Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Hollywood Exorcist

In the name of Oscar, she casts him out:
Stavis, dubbed the Sister of Darkness, has gone public with her extraordinary gift with the release of her new book: Sister of Darkness The Chronicles of a Modern Exorcist.

The horror screenwriter and novelist has secretly been an exorcist to the stars for years, helping Hollywood's elite to get rid of their demons.

She has cleansed thousands of tormented people from Hollywood moguls, actors and actresses to stay-at-home moms and politicians.

Stavis, 39, has never advertised her services and works pro bono, first starting her hobby by helping 'possessed' friends and family in her spare time.

But word soon spread around Hollywood about her unusual gift and now she has a waiting list of mostly high profile clients all desperate to be cleansed.

'My clients range all over the place, but I do see a lot of people you'd think of as famous,' she says.

'I see heads of studios, rock icons, Oscar winners, politicians, I see all kinds of people, I also see the girl next door and this grandma and regular people who are suffering as well.'
It doesn't seem to have helped the famous ones as much...

Groping For The Truth

What happens when MeToo hits a woman?
As a #MeToo activist, she's called on those accused of harassment to resign immediately – but she does not plan to do so herself.

"I don't know if I would go so far as to say that it's hypocritical. What I do know is that it's incredibly questionable," Fierro said.

"I'm going to be respectful of the process. I've been trying really hard to be respectful of people coming forward," Garcia said. "I've never had allegations like this against me."
Too bad she doesn't seem to feel that way when it comes to her male employees...

Small Business Is Good

Main Street likes what it sees:
The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Q1 Small Business Confidence Index saw an increase of five points, from 57 to 62, a record high and the largest quarter-to-quarter move the index has seen since CNBC and SurveyMonkey began measuring last year. This is the first survey since President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017.

In the Q4 survey, small-business owners were split evenly on the core question about the effect that tax policy would have on their business. Opinions have shifted significantly: Twice as many now expect changes in tax policy to have a positive rather than negative effect on their businesses. Forty-six percent of those surveyed say tax policy changes will have a positive effect, up from 38 percent in the fourth quarter. The number of those saying tax policy changes will have a negative impact fell sharply, from 36 percent in the fourth quarter to 23 percent in the most recent survey.
Prosperity has a way of changing peoples' minds...

The Health Care Reformation

While the Democrats bemoan the lack of collusion evidence, Trump and the republicans focus on one of the Democrats' supposed original goals:
The proposed regulations would allow insurers to sell individual consumers "short-term" policies that can last up to 12 months, have fewer benefits, and come with lower premiums.

The plans also would come with a disclaimer that they don't meet the Affordable Care Act's consumer protection requirements, such as guaranteed coverage. Insurers could also charge consumers more if an individual's medical history discloses health problems.

But at a time of rising premiums, Trump administration officials touted the option as a boost for those who need coverage but don’t qualify for the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies and would otherwise face paying the full premium cost.

"We need to be opening up more affordable alternatives," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters. "It's one step in the direction of providing Americans with alternatives that are both more affordable and more suited to individual and family circumstances."
....

The proposal comes after congressional Republicans failed to pass legislation to repeal and replace the ACA, though did repeal the individual requirement to buy health insurance.

Critics of Trump's approach say that making such short-term policies more attractive to consumers will undermine the health care law's insurance markets, because healthy customers will have an incentive to stay away from HealthCare.gov and its state-run counterparts.

Democrats say the solution is to increase government subsidies, so that more middle-class people will be eligible for taxpayer assistance to buy comprehensive coverage. Under Obama, short-term plans were limited to periods of no longer than three months.
God forbid health care plans should be made more appealing to buyers...

Monday, February 19, 2018

No Chicken, No Fowl

In Britain, it's the chicken apocalypse:
The sudden fried food drought had finger-lickin’ fans in a flap.

