People of seemingly disparate interests and politics — gamers, pundits, metalheads, comic book and science fiction fans, atheists, Catholics, conservatives, libertarians and even many disaffected liberals — came together to agree on only one thing: art and culture should be left alone.We are all in this together...
That movement is called cultural libertarianism. It stands against any authoritarian, from the Right or the Left, who sucks fun and freedom from the world like some kind of vampire without the cool factor, and who uses faux grievances and exaggerated victimhood to get what they want. Cultural libertarianism rejects the fainting-couch feminism and race-baiting of the Left in favour of deliberately provocative joyfulness and exuberance. It also predicates facts over hurt feelings, versus the social justice crowd who want to turn harrowing anecdotes into “lived experience” — which we are then expected to treat like scientific data.
While college campuses retreat into safe spaces, emotional coddling and treating the leaders of tomorrow like primary school children, cultural libertarians think of new ways to provoke and offend people. In a culture of control, conformity, and coddling, cultural libertarians are the true counterculture. 2015 was the year victimhood and hurt feelings became social currency — but cultural libertarians are putting an end to the madness.
Using scary words like “abuse,” “threats” and “harassment,” wacky far-Left fantasists have tried to bully libertarians and conservatives into silence, threatening their reputations and publicly shaming them. They have failed: the resistance to speech codes, trigger warnings, safe spaces and other progressive and feminist stupidity is stronger than ever, and it comes from women and minorities as much as anyone else.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
There's a storm brewing:
Get ready to...lose?
While every presidential candidate has been sending out a flurry of email appeals in the final days of the fourth quarter of 2015, Clinton’s message seemed to take a decidedly dour tone.Every little bit hurts...
“I can’t say it any more clearly: If we lose Iowa or New Hampshire, it’s going to be a lot harder to win the nomination, and we’re going to be in a weaker position when it comes time to keep a Republican out of the White House,” Clinton said in the message.
It continues by appealing to backers, “Before midnight’s deadline, chip in $1 to help win the crucial early primaries.” After clicking on the $1 form, a page comes up allowing people the option of donating up to $250 or “other amount” to the campaign.
A real doctor gets fired for trying to do his job:
The hospital ordered his expulsion after discovering that Church had expressed concerns about the health dangers related to same-sex activity on the hospital’s internal online portal.Exercising your right to free speech can be bad for your professional health...
The board’s final judgment on Dec. 8 ended Church’s 28-year-long tenure at the hospital.
Over the past decade, Church has voiced his concerns regarding BIDMC’s overt support of LGBT events.
“In doing so, the medical center ignores and marginalizes opposing worldviews on morality and sexual behaviors often based on strong religious convictions that are represented within the diversity of its staff and larger community,” Church wrote in a statement he prepared for his hearing in February 2015. “Furthermore, it indicates a peculiar willingness to overlook high risk behaviors common to the LGBT community, which is contradictory to the larger mission of a healthcare institution to promote and model healthy choices and lifestyles.”
According to Church’s testimony, after he was told that he would be subjected to an investigation if he did not resign, he received a “Letter of Reprimand” from a peer-review committee demanding that he discontinue “any further communications regarding [his] views on homosexuality.”
Church called the aggressive letter a “gag rule” that assaulted his freedom of speech and violated his public and private rights under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act.
They just can't do that right now:
The State Department broke a judge’s order on the number of former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails it was supposed to release Thursday, blaming the holiday season for throwing it off track.Yeah, it's always a year-round holiday rush at the State Department, isn't it?
The department promised another release of emails next week to make up for its breach, and said even the emails it was releasing Thursday will not be fully processed and won’t be able to be sorted by senders or recipients in the department’s computer system.
“We have worked diligently to come as close to the goal as possible, but with the large number of documents involved and the holiday schedule we have not met the goal this month. To narrow that gap, the State Department will make another production of former Secretary Clinton’s email sometime next week,” the department said in a statement.
Why women are having more twins:
One reason for the increased twinning rates seems to be the increase in assistive reproductive technologies. These include fertility-boosting medications and artificial insemination, but in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most popular. As the average age of a first-time mother has risen in recent years—in 2014 it was 26.3, compared to 22.7 in 1980)—older moms with reduced fertility have a greater need for fertility-boosting technologies in order to conceive.You're not just seeing double...
Because of how IVF is done, multiple births, like twins or triplets, become more likely. If a couple is having trouble conceiving naturally, scientists can combine the parents’ extracted egg and sperm in the lab, then implant a fertilized embryo in the mother’s uterus. (More often than not, these embryos won’t take, so hopeful parents have to endure multiple rounds of expensive and emotionally exhausting procedures—the authors of a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women were increasingly likely to conceive with each successive round of IVF, up until the ninth round.)
Why are liberals okay with abuse?
Conservatives have to assume that the press and the establishment women’s movement will exact as mighty a punishment as possible for any misdeed, while liberals can expect far less blowback. Moreover, conservatives, who are consistently bashed as part of a “war on women,” are terrified of anything that might legitimize that charge. Thus they are motivated to deal harshly with fellow conservatives who threaten to further entrench that reputation with the public. In contrast, liberals enjoy a comfortable advantage with women and reputation for caring about women’s issues, so are likely to be less vigilant about policing their own ranks.Or not, in their case...
Given this history, it’s no big surprise that, as the liberal online website Vox.com put it, progressive have a sexual harassment problem. This exposé, however, may hark the beginning of a turning point. After all, while it took a semen-stained dress for Monica to be believed by the liberal press, in today’s age of omnipotent technology, women have a lot more hard evidence to use against men who harass them. They don’t need to convince Newsweek to run a story, they can take their evidence to the public on their own. Men everywhere—even liberals—may find that the potential fallout isn’t worth it, and behavior, finally, might really change.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
How to get real diversity:
Who’s to say, for example, whether women’s rights trump those of Muslims? We can’t just ask the Muslim: of course he’ll say he wants sharia law and for women to cover up in public. Who’s to say whether a company should prioritise hiring more women over more blacks? Or more gays over more crossdressing paraplegic Syrian refugees?Stop the Frankenstein monster before it gets loose...
Such decisions cannot be left in the hands of groups who are advocating for their own interests. They should be left to people without a dog in the fight. In other words, white males, the only people besides East Asians who can handle the theoretical physics and heavy-duty maths required to properly weigh the horrific life experiences of pampered western feminists and Black Lives Matter protestors.
When you allow identity politics to run rampant and you’re too terrified to question someone just because they have a certain skin colour, gender or sexual orientation, you create monsters, such as the national scandal that is taxpayer-funded Gender Studies courses in American universities.
Where did Team Clinton get its wage numbers from?
In 2000, President Bill Clinton’s final year in office and Hillary Clinton’s final year as first lady, the ratio of CEO pay to average workers was 384.4 to 1. Thus, using that same logic, under the first Clinton administration – which Democrats frequently site for a booming economy – it would take 384.4 workers to make the pay of one CEO during the Clinton’s final year in the White House.Democrats are against income gaps, unless it's their own...
By 2007, during President George W. Bush’s administration, the number had fallen modestly to 351.3, which came before the large economic downturn of 2008.
The Clinton campaign did not respond to inquirin
When Obama took office in 2009, the ratio was 193.2, meaning that on average, it would take almost 200 workers’ earnings to cover the earnings of one CEO, according to the EPI study. The pay gap steadily grew under Obama until in 2013, when the EPI numbers show it would take almost 300 workers to equal to the earnings of a CEO.
Bill Cosby gets charged:
It’s the first criminal case against Cosby over his conduct with women, which has received new scrutiny in the past year. The 78-year-old comedian previously said under oath that he had consensual sexual contact with the woman.Just in the nick of time?
A former Temple University employee told police the comedian drugged and violated her at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.
The TV star acknowledged under oath a decade ago that he had sexual contact with Constand but said it was consensual.
The charges were announced just days before the 12-year statute of limitations for bringing charges was set to run out.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
We are not a happy people:
While majorities on both sides of the political aisle express those sentiments, according to the CNN poll, Republicans were more likely than Democrats to be dissatisfied and angry with the country’s governance with 90 percent of Republicans expressing dissatisfaction and 82 percent saying they are angry.Now we have no hope, and only chump change in our pockets...
CNN notes that among supporters of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, such feelings are that much more prevalent — 97 percent said they were dissatisfied and 91 percent said they were “somewhat angry.”
