Friday, October 24, 2014

Reverse Gear

CNN's Carol Costello does that rare thing in mainstream media:
“Over the past few days I have been roundly criticized for joking about a brawl involving the Palin family. In retrospect, I deserve such criticism and would like to apologize,” Costello said in a statement.

The incident between Palin, the daughter of 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and the man at a party in Wasilla, Alaska, allegedly escalated to the point where authorities needed to be called.

In an audio recording, Bristol Palin can be heard cursing and crying -- a tape Costello played for viewers and called “quite possibly the best minute-and-a-half of audio we’ve ever come across – well, come across in a long time anyway.”

On the tape, Palin can be heard describing the incident where a man allegedly pushed her younger sister. “I get back up, he pushes me down on the grass again,” she said.

After playing a portion of the audio tape, Costello said her “favorite part” had been a long bleeped-out portion.

Her comments created a backlash, leading to her apology on Thursday.
At least someone did...

Tea Party Leaves

The Tea Party is still out there:
Although the Tea Party has not been as visible in this year’s midterm elections as it was in 2010, Tea Party Republicans have given more thought to this year’s elections and are much more motivated to vote than are non-Tea Party Republicans or other Americans. About one in four Americans continue to say they support the Tea Party.
....

...although the Tea Party has been less visible in the election campaigning that has taken place this year in both the primaries and the lead-up to the general election, Tea Party supporters’ stronger motivation to vote underscores the group’s importance to the election outcome. Because most Tea Party supporters are Republicans or Republican leaners, and because it is unlikely that they will be voting for anyone other than a Republican candidate, the main effect of Tea Party supporters in the general election will be to provide a motivated base for the GOP to build on as it focuses on getting out the vote.
At least one Party actually has a motivated base...

The Fixer

Guess who picked up Eric Holder's slack?
Practically lost in the 1,000-plus pages of records is an index that shows Jarrett was brought in to manage the fact that Holder lied to Congress after the story about the disastrous gun-running operation broke in the media. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ran the once-secret program that allowed guns from the U.S. to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels. Instead, federal law enforcement officers lost track of hundreds of weapons which have been used in an unknown number of crimes, including the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.

The files received by JW include three electronic mails between Holder and Jarrett and one from former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke to Jarrett. The e-mails with Holder are all from October 4, 2011, a significant date because, on the evening of October 3rd, Sheryl Attkisson (then at CBS news) released documents showing that Holder had been sent a briefing paper on Operation Fast and Furious on June 5, 2010. The paper was from the director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, Michael Walther.
It's liars all the way down...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ebola In NY

So it begins:
Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a news conference at Bellevue on Thursday night, sought to reassure New Yorkers that they was no reason to be alarmed.

“Being on the same subway car or living near a person with Ebola does not in itself put someone at risk,” he said.

Dr. Spencer’s work in Africa and the timing of the onset of his symptoms led health officials to dispatch disease detectives, who “immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk,” according to a statement released by the health department.

Dr. Spencer’s fiancĂ©e has also been quarantined at Bellevue. Two other friends, who had contact with him on Tuesday and Wednesday, have been told by the authorities that they too will be quarantined but whether they will isolate themselves in their homes or be relocated was still under discussion, according to a person briefed on the investigation. None of the three were showing signs of illness.

The driver of the taxi, arranged through the online service Uber, did not have direct contact with Dr. Spencer and was not considered to be at risk, officials said.

Speaking at the news conference, city officials said that while they were still investigating, they did not believe Dr. Spencer was symptomatic while he traveled around the city on Wednesday and therefore had not posed a risk to the public.
For now...

New Dogs In Town

The Secret Service tries new tricks:
For many decades, the Secret Service has used bomb-sniffing dogs. But only in the past 10 years did it begin stationing the Belgian Malinois at the White House to take on intruders. Agency officials decided to use the dogs because they were faster than humans and their bite, while fierce, was far less lethal than a gunshot.

“There are all those bushes on the South Lawn that are far from the White House and the dogs can easily get through them and stop someone,” said an agency official who was involved in the decision to begin using the dogs.

