) officials said this was a major breakthrough that will alleviate a growing problem for U.S. energy producers — a lack of export infrastructure.

“We have been promoting US energy around the world and today’s decision by the FERC is a very important one,” DOE Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.

The Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal is the first such project to get FERC approval in two years. Republican FERC commissioners Neil Chatterjee, the chairman and Bernard McNamee worked with Democrat Cheryl LaFleur to hash out an agreement to get her support.

Chatterjee and McNamee needed LaFleur’s vote to approve Calcasieu Pass, which they secured after working out a new approach to account for greenhouse gas emissions from the export facility.

“This is a tremendous breakthrough,” DOE Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes told TheDCNF. “We hope it will serve as an analytical template going forward.”

Once complete, Calcasieu Pass terminal will export up 12 million metric tons of LNG a year. Brouillette said the project already has buyers, including in Europe, waiting for American natural gas.
Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup and links.

MD Senate Votes for Ray Ban

Brooke with a fine one (not a Cownose)
Lawmakers vote to extend moratorium on ray killing contests
On Feb. 26 the Maryland Senate passed Senate Bill (SB) 143, to extend the moratorium on cownose ray killing contests in the Chesapeake Bay until a fishery management plan is created for the species. Sponsored by Senator Ron Young [D- District 3], it was approved by a unanimous vote of 46-0.

A 2017 law placed a two-year moratorium on sponsoring, conducting or participating in a Cownose ray killing contest for prizes in Maryland waters to allow the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) time to prepare a fishery management plan for regulating the take of the species. Since the deadline is fast approaching with no management plan in place, it is critical to extend the prohibition until the DNR fulfills its mandate.

During the contests, which were held every summer for decades in Maryland prior to the passage of the 2017 bill, participants competed for prizes for killing the heaviest rays, who were often pregnant females who migrated into the bay to give birth. The rays were hauled out of the water, beaten to death and then discarded after the contest’s conclusion.

“Brutally slaughtering cownose rays for cash and prizes is not something Maryland should be known for,” said Emily Hovermale, Maryland state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We commend the Senate for recognizing that the moratorium was near its sunset and ensuring that these ecologically damaging contests will remain prohibited.”

The House version, HB 213, is awaiting the final House vote.
I expect it will pass.

I'm agnostic on the value of ray fishing tournaments and bans on ray fishing tournaments. They haven't studied Cownose Ray populations very well, but all indications are that they're pretty healthy, and that, in fact, they may have increased due to fishing pressures on their main predators, sharks. They are also significant predators on valuable commercial species, including crabs, oysters and clams.

Every year around May or June, they come into the Bay in incredible numbers to have babies, and then mate for the next round. While they're not reliably caught on lures, they do occasionally run into lines, and get caught on the wings. When they do, they put on a very strong, steady fight on light tackle. I consider it a victory just to bring them to the boat and get my terminal tackle back.  The couple of times I've flipped one into the boat, I've regretted it. They are known to be edible, but very few people go to the trouble.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Monday: Michelle Malkin ready and waiting for your digital pleasure.

Russiagate: All Cohen All the Time

Stormy Daniels
I watched some of it yesterday. It was kind of stomach turning, but I didn't see anything we hadn't seen already. Cohen arranged payments to Stormy Daniel and Karen McDougal (NSFW) in response to their blackmail, and the SDNY and Democrats are determined call that a campaign violation, but he admits Trump never directly told him to do so. He never visited Prague (one of the pretexts for investigating the Trump campaign from the Steele Dossier). He was unaware of any collusion between between the Trump campaign and Russia, though he thinks he heard Don Jr. whisper something about the infamous meeting in Trump's ear, and he claims to have been in the office with a call on speakerphone to Roger Stone, discussing Wikileaks, long after the emails had been stolen from the DNC, and after Wikileaks was bragging about them, and threatening to release them. So nothing suggesting either Trump or Stone had anything to do with the theft and release of the emails.

Karen McDougal
Here's a bunch of links if you care:

From Drudge:

Check signed by Trump displayed...
And another from Don Jr...
Ex-Fixer Says President Committed Crimes While in Office...
Hints SDNY probing undisclosed issues...
Behaved 'much like a mobster would do'...
Roger Stone: He's Lying!
Business Aides Under Microscope...
NYT: Dems 'overreaching'...
MAG: Resistance Falls For Morality Play...
Pelosi unlikely to try impeachment...