“@KFC_UKI_Help can’t believe #plymouth crownhill is shut… ruining the birthday of my 12 year old! Thank god for @McDonalds … running out of chicken!! Basics!” Mom Vicky tweeted.

KFC blamed the cluck-up on a new delivery company that is still ironing out all the kinks.

“The chicken crossed the road, just not to our restaurants,” KFC’s British branch tweeted Sunday.
Which came first, the delivery or the meal?

The Invisible Wall

Out: Glass ceilings. In: Glass walls:
The problem stems from Apple's extensive use of glass in constructing the buildings on the campus. The company was very happy to share during development that it was using the world's largest panels of curved glass. But glass is clear and therefore quite hard to see when you're walking about. It seems Apple didn't think about that and employees have been walking into glass walls unaware they are there.

The reason we know about these glass-hitting injuries is because some have resulted in calls to emergency services. MarketWatch managed to track down the public records for two such incidents involving men walking into glass and suffering cuts, one of which was confirmed to be an Apple employee. A tweet by Kenn Durrence in January also suggested "seven people injured themselves" by walking into glass doors.
Of course they could just be figments of everyone's imagination...

Blue Or Red?

In all fairness, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference:

Due Process, Too

Even Ruth Bader Ginsberg agrees:
Unsurprisingly, Ginsburg was happy about the increased public attention being paid to the problems of sexual harassment and gender-based inequality in the workplace. But she was also concerned about protecting the due process rights of the accused—particularly on college campuses:

Rosen: What about due process for the accused?

Ginsburg: Well, that must not be ignored and it goes beyond sexual harassment. The person who is accused has a right to defend herself or himself, and we certainly should not lose sight of that. Recognizing that these are complaints that should be heard. There's been criticism of some college codes of conduct for not giving the accused person a fair opportunity to be heard, and that's one of the basic tenets of our system, as you know, everyone deserves a fair hearing.

Rosen: Are some of those criticisms of the college codes valid?

Ginsburg: Do I think they are? Yes.

Note that Ginsburg was asked about due process, but not campuses specifically. The fact that she immediately suggested college codes of conduct as an example of a policy that sometimes violates "the basic tenets of our system," says a great deal about the glaring unfairness of the modern approach to Title IX, the federal statute that requires universities to investigate sexual harassment and assault. And Ginsburg didn't just make note of the controversy; she explicitly said critics of the current procedures have a point.
Her Honor has made her ruling...

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Le Rat Apocalypse

Paris has too many rats:
Estimates put the number of rats between 4 and 6 million in the city. The rodents are becoming more aggressive and less timid, and are now appearing in popular tourist areas, like near the Musée d'Orsay, and in the plaza in front of the Cathédral de Notre Dame. Pragmatists note that rats are able to stabilize their population according to the available resources. They argue that more rats are visible because of increased amounts of construction and the flooding Seine — both of which send them out of their holes and into the open.

But some concerned mayors in the areas surrounding the city fear the rats are becoming resistant to the poisons intended to kill them. According to WorldCrunch, researchers "believe that by regularly consuming the anticoagulant products, but in small doses, rats are gradually developing an immunity."

While unsightly, rats are also known to carry disease (lest we forget the black plague?). Whether the actual number of rats has been increasing or not, officials are asking people to clean up after themselves and for restaurants to clean up their outdoor cafe areas at night, rather than in the mornings. They also hope that filling sewers with cement near restaurants will help keep the rodents at bay. Nonetheless, a petition entitled "Stop the Rat Genocide" circulated in 2016 and garnered 25,000 signatures. It implored the city to stop the rat extermination that was taking place.
You'd think the French would want to get rid of something dirtier than they are...

Echo Tech

Big tech faces an exodus:
Apart from ideological issues, many are being driven away from the Bay Area by soaring housing costs and increasing traffic congestion, a 2016 survey by the Bay Area Council suggested. Of the 1,000 registered voters from the nine counties making up the Bay Area, 40% said they were considering leaving the region, citing the cost of living, traffic and a lack of availability of housing.

