The purchases, known among federal employees as “micropurchases,” are made by some of the thousands of agency employees who are issued taxpayer-funded purchase cards. The purchases, in most cases, remain confidential and are not publicly disclosed by the agencies. A sampling of those purchases, obtained by the I-Team via the Freedom of Information Act, reveals at least one agency used those cards to buy $30,000 in Starbucks Coffee drinks and products in one year without having to disclose or detail the purchases to the public.Their cards, your money...
A series of other recent purchases, reviewed by internal government auditors, include wasteful and inappropriate purchases by government employees -- including a gym membership and JC Penney clothing -- that were not detected or stopped until after the purchase was completed.
Friday, October 31, 2014
What are government agencies buying?
Can Democrats keep relying on women to save them?
The danger for Democratic candidates is that their advantage among women could be so reduced by dissatisfaction with President Obama and the country’s course that it is not enough to offset Republicans’ usual edge among the smaller population of male voters. Should that happen, a party pollster, Geoff Garin, acknowledged, “They’ll lose.”They've literally got nothing else left...
But he and other Democratic strategists professed optimism, however tempered, for the party’s imperiled Senate majority, among other things. Mr. Garin pointed to surveys of states with the most competitive Senate contests showing that on average Democratic candidates lead among women by about 12 points, while men favor the Republican by an average of nine points. Since women account for more than half the electorate, Democrats theoretically can withstand some erosion of support.
As for the party’s emphasis on women’s issues, he said, “If Democrats weren’t running on these issues, the situation would be much worse.”
Tahmooressi has said he took a wrong turn on a California freeway that funneled him into a Tijuana port of entry with no way to turn back. His detention brought calls for his freedom from U.S. politicians, veterans groups and social media campaigns.Welcome home, Marine...
"It is with an overwhelming and humbling feeling of relief that we confirm that Andrew was released today after spending 214 days in Mexican Jail," the family said in a statement.
U.S. Republican and Democratic politicians had held talks with Mexican authorities to urge his release. A U.S. congressional committee also held a public hearing to pressure Mexico to free him.
U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was "elated" by the news and that his PTSD will be treated by specialists in the United States.
Yes, she really is this desperate:
Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu said Thursday that the issue of race is a major reason that President Barack Obama has struggled politically in Southern states.Except that, well:
“I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans,” Landrieu told NBC News in an interview. “It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal blasted Landrieu’s comments as desperate and out of touch.As may the voters-but maybe they're racist...
“She appears to be living in a different century. Implied in her comments is the clear suggestion that President Obama and his policies are unpopular in Louisiana because of his ethnicity,” said Jindal. “That is a major insult by Senator Landrieu to the people of Louisiana, and I flatly reject it.”
At long last, reconciliation?
“Leader McConnell is and has always been committed to the full repeal of Obamacare, and he’ll continue to lead efforts to repeal and replace it with patient-centered reforms that enable greater choice at lower costs. He knows it won’t be easy, but he also believes that if Republicans are fortunate enough to take back the majority we’ll owe it to the American people to try through votes on full repeal, the bill’s most onerous provisions, and reconciliation,” McConnell spokesman Brian McGuire wrote in an emailed statement…Turnabout is fair play...
It remains an open question as to how much of the law could be repealed through the complicated reconciliation process. For instance, the law’s spending provisions could probably be repealed this way, but regulations that aren’t directly related to the budget likely couldn’t be.
finally weighs in on nurse Hickox's excursions:
The White House said on Thursday that it did not support the decision by a nurse in Maine to flout the voluntary quarantine imposed upon her by state authorities concerned about her exposure to Ebola.I thought that was the point...
A spokesman for Barack Obama said that it was up to states to set their own public health rules, although he believed they should be guided by science.
A grim reminder of how important testing is:
SpaceShipTwo was testing a new plastic-based rocket fuel for the first time today. Eyewitness told The Daily Beast that the spacecraft exploded shortly after the rocket motor was ignited. The spaceship had not flown a powered flight in about nine months because engineers were switching out its original engine that used rubber-based rocket fuel for the new engine that used plastic-based fuel.Space X will continue, but hopefully future disasters will be avoided.
Scaled Composites, which built the spacecraft, had experienced some problems with the new rocket, which until today had only been tested on the ground. While the new motor holds much promise of greatly increased performance, there were also some serious risks associated with the new rocket—as today’s incident proved.
Just because you're dead, doesn't mean you still can't keep getting your medication:
Investigators examined claims from 2012 for a tiny sliver of Medicare drugs — medications to treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS — and then cross-referenced them with death records. They found that the program paid for drugs for 158 beneficiaries after they were already dead. The cost to taxpayers: $292,381, an average of $1,850 for each beneficiary.Well, they do have the right to vote, as well...