Random responses:

Byron York: Michael Cohen hearings designed to keep public in dark about Russia
Michael Cohen is an admitted liar; Democrats don't care about the truth
How Forcing Cohen To Divulge Communications Damages Rule Of Law
She’s Back: Hillary Blames Russians For 2016 Failure, Urges Public Review Of Mueller Report | Daily Wire
Will Adam Schiff Have the Guts to Go on Hannity? | The American Spectator
Hmmm: Did Cohen lie to Congress again?
Chris Christie: Not one Republican at this House hearing has attempted to defend Trump from Cohen's accusations
Gaetz: Sorry for my totally unintentional witness tampering
Cohen to Testify Before Congress : The Other McCain
Dems Reelect Trump by Staging Partisan Cohen Hearing during Nuke Negotiations | Roger L. Simon

The Wombat has Rule 5 Monday: Michelle Malkin and FMJRA 2.0: Toccata & Fugue In D Minor ready and waiting for your digital pleasure. 

#MeToo Moves to Turkey

From WaPoo: To end Turkey’s silence on domestic abuse, a famous pop star told her own story
When Sila Gencoglu, one of Turkey’s biggest pop stars, walked into an Istanbul courtroom a few months ago and filed abuse charges against her actor boyfriend, it set off the kind of media frenzy Turks were expecting but also something more rare: a national debate about violence against women.

The news media published photographs of her bruises, a doctor’s report on her injuries, and the panicked text messages of a woman next door who said she heard the beating. A message Gencoglu posted on Instagram gave a voice to the large percentage of Turkish women who do not report abuse — and provided a model, she hoped, of how to fight back.

“It is not easy to go out on the street and yell, ‘I have been abused,’ ” she wrote. “I am going to use the rights given to me by the law.”

Gencoglu’s boyfriend, Ahmet Kural, a well-known comedic actor, has denied her accusations. When the trial starts in two weeks, it will be a high-profile test of landmark legislation introduced seven years ago by the government that was supposed to better protect women and children from abuse.

Though the law has provided survivors with greater rights, there have been numerous problems with how it has been carried out, including a lack of reliable data on its effectiveness and a reluctance by Turkey’s judiciary to punish men for abuse, according to women’s advocacy groups and a European experts’ panel. The law has also been undermined by a years-long, countervailing effort by the Islamist-led government to reinforce traditional roles for women in society, women’s rights groups say.
She should leave Turkey.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Monday: Michelle Malkin ready and waiting for your digital pleasure.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Climate Change Ends Forest Threat and Saves Funds

by Dr. Roger Roots, Lysander Spooner University

A decade ago, folks in northern states such as Minnesota, South and North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho were watching large swaths of their pine forests die off due to invasive pine beetles. The pine beetles bored beneath the bark of pine trees and introduced a fungus and larvae which weakened and then killed the trees.

Millions of pine trees were killed, prompting environmentalists and state and federal government agencies to link the invasive beetles to catastrophic-manmade-global-warming-by-carbon dioxide. Science Magazine warned that “Climate Change Sends Beetles Into Overdrive” (Mar. 16, 2012). The U.S. Forest Service launched numerous web pages under a “Bark Beetles and Climate Change in the United States” designation.
Pine Beetle Larvae, and damage

State and federal agencies collected and spent millions of dollars to mitigate the effects of the beetles. Several states amassed funds in designated ‘beetle epidemic’ accounts.

But colder weather accomplished what the agencies could not. Five years of harsh winters have mostly killed off the beetles in the north woods. Most foresters declared the end of the beetle epidemic around 2017. Almost no one seemed to link the END of the epidemic to earlier claims regarding a link to the CO2 apocalypse.

Now the State of South Dakota has $700,000 remaining in a ‘pine beetle fund’ which was never used. Last week the South Dakota legislature debated about what to do with the excess money. The debate was the topic of Tuesday’s top front page in the Rapid City Journal.
I remember when, as a child, pine beetles were considered a big threat to the pines near our vacation home in the San Bernardino Mountains. As I recall, the threat faded away there too, at least for a while, although I don't recall a cold winter being involved.

King Kanute Would Be So Proud

Scientists admit they can't hold back the sea: Report cards show continued sea-level rise on East & Gulf coasts
Researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science have issued the first annual update of their sea level “report cards,” marking 50 years of water-level observations from 1969 through 2018.

These web-based charts—available online at sea level out to the year 2050 based on an ongoing analysis of tide-gauge records for 32 localities along the U.S. coastline from Maine to Alaska.
 2050 projection of sea level in Norfolk, Virginia. 
The lead on the project, VIMS emeritus professor John Boon, says the report cards add value by providing sea-level projections that are updated more frequently than those issued by NOAA or other agencies.

Boon and colleagues also use a statistical approach that includes evidence for recent acceleration in the rate of sea-level change at many U.S. tide-gauge stations, and stress their use of relative sea-level measurements—changes in water level relative to the land surface on which people live and work. The relative sea-level rise in Virginia and other East and Gulf coast areas is due to both rising water and sinking land.