The agency decided to use Belgian Malinois because they are more durable than German shepherds, which have longer hair and do not perform as well in the heat. Because they perform well in the heat, the dogs were used widely during the United States occupation of Iraq to detect explosives, and many veterans of that war wanted Belgian Malinois as pets when they returned.
Unleash the dogs of protection...

Dueling Priests

Two priests do battle:

Fat Money

The UK wants to pay people to lose weight:
Outlining the plans, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens pointed out that such schemes had been a success in America.

He said: “Employers in many countries have voluntary schemes for employees where, for example, you actually get cash back based on ­participation in Weight Watchers or other type schemes.”

Asked what rewards could be on offer, he said: “It could be shopping vouchers, it could be cash, it could be prizes.”
I suppose it's better than an involuntary scheme...

Don't Know Much About Obamacare

Its supporters should be pleased:
A national survey of the nation’s knowledge of health insurance like Obamacare has found “wide gaps” in Americans' literacy despite a $1 billion education campaign, with the public unable to answer basic questions like how much they owe for a routine doctor’s visit.

The authoritative American Institutes for Research study, coming on the eve of open enrollment for Obamacare, found that most people think they know more about healthcare and health insurance than actually they do, a miserable result considering last year’s taxpayer-funded federal marketing blitz to be followed by another this year.

AIR’s survey of 828 people ages 22-64 also found that younger Americans were the most confused —and they were the focus of the ad campaign and the most likely to use the health insurance marketplace set up under Obamacare.
If it had been easy to understand, it wouldn't have been passed...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Libertarian Frontier

Star Trek might not be anti-libertarian, after all:
It’s important to draw a distinction between what a work of art tells you and what it shows you. In the world of Star Trek, there are a few, infrequent references in which we are told that the economy works (somehow) without prices. But the socialism all happens quietly off screen, and it’s not what the show is actually about. The show is about the culture and approach to life of those on board the Enterprise (or the other vessels in later spin-off series). And the culture of the Federation bears none of the hallmarks of a socialist society.
I would argue this was truer in TOS, but then again, Kirk got all the space babes back then, too...

Koch Court

Ah, yes, those evil Koch Brothers are at it again:
Koch Industries, in partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is financing a program to provide scholarships and training for public defenders. The grant will also pay for a review of indigent defense programs to see what works in providing legal representation to those who can’t afford it.

Charles G. Koch, the chairman of Koch Industries, said in a statement that the grant was a way “to make the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of an individual’s right to counsel a reality for all Americans, especially those who are the most disadvantaged in our society.”

The company’s interest grew out of its own experience during a criminal case in Texas and underscores a growing area of common ground between conservatives and progressives on criminal justice issues like sentencing reform.
Except for "real progressives" like Harry Reid...

Canadian Psycho

Some more about the Canadian shooter:
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal – a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable.

Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in 1982 and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.
Well, that certainly makes sense...

Wake Up Call

It's a miracle!
Alan Knight of Swansea, Wales, stole more than $64,000 from the bank account of an elderly neighbor with Alzheimer's disease, prosecutors said.

When police began investigating, the 47-year-old Knight claimed to be quadriplegic and so sick he sometimes fell into a coma. He checked himself into a hospital to avoid court appearances, saying he was having seizures.

The South Wales Evening Post reported Wednesday that the suspect's wife, Helen Knight, had written to the newspaper saying her husband had obtained a doctor's letter certifying he was "quadriplegic and in a comatose condition, bed-bound at home" after a neck injury.

"We've been through absolute hell and we're still going through hell," she wrote, according to the newspaper.

Knight's deceit was uncovered when police tracked the use of his supermarket card, and produced surveillance camera footage of him walking and driving.

Warned that the trial would go ahead whether he was present or not, Knight arrived at Swansea Crown Court Tuesday in a wheelchair and neck brace. Faced with the video evidence, he pleaded guilty to 19 counts of forgery, fraud and theft.
Now he'll have plenty of time to rest...

Blood Cells

They want your blood:
Kizhner has designed a jewelry line that hooks up to the wearer’s veins and converts his or her blood flow into a mobile cellphone charger, Medical Daily reported.