The “Hope and Change” Obama promised when he ran for the presidency also failed to materialize for many of the Americans surveyed.
CNN reports that just 37 percent think Obama brought “positive” change while another 37 percent said he’s brought negative change. Another 21 percent said there has not been any change. Democrats (67 percent) were more likely than Republicans to say Obama changed things for the better, while Republicans (63 percent) were more likely to say Obama changed things for worse.
RIP Ian Kilmister:
Kilmister, who learned of his disease on December 26th, died “at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game.”Hopefully he and Phil Taylor are rocking in the afterlife. RIP.
Known simply as "Lemmy" to most, he was as famous for his mustache, mutton chops and the mole on his face as his music.
But he was deeply respected and revered as a rock master and innovator, from his time with the seminal psychedelic band Hawkwind in the early 1970s to his four decades in Motorhead, best known for their 1980 anthem "Ace of Spades."
Each of the band's legendary live shows would begin with Kilmister's loud announcement: "We are Motorhead! We play rock and roll!"
Trump went there, so is it fair?
Ordinarily, I would argue that the sins of the husband should not be visited on the wife. What Bill Clinton did counts against him, not her, and I would include in that her decision to stick with him. What happens inside a marriage is the couple’s business, and no one else’s, even when both halves crave the presidency.Those who complain about glass ceilings the most shouldn't allow others to throw stones at their spouses...
But Hillary Clinton has made two moves that lead me, gulp, to agree with Trump on the “fair game” front. She is (smartly) using her husband as a campaign surrogate, and simultaneously (correctly) calling Trump sexist.
These moves open a dangerous door. It should surprise no one that Trump has barged right through it.
Their financials are none of your business:
Rep. Jason Chaffetz pressed the Office of Government Ethics last week for an explanation of its decision to exempt Clinton from laws compelling public officials to disclose all forms of income.Ethics are for little people!
"Earlier this year, press reports indicated that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband failed to disclose millions of dollars in paid speeches over the past thirteen years under the belief they did not have a duty to report that because the speeches were delivered on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, and not in the Secretary's or the President's personal capacity," Chaffetz wrote.
The Utah Republican cited "at least five speeches" for which Clinton routed her speaking fee to the philanthropy between 2014 and 2015. She did not list that income on her disclosure form as the law typically requires.
Monday, December 28, 2015
You're still getting fat:
People eat more food than they should if it is labelled healthy because they think it is less filling than fatty options.Just eat less of whatever you eat. It worked in the past...
Consumers tend to binge when they see nutritional signs because they automatically assume they are making a better choice.
As a result they could end up consuming more calories overall, researchers said.
The results suggest that, while eating too much is often the cause of obesity, eating too much healthy food could make you fat too.
Why Obamacare doesn't really help those for which it was intended:
The fundamental vulnerability of ObamaCare is that relatively healthy individuals would decide that the costs of even subsidized coverage exceeded its benefits. According to the Urban Institute study, even relatively healthy individuals are paying over 15 percent of their income for ObamaCare health insurance plans.Let them eat subsidies...
The costs for insuring those with even modest health care needs are in effect subsidized by these healthier individuals. If these healthier Americans decide that even the subsidized costs are too high, they will likely opt out of the program entirely. This will push the costs of those with more health care needs even higher, creating what economists warn could be a “death spiral,” where both premium and out-of-pocket costs skyrocket.
Don't like guns, don't get protection?
The Virginia General Assembly, controlled by Republicans, is set to begin a new session in a few weeks and they will take up Herring's ridiculous new regulations. In January, Virginia lawmakers will consider a bill filed back in November that requires Virginia to recognize conceal permits from other states, reversing Herring's anti-Second Amendment fiat.I'm sure everything will be just fine without them...
Virginia state Senator Bill Carrico said, “A lot of the governor’s power is deferred to the General Assembly at that point and I’ll be getting with my collegues to circumvent everything this governor has done on this point. I have a budget amendment that I’m looking at to take away his executive protection unit. If he’s so afraid of guns, then I’m not going to surround him with armed state policemen.”
Why it's just not the same:
In contrast with the lunch counter sit-ins of 1960, "Black Lives Matter" violates the expressed will of property owners and disrupts the use of public infrastructure, victimizing innocents in protest of... what? Police brutality? Even granting the full benefit of the doubt on that complaint, police brutality is no Jim Crow. It certainly isn't slavery. Breaking trespass laws to protest police brutality doesn't resonate as well as breaking Jim Crow laws to protest Jim Crow. There's also much to contrast between the rhetoric of someone like Martin Luther King and the rhetoric of "Black Lives Matter."Shouting down free speech and chasing away those who might disagree with you, isn't protest. It's acting out your educational privilege.
RIP Meadowlark Lemon:
Lemon was a slick ballhandler and a virtuoso passer, and he specialized in the long-distance hook, a trick shot he made with remarkable regularity. But it was his charisma and comic bravado that made him perhaps the most famous Globetrotter. For 22 years, until he left the team in 1978, Lemon was the Trotters’ ringmaster, directing their basketball circus from the pivot. He imitated Tatum’s reams, like spying on the opposition’s huddle, and added his own.From a time when athletes were athletes and not just wanna-be celebrities, and a team that helped pave the way for others. Here he is in his prime:
He chased referees with a bucket and surprised them with a shower of confetti instead of water. He dribbled above his head and walked with exaggerated steps. He mimicked a hitter in the batter’s box and, with teammates, pantomimed a baseball game. And both to torment the opposing team — as time went on, it was often a hired squad of foils — and to amuse the appreciative spectators, he laughed and he teased and he chattered and he smiled; like Tatum, he talked most of the time he was on the court.
The Trotters played in mammoth arenas and on dirt courts in African villages. They played in Rome before the pope; they played in Moscow during the Cold War before the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. In the United States, they played in small towns and big cities, in Madison Square Garden, in high school gyms, in cleared-out auditoriums — even on the floor of a drained swimming pool. They performed their most entertaining ball-handling tricks, accompanied by their signature tune “Sweet Georgia Brown,” on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Through it all, Lemon became “an American institution like the Washington Monument or the Statue of Liberty” whose “uniform will one day hang in the Smithsonian right next to Lindbergh’s airplane,” as the Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray once described him.
"Why do you want this job?"
”I might just ask somebody, ‘Why do you want to do this?’Too bad you never really did that, sir...
“And I suppose they would give a cliché answer because that’s what candidates do,” Obama continued. “But I will tell you as president, if you are interested just because you like the title or you like the trappings or you like the power or the fame or the celebrity, that side of it wears off pretty quick. At least it has for me.”
Obama went on to explain what sustains him.
“If you want this job then you really need to love this country and have a very clear vision and idea of what it is that you want to help make this country work even better,” Obama said.
Well, somebody's got to hold the cash:
In spite of U.S. warnings about the emergence of the country as a major hub for cocaine, the police never investigated the people to whom they were sending millions in drug proceeds, including a host of individuals with criminal records.I'm sure the cops are shocked that there was drug dealing going on in their establishment...
“They had no authority to do what they were doing,” said Felix Jimenez, former chief inspector of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “They were just lucky that when they were picking up all this money, nobody got killed.”
Federal agents for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago are investigating the money laundered by the Tri-County Task Force, a partnership between Bal Harbour and the Glades County Sheriff’s Office, including $2.4 million kept by the police for brokering the deals.
But the latest revelations about the task force’s foray into a country known as a hub for trafficking is expected to bring more federal scrutiny to a unit that veered far from its borders without any supervision by prosecutors, records show.
“It’s absurd. You’re a Bal Harbour police officer, your jurisdiction is local,” said Jimenez, the former chief DEA agent in New York. “They were just laundering money for the sake of laundering money.”
How well does Hillary's claims that it's a man's world and she's fighting against it stack up against her husband's past?
Clinton has sought to portray her campaign as one that is fighting for women’s rights. On several occasions, she has tweeted about sex assault survivors’ right to be believed, and awkwardly starred in a campaign ad in which she insisted that one must always side with women who accuse men of sexual assault – a strange position given that her husband was repeatedly accused of precisely that crime.If Big Dog comes back, will anyone be safe?
“You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed. We’re with you,” Clinton said in the video, which she addressed to “every survivor of sexual assault.”