Still, there are signs that the political discussions pervading workplaces over the past two years have alienated a section of the workforce. According to a recent survey by Lincoln Network, an advocacy group for conservatives and libertarians in the tech sector, 31% of the 387 tech workers polled said they know someone who didn’t pursue or left a career in tech because they saw a conflict in viewpoints with their employer or colleagues. Among respondents who identified themselves as “very conservative,” that number was 59%.
Conform, they said...

Saturday, February 17, 2018

From Russia With Trolling

Russian trolls don't like getting caught:
When asked to comment on the charges at the gathering in Germany, Lavrov stressed that US officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, had in the past "denied that any country influenced results of the election".

Former Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak was equally dismissive when he took to the stage at the top security gathering in Munich.

"We didn't meddle in the American political life," said Kislyak, who was posted in Washington when Trump's White House win stunned the world.

"Whatever allegations are being mounted against us are simply fantasies that are being used for political reasons inside the United States in the fight between different sides of the political divide," he added.

Kislyak's own name has popped up in Mueller's probe as part of his inquiries into contacts between Russia and the Trump team.
Time for more blather, da?

Good Times Pay

Democrats try to find a new argument:
Republicans continue to see the bill as their saving grace in their push to keep hold of the House and, to a lesser extent the Senate. The American Action Network, an outside group with the backing of Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has pumped $29 million to back the bill, including over $5 million since it passed in mid-December. The Koch brothers have also spent $20 million, and plan to invest another $20 million to sell the law.

House Republicans also have seized on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's characterization of the tax law, which she said is only giving "crumbs" back to taxpayers. Democrats from red states believe that was a mistake, but Pelosi continues to use that line.

"The approach has to be more big picture than personal, because you can't tell people that are getting $200 a month more that that's not good," said Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., ranking member on the House Budget Committee. "That's big money for a lot of people."

"I would say it differently," Yarmuth said. "I wouldn't say a couple thousand dollars a year is 'crumbs.'"

Democrats are being urged to point out the disparity between immediate benefits for lower and middle-class Americans and the nation's top earners, especially as they head home for the next week during the week-long recess. However, they see an uphill slog against the GOP messaging and the rising paychecks some voters are experiencing.

"It's tougher to win when people are seeing more money," Yarmuth said, although he believes noting the disparity between the rich and other taxpayers will eventually resonate with voters.
Unless everybody gets richer...

Friday, February 16, 2018

No Victims Allowed

Clarence Thomas is not impressed with your claims to victimhood:
“At some point, we’re going to be fatigued with everybody being the victim,” Thomas, the second African American to serve on the Supreme Court, said during an on-stage interview at the Library of Congress in Washington.

Thomas, a conservative appointed to the bench in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, recalled recently being with a young black woman in Kansas who told him, “I’m really tired of having to play the role of being black. I just want to go to school.”

“I just get worn down,” Thomas said.

The justice said his grandfather had a tough life but never considered himself a victim.

“When I was a kid, there were tons of people who were in really bad circumstances,” Thomas said. “My grandfather would not let us wallow in that.”

Thomas added: “He’s my hero. He’s the single greatest human being I’ve ever met. With nine months of education. But he never saw himself as a victim.”
Unfortunately, too many people today do, and for too little reason...

Dinner Dates

Keith Ellison is unhappy about being called out:
Despite swearing off his relationship with Farrakhan when he ran for Congress, Ellison attended at least three meetings with the hate group leader since taking office, according to photos, videos and witness accounts reviewed by The Daily Caller.

One of those meetings included a visit to Farrkahan’s hotel room, which Farrakhan later described as friendly. Ellison’s office has repeatedly declined TheDC’s requests for comment about that meeting.