The line, called “Energy Addicts,” consists of three separate jewelry pieces: the Blinker, the E-pulse, and the Blood Bridge. Each device monitors and extracts energy from different body functions: the Blinker from eyelid movements, the E-pulse Conductor from spinal cord nerves, and the Blood Bridge from lower-arm blood flow. Kizhner claims this energy could potentially power electronics.

Kizhner first shared her invention with Cosmopolitan magazine and pointed out the devices won’t be sold in stores but were designed to encourage people to reflect on their relationships with technology.

“I wanted to provoke the thought about how far will we go to in order to 'feed' our addiction in the world of declining resources," Kizhner told Cosmopolitan.
Some would argue that phone companies already do this...

Potty Mouth Training

Little kids cuss out for the "cause":
All but the most hardcore feminist parents who watch will wince (or worse), and even the hardcore ones will gurgle out a few supportive words only because The Cause requires them to. In that sense, this is the most counterproductive PSA since that British climate change spot from a few years ago that showed little kids exploding, a lesson to those who worry that liberals too often seem to want kids to grow up too fast that, yep, they should worry. But parents aren’t the target audience, right? The target audience, I assume, are teens and twentysomethings who’ll see this, squeal at the transgressive Outrageous Outrageousness of it, and send it around on Facebook with “OMG so funnee” comments. To the niche it’s aimed at, I bet this is effective. If you claim the feminist label less as a considered ideology than for the posture of rebelliousness it affords against the sinister, Cthulhu-like patriarchy, this should be right up your alley.
Exploitation is always the name of the game...

Kosher Vegans

Vegans love Israel...for the vegetarianism?
"Four percent of Israelis define themselves as vegans, it's the most vegan country in the world," according to Omri Paz, organiser of the "Vegan Fest" fair, where stands offered pea-based hot dogs, tofu doner kebabs and wheat gluten goulash.

Like vegetarians, vegans do not eat meat but they also eschew all animal products -- including milk, eggs and honey -- with some refusing to wear leather or use cosmetics tested on animals.

The Vegan Fest in trendsetting Tel Aviv, where veganism has the most acolytes, attracted 15,000 people in a day.
Every cult has its centers of worship, even in otherwise sane countries...

The Warming That Wasn't

Say it ain't so:
John Coleman, who co-founded the Weather Channel, shocked academics by insisting the theory of man-made climate change was no longer scientifically credible.

Instead, what 'little evidence' there is for rising global temperatures points to a 'natural phenomenon' within a developing eco-system.

In an open letter attacking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he wrote: "The ocean is not rising significantly.

"The polar ice is increasing, not melting away. Polar Bears are increasing in number.

"Heat waves have actually diminished, not increased. There is not an uptick in the number or strength of storms (in fact storms are diminishing).

"I have studied this topic seriously for years. It has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid."
As if it ever was...

The Evidence Is In

And it appears to support the police officer:
Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco who reviewed the report for the Post-Dispatch, said it “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.”

Melinek, who is not involved in the investigation, said the autopsy did not support those who claim Brown was attempting to flee or surrender when Wilson shot him in the street.

Benjamin L. Crump, a lawyer for the Brown family, said Brown’s family and supporters will not be persuaded by the autopsy report or eyewitness statements that back Wilson’s account of the incident.

“The family has not believed anything the police or this medical examiner has said,” Crump said. “They have their witnesses. We have seven witnesses that we know about that say the opposite.”
Well, maybe not:
Seven or eight African American eyewitnesses have provided testimony consistent with Wilson’s account, but none of them have spoken publicly out of fear for their safety, The Washington Post’s sources said.
Telling a different side in this case can be dangerous, especially if the facts are on your side...

The Invisible Election

Election? What election?
A new and exhaustive Media Research Center analysis compared the last seven weeks of CBS, NBC and ABC news coverage with the same period in 2006 and found a 6-1 disparity between the Democratic election wave and the current election. The story count: 159-25.

The worst offender is ABC’s newly-renamed “World News Tonight.” The show hasn’t aired a single story. By comparison in 2006, ABC’s “World News” aired 36 stories on the midterms, including a weekly feature that then-anchor Charlie Gibson promised would look at the “critical races.”

