Well…part of that was self-imposed quarantine but whatever.
Connie…I could borrow my brother’s term SWMBO for her but since she’s already the DLETC mebbe not…anyways she wanted me to tell you ‘bout the most excellent dinner variation Neil invented. We had grilled a steak a coupla nights back… it was a bit over a pound NY strip so naturally we had some leftovers which were destined for dinner tonight. While Neil was out on a bike ride Connie googled “what to do with leftover steak”…and after the bike ride they walked a mile or so up to the center road and back to get her some exercise.
One of our go to’s for leftover steak is hash…cubed up onions and taters fried up all crispy and golden brown with a couple fried eggs on top to make some sauce of a sort.
On the way…she asked what we were doing with the leftover steak for dinner and Neil said it was still under dynamic observation…although he did not tell her that he was envisioning some sort of beef/potato hash with a sauce of some sort instead of our usual fried eggs. She offered up her two googled alternatives…the first was hash with fried eggs which would be one of our go to recipes for leftover beef…but her second was a beef Marsala sort of thing.
After a bit o’ thought…he decided we would combine those two ideas and came up with what we actually had. Here’s how to do it…although there’s nothing magic about any of these proportions, basically it’s whatever you got hanging around…and we don’t have any Marsala wine but it’s a sweetish red like a port so he figured he would whip up some rough equivalent.
Taters and beef got cubed and fried up crispy per usual…then set aside while he went in a whole ‘nother direction. Some sliced mushrooms, diced onion and green pepper and once that was pretty much cooked he tossed in some corn starch so it would get thick when it boiled and added his combo of Cabernet Sauvignon, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Once it was hot and thick he reduced it a bit and then poured it over the potato/meat mixture in our serving bowls.
We sat out on the lanai to eat…Neil finished up his rum cocktail and Connie had another glass of the Cabernet and it was really, really good. Both of them said it was about 100x better than our normal drive tater/beef/onion hash with a fried egg on top…but then as Neil always says…almost everything can be improved by sauce.
We had another few visitors to the pond during dinner…Neil got some nice photos of the Cormorant, a Tricolor Heron although it’s not (we think) the same individual we saw last time)…and we had a visit from a Bald Eagle that was in the middle of going from juvenile to adult plumage…he was not able to get a shot of it as it was being harassed by common grackles…it made two attempts to snag a fish from the pond but both were unsuccessful and happened so fast that he was not able to see it coming far enough ahead to train the camera around. Bummer.
We had dessert later…and while we thought it would be tasty…it turns out that leftover pineapple slice/onion dip/cheddar cheese salad when chopped into small chunks and poured over a combination of vanilla bean and caramel praline ice cream…well, it’s spectacular.
news…USA Today has analyzed a bill that was submitted in identical versions in both the House and the Senate. Determined not to let a good crisis go to waste…this bill is known as Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020 and according to the authors is designed to curb gun violence. The NRA and other gun rights groups have naturally come out against this stating that it is an attempt to ban guns…so USA Today took a good look at determined that the position of the gun rights organizations is true and correct…this bill would ban most guns. For instance…all, meaning every…firearms purchase would require the acquisition of a federal firearms owners license before purchase…this is what is currently required if you want to purchase a fully automatic weapon and it takes months of paperwork including a justification for why you need the weapon to get approved. Second…it makes it illegal to “import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a semiautomatic assault weapon.”…and then goes on to define an assault weapon with “the capability to accept a removable magazine” and possesses “either a pistol grip, forward grip, grenade launcher, barrel shroud, threaded barrel or a folding, telescoping or detachable stock.” Bolt action, lever action, or single shot firearms are exempt. So…under the definition in this bill…every semi-automatic handgun, you know, the ones that look like the military’s 45 caliber sidearm from most of the 1900s…well, they would be illegal. In fact…every handgun except a single shot one or a revolver would be outright banned under the law…and it is not clear from the article whether those that were purchased before the ban would be seized or grandfathered…but almost assuredly the former. And not to mention all those scary looking guns would be illegal.
Don’t these people read the constitution and the numerous Supreme Court decisions affirming that the 2nd amendment provides a guaranteed individual right to possess firearms? Not to mention the completely BS made up term “military style assault weapon”…which really means any “scary looking gun”. Actually…a “military style assault weapon” is already illegal to own unless you have a Federal Firearms License and a demonstrated requirement for why you need to own one…but then an actual “military style assault weapon” means a weapon capable of fully automatic fire…i.e., you hold down the trigger and it fire continuously. They aren’t actually used in that configuration as it just wastes ammo but they do have a 3 round burst with one trigger pull mode that is used frequently.
