Friday, September 27, 2013

Punk-Like Behavior

Republicans are purposely playing chicken and then they'll blame Democrats for making them swerve and crash. Just like that punk kid last week who aimed his kick scooter at me and squawked like it was my fault he crashed when he chickened out.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

An Old Dog Learning A New Trick

So I'm trying to bunny hop my 'cross bike. I cut up some wood used for deck rails and stacked the the pieces to make a barrier. Two pieces were 2 and 3/4 inches, three came to 4 inches, and four topped out at 5 1/2 inches high.

I know. Almost insurmountable.

I found that speed is important. Without enough speed I'm going to hit the rear wheel for sure. Then there's the timing of getting the front wheel up at the right point. The trickiest part for me is coordinating all the movements into one smooth motion.

Any tips to help an old guy do this better?

An Old Dog Learning A New Trick from hank greer on Vimeo.

My Commutes This Past Week

In the morning - After closing the garage and rolling out into the street, immediately notice how loud the drive train is. Grumble to myself all the way to work about how I need to oil the chain. Coast into the parking garage and forget all about it.

In the evening - While leaving the parking garage and rolling out into the street, immediately notice how loud the drive train is. Grumble to myself all the way home about how I need to oil the chain. Coast up the driveway and into the garage and forget all about it.
Today I stop the vicious cycle.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Morning Deer


Republican Health Care Reform Bill

At long last. Three and a-half years after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, after focusing all this time on only repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, just in time for the upcoming manufactured debt limit crisis and following the summertime anti-Obamacare emphasis patrol, the Republican Study Committee has proposed a bill called The American Health Care Reform Act.

The first step of the bill--repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in its entirety.

"...the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted."

Just yank the rug right out from under everybody. Second, increase access to portable, affordable health insurance through tax breaks.

Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this title an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

Individuals could claim a deduction of $7,500 against their income and payroll taxes, regardless of the cost of the insurance and families could deduct $20,000. Of course, that doesn't do you much good unless your income well over that.

Next up, it improves access to insurance for vulnerable Americans by removing a couple of eligibility requirements, providing $5 million to states to establish a qualified risk pool, and verifying that only citizens and nationals of the United States are eligible.

Fourth, it says it encourages a more competitive health care market. It's confusing. The insurance policy issuer designates one state as the primary state for a particular policy and the health care laws of that state govern the policy. They can change the primary state designation when the policy is renewed. Other states where that policy is offered are considered secondary states, but the laws of the primary state governing that policy trump the laws of the secondary states. Essentially, any single state, district, or territory could pass laws governing health insurance that are favorable to insurance companies. Those companies could designate that state, district, or territory as a primary state. All other states where that policy is offered become secondary states whose laws become toothless with respect to those policies because they are now governed by the laws of the primary state. Imagine your state's Insurance Commissioner telling you, "Sorry, I can't help you. For your policy you'll have to contact the Insurance Commissioner in Alabama."

Fifth, it reforms medical liability law. You get three years to file a lawsuit. The amount of damages for actual economic losses is unlimited.

Economic damages are defined as "...objectively verifiable monetary losses incurred as a result of the provision of, use of, or payment for (or failure to provide, use, or pay for) health care services or medical products, such as past and future medical expenses, loss of past and future earnings, cost of obtaining domestic services, loss of employment, and loss of business or employment opportunities."

Noneconomic losses are limited to $250,000.

Noneconomic damages are defined as "...damages for physical and emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium (other than loss of domestic service), hedonic damages, injury to reputation, and all other nonpecuniary losses of any kind or nature."

A jury won't be informed of the $250,000 noneconomic loss limit. If a jury awards more for noneconomic losses then the award will be reduced to $250,000.

Punitive damages are allowed only "...if it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that such person acted with malicious intent to injure the claimant, or that such person deliberately failed to avoid unnecessary injury that such person knew the claimant was substantially certain to suffer."

If there are no compensatory damages then there shall be no punitive damages. But here's the kicker.

