Friday, April 28, 2017

Beach Report April 28, 2017

 A nearly summer like day down at the beach; mid 70s, a touch of humidity (but not obnoxious), sunny, and a light south wind, that didn't even ripple the water.
 As a week day it was nearly, but not quite deserted. Sky got to say hello to this aging lab (a spry 13).
Skye also photo-bombed this picture of the my best tooth of the day, a "Mako" a little over an inch long. The camera preferred to focus on Skye for both takes. I tried to sharpen it acceptably, but you can only do so much with the pixels.
Bikini weather!

Reason #5531 and #5532 That Trump Was Elected

Clinton Corruption: While at State, Hillary Clinton Aides Threatened Bangleshi Prime Minister's Son With IRS Audit to Stop Investigation of Donor to Clinton Foundation
Exclusive, and I'm sure the MSM will not be following up the Daily Caller's explosive report.
A Bangladesh government commission was investigating multiple charges of financial mismanagement at Grameen Bank, beginning in May 2012. Muhammad Yunus, a major Clinton Foundation donor, served as managing director of the bank.
Sajeeb Wazed Joy, son of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and permanent U.S. resident, recalled the account of the threatened IRS audit to TheDCNF. The allegations mark the first known instance in the U.S. that Clinton's Department of State used IRS power to intimidate a close relative of a friendly nation's head of state on behalf of a Clinton Foundation donor.
Can we impeach a losing presidential candidate for High Crimes and Misdemeanors?

Appoint a special prosecutor. That's what Adam Schiff always wants for this sort of thing, right? Let's have an independent commission explore these allegations while a special prosecutor investigates possible criminal charges.
And this explosive news.  Judicial Watch: FBI got subpoenas from grand jury targeting Hillary Clinton
Judicial Watch reported last night that new documents provided in response to a FOIA lawsuit shows that the FBI got subpoenas from a grand jury to seize records of the former Secretary of State’s communications. It didn’t turn up much, but the existence of the grand jury is a new development:

Judicial Watch today released new State Department documents including a declaration from FBI Special Agent E.W. Priestap, the supervisor of the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email activities, stating that the former secretary of state was the subject of a grand jury investigation related to her BlackBerry email accounts.
The declaration was produced in response to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit seeking to force Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to take steps to “recover emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton” and other U.S. Department of State employees (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Rex Tillerson (No. 1:15-cv-00785)). The lawsuit was originally filed against then-Secretary of State John Kerry. The Trump State Department filing includes details of the agency’s continuing refusal to refer the Clinton email issue to the Justice Department, as the law requires.
According to this new information, however, the DoJ did take some action. The FBI got subpoenas from a grand jury to get records from Hillary’s Blackberry accounts at some time in 2016, which JW’s release claims was specifically investigating Hillary. However, those subpoenas turned up nothing new:
In the filing Priestap declares under penalty of perjury that the FBI “obtained Grand Jury subpoenas related to the Blackberry e-mail accounts, which produced no responsive materials, as the requested data was outside the retention time utilized by those providers.”
In other words, the delay strategy was successful.
As recently as last November, critics of the DoJ’s actions regarding the Clinton administration cited a refusal to empanel a grand jury as one of the-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s major failings (although hardly the only one). If Judicial Watch accurately reports the data in these documents (not included in the press release), then it appears that either the DoJ did take its case to a grand jury, or that they had another reason to have a grand jury look into Hillary’s activities.
Expect this to be covered nonstop by MSNBC et al. Not.

Experience . . .

Fish Pic Friday - Mahi-Mahi

Darcizzle with a pretty one
This week's fish goes by a lot of names, but at least Mahi-Mahi is generally understood.
The mahi-mahi (/ˈmɑːhiːˈmɑːhiː/) or common dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Also widely called dorado and dolphin, it is one of two members of the Coryphaenidae family, the other being the pompano dolphinfish. Mahi means very strong in Hawaiian.
Luiza with a big bull
A remarkably beautiful fish whose colors fade rapidly after it's been caught.
The name mahimahi means very strong in Hawaiian. In other languages, the fish is known as dorade coryphène, dorado, dolphin, lampuga, llampuga, lampuka, lampuki, rakingo, calitos, ti-rone or maverikos.

The common English name of dolphin causes much confusion. Additionally, two species of dolphinfish exist, the common dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) and the pompano dolphinfish (Coryphaena equiselis). Both these species are commonly marketed by their Pacific name, mahi-mahi. Being fish, they are not related to dolphins. See Coryphaena for the possible etymologies of "dolphinfish".
Brooke took this one out of the cooler

The fish is called mahi-mahi in the Hawaiian language, and "mahi mahi" is commonly used elsewhere.

In the Pacific and along the English speaking coast of South Africa they are also commonly called by the Spanish name, Dorado. In the Mediterranean island of Malta, this fish is referred to as the lampuka.