Said the MRC report provided to Secrets: “Back then, the elections were a major news topic; this year, a regular viewer of ABC’s evening newscast would have no indication that any were even taking place.”
Apparently elections only happen when a Republican is in the White House...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Women To the Right

Female voters now prefer Republicans:
Among all adults, 38 percent say they'd like the Democrats to wind up in control of Congress, to 36 percent for the Republicans. But the GOP holds a significant lead among those most likely to cast ballots: 47 percent of these voters favor a Republican controlled-Congress, 39 percent a Democratic one. That's a shift in the GOP's favor since an AP-GfK poll in late September, when the two parties ran about evenly among likely voters.

Women have moved in the GOP's direction since September. In last month's AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.
The "war on women" doesn't seem to have worked. Or maybe women want an alternative to this guy.

Don't Blame Us, We'll Call You

White House to Democrats: It won't be our fault:
“The success of many of these Democratic candidates will depend on their own success in motivating voters that strongly supported the president in 2012,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday.

“Ultimately, those Democratic candidates will have to develop their own strategies in their states for figuring out how exactly to do that,” he continued. “And there are people running in red states that have a strong track record. … So it should be their decision. It’s ultimately their campaign; it’s their name that’s on the ballot.”…

Earnest also said there was a “variety of ways” Obama could be beneficial to those candidates, outside of appearing alongside them at rallies.
Or not, these days...

Back To The Board

Finally: A working hoverboard:



Now, if we could just get a Mr. Fusion...

The Doctor Is Not In

Whatever happened to President Obama's nominee for surgeon general?
The reason has more to do with Murthy himself than anything else. As doctors go, he is a very political man, so it's no surprise his politics have created political problems.

In 2008 Murthy, a Yale-trained physician currently affiliated with Harvard, founded a group called Doctors for America. Actually, he first called the organization Doctors for Obama; after Obama's victory, Doctors for Obama became Doctors for America. The group devoted itself to lobbying for passage of Obamacare.

The organization's political focus continued after the Obamacare battle was won. In 2012, Murthy got a lot of attention when he expressed frustration with opponents of his preferred gun control policies. "Tired of politicians playing politics w/guns," he tweeted, "putting lives at risk b/c they're scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue."

In January 2013, after the Sandy Hook shootings, Doctors for America sent a letter to Congress advocating an assault weapon ban, universal background checks, mandatory waiting periods, a gun buyback program, and other proposals favored by gun control groups.

If nothing else, the letter showed that Murthy's approach to his profession remained deeply political. In any event, Murthy's activism came back to haunt him in November of 2013, when the president nominated him to be surgeon general.

Republicans questioned Murthy's experience, which did not include public health administration. George W. Bush's surgeon general, Richard Carmona, said the 37 year-old Murthy is "very early in his career with great potential but no significant related leadership experience and no formal public health training or experience."
Well, that didn't stop the "Ebola czar..."

Consistent Censors

Yes, liberals are fascists at heart:

libblock

Fake Cops, Watcha Gonna Do?

Fake racism on video:
The video is a marvelously tidy example of the NYPD’s supposedly wicked ways. At the clip’s end, Saleh and Akbar appear to explain, “What you just saw is what we always go through when we’re filming with our culture clothing on.” Saleh then claims that the pair had been out shooting another video when “police happen to, like, follow us and racial profile us. So we stopped filming that video and we decided to make this video for you guys. And it happened in one chance.”

The video ends with a request for viewers to give it a “thumbs up” vote on YouTube, as well as a pitch for new subscribers to the duo’s video channel.
If you can't find real racism, make up your own...

Greg Who?

The Kansas Senate race seems to have suddenly become more difficult for the "Independent":
Just three weeks ago, some polls showed Roberts trailing by double digits, and it looked as if Democratic candidate Chad Taylor's decision to drop out of the race would hand Orman the seat.

But while Roberts scrambled the GOP jets to meet the challenge, Orman took the opposite approach, largely shunning the press and staying out of the spotlight.
Vampires generally don't like sunlight...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Candid Corruption

Ballot box stuffing gets caught on camera:
It was between 12:54 and 1:04 that LaFaro said he was seated at one of the cubicles, heard a loud thud and turned around to see the man who he claims was caught on tape stuffing “hundreds” of ballots. LaFaro described the man as a “vulgar, disrespectful, violent thug” with “no respect for our laws.” He said he would have followed the man to his car to get his tag number but “feared for [his] life.”

