Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Flip Flop Op

"Hey, newspaper readers? Sorry about that whole suppression of dissent thing":
“I was way too fast on the draw on that, and sadly for a guy who writes for a living I frankly regret that that happened,” John L. Micek, editorial and opinion editor for PennLive and the Patriot-News, told TheBlaze. “It was never an intent on my part to restrict anyone’s speech.”

Micek said that his original language, which read, ”PennLive/The Patriot-News will no longer accept, nor will it print, op-eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage,” was “broad and imprecise” and that he could understand peoples’ frustrations.
Sounds like it was precise enough at the time...

New Court Rules

The Court tells the EPA to back off:
The rules curbing emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants began to take effect in April. But the court said by a 5-4 vote Monday that the EPA failed to take their cost into account when the agency first decided to regulate the toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired plants.

The challenge was brought by industry groups and 21 Republican-led states.

Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia said it is not appropriate to impose billions of dollars of economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.

"EPA must consider cost -- including cost of compliance -- before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary," the court said.
Something government doesn't often do...

Big Man On The Campaign Trail

Chris Christie is in:
“I mean what I say and I say what I mean, and that’s what America needs right now,” Christie said, from a podium at Livingston High School, where he stood with his wife and children.

At times, Christie, who delivered his remarks in front of a large American flag and without a teleprompter, sharply criticized both Republicans and Democrats.

“Both parties have failed our country,” he said.

Christie, a former U.S. attorney who is serving his second term as governor of the Garden State, is the 14th Republican to enter the 2016 race.

Christie spent much of his 20-minute speech reintroducing himself to a national audience that’s seen him fade from favor among the GOP faithful. Days earlier, he launched a website under the campaign slogan, "Telling It Like It Is."
Watch your back, Donald Trump...

Monday, June 29, 2015

Who's Dues?

Can a teacher get to decide where her dues go? Apparently not:
The Pennsylvania State Education Association allows for non-members who file religious exemptions to designate their fair-share fee to non-religious causes that are agreed upon by both parties.

Misja filed that request in 2012, but the two charities that she suggested were reportedly rejected by the union; People Concerned for the Unborn Child, a pro-life group, and the National Rifle Association Foundation were both declined.

The union purportedly said that the money needs to go to a charity that gives women every option when it comes to pregnancy counseling, and the latter was rejected for its sponsorship of a political group, according to the Tribune-Review.

Misja, though, believes that the rejections were for purely “political reasons.”

“I was quite shocked. I had no idea that my choice would be turned down,” Misja told the outlet. “I should have the freedom to put my money to a cause that I have a personal connection to and to a cause I believe in.”
Only if they let you...

Trump's Next Card

Donald Trump fights back:
"We must have strong borders and not let illegal immigrants enter the United States. As has been stated continuously in the press, people are pouring across our borders unabated. Public reports routinely state great amounts of crime are being committed by illegal immigrants. This must be stopped and it must be stopped now. Long ago I told NBC that I would not being doing The Apprentice because I am running for President in order to Make our Country Great Again.

"If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court. Furthermore, they will stand behind lying Brian Williams, but won't stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be."
The weaker they are, the harder they crack up...

It's Her Scandal Now

They're disgusted that emails were being deleted in their establishment:

Ghost State

What happened to the North Dakota oil boom?
North Dakota is coming off of a run where they had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation for seven straight years. (They’ve now dropped out of first place.) While the rest of the country was stagnating with at or above double digit joblessness, at the peak of the crash in early 2009 North Dakota topped out at barely 4%. It was an island of prosperity in the middle of a nation which was otherwise sinking like a stone. People flocked there in droves to restart their lives. But now that process is grinding to a halt, at least for the time being.
The government doesn't like good times it can't take credit for...

Welcome To Billionaire Camp

How to be a better rich person:
Here they are stripped of some of the trappings of the super-rich. No staff are allowed. Everyone stays in the same style of hotel room to “create a community”, so there are no suites, just regular rooms with large beds, two comfortable chairs, sleek en-suite bathrooms and local art on the wall.

The wealth management arm of UBS casts itself in the role of adviser and educator for the three-day camp, which the Swiss bank uses to deepen client relationships and entice new ones to its private bank, the group’s most important division. Outside speakers are also used.

Such families will already be surrounded by “myriad experts and professors and lawyers and all that”, says Joe Stadler, UBS’s head of ultra-high net worth business.
Roughing it, rich style...

Mini Cow

Worried about climate change? India has a solution:
A team of researchers from Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and the state government's Animal Husbandry Department are now promoting a switch to Vechur and Kasargod cattle, two local varieties known for being easy to raise, resistant to diseases and – most important – better at tolerating high temperatures than the more popular crossbred cattle.
"High-yielding crossbreed varieties of cattle can faint or even die during hot and humid summer days," said E.M. Muhammed, an expert on animal breeding and genetics at the university. "Our natural breeds can better withstand the effects of climate change."
Dwarf cows, on the other hand, appear to carry a "thermometer gene" that allows them to better tolerate high temperatures, researchers said.
How now, small cow...

Go Tell The Creditors

Greece is now broke:
The drastic move comes after people rushed to withdraw their cash amid panic ahead of the referendum on bailout terms.

Under the controls, there will be a daily €60 limit on withdrawals from cash machines, which will reopen on Tuesday.

The Foreign Office has warned British tourists to take enough cash to cover emergencies in case cash machines are emptied.

It said: "Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services - including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs - throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice."
Default lies not in Germany, but in yourselves...

They Cannot Tell A Lie From A Farce

They really are this stupid:
Given the fact that America’s Commander-in-Chief during the revolutionary war against the British and first President George Washington owned slaves his entire life and only emancipated them after his death, would UT students also support a move to wipe Washington from the pages of history?

The answer is yes, many of them would.

Several also agreed that demolishing the statues would be a fantastic way of controlling the future by re-writing history, a line lifted straight out of George Orwell’s 1984.

“It’s so bad it’s like as if you’re having a statue of maybe Hitler or someone like that,” said one trendy as he signed the petition.

Others were convinced to sign after being told that eradicating the statues was part of shifting the country towards socialism.
You get the future you deserve...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hold Your Breath

Don't breathe:
In a video released by The Watercooler, Bill Nye states that the over population of the planet is causing Climate Change:

“Hey, Hey! Bill Nye here for the Emoji Science Lab. This episode: Climate Change.

Climate Change is a real deal everybody and here’s why. If we had some extraordinary car on some extraordinary highway and we could drive, somehow, straight up. For an hour. At highway speed we would be in outer space. It’s right there. The atmosphere is really thin.

Now back in 1750 there were about one-and-a-half billion people in the world. Well today there is 7.2 going on 7.3 billion people.

Well that’s the problem. There’s billions of people breathing and burning the same thin atmosphere…”
Spoken like a true mouth-breather...

Silver Bullet Lining

A question for the Court:
If we take the SCOTUS at its word, then yes, 2nd Amendment rights are protected under the 14th Amendment. After all, it was by viewing 2nd Amendment rights as incorporated under the 14th Amendment that the SCOTUS struck down Chicago’s gun ban in McDonald v Chicago (2010).

Moreover, two years earlier–in District of Columbia v Heller (2008)–the SCOTUS ruled that the 2nd Amendment rights were “fundamental” in and of themselves as well as “fundamental to the Nation’s scheme of ordered liberty” (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
Gay and gun rights for all?

The Laziness Ethic

Hard work is...racist?
It falls under the “Myth of meritocracy” theme (i.e., the myth that race doesn’t play a role in success). The statement is as follows: “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.”

The “message” this “mircoaggression” is sending?

“People of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder,” the chart noted.
Many white liberal students are way ahead of them in that regard...

Taking The Cake

Walmart goes there:
“Alright, Walmart, you’ve got some explaining to do,” Netzhammer said on camera. He added in his YouTube summary that the Islamic State “is beheading Christians, selling little girls into slavery and is currently a terrorist org at war with the United States — but you can’t buy the General Lee toy car …? It’s a damn shame.”