Medicare's "current practices allowed most of these payments to occur," said the report. It underscored that the problem extends beyond HIV drugs.
Investigators found that of 348 HIV prescriptions dispensed for dead beneficiaries, nearly half were filled more than a week after the patient died. Sometimes multiple prescriptions were filled on behalf of a single dead person.
Hungary's tax revolt succeeds:
Opponents of the tax, who said it would have hurt consumers already struggling with a faltering economy, described the U-turn as a major victory.Good, but Orban's not exactly democratic:
But Orban's announcement was unlikely to end discontent among liberal Hungarians who accuse him of being an autocrat and are frustrated there is no prospect of removing him until elections in 2018. Recent anti-tax rallies have been a catalyst for broader anti-government protests.
"This tax in its current form cannot be introduced," Orban told public radio. "If the people not only dislike something but also consider it unreasonable then it should not be done."
In his four years in power, Orban's government has ordered an audit into civil society groups, has tightened state oversight over the media and slapped costly levies on foreign companies.Autocrats are only as democratic as they choose to be...
The European Union and the United States have voiced concerns that Orban, who made his name opposing Communist rule in the 1980s, has acquired too much power and is back-sliding on democracy.
Ya wanna vote, don't ya?
Democrats are telling voters that they had better head to the polls — or else.It's nothing personal-it's just politics...
The New York State Democratic Committee is bullying people into voting next week with intimidating letters warning that it can easily find out which slackers fail to cast a ballot next Tuesday.
“Who you vote for is your secret. But whether or not you vote is public record,” the letter says.
“We will be reviewing voting records . . . to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014.”
It ends with a line better suited to a mob movie than a major political party: “If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not.”
Thursday, October 30, 2014
In politics, timing is everything:
National Review Online is reporting that the FBI (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DOJ) has made the highly unusual decision to disclose their investigation into Mike Rounds (pictured above), a Republican Senate candidate in South Dakota, less than a week before next Tuesday’s vote.I'm sure it's just a coincidence...
The alleged misconduct being investigated is somewhat obscure–something involving a work visa program in the state–but it is notable that the alleged misconduct was to have occurred three years ago, and the FBI’s announcement comes a year after the state’s own attorney general closed its own investigation without bringing any charges.
The concern, of course, is that the FBI announcement was timed to influence Rounds’ prospects in next week’s voting. When asked for more detail, the FBI replied that the agent in charge of the investigation would be unavailable to provide additional information until late next week, after the election, thus leaving a cloud over Rounds’ candidacy through election day.
Obamacare isn't helping:
Most Americans don’t want to get rid of Obamacare. They just don’t share its fundamental goal of universal coverage anymore.Looks like the village doesn't want to be burned...
And not only did the political benefits that Democrats thought the 2010 law would eventually bring them not materialize, opposition has only grown, according to an analysis of multiple polls taken between 2010 and last month.
Only 47 percent of Americans agree that it’s the government’s job to make sure everyone has health coverage, down from 69 percent in 2006, the analysis found.
She wasn't fired; she got her job eliminated:
“We reorganized and eliminated the position that I had, and I left that organization in charge of two other people who reported directly to the U.S.,” said Burke, the Democratic candidate for governor. Burke is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker in Tuesday’s election.Maybe she's worried about her campaign being eliminated by the voters...
Burke was responding to claims by multiple former Trek employees who told Wisconsin Reporter that Burke was fired from her family-owned business over poor performance and conduct issues.
She characterized the Wisconsin Reporter article as “ridiculous.”
“Frankly, this is the sort of nonsense, six days before an election, baseless allegations that are deterring frankly from the issues that are really important here,” Burke said on the campaign trail in Green Bay, according to a story from the Wisconsin Radio Network.
The exorcist made him do it?
When Moore confessed, he told police Deaton ordered him to kill his wife to stop her from telling anyone about sexual assaults against her in the house, according to police records. The three lived in a communal house with other male members of the group.No spinning head?
"This is a horrible, horrible crime," Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said. "A young woman lost her life. She lost her life in a very violent way and today, we do know what happened to her."
Now Moore claims he only confessed to killing Deaton because he was under the influence of what some have called an exorcism. Moore, who is scheduled for trial next month, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
"They were the statements of a distraught and confused young man," his attorney, Melanie Morgan, said.
The medical examiner has also changed the manner of Deaton's death to undetermined.
"We are aware of no evidence that a crime has occurred," Morgan said.
