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Showing posts from October, 2015

Cleanup Operation

Why does the EPA need so many guns?Open the Books found that the agency has spent millions of dollars over the last decade on guns, ammo, body armor, camouflage equipment, unmanned aircraft, amphibious assault ships, radar and night-vision gear, and other military-style weaponry and surveillance activities.

“We were shocked ourselves to find these kinds of pervasive expenditures at an agency that is supposed to be involved in clean air and clean water,” said Open the Books founder Adam Andrzejewski. “Some of these weapons are for full-scale military operations.”For the war on their own toxic waste?

Sugar Man

Jeb Bush wants to cut the sweet stuff:Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, a longtime ally of his state’s wealthy sugar producers, is parting ways with the industry and calling for an end to government subsidies that have boosted company profits for decades.

The move, a surprise to industry lobbyists, could help the Republican’s struggling presidential campaign court conservative activists and competing industries that decry the sugar program as “crony capitalism.”

Bush’s position, confirmed this week by campaign aides, comes as he retools his operation to focus on early-voting states, including Iowa, where the corn industry is preparing to begin an ad campaign attacking the subsidy. His stance puts him at odds with his in-state presidential rival, Sen. Marco Rubio (R), who is being backed by members of the Florida-based Fanjul family, which controls one of the world’s biggest sugar empires.I suppose at this stage in his campaign he has to start somewhere...

Privileged Information

No emails for you:The White House will try to block the release of a handful of emails between President Obama and former Secretary of StateHillary Rodham Clinton, citing longstanding precedent invoked by presidents of both parties to keep presidential communications confidential, officials said Friday.

The State Department discovered the emails between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton as part of its effort to release the former secretary’s emails, several thousand more of which were scheduled to be made public on Friday. Mr. Obama’s correspondence was forwarded for review to the White House, which has decided against release.

That decision could intensify the political struggle between Mrs. Clinton, who is running for president, and congressional Republicans, who have pressed for disclosure of her emails as part of an investigation into the administration’s handling of the attacks on an American compound in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.There are plenty of redactions to go around on this one...…

Goodbye Boulder

As well they should be:According to NBCUniversal — CNBC’s parent company — the disparaged debate was the most-watched event in the network’s history, garnering 14 million viewers with advertisements ringing in at $250,000 apiece. But that didn’t stop the internal criticism.

“Everyone feels pretty embarrassed,” one CNBC staffer said of the debate.

Several network employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told CNN they wished for a “do-over,” some assigning the blame to CNBC President Mark Hoffman.

Others did praise debate moderators Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick and John Harwood, saying they were proud of their colleagues pointed questions to the candidates. However, several employees wondered if it would be the audience boos and pundits’ comments that CNBC “lost control” of the event that viewers would remember most.Arrogance goeth before a fall...

Sue USA

He's driving his country into the ground, but that hasn't stopped him from going to court:Mr. Maduro, who said he collected 11 million signatures during a campaign condemning the decree earlier this year, didn’t give further details. He made his comments hours after Mr. Obama’s nominee for undersecretary of state, Thomas Shannon, told lawmakers in Washington that crucial Dec. 6 elections in Venezuela would determine whether Washington will take further action against the country.

Polls suggest that President Maduro’s ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela could lose control of the parliament for the first time in 16 years as citizens punish incumbents for an economic crisis marked by triple-digit inflation and chronic food shortages.

Last week, Venezuela’s government also turned to the U.S. legal system to help ease its economic troubles. The country’s central bank filed a lawsuit seeking the shutdown of a U.S.-based website called DolarToday, which is allegedly run by Ven…

Night Maneuvers

Like thieves in the dark:Senate Republicans managed to wrangle enough of their troops to overcome a filibuster early Friday morning and pass the new budget deal, granting President Obama yet another debt holiday, busting the budget caps and boosting spending some $80 billion over the next two years.

Democrats, who are far more thrilled with the deal, did the heavy lifting, providing most of the votes as they won some $40 billion in new domestic spending in 2016 and 2017. They also forced the GOP to retreat on the hard-fought 2011 budget agreement that had helped bring deficits back under control.
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“This deal represents the worst of Washington culture,” said Rep. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and presidential candidate who’d vowed to lead the filibuster, but who saw his efforts fall short to what he called an “unholy compromise between right and left.”