Netzhammer showed the Islamic State flag cake on camera, as well as the rejection notice he said he received from Walmart for the confederate flag cake.
Some flags are more equal than others...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Burning Bathrooms

No civilization for you:
This year, the bureau asked for a so-called Blue Pit lodging facility that would have restroom trailers with flushable toilets, a washer and dryer room for laundry, and VIP accommodations in so-called "container apartment" units, according to documents seen by Reuters.
They also made specific food requests, including 24-hour access to Chobani Greek Yogurt and a standalone freezer with Drumstick and Choco Taco ice cream, the documents said.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, criticized what he called "outlandishly unnecessary facilities."
"Part of Burning Man's philosophy is self-reliance and living with the elements is part of the experience," Reid wrote. "Flush toilets and laundry facilities can be found about 10 miles (16 km) away in Gerlach, Nevada, if BLM’s employees need such amenities."
Why give the hippies taxpayer-funded items they don't use otherwise?

Take Two Climate Changes And Call Me In The Morning

Don't feel well? Call a climatologist:
The Obama administration has been hard at work trying to draw a link between global warming and public health issues. The summit included the U.S. Surgeon General, top administration officials, and public health experts from around the country telling doctors, nurses and other conference goers how to talk about global warming with their patients.

The central message: doctors should warn their patients that global warming could make their health worse.

“I know we have people all around the country, in all of the regions, who are also listening to this conversation, and like all of you in the room, I hope will go out and continue to talk and educate,” echoed Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Health Department.

“We need to engage medical students themselves,” said Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, “to demand the curriculum change” to prepare them for a warmer future.
There is no cure for propaganda...

Life After Oppression

"We won...now what?"
The Supreme Court on Friday expanded same-sex marriage rights across the country, a crowning achievement but also a confounding challenge to a group that has often prided itself on being different. The more victories that accumulate for gay rights, the faster some gay institutions, rituals and markers are fading out. And so just as the gay marriage movement peaks, so does a debate about whether gay identity is dimming, overtaken by its own success.

“What do gay men have in common when they don’t have oppression?” asked Andrew Sullivan, one of the intellectual architects of the marriage movement. “I don’t know the answer to that yet.”
Good fashion sense? But the fact is that acceptance for gay rights has been growing for far longer than it took the law to catch up. The decision, agree or not, was largely a formality at this point.

Trumped At The Golf Course

Don't make The Donald mad:
In a letter Friday to Randy Falco, Trump advised the Univision CEO that “under no circumstances is any officer or representative of Univision allowed to use Trump National Doral, Miami – its golf courses or any of its facilities.”

Trump also demanded that Falco, whose company’s Miami office is next door to Trump National Doral, “immediately stop work and close the gate which is being constructed between our respective properties.” Trump gave Falco one week to take care of that matter, or “we will close it.”

The letter was dispatched a day after Univision declared it was canceling its coverage of the Miss USA pageant July 12 on its UniMas network as well as the Miss Universe pageant, which had been scheduled to air on the flagship Univision channel next January, and was severing its business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which produces both pageants. The reason: what Univision called “insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants” recently voiced by Trump, a part owner of Miss Universe.
And he is now owning Univision, too...

Northern Southern Man

So Al Sharpton has a new target:
Rev. Al Sharpton quickly joined critics of the Confederate flag flying outside the South Carolina Statehouse, but the civil rights leader is going one step further and plans to denounce Robert E. Lee Street and a Confederate flag painting in the New York State Capitol Building on Saturday.

In a tweet posted Friday, Sharpton’s National Action Network promoted the Saturday event as a “vigil for the victims lost to violence and to denounce Robert E. Lee Street and Confederate Flag Painting in New York State Capitol Building.”
Well, those Democrats do have a history of racism...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ape Cops

It's a jungle out there:
High-ranking chimpanzees 'police' disputes between other members of their group, research has found.

Anthropologists at the University of Zurich found chimpanzees mediate conflicts not for their own benefit but to preserve the peace within the group.

Not every chimpanzee makes a suitable arbitrator. It is primarily high-ranking males or females or animals that are highly respected in the group that intervene in a conflict.

Other lower ranking arbitrators were found to be less capable of ending the conflict successfully.
Those were the ones that could be bribed with bananas...

Constitutionally Approved

Gay marriage is a right:
The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off celebrations across the country and the first same-sex marriages in several states. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.

The court’s four more liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. Each member of the court’s conservative wing filed a separate dissent, in tones ranging from resigned dismay to bitter scorn.

In dissent, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the Constitution had nothing to say on the subject of same-sex marriage.

“If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”
Personally, I don't disagree with the ruling. This, however, is another matter.

Robot Chicken

What happens when two self-driving cars dislike each other:
Absmeier was a passenger in a prototype Audi Q5 crossover vehicle equipped with lasers, radar, cameras and special computer software designed to enable the vehicle to drive itself, with a person at the wheel as a backup.

As the Delphi vehicle prepared to change lanes, a Google self-driving prototype - a Lexus RX400h crossover fitted with similar hardware and software - cut off the Audi, forcing it to abort the lane change, Absmeier said.

The Delphi car "took appropriate action," according to Absmeier.

Delphi's Silicon Valley lab is based in Mountain View, not far from Google headquarters. While Delphi is running two Audi prototypes in California, Google has been testing more than 20 Lexus prototypes.
The first incident of car rage?

Old Men Of Washington

The Senate is old:
...people of their age are not at all unusual in a Senate where 23 members are products of the Silent Generation, those too young to have fought in World War II but born before that war ended. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, whose 82nd birthday was Monday, is the oldest in this cohort, which has a ratio of 13 Republicans to 10 Democrats that almost exactly mirrors the partisan divide in the whole Senate.

The eldest group far outnumbers the 17 senators belonging to Generation X, into which most demographers would place those born between President John F. Kennedy’s death in 1963 and President Ronald Reagan’s inaugural in 1981. Having recently turned 38, just eight years older than the constitutional floor, Arkansas freshman Tom Cotton is the youngest of these younger senators, who skew 2-to-1 Republican.

The other 60 senators all were born during the Baby Boom.
Which makes you wonder what they're going to do when they discover we're running out of Social Security money...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What About Bob?

The big man is out:
TV Newser reported in April that Beckel had been admitted to a rehabilitation facility to treat an addiction to pain medication.

“His relapse developed over the last several months as he tried to cope with extensive back pain before and after he underwent major back surgery,” the representative said at the time.

After months of being absent, Fox News announced Thursday that Beckel would not be returning as an employee of the network. Bill Shine, Fox News executive vice president of programming, said in a blunt statement about his departure: “We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold The Five hostage to one man’s personal issues. He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him.”
Everyone has their limits...

CC Runner

Chris Christie is adding his name to the list:
Christie has made a name for himself as a straight-talking politician and won the favor of conservatives in his first term. He was widely considered a top vice presidential pick for 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Many conservatives found fault with Christie for being too chummy with President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast just before the 2012 election, devastating much of New Jersey.

In 2013, Christie won a resounding re-eletion victory in a blue state, catapulting him as the prospective frontrunner status for 2016. However, he hit a setback with questions about his administration’s actions in closing the George Washington Bridge in what’s come to be known as “Bridgegate.”
Which turned out to be...not much about him and more about local political idiocy. Will the last person to enter please turn out the lights?

Our Bad, Tea Party

It was just a mistake:
IRS workers erased 422 computer backup tapes that "most likely" contained as many as 24,000 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has emerged as a central figure in congressional investigations, according to IRS's inspector general.
The workers erased the tapes a month after IRS officials discovered that an untold number of Lerner's emails were lost. The IG says the workers were unaware of a year-old directive not to destroy email backup tapes.
J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, is scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Oversight Committee about his investigation into the emails. The Associated Press obtained a copy of his prepared testimony.
George says his investigation "did not uncover evidence that the erasure was done in furtherance of an effort to destroy evidence or conceal information from Congress and/or law enforcement."
That's his story, and he's sticking to it...