This year’s report cards, updated using monthly summaries of daily tide gauge records from calendar year 2018, show that trends in sea-level change generally held steady across the 32 stations, although the processes that control sea level fluctuated slightly from region to region. Release of this year’s cards was delayed by the 35-day government shutdown, which precluded compilation of and access to NOAA’s latest tide-gauge records.
I consider the above illustration of sea level rise from Norfolk to be deceptive. By putting the curved "projections" line on the graph they have  given the impression of accelerating sea level rise. Here's NOAA's complete set of sea level measurements from Sewells Point in Norfolk:

See any change in the rate of sea level rise from 1930 to the present? Neither does NOAA.

Get a Load of Russiagate

There's quite a lot today, but other than Cohen nonensense, it's pretty scattered, with no big theme:

So, did you hear Jeff Carlson's Epoch Times Exclusive, DOJ Prevented FBI From Pursuing Gross Negligence Charges Against Clinton? No surprise here, except that someone (Lisa Page) finally admitted it under oath.
Rep. Ratcliffe: Okay. So let me if I can, I know I’m testing your memory, but when you say advice you got from the Department, you’re making it sound like it was the Department that told you: You’re not going to charge gross negligence because we’re the prosecutors and we’re telling you we’re not going to —

Ms. Page: That is correct.
Speaking of non-prosecution, Ace,  Inspector General Report: A "Senior DOJ" Official Pressured a Female Subordinate Into a Sexual Relationship, and "Sexually Assaulted" Another, But Then the DOJ, Get This, Declined to Prosecute Him For It, and lying under oath. So I'm guessing he's not a Republican.
Incorruptible straight-arrows all the way down (and all the way up, obviously).
A senior Justice Department official working in the Office of Justice Programs pressured one subordinate "into a sexual relationship with him in exchange for a promotion," "sexually harassed two other subordinates," "sexually assaulted" yet another subordinate, and then "lacked candor" with the Office of the Inspector General when the IG investigated these matters, according to an investigative summary published by the IG.
That means he also committed perjury.

Strange that the DOJ is prosecuting so many Mere Civilians for perjury and obstruction of justice while... well, you'll see.
 Gingrich: McCabe-Rosenstein Plot ‘One of the Great Scandals in American History’ Yep. Too bad he's not in a position to do anything about it.
“[I]f you look at things like McCabe and this whole FBI thing, which is, I think, one of the great scandals in American history,” Gingrich argued to host John Catsimatidis. “The whole idea that your most important law enforcement institution had people who were actively plotting in effect to overturn the elected president of the United States. The more we hear from McCabe and Comey on this, the clearer it is that this was an agency that was so corrupt and so out of control that I think if Hillary Clinton had won, there is no telling what would have happened to our freedom.”
CR, Mark Levin and Ken Starr: The media’s incredible double standard for the Mueller probe and Starr’s Clinton investigation

FBI Whistleblower Tells OAN Former FBI Deputy Director McCabe Is ‘Putting On An Act’ Like ‘A Sociopath’. Robyn Gritz, who accused other agents of sexual harassment, was investigated by McCabe and was supported by Gen. Michael Flynn, and then pushed out of the FBI. 

Roger Simon thinks The Mueller and Inspector General Reports Should Be Released Simultaneously. Not gonna happen. I think the IG's investigation has been inhibited by Mueller's, and should now be free to go after malefactors in the DOJ and FBI. I do look forward to Horowitz trashing the Clinton/Obama team prior to 2020.

I didn't expect this to succeed, but you have to try. Ed Morrissey Appellate Court: You’d Better Believe Mueller’s Appointment Is Constitutional. Take it to the Supremes. This was someone associated with Roger Stone (Andrew Miller).  ABC, Hillary Clinton's ex-campaign chairman, victim of 2016 campaign hack, thinks cell door will shut on Roger Stone "John Podesta still believes Stone played a role in releasing his hacked emails." I doubt he believes it; he just hates Trump supporters, and wants to see them hurt. I want to see Podesta in jail too, and I'm not too picky about the charges.

And then there's the Cohen nonsense: Byron York: Cohen hearings designed to keep public in dark about Russia. Well, the Russia stuff is almost past its "use by" date. Michael Cohen is an admitted liar; Democrats don't care about the truth. When all you have is a lie. AllahPundit is upset that Matt Gaetz Threatens Michael Cohen: Maybe It’s Time For Your Wife To Hear About Your Girlfriends. After all this talk about Trump's girls, he's gotta expect it coming out if it's there.

Links from Drudge:

Just Another Wet Shirt Wednesday

I got nothin'.

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

Midnight Music - "Hell in a Bucket"

I'd never seen this before!

Thanks to Shouting Thomas!