When Ellison’s hometown paper, the Minnesota Star Tribune, asked about the hotel meeting, Ellison spokesman Karthik Ganapathy chose to attack the media instead of confirming or denying that the meeting took place.

“Rep. Ellison has advocated a pluralistic, peaceful and broadly prosperous vision for our nation’s future his entire career, and the idea that matters less than whether or not he was once upon a time standing near somebody is an insane symptom of how our country’s political media coverage is so broken,” Ganapathy told the Tribune.

“Rep. Ellison knows Minnesotans understand that standing in a room doesn’t mean you endorse every view of everyone else in that room, and wishes the space being used to print this story was instead spent calling more attention to the scourge of white nationalist gun violence, or the deportation threat facing hundreds of thousands of young immigrants across our country,” Ganapathy said.
The extremists are just acquaintances, he said...

Time For A New FBI

Does the FBI need a makeover? Jeff Sessions thinks so:
“It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed,” Sessions wrote in a statement. “We see the tragic consequences of those failures.”

“The FBI in conjunction with our state and local partners must act flawlessly to prevent all attacks. This is imperative, and we must do better,” he continued.

Sessions demanded the review would help both bodies “reach the highest level of prompt and effective response to indications of potential violence that come to us.”
There's no question by now that the Feds dropped the ball. But should this lead to dropping the ball on due process?

Conspiracy Theories Indicted

The Russians were sort of there:
The indictment strongly implies links to the Kremlin. Over $1 million in rubles is alleged to have been funneled into the conspiracy through sources like “Concord Catering,” a company with significant contracts with the Russian government.

The indictment contains no explicit allegation of collusion with Donald Trump’s or any other 2016 campaign. Most Americans, including at least one Trump campaign official, who communicated with the Russian conspirators are described as “unwitting.” As Rosenstein explained:

The Russians also recruited and paid real Americans to engage in political activities, promote political campaigns, and stage political rallies. The defendants and their co-conspirators pretended to be grassroots activists. According to the indictment, the Americans did not know that they were communicating with Russians.

The 13 are alleged to have co-opted the identities of several Americans to carry out their plot, to have organized rallies in the United States under the pretense of being American grassroots groups.
Fake Americans, fake conspiracy?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Britain's Big Doctor Disaster

Why the NHS has failed:
Government is, by definition, bad at running things. But if a country's government decides it's going to provide health care, and if the people want it to, have at it. Good luck. But in order to give publicly run health care even a chance to work, the government must ensure that the resources will be there. And in order to ensure that, it must take certain steps. For one thing, it must curtail immigration by people who will burden the welfare system. It must stop pouring cash down the foreign-aid rathole. And so on. The list of things that need to be done is pretty obvious.

But Britain hasn't done any of these things. In the future, accordingly, its welfare rolls are destined to swell -- and the NHS is destined to become increasingly overburdened. Queues will grow even longer; rationing will become more severe; British subjects will find themselves being denied care because of their advanced age, their excessive weight, their smoking or drinking habits -- or their lack of connections.
But they still love Big Doctor...

The Cheaters Within

The IRS is still paying them:
IRS screening did stop more than 1,000 employees with tax problems from getting bonuses, but 1,962 employees with discipline problems — and 26 who had been found to have intentionally cheated on their tax returns — were still paid bonuses in 2016 and 2017, topping $1.7 million.

Other employees who weren’t in full compliance but hadn’t been flagged for discipline also snuck through, the inspector general said.

The IRS promised to study the issue.
....

The new report is a follow-up to a previous audit that found more than 2,800 employees with conduct problems had gotten bonuses from 2010 to 2012.

The IRS said it takes the issue seriously.

“The IRS understands the importance of withholding awards from employees whose conduct is deemed to impact the integrity of the service, and/or who have a tax compliance issue, regardless of the level of discipline imposed,” wrote Katherine M. Coffman, a “human capital officer” at the agency, in the IRS’s official response.
Who polices the money police?