Yes, Obamacare Still Lives

The Court strikes again:
At the court, Chief Justice John Roberts again voted with his liberal colleagues in support of the law. Roberts also was the key vote to uphold it in 2012. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a dissenter in 2012, was part of the majority on Thursday.

"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," Roberts declared in the majority opinion.

Limiting the subsidies only to individuals in states with their own exchanges could well push insurance markets in the other states "into a death spiral," Roberts wrote.

Justice Antonin Scalia, in a dissent he summarized from the bench, strongly disagreed. "We should start calling this law SCOTUScare," he said, using an acronym for the Supreme Court and suggesting his colleagues' ownership by virtue of their twice stepping in to save the law from what he considered worthy challenges.
And there will be more to come, but what now for the GOP?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This Is Your Hoverboard

Eat your heart out, Marty McFly:
The board uses liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors and magnets, according to the Lexus website. The technology is already zooming around Toyota’s home country. A Japanese railway company last year set a new world speed record using a magnetic-levitation train. Toyota tipped its hand a year ago that it’s been experimenting with this for cars.
Where we're going we don't need roads...

The New Abnormal

The EPA says there's something wrong with all you climate change skeptics:
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made the comments while addressing a climate change summit at the White House Tuesday to frame the effects of global warming on public health.

McCarthy said a report her agency released Monday makes the case for taking action against climate change by calculating the price Americans will pay for not taking action, including the thousands of lives lost due to global warming and the impact felt on the economy.

She said the EPA put out the report "not to push back against climate deniers," but to help "normal people" make a decision about the kind of world they and their children want to live in.
Because they obviously know a lot of normal people...

Core Of Dissent

A California school backpedals on Common Core testing:
“I have spoken to a small number of students and parents that ‘pushed back’ against the decision to withhold special extracurricular activities based on participation in the California testing program,” Foss said in a statement to FoxNews.com. “In the past, we have required participation in the test for various activities. However, after talking with the students and staff, I realized that before the test this year we did not communicate the importance of participating in the test, so we will not withhold participation in the activities.”

When asked if the policy would be permanently changed, Foss said that it would have to be decided at a later date.

“We will have to work with our district office to determine the answer to that question.”
Bad policies tend to provoke such responses when challenged...

Mother's Work

Get back to work, Mum:
A new report from the EU Council described the high numbers of mothers working part time or not at all as a “social challenge” requiring urgent attention.

It called on the government to provide more public-funded childcare to help them back into employment as a first step.

The Brussels directive came in an annual assessment of the British economy that was presented to Chancellor George Osborne last Friday. It said the UK labour market “has performed well in recent years and is set to remain strong” but raised concerns about the number of mothers not in unemployment.
You will work for the state...

Rainbow Nation

Britain goes gay:
There were reports Monday of a split in the government between the Foreign Office – who have declined the fly the flag this year – and the Cabinet Office who tweeted that they will proudly display it.

Now two more government departments have confirmed to Breitbart London that they will be flying the flag. The Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will join the Cabinet Office in displaying the LGBT flag on Saturday.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has also tweeted its support for “all our LGBT staff and those at Pride in London this weekend”, although it did not confirm whether it will display the flag.
The Marriage Registry Office had no comment:

Coin Of Fear

The Islamic State has its own currency:
Isil announced last November that it would start producing their own currency in areas under its control, in an effort to “emancipate itself from the satanic global economic system”.
The currency, based on the original dinar coins used during the Caliphate of Uthman in 634 CE, was set to include seven minted coins: two gold, three silver and two copper.
Designs due to be embossed on the gold coins included a symbol of seven wheat stalks - a Quranic reference - and a world map.
Every delusion starts small...

Black Market Lunch

Wanna buy some sugar?
During a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, chaired by Rep. Todd Rokita (R., Ind.), a school administrator told Congress of the “unintended consequences” of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

“Perhaps the most colorful example in my district is that students have been caught bringing–and even selling–salt, pepper, and sugar in school to add taste to perceived bland and tasteless cafeteria food,” said John S. Payne, the president of Blackford County School Board of Trustees in Hartford City, Indiana.
Welcome to cafeteria prohibition...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Money Talks

It really can buy you happiness:
The people who got the cash experienced an immediate and lasting jolt of oxytocin, the love and connection hormone in the brain. But doesn't shopping produce feelings of happiness by itself, Rivero asked? "Surprisingly not, actually," Zak explained. "It was stressful when you shopped, you had a budget you had to meet, you're shopping under time pressure, and it wasn't really fun." What about the shoppers given candy? "Chocolate was OK, people kind of liked it," Zak said, "but money beats chocolate."
Well, you can't eat money...

Good Old Boys

Never meanin' no harm:
"Warner Bros. Consumer Products has one licensee producing die-cast replicas and vehicle model kits featuring the General Lee with the confederate flag on its roof — as it was seen in the TV series,” a spokesman for the company said via e-mail. “We have elected to cease the licensing of these product categories." Translation: While you’ll still be able to buy a T-shirt featuring the General Lee — minus any visible sign of the flag — you won’t be able to buy any new toy cars or model kits with the car, period.
No flag nowhere, no how!

Right Diet

Are conservatives better dieters?
"Conservatives tend to believe they had a greater control over their outcomes, and that was predicting how they did on the test," said Joshua Clarkson, a consumer psychologist at the University of Cincinnati and the lead author of the paper.

To screen for self-control, Clarkson and his colleagues relied on the Stroop test that asks participants to look at a list of color words such as "red" or "blue" that are printed in mismatching color fonts. (Picture the word "orange" printed in green letters.) Volunteers were asked to read the words, ignoring the color of the font, which can be challenging.

"If you see the word 'red' in blue type your mind wants to say 'blue' right away, but you have to suppress that," Clarkson said. "That's why it is a strong indicator of self regulation."
A healthy mind does equal a healthy body...

Boehner Begone

They want him out:
Meadows told the Washington Examiner the move to strip him of his subcommittee chairmanship was made by Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, but came at the direction of Boehner, R-Ohio.

“I think it was an action meant to try to humiliate or intimate me, but I wear it as a badge of honor, standing firm for freedom for the American people,” Meadows told the Examiner.

Republican leadership aides say the GOP is not striking back in a punitive manner, but places a high value on loyalty from the members and gives top posts to those who don’t buck the Speaker on certain measures, such as resolutions to advance legislation for debate.

Lawmakers who are being punished say the leadership is trying to force them to vote against what they believe is best for their constituents, who have flooded their offices with calls and emails in opposition to the trade legislation. Meadows and other Republicans opposed to the trade bill believe the trade bill would cede too much power to the executive branch and would facilitate trade deals that would cause U.S. job losses.
Their frustration is understandable, at that.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mark's Mea Culpa

Mark Halperin comes clean:
“I owe all my Republican sources an apology because they kept telling me he was hugely involved, and the White House played it down.” Halperin said on “Morning Joe” Monday. “They were right. The Republicans were right.”

When asked if the White House “lied” about Gruber’s role in the creation of Obamacare, Halperin said, “I think they were not fully forthcoming.”

Everyone else on the panel refused to say the White House “lied,” but co-host Mika Brzezinski did admit it “certainly appears” that officials did not tell the truth.
The ghost of Gruber continues to haunt...

Rent A Protest

Chevron protesters for hire:
The government of Ecuador organized protests that took place outside the building where a legal dispute between the South American nation and oil giant Chevron was being hashed out, documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon reveal.

A top official at the South American nation’s foreign ministry recruited expatriates in the United States to join a March rally outside of proceedings of the International Arbitration Tribunal, the documents show.

An after-action report filed by Davila Aveiga Grace Patricia, who is listed as the chief of staff of the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, shows that various Ecuadorian agencies were collaborating to put a public face on the protests.

Patricia flew from Guayaquil, Ecuador, to New York, where she met with Ecuadorian consul Jorge Lopez, the report says. They planned activities during the arbitration “with the participation of Consuls, expatriates, political leaders, Embassy and Foreign Ministry team.”
This protest has been sponsored by...