The Wombat has Rule 5 Monday: Michelle Malkin ready and waiting for your digital pleasure.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Maryland Democrat Uses the "N" Word

I'll be curious to see if this shows up in the WaPoo: Maryland Democrat May Ann Lisanti Sorry for Calling County ‘N***er District’
Mary Ann Lisanti, a white Maryland Democrat legislator, is apologizing to black lawmakers for referring to a county as “n***r district,” but claims “everyone” has used the racial slur.

Delegate Lisanti reportedly used the racist slur to describe Prince George’s County — which is 62 percent African American — while conversing with a colleague during an after-hours gather at a bar in Annapolis.

According to the Washington Post, Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland confronted the Democrat legislator, whose district includes Harford County, over the alleged slur.

Caucus chair Del. Darryl Barnes (D) of Prince George’s County, told the Post that Lisanti was “contrite” when pressed about the comment, calling her reaction “really disturbing.”

“She apologized several times,” said Barnes. “She recognizes how she has hurt so many within the caucus, and she hoped to repent from this.”

“She said that she doesn’t remember fully what happened, but she recognizes what happened,” he added.

In a statement, House Speaker Michael Busch demanded Lisanti “face the consequences of her behavior.”

“There is no place in the House of Delegates for any racial slurs — or slurs of any kind in society in general,” the Democrat from Anne Arundel added.

While Lisanti did not respond to requests for comment from several news outlets, the Harford lawmaker did tell the Post that she does not remember using the racist slur — before claiming she was “sure everyone has used it.”

“I’ve used the f-word. I used the Lord’s name in vain,” she added.
Well, that's a comfort.

UPDATE (WaPoo!): Maryland Del. Mary Ann Lisanti stripped of leadership post over use of racial slur

Maryland to Begin Conowingo Dredging

Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration says it expects a pilot program to test removing dredge materials from the Conowingo Dam to be “substantially complete” this year.

The administration announced Monday that Northgate Dutra JV will carry out a $3 million pilot project to test the quality of sediment throughout the dam reservoir. It also will dredge and reuse a small portion of it to create a market for cost-effective recovery of material that has greater value on the land than as a threat to water quality in the river or Chesapeake Bay.

The pilot project will be funded by the Maryland Department of the Environment.
When I first arrived in Maryland in 1983, I went to a conference being held on the state of the Bay. The head of the EPA Bay Program at the time (whose name I have forgotten) said that the greatest threat to the Bay was the filling of the pool behind the Conowingo Dam, because when it filled (in 30 years IIRC), the sediment washing down from upstream, along with the nutrients, would no longer be trapped behind the dam. And the world ignored it. And it came to pass, that in the last few years, the dam has been unable to retain sediment in big floods.

And now, it finally looks like they're going to do something about it. $3 million is barely a start, but its a start. There are some 200 million tons of sediment behind the dam. I hope they find something useful to do with it. I suggest rebuilding some islands.

Beach Report, 2/26/19

We had a blowout tide this morning, and we managed to walk up most of the way to Western Shore. Georgia was the heroine of the day, with this nicely hooked "Mako" (probably a White Shark). It easily made the top shelf of the kitchen window sill. All I got was a bunch of little teeth.
She also got most of the Ecphoras you see here. A couple of these are among our best ever, with the tip and lips nearly intact. As of 1994, these are Maryland's official State Fossil.

Rassling with Russiagate

As we anticipate the potential release (or possible leak) of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on alleged collusion between Russia and President Trump’s 2016 campaign, it’s important to remember that Mueller is not a detached third party and his report will not represent a dispassionate review of the facts.

Rather, the report will be the product of a team that started coming together long before Trump took office. Not only did many of them know each other beforehand, many shared a common goal: to stop Trump any way they could. It would be unjust to allow the report into the public domain without giving its target, the president, the opportunity to defend himself.
Via MSNBC, The NYT sings the praises of one of Mueller's chief hit men, It’s Mueller’s Investigation. But Right Behind Him Is Andrew Goldstein. But as noted above, much of Mueller's team was assembling itself from the moment it became possible that Trump might be elected. They chose Mueller as their titular head.
“Investigating and prosecuting public corruption offenses can only go so far,” Mr. Goldstein said in a rare speech around the time he joined the special counsel’s team in 2017. “We can only police the outer bounds of misconduct: the really bad stuff, or at least the stuff that we can prove.”
Admitting that the investigation is in search of a crime, and not the result of a crime? From the AP, Rosenstein: Government transparency isn’t always appropriate. Pretty much the same rationale as he gave in his memo recommending Comey's firing.
“There’s a knee-jerk reaction to suggest that we should be transparent about what we do in government,” Rosenstein said. “But there are a lot of reasons not to be transparent about what we do in government.”