“America used to be a nation of laws where one person had one vote,” LaFaro said, the Daily Independent reported. ”I’m sad to say not anymore.”

On its website, Citizens for a Better Arizona says it is an “outgrowth of the grassroots movement that led to the historic recall of former [Republican] President of the Senate Russell Pearce.” The group is ”committed to improving the quality of life of all Arizonans – better schools, better health care, better jobs, better government and a better, more civil tone of respect and decency.”
Yeah, about that part...

Smugness Unbecoming

President Obama loses out on women:
“I think [women are] feeling unsafe,” Brown said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday. “They feel unsafe economically. They’re feeling unsafe with regard to ISIS. What they feel unsafe about is the government response to different crises.”

Brown said Obama’s smugness and willingness to place blame has also contributed to his declining support.

“I think they’re beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office, you know, who’s too cool for school, calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn’t put anything in place to make sure it does change, then it goes wrong and he’s blaming everybody,” she said.
In all fairness, he does this with everybody...

A Woman In Love

Monica Lewinsky opens up:
“I fell in love with my boss in a 22-year-old sort of a way. It happens. But my boss was the President of the United States,” she continued.
“I deeply regret it for many reasons. Not the least of which is that people were hurt,” she continued.
The emotional admissions from Lewinsky, now 41, struck a chord with the audience, gathered for a Forbes’ “30 under 30 Summit.” They gave her a standing ovation.
The point of the talk was how the Internet can shatter people’s reputations.
Sure enough, when the affair with Clinton became public, Lewinsky was forever associated with a certain blue dress.
“Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one. I was Patient Zero,” Lewinsky said, noting specifically how the publicity from the Drudge Report went worldwide.
“The first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet,” was how she described herself.>
But whose fault was it, really?

Lend Me Your Ear

Can you hear me now?
“The knife separates the earlobe from the body. A concrete wall of psychiatry separates the reasonable from the mad patients,” the Russian Van Gogh said in a statement about his public performance, which he called “Separation.” “By again using psychiatry for political goals, the police give themselves the power to separate the sane from the insane.”
Well, he's been separated...

Manning The Stage

It's coming:
A new artistic production aims to give new perspective on Chelsea Manning — serving a 35-year prison sentence for the biggest document leak in US — through an oppressive atmosphere of digital disorientation.

“The Source,” which premieres Wednesday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, is described as a “multimedia oratorio” by its creators who acknowledge there is no exact term to describe their strikingly unique take on the WikiLeaks informant.

The production makes music out of primary source material — including a web chat in which Manning explained her actions, as well as excerpts from some of the 700,000 classified documents the former Army analyst handed to the WikiLeaks website.
You have been warned...

Vegan Tales

Bad new for vegetarians:
Although a diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables can protect against many illnesses and can prolong life, it appears that it may also harm fertility.
Researchers at Loma Linda University Medical School, in southern California, embarked on a four-year project to find out how diets affect sperm.
The region has a high population of Seventh-Day Adventist Christians who believe that meat is impure and so are strict vegetarians.
Seventh-day Adventists live an average of 10 years longer than the American life expectancy of about 79 years and the researchers wanted to find out if their astonishing longevity might be linked to sperm quality.
However they found the opposite. Vegetarians and vegans had significantly lower sperm counts compared with meat eaters, 50 million sperm per ml compared with 70 million per ml.
Beef. It's what's for reproduction...

Le Clown

Evil clowns come to France:
Using fake weapons these "clowns" have been "mostly spotted outside schools, but also on public roads, in bushes, in a square. Their targets are often young children or teenagers, but also adults," a police source told AFP.

"They take their inspiration from American horror movies," the source said, adding that the trend appeared to have started from a Facebook challenge.

The wave of clown threats even prompted the region's local government representative Denis Robin to take to his official Facebook page to condemn "these misdemeanours".
I presume this was before he surrendered...