Heard It Through The Grapevine

Raisin growers can keep their own crops after all:
The issue was whether the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC), under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, could require farmers to set aside large percentage of the crop for the government to deal with as it wished without just compensation.

The government had argued that because it often sold the crop and returned profits to the farmers, that satisfied the Fifth Amendment. Marvin and Lorna Horne disagreed, barring the government’s truck from their property. The Court sided with the farmers.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the decision for the 8-1 majority (which narrowed on certain issues).
The fruits of their labor win out...

Gun Control Shy

Josh Earnest isn't sure:
“The reason the president has continued to forcefully encourage Congress to take some common-sense steps to reduce gun violence is not with the idea that one piece of legislation would prevent every instance of gun violence,” Earnest told TheBlaze.

“The fact is this particular instance is still under investigation and so until we know more about what exactly has happened, or what did happen in this instance, it’s difficult to say whether one piece of legislation or one rule if changed could have prevented this particular action.”
The truth is always difficult for some people to admit...

The Pyramids Of Ceres

There's a mountain on Pluto's moon:
The mountain is peculiar, as there are a few other features like it in the surrounding region - or even the rest of the dwarf planet.

The structure is thought to rise about three miles (five km), which is roughly the height of Mont Blanc in France and Italy, the highest mountain in the Alps.

Another image reveals the bright spots in greater detail. Several can be seen next to the largest bright area, estimated to be six miles (9km) wide.

Ice and salt are the leading theories for what is causing this odd reflectivity.

‘It is exciting seeing these features come into sharper focus,’ Dr Marc Rayman, Dawn’s mission director and chief engineer, told MailOnline.
Time to start charging them rent...

The Green Channel

So much for the just the weather:
The project, which started last week, is focused on The Weather Channel's website with occasional features on the television network. Some of the planned TV airings were delayed because of storm coverage from Texas, and the network is considering doing more, said Neil Katz, vice president of digital content.

He said the issue has been a priority for the company for several years. The network issued a statement last year saying "the more the planet warms, the fewer winners and the more losers there will be as the result of the changes in climate."

"We felt there was a climate conversation to be had and with us as a trusted source of weather news, this was a good place to do it," Katz said.
Too bad the channel's own founder disagrees...

Not One Of Them

Russell Brand, man of the people:
Brand, 40, was targeted as he prepared to speak to thousands of people who marched from central London on Saturday in opposition to Government cuts.

But as he waited backstage a group just feet away began hurling abuse at him, demanding that he be blocked from going on stage.

One woman screamed: 'F*** you Russell. I hate you. He should not be on the stage here. Ask how much he has been paid to be here. You have no place here, you’re disgusting'.

A friend then yelled: 'You’re a turncoat, Brand. Sell me a book on revolution and then tell us to vote Labour. F*** off back to Miliband you t***'.
A nation of hecklers?

Celebrities Need Not Apply

Well, there goes China's Got Talent:
In the latest move to tighten controls on the state-run media sector, television hosts must have proper vocational qualifications, which will be checked, Xinhua said, citing the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
"TV shows, including news, commentary and interview panels, should not recruit guests in the role of supporting host," Xinhua said, citing the circular.
"TV hosts are responsible for the show; guiding the audience and controlling the pace of the live broadcast. Thus, it is unsuitable for guests to be hosts or presenters," it added.
They apparently want to turn their TV into PBS...

Planet Of The Beat

Shades of Astro City:
In the wild, chimpanzees "drum" to communicate, but this isn't anything like what Buddy Rich would bang out. Male chimps might grab a nearby tree with their arms and furiously smack the trunk with their feet, hooting and hollering in the process. The act resembles a child throwing a tantrum. The purpose is not to make music; it's to make noise.

So then what was Barney doing? Could he have been playing rudimentary music?

The researchers behind the discovery can't be precisely sure, but they can say that the incident was both "intentional" and "decontextualized." Barney produced more than 685 drumbeats spread over eleven sequences for almost five minutes, remaining focused the entire time. Moreover, the drumming did not seem to serve any communicative purpose, as all of the other chimpanzees were inside and out of earshot.
Let there be drums...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Rat Patrol

Rats reporting for duty:
The rat squads, trained by a Belgian non-government organization called Apopo, are said to have uncovered over 2,400 mines in Mozambique. As CNN reported in September 2014, these rats are considered “heroes” and given as gifts in Africa, where Apopo runs an “adopt-a-rat” program.

They can sniff out tuberculosis as well as land mines, and CNN reports they’re very good at both jobs: “A single rat can clear 200 square feet in an hour (done manually, the same area would take 50 hours to clear). A TB-detection rat can evaluate 50 samples in eight minutes (almost a day’s work for a lab technician).” With the help of rat teams, Mozambique is on track to become landmine-free, and safer traveling conditions have become an enormous boon to the economy.
Looking for a few good rodents...

Google Dreams

What does Google's subconscious look like?
Google started feeding images into the highest layer—the one that can detect whole objects within an image—and asked the network, “Whatever you see there, I want more of it!”

“This creates a feedback loop: if a cloud looks a little bit like a bird, the network will make it look more like a bird. This in turn will make the network recognize the bird even more strongly on the next pass and so forth, until a highly detailed bird appears, seemingly out of nowhere.”
Do AIs dream of electric birds?

To Teach Or Not To Teach

Bashing the Bard:
Dusbiber is not the first educator to suggest moving away from Shakespeare in the classroom. Mark Powell, the assistant director at Salisbury Playhouse in England, wrote in a similar opinion piece to The Guardian, “(Shakespeare’s) words were chosen to be spoken or heard, not to be read and deadened behind a desk – they wither when performance is removed.”

Sacramento City Unified School District trustees last week voted to require students at Burbank and other district high schools to complete an ethnic studies course before graduation, starting in 2020.

Dusbiber’s view attracted negative reactions from many people across the country, including a response letter to The Washington Post from a South Carolina English teacher. Most of the opposition came from conservative thinkers, though the progressive publication New Republic posted a rebuttal to her argument as well.
The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance...

Repeal Appeal

Get rid of the 2nd Amendment says...Karl Rove?
Now maybe there’s some magic law that will keep us from having more of these. I mean basically the only way to guarantee that we will dramatically reduce acts of violence involving guns is to basically remove guns from society, and until somebody gets enough “oomph” to repeal the Second Amendment, that’s not going to happen.
What he calls "Oomph" a lot of people are going to call "Ughh..."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

No Heretics Allowed

Bad form, Vatican:
A French doubter who authored a book arguing that solar activity — not greenhouse gases — was driving global warming, de Larminat sought a spot at a climate summit in April sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Nobel laureates would be there. So would U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs and others calling for dramatic steps to curb carbon emissions.

After securing a high-level meeting at the Vatican, he was told that, space permitting, he could join. He bought a plane ticket from Paris to Rome. But five days before the April 28 summit, de Larminat said, he received an e-mail saying there was no space left. It came after other scientists — as well as the powerful Vatican bureaucrat in charge of the academy — insisted he had no business being there.

“They did not want to hear an off note,” de Larminat said.
The Cult's choir must all be in tune...

Burden Of No Proof

The kangaroo courts of college:
“Essentially the procedure there works under the assumption that the accused is guilty and needs to use the hearing to prove his innocence,” K.C. Johnson, author of “Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustice of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case," told Fox News Channel's Megyn Kelly. “But he isn’t given the tools to do that. He doesn’t have discovery, he can’t get the relevant evidence he needs, he doesn’t have an attorney representing him [and has] limited right of cross examination.

"So there’s virtually no way, once an accusation is made and gets into the system at a place like Amherst, and Amherst is not unique, that the accused can be exonerated,” Johnson said.
Lynch mobs are easier to get than a fair trial...

Fake Smokeout

No more fake cigarettes:
The state Assembly on Thursday voted 85-58 to approve the measure, which would make the small, battery-powered vaporizers subject to the same indoor restrictions on traditional cigarettes. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is awaiting a vote as lawmakers vow to return to the Capitol next week.