The amount of punitive damages, if awarded, in a health care lawsuit may be as much as $250,000 or as much as two times the amount of economic damages awarded, which ever is greater. The jury shall not be informed of this limitation.

Plus, there are no punitive damages for medical products and devices that comply with FDA standards.

Last of all, the bill says it respects human life by not requiring any health plan to provide coverage of or access to abortion services. Separate policies that do offer coverage may be offered, but back in the tax break section it states that the costs are tax deductible only if the pregnancy resulted from an act of rape or incest, the woman's life is endangered by the pregnancy, or it's for treatment of infection, injury, disease, etc., caused by or exacerbated by an abortion.
I'm just not feeling the love here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Time To Count Bikes And Pedestrians Again

It's time to count again. As usual, the Cascade Bicycle Club is handling the volunteer counters. Somebody ride through Addison and Standard between 7:00-9:00 am, October 3 so I have someone to count.

Wanna Play Chicken?

On my ride home, I was headed north on Regal about 1-1/2 blocks away from Francis and I was two young men coming my way. One was on a kick scooter. He was initially on the right side (my left) of the road. Then he saw me coming and he moved over to my side. I moved left to the center of the road and he tracked right to the middle. I moved back to the right and he moved with me. He was heading right at me.

I could see this young man was a teen, probably of high school age, and he was physically bigger than me. He hunkered down and his posture, combined with the look on his face, conveyed to me that he would continue to head right at me. I couldn't imagine why. I decided to call his bluff and stay on course. I was trying to think of what he might try to do. Maybe he would try to clothesline me or something. So I prepared to slam him if he tried anything. With about 15 feet to go he suddenly veered to his right. Well, scooters don't veer very well and he went down.

"F***ing bitch!"

I said nothing, cruised on by and went on to Francis. While waiting at the stop sign another young man crossed from the other side on a scooter.

"Dude, it's not like you're a f***ing car or something. You could go around him."

I didn't say anything to him, either.

But what a relief to learn it was all my fault.

Bugger The Bankers

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I'm Suing

Have you ever had something catch your eye and you had to whip your head around to see if your eyes were lying to you? Paul Turner posted this on his Slice blog and gave me whiplash.

I Gotta Fever And The Only Prescription Is....

Centennial Trail Extension In Kendall Yards

This is great. A wide, paved path with lots of room.

 Here's what the west end of the trail looks like coming from Summit Blvd.

Looking east towards where Kendall Yards is building.

No more gate blocking the trail to the Sandifur Bridge.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Long Shadows

A sign of the changing season. The sun popping up when I'm about halfway to work. It's hard to believe it's been five months since I waxed about my ride in the middle of the 30 Days of Biking month. Now to see how far into the year I can keep going before it's time to let STA do the driving.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

As Soon As They Figure Them Out

And why am I looking at this church's web site? Because this event showed up on my Facebook feed and piqued my curiosity. Chrislam exposed? I've never heard of Chrislam.
Shahram Hadian unsuccessfully ran for governor of Washington State last year. His campaign web site has since been hacked or hijacked. The domain registration hasn't changed but the original content surely has. He's also the pastor of the Truth In Love Church whose core beliefs are coming soon. I might go learn about the seductive lie of a common god between Christianity and Islam just for the heck of it.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Froma Harrop Doesn't Get It

In today's Sokesman Review we have an op-ed piece by Froma Harrop who essentially has no problem with secret government surveillance of Americans.

1) Admit that we are powerless to stop this new technology. (We don’t have to like it.)

It's not the technology we're powerless against. It is secret, unchecked programs. It is government doing as it pleases to target people. It's about government using this secretly gathered information and lying about it.

2) Stop confusing capabilities with actions. The U.S. government is capable of leveling Mount Rushmore. That does not mean it has any intention of launching drone attacks on South Dakota, no matter what your local tea party chapter says.

It's the actions we don't know about that are the problem and Edward Snowden has shown a light on them. We have an administration and political leaders who have lied about what has been happening only to be exposed by later revelations.

3) Recognize that this surveillance is key to national security. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was not alone in warning that a cyberthreat will “equal or even eclipse the terrorist threat.” Other governments and bad people are racing for domination.