Linnaeus named the genus, derived from the Greek word, κορυφή, koryphe, meaning top or apex, in 1758. Synonyms for the species include Coryphaena argyrurus, Coryphaena chrysurus and Coryphaena dolfyn.
Nope, I've never caught one.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Good Sign: Bay Grasses Up Again

Underwater grasses up 8%; acreage is highest in decades
Underwater grasses, one of the most closely watched indicators of Chesapeake Bay health, surged to the highest levels seen in decades, according to survey results for 2016.

This is the second straight year that grasses have set a record.

Nearly 100,000 acres of the Bay’s and its tidal tributaries were covered by the underwater meadows, which provide habitat for juvenile fish and blue crabs, as well as food for waterfowl.

That was an 8 percent increase over 2015, and more than twice what was in the Bay just four years ago. “It was an impressive year following a previously impressive year and we are at numbers that we’ve not seen — ever,” said Bob Orth, an underwater grass expert with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science who oversees the annual aerial survey, which began 33 years ago.
 I would hate to be overly optimistic, but my feeling that the bay has turned a corner (for the better) is being reinforced. I'll be fishing on the Eastern Shore Saturday, and maybe we'll see some.

Zombie Obamacare Schadenfreude

Like a zombie, it rises from the grave, and keeps killing: Judge Rejects North Carolina Blue's $130M ACA Program Claim 
A federal judge dealt a major blow to a health insurer's attempt to recoup millions of dollars it says it is owed under an Affordable Care Act program designed to incentivize insurer participation in the ACA public exchange program.

Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit brought last June by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. The company had accused the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of failing to make good on its obligation to pay nearly $130 million under the ACA risk corridors program.

The opinion further widens the divide among Claims Court rulings addressing the issue of the federal government's nonpayment of risk corridor funds.
You fucked up, you trusted them. In an effort to keep people confused, the Trump administration succeeds:  White House commits to ObamaCare subsidies … for now; Update: Or not?

Is this Ivanka's fault or just left over Obama appointees in Justice? Trump administration to defend contraception mandate required under Affordable Care Act Contraception is a good idea, but mandates are not. Obamacare tax delay unlikely in government funding bill. Time to stop polishing this turd.  As if we didn't already have reasons to distrust the UN, they think repealing Obamacare could violate international law, but even Dana Milbank is dubious:
Though of questionable legal value, the U.N. letter is at least a bit of moral support for those defending Obamacare. Those attempting to deny health care to tens of millions of Americans would hurt their own constituents in a way that falls short of the standards we hold for ourselves and other countries.
But enough about the old failing Obamacare, what about the Republican attempt to repeal and replace?  White House Still Pressing to Hold Obamacare Vote This Week, but more likely in early May. Trump: 'Doesn't matter' if healthcare vote is next week I agree. Who cares about 10 square days?  But do it soon. Obamacare Cost-Sharing Subsidies Will Not Be Part of the Deal Republicans Make to Keep Democrats From Shutting the Government Down, Ryan Claims:
John Sexton explains what cost-sharing subsidies are: Direct payments to insurance companies
Cost-sharing reduction payments are separate from the subsidies used to lower the cost of insurance premiums for people buying Obamacare plans on the exchanges (those who make under 400% of the federal poverty line). CSRs are additional payments made directly to insurers to lower out-of-pocket costs including copayments and annual deductibles. However, the way the law is written means that insurers must discount those items for people at the low end of the income scale whether or not they are receiving the money to cover it from the federal government. So if the CSRs are cut off, as Democrats worry the Trump administration made decide to do, insurers will be losing, even more on the exchanges than they already are.
Insurers are mandated to offer discounts to the poor, Sexton reports, so the cost-sharing subsidies are really just a gimmicky rigged game to try to disguise the fact that yes, you are subsidizing other people for their insurance. The government taxes you, the government orders insurers to lower costs for the poor, the government taxes you more and gives some money to the insurers.

Without the subsidies, the insurance companies will lose money even faster.
Evidence you can't fool all of the people all of the time, Poll: 50 Percent Have Little to No Confidence in GOP Health-Care Push. Experience suggests this is wise. But this time they'll get it right, right? House, White House considering Friday health care vote. Hey, that's tomorrow! So what's different this time? They got the Freedom Caucus on board: Changes to GOP ObamaCare repeal flips some conservatives, but of course, that means they could lose so-called moderates: Trump’s Health Care Bill Won Over The Freedom Caucus — But Risks Losing Everyone ElseThe Hill's Whip List: 19 GOP no votes on new ObamaCare bill. New House Health Repeal Bill Is Already Losing The SenateCentrist Republicans face growing pressure on Obamacare repealTo rephrase the immortal words of Will Rogers. "I belong to no organized political party; I'm a Republican". House leadership now open to changes to the AHCA after learning new info about EHBs/the reconciliation process, per leadership aide. Rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules!

Reason #5530 That Trump Was Elected

The celebrity media complex. Let's go to Ace: Media Now Whining That Trump Is Holding Rally on Night of "#NerdProm," Thus Keeping Some Reporters From Attending
White House correspondents would have to cover a White House-related event.