Since Hillary first announced her candidacy in April, my weekend talk radio program has become a support center of sorts in which Bill’s female accusers tell their newly relevant stories; a safe-space for these women to sound off about the way they were allegedly treated by both Bill and Hillary. The theme that emerges is of an out-of-control, entitled husband, and a wife who was actively involved in covering up his behavior, many times by allegedly targeting the female victims themselves.
I guess it's a good thing cows are sacred there:
The patties – cow poop mixed with hay and dried in the sun, made mainly by women in rural areas and used to fuel fires – have long been available in India’s villages. But online retailers including Amazon and eBay are now reaching out to the country’s ever-increasing urban population, feeding into the desire of older city folks to harken back to their childhood in the village.It's literally a pile of...
Some retailers say they’re offering discounts for large orders. Some customers are asking for gift wrapping.
“Cow dung cakes have been listed by multiple sellers on our platform since October and we have received several customer orders” since then, said Madhavi Kochar, an Amazon India spokeswoman.
In New York, it's literally a small world:
Long, flat walls without columns maximize furniture-arranging options, although some units come furnished with fold-out wizardry, including a desk that expands into a 12-seater table and a retractable bed that pulls down tidily over a love seat. Developer Monadnock Construction and architecture firm nArchitects worked inch-by-inch - sometimes by eighth-inch - to meet such requirements as a wheelchair-accessible bathroom within the small space.The Soylent Green is optional...
Forty percent of the units have rents set by affordable-housing programs topping out at around $1,500 a month, but market-rate ones rent for $2,650 to $3,150, roughly on par with many studios in the nearby Murray Hill neighborhood. About 20 people have applied and hundreds requested information for eight market-rate units so far, while over 60,000 have entered a lottery for the affordable ones.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan says Carmel Place and other projects show "developers can build compact units that are livable, safe, healthy" options for small households.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Did he, or didn't he?
“It stings me, whoever this guy is, to insinuate that I cut corners, I broke NFL rules in order to get healthy. It’s a joke. It’s a freaking joke,” Manning said, reiterating that he did not use HGH.Much ado about not doping?
Sly told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that he isn’t a pharmacist and wasn’t at the Guyer Institute in 2011, as Al Jazeera claimed. State licensing records indicate that a Charles David Sly was licensed as a pharmacy intern in Indiana from April 2010 to May 2013. His license expired May 1, 2013.
Sly also said he recanted his story to Al Jazeera when he realized that it had used information he had “made up” to British hurdler Liam Collins, the undercover reporter who Sly said was trying to get into the supplementation business.
“When I was there, I had never seen the Mannings ever. They were not even living there at that time,” Sly said. “Someone who worked there said they had been there before. That was the extent of any knowledge I had. I feel badly. I never saw any files. This is just amazing that it reached this point.”
Will Trump's supporters actually show up at the ballot box?
In states with early primary contests, Trump’s staffers are trying to teach their supporters how to vote and get a commitment that they actually will. Before each rally here, Trump’s state co-chairs walk the crowd through how the caucuses work and urge them to attend. But they are also hoping word will spread through social media and in conversations after church, at the school bus stop, during coffee breaks and over holiday dinners…At least he has supporters, unlike his rival on the other side...
Trump’s campaign strategy is far from traditional, although his ground game in early voting states has followed a relatively standard playbook in some respects. Over the summer, he hired 10 staffers in Iowa, who traveled around the state in a Trump-branded bus to hand out T-shirts, bumper stickers and hats in exchange for contact information.
But just as Trump doesn’t spend money on pollsters or focus groups, the campaign has yet to purchase databases of potential voters, a key organizing tool used by most campaigns. Instead of buying such a tool from a private contractor, the campaign has compiled its own database using contact information from every rally attendee, either when they registered online or showed up at the door.
Why can't Hawaii seem to name anything after one of its own?
The reasons for the failures in Hawaii are many and varied. Locals, protective of their Polynesian culture, in some cases have balked at abandoning traditional Hawaiian names for places. “People here believe that land has spirit and feeling,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “It’s not just dirt.”He seems to act like it is...
Cost has torpedoed at least one attempt. In other instances, critics have complained that naming efforts are premature as long as Obama is still in office, still so young and still among the living. Local laws prohibit politicians from naming parks or public buildings after people until they have devoted at least 50 years of service to the community or are dead.
“Because he’s still president, it felt a little goofy and opportunistic for people to run around trying to honor him as if his public service was already complete,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
Where does the cult of big government come from?
“Secular theists” — economist Don Boudreaux’s term — produce governments gripped by the fatal conceit that they are wiser than society’s spontaneous experimental order. Such governments imposed order suffocates improvisation and innovation. Like religious creationists gazing upon biological complexity, secular theists assume that social complexity requires an intentional design imposed from on high by wise designers, a.k.a. them.The problem when it comes to big government is that someone is...
In his book “The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge,” Matt Ridley refutes the secular creationists’ fallacious idea that because social complexity is the result of human actions, it must, or should, be the result of human design. In fact, Ridley says, “Far more than we like to admit, the world is to a remarkable extent a self-organizing, self-changing place.”
What explains the reluctance to admit this? Perhaps the human mind evolved to seek a Designer behind designs. (“On the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel,” Ridley says, “Adam and God touch fingers. To the uneducated eye it is not clear who is creating whom.”) Or perhaps people feel anxious if no one is in charge.
The gravy train ends here:
The Department of Justice announced this week that it’s suspending a controversial program that allows local police departments to keep a large portion of assets seized from citizens under federal law and funnel it into their own coffers.If you're going to steal from people, at least do it honestly...
The “equitable-sharing” program gives police the option of prosecuting asset forfeiture cases under federal instead of state law. Federal forfeiture policies are more permissive than many state policies, allowing police to keep up to 80 percent of assets they seize — even if the people they took from are never charged with a crime.
The DOJ is suspending payments under this program due to budget cuts included in the recent spending bill.
“While we had hoped to minimize any adverse impact on state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, the Department is deferring for the time being any equitable sharing payments from the Program,” M. Kendall Day, chief of the asset forfeiture and money laundering section, wrote in a letter to state and local law enforcement agencies.
Maybe this explains why they don't have any friends:
Those who take part in “geeky events” are more likely to have an “elevated grandiose” level of narcissism, according to a study conducted by the University of Georgia.All from the comfort of their parents' basements...
Psychologists examined the personality traits of those who turn to “geek culture”, developing a Geek Culture Engagement Scale and a Geek Identity Scale to help quantify the figures.
It was found that those who scored highly on both scales were more likely to narcissists.
Subjects are scored on a scale of one to five, depending on how often they take part in activities such as live action role playing games, Dungeons and Dragons, cosplaying, puppetry, robotics – and enjoying things such as video games and Star Wars.
Sorry, you're still not married:
Terrie Harmon and her ex-husband, Thomas McCarron, argued on appeal that their divorce decree was erroneous because they mended fences and are a couple once more. But the justices, in a unanimous ruling issued Dec. 2, said the law specifically allows them to grant divorces - not undo them.You'd think they'd be happier this way. I know some couples are...
Courts in some states - including Illinois, Nebraska, Mississippi, Arkansas, Maryland and Kentucky - will vacate divorces within a certain time frame or under certain circumstances, at the parties' request. Others - including New York and South Dakota - maintain they, like New Hampshire, have no statutory authority to undo a divorce.
Attorney Joshua Gordon, appointed to defend the lower court's ruling, said allowing the couple's divorce to be undone could jeopardize the finality of all divorces.
"Divorce is a uniquely fraught area of litigation," Gordon argued. "For divorced couples, it is often important to have the solace of knowing that their former spouse is indeed former."
It's the war on trolls:
In February Dick Costolo, Twitter's former chief executive, admitted in an internal email that the company "sucked" at dealing with trolls.Trolls beware...
But Mr Daisley now says the site has cracked down on nuisance users who hurl extreme abuse at those they disagree with. Measures include contacting suspected trolls to tell them "what you are doing here exists in the real world" and encouraging people to publish lists of users they have blocked.
"We have spent longer and more effort on user safety than any single other thing," Mr Daisley told The Independent newspaper.
"The measures we have done have directly correlated to a reduction in the amount of bad behaviour on the platform. The other part of the strategy has involved giving users new tools to block trolls and to expose the worst offenders by encouraging people to share their lists of blocked accounts."