Whether we trust government, don’t trust government or simply want more oversight, this is serious business. It’s hard to count how many bloggers have likened the sort of information being culled today with the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s collecting nudie photos of political leaders in compromising situations. Those were relatively innocent days.

Here's she's conflating secret government surveillance of American citizens with terrorism. The national security trump card is well worn. Those "innocent days" included using information for blackmail and targeting innocent citizens.

4) Appreciate that we do have safeguards. When the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court berates the National Security Agency for violating the rules, that’s an example of checks and balances in action.

The FISA court may be able to chastise the NSA and other government agencies, but it cannot force them to do anything. Only Congress and the President can and they have failed miserably.

5) Admit that commercial spying is a privacy matter, as well. Retailers follow your cellphone around the mall. Macy’s knows how much time you spent in the shoe department. knows all about your interest in socialism and passion for manga cartoons.  

Of course, the telecom companies know whom you called and for how long. If the issue is privacy, what makes a business conglomerate more honorable than the government? 

We as citizens have more enforced laws protecting us from commercial monitoring of our phone and Internet use than we do from government intrusion. We have learned that commercial companies have acted as surrogates for the NSA and other agencies, providing them with access and data on a wide ranging scale. Plus, data was being gathered in violation of the law.

6) Call out media sources hurling thunderbolts at NSA spying while spying on you.  

The New York Times recently ran a red-hot editorial railing over the agency’s “inexhaustible appetite for delving into the communications of Americans.” On the right side of the editorial’s Web page was a list of article links labeled “Recommended for You.” Now, how would the New York Times know what Froma might want to read?

Again, whether lawful or unlawful, it's the secret surveillance of Americans and the secret use of that information that's the issue. Not the browser cookies.

7) In assessing government surveillance activities, distinguish between a “who” and an “it.” A computer is an “it.” The fact that it is ruffling through all the metadata – phone numbers, email addresses, Internet searches – or even keeping the content of such communications in a vault for five years should not overly concern us.

When an actual human being takes a look, then it’s time for questions. When the system works properly, the NSA still needs a warrant to look at content.

A computer may be an "it", but it's ruffling through all the metadata because it can do so quickly and efficiently. Whether "it" or "she" looks at the data, there should still be controls over what data can be gathered, how it can be gathered, and what it can be used for.

I hope these seven steps help. We recently learned that the NSA has cracked the encryption tools protecting the privacy of Internet communications. Two responses: 1) Now we know it can be done. 2) Better us than them.

The NSA didn't crack Internet encryption tools. It broke them from the start and made everyone vulnerable for their purposes.

Better us than them?

Gettin' Ready

Cyclocross season is almost upon us. The first race of the Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series is three weeks from today in Sandpoint--Crosstoberfest!

Last December I talked about becoming beastly and getting prepped for this season of 'cross. So how's that going? Well, the weight loss hasn't happened and there's really no excuse for that other than poor self-discipline. So, no excuse. 

I only did one criterium and that was short lived. The Midnight Century went great. I extended my bike commuting routes so I was doing 12-25 miles and rarely doing less. During this last week I've been doing a drill to and from work. After warming up for 10 minutes I alternate between 30 seconds going all out and 30 seconds of maintaining speed but resting. (I'll call it 30-30's.) By the time I arrive at work in the morning or home in the afternoon I feel like I just completed a race.

Outside of the poor weight loss, I think I'm doing pretty good.

This morning I took Top Greer over to the school yard for a work out. Northwood Middle and Farwell Elementary are next to each other and share a huge expanse of field where I did some 30-30s and sprints.

I also practiced bunny hopping. I've been studying up on the subject using YouTube videos. That's how we learn things today, right? The experts make it look so easy. I'm not getting much height but I think it's enough to clear the half-submerged log on the Sandpoint course. I need a lot of work before I try clearing any barriers. Next time I'll shoot and share some video. Maybe someone can give me some tips--after they're done laughing.
Freshly mown grass clogs up the brakes and gearing pretty well, but it's great to practice under realistic conditions. I wouldn't have it any other way. Top Greer is all cleaned up now and ready for more.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Street Shots

 Looking out.