He added: “There may be legitimate reasons for making exceptions, but as a general principle, in my view, the Department of Justice is best served when people are confident that ... when we’re investigating American citizens in particular, we’re going to do it with appropriate sensitivity to the rights of uncharged people.”
. . .
“The guidance I always gave my prosecutors and the agents I worked with during my tenure on the front lines of law enforcement were if we aren’t prepared to prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt in court, then we have no business making allegations against American citizens,” Rosenstein said.
Meanwhile Reuters wonders What happens if Mueller finds Trump fingerprints in Russia conspiracy? President Pence! Da Wire, Mueller's Final Manafort Filings Are Scant On Russia Details, Never Mention 'Trump' Or 'Collusion'. Shhh, he's just saving the good stuff 'til last. Of course, if he had evidence we had a Russian agent as President he'd have to come forward immediately.
But what the government sentencing document — and Manafort's apparent list of transgressions — doesn't include is evidence of actual collusion with Russia during the course of the Trump for President campaign, the actual focus of Mueller's investigation. Instead, the filing simply says that Manafort committed some of his crimes while under the "spotlight" of the campaign.
Scott Johnson of Power Line on Lessons from Mueller's Memo
Despite Manafort’s multifarious criminal activity, he could still be at large if only he had avoided the Trump campaign. The spotlight can be a killer. I see an unedifying lesson here, though it is not the one the Special Counsel wants to teach Manafort.
From Da Hill, Schiff is still blustering, Schiff warns against withholding Mueller report: 'We are going to get to the bottom of this', while from the WaEx, Trey Gowdy slams Adam Schiff for seeing ‘things that nobody else can see’ about collusion. Cue videos from Sundance at CTH: Trey Gowdy Discusses Adam Schiff and The Vast Russian Conspiracy…

PJ Media Live Blog:
“We are going to get to the bottom of this,” Schiff said Sunday. “We are going to share this information with the public. And if the president is serious about all of his claims of exoneration, then he should welcome the publication of this report.”

Right, because this was never really about finding out if Trump and the RUSSIANS conspired to win the election; it was about obstructing Trump and stopping him from doing the things that people voted for.
Western FreeP, McCabe: Trump Was Thinking About Russia When He Fired Comey. Probably, in part, but Comey certainly deserved firing for a number of reasons. One good reason should be sufficient. At the WSJ, David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey want us to Investigate McCabe’s 25th Amendment Tale. Yes, by all means. News Busters notices that McCabe Only Gets One Hardball: 'Very Asymmetrical' Attention on Hillary's Emails on his book tour. Another good review article to remind you of how we got here from Margot Cleveland at Da Federalist, The 25th Amendment Talk Isn’t The Real Scandal. The Spygate Coup Attempt Is. Talk is cheap; hiring spies to infiltrate a campaign is a real abuse of government.  From the AP, Trump Org slams probe; Trump Jr. calls feds ‘Stalinist’ It's hard to disagree with him; like Beria said, show me the man, and I'll show you the crime.  Clarice Feldman at the American Thinker, High Ties and Misdemeanors

Nothing offends people more than unequal justice -- disparate treatment of protected persons and classes. This week, the FBI and Department of Justice’s hash of equal justice became even clearer and the media’s fat thumb on the scales as well.

If you read nothing else this week, read this essay by Lord Conrad Black in the New York Sun, who links the Special Counsel fiasco and the Jussie Smollett hoax and concludes that we just avoided the “biggest constitutional crisis since the Civil War”...
Avoided or merely delayed? From the, John Brennan: Romance novelist

Ben Stein at Am Spec: What’s Happened to the FBI We Once Knew?. Clearly the view from Hollywood. Ever since the day of J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI has been as well known for it's political skullduggery as it's prowess at catching bad guys. They have an awful lot of power, and power tempts and corrupts.

Convicted perjurer promises to tell the truth this time: Cohen to Testify That Trump Engaged in Criminal Conduct While in Office "President’s ex-lawyer will tell House committee he witnessed Trump’s ‘lies, racism and cheating,’ role in hush payments, says a person familiar with his plans." At Da Hill, Curtain rises on 3 days of Cohen drama

A Cold Splash for Tuesday

A bit of elaboration on a story I saw on InstapunditYoung Russian ice swimmers take frigid plunges seeking health benefits and a rush
Instagram user Victoria Tsuranova shares photos and videos of herself diving into frigid water through a hole cut in the ice. She swims a few strokes, emerges and flashes a smile at the photographer capturing the moment for her 103,000 followers.

Tsuranova, a fitness blogger, is one of a new generation of Russian “Walruses,” hardy swimmers who plunge into frozen rivers and lakes throughout the winter.
To be fair to the Russians, we have this kind of weirdness here in the US too, even in the Chesapeake Bay.
These brave swimmers swear it wards off not just colds but also cellulite, as well as giving them a rush of euphoria, AFP News reports.