The bill cleared on a 64-35 vote, with just 18 Republicans joining all Democrats in backing the bill.You'll have to find out…

I Kill Me

If you can't find a willing accomplice:Karen Davis is now facing federal charges for lying to investigators about two death threat letters she said she received during her failed 2014 campaign.

“You know, everybody makes mistakes. I did,” she said.

The first letter included the line, “A close up to your head or to your husband will be final. You make the decision not to run for Congress.”

A second letter read, “If you don’t quit very soon, you won’t be warned. You won’t see it coming. Your family will have to plan a funeral.”

Davis was arrested at her Lodi home following a monthslong investigation she opened when she reported the letters to federal authorities. Investigators say she ultimately failed a polygraph test and admitted writing the letters and sending them herself.Vote for Davis-she'll literally kill herself for you...

Don't Forget To Wash Your Hands

So the Obama administration opines on the great bathroom debate of our time, except:A young girl was likely encouraged by her parents to believe that she was actually a boy, began going by a new, male name and dressing like a boy as well. She then issued the usual demand we see every time, insisting that she should be able to use the boy’s bathrooms and other gender specific facilities. The school, in an effort to keep things on a some sort of even keel, offered to let her use a single stall, uni-sex bathroom, but that wasn’t good enough for her or her parents. She had to impose her “choice” on everyone else in the school and use the boy’s room contrary to school policy. A federal district court judge (amazingly) refused to intervene and stop the school from enforcing their policy and the case has headed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Now the Obama administration is wading into the fight on the girl’s behalf.If it's none of their business, they do it...

The Halloween Fashion Police

How to wear a politically correct Halloween costume:“Unsure if your costume might be offensive?” asks a poster that’s been hung around campus at State University of New York at Geneseo. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

The poster contains the phone numbers and e-mails of five (five!) campus officials that students can contact and discuss the very important issue of whether or not what they will dress up as to get drunk in will be advancing social-justice causes.

Wesleyan University has been hanging similar posters around the school — but with six (six!) numbers listed.The number of the PC beast...

Cruz Missile

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Ted Cruz destroys the moderators in what is arguably one of the bigger moments of the CNBC debate:

New Speaker In Town

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Paul Ryan has a new gig, for what it's worth:

Baby Boomers

Chinese mothers can now have more kids:China will “fully implement a policy of allowing each couple to have two children as an active response to an ageing population”, the party said in a statement published by Xinhua news agency.

There were no immediate details on the new policy or a timeframe for its implementation.

For months there has been speculation that Beijing was preparing to abandon the divisive family planning rule, which was introduced by Communist leaders in 1980 amid fears of a population boom.Now that the reverse is happening, are there any takers?

Pumpkinheads

Happy Halloween from the Cult of Climate Change:Most of the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the U.S. end up in the trash, says the Energy Department’s website, becoming part of the “more than 254 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in the United States every year.”

Municipal solid waste decomposes into methane, “a harmful greenhouse gas that plays a part in climate change, with more than 20 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide,” Energy says.That's not Al Gore, it's just Halloween...

The Angry Ohioan

John Kasich wants to know:"I've about had it with these people," Kasich said at the rally in Westerville, Ohio. "We got one candidate that says we ought to abolish Medicaid and Medicare. You ever heard of anything so crazy as that? Telling our people in this country who are seniors, who are about to be seniors that we're going to abolish Medicaid and Medicare?"

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has acknowledged that he would like to gut Medicare.

Kasich went on, saying, "We got one person saying we ought to have a 10 percent flat tax that will drive up the deficit in this country by trillions of dollars" and there's another challenger in the field who "says we ought to take 10 or 11 [million] people and pick them up — I don't know where we're going to go, their homes, their apartments — we're going to pick them up and scream at them to get out of our country. That's crazy. That is just crazy."

Donald Trump has expressed…

The Horror Of The Deal

John Boehner's last broken promise comes to fruition:By scheduling a vote on Wednesday—any time before 11:36 p.m. on Thursday, actually—Boehner would be violating that pledge.

Boehner is also putting the chances of his likely successor, House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), at risk. Ryan has indicated he thinks the “process stinks” on this, but is planning to review the deal in its entirety before making a decision one way or the other.