What the anti gun folks call a MSAW (I’ll abbreviate military style assault weapon since Ima gettin’ tired of typing all them words) is really just a semiautomatic weapon…i.e., it fires one round for each trigger pull. There are 100s of thousands of these in private hands already…the ones that don’t have those “scary looking gun” part are more commonly known as deer or varmint rifles. What the manufacturers do is meet the demands of their customers…they asked for lighter, more dirt/mud proof models with a folding stock, extra grips, and a bipod on the front to allow prone shooting. Since this is what the market wants…the makers produced it and also make them out of plastic instead of the traditional wood stock material for better mud/water resistance. However…the guts of what makes them work is exactly the same as the non scary looking deer rifles.
I understand that some people don’t like them having large capacity magazines…but under the 2nd amendment…well, that’s just tough cookies. As I’ve said before…I understand the arguments of the anti-gun crowd and I encourage them to follow their passion and attempt to rid the country of firearms. What I do not encourage is their continual attempts to end run the constitution to get their way. It is well established in the constitution that US citizens have a right to “keep and bear arms” and SCOTUS decisions have affirmed that it is an individual right. If the anti-gun crowd doesn’t like the 2nd amendment…why then the constitution has a method detailed therein for how to change the constitution…in fact the process has been successfully followed 27 times so far. However…the founding fathers deliberately made the process hard because the constitution should only be changed if a majority of the country demands it…and so far that just isn’t true or else the 2nd amendment would have been overturned…and given that Prohibition was originally enacted by amendment and then terminated by another amendment it is possible. However…as I said the rules are deliberately hard…and the anti gun crowd knows that they can’t follow them to get what they want…so we see an interminable succession of nibble around the edge erosion attempts on the right.
Nope…if you want to ban guns…do it the correct way. I wonder how the press would feel if before they could get a job at a newspaper and print whatever drivel they want they were required to get a Federal Press Article License…or how the Antifa crowd would feel if they needed to have a Federal Right to Riot and Cause Civic Mayhem license…I don’t think they would like that at all and would scream to the heavens about their “rights being violated”.
On to non political stupidity…we’ve previously talked in these pages about the aircraft CO that got fired for…according to the media…”attempting to assure the safety of his crew” by blasting out a 4 page memo demanding action during the corona crisis…and who is being canonized in the media for his brave actions.
Well…not so much as it seems. According to the
news today…he deliberately took several actions that were resulted in his relief for cause…in fact I’m amazed that the Rear Admiral in charge of that particular carrier battle group didn’t fire him on the spot when the news broke. According to this article as well as others amplifying the situation today…the carrier was already being given support for the virus cases on board and action to help relieve the situation was already underway. No matter though…this CO decided that things weren’t proceeding fast enough to suit him…so instead of submitting a formal request via his chain of command (a matter for which he would most assuredly not have been relieved)…he decided that his admiral in charge would not allow him to send such a request. That is factually incorrect…as the CO of the ship he is within his rights to make requests as he deems fit. They need to go via his chain of command…and even if his admiral did not approve of the actions the admiral is required to forward it up the chain…because the admiral is part of that chain and his superiors are also the CO’s superiors. As a retired submarine commander said today in an opinion piece…a classified SECRET Immediate precedence Personal For from the CO to his off ship superior with the very same recommendations and requests would have potentially increased the speed of his superior’s actions and would not have resulted in any action against the CO. Back in the day…Neil was involved in sending several Personal For messages on his submarines to superiors and received many more coming down the chain…this is the proper method for handling this.
However…since the CO decided the admiral would not support him…he sent out a blast email to 20odd fellow aviators (all carrier COs are aviators first and ship drivers second) demanding action…and as I said before either he sent it to the media or one of his buddies did and if the latter it may or may not have been at the request of the CO. The ship has many classified communications systems on board…and discussing the claimed loss of capacity by his ship to folks not in the chain and via unclassified communications is enough in and of itself to get him fired.
So what happened was the CO panicked and got the news media involved…and then rightly was relieved of command for his transgression.
No matter what you read on the news about his bravery, his willingness to sacrifice his career, or how right he is…it is simply not the case. The man was completely, 100% wrong…and while I understand his thoughts that we are not at war and the safety of the crew needs to be paramount…the honest truth is that the safety of the crew takes second place under Naval Regulations to the accomplishment of the ship’s mission. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the crew…it simply means that the mission is what the carrier is there for…and it is not the CO’s discretion to unilaterally decide that the mission is less important than grandstanding and getting the ship to shore and the crew isolated on shore to the extent that is possible. As of today…only 93 of the crew have tested positive and only a dozen or less have symptoms…so it looks like the problem isn’t as major as the CO decided it was.