E-cigarettes have grown in popularity in recent years as an alternative to traditional lit cigarettes. But they aren’t currently affected by the Clean Indoor Air Act, which bans smoking in public, indoor places, including restaurants, bars and all workplaces.

“While electronic cigarettes … are growing in popularity, little is known about the risks associated with smoking them,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, said in a statement. “E-cigarettes are currently unregulated, putting New Yorkers at risk. This legislation would protect those who want to avoid secondhand exposure.”
Even if it doesn't exist?

Buck Eyes

Some shady dealings in Ohio:
According to the plea agreement, the company, at Finley’s urging, would pay the contributions to a “consultant” for services never rendered and the consultant would then pass the money on to the campaigns either by direct donation or by using additional straw donors. $30,000 was passed through this way in 2007. Then in 2009, a donation of $5,000 was given to the Franklin County Democratic Party this way. Again in 2011, a donation of $20,000—referred to as a “success fee”—was made to the Ohio Democratic Party.

At one point, Finley remarked to another Redflex executive, “Wow that is a big handout. Is this how our local city handles campaign financing – now I understand the ‘order of protection’ for our friends.” ​The unnamed executive, when pressed for more cash by the consultant, wrote back, “I will keep trying. It ain’t easy, you know I have been back to that well many, many times over the years” (emphasis added).
The well appears to have run dry...

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Urge

Blame it on the ego?
"It had to have been ego that made me think I had to be sharper, funnier, quicker than anybody else,'' he said. "I told the story correctly for years, before I told it incorrectly. I was not trying to mislead people, (and) that to me is a huge difference. It came from a bad place. It came from a sloppy choice of words. I told stories that were not true. Over the years, looking back, it is very clear I never intended to. It got mixed up, it got turned around, in my mind.

"This came from clearly a bad place, a bad urge inside me. This was clearly ego-driven, a desire to better my role in a story I was already in. That's what I've been tearing apart and unpacking and analyzing."
He was dishonest before he decided to be honest...

Saved By Uber

If you need a lift:
Suffering from a broken leg and lying on the ground in agony, he called 999, only for the person on the other end to tell him to call the 111 non-emergency number as his injury wasn't sufficiently serious for an ambulance.

Eventually, three police officers picked him up and drove him home. He then had to book an Uber taxi to take him to the hospital.

Speaking to The Evening Standard, he said he felt "let down" by the emergency services.

"I don't know why they couldn't send me an ambulance or a doctor."

"That is the most disappointing thing. At the time I was incredulous. I'm always a defender of the NHS but I want to know why they didn't listen to my call properly."
Make that a former defender of the NHS?

Colorado Water Cops

How much water will your family be using? The EPA wants to know:
“Region 8 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency intends to issue a Request for Quotes (RFQ) for installation of water monitoring equipment,” the solicitation said. “Once installed the contractor will integrate the equipment with existing software system that will monitor water usage in multi-family housing units. The work will be performed in Boulder, Colorado.”

The EPA expects to release a final solicitation for the project on June 25. Once a contractor is selected, the monitoring would begin six months after the award.

Colorado’s climate is susceptible to drought conditions. The local government in Boulder already sets the water supply status yearly and has the authority to implement restrictions on water use.
So why should the EPA get involved? Because, leaks?

Mini Miracle

He's a miracle worker!
Kim Jong-un claims to have succeeded where the greatest minds in science have failed... by producing a single drug which can prevent and cure Aids, Ebola, Sars and Mers.

North Korea is currently suffering from one of the worst droughts in its history while still pursuing a nuclear programme.

The official Korean Central News Agency said the portly despot's scientists developed miracle drug Kumdang-2 from ginseng and other ingredients - without saying which.

According to claims in school text books Kim Jong-un learned to drive when he was just three years old and won a yacht race at the age of nine and that he is a superb artists and musical composer.

The country’s records also say that his father Kim Jong-Il scored 11 holes in one the first time he played golf.

Kim Jong-un was also said to have climbed his country’s highest mountain - although was pictured at the summit in his usual black overcoat.

There were also totally unconfirmed reports that unicorns still existed in the country.
But if there are, I'm sure he invented them...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Brain TV

What's on your mind tonight?
The kit sees users strap a headset on and use particular thoughts to turn on iPlayer and start watching a programme. It is only experimental technology at the moment — built to give “an idea of how this technology might be used in the future” — but it worked for everyone that has used it in testing, the BBC said.

The prototype works by reading brainwaves using a sensor that rests on the forehead, and another that attaches to the ear using a clip. Those sensors can then track the electricity as it moves around the brain — watching for concentration, and filling up a bar of brainwaves when they concentrate hard enough to trigger a change on screen.
Politicians and advertisers, beware...

No Jokes Please, We're Americans

Apparently we are a sensitive people:
Along with warnings about slower speed limits, higher drinking ages and hurricanes in Texas, the French foreign ministry adds a note of warning against being too “Latin.”
“It’s recommended to adopt a reserved attitude toward those of the opposite sex,” it says. “Comments, behavior, and jokes, which might be harmless in Latin countries, can lead to criminal cases,” the ministry’s website says.
Reinforcing French views of American prudishness, the website notes that even minors can be accused of sexual harassment, and asks that children use toilets reserved for their sex in the U.S.
Humor is in the eye of the natives...

Son Of Frankentrade

Obamatrade lives?
The vote came after Obama huddled Wednesday evening with congressional allies to try to craft a way forward.

The bill would specifically give the president so-called "fast-track" authority to approve trade deals, which Obama wants to seal a 12-nation pact involving Japan and 11 other countries bordering the Pacific Ocean.

The mechanics of the vote are some of the most complicated in recent memory, in a legislative body notorious for esoteric procedural maneuvers. The vote failed in the House last week because another measure it was attached to was defeated by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans.
You've got to nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure...

Down The Ladder

Brian Williams is reportedly getting kicked downstairs:
Sources told CNN Money that Williams will remain with the network, but will likely take a role on cable station MSNBC. The details of that new role have yet to be revealed.

“No one knows anything,” one source, an anchor, told CNN.

Another source told The New York Times an announcement about Williams’ future is likely to be made Thursday by NBC. The source said Williams will probably start off reporting breaking news.

Meanwhile, Lester Holt will permanently take over as host of NBC Nightly News. He took the position temporarily when Williams was suspended.
If this is the case, Williams might as well have been fired...

Moon Beams

Um, okay:
In an op-ed published by Russian newspaper Izvestia, Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the government's official Investigative Committee, argued that such an investigation could reveal new insights into the historical space journeys.

According to a translation by the Moscow Times, Markin would support an inquiry into the disappearance of original footage from the first moon landing in 1969 and the whereabouts of lunar rock, which was brought back to Earth during several missions.

“We are not contending that they did not fly [to the moon], and simply made a film about it. But all of these scientific — or perhaps cultural — artifacts are part of the legacy of humanity, and their disappearance without a trace is our common loss. An investigation will reveal what happened,” Markin wrote, according to the Moscow Times translation.
In Russia, Moon lands on you...

The Order Of St. Beggar

Chants for change?
The New York Post reported that the apparent fake monks try to hawk plastic bracelets and insist that tourists hand back cash.

Some New Yorkers we spoke to say they're familiar with the apparent scam.

Buddhist Council Of New York President Rev. T.K. Nakagaki says it is technically not illegal but that it is a big problem. He says the practice is disrespectful. He says real monks would use more traditional collection bowls and would not aggressively ask for cash.
The path toward inner peace does not come through panhandling...

Born Or Not Born?

How a man literally lost against himself:
Rajesh Laljibhai Patel's mother launched a lawsuit against the government of India's western Gujarat state two years after he was born in 1985.

Vijuben Patel, who already had four children, had undergone a sterilisation procedure at a camp organised by authorities in the state six years earlier.

She argued that government should pay for her son's maintenance, citing medical negligence, and named him as a plaintiff in the case even though he was just two years old at the time.