Mr Daisley said the measures, introduced over the past year, had led to a massive increase in the number of reports and made people feel a lot safer.
They promise they won't go there:
Biotech company Boyalife Group's $30 million facility in the coastal city of Tianjin will produce embryos of cattle as well as racehorses and contraband-sniffing dogs when it becomes operational next year.But what if the beef wants a bride?
"No, we don't do human cloning, we won't make Frankensteins," said Dr. Xu Xiaochun, its chief executive. "The technology we have is very advanced ... [but if uncontrolled] technology can also do damage ... Every technology has to have a boundary."
As a 12-year-old, Xu became fascinated with plant cloning. Now aged 44, he is leading China's charge to become a world leader in cloning technology.
"Our primary focus is prime quality beef," Xu told NBC News in an exclusive interview, noting that China's cattle industry hasn't traditionally focused on meat production.
Could Jim Webb go independent?
Since dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination, Webb has continued to maintain his Webb2016 website, which he has updated with posts about the possibilities of an independent run. On Twitter, he and his fans have been promoting a #WebbNation hashtag.For Hillary, anyway...
A run by Webb, who often manages his own social media accounts and has also used them recently to promote a petition in favor of his run and to deliver kudos to Bernie Sanders in his battles with the Democratic National Committee ("nothing more than an arm for the Clinton campaign," Webb tweeted), could further complicate the already unpredictable 2016 election.
Saturday, December 26, 2015
Bill Scher, an activist and analyst for the Campaign for America’s Future, noted that despite unsuccessful attempts to raise the wage at the federal level, many states have acted. He claimed 2 million jobs have been created since the start of this year due to wage increases.If the activists actually knew how a business worked, they'd realize this. But the experiment must come first...
“With more proof that gradual wage increases won’t shock the economy, more states are going to follow suit,” he told FoxNews.com.
Not everyone agrees. “Any discussion about raising the minimum wage needs to recognize that small employers often have to operate under very slim profit margins and will have the hardest time absorbing these higher labor costs,” Randel Johnson, senior vice president of labor, immigration, and employee benefits at the Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.
“They will have to find more revenues or trim costs to make up the difference.”
Calling President Obama on his promise to close Gitmo:
CCR is the only body of lawyers which represents all three main categories of Guantánamo detainees – those cleared for release, those awaiting review by the intelligence services, and the “high-value” detainees charged by military commissions.Too important to release-or just remember?
Even more baffling from the point of view of the defense lawyers are the cases of 38 detainees who are trapped in a form of legal limbo within the legal limbo that is Guantánamo. In March 2011, Obama made one of his many promises to push for closing the prison when he announced the creation of a new system to process the inmates called Periodic Review Boards (PRBs).
All 38 detainees have never been charged and have been deemed PRB eligible – that is they are entitled to take the first tentative step towards getting out of Guantánamo. Yet in none of their cases has the Obama administration even begun the process.
Friday, December 25, 2015
Yeah, this was awkward:
During a conference call with reporters, officials from the Department of Corrections said the three are among 27 others who have been released since June and potentially need to be arrested and returned to prison because of an error the agency made on calculating sentences.It seems they've had plenty of time to "correct" things already...
Officials could not say whether those prisoners have yet been re-arrested. They also didn't release specific information on the new crimes, saying they were working to confirm the information.
Earlier this week, Gov. Jay Inslee said that he ordered immediate steps to correct software-coding error that has led to as many as 3,200 offenders being wrongly released early since 2002.
Merry Christmas from the usual idiots:
Huffpo implies that Christians should turn off their Christmas lights because the total amount of energy expended by Americans for Christmas lights supersedes the energy use of countries with lousy economies, as reported in a study proffered by the Center for Global Development.It's for the poor countries, or something...
The study, authored by Todd Moss and Priscilla Agyapong, quotes a 2008 report from the Energy Department claiming decorative seasonal lights totaled 6.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity consumption annually in the United States. Moss and Agyapong write, “That’s just 0.2% of the country’s total electricity usage, but it could run 14 million refrigerators. It’s also more than the national electricity consumption of many developing countries, such as El Salvador, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nepal, or Cambodia.”
Thursday, December 24, 2015
The night light of the sea:
The ninja lanternshark was discovered by a team at the Pacific Shark Research Center, in Moss Landing, California. Its official Latin name is Etmopterus benchleyi, after Jaws author Peter Benchley. But its common name was coined by the cousins of researcher Vicky Vásquez. The four of them, aged 8 to 14, suggested "super ninja shark" but she scaled it back, according to Hakai magazine.It's got mad shark ninja skills...
The ninja lanternshark is roughly half a metre, or 18 inches long, and it lives at a depth of about 1,000 metres off the Pacific Coast of Central America. Its odd combination of dark and light helps it creep up on its prey, Ms Vásquez believes.
Bring your own crayons:
“It started about a year ago. People came in looking for Johanna books and they were selling out like crazy and then there was just a frenzy,” Melissa Guess, of Barnes & Noble, said.The kid inside is always waiting to find a way out...
It’s a frenzy that has only grown, but why?
Adults who color say it’s not just an outlet for their creativity. It is also a stress-reliever, and gives them something to look forward to that they can control.
“They tell me that during certain periods of time that they’re stressed or feeling inundated with all of the pressures of daily life, the idea of doing something simplistic that’s not complicated even something that has built-in boundaries, so they are coloring within the lines,” Dr. Joseph Cvitkovic said.
It's the male cycle:
It might sound like a very convenient get out of jail free card, but the idea of ‘manstruation’ — also described as ‘irritable male syndrome’ — is gaining ground, with animal studies showing the male hormone testosterone has a cycle, which can have profound effects on mood, energy levels and libido.Men have feelings, dude...
‘Originally I thought the way I felt was just the ebb and flow of life,’ says Daniel, 48, a builder and gardener.
‘In fact, it was Jacqui who spotted a pattern was forming about two years ago. Every five or six weeks, I’d change from a rational guy into someone ready to pick holes or start an argument if someone just looked at me the wrong way. I’d also feel horribly unattractive and suddenly low in confidence.
‘It normally lasts for about four days and then I feel back to normal again.
They're more programmable than the live version:
According to Microsoft, breakthroughs in text-to-speech artificial intelligence (AI) have helped XiaoIce score high points for linguistic naturalness, and hers is closer to the human voice than other speech synthesizers.On the bright side, at least her bias won't be her own fault...
Through unique emotional technology, she can make comments instantly based on weather data.
After her successful debut, people are worried that XiaoIce could cause traditional TV anchors and weather reporters to lose their jobs, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Song Jiongming, director of TV news for the Shanghai Media Group, pointed out that human anchors will not be completely replaced by XiaoIce in the near term, but the robot will supplement humans with her big data analysis capability.
Don't touch that elf:
Police officers say Isabell LaPeruta, of Old Bridge, New Jersey, panicked and called 911 after she accidentally knocked the elf off the mantle with her ball, as reported by the New York ABC affiliate. Her mom was sleeping at the time.He knows if your call was bad or good...
Officers went to check on the girl to make sure she was okay. When they arrived, she was in tears.
Her mother, Lyanne LaPeruta woke from her nap and was reported to say, “She was hysterical crying, she was panicking.”
The little girl said later, “I didn’t want to get in trouble.”
Isabell told the New York television station, she now knows that she must not call 911 unless there is a real emergency. Speaking about Santa, she also said, “He knows that I’m not going to do that again.”
The team that dares not speak its name wins round one:
The majority opinion reasoned, “The government cannot refuse to register disparaging remarks because it disapproves of the expressive messages conveyed by the marks. It cannot refuse to register marks because it concludes that such marks will be disparaging to others. The government regulation at issue amounts to viewpoint discrimination…”Free speech lives to offend those in their safe spaces for another day...
According to the Federal Circuit, such discrimination cannot be sustained unless the government satisfies an extremely demanding standard called “strict scrutiny,” where the law is presumed unconstitutional and will only be upheld if the government proves that it is narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling public interest.
The court noted that those seeking patents, copyrights, or trademarks are seeking government benefits. But Judge Moore cited Supreme Court precedent that it would violate the “unconstitutional conditions doctrine” to make forfeiting First Amendment rights a condition for receiving a government benefit.
"Free" care costs money:
One in 10 Obamacare customers who earn between just two and five times the federal poverty level will have coverage costs that exceed 21 percent of their incomes, an analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute found.You wanted it, you got it, good and hard...