Uncle Joe Biden…well, he says that the firing of the CO of the carrier “borders on criminal” and he “should be commended instead”…and this is a guy who thinks we should make him Commander in Chief? The man doesn’t understand the first thing about how the military is organized and the concept of chain of command.
And today the acting SecNav resigned because he told the truth to the crew and said the captain was stupid and naive…but unfortunately it was recorded and leaked to the media.
Some of the states who have shelter in place orders are allowing churches to remain open…and some are not. Here in FL, the bishop has closed Roman Catholic churches and we are celebrating Mass via the TV or internet and that’s what needs to happen. In fact…up in central FL a Protestant pastor continued to hold services in violation of county orders and was arrested. So…when our governor here in Florida issue his shelter in place orders…albeit after the college kids spent their money during Spring Break and infected who knows how many other folks…well he specifically allowed churches to remain open and conduct services…and mandated that no city or county could issue more stringent guidelines. Meanwhile up in NYC…Mayor de Blasio rightfully ordered churches closed as well and states that if they do not comply action will be taken up to and including closure of the building permanently…which naturally has the left up in arms because he is “violating the 1st amendment right to assembly”…Neil thinks that “hoisted on their own petard” is about right as the left is not up in arms about a leftie mayor. He doesn’t like much that the good mayor does…but he is right in line with him on this one.
We file our 2019 taxes today…yay! Getting a nice refund eventually…we file electronically and it usually only takes a week or two to show up in our account but it might be a bit longer as the IRS is probably understaffed at the moment, not to mention they’re trying to figure out how to send out the corona checks.
Ima still trying to figure out how or why…golf of all things…is an essential activity. I can see bike riding or running by yourself…but hopping in a golf cart with a buddy and being next to each other on the course doesn’t seem like adequate social distancing or essential to me.
Then there’s the mayor in San Francisco…who has issued stay at home directions for his city…and his order includes both of the following statements…”travel, including walking is banned”…and “walking your dog or for exercise is essential and not banned”.
I’m trying to figure out the difference between walking your dog walking and traveling walking too.
My buddy Greg White over at
Our RV Adventures has been blogging and researching about the corona thing…and he had some interesting results on death rates and models today. Turns out that even the folks who develop these models believe that they’re inaccurate until the event is over so that they can validate them…and the models are now showing that because most folks are being reasonable and distancing themselves the predicted death rates are far, far below the “up to 2 Million” you read about a. Week or 10 days ago. Sure…it’s still going to be in the high 5 figures probably…but from 2.2-2.7 million a week ago it was down to 100,000 to 240,000 yesterday and 41,000 to 81,000 today. Part of this is because the death rate is the number of deaths divided by the number of cases and with more testing the number of positives is getting bigger and that’s in the denominator of the fraction. Another problem…and this one goes back to the National Center for Health Statistics…which is telling doctors how to use the new ICD code U07.1 to fill out cause of death on death certificates. The guidance says that this code indicating the person died from the corona if it caused or is assumed to have caused death…and that no testing should be done to verify if the assumption is actually correct. So…under this guidance…if the person filling out the certificate assumes it was corona it will be reported as such…which means that you probably can’t really trust the numerator of the death rate fraction either. Doctor Birx was quoted yesterday at the daily briefing “Just to be clear, we won’t know how valid the models are until we move all the way through the epidemic,”
It’s obvious why they’re saying the word assume and not requiring a test to confirm…they’re trusting doctors judgement and not wasting testing time on dead patients…but this just seems like a way to make sure you’re not getting accurate data. Add in models that nobody fully trusts and it’s no wonder there is so much confusion…but naturally the media trumpets the highest numbers it can find in the ever present race for clicks and continues to misquote whoever they need to make it “all the President’s fault”. It is obvious that the federal government was not fully prepared but that is the fault of numerous administrations…and the President isn’t the most presidential acting one we’ve ever had…but come on…gimme a break…I know he’s a bit of a blowhard but all politics aside he’s doing the best he can and like the Queen over across the pond the job of the leader is to keep people’s morale up as well as fight the crisis.
On to a couple of city mayors…I’ll leave it to you to decide which one believes in practicing what they preaches and which one is the elitist that thinks the rules don’t apply.