Ted Cruz has a warning:
"If we run another candidate like that, Hillary Clinton will be the next president," Cruz said Thursday morning on CNBC.You get the nominee you deserve?
Cruz, a conservative firebrand who is considering a presidential campaign, urged Republicans to "learn from history."
"We need to look to history and what works and what doesn't," he said. "The one thing is clear is if Republicans run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole, or a John McCain, or a Mitt Romney — and let me be clear, all three of those are good, honorable men. They're decent men. They're patriots. But if we run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole, or a John McCain, or Mitt Romney, we will end up with the same result."
Should George Stephanopoulos be moderating debates?
On Wednesday morning, Brown said he had “concerns” over Stephanopoulos being the debate moderator in the wake of a report from Breitbart News that a top campaign adviser to incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has longtime ties to the former Bill Clinton campaign official and White House adviser.It would seem to be a valid concern...
That appearance from Brown on Fox News came before a second report from Breitbart News that shows Stephanopoulos was actually sent as Clinton’s emissary to accept Shaheen’s and other Democratic women’s endorsement of his re-election campaign in 1996. Stephanopoulos then served as a “senior adviser” to the president. The exchange is on video, captured by C-SPAN at the time.
An ABC News spokesperson hasn't responded to a request for comment about Paul's comments on Stephanopoulos.
Paul raising concerns about Stephanopoulos comes at a time when the former Clinton operative is aiming to rehabilitate his image as a newsman. Last presidential cycle, as Paul noted, Stephanopoulos sowed the seeds of the “war on women” campaign theme that helped incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in the general election by inserting contraception questions into a GOP primary debate when no candidate had made the issue part of his or her platform.
How to get a non-violent beatdown:
Nikole Ardeno and Emanuel Velez, both 30, accused their former roommate of stealing their property, and allegedly punched and kicked him in the street until he had seizures. Arrested moments later, Ardeno was still wearing the same "Stop the Violence" T-shirt she had on the night before when she coordinated a march protesting two recent shootings, Washington Police Chief Chris Luppino said.Give fists a chance?
The victim, Joshua Magraff, also is a community organizer with the anti-violence group, and shared an apartment with the suspects until recently.
Online court records don't list lawyers for the defendants, who face a preliminary hearing Nov. 10 on charges of aggravated assault, conspiracy, simple assault and disorderly conduct.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Everything is under control:
“He told the authorities that he self-quarantined. Detectives then reviewed his credit-card statement and MetroCard and found that he went over here, over there, up and down and all around,” a source said.So I'm sure we can trust those health workers who complain about their quarantines...
Spencer finally ’fessed up when a cop “got on the phone and had to relay questions to him through the Health Department,” a source said.
The outer circle versus the inner space:
Mr. Kerry and Mr. Hagel, meanwhile, are struggling to penetrate the tightly knit circle around the president and carve out a place in the administration. Mr. Kerry is vocal and forceful in internal debates, officials said, and gets credit for putting together the coalition of Arab states that conducted military strikes in Syria. But he often seems out of sync with the White House in his public statements. White House officials joke that he is like the astronaut played by Sandra Bullock in the movie “Gravity,” somersaulting through space, untethered from the White House.Some would argue that the entire administration is already lost in space...
In separate interviews, Mr. McDonough and Ms. Rice rejected that portrait, saying Mr. Kerry dials into meetings and is heavily involved in the policy process.
All it needs is its own talk show:
Like all good comedians, Ginger must read the crowd. In this case, that involves programming the machine to pick up on social cues like clapping and even smiling.So at least Ginger's descendants will still have day jobs...
"Things like laughter, applause, these are symbolic things that we all do," says Knight. "So when you're in a theater you can have hundreds of people that are also data points.
"In the past I've given the audience feedback cards that were red on one side and green on the other, so they could explicitly tell the robot through its vision whether something was working or not."
Regardless of Ginger's comedic powers, the adorable bot could one day influence the "personalities" of other machines.
"For example, if you had a robot that's delivering juice boxes in a pre-school, then you'd want it to be pretty warm," explained Knight.
"But if you have a robot that's a security guard in a garage at night, with some suspicious people hanging around, then being a little intimidating can totally be appropriate."
More doctors agree-Obamacare isn't for them:
Over 214,000 doctors won't participate in the new plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA,) analysis of a new survey by Medical Group Management Association shows. That number of 214,524, estimated by American Action Forum, is through May 2014, but appears to be growing due to plans that force doctors to take on burdensome costs. It's also about a quarter of the total number of 893,851 active professional physicians reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation.It literally just isn't worth it to stay in...