And the median Obamacare customer who earns in that range spends more than 10 percent of their income on monthly premiums and out-of-pocket health expenses, the analysis found.
"Many who have modest incomes have high financial burdens even with average medical expenses," the report said. "For those at the top of the [health] spending distribution, financial burdens are very high."
Hillary wants to be a grandmother. Actual grandchildren say no thanks:
After Mrs. Clinton shared news of her daughter’s second pregnancy, a “content strategist” for her campaign posted the list, an effort to appeal to young Hispanic voters by pointing out how she was just like their abuelas, or grandmothers: She cares for all children. She reads to her grandchild before bedtime. She doesn’t tolerate disrespect.It doesn't take a village to see that real abuelas matter more than fake ones...
Her critics were not impressed. Soon, the hashtag #NotMyAbuela was circulating as a critique of what some saw as a tone-deaf move to pander to a powerful but marginalized bloc of voters. Her critics pointed out that Mrs. Clinton did not grow up poor like their relatives, and was not separated from loved ones by country borders. Others just made their points with the magic of memes.
Rolling Stone doesn't like it when their lies catch up to them:
The men claimed the article "created a simple and direct way to match the alleged attackers" to them based on details provided in the story. For example, they said friends and family of Elias "would have reasonably concluded" that the incident happened in the man's room based on descriptions in the article.Welcome to journalism fail 101...
But in court documents filed Wednesday, lawyers for Rolling Stone argue their lawsuit should be dismissed because the article never referred to the men by name and readers wouldn't have been able to link them to the alleged incident.
The magazine also rejected the men's claim that they were defamed simply because they were members of the fraternity who graduated in 2013 or 2014. It says the article "cannot reasonably be read as accusing all members of these groups of committing rape."
An investigation by Charlottesville police found no evidence to back up the claims of the woman identified in the article as "Jackie." Rolling Stone retracted the article and the magazine's managing editor and Erdely both apologized.
The graduates' lawsuit is just one of three lawsuits the magazine faces in the wake of Erdely's article.
South America rejects the left:
The backlash comes amid an economic storm of the likes the region hasn't seen in decades. While all political dynasties are paying the price for broken economies and unchecked corruption, most of South America's governments are run by leftists who came to power as China's economy was taking off over the past 15 years, fueling demand for the region's raw materials.For the hypocrites in charge, perhaps...
Now that the Asian giant is struggling, prices for the region's copper, soy beans and oil have plummeted along with its currencies, taking with them the aspirations of millions of families that rose into the middle class on the back of the economic boom. At the same time, U.S. interest rates are rising again for the first time in seven years, adding pressure on borrowers already struggling to pay back dollar loans.
"What we're seeing now is a reminder that the political pendulum shifts in South America," says Colombian Senator Antonio Navarro Wolff, a former leader of the country's M-19 leftist guerrilla movement. "In the past decade it appeared to have stopped moving because the economic conditions were so favorable."
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Who really invented Kwanzaa:
Kwanzaa, celebrated exclusively by white liberals, is a fake holiday invented in 1966 by black radical/FBI stooge Ron Everett -- aka Dr. Maulana Karenga, founder of United Slaves, the violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers. In the annals of the American '60s, Karenga was the Father Gapon, stooge of the czarist police.Kwanzaa is less real than Festivus. But at least with Festivus you have the airing of grievances without the worry that you might get shot...
Kwanzaa was the result of a '60s psychosis grafted onto the black community with the tacit encouragement of the FBI. Liberals have become so mesmerized by multicultural gibberish that they have forgotten the real history of Kwanzaa and Karenga's United Slaves -- the violence, the Marxism, the insanity.
Most absurdly, for leftists anyway, they have forgotten the FBI's tacit encouragement of this murderous black nationalist cult founded by the father of Kwanzaa.
The great Mall of America protest didn't go quite as expected:
About 100 people started to gather in the east atrium of the mall, one of the largest in North America, around 1:30 p.m. (1830 GMT), despite a judge's warning that the property's owners could legally block the protest, organized by the Black Lives Matter movement.Because nothing draws a positive reaction to your cause like harassing last-minute Christmas shoppers...
Police and mall security quickly moved in, warning any who did not leave they would be arrested for violating mall policy against demonstrations and alerting shoppers that that area of the mall was on lockdown. Police took one man into custody and forced people in the protest area outside into a light snow.
People also lined the tiers on the three floors above the protest, although it was not clear whether they were involved or watching. Some stores locked their doors ahead of the demonstration.
So, what was it?
"At first we thought it was a military object, but then began to dream. I have been in this business for a long time and cannot recall such a mystery," Gaynor told the paper.Waiting to scam the Internet?
With no further ideas, the Authority posted a picture on Facebook and one of 300 responders identified the object: It's a Weber Isis Beamer, a German device that claims to create "a protective field" against radiation.
Haaretz reported that the objects are sold online in various sizes for up 120 euros ($131). The firm promises they will "ensure energy harmony" at home, at work and when traveling.
"The wisdom of the masses has done its part," the Authority said Tuesday. What the object was doing in the cemetery remains a mystery.
Who's right, and who's wrong:
It’s horribly offensive, possibly racist because Cruz and his daughters are Hispanic, and never should have been published in the first place. Ann Telnaes obviously drew it because she believed it would get Cruz fans angry (and non-Cruz fans happy) and Washington Post expected to get clicks. Editor Fred Hiatt’s claims he didn’t look at the cartoon before it was published don’t make sense, and seem to be more of a case of “oops, we’re kinda sorry, but not really” versus an actual apology.But isn't that different from personal attacks against someone's kids? Ted Cruz thinks so.
But the problem is Washington Post DID publish the cartoon, and once they opened the Pandora’s Box it needed to stay open. They have every right to pull the repugnant cartoon, but they shouldn’t have — because it’s free speech. It falls into the same category as the “Draw Mohammad” event in Garland, Chip Bok’s cartoon on the 2009 Sonia Sotomayor hearings, and The New York Times’ decision to publish a Holocaust-denying cartoon. All can be considered “offensive” to one group or another, but they’re protected by the First Amendment. Remember the controversy over The Interview or South Park’s depiction of Mohammad? Free speech advocates rushed to defend the movie and TV show, because free speech is in the Constitution.
There shall be no Sasquatch in his courtroom:
In a legal motion that is as strange as the elusive humanoid, Iowa prosecutor Rob Sand asked a judge Monday to bar any discussion of Bigfoot hunting at the upcoming trial of Eddie Tipton, the lottery official accused of fixing multiple jackpots.So Bigfoot is out as a character witness, then?
"The prejudicial effect could potentially be as strong as Sasquatch itself," Sand wrote. "Jurors could be incredulous. They could find it unusual enough that it outweighs other evidence in their mind."
Tipton is the former Multi-State Lottery Association security director who is accused of rigging jackpots in Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma from 2005 to 2011 to enrich himself and his friends. Investigators say he manipulated the computers that run games for dozens of state lotteries so he could know winning combinations in advance.
Then, they say he worked with accomplices including his brother Tommy Tipton to play those numbers and claim jackpots worth millions.
The history of Rock Paper Scissors:
Rock-paper-scissors didn’t arrive in the U.S. until the 20th century, but it’s one of the oldest games used for making decisions in human existence, even if its history is muddled with legends and exaggerations put forth by Internet historians and Redditors (for example, the reason why the game is sometimes called “Rochambeau” is fiercely debated).Sometimes you're the elephant...
The earliest known references to finger-flashing games are a tomb-wall painting at the Beni Hasan burial site in Middle Egypt (dated to around 2000 B.C.E.) and centuries later on a scroll from Japan. Versions of rock-paper-scissors can be found in cultures around the world, but outside of North America it remains most ubiquitous in Asia. In Japan, the game is called jan-ken or jankenpon, and uses the same rock-paper-scissors finger positions, though a variation features a tiger, a village chief, and the village chief’s mother (who beats the chief). In Indonesia, the game is earwig-man-elephant, where the earwig overcomes the elephant by crawling up his trunk and eating his brain.
Second look at...Palpatine?