India's legal system moves notoriously slowly and it was not until 1992 that the court ruled in her favour, ordering authorities to pay her 25,000 rupees (about $400).

But the authorities appealed, and a higher court finally ordered the family to repay the money in December last year -- by which time Rajesh had grown up and his mother had died.
Sorry, sir-you're still around...

Madness In Carolina

The good news-the lunatic's been caught. The bad news? It wasn't long before this type of response:
We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that once again innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.

Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let’s be clear, at some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it.
Unfortunately this isn't the last we'll hear this.


Everyone is vulnerable to adware these days:
Over the last nine days, the the Office of Personnel Management has sent e-mail notices to hundreds of thousands of federal employees to notify them of the breach and recommend that they click on a link to a private contractor’s Web site to sign up for credit monitoring and other protections.

But those e-mails have been met with increasing alarm by employees — along with retirees and former employees with personal data at risk — who worry that the communications may be a form of “spear phishing” used by adversaries to penetrate sensitive government computer systems.

After the Defense Department raised a red flag about the e-mails its 750,000 civilian employees were starting to receive, OPM officials said late Wednesday that the government had suspended its electronic notifications this week.
One weird trick for everybody...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Paper Lady

So, not Jackson, but Hamilton?
The new $10 bill will feature a woman with Alexander Hamilton, the U.S. Treasury announced on Wednesday.

“The next generation of currency, starting with the new $10 note, will include various design features that celebrate democracy,” the Treasury said in a statement. “In keeping with that theme, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has decided that the new $10 note should feature a woman who was a champion for our inclusive democracy.”
Who is the champion?

Brian's Back

But doing what, exactly?
It was not clear Wednesday what Williams new job will be, but there has been speculation that he could land at MSNBC or take on a role similar to Anne Curry after she was booted from the "Today" show.

Lester Holt who has been filling in for Williams during his suspension is expected to stay on as anchor permanently sources say. Williams' lawyer, Rob Barnett and numerous reps for NBC News declined to comment on Wednesday evening.

But rank and file staffers at NBC were not happy about the decision - and have said as much as negotiations with the fallen anchor have dragged on for almost four months.
I'm sure they'll find something for him to do...

Boss Of Uber

In California, a setback:
The ruling affects only California. However, the state is Uber's home base, one of its largest markets, and sets a path often followed by regulators and courts in other states.

Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It likely will not have to start paying any additional costs unless it loses on appeal, and only after it exhausts its appeals.

The commission was ruling on an appeal by Uber of a labor commissioner's award of about $4,000 in expenses to San Francisco-based driver Barbara Ann Berwick, who filed her claim in September. She worked as an Uber driver for just over two months last year.
This driver for hire?

Your Face Or Theirs?

Who owns your face?
Moments is one of Facebook’s sister apps for mobile devices. It works by burrowing into all the photos on your camera, and sorting them into discrete temporal events – that party, that bike trip, that office function – to create “Moments.” The app then tags everyone it recognizes by comparing the faces in the photos to existing Facebook friends (your “social graph” in tech parlance), and invites you to share the resulting “Moment” with everyone tagged in the photo.

The idea is a good one. As Facebook points out, it could eliminate the need to take group shots on multiple cell phones, and it creates a quick and easy way to share pics of an event with those who were there. The catch, however, is that the whole thing turns on Facebook’s facial recognition technology in a way that requires everyone to accept the use of their face as a type of ID badge.

Think of the implications: Facebook already has detailed biographical data about each of its users, and now it is using faces to create an archive of where they were and who they were with.
You've seen that face somewhere...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Mountain Runs Dry

Thus it begins:
“We’re out there looking for water supplies as we speak,” Mountain House general manager Ed Pattison told CBS. “We have storage tanks, but those are basically just to ensure the correct pressurization of the distribution system. No more than 2 days are in those storage tanks.”

Pattison will reportedly buy a small amount of water to ensure the community doesn’t entirely run out. But, for a long-term fix, Mountain House will have to diversify its water sources, Pattison told the outlet.

The cutbacks issued to California’s senior water rights holders were the first since 1977, according to the Board. Roughly 9,000 junior water rights holders had already received curtailment notices for the second consecutive year.
Welcome to the water apocalypse...

Enter The Donald

Trump is in:
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States. And we are going to make our country great again,” Trump said. ”I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. I’ll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places. I’ll bring back our jobs and I’ll bring back our money.”

Trump framed himself as the ultimate outsider: a non-politician and self-made billionaire. He said he is wealthy enough to reject special interests and stressed that he would focus heavily on fairer trade with China, Japan and Mexico.

He said America is lagging behind, and he’s the only one who can fix it.

“We don’t have victories anymore,” Trump said. ”When is the last time we beat China in a trade deal? I beat China all the time.”
Is America ready?

Smell Of The Dead

The odor of those who have passed on:
Our culture is buried in ingenious methods of preserving the essence of our dearly departed. But the latest balm for the bereaved is just that: balm. Or more specifically, perfume derived from a loved one’s body scent, devised by a French insurance saleswoman grief-stricken at her father’s death.

Katia Apalategui, 52, was inspired by her mother, who treasured her late husband’s pillowcase with its traces of his precious smell. “This gave me the idea of bottling a dead person’s unique scent,” says Apalategui. “So that grieving relatives can keep their loved one’s memory alive.”
You can smell their memory...

How To Train Your Raptor

Welcome to Jurassic School?
Imprinting takes many forms, but this method, called filial imprinting, is especially common among modern-day birds. In the 1930s by Konrad Lorenz, an animal behavioral scientist, showed that the common greylag geese exhibited this behavior. A large clutch of goose eggs was segregated into two groups: one was allowed to hatch normally amongst their mother, whereas the other hatched in the presence of Lorenz. So long as they saw him during a critical, time-sensitive window after hatching, they followed him around as if he was their own mother.

This is seen in many species of bird, including in modern day raptors, or birds of prey. Angelo d’Arrigo, an Italian hang-glider pilot, noted that gliders and migratory birds use similar flying techniques; he therefore thought that he could train captive birds to follow him. On his first attempt, he successfully guided ten cranes on a 3,400-mile journey.
The care and feeding of dinosaurs...

SOS Obamatrade

President Obama's trade deal is in deep trouble:
Millions of dollars and countless hours have been spent trying to pass Trade Promotion Authority, a key component in Obama’s quest to strike a trade deal with 11 other Pacific Rim countries. But Congress is now hung up on Trade Adjustment Assistance, a job training and aid program that typically rides alongside trade deals. One hundred and forty-four Democrats abandoned Obama on the TAA bill, which needs to pass for the legislation to be sent to the White House.

Party leaders in both houses of Congress are in touch with the White House in an attempt to figure out how to advance the legislation.

But House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, speaking to reporters Monday, said, “The best option right now” is for “the Democrats [to] come to their senses” and back TAA.

Democrats responded that it’s up to Republicans to figure out how to proceed.

“The point is, Republicans have to decide how they can go [forward], then we’ll have to make some response to that. Right now, they haven’t done that,” said Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)
And if they acted like Republicans, they'd be against this monstrosity, wouldn't they?

National Exorcise Program

How to cleanse your country:
High levels of violence, as well as drug cartels and abortion in the country, were the motivation behind the special rite of exorcism, known as “Exorcismo Magno.”
Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, the archbishop emeritus of Guadalajara, presided at the closed doors ceremony, the first ever in the history of Mexico.
Also participating were Archbishop Jesús Carlos Cabrero of San Luis Potosí, Spanish demonologist and exorcist Father José Antonio Fortea, and a smaller group of priests and lay people.
The event was not made known to the general public beforehand. According to Archbishop Cabrero, the reserved character of the May 20 ceremony was intended to avoid any misguided interpretations of the ritual.
If you see Mexico's head spinning around, be worried...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Winter Is Already Here

It's a cool age:
Data from America’s most advanced climate monitoring system shows the U.S. has undergone a cooling trend over the last decade, despite recent claims by government scientists that warming has accelerated worldwide during that time.