They had wanted to spend #NerdPromNight sipping other people's champagne and eating other people's caviar.

Now the Bad Man is making them work.

And make them miss all the side boob! The horror!

Progress in Human History

I think I saw her in Walmart last week
A few interesting items in the older history of the human race. First, this news that the Indonesian Hobbit, Homo floresiensis, was probably a more distant relative of humans than we might have thought: Origins of 'hobbit' species discovered
Scientists have discovered the origins of a short, ancient species of human nicknamed 'hobbits' due to their small stature, putting to rest several other theories that had been hotly debated ever since its discovery.

Homo floresiensis stood at an average height of three feet and six inches. Fossils from the species were found on the island of Flores in Indonesia in 2003.

One popular theory about its origins was that the species evolved to a smaller size from the taller Homo erectus, which has been found on nearby Java in Indonesia.

Another theory was that it wasn't a new species at all but an early human ancestor with some kind of genetic disorder — possibly Down Syndrome.

But new research by Dr. Debbie Argue from the Australian National University in Canberra, and published in the Journal of Human Evolution, has determined that Homo floresiensis is its own distinct species with roots dating back 1.75 million years.

Argue and her team studied 133 different characteristics of the Homo floresiensis skull, jaw, teeth, shoulders, legs and arms, and compared them to all other known hominid species.
I'd feel better about it if this were DNA evidence, but that's a lot to ask at this point. Even if they got good DNA from an H. floresiensis tooth or bone (and I'm sure they're trying), where would they get H. habilis DNA to compare it to? It's remarkable enough that they have good DNA from the Neandertals and Denisovans, much more recent.

They found that it's a long-surviving cousin of Homo habilis, an early human ancestor with roots in Africa. None of their tests yielded evidence to support the theory that Homo floresiensis evolved from Homo erectus.

"These two species are most likely to have shared a unique common ancestor that was not shared with any other species in our analysis," she said. "But [Homo floresiensis] lived half a world away, and is separated in time by maybe two million years."

Argue says one of the most interesting things about the species is that it lived until about 54,000 years ago — which is very recent, evolutionarily speaking.
Apparently, the little guys and gals were pretty successful in their own little world, and hung around a long time on the Indonesian  archipelagos. I suspect that when they really start looking around they'll find more relatives. They clearly overlapped with a number of other primitive humans, Homo erectus, Denisovans, and Neandertals and modern Homo sapiens to name a few.

Moving forward a few tens of thousands of years, Ancient humans may have reached Americas 100,000 years earlier than thought
In a provocative and controversial claim, scientists say a scattering of bones and stones suggests ancestral humans reached the New World more than 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Most genetic and archaeological evidence shows humans first entered the Americas some 15,000 years ago. But a study nearly 25 years in the making in this week’s Nature finds that the 130,000-year-old bones of a mastodon, an extinct relative of the mammoth, unearthed in California were split open with blows from rocks. Rocks discovered near the bones bear the hallmarks of use as hammers, the scientists report.

The smashed bones may have been the handiwork of a Neanderthal, the scientists say, or the more ancient human relative called Homo erectus, or even our own species, Homo sapiens.

“We are making a claim that’s kind of out there,” acknowledges study co-author Daniel Fisher of the University of Michigan. “We have had to toil over years to make sure we have considered every angle.”
Again, if true, this really revolutionizes our ideas of how the Americas were colonized. Did Neandertals or even Homo erectus get there across Beringia during a previous glaciation? Did they muck around on the continent long enough to bump into (and interbreed) with the proto-Amerindians? Cool if it happened. I'd be much happier with this if there were actual hominid bones to go with it, but I wouldn't expect them to bury their dead with their dinner.

Finally, moving to (almost) civilized man, some scientists are claiming that one of the earliest stone monuments of man, via Dieneke's Blog:  Younger Dryas comet impact encoded in Göbekli Tepe?
We have interpreted much of the symbolism of Göbekli Tepe in terms of astronomical events. By matching low-relief carvings on some of the pillars at Göbekli Tepe to star asterisms we find compelling evidence that the famous ‘Vulture Stone’ is a date stamp for 10950 BC ± 250 yrs, which corresponds closely to the proposed Younger Dryas event, estimated at 10890 BC. We also find evidence that a key function of Göbekli Tepe was to observe meteor showers and record cometary encounters. Indeed, the people of Göbekli Tepe appear to have had a special interest in the Taurid meteor stream, the same meteor stream that is proposed as responsible for the Younger-Dryas event. Is Göbekli Tepe the ‘smoking gun’ for the Younger-Dryas cometary encounter, and hence for coherent catastrophism? Link (pdf)
I looked at the link, and you have to give them bonus points for creativity. Their interpretations of ancient star maps carved in stone are interesting, but not convincing. But they get double bonus by combining it with the Younger Dryas cooling event.