Unless I’m forgetting something, he doesn’t have a single redeeming moment onscreen. He’s an evil dictator with ambitions for galactic domination who builds superweapons to blow up planets and tries to kill Luke before killing his father. He’s Space Hitler. Americans are rating Space Hitler net favorably. Why? The best I can do to explain it is guess that some people polled simply forgot who “Emperor Palpatine” is, thought the name sounded vaguely familiar, and assumed that he’s Leia’s father or maybe the head of the rebellion or whatever. As a kid, having watched the original trilogy, I knew who “the Emperor” was but the name “Palpatine” didn’t really stick in my head, probably because the characters typically don’t refer to him by his full name. Maybe that’s the problem some people are having here — they’ve seen Episodes IV, V, and VI but not I, II, and III (lucky them) and they’re not placing who “Palpatine” is, so they’re taking a guess and rating him favorably. (Although, in that case, why not just say “unfamiliar”?) Either that or the recent trolling from conservative writers about how the Empire is actually good and the Jedi are a terrorist cult has deeper cultural roots than we thought.Just because you're evil, doesn't mean you can't be competitive...
What do selfies really say about us?
There is nothing all that wrong with selfies, as such. They are just a documentary act, at heart – a record of where you have been, what you have seen, the things you have eaten and drunk, the friends and lovers you have had, the family you wish you saw more often. People have been taking pictures of these things since photography was invented. They just do so with more frequency today.In other words...you can be even more narcissistic than any previous generation.
But there’s another difference, too. In an era when the ability to capture a still life or one in motion is in your pocket at all times, people have a tendency to do so with a different approach. They put themselves in the foreground of existence, which inevitably means putting life behind them. It requires you to look away from the thing you wish to capture in order to put your face in the shot, and to do so over and over and over again. No stranger would willingly stand there snapping away at you, so you need a stick to ease the challenge – it eliminates the human interaction and increases the options and angles you can use.
Does anyone trust her?
A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday shows that 59 percent of Americans view Hillary Clinton as being “not honest and trustworthy,” with only 35 percent thinking that she is, actually, honest and trustworthy.Which isn't saying much...
The 24-point gap in the honesty poll could mean problems for Hillary Clinton, who is basically running against herself – and her own ethics scandals – at this point in the Democratic primary. If Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)16% continues to pillory Clinton from the left during the primaries, and Donald Trump continues to hammer her for the fact that she has a pending FBI investigation into her private email scandal, the general election results could swing against her.
Some 55 percent of poll respondents said that Clinton does not share their values, while 50 percent said that she doesn’t care about their problems.
However, 58 percent said that she has strong leadership qualities, and her numbers for “experience” better Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s numbers in the poll.
A prisoner of the regime is going home:
An Iranian pastor serving a seven year sentence was released Monday after more than five years inside one of the country’s most brutal prisons, a church working to secure his freedom announced on its website.This is the kind of person America ought to be welcoming. Hopefully we will.
“We are overjoyed and celebrating!” Elam church’s Executive Director David Yeghnazar said in a statement. “Farshid Fathi has been released today after five years in prison for his faith.”
“We are deeply grateful for your faithful prayers for Farshid while he has been in prison,” he continued. “We would like to request that you continue praying for Farshid today and in the coming weeks. Please pray especially for protection, his family and his adjustment to life outside prison.”
Yeghnazar said he would “share more information when possible.”
Fathi was arrested on Dec. 26, 2010, with dozens of other Christians in the Iranian capital of Tehran.
The IRS can now take your passport:
Some details still need to be worked out, but the new passport rule indicates the government wants to get serious about collecting unpaid tax debts. The IRS reported 12.4 million delinquent accounts owing nearly $131 billion in assessed taxes, interest and penalties in 2014.On the plus side, this could keep people who really are trying to skip the country from leaving. On the downside, it could make more people want to...
In addition to going after delinquent taxpayers by revoking their passports, the FAST Act highway-transportation bill signed by President Obama on Dec. 4 also gives private debt collectors a shot at forcing taxpayers to make good on their debts. The act includes a mandate that the Internal Revenue Service turn over certain unpaid tax delinquencies to private debt collectors.
The passport-revoking provision allows the Department of the Treasury and the IRS to authorize the State Department to take away U.S. passports from individuals with seriously delinquent tax liabilities. That's defined as those greater than $50,000 and for which the IRS has filed a lien or levy, according to Matthew D. Lee of law firm Blank Rome. In a blog, he described the passport-revoking provision as a "powerful tool to force tax compliance." Affected taxpayers would receive written notice.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Who gets the bill when driverless cars crash?
No one knows. But plaintiff’s lawyers are salivating at the prospects for big paydays from such accidents. If computers routinely crash, they say, then so will cars operated by them. And with no one behind the wheel, lawyers say they can go after almost anyone even remotely involved.First, let's drive all the lawyers...
“You’re going to get a whole host of new defendants,” said Kevin Dean, who is suing General Motors Co. over its faulty ignition switches and Takata Corp. over air-bag failures. “Computer programmers, computer companies, designers of algorithms, Google, mapping companies, even states. It’s going to be very fertile ground for lawyers.”
What happened to Chinese executives?
Earlier this month one of China’s most prominent businessmen, Guo Guangchang was reported as missing by Fosun International, a property of the entertainment conglomerate that owns stakes in Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8, Cirque du Soleil and Bona Film Group. Guo resurfaced only four days later on Dec. 14 and has since been seen in New York, but Fosun has said little about Guo’s enforced absence.In China, film makes you...
The Imagi and Fosun revelations fit a growing pattern of Hong Kong-listed companies which are being affected by the actions of the Chinese judiciary authorities.
Patrick Liu Chunning, head of Hong Kong-listed Alibaba Pictures Group, was detained this summer, apparently as part of an investigation into bribery claims when he was an executive at social media giant Tencent.
Unlike Fosun, where the company asserted that Guo’s temporary disappearance would have no material impact, Imagi revealed that a special committee was set up in November “to protect the company’s interests and assets.”
About those climate temps:
Judicial Watch sued the Department of Commerce after the agency failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted on October 30, 2015 – NOAA is a component of the Department of Commerce. The timeframe for the requested records is October 30, 2014, through October 30, 2015, and requests all documents and records of communications between NOAA officials, employees, and contractors regarding:It's not like they were ever going to actually have to prove their "data..."
The methodology and utilization of night marine air temperatures to adjust ship and buoy temperature data;
The use of other global temperature datasets for both NOAA’s in-house dataset improvements and monthly press releases conveying information to the public about global temperatures;
The utilization and consideration of satellite bulk atmospheric temperature readings for use in global temperature datasets; and
A subpoena issued for the aforementioned information by Congressman Lamar Smith on October 13, 2015.
Judicial Watch is investigating how NOAA collects and disseminates climate data that is used in determining global climate change. NOAA collects data in thousands of ways – from temperature gauges on land and buoys at sea, to satellites orbiting Earth. Considered the “environmental intelligence agency,” NOAA is the nation’s leading collector of climate data. In July, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) asked NOAA for both data and internal communications related to a controversial climate change study. After the agency refused to comply with the document request, Smith’s committee issued a subpoena on October 13.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Campus bigots shouldn't silence dissent:
“I think it’s a healthy thing for young people to be engaged and to question authority and to ask why this instead of that, to ask tough questions about social justice. So I don’t want to discourage kids from doing that,” Obama said. “As I’ve said before, I do think that there have been times on college campuses where I get concerned that the unwillingness to hear other points of view can be as unhealthy on the left as on the right.”Unfortunately the kids don't seem to be listening...
“There have been times where you start seeing on college campuses students protesting somebody like the director of the IMF or Condi Rice speaking on a campus because they don’t like what they stand for,” Obama said. “Well, feel free to disagree with somebody, but don’t try to just shut them up.”
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Just a few more years, America:
Workers with job-based coverage have seen their premiums rise 83% since 2005, according to the 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust survey. Since 2010, the workers’ share of premiums have risen more than twice as fast as wages.Patience may be a virtue, but Obamacare has none...
Meanwhile, employees have to pay steeper deductibles before their health insurance even kicks in. Some 81% of firms have deductibles now, up from 55% in 2006. And 46% of workers with single coverage face deductibles of at least $1,000, up from 10% in 2006.
Obamacare premiums are on the rise, as well. The cost of the benchmark silver plan rose 10.1%, on average, for 2016, according to a Kaiser analysis.
He really, really tried:
“We advanced our priorities and principles. Not every single one of them, but many of them. And then we’re going to pick up next year and pick up where we left off and keep going for more,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd in an interview on Meet the Press…Um, no?