In Illinois…the governor of issued a stay at home order which says that essential businesses can remain open but non essential are to close but that other than that citizens should stay at home except for essential movement like groceries, medical, walking your dog, and hiking/running/biking. At the time…Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago echoed and approved of the restrictions…which also state that law enforcement will monitor for violations and take appropriate action.
So…in Alton IL (a city of 25,000 or so 15 miles north of St. Louis)…Mayor Brant Walker went on TV and begged his citizens to realize that these are serious times and to stay home…and told his police force to enforce the restrictions. Accordingly…less than 48 hours later a unit drove by Hiram’s Tavern in downtown at 0100 in the morning after receiving several citizen complaints that it was remaining open in violation of the governor’s order…and noticed a parking lot full of cars. The officer went in and found a number of individuals having a party in violation of the governor’s restrictions. However…due to the identity of one of the individuals he contacted his chief for guidance…and the chief…due to the identity of one of the individuals…contacted the mayor. The mayor told the chief that nobody at the tavern should receive any special consideration…and hence all of them were arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal complaints for reckless conduct. Oh yeah…the name of the aforementioned “identity of one of the individuals”…Mrs. Brant Walker, the mayor’s wife. As the mayor said in his statement…”My wife is an adult capable of making her own decisions, and in this instance she exhibited a stunning lack of judgement. She now faces the same consequences for her ill-advised decision as the other individuals who chose to violate the ‘Stay At Home’ order during this incident.”
Meanwhile…in Chicago…Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who said in her statement about the incident “I take my personal hygiene very seriously”…well, she went out and got a trim and style at a salon on Saturday afternoon…but was unfortunately for her given away by the salon owner who tweeted about having given the mayor a trim. Mayor Lightfoot’s response as to why she violated both the governor’s and her own stay at home guidance? She’s “a public figure and needs to look good on TV. Deal with it.” She then tried to divert the interview into the significant health disparities of people of color.” She was apparently asked about a video that was posted to the city twitter feed as part of the Stay Home Save Lives campaign to encourage compliance where she said “Getting your roots done is not essential”…but had no further comment on that. Even the Democrats on the city council are coming out against her…”This is a bad example for our city, she has no obligation to look good on TV or to book national interviews, what she has an obligation to do is follow and promote social distancing to save lives.”
Mayor Lightfoot is the same mayor who has flip-flopped at least 3 times on whether Jussie Smollet is an innocent victim or the perpetrator of a hoax hate crime…and who thinks that Kim Foxx the Chicago DA is doing a bang up job despite her prosecutorial misconduct over the entire Smollet incident and aftermath.
Governor Pritzker of IL…he who issued the guidance with the varying mayoral interpretations…when asked for comment on Ms. Lightgoot’s trim said “I’ve not had a trim since the stay at home order went into effect…I’m going to turn into a hippie at some point”.
Wisconsin had their Democratic primary election (the Republicans in WS don’t have a primary) yesterday…which also serves as the election for some judges, school board members and other related state and local offices. The governor of the state was against postponing it until about a week ago but after demands by Mr. Sanders that it be postponed started 10 days or so ago he flip flopped and wanted it postponed. Unfortunately…under the WS election law only the legislature can change the timing or rules for an election.
At some point early last week…three things happened. First…the governor called a special legislative session to change the election date…the legislature meant and ended the session declining to make any changes. The primary reason for this refusal was stated by the legislature as being the number of other offices that needed to be elected in addition to the Democratic primary. The unstated reason…well, it is because the Republicans who control the legislature wanted to pee in the governor’s Wheaties and not give him what he wanted. In my opinion…they were just playing politics and being jerks…but that’s the way politics works these days…so IMO the legislature should have delayed.
Second and third…after the legislature didn’t act as he demanded…the governor issued two executive orders…the first delaying the election to May or June and the second stating that mail in ballots could be postmarked as late as 7 days past the Election Day in contravention of the legislature approved voting rules. These two orders naturally resulted in legal action to overturn them…which for whatever reason happened once in state court and once in federal court. Early on Monday this week…the state Supreme Court overturned the first order because…and I’m amazed that the governor and Democrats don’t understand this…it is against the law which states that only the legislature can change the election date…it’s an open and shut case and despite the corona and and despite the legislature acting like children that the law is on their side.
Later on Monday…the Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision in IL that allowed the acceptance of mail in ballots postmarked up to 7 days after the election. In a 5-4 decision the court held that precedent SCOTUS decisions held that election rules should not be changed by federal courts on the eve of the election and that precedent also held that states are primarily in charge of election rules.
Thus the election went on as scheduled albeit there have been no results announced and they won’t be until next week.