The U.S. Climate Reference Network was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide “high-quality” climate data. The network consists of 114 stations across the U.S. in areas NOAA expects no development for the next 50 to 100 years.
Will the science be settled by then?

Putin On Ice

What happened when Putin went missing?
Beck said a man like Putin doesn’t just “vanish” for 10 days, especially amid the wild speculation that there had been a coup.

“The more likely scenario now is that Putin was being held somewhere against his will,” Beck concluded. “It was a show of force by the FSB, Alexander Dugin or perhaps another influential fascist radical. They wanted to make sure that Putin got back into the business of taking more land and restoring Russia to her previous glory.”

“We don’t know the reason, but you can bet that Putin wasn’t just off writing memoirs in some remote cabin,” Beck added. “Something went down. We don’t know what. But it looks like the fascists took him.”
In Russia, Putin usually kidnaps you, not the other way around...

Deserting While Stoned

Was Bergdahl high?
The information brings some additional detail to the otherwise murky picture of the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance and capture, five years before the Obama administration traded five Guantanamo prisoners for Bergdahl’s freedom. The former CIA operative told Fox News Bergdahl was captured along with others, and sold to the Haqqani terrorist network in Pakistan within four days.

"The call came in and what it said was they had just broken out the message that an American soldier along with two or three Afghan soldiers had been captured or taken by a group of nomads,"Duane 'Dewey' Clarridge told Fox News, speaking for the first time publicly about the incident.

He added that the call said, “they were using the Pashto ‘diwana,’ which in this case meant high on hashish."
And he apparently stayed that way...

Smarter Than The Average Human

Humanity is over:
Researchers from Microsoft and the University of Science and Technology of China built a deep learning machine that outperforms the average human on the types of problems that have always been toughest for computers, according to their study.

The test contains three categories of questions: logic questions (patterns in sequences of images); mathematical questions (patterns in sequences of numbers); and verbal reasoning questions (questions dealing with analogies, classifications, synonyms and antonyms). Computers have never been too successful at solving problems belonging to the final category, verbal reasoning, but the machine built for this study actually outperformed the average human on these questions.
I for one welcome our new AI overlords...

I Knew It All Along

Are conspiracy theorists on to something?
These days conspiracy theories don’t look so crazy and conspiracy theorists don’t look like crackpots. In fact, today’s conspiracy theory is tomorrow’s news headlines. It’s tempting, I suppose, to say we live in a golden age of conspiracy theories, although it’s only really golden for the architects of the conspiracies. From the Iraq war to Fifa to the banking crisis, the truth is not only out there, but it’s more outlandish than anything we could have made up.
"They" could tell you, but then "they" would have to kill you...

Many Happy Returns

Happy 800th birthday, Magna Carta:
The Magna Carta passed through several iterations before it became incorporated into English law at the end of the 13th century. But almost every king who ascended the English throne recognized its legality and felt bound by its tenets–which became better defined and changed according to the needs of the times. The Glorious Revolution of 1688, wherein in the last Stuart monarch was forced to abdicate his throne because he refused, like his father and grandfather before him, to accept the legislative supremacy of Parliament, was inspired by the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights of 1689, the forerunner of our own Bill of Rights, was drawn from the rights that had accrued under the Magna Carta during the preceding centuries.

Scholars have for centuries declared the unwritten English Constitution,which , transformed the English monarchy into a constitutional monarchy, to have been drawn from and inspired by the Magna Carta.

It is also unquestionable that the actions of the barons at Runnymede and the production of the Great Charter, inspired the American Colonists in the 1770s to claim their rights not to be taxed without representation. They made these claims not as Americans, but as transplanted Englishmen – British subjects – who had become habituated to exercising their rights as freemen and they invoked the Magna Carta constantly. The Declaration of Independence most definitely reflects these claims and the later U.S. Constitution only amplifies them.
The rights of the people start here...

The Compassionate One

Jeb Bush wants to show that he cares:
Romney “was a successful, loving, caring, generous man — and he never showed it,” Bush said. Voters, Bush continued, try to figure out whether a candidate understands their concerns before they consider the candidate’s programs: “Does he care about me? Do you like him? Does he have a sense of humor? Does he understand the fight I’m in? There’s some really basic questions you have to get to first before you get to the five-point plan to help people out.”
He's sensitive, after all...

Gone Girl

The not-so-black NAACP leader quits:
It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside from the Presidency and pass the baton to my Vice President, Naima Quarles-Burnley. It is my hope that by securing a beautiful office for the organization in the heart of downtown, bringing the local branch into financial compliance, catalyzing committees to do strategic work in the five Game Changer issues, launching community forums, putting the membership on a fast climb, and helping many individuals find the legal, financial and practical support needed to fight race-based discrimination, I have positioned the Spokane NAACP to buttress this transition.

Please know I will never stop fighting for human rights and will do everything in my power to help and assist, whether it means stepping up or stepping down, because this is not about me. It’s about justice. This is not me quitting; this is a continuum. It’s about moving the cause of human rights and the Black Liberation Movement along the continuum from Resistance to Chattel Slavery to Abolition to Defiance of Jim Crow to the building of Black Wall Street to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement to the ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ movement and into a future of self-determination and empowerment.
Self-hatred ain't the way to go, ma'am...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Tax Pox On Both Their Houses

Seriously, GOP, what?
“It’s outrageous that Republicans who complain all the time – rightfully so – about the IRS’s overreach and over burdening small business are actually increasing the incentive for the IRS to spy on people – to spy on small businesses,” he added.

Essentially, as explained by Ellis, any time a small business paid an independent contractor or freelancer a commission or any tips, it must be reported to the IRS with a 1099 form, which a copy is also sent to the contractor or freelancer. If the small business is late in filing this form, then it is fined by the IRS. The proposal Tuesday, as it stands, would double and triple these fines.

“It is the height of cynicism for Congress to plan on paying for a welfare program for unions by increasing the penalties for small businesses,” Ellis reacted.
It would be interesting to see how they plan to explain this...

America Rocks

Metallica plays the National Anthem:

The Wrong Words

I guess anyone can make a mistake:

The Irony Of Grandma

People in glass pantsuits:
Hillary stated, “We have to stop the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections, corrupting our political process, and drowning out the voices of our people.”

She continued, “We need justices on the Supreme Court who will protect every citizen’s right to vote, rather than every corporation’s right to buy elections. If necessary, I will support a constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. I want to make it easier for every citizen to vote. That’s why I proposed universal, automatic registration, and expanded early voting.”
Just don't ask her too many questions about her bank account...

Don't Junk Jackson

We should keep Andrew Jackson:
He was a slave owner, hostile to the forces of abolitionism that were rising in America. He imposed a cruel policy of Indian removal, forcing the tribes of the Southeast across a brutal march to the Oklahoma territory. He was a hot-headed general, quick to violence and known to overstep his legal bounds, as when he summarily executed two Britons for aiding the Indian enemy during the First Seminole War.

Jackson was a deeply flawed president and in many ways a detestable man. Yet he was also a towering hero, key to birthing the expansive American democracy we know today. It’s entirely possible to honor his enduring contributions even as we squarely acknowledge his crimes. Grappling with those paradoxes and contradictions is what distinguishes history from moralism or sentimentality.
Jackson helped make America-as did those other slave owners on the other bills. History is made by imperfect people-that doesn't mean we ignore their accomplishments.

Grandma Runs For President

The creepy campaign:
The park feels divorced from Manhattan, whose skyscrapers loom from across the water, not just geographically, but spiritually. With the bomb-sniffing dogs, security guards, metal detectors, police officers, Men In Black-looking security guards and campaign staff speeding around on golf-carts, Hillary Island felt like its own world with its own rule. It’s a serene summertime police state—wherein campaign staffers told reporters to stay in their designated area, away from attendees—pleasant and creepy at the same time.