“No matter what you do in this job you’re going to get criticized,” he said. “The question is are you focusing on your goals? Are you keeping your principles intact? Are you advancing ideas that make a difference in people’s lives?”
Why free speech is dying on campus:
A group that includes academics from the universities of Buckingham, Canterbury, Derby, Kent, Liverpool and Sheffield has written to the Daily Telegraph to warn that politically correct student power in universities is seeing freedom of speech “being curtailed as never before.”The customer isn't right in this case...
The blame is not put wholly on the shoulders of the universities or their students, the authors of the letter concede that “the Government’s anti-terrorism legislation, known as Prevent, imposes restrictions on who can and cannot speak on campus and forces academics to police students and each other.”
Nevertheless the authors’ main target is student-driven censorship regimes under which “the list of speakers banned from unions by students is growing, and even banned artefacts: from pop songs to sombreros.”
The crux of their argument is that the rise in tuition fees has meant universities changed their attitude towards students, now seeing them instead as “customers”. Universities therefore feel a growing pressure to give their customers what they want such that “in turn, many of the most vocal students feel they have a right to demand protection from images, words and ideas that offend them.”
Driverless cars aren't quite there yet:
Companies like Uber have also been investing in the adaptation and use of driverless vehicles, employing hackers and robotics specialists to try and solve the complex situational management that automated vehicles require.Why did the car cross the road? To get out of the human's way...
Raj Rajkumar of Pittsburgh’s General Motors-Carnegie Mellon Autonomous Driving Collaborative Research Lab describes the issue as a subject of “constant debate.” When you program a car to drive the speed limit, you’re telling it to do something that most people don’t.
In the largely driverless future, the precision of a car’s artificial intelligence will be a boon. IHS Automotive predicts that future may arrive much sooner than we think. But until 2050, car manufacturers and automated driving services may be forced to give our robotic counterparts a bit of a lead foot.
what happens when nerds get angry:
When the film resumed, the audience was further distressed by the fact that it had skipped to a later part of the movie.Lead to refunds, the Dark Side does...
A Facebook post by Erik Melendez read: “Projector at Star Wars midnight 3D show at the Arclight ruined, stopped, then started again towards the end of the movie. The movie was spoiled and everyone in the theater went crazy.”
Melendez told CBS the glitch “kind of ruined our night.”
The Arclight reportedly offered refunds and gave out free movie vouchers.
Kristin Nepi said of the theater, “They were apologetic, but you really can’t get that first time experience watching a Star Wars film. You can’t get that back.”
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Yes, the world is a better place:
Take two fellow horsemen of the apocalypse alongside war: famine and pestilence. Both were on the defensive in 2015. There were fears of drought across the Sahel causing a famine this year—especially in conflict zones such as South Sudan. While the risk of major food shortages in 2016 is high, the fear hasn’t materialized yet, at least. Famine deaths are increasingly rare and increasingly limited to the few areas of the world suffering complete state collapse. Related to that, the proportion of the world’s population that is undernourished has slipped from 19 percent to 11 percent between 1990 and today.This holiday season, remember who to thank for this...
Or look at disease: Through the course of November 2015, only four cases of Ebola were confirmed in the three West African countries at the epicenter of the 2014-2015 outbreak. Roughly 11,315 people were either known or believed to have died in that epidemic worldwide, but compared to a 2014 Center for Disease Control forecast that, absent intervention, there might be as many as 1.4 million Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone alone by mid-January 2015, the world got off lightly, with total cases resulting from the outbreak standing at around 29,000 today. An Ebola vaccine that underwent trials in Guinea this spring proved 100 percent effective, suggesting future outbreaks of the disease should be far less deadly. The world has also seen progress toward a partially effective malaria vaccine this year.
So the world is better-educated, better-fed, healthier, freer, and more tolerant—and it looks set to get richer, too. In October, the IMF forecast 4.0 percent growth for emerging and developing countries for 2015—slower than the 7-8 percent that they managed through much of the last 15 years but nonetheless considerably ahead of population growth. The World Bank declared in September that, for the first time ever, less than 10 percent of the global population lived in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 per day. That is down from 37 percent as recently as 1990. There are a lot of reasons to think the poverty measures the World Bank creates are flawed. That said, the decline certainly reflects an underlying reality: Many of the poorest countries in the world, and many of the poorest people in them, have seen dramatic income gains over the last few years.
Feminists win, England loses:
Hunt was accused of sexism after aggrieved progressive journalists took Hunt’s ironic, self-deprecating comments about being a “chauvinist monster” and presented them as genuine. One of the journalists, Connie St Louis, was later found to have a history of exaggerated claims – most notably on her CV.Meanwhile, at home the purge continues...
A recording of Hunt’s speech eventually exonerated him, revealing not only that his comments were a joke, but that he had also gone on to praise the achievements of women in science. The President of the Royal Society eventually conceded that Hunt should not have had to resign, and had been the victim of a “Twitter and Media storm.”
Hunt said he had been “hung out to dry” by UCL, who had given him the choice of resigning or being fired.
Sir Tim, along with his wife, Professor Mary Collins, are now planning to leave their long-time home in Hertfordshire and move to Japan, a country far removed from western panics about sexism.
The New York Times discovers something about itself:
Sullivan assailed the Times for relying on anonymous government sources for reporting and said she confronted Executive Editor Dean Banquet and his deputies with questions.As opposed to when they just make stuff up on their own?
“This was a really big mistake,” Baquet told her. “And more than anything since I’ve become editor it does make me think we need to do something about how we handle anonymous sources.”
He added, “This was a system failure that we have to fix.”
Sullivan suggested the Times “fix its overuse of unnamed government sources” and “slow down the reporting and editing process.” She said that it was “not acceptable” two front-page stories have needed corrections in recent months.
“If this isn’t a red alert, I don’t know what will be,” Sullivan concluded.
Where food is politically incorrect:
General Tso’s chicken was made with steamed chicken instead of fried — which is not authentically Chinese, and simply “weird,” one student bellyached in the Oberlin Review.Not even ice cream? And isn't fried chicken racist?
Others were up in arms over banh mi Vietnamese sandwiches served with coleslaw instead of pickled vegetables, and on ciabatta bread, rather than the traditional French baguette.
“It was ridiculous,” gripes Diep Nguyen, a freshman who is a Vietnam native.
Worse, the sushi rice was undercooked in a way that was, according to one student, “disrespectful” of her culture. Tomoyo Joshi, a junior from Japan, was highly offended by this flagrant violation of her rice. “I f people not from that heritage take food, modify it and serve it as ‘authentic,’ it is appropriative,” she said.
Oberlin’s black student union joined in the fray this month by staging a protest outside Afrikan Heritage House, an on-campus dorm.
The cafeteria there wasn’t serving enough vegan and vegetarian options and had failed to make fried chicken a permanent feature on the Sunday night menu, the school newspaper reported.
Those students started a petition that also recommends the reduction of cream used in dishes, because “black American food doesn’t have much cream in it,” according to the Review.
Call them Japan's lonely generation:
The scrooges -- mostly single men -- said they were against capitalism and were opposed to the commercialisation of Christmas.In America, they just complain about it...
"In this world, money is extracted from people in love, and happy people support capitalism," said the head of the organisation, formally called Kakumeiteki Hi-mote Domei, or the Revolutionary Losers' League.
"Christmas is the most symbolic event for this," he added.
The man, who identified himself only by the pseudonym MarkWater, said the rally was also in support of unloved men.
"Unpopular men, who don't have a girlfriend or are not married, are overly discriminated. We want to break this barrier," he told AFP amid the shouting protesters.
Friday, December 18, 2015
How lobbyists helped give America a lump of coal:
According to Sessions, lawmakers found out what was in the bill by talking to lobbyists, who had a better idea than they did as to what was being included in the bill. “No member of even the House and Senate knew what was going on,” he told Portland, Oregon talk show host Lars Larson. “Special interests did because we heard from lobbyists what some things were being considered.”In this case, maybe not...
Sessions went on to note that basically four members of congress put the deal together without consulting their colleagues. “It’s not right for ultimately four members, in secret — for reasons we have no understanding of — to make critical decisions on things,” he said.