The Valley Below

Peter Thiel is quitting Silicon Valley:
Mr. Thiel’s plans are part of a broad move by the venture capitalist, who has ties to dozens of top startups, to reduce his direct role in the Silicon Valley tech industry that he helped to shape, the people said. Mr. Thiel has grown more disaffected by what he sees as the intolerant, left-leaning politics of the San Francisco Bay Area, and increasingly pessimistic about the prospects for tech businesses amid greater risk of regulation, they said.

As a result, after spending most of the past four decades in the Bay Area, the 50-year-old plans to permanently move into the 7,000-square-foot home overlooking the Sunset Strip that he bought six years ago, a person familiar with the matter said. He also will move Thiel Capital and Thiel Foundation, two firms that oversee his investments, into new Los Angeles headquarters this year, the person said.

Mr. Thiel has long stood out in Silicon Valley for his vocal libertarianism, but he drew heavy criticism from many tech-industry peers—including fellow Facebook board member Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix Inc.—when he backed Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign and later served as an adviser on his White House transition team.

Mr. Thiel has recently said tech culture has become increasingly intolerant of conservative political views since Mr. Trump’s election, an attitude he has said is intellectually and politically fraught.

“Silicon Valley is a one-party state,” Mr. Thiel said last month at a debate about tech and politics at Stanford University. “That’s when you get in trouble politically in our society, when you’re all in one side.”
One party doesn't fit all...

Another Shooting, Another Aftermath

So now that Cruz has confessed, what do we do next?
“All of law enforcement is deeply concerned about this trend of violence in schools and other, similar places,” he said, noting that he had discussed the issue with an organization of local law enforcement officials Thursday morning.

“I was with the Major County Sheriffs’ Association this morning, and they all said, and believe, that there are signals and signs before these shootings that, if recognized, could lead to intervention, and could stop these events from occurring.”

Attorney General Sessions spoke with Breitbart News just minutes after President Donald Trump had addressed the nation.

In a televised speech, President Trump said that his administration was working with local law enforcement to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” which officials believe was a factor in Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 18 were killed and more than a dozen were wounded.
Of course the left has a different answer. Why don't they ever want to help the mentally ill? Especially when so many of them come from their ranks?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Bill Begone

Democrats don't want Bill Clinton around:
In a year when the party is deploying all their other big guns and trying to appeal to precisely the kind of voters Clinton has consistently won over, an array of Democrats told POLITICO they’re keeping him on the bench. They don’t want to be seen anywhere near a man with a history of harassment allegations, as guilty as their party loyalty to him makes them feel about it.

“I think it’s pretty tough,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), vice chair of the House Progressive Caucus and one of the leading voices in Congress demanding changes in Washington’s approach to sexual harassment. His presence “just brings up a lot of issues that will be very tough for Democrats. And I think we all have to be clear about what the #MeToo movement was.”
So why did they excuse his behavior for all those years?

Bigot For Hire

Well, that was quick:
Quinn Norton — who was named as the Times’ “lead opinion writer on the power, culture and consequences of technology” — ended her very short tenure after controversy erupted over her use of racial and homophobic slurs on Twitter.

“Despite our review of Quinn Norton’s work and our conversations with her previous employers, this was new information to us,” read a statement from editorial page editor James Bennet.

“Based on it, we’ve decided to go our separate ways.”

In a series of tweets, Norton admitted to being “friends with various neo-Nazis” although she claimed she “never agreed with them.”

In one conversation from 2013, Norton wrote, “Here’s the deal, f—-t. Free speech comes with responsibility. not legal, but human. grown up. you can do this.”

In another oddly prescient tweet from 2014, she said, “Today I realized I’d probably make a lot more money being a racist for @nytimes.”
At least she'll still have her resume...

The Hollywood Exorcist

In the name of Oscar, she casts him out: Stavis, dubbed the Sister of Darkness, has gone public with her extraordinary gift with the release...