Which might be the best way to describe Clinton herself during Saturday’s launch.
It's her retirement home-we just live in it?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Few Billion Too Many

Thinning the herd?
The choice of Professor John Schnellnhuber, founding director of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, as one of three presenters may be giving the left added hope and giving giving skeptics severe heartburn. He has been described as one of the more aggressive scientists on the question of man-made global warming.

In a talk given to what’s described as the “failed” 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, reported in the New York Times, Schnellnhuber, who has advised German President Angela Merkel and is a visiting professor at Oxford, said of global warming: “In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something –- namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people.”
I'm sure he'd be willing to voluntarily go...

The Water Kings

Water for me:
People “should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful,” Yuhas fumed recently on social media. “We pay significant property taxes based on where we live,” he added in an interview. “And, no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.”

Yuhas lives in the ultra-wealthy enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, a bucolic Southern California hamlet of ranches, gated communities and country clubs that guzzles five times more water per capita than the statewide average. In April, after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) called for a 25 percent reduction in water use, consumption in Rancho Santa Fe went up by 9 percent.
Let them drink dust...

The Man Who Would Be Kingmaker

Mitt Romney, candidate in absentia?
“There’s the possibility that there might be someone who emerges strong who I agree with on a whole host of issues, and then someone else comes along who I find not as attractive from a policy standpoint or another standpoint. And at that stage I might jump in and go to work to help the one who’s more in tune with the things I believe,” Romney told reporters on Friday evening.

The value of that assistance would be considerable. Aside from his sprawling network of powerful donors, he has access to Restore our Future, the super PAC that supported his 2012 presidential bid and remains active. The group has nearly $200,000 in its bank account.

“He wants to win,” said Spencer Zwick, Romney’s former finance chairman and one of his closest confidants. “The question is whether we nominate a candidate who can win the general election.”
It's not like Romney couldn't afford one...

Death Machine

It's the vehicle apparently used by the Dallas police HQ shooter:
The vehicle was sold by Jenco Sales, Inc. in Newman, Georgia, according to a Dallas Morning News report...

On E-Bay, the vehicle is described as: 1995 Ford E350 Armored Van 7.3L Diesel S.W.A.T. Team Lenco Certified Armor. It sold on June 7 for $8,250.

In videos captured by witnesses, the van is seen ramming police vehicles, and shots are heard coming from inside it.
Not so much protection for this lunatic after all, then...

Degree Of Difference

In a nutshell: Why Americans don't use the metric system:

H Day

In case you missed it, this was Hillary Clinton's big day:
Zeleny said, “what her supporters are trying to do is strike up some enthusiasm here. But, I can tell you, Fredricka, that is going to be a challenge. We are here in Marshalltown, Iowa, it’s a town about an hour from Des Moines, and there are only a handful of people inside this watch party. There are watch parties across the country. We picked this one randomly. And there are about five people inside who are watching this. Certainly many more will be on hand tomorrow when Hillary Clinton is giving a big speech at the Iowa State Fair. But her challenge is enthusiasm. She’s not in this race alone, there are other Democrats running.”
It sure looks like she's alone: Embedded image permalink

Friday, June 12, 2015

Earmarks Will Never Die

Whatever happened to earmark reform?
“Like the cataclysmic event that killed off the dinosaurs, Washington politicians declared pork to be extinct five years ago when an earmark moratorium was enacted,” Flake writes in the introduction to the report. “But something has survived.”

“Fossilized within the federal budget, these projects continue to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars,” he wrote. “Many have even outlasted the terms of the politicians who created them.”
Pork will find a way...

Got Brains?

Brains are good brain food?
Researchers have identified some of the main risk factors of CJD, including administration of cadaveric hormones, dural graft transplants, and the use of contaminated surgical instruments—the majority of which follow surgery. It is common for hospitals to borrow expensive systems and sterilize them thoroughly, but with CJD, routine sterilization isn’t enough. There are special protocols that must be employed to make the operating room safe after a CJD exposure.

So what’s the prognosis for patients who may have been unwittingly exposed to this nefarious protein? If by chance CJD was contracted, there is unfortunately no effective treatment, and the disease is considered uniformly fatal. The incubation period for CJD ranges from 5 to 30 years; however, death usually occurs between six months to one year from the onset of symptoms. On the bright side, the odds that the at risk patients contracted CJD are very low.

That brings us back to the people of Papua New Guinea, who are resistant to this class of disease. This discovery may serve as the catalyst that enables scientist to better understand the molecular causes and possible treatments of prion based diseases, such as kuru and CJD. Scientists are on the verge of demonstrating that a single change in DNA may confer complete resistance to a fatal disease.
The Eating Dead...

Broken Straw

The straw poll is history:
The governing board for the Republican Party of Iowa voted unanimously Friday to cancel the straw poll, a milestone on the path to the White House that had passed the strategic tipping point. It was no longer a political risk for presidential campaigns to walk away from the straw poll, and too many of the 2016 contenders had opted to skip it for it to survive. …

Back in January, the Iowa GOP board unanimously to proceed with the event, a daylong political festival meant to showcase the party’s presidential candidates and to bring Iowa Republicans together for food, music and field-winnowing. They had scheduled it to take place not in Ames, its historic home, but at a venue in rural Boone.

The decision comes as the party fundraiser appeared to be on the verge of falling flat because so many presidential contenders were steering clear of it. Some candidates had said they might show up to give a speech, but wouldn’t spend money trying to win the straw poll. That meant the fundraiser would likely have struggled to break even, much less garnered hundreds of thousands for the party as it has in the past.
This is an ex-poll!

Blogging In The Years: 2008

What will the weather be like in the year 2015? Pretty grim, according to this:

Trading Down

Obamatrade goes down:
The 302-126 vote came a few hours after Obama journeyed to the Capitol to deliver a last-minute personal plea to fellow Democrats to support the measure, which would allow him to negotiate global trade deals that Congress could approve or reject but not change.

"I don't think you ever nail anything down around here. It's always moving," the president said as he departed - a prescient remark given Pelosi's dramatic announcement later on the House floor.

"Slow down the fast track to get a better deal for the America people," the California lawmaker said in a speech that drew handshakes and hugs from union-backed Democrats who have labored for months to reject Obama's request for "fast track" authority in trade talks.

Republicans command a majority in the House, and Speaker John Boehner and the GOP leadership worked in harness with Obama to pass the legislation. But there were many defections among Republicans unwilling to expand the president's authority and not nearly enough Democrats supporting him for the bill to prevail.
They could still try to save it, but it doesn't look good. And we can thank...Nancy Pelosi?

Fake Like Me

"Why didn't you tell me I was white?"
Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal spoke from their home in Troy, Montana on Friday after they revealed that their daughter, Spokane's NAACP Chapter President Rachel Dolezal, has been misleading people about her ethnicity for years.

Dolezal, who has been a civil rights activist across Idaho and Washington and works part-time as an Africana Studies professor at Eastern Washington University, is now facing a city ethics probe for falsely claiming on an application that she was black.

Her parents, who are estranged from their daughter, say they first found out she was claiming to be African American as they read a newspaper article about her 'some years ago'.
Maybe she went to the Eddie Murphy school of whiteness?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Last Broadcaster

Don Lemon speaks out:
In radio commentary for Black America Web, the “CNN Tonight” host implored listeners to be introspective about whether or not they might be “too politically correct.”

“Do you allow room in your space for those who disagree with you? Do you ever call co-workers or the person you hear on the radio or see on TV stupid because you disagree with them or because they don’t hold your same opinion about an issue? If so, then you might be too politically correct for your own good, for society’s good,” he said.

Lemon argued people should be able to “make mistakes in conversations without calling them racist, bigots, stupid, dumb, sell out…on and on.”

“Not everyone is going to or do they have to agree with you. In fact, it’s better when people don’t agree with you,” he added. “That’s how we learn. That’s what conversation is really about.”
Tolerance is still a two-way street...

No Hackers Near Her

Joy Reid's story continues to fall apart: Cybersecurity expert Jason McNew, who spent 12 years working for the White House and Camp Davi...