Off The Court

President Obama's not interested in a Supreme Court gig:
“When I got out of law school, I chose not to clerk,” he said. “Partly because I was an older student, but partly because I don’t think I have the temperament to sit in a chamber and write opinions.” But he sounded tempted by the idea.

“I love the law, intellectually,” Obama went on. “I love nutting out these problems, wrestling with these arguments. I love teaching. I miss the classroom and engaging with students. But I think being a Justice is a little bit too monastic for me. Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more.”
There's always the links...

Diplomatic Flow

The United Nations comes to Detroit:
Special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing Leilani Farha and special rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation Catarina de Albuquerque were to informally stop by neighborhoods over the weekend where water has been shut off.
They’ve already heard from people who’ve lost service because they haven’t paid their bills. Several hundred Detroiters turned out yesterday for a public hearing on the shut offs.
“We only owed like $220 or something and they threatened to cut us off .. I just thought it was unwarranted because the bill is really low,” said one resident.
It's now an international crisis, or something...

Paid Vacation

There are a lot of people getting paid for doing nothing:
The extensive use of so-called administrative leave continues despite government personnel rules that limit paid leave for employees facing discipline to “rare circumstances” in which the employee is considered a threat. The long-standing rules were written in an effort to curb waste and deal quickly with workers accused of misconduct.

And the comptroller general, the top federal official responsible for auditing government finances and practices, has repeatedly ruled that federal workers should not be sidelined for long periods for any reason.

But a forthcoming report by the Government Accountability Office found that 53,000 civilian employees were kept home for one to three months during the three fiscal years that ended in September 2013. About 4,000 more were kept off the job for three months to a year and several hundred for one to three years.
I guess they found reasons...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fallen Arches

Putin doesn't like quarter pounders:
In August, Russia’s consumer protection agency ordered four of the company’s largest restaurants to suspend operations over a host of alleged hygiene violations and shortly afterwards added another five to the list.

At the time, the decision was seen as a political message aimed at mollifying anti-western sentiment and demonstrating that Moscow was responding to sanctions imposed by the US and the EU, which have crippled Russian banks and corporates in their ability to access global capital markets.

But since then, regulatory moves against the chain’s outlets have mushroomed. “Right now, more than 200 probes have been initiated,” McDonald’s Russia said in a statement released on its website at the weekend. It said a court had extended the consumer watchdog’s temporary closure of the initial nine restaurants and added that it would appeal against the decision.
In Russia, Big Mac eats you...

Exiting The One

Suppose President Obama showed up at a campaign rally and nobody cared?
"You've got to vote," Obama repeated over and over at a rally for Brown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, near Washington.

Democrats have a history of not turning up to vote in midterm elections.

"There are no excuses. The future is up to us," Obama said.

A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.
You'd think he was just another politician...

SS For The SS

Nazi war criminals scam the system:
Denzinger, 90, is among dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards who collected millions of dollars in Social Security payments after being forced out of the United States, an Associated Press investigation found.

The payments flowed through a legal loophole that has given the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal government records.
....

The Justice Department denied using Social Security payments as a tool for removing Nazi suspects. But records show the U.S. State Department and the Social Security Administration voiced grave concerns over the methods used by the Justice Department's Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations.

State officials derogatorily called the practice "Nazi dumping" and claimed the OSI was bargaining with suspects so they would leave voluntarily.
Or paying them off...

Old Hat Southern Charm

The Clintons don't seem to have the traction they used to:
“Self-proclaimed Clinton Democrats are struggling this election cycle, and not even their powerful namesakes may be enough to save them,” The Hill reported on Sunday. “Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have tried to turn on their charms to help centrist Democrats in Kentucky and Arkansas. But as candidates in both states are slipping, help from the party’s preeminent power couple is falling short.”

The Hill noted two of the most prominent examples of Democratic candidates shunning the president in favor of the Clinton label, Kentucky Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes and Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, are rapidly seeing their electoral prospects dwindle.

Even where former President Bill Clinton served as governor for two terms and remains wildly popular, he is getting little traction in the effort to ensure Democrats retain control of that state’s Senate seat and governor’s mansion. “Despite their close ties to the Clintons, their efforts to distance themselves from a deeply unpopular current president may not work,” The Hill reported.
The Clintons made the bed that Obama's former supporters now have to lie in...