So…what really happened here. The governor tried to change the rules at the last minute, the legislature didn’t go along with it, and he issued orders that violated state law and legal precedent. Now as I said before…the election should have been postponed but the legislature decided to act like children…however it appears to me that both courts acted either based on law or precedent. The liberal wing of the SCOTUS and their media friends are decrying the “sabotage of the election” and the “disenfranchisement of voters who have to choose between safety and voting”…and naturally predicting that the same thing will happen in November.
The House…and media…and Democrats in general…want to change the November election to almost exclusively mail in ballots. The Senate and Republicans and conservative media…well, they are jumping on the voter fraud bandwagon to oppose this. I’m quite sure that a system to allow mail in balloting could be expanded to allow more absentee ballots to be ordered…but it would require changes to election law in some states and I’m also quite sure that government can figure out a way to screw it up. It is also true that if the corona is still going on that having fewer polling places will likely reduce virus transmission. However…it is also true that when the government screws the mail in process up there is a possibility of voter fraud on both sides. How much actually happens can’t be known at this point.
Regarding the condemnation of the two court decisions…it all comes down IMO to the old strict vs loose constructionism argument by constitutional scholars. Strict means that you read the constitution and law and see what the words actually say…and that is the way you rule. Loose means that you “reinterpret” what the words say to meet today’s social, cultural, and technical norms. The Strict folks say that loose means “the law means whatever I want it to mean” and the Loose folks say that strict “cannot possibly be right since the founding fathers didn’t know about the internet, multiple genders, abortion, or more than single shot weapons”. Me…’round these parts we’re mostly strict constructionists…because the founding fathers put a mechanism in place to actually change the constitution when necessary and we think the liberals/progressives do far too much legislating from the bench simply because they are convinced they know better than ignorant folk in those flyover states.
OK…enough of that…let’s get some photos in here.
Turns out we have some Date Palms in our yard…but instead of being regular old Date Palms that you can get actual edible dates off of…we have Pygmy Date Palms…and their fruit is almost all seed with little to no edible date part. Anyway…they get these bud pods once a year which then turn into a flower and then into the dates that you can’t eat. We have none of the latter yet…too early, but we do have some pods and flowers so you can see how the progression is going.
The pod…they’re about a foot long or so.
Our Bougainvillea is also blooming.
Cormorant…or C-Man as we’ve started calling him. There are a couple of these that hang around our pond a lot lately…we believe they are juvenile males based on coloration.
And the Tricolor or Louisiana Heron we saw there other day…we think this is a different individual than the first one as the back of the head spike breeding plumage isn’t yellow like the other one was. No real way to tell though…and they’re relatively uncommon in SW FL so it might just be the same one later on in the season. Neil went back and did some side by side comparisons with the photos from then and it looks different at the color transition points like from the blue/red on the neck to the white belly…but it could just be that he’s gotten wet and the feathers just got groomed differently. Don’t really matter though.
You can see the breeding plume in these last two is whiter than the first one we spotted a couple weeks back.
He’s kinda bummed that we didn’t get the bald eagle…it’s a sub adult in the middle of transitioning from juvenile to adult…that takes most of six months to a year we’ve read. It swooped over the pond thrice looking for dinner but (a) we were inside the lanai cooking and not standing outside with the camera in hand and ready to go and (b) it was being harassed by grackles both times so pretty much it was one pretty lowpass over the pond and it was gone…we had visibility on each pass for 5 seconds or less and what with the trees and limited sightlines we would probably have missed the shot anyway…he’s good, but not that good…and a sub adult just really ain’t that interestin’ lookin’ unless he’s doing something cool like grabbing a fish or something.
Both E15 and E16 appear to have passed the initial just after hatching and starting to eat phase…they’re 8 and 5 days old respectively and both appear to be eating well. Both are gaining weight and the difference in size is getting smaller…which bodes well for E16 to continue to get enough food to grow and fledge assuming that Harriet and M15 are able to bring in enough to eat. Given the spring into summer weather that should not be much of a problem. They’re subject to being predated by some other hungry critter but Mom and Dad should be able to protect them from that…and obviously the broken blood feather than killed the original hatching eaglet this year can happen but the overall odds of both surviving to fledge are probably 60% to 70% once they get past the hatchling phase.
Interesting stuff found on the net.
Some innovative face masks to help prevent corona spread…these are not intended as actual recommendations for implementation.
I can’t decide whether this maxi pad or the sponge above is my favorite one.
Home schooling progress.
Tuscaloosa Alabama (Home of the Crimson Tide) recommendation for social distancing.
Ikea toilet paper…some assembly required.