 Not much left to steal.

 Words to live by.


 Bob Hetnar - an amiable man.

And so is the shoulder.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Klown Kar Unloads

From The Raw Story:

Tea party-backed Representatives Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) on Saturday held a press conference in Egypt to thank the country’s military for overthrowing the elected government, and at one point even seemed to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood had been behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

“Together, we’ve gone through suffering. Together, the United States and Egypt, have dealt with the same enemy,” Bachmann explained. “It’s a common enemy, and it’s an enemy called terrorism.”
During Saturday’s press conference, Gohmert praised Egyptian coup-leader General Abdel Fatah el-Sissi by comparing him to U.S. President George Washington.  

“We met with for a long meeting General el-Sissi and many of the military leaders, and my friend Steve King mentioned again about our heritage in America,” he explained. “George Washington, doing what no one had ever done before him, led a military in revolution, won the revolution, and then resigned and went home.”  

“And we met, in General el-Sissi, a man who is leader of the military, who might have a shot at being elected president, but is more concerned about giving his life to help his country, Egypt,” Gohmert said.

I think there's a difference between the two generals. I don't remember George Washington killing hundreds of people who protested after he won the revolution.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Misrepresenting Again

Last week I received this email from Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Dear Friend,

I wanted to update you on some recent work I’ve done to protect you from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overreach into Eastern Washington. Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), states have the primary responsibility to develop water quality standards to protect human health. As such, EPA’s role in reviewing and developing Human Health Water Quality Criteria is to ensure that the final standard is adequately protective of fish consumers.

Currently, Washington is bringing stakeholders to the table in an attempt to strike a reasonable balance with the updated Human Health Water Quality Criteria. This approach will provide a unique opportunity to develop better and balanced standards that are feasible and still protect human health for all fish consumers.

However, as you may know, EPA Region X recently sent a letter to the Washington State Department of Ecology. In the letter, the EPA encouraged Washington State to adopt standards similar to those in Oregon, which are considerably more stringent than the national standard. In addition, the EPA indicated that should Washington’s process be “unnecessarily delayed,” the EPA could issue a burdensome and complicated federal on Eastern Washington businesses.

I am concerned about the EPA’s interference in this process. To that end, last week, I wrote a letter with members from the Washington and Idaho congressional delegations, urging the EPA to allow Washington and Idaho to complete their work of developing protective and achievable Human Health Water Quality Criteria without dictating particular standards.

Regulations are tying the hands of businesses in Eastern Washington. These regulations translate into higher costs, less productivity, and ultimately fewer jobs. Know that I will continue to monitor this issue and support Washington state as it develops Health Water Quality Criteria without interference from the EPA.

As you may know, I did not know about this letter so I called her office to find out about it. The polite staffer also did not know what letter our congresswoman was referring to, but she said she'd find out. My experiences with contacting her office have always resulted in them getting back to me about two months later so I searched the web. And I found the letter here. It is signed by Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator. (Bolding and links added by me.)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appreciates your continued efforts to adopt human health water quality criteria to better ensure health protection for Washington residents. The EPA's understanding is that the Department of Ecology (Ecology) is on pace to propose a draft rule this winter. However, most recently, a number of stakeholders in the process have asked for our technical views on the budget proviso in Washington State Senate Bill 5034The proviso, if enacted, would have significant impacts on Ecology's process and progress. Therefore, I would like to reiterate our perspectives on several technical issues that are relevant to your work.

As you are aware, the EPA has been asked on several occasions to share its perspectives on the water quality criteria revisions underway in Washington and Idaho and how we view these efforts in relation to Oregon's revised human health criteria that were derived using a fish consumption rate of 175 grams per day, which the EPA approved in 2011. There has been much discussion in the current state processes about appropriate fish consumption rates, which are used to derive the human health criteria. The EPA also has been asked by the tribes and environmental groups, in particular, to intervene in the Washington and Idaho rulemaking processes and to exercise available authorities under the Clean Water Act.