HHS requires that insurers cover customers for an additional 90 days after they have stopped paying their premiums: the insurer covers the first 30 - but, it's up to the doctor to recoup payment for the last 60 days. This is the number one reason providers are opting to not participate in the exchange plans.
The Red Cross screwed up:
The Red Cross botched key elements of its mission after Sandy and Isaac, leaving behind a trail of unmet needs and acrimony, according to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR. The charity’s shortcomings were detailed in confidential reports and internal emails, as well as accounts from current and former disaster relief specialists.Except that they didn't...
What’s more, Red Cross officials at national headquarters in Washington, D.C. compounded the charity’s inability to provide relief by “diverting assets for public relations purposes,” as one internal report puts it. Distribution of relief supplies, the report said, was “politically driven.”
The problems stand in stark contrast to the Red Cross’ standing in the realm of disaster relief. President Obama, who is the charity’s honorary chairman, vouched for the group after Sandy, telling Americans to donate. “The Red Cross knows what they’re doing,” he said.
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz insists Democrats don't need whats-his-name:
"As someone who is on the ballot myself in six days from now, I can tell you that any candidate wants to be able to stand on their own," Schultz told MSNBC on Wednesday.What was his name, again?
"That's what our candidates are doing. They're focused on the issues that matter to their constituents," she said, adding "of course we have a common agenda that really unites us all," citing jobs and the economy.
Illinois voters experience the old Democratic switcheroo:
"Two nights ago, I took a call from a supporter of mine who said that his mother-in-law had gone to the library to vote and that every time that she went to push my name that it automatically bounced up to my opponents name," Schilling told KWQC, the local NBC affiliate, on October 24. "I thought, well, maybe she mixed up, she's an older gal, but come to find out in the last two days I've taken 17 calls of people saying the exact same thing."It's the Democratic way...
The two Moline voters say they didn’t expect to experience problems. They figured the problem was older people were having difficult with the machines' touchscreens. But both said their attempts to vote for Republicans on several races were switched to select the Democrat. One of the voters said he tried to vote for the Republican candidate in the races for U.S. House and the state senate, and that both his votes were registered as those for the Democratic candidate. The second voter said he had the same problem for those races as well as those for the state house and the Rock Island County clerk race.
“I pressed the top of the box for [Republican state senate candidate] Neil Anderson, and it clicked for [Democratic state senator] Mike Jacobs,” he said. The machines, both voters said, require the use of fingers, and no stylus or other device is provided.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Evil clowns continue to spread in France:
Complaints have poured in recently over "armed clowns" wreaking havoc in various parts of the country, and police have detained several people dressed as the pranksters - some carrying pistols, knives and baseball bats.And then there are the fake zombies.
The phenomenon has even prompted anti-clown vigilantism, forcing police to try to quell the hysteria by saying there have only been a few sightings of the terrifying clowns.
Theories abound as to the origin of the not-so-funny trend of violence in a country where Halloween has yet to take hold.
The suggestions include a challenge launched on social networks, a popular video on YouTube showing a terrifying clown pranking people or even a recent episode of the popular TV series American Horror Story featuring Twisty the killer clown.
How can you be a father when you're not? Like this:
Alexander explained to the judge and court again and again his situation. He says in hindsight, he didn't understand the formal legal steps necessary to make things right.Who's not your daddy?
Eventually he, by chance, ran into someone he knew would know where the woman was, and got a DNA test. It proved what he had been saying all along: the child he had never met was not his.
The mother had realized that, and the real father was in the child's life. Alexander took this information to court. The judge was unmoved.
“Case closed. I gotta pay for the baby,” said Alexander.
You stay classy, Democrats:
Sheheen was caught on video at an appearance in Florence last week stating “we are going to escort whore out the door” referring to Haley. His gaffe appeared to be a slip from the tongue and he quickly corrected himself stating “we’re going to escort her out the door.”Fighting an imaginary "War on Women" somewhere else...
But immediately after correcting himself, Sheheen has an almost gleeful interaction with the crowd and laughed at his gaffe. Video of the event has gone viral.
One of Haley’s biggest champions, Ann Romney, blasted Sheheen and told CNN that his comment “hit me right in my gut.”
“My nerve endings went haywire,” the wife of former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney shared with CNN. “It’s so upsetting when you know someone can say something like that about a woman, and not have any kind of reaction. It’s so unacceptable. Nikki is a great girl and has been a great governor.”
Ann Romney added that Sheheen’s reaction to his gaffe is discouraging to women who want to pursue political careers.