Sessions also bristled and how the bill was quickly presented to members of congress with little time to consider it. “This kind of process is unhealthy … because in a matter of panic before Christmas we’re told ‘you either vote for this bill or shut the government down’ and that would be a colossal disaster.”
Protect the Queen:
A spokeswoman for Mr. O’Malley’s campaign said that avoiding prime-time debate slots was a way for the Democratic Party to “protect” Mrs. Clinton, and that it had given Mr. Trump and the Republicans a better platform to express their views.There's no conspiracy here, move along...
Mr. Sanders’s campaign said that he did not have any input about when the debates would take place and that he was hoping for more opportunities to discuss the issues with his rivals for the nomination.
“We’re playing the hand we were dealt,” said Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Mr. Sanders. “I guess Christmas Eve was booked.”
The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
For its part, the Democratic National Committee says that it opted for fewer debates to give candidates more time to interact with voters on the campaign trail. The weekend debates were scheduled because the party felt it was important to have some of them broadcast on networks that do not require cable subscriptions, the committee said. Major broadcasters were less flexible about bumping their previously scheduled prime-time lineups for debates.
The Department of Justice is peeved that the Inspector General's office actually wants to do its job:
Section 2 of the Act says very explicitly that IGs must be given access to “all records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, or other material” relevant to their investigative duties. Notice that Congress said that IGs are to have access to “all” records -- not just those that executive branch officials, in their infinite wisdom, decide that the IG should get.For the government, getting away with it is a full-time job...
But the Obama administration is balking, to the utter frustration of the inspectors general and members of Congress.
Earlier this year, as we explain in a new Heritage Foundation legal analysis, the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel released an opinion that DOJ officials could withhold information at their discretion from the IG. To evade audits and investigation of possible misbehavior, DOJ officials need only claim that the information sought by an IG is protected by provisions of the Federal Wiretap Act, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
If this DOJ opinion stands, it will entitle DOJ employees -- as well as employees of other federal agencies -- to shield their operations from IG oversight under any other federal statutes with similar non-disclosure provisions.
Who came up with Gerry Rafferty's greatest riff?
Burns told me that there’s no question that Rafferty came up with the music that became the famous riff line on “Baker Street.” After Burns laid down the solo, Rafferty asked him to “have a go at what obviously became very famous, which was the sax line.” Burns tried it on guitar, but the two men agreed that it would be better on the saxophone. “That’s the way I always saw it,” he remembers Rafferty telling him at the time.Does it really matter? Everyone knows Lisa Simpson played the best version anyway...
“It’s important to say that in the case of that particular instrumental opening to ‘Baker Street,’ it was entirely Gerry’s line,” said Burns. He also referenced the demo, explaining that it was Rafferty himself playing the line on guitar.
So, it seems clear enough. Rafferty came up with the hook. But depending on whom you ask, the intrigue doesn’t quite end there. For decades in England, for instance, there was a widely believed urban myth that Bob Holness, the buttoned-up British gameshow host, had actually performed the saxophone solo in “Baker Street.”
And there’s still another wrinkle on the other side of the pond. Back in 1968, 10 years before “Baker Street” was recorded, Steve Marcus, a tenor sax player who toured with the jazz great Buddy Rich, released Tomorrow Never Knows, the first and only record under his own name.
The jazz-rock fusion album was almost exclusively of cover songs such as The Beatles’ title track. It also included a few original compositions, including a song called “Half a Heart.” The first nine seconds may give you chills.
Freeing the Wu-Tang Clan:
There are three immediately apparent ways this arrest and case might let Once Upon a Time into the public.The white man is always stealing the black man's music...
The first is asset forfeiture, a controversial practice in which law enforcement seizes cash and other goods without a warrant. Police might, for example, stop someone with thousands of dollars in cash, surmise that the money is involved in drug transactions, and seize the cash. The problem here becomes clear fairly quickly: Not everyone carrying cash is a drug kingpin; some are (for example) just traveling with their life savings. (Sarah Stillman tells some heartbreaking stories here.) In recent years, a coalition of leftist police reformers and libertarians has mounted a major charge against the practice. But with the Shkreli arrest, even some faithful liberals wondered if this was the one time when seizure might be justified, and the indictment suggests the feds just might try.
No, Star Wars isn't racist:
Ever since the universally rejected prequels, race in Star Wars has been a topic of discussion for progressive elites, but it’s clear the aim of Social Justice Media is to bring it more into focus. “What does a black stormtrooper’s wielding a lightsaber finally say about ourselves and our culture?” the headlines will read. Black Lives Matter will start waving toy lightsabers during their protests while chanting, “Hans Up, Don’t Shoot First.”Only those who expected him to be a Sith Lord...
We can surely expect our celebrity president to weigh in as well, not to mention our current crop of 2016 candidates. One can already imagine the Darth Trump graphics being created for “explainer” journalists and cable-news segments. Bernie Sanders will still say he finds the idea of a giant walking space dog to be unrealistic. The Hillary Clinton campaign is already focus-grouping to death the many ways she can tweet out to her fandom without coming off like Emperor Palpatine. If Ted Cruz appeared on the campaign trail dressed in Jedi robes, would it really surprise anyone?
The air strikes are free:
Anatoly Aronov, president of the First Patent Company, reportedly helped to file Megapolis’s licensing application with Moscow."And over here, we have-ouch!"
“People are curious to see the history made in front of them,” he told the Daily Mail. “We will be one kilometer away from the front at the very closest. But not any closer. It’s safe. On no occasion will we be giving weapons to tourists.”
While he admits the appeal is “niche,” Aronov told Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta of the various perks he sees for Russians traveling to Syria right now.
He said there are a large number of Syrians who have studied at Russian universities and therefore speak the language, meaning tourists don’t need to worry about interpreters.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
In this day and age, is it any wonder some folks were spooked?
“It looks like remnants from a low deck of clouds,” KING-TV Chief Meteorologist Jeff Renner said. “It’s apparent these are low clouds from the proximity to the buildings and the very flat tops. Probably 2,000-3,000 feet at most above the ground. That argues against enough depth to produce rain showers such as could produce a shaft. I believe you’re seeing a release of steam or exhaust from a ground-based plant rise into the remnant low clouds, producing the ‘mushroom’ shape.”That's what they want you to think...
We are our action figures:
In play, children create new personalities and backstories for their action figures, turning warriors, wizards, and Wolverines into whatever characters their stories require. The ability to move and pose the limbs—the “action” in “action figure”—also gives children the ability to move those stories forward. By developing their own imaginary worlds within the context of the real one, children use the fluid identity of action figures as a tool to help them discover their own identities...The ultimate nerd projection? Or just channeling your inner action figure?
If owners aren’t using action figures to expand their imaginations, perhaps it’s no surprise that some choose instead to use them as a mirror. Sites like myfaceonafigure.com and thatsmyface.com offer shoppers the chance to buy action figures of themselves—for around $30, instead of creating a personality of your own invention, you can project your face onto Batman’s body and adopting his persona for your own. By extension, you can now buy, sell, and trade action figures of yourself to celebrate your own identity—or alienation.
The dark alliances of Dungeons and Dragons:
To sum up the D&D alignment system succinctly, it’s as follows: you’re either Good, Evil, or Neutral. And you’re either Lawful, Chaotic, or ...Neutral. That gives you one of nine possible alignments (Neutral-Neutral is called True Neutral) to have, which will have an effect on what spells you can cast, what spells can be cast on you, what spells will detect you, and so on. It’s a remarkably fraught system when you think about the implications; after all, having one’s moral quality be fully quantifiable can have any number of implications, starting with the fairly basic one that if something is inherently Evil then you can kill it without any kind of remorse.Well, not everybody can be a Wizard...
Not every RPG uses alignment, of course. Indeed, many of the pen-and-paper ones explicitly don’t use alignment… while still having dungeons where an implicit alignment system is the only thing keeping the adventurers from being, to quote the folks at Steve Jackson Games, "racially motivated thugs" (or "murder hobos," which is a term I first heard from game writer Emily Dresner) who are killing orcs simply because they can get away with it. To be fair, some games get more seriously into the concept of what’s good and what’s evil; but even then there’s a certain shared assumption in a lot of games that there never have to have to be any non-fun consequences* to bursting into an underground complex full of opponents and killing them all, because after all they were Evil, and so were Asking For It.
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Navajos rejoice: The Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta Mine on Navajo land in Arizona has directly and indirectly provided 3,100 job...