“After the swimming, my skin is softer than baby's skin, I can’t even describe it,” Tsuranova said in an email to AccuWeather. “And the main purpose are emotions! I feel rush, adrenaline and hormones of happiness (haven't got time to search the word in English)!” she added.

Tsuranova also said that she doesn’t remember the last time that she was sick.
No cellulite here!

A much better video here, but I con't know how to embed it. A one time stewardess from Aeroflot, Victoria also posts pictures from fairer climes.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Monday: Michelle Malkin ready and waiting for your digital pleasure.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Global Warming is for Crabs

Climate change might actually help blue crabs thrive in Chesapeake Bay, scientists say. Well, scientists say a lot of things, some of them even true. I'm not surprised though.
Scientists expect that in coming years there will be winners and losers as species adapt — or not — to a rapidly changing climate.

In a warmer Chesapeake Bay, for instance, oysters, mussels and clams could struggle as a hike in acidity from carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere causes their shells to grow more brittle.

But there’s one keystone species that might actually thrive in the projected new environment: blue crabs.

Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point and at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL) in Maryland are finding that blue crabs not only could grow bigger in a warmer bay, they could become active year-round, rather than burrow into the bottom sediment to overwinter.

They’re also discovering that, unlike with bivalves, greater acidity doesn’t seem to weaken crab shells.  The findings caught some researchers off-guard.
But I thought the science was settled! Global warming bad for everything!

“I was surprised,” said Thomas Miller, director of the CBL at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. “I think it’s one of those cases where, after the fact, you can sort of rationalize the results, but they certainly weren’t the results that you were expecting.”

At VIMS, biological scientist Rochelle Seitz said she wasn’t surprised by Miller’s results, “but we did think there would be some negative effects. And there still may be some negative effects of the acidity on things like behavioral responses of blue crabs.”

The CBL research, conducted over several years by then-doctoral candidate Hillary Lane Glandon, focused on the effects of increasing water temperatures and acidity.

At VIMS, graduate student Katherine Longmire is looking at the effects of increased acidity and lower salinity on blue crabs and hard clams. VIMS is affiliated with the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.
Scientists just hate it when they set up their global warming/ climate change experiments expecting negative results and get positive results instead.

Both laboratories placed a large number of crabs in individual tanks and exposed them to various conditions projected for the bay in coming decades because of climate change.

It’s long understood that the crab is responsive to temperature changes — that’s why it digs in for the winter when the bay turns cold.

Most winters, that is: Experienced bay watermen know that blue crabs don’t always bed down during a particularly mild winter, said Miller, but often can be spotted lumbering along the bottom.

And as you head farther south, crabs might not bed down at all, but keep on molting and growing all year, every year.
I've heard, though, that Maryland crabs taste better than Blue Crabs from further south because they store extra fat to help them overwinter. I won't swear it's true, but Maryland crabs are pretty good.

“It’s a gradient,” said Miller. “And I expect you’ll find the same thing with us — that, as the bay warms, you’ll find an increasing number of years in which crabs do not overwinter.”

It’s their ability to molt that likely protects crabs from the corrosive effects of acidity.

Bivalves build hard shells using the compound calcium carbonate, which is weakened by acidic waters.

A blue crab also builds its hard carapace of calcium carbonate, but it’s a much more complex structure that incorporates “islands” of magnesium, enabling it to be more soluble and metabolically active for molting.

“A crab maintains a lot of energetic physiological control over the shell itself, and so it’s resistant to the acidification,” said Miller.
There has been a great over exaggeration of the effects of mild acidification on the ability of organisms to produce shells. Production of CaCO3 by animals is a physiological process, using energy, with very little to do with the pH of the ambient medium. Organisms manipulate use energy to the Ca and CO3 concentrations around the area where shell is to be formed, away from the effect of the external conditions, and the shell produced is also often shielded from corrosive environments by organic coatings. Plenty of bivalves and crustaceans that live in waters considerably more corrosive than the Chesapeake Bay (which is for the most part still non-corrosive to CaCO3) still produce shell.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Monday: Michelle Malkin ready and waiting for your digital pleasure.

What Was Lost is Found

Giant Tortoise Feared Extinct Reappears After 113 Years
The Fernandina giant tortoise, which has not been seen alive since 1906, has been spotted on its namesake island in the Galápagos, says the government of Ecuador.

The tortoise herself may be over 100 years old, according to a statement released Wednesday by Ecuador’s ministry of the environment.

The Fernandina tortoise, native to the Galápagos Islands, is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and some feared it might be extinct.