“We need to make sure we have a safe place so that other women can feel like they can do this and these kinds of things aren’t going to happen to them,” Romney said to CNN. “You get so sick of saying there is bias out there, but if a Republican had said this, it would be blowing up in their face like nobody’s business. Where is EMILY’s List? Where is N.O.W.? Where are they?”
Obamacare is so unpopular, it's popular in ads:
According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), Republicans ran nearly 12,000 anti-Obamacare ads in Senate races during the week of October 13-19. That’s almost twice as many ads as they ran on jobs/unemployment, more than twice as many as they ran on international affairs, and more than three times as many as they ran on taxes. In fact, it’s more than they ran on jobs/unemployment, taxes, and social issues combined. It’s also more than they ran on jobs/unemployment and immigration combined.Everybody knows about it, and they seem to want to get rid of it once and for all.
Whaterver happened to Ron Klain?
It’s a theater of the absurd. It’s laughable,” said Dr. Robert Murphy, director of the Center for Global Health at Northwestern University and a professor of medicine and biomedical engineering with much experience in Africa.Has anyone checked the golf course? that seems to be the place to disappear to...
He said the lack of a visible leader quarterbacking the Ebola effort, coupled with the scattered, decentralized realities of the American health care system, created a confounding muddle.
At the White House, reporters confronted press secretary Josh Earnest with questions about the Ebola czar.
“What has changed since he started his job?” one reporter asked. “It appears as though this week there’s more confusion than there was last week, given what we’re seeing in New York and New Jersey, and more differences between how the states are dealing with it.”
Earnest insisted Klain was “coordinating the government response,” but he did not directly answer whether the Ebola czar needed to do more to coordinate with state governments.
Monday, October 27, 2014
Meet Joni Ernst:
A year ago she was nobody, a small-town Republican state senator with a vision of filling a U.S. Senate seat that had, for 30 years, belonged to a liberal Democrat. Now, she is seen nationally as a rising star in a field of duds — if she can pull off an upset in a race few expected her, or any Republican, to win. With a little more than a week before the election, she maintained a slim lead in the polls in one of the country’s closest races, within hoping distance of becoming the state’s first female senator and ahead of the expected Democratic shoo-in, Rep. Bruce Braley. The White House had sent out Michelle Obama to campaign for Braley a week before and, Ernst loves to tell people, the first lady mispronounced his name.I'm sure the Obamas know hers by now...
Could online speech be curtailed? The chairman of the FEC is worried:
“There are hundreds of thousands of blogs, websites, podcasts, webcasts, and I can’t image a regulatory regime where the federal government starts culling websites and YouTube posts on a daily basis to identify those that might not have registered and reported their expenditures,” Goodman told Fox News. “It really is a specter of a government review board culling the Internet daily. … I don’t know how we could begin to regulate all the hundreds of thousands of political commentaries online.”Or, not so freely, soon...
It’s unclear whether Ravel’s intention is to focus solely on recognized political groups and declared candidates, or also everyday Americans who freely post their political sentiments in videos online.
Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't spying on you:
Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”Careful; they may have questions for you later...
The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.
“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”
Whatever happened to John Boehner's Obamacare lawsuit?
Lawyers close to the process said they originally expected the legal challenge to be filed in September, but now they don’t expect any action before the elections.Unfortunately, that seems to be the case...
Some attribute the delay to electoral politics — suggesting that Republicans were worried it could rile up the Democratic base — though the GOP is mum on why the suit has yet to be filed.
Whatever the reason, the delay means the core of the suit could effectively be moot before the Obama administration even has to respond to it in court. The case was expected to center on an employer mandate provision that Obama twice delayed but is now set to kick in for many employers on Jan. 1.
“I thought this was a constitutional crisis and the republic was in jeopardy because Obama overstepped his bounds. Now, they can’t even get around to filing it?” asked former House Counsel Stan Brand, a Democrat. “It, to me, emphasizes the not-serious nature of it.”
Meet the other Redskins:
Most of the people in Red Mesa not only reject claims that their team’s nickname is a slur, they have emerged as a potent symbol in the heated debate over the name of the more widely known Redskins — Washington’s NFL team. More than half the school’s 220 students eagerly accepted free tickets from the team for an Oct. 12 game near Phoenix, where they confronted Native American protesters who were there to condemn Washington’s moniker.That's an awful lot of bigots...
None of that mattered to the Red Mesa Redskins as they marched onto the field for their game against the Lobos of Many Farms High School. It was homecoming, and the players knew they needed to keep winning if they wanted to make their first appearance in the state playoffs in five years.
Red Mesa students, parents and alumni stamped the bleachers, clutching signs that read “Fear the Spear” and “Redskin Nation.”