When the EPA reviews state and tribal water quality standards for approval or disapproval, the EPA must ensure that criteria are based on a sound scientific rationale consistent with 40 CFR § 13l.ll(a). The EPA believes there are scientifically sound regional and local data available in Washington that are sufficient for Ecology to move forward in choosing a protective and accurate fish consumption rate at this time. These data were thoroughly analyzed in Ecology's Fish Consumption Rates Technical Support Document, which was recently finalized. The best available science includes evidence of consumption rates well above 6.5 grams per day among high fish consumers and shows that the human health criteria currently in effect for Clean Water Act purposes in Washington are not sufficiently protective. In Oregon's case, the EPA disapproved human health criteria similar to the currently applicable human health criteria for Washington under the National Toxics Rule (NTR). Oregon subsequently submitted, and the EPA approved, new human health criteria derived using a fish consumption rate of 175 grams per day, supported by sound scientific data.

As noted previously, choosing a fish consumption rate for deriving human health water quality criteria is a current discussion topic in both Washington and Idaho. As you are aware, the EPA disapproved Idaho's human health criteria derived using a fish consumption rate of 17.5 grams per day because Idaho did not consider the available information relevant to fish consumption when calculating their human health criteria. The EPA believes that there are sufficient regional and local fish consumption data available to revise human health criteria in both Washington and Idaho, although the EPA has acknowledged that there are less state-specific data in Idaho on higher consumers. In Washington, in contrast with Idaho, the EPA believes that there are a number of scientifically sound data results specific to surveys conducted in the State for several population groups. including tribes. Asian Pacific Islanders, and recreational anglers.

We recognize the immense amount of work that Ecology has done to host a number of public meetings as part of the state rulemaking process, and we have appreciated participating in those discussions. We also acknowledge the challenges still to come in making final decisions about the rule revisions, including implementation tools. The EPA is committed to working with Washington as they move forward on their rulemaking, and to helping ensure the rulemaking proceeds in a timely manner, with sound scientific data supporting decision-making. The EPA's commitment to support Washington State's process is consistent with the EPA's strong preference to support states in their development of water quality standards that are protective of designated uses rather than to develop standards at the national level.

However, should Washington's process be unnecessarily delayed, the EPA has the authority to amend the NTR human health criteria for Washington, which the EPA originally promulgated in 1992. Pursuant to Clean Water Act Section 303(c)(4)(B) and 40 CFR § 131.22(b), the EPA promulgated the NTR for states not complying with Section 303(c)(2)(B) of the Clean Water Act, which states, "... State[s] shall adopt criteria for all toxic pollutants listed pursuant to section 307(a)(l) of this Act for which criteria have been published under section 304(a), the discharge or presence of which in the affected waters could reasonably be expected to interfere with those designated uses adopted by the State, as necessary to support such designated uses." As previously noted, since 1992, several national, regional, and local surveys have been conducted that provide scientifically sound information that fish consumption levels are considerably higher than 6.5 grams per day in Washington. In discussing this federal authority, the EPA has noted that a federal rulemaking would likely focus on human health criteria and not include the implementation tools currently being evaluated in the state rulemaking process.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers completely misrepresents the letter from the EPA. Mr McLerran was asked to provide feedback on the budget, which he did. He also reminded the state that should there be a delay, which apparently is a possible effect of the budget, the EPA has the authority to set the standards for the state. But McLerran also states the EPA would rather the state set the standards itself.

This hardly qualifies as what the congresswoman characterizes as "interference" and the possible issuance of "a burdensome and complicated federal on Eastern Washington businesses."

I have no idea what a burdensome and complicated federal is, but it sounds burdensome and complicated. Like a grammar checker or something.

Spokefest #6

Kathy, Barb and I joined our friends, Bob and Donna, who rode their first Spokefest. Bill Bender and the Spokefest organization put on another great event. Almost 2,000 riders again.

Who needs a helmet when you have naturally helmet hair?

Warning. If you hang your camera off your back, your sister may turn it on and take a selfie.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Racing Further Behind The Times

The Catholic bishops are remaining steadfast in their futile fight against same-sex marriage. During the month of August they published some tips to help educate the Catholic masses.