The tortoise was found by park ranger Jeffeys Malaga and tortoise preservation expert Washington Tapia, members of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI). The collaborative project between Galápagos National Park and the Galápagos Conservancy, an American nonprofit, aims to breed tortoises in captivity and reintroduce them to islands where the animals have become endangered or entirely absent.
It's amazing to me that an animal that big and slow can stay missing on a small island for 113 years.

I'm certainly happy about the finding, and would much rather lose the Bramble Cay mouse melomys than one of the Galápagos tortoises.

In another return from extinction story,
. . . another “giant” species long feared extinct also showed up this year—Wallace’s giant bee ( Megachile pluto).

Last seen in 1981 by entomologist Adam Messer, this Indonesian insect is the world’s largest known bee species. The wingspan of the female can reach 2.5 inches, though the male is only half as big.

Which is OK, as long as they stay in Madagascar.

Russiagate's Dulcet Tones

From Stacy McCain: UNLEASH ‘THE TONE’!
In 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center raised $132 million, David Montgomery of the Washington Post noted last November:
That’s a 164 percent increase over the $50 million it took in a year before. The SPLC’s endowment is up to $433 million. SPLC leaders explain the jump as a reaction to the tone unleashed by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and continued by the Trump administration.
So the unleashing of the tone explains why so many idiots gave so much money to the smear-merchants at the SPLC. As I remarked this week (“Fear and Loathing: Journalism in the Age of Trump Derangement Syndrome”), the problem is that the “Trump-is-Hitler-and-Republicans-are-latter-day-Nazis analogy just doesn’t function as a meaningful mechanism to understand the daily news,” but the media won’t let it go.

The depiction of Republicans as Nazis — a deliberate smear aimed at all 62.9 million Americans who voted for Trump — goes hand-in-hand with the “Russian collusion” narrative that Michael Tracey and Scott Adams discuss in the context of fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe’s book tour (hat-tip: Instapundit). There’s a sort of feedback loop in operation, an echo chamber of fear, where the voice of sanity is drowned out by shrieking paranoia. Pardon me for once again citing my own work (“McCabe’s Weird Anti-Russia Paranoia Reveals ‘Deep State’ Cult Mentality,” Feb. 14), but the obsession with Russia runs hand-in-hand with the belief that “the tone unleashed” has driven a surge of hate in America which, in turn, generates incidents like the Jussie Smollett hoax.
What’s going here? Why have so many people gone batshit crazy? . . .
Read on, McDuff. The New Yorkers Jeffrey Toobin in the throes of acute TDS, Andrew McCabe’s Countdown to the Mueller Report. We Hates Him! Althouse, on Toobin in "In 'Seven Days in May,' a popular novel from the early nineteen-sixties that became a movie, a cabal of military officers conspire to overthrow the President of the United States..." "I don't think Toobin meant to imply that "The Threat" is a work of fiction — and a cheesy one at that — a mere "popular novel," in the genre of "Cold War fantasies." But that's how it worked out. Also from Ann "I'm just trying to understand why David Crosby liked it." The drugs explain a lot.

Another appearance of the Mysterious Mr. Mifsud! Death Of Russiagate: Mueller Team Tied To Mifsud’s Network. Old news, but a tie in through Bruce Ohr's testimony. If someone succeeds in showing for sure that the FBI/CIA set Papadop up, they need to serve his sentence, and much more.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, Mueller’s Final Word On Manafort: No Open Mention Of Trump, Russia, Or Collusion
If the media and Democrats hoped to get a sense where Robert Mueller might be heading from the final required filing in the Paul Manafort case, they came up empty. Mueller ripped the man who briefly served as Donald Trump’s campaign manager as a “bold” career criminal and liar, but never mentions anything in the sentencing recommendation about the core special-counsel mission. In fact, the words “Trump,” “Russia,” “collusion,” and “intelligence” never once appear in the document — at least in the unredacted portion of it.

Politico’s Josh Gerstein noticed it too, although it’s not going to make Manafort any more comfortable. Mueller wants Judge Amy Berman Jackson to give him a sentence of as much as 22 years:
Adam Davidson at the New Yorker, Robert Mueller’s Nothing-Burger Sentencing Memo on Paul Manafort
This memo, Mueller’s longest, can be seen by avid followers of his investigation as not only an exquisitely built nothing burger but a commentary on our age and our expectations—at least as it relates to the question of collusion during the 2016 election. Andy Kaufman could have hardly done so good a job at tweaking our deepest hunger.