There were 62 high schools in 22 states using the Redskins moniker last year, according to a project published by the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service. In addition to Red Mesa, two others are majority Native American: Wellpinit High School in Washington state and Kingston High School in Oklahoma.
It's your money-just don't have too little of it:
Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.If you can't charge them, extort them...
“They’re going after people who are really not criminals,” said David Smith, a former federal prosecutor who is now a forfeiture expert and lawyer in Virginia. “They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.”
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Are we in line for the next Big One?
Between 2004 and 2014, 18 earthquakes with magnitudes of 8.0 or more rattled subduction zones around the globe. That's an increase of 265 percent over the average rate of the previous century, which saw 71 great quakes, according to a report to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America this week in Vancouver, British Columbia.Tread carefully, Cascadians?
It’s clear that recent "great" earthquakes "triggered" related major quakes, says study author Thorne Lay, distinguished professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
“If we look at all earthquake magnitudes, the past 10 years is not unusual in terms of the rate of events; the rate increases are just seen for events with magnitudes larger than 7.5 or so," he said. "This suggests that great events were ‘catching up’ on the plate boundary motions in several regions with fortuitous similar timing.”
And by fortuitous, Lay means that he thinks it’s just coincidence that all those big earthquakes happened over the last 10 years.
The age of the artificial womb:
For now, artificial wombs are the stuff of science fiction. Those of you who read Brave New World in high school will recall its chilling portrayal of the “Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre,” where vast numbers of identical children spring from the same genetic soup. If ectogenesis, a fancy word for the use of artificial wombs, ever happens in the real world, it will be a more banal next step from the technologies that already keep premature babies alive. Ectogenesis will start out as a way to allow older women to have children or to abet pregnancy for women who would otherwise be unable to carry children. Eventually, it will be considered safer to have children via ectogenesis than the old-fashioned way, and the practice will spread far and wide.But will actually making babies still be as much fun?
Plants know when they're being eaten:
The researchers were seeking to answer an unusual question: does a plant know when it’s being eaten? To do that, the researchers had to first make a precise audio version of the vibrations that a caterpillar makes as it eats leaves. The theory is that it’s these vibrations that the plant can somehow feel or hear. In addition, the researchers also came up with vibrations to mimic other natural vibrations the plant might experience, like wind noise.Sorry, vegans. Looks like you're out of options...
Turns out, the thale cress actually produces some mustard oils and sends them through the leaves to deter predators (the oils are mildly toxic when ingested). And the study showed that when the plants felt or heard the caterpillar-munching vibrations, they sent out extra mustard oils into the leaves. When they felt or heard other vibrations? Nothing. It’s a far more dynamic defense than scientists had realized: the plant is more aware of its surroundings and able to respond than expected.
Bob Woodward has questions:
Woodward said, "The reality now in my view that in the Obama administration, there are lots of unanswered questions about the IRS, particularly. If I were young, I would take Carl Bernstein and move to Cincinnati where that IRS office is and set up headquarters and go talk to everyone."Oh, to be young again...or at least willing to find somebody to talk to them for you...
Saturday, October 25, 2014
RIP Jack Bruce:
Considered one of the greatest rock trios of all time, Cream was formed by Bruce, guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker in 1966. The band produced such hits as "Sunshine of Your Love," "White Room," "Crossroads" and "Strange Brew," many of which Bruce wrote and sang. He also helped come up with the memorable guitar riff in "Sunshine of Your Love."It was well deserved:
The band members' infighting and drug use became almost as well-known as their musical talent, and the group parted ways in 1968.
"Jack felt that he had strayed too far from his ideals and wanted to rediscover his musical and social roots," according to his official biography.
Born to musical parents in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1943, Bruce played in various dance bands and jazz groups before joining the Graham Bond Organization in 1962, where he met drummer Ginger Baker. He later joined John Mayall's Blues Breakers and met guitarist Eric Clapton, leading to the formation of Cream.
After group broke up, Bruce went on to record solo albums and front bands. He released more than a dozen solo LPs over the next four decades, including his latest, "Silver Rails," in March. Cream reunited briefly in 1993 for the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Charles Barkley on keeping yourself down:
While appearing on “Afternoons with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis,” Barkley was asked about a rumor that Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was getting criticism from his black teammates for not being, quote, “black enough.”One that, unfortunately, has been ongoing for a long time...
Barkley went on a long monologue on the subject: ”Unfortunately, as I tell my white friends, we as black people, we’re never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. When you’re black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It’s a dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out.”
Barkley said that young black men who do well in school are accused of “acting white” by their peers. “One of the reasons we’re never going to be successful as a whole, because of other black people. And for some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. And it’s a dirty, dark secret.”