Tip #2 is to reframe the debate to restricting the talk about marriage as being only between a man and a woman.

We can make a case for the uniqueness of marriage between a man and a woman by pointing out that only a man and a woman can form a one-flesh communion and can give themselves fully to each other, including on a bodily level (see FAQ #8) [My Note: Funny, this is a broken link on that page.]. Only a man and a woman are capable of welcoming new life into the world, even though there are times, sadly, when this doesn’t happen for reasons beyond their control. And so forth.  

Reframing means not accepting the terms of the debate as given, but digging deeper to get at the real issues, the real questions. So if someone asks you, “Are you for marriage equality?” an answer could be: “Well, what do you think marriage is?” or, less Socratically, “I’m for equality, sure – but I think marriage is unique and needs both a man and a woman; it’s not wrong to treat different things differently,” etc.  

It's interesting that in the last tip we learn this is targeted for Catholic young adults. Good luck with that. Something like 65% of young people support same-sex marriage.

The audience that the bishops have in mind for the Marriage: Unique for a Reason project is Catholic young adults. The bishops reasoned that young adults are most bombarded and most susceptible to faulty messages about marriage, but the materials could certainly be used for older audiences too. The materials do not assume much in the way of prior catechesis, but they are written for a Catholic audience, not a generic or secular one.  

The end-goal of the resources is inculcating a renewed understanding and appreciation of what the Church teaches in regards to marriage, and a sense of its reasonableness. The hope is that learning the Church’s timeless teaching can build confidence to promote and defend it.  

Faulty messages about marriage? A state is free to define marriage one way and a religion is free to define it another and one can be married in the eyes of the state and not in the eyes of a religion. The definition of marriage within the Catholic church is obviously not being changed and the bishops are free to define marriage as they see fit. But they're trying to apply their definition to those outside their faith. And at the same time they are highlighting how their so-called sense of reasonableness is way out of touch with society and making themselves less relevant.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Today's Photos

 Catching a noon-time snooze.

I think they got their limit.

Fun And Games Last Sunday

My brother John has known Russell and Karen Ivy for 12 or 13 years now. Since 1986, the Ivy's have held a family and friends barbecue and triathlon. The triathlon consists of frisbee golf, table tennis, and horseshoes. Those who choose to play frisbee golf do so as an individual event. Names are drawn to randomly pair up those who wish to play the other two events.
Kathy, Steph and I, along with my sister Barb, were staying with John for the weekend. We had also picked up Josh and Amanda. Long story short, we were invited to attend the Ivy Triathlon. Barb had a great idea in that we ten (including John's family) should decorate t-shirts and show up as "Team Greer". By coincidence, John and Susan had a bunch of plain white T's on hand along with clothing markers so we got busy. John went with the wife beater shirt. I decorated a child's medium. Everyone did a great job personalizing their shirts.
 Team Greer.


 ...and Amanda show off their disc skills.

 Kathy on the table.

 Susan on the table.

John about to throw a ringer.

Russell and Karen loved it. The food was awesome, the people were welcoming, and the games were fun. They even invited us to return next year.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Cyclocross Race

The family headed to the west side to pick up Josh and Amanda, attend a family-oriented triathlon consisting of frisbee golf, table tennis and horseshoes, and race the Labor Day Cyclocross Race put on by my team--Team Double Check.

Kathy and my sister, Barb, did the beginner's race and they had a blast. It was a fast course with just enough technical stuff to make it challenging for the experienced and interesting for the new folks. We might have the hook set on a couple of new racers.

Kathy is all smiles.

 Barb is all business.

 A spill on the first turn after the start.

 Interesting barrier technique.

The leader and he still finished first.

I feel like I didn't get my fair share of dust.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

It's Not Like It Means Something

Yesterday, President Obama said he's decided that the United States should take military action in Syria, but he's going to seek Congressional authorization first. However, he also said he believes he has the authority to take military action without Congressional authorization.

So why bother? To give the appearance of a checked Executive, I suppose.