The sentencing memo does contain remarkably harsh language about Manafort, describing him as a “bold” criminal who continued his crimes even after pleading guilty and likely becoming one of the most actively surveilled human beings in history. To detail Manafort’s wrongdoing, Mueller went back in time. The vast bulk of the memo and the appendices is a dissection—sometimes day by day—of precisely how Manafort worked on behalf of Viktor Yanukovych, the former Prime Minister and President of Ukraine, between 2005 and 2014. It is a remarkable set of facts that provides a roadmap of how foreign governments seek to influence U.S. politicians. But what it isn’t is relevant to the central question of the investigation into the Trump campaign, nor is it news. We have long known that Manafort did most of these things, even if we didn’t know exactly what e-mails he was writing on a particular Wednesday in March, 2011.
I think DOJ/Rod Rosenstein has had a boner for Manafort as the big fish that got away, resented his being in with Trump, and saw the Special Counsel unlimited budget cover for a redo.

NYT  on Konstantin V. Kilimnik, Russian Spy or Hustling Political Operative? The Enigmatic Figure at the Heart of Mueller’s Inquiry. Still desperately trying to sell the Russia narrative. And speaking of which, Schiff: 'We will bring Bob Mueller in to testify' if report not made public (Politico). Yeah, OK. If you haven't noticed, DOJ officials have no problems saying no to Congress. It turns out that DOJ has to decide to act on Congress' claims of lies, or contempt. And they never do, at least for a fellow club member.

Well, You Asked For Equality

With women in combat roles, a federal court rules the male-only draft unconstitutional
A federal judge in Texas has declared that the all-male military draft is unconstitutional, ruling that "the time has passed" for a debate on whether women belong in the military.

The decision deals the biggest legal blow to the Selective Service System since the Supreme Court upheld the draft in 1981. In Rostker v. Goldberg, the court ruled that the male-only draft was "fully justified" because women were ineligible for combat roles.

Texas? That sounds like more of a ruling for the 9th Circus.
But U.S. District Judge Gray Miller ruled late Friday that while historical restrictions on women serving in combat "may have justified past discrimination," men and women are now equally able to fight. In 2015, the Pentagon lifted all restrictions for women in military service.

The case was brought by the National Coalition For Men, a men's rights group, and two men who argued the all-male draft was unfair.
 Good for them!

Men who fail to register with the Selective Service System at their 18th birthday can be denied public benefits such as federal employment and student loans. Women cannot register for Selective Service.

The ruling comes as an 11-member commission is studying the future of the draft, including whether women should be included or whether there should continue to be draft registration at all.
We might as well go whole hog, and deny anyone failing to register from any federal welfare benefits.

The National Commission on Military, National and Public Service released an interim report last month giving no hints on where it would come down on those questions. But, commission chairman Joe Heck told USA TODAY, "I don’t think we will remain with the status quo."

The government had argued that the court should delay its ruling until that commission makes its recommendations. But Miller said Congress has been debating the issue since 1980, and the commission's final report won't come until next year. And because the commission is advisory, there's no guarantee Congress will act, he said.

I eagerly await seeing how Justices Ginsberg, Sotomayor and Kagan vote on this one.
Miller said Congress has never fully examined whether men are physically better able to serve than women. In fact, he noted in a footnote, "the average woman could conceivably be better suited physically for some of today's combat positions than the average man, depending on which skills the position required. Combat roles no longer uniformly require sheer size or muscle."
But one of the ideas of military training is to have every soldier be able to pick where another left off, if necessary. All cogs, however imperfect, in a giant machine.
Quoting the Supreme Court's ruling overturning bans on same-sex marriage, Miller ruled that restrictions based on gender "must substantially serve an important governmental interest today."

The judge denied the government's request for a stay of the ruling. Justice Department officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There's simply no doubt that  women can be important members of the military. Other than infantry, where dragging a 60 lb pack on long hikes across rough terrain, and being able to carry or drag  wounded comrades to safety, women can do most of the jobs in the military just fine. Even dainty fingers can pull a trigger. In fact, in combat, the US Army has about 2.5 people providing support for every 1 person on the ground in the field fighting. Women are more than capable of virtually all of the support work. They may even be better suited for it than most men. I trust the US Army, for the most part, to judge what roles people are suited for.

Ann Althouse has some objections.
This goes against the Supreme Court case Rostker v. Goldberg, which I taught many times in Conlaw class. I've often thought about the specific, important physical difference between men and women — that only women can bear children. In an existential military predicament, we might care very much about maintaining the population. Quite aside from that, I think it would be hard to institute a draft if it meant forcing women into military service. But it would be hard to institute a draft and to give all women and no men the right to say yes or no about what happens to their bodies.
But not all women choose to have babies these days, and many put it off long enough to squeeze in a stint in the Army starting a family. It's equally wrenching for a man to be dragged off for several years, losing time in education and career.

It's hard to imagine a war where the number of babies you're having currently is an issue, since it takes a few years for them to grow up to fighting age. But, if we really need women to bear babies, we can always draft 'em. Is it more inconvenient to be drafted to have babies, or to potentially die?

The Wombat has Rule 5 Monday: Michelle Malkin ready and waiting for your digital pleasure.