David Cameron doesn't take kindly to extortion:
In an angry intervention, he interrupted a summit discussion on economic policy to confront European Commission President Jose Barroso over the cash demand.Welcome to the EU collection agency...
He accused the Eurocrat of having “no idea” of the impact the “vast” invoice would have on the UK.
Speaking at a news conference at the end of the summit, he said the “completely unjustified and sudden production of a bill for Britain of £1.7billion” had provoked “downright anger” in him.
Mr Cameron insisted: “It is an unacceptable way for this organisation to work, to suddenly present a bill like this for such a vast sum of money with so little time to pay it.
“And it is an unacceptable way to treat one of the biggest contributors to the European Union.”
Repeatedly thumping his lectern with a clenched fist, he added: “I am not paying that bill on December 1st.
"If people think I am, they’ve got another thing coming; it is not going to happen.
“As an important contributor to this organisation, we are not suddenly going to get out our chequebook and write a cheque for two billion euros; it is not happening.”
Friday, October 24, 2014
You are what you think you eat:
To be fair, some of their reviews are not quite raves: “The structure is good,” says one solemn man. “Yes. Not too sticky.” And a lot of the people who give positive feedback are probably just trying to be polite. After all, they believe they’re being interviewed by the very people who made the food—it would be rude to criticize a chef’s creation to his face. But several people’s insistence that the food tastes more “pure” than McDonald’s just goes to show that “pure” (like “clean”) is a moral concept that’s practically meaningless with regard to food, and that your beliefs about what you’re eating will absolutely affect your experience of eating it.Snobs will literally swallow anything...
It's telling that the guy who lost is more popular with his own party than the guy who won:
It’d be understandable if Romney’s enthusiasm for rallies, banquet halls, fundraisers and the seemingly never-ending line of outstretched hands had waned since his 2012 loss. But two years later, Romney is busy stumping for candidates in tight races nationwide including this two-day stretch in Arizona.Some Democrats don't even seem to know where he is anymore:
“It’s a real thrill to go across the country and I see a lot of the people who helped me during my campaign,” Romney told Fox News on Thursday night in Mesa. “Not just volunteers but a lot of dear, dear friends that I hadn’t seen in many, many years. So it’s fun to get back on the trail and make a difference.”
The irony of Romney’s high-profile appearances – about 1,500 people showed up to see him with Arizona’s statewide Republican candidates – is that President Obama has been nearly invisible in public support of Democrats this cycle.
Leave it to a Democrat to call for something like this:
Ms. Ravel said she fears that in trying to keep the Internet open for bloggers, they’ve instead created a loophole for major political players to escape some scrutiny.First, they came for the bloggers, and I said I wasn't a-oh, wait a minute...
“Some of my colleagues seem to believe that the same political message that would require disclosure if run on television should be categorically exempt from the same requirements when placed in the Internet alone,” said FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel in a statement. “As a matter of policy, this simply does not make sense.”
She said the FEC should no longer “turn a blind eye to the Internet’s growing force in the political arena,” and she vowed to force a conversation next year on what changes to make.
FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman said what Ms. Ravel is proposing would require a massive bureaucracy digging into the corners of the web to police what’s posted about politics.
“I cannot imagine a regulatory regime that would put government censors on the Internet daily, culling YouTube video posts for violations of law — nothing short of a Chinese censorship board,” Mr. Goodman said...
Mr. Goodman said those rules have protected any number of popular political videos, from ObamaGirl’s posts during the 2008 campaign to the spoof videos produced by JibJab.
“We’re talking about everyone who’s not a political committee who wants to post, for free, videos on YouTube, blog content, chat room content, create their own website expressing their political opinions,” he said.
He was endorsed by Palpatine:
Dressed in full Star Wars regalia, Vader prowls the streets of Kiev atop his black campaign van wooing voters with promises to turn Ukraine into a "galactic empire." So serious is he about his mission that he even legally changed his name to Darth Vader ahead of the elections (He was previously known as Viktor Shevchenko.)The Farce is strong within this one...
The electrician-turned-interplanetary warlord insists his Internet Party is serious business.
Speaking to The Associated Press on his van, flanked by Stormtroopers and shrouded in white fumes, Vader explained that his top goal is to computerize all government business.
"When I get to parliament, I will expel all the deputies. They have proven their uselessness," he said. "Computers will work in their place and they will fulfill their functions without cease."
How did the swastika turn evil?
The Nazi use of the swastika stems from the work of 19th Century German scholars translating old Indian texts, who noticed similarities between their own language and Sanskrit. They concluded that Indians and Germans must have had a shared ancestry and imagined a race of white god-like warriors they called Aryans.The Nazis were good at making stuff up and getting their followers to fall for it...