Lotto Bucks

Some forms of gambling are more equal than others:
Webb added more than 2,000 acres of new parks and open space to Denver… paid for in large party by lottery proceeds. In 1996, Webb allocated $11.4 million for more land for parks. How would that be paid for? “Future state lottery allocations.” In fact, from the mid 1990s through 2002, Webb was involved in pushing multiple public works projects totaling tens of millions of dollars, and a deep dive into these stories shows that nearly all of them were to be financed – at least in part – with lottery money.
One man's chump is another's meal ticket...

King For A Day

Who's not a fan of the first black President? The niece of MLK:
In an interview, Innis—whose father Roy Innis has led the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), one of the major organizations behind the Civil Rights movement, since 1968—said that progressive and big government policies have created a “welfare state that has largely not only destroyed the black and increasingly so Latino—and American family generally—they have killed the types of incentives that had led people to achieve and build a better life for themselves.”
“You can have opportunity right in front of your door but you're terrified to open it because you’re a victim,” Innis said. “So those two realities that you have now since a leviathan of the federal government that is trying to fashion itself as a cradle-to-grave big daddy government—going to take care of you from cradle to grave and give you all sorts of disincentives to climbing that economic ladder, and by the way if you do climb that economic ladder they’re going to punish you punitively with taxes that are going to undermine you."
"If you dare want to open up a business, they’re going to cripple you with regulations and taxes and they’re going to make it easier for you to be a rational human being and just get government benefits rather than being a liberated individual who can climb that economic ladder," he continued. "So you have that real but not concrete phenomenon of big government mentality crippling you and then you have on a parallel track victimization syndrome overriding it that says—you pick the minority—‘you are a victim and you are the underdog so you can never achieve.’ That is a dangerous recipe and it is a recipe that has dominated urban centers for more than 50 years and what we’re trying to do is liberate them.”
This will not sit well with the dependency crowd...

Troll Time

Great Britain wants to lock up the trolls:
Victims have long been calling for police and prosecutors to take online abuse more seriously and lawyers had anticipated an increase in sentences for those convicted of trolling.

"There is a public interest in having people put away for a long time," Chris Holder, of London law firm Bristows, told AFP earlier this month.

"It is putting someone in fear of their life and fear of physical harm. I think the law will develop and the sentences will go up and up."

However, some lawyers and freedom of speech campaigners have warned that criminal sanctions should be the last resort.

"Do we want to criminalise every social conduct that we find problematic?" Barbora Bukovska, a senior director at campaign group ARTICLE 19, said earlier this month.
Even trolls have some rights?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Clown Fear

Why are we scared of clowns?
“We are way past clowns being figures of innocent pleasure,” says Andrew McConnell Stott, an English professor at the University of Buffalo and author of The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi, the definitive biography on the Regency Era clown and actor. “They have been sinister figures for so long it is impossible to remember when they weren’t.”

Stott argues that they were somewhat questionable figures to begin with. “Really, it existed since middle ages,” he says. “There was the sense of the clown being embodiment of frailty and the absurdity of life. The subtext of the clown is that life is a joke and can be snatched away at any moment.”
....

“Clown sightings are cyclical,” says Stott, who says that urban legend of creepy clowns in ice cream trucks ran rampant during the economic downturn of the 1980s. “They tend to be recessionary. It is not surprising that these images should be showing up during a time of unraveling of job security. They go back to clowns being at the bottom of the economic and social ladder, and to them being tied to the unreliability of work and the fragility of the structures that used to be counted on, like having a single job for your entire career. They are a reminder that human endeavor can be reduced to ashes in a blink of an eye.”
As some of these morons may soon be...

Cash Now, Coverage Later

Obamacare is still too expensive for many:
About 7.3 million Americans are enrolled in private coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than 80 percent qualified for federal subsidies to help with the cost of their monthly premiums. But many are still on the hook for deductibles that can top $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families — the trade-off, insurers say, for keeping premiums for the marketplace plans relatively low. The result is that some people — no firm data exists on how many — say they hesitate to use their new insurance because of the high out-of-pocket costs.
If you can't afford your health insurance, you can still keep it, at least...