This idea was seized upon by anti-Semitic nationalist groups who appropriated the swastika as an Aryan symbol to boost a sense of ancient lineage for the Germanic people.
The black straight-armed hakenkreuz (hooked cross) on the distinctive white circle and red background of the Nazi flag would become the most hated symbol of the 20th Century, inextricably linked to the atrocities committed under the Third Reich.
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.At least someone did...
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.
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.At least one Party actually has a motivated base...
...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.
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.It's liars all the way down...
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.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
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.For now...
“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 fiancée 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.
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.Unleash the dogs of protection...
“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.
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.I suppose it's better than an involuntary scheme...
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.”
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.If it had been easy to understand, it wouldn't have been passed...
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.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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...
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.Except for "real progressives" like Harry Reid...
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.
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.Well, that certainly makes sense...
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.
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.Now he'll have plenty of time to rest...
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.
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.Some would argue that phone companies already do this...
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.
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...
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.Every cult has its centers of worship, even in otherwise sane countries...
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.
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.As if it ever was...
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."
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.”Well, maybe not:
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.”
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...
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.Apparently elections only happen when a Republican is in the White House...
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.”
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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.The "war on women" doesn't seem to have worked. Or maybe women want an alternative to this guy.
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.
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.Or not, these days...
“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.
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.Well, that didn't stop the "Ebola czar..."
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."
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.”If you can't find real racism, make up your own...
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.
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.Vampires generally don't like sunlight...
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.
Monday, October 20, 2014
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.”Yeah, about that part...
“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.”
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.”In all fairness, he does this with everybody...
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.
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.But whose fault was it, really?
“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.>
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...
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.You have been warned...
“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.
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.Beef. It's what's for reproduction...
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.
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.I presume this was before he surrendered...
"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".
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.There's always the links...
“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.”
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.It's now an international crisis, or something...
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.
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.I guess they found reasons...
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.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
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.In Russia, Big Mac eats you...
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.
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.You'd think he was just another politician...
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.
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.Or paying them off...
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.
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 Clintons made the bed that Obama's former supporters now have to lie in...
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.
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...
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.”This will not sit well with the dependency crowd...
“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.”
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.Even trolls have some rights?
"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.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
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.”As some of these morons may soon be...
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.”
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...
Friday, October 17, 2014
Better safe than sorry:
An exotic dancer from Texas has quarantined himself after he and his stripping friend shared a plane with an Ebola patient — and he’s shocked that health officials haven’t required his isolation.The government will take your money, but not dance for you...
After Axl Goode and Taylor Cole sat within 3 feet of nurse Amber Vinson a day before she was diagnosed with the lethal disease, the two pledged to stay in their homes for 21 days, a move suggested — but not required — by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If a stripper can make a decision that’s more responsible than the CDC, then surely other people can make those decisions, too” Goode, who comes from a family of pharmacists, told the Daily News. “It’s not rocket science.”
Senator, divest thyself:
Franken’s campaign has scoured public records for evidence that his opponent, investment banker Mike McFadden, has closed business deals that resulted in layoffs.It doesn't take a great deal of money to be a hypocrite...
“‘The Democrats are going to try and nail McFadden as the incarnation of a Wall Street fat cat, as they did with Mitt Romney,” University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs told Bloomberg.
The Franken campaign points to a 2012 deal in which McFadden’s firm, Lazard Middle Market, organized a merger that relocated the corporate headquarters of Jazz Pharmaceuticals to low-tax Ireland, a move commonly known as a tax inversion.
McFadden says he was not directly involved in striking the deal, but Franken’s campaign has seized on it. “He knew he was helping an American company dodge paying taxes and is just as culpable for this deal as anyone else,” Franken spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff said in August.
Tax inversions have become a rallying cry for Democrats looking to penalize companies that seek to reduce their tax burdens and shore up their populist credentials.
However, Franken’s attack is complicated by the fact that he himself was an investor in Lazard’s parent company.
His stake in the company even came by way of a mutual fund billed as “socially responsible.”
Franken says that his stake in the company was small, and that he did not have control over the mutual fund’s specific investment decisions.
Who could have seen this coming? The working poor are making more per hour but taking home less pay. The University of Washington paper asse...
Single payer for California? The bill, SB 562, would establish a publicly run healthcare plan that would cover everyone living in California...
The regulators are still at it: Using the "altFEC" twitter account, one of several "alt" sites set up by government work...
Were they the ancestors of piano players? The brain circuits that led to two-sided tools and weapons such as hand-axes and cleavers are the ...