Ryan’s office has refused to answer a series of basic questions from Breitbart News on whether he believes all Republicans in the House should support or oppose the deal, what took him so long to comment on the deal at all (he still hasn’t weighed in on the substance just the process), whether he would support Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) remaining on as Majority Leader if he becomes Speaker after McCarthy contradicted him on the process of the deal, and whether Ryan would allow staffers who were involved in this process who …

He's A Thug, But He's Their Thug

Democrats are manning the barricades:“Calling this resolution a ‘stunt’ or a ‘joke’ would be insulting to stunts and jokes,” Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.) the committee’s top Democrat, said in a statement. He said the impeachment resolution was “ridiculous” and a waste of taxpayer money.

“Instead of squandering millions of taxpayer dollars on baseless partisan attacks,” Cumming said, “the committee should focus on issues that matter to all Americans, like bringing down the costs of prescription drugs, as I have requested for the past year with no success.”I thought following the law also mattered to all Americans...

House Money

Hey, what happened to all that HUD cash?More than $429 million worth of noble intentions has been funded with the Section 4 program since its approval as part of the HUD Demonstration Act of 1993. President Bill Clinton and a Democratically-controlled Congress intended for Section 4 to help local groups combat poverty through a bureaucratically pliable process of “capacity building.”

Cato Institute Director of Tax Policy Studies Chris Edwards told TheDCNF, “‘capacity building’ is just Washington-speak for bureaucracy and paper-pushing.”

Throughout its more than two decades in existence, neither HUD nor Congress have systematically monitored how Section 4 funds are spent or what kind of results are obtained. Neither, apparently, has the independent inspector general for HUD.I'm sure it's just being saved for a rainy day...

No Docs For You

It's not like they were making it up, right?Skeptics of climate change, including Smith, have cited the pause to prove that increased greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from burning fossil fuels, are not heating up the globe.

Smith, the chairman of the House Science Committee, vehemently disagreed with the study’s findings. He subpoenaed for communications among the scientists and some data, leading to charges from Democrats that he was trying to intimidate the researchers.

Late Tuesday, NOAA provided Smith with some more information about its methods and data, but refused to give Smith all he wanted.

NOAA spokesman Ciaran Clayton said the internal communications are confidential, and not related to what Smith is trying to find out.

“We have provided data (all of which is publicly available online), supporting scientific research, and multiple in person briefings,” she said.

“We stand behind our scientists who conduct their work in an objective manner. It is the end product of excha…

Deal Time

so they have a deal:Its passage is far from certain, but it will come as House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’s (R-Ohio) likely final act before he leaves Congress at the end of the week and hands over the role to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

The agreement, which would last for two years, comes just days before the Treasury Department warned it was running low on cash to keep paying the government’s obligations, as the nation brushed up against the debt ceiling. And it comes a little more than a month before another potential government-shutdown showdown.Good news? I guess it depends on your point of view...

Hardly Working For The Money?

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Who's a hard worker? Do the folks at MSNBC even know anyone who actually works?

The Social Justice Police

They're watching you:The groups complain that the typical response to such incidents by university administrators has been “to disclaim responsibility for harassment and threats that occur on that platform” because the site is anonymous and accessible without using university servers.

In the UMW case, Feminists United on Campus (FUC) and Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), both members of the coalition requesting federal intervention, filed a Title IX suit against the school, charging administrators with a “systemic failure to protect students from a sexually hostile school environment, from sex-based cyber assaults, and from threats of physical and sexual violence.”

University President Richard Hurley responded in June with a letter calling the allegations “irresponsible” and contending that the First Amendment prevents public institutions from taking the sort of actions the groups demanded.

“Although I understand that FUC may be upset that UMW has not ceded to its demands to ban…

Unleash The Gores

"I shall call them mini-mes":Yes, it’s that slide show, the one that thrust climate change into popular culture, generating the 2007 Academy Award and Nobel Prize in the process. Gore is still doing it, and training a global cadre of mini-Gores to do it as well; there have been 30 Climate Reality trainings, from South Africa to Australia to India. Fifteen years after he missed out on the White House by the narrowest of conceivable margins, Gore is still schlepping around the world to try to save it, spreading his unique brand of alarmism backed by data leavened with hope.

The former vice president still begins and ends his presentation with photos of the earth from space, iconic reminders of what’s at stake. He still lectures in that much-mocked wooden style, with sporadic flashes of passion detectable more by changes in volume than delivery. The big difference in the updated version of the slide show is that a decade ago, Gore mostly warned about what could happen. Now he s…

You Are Who You Eat

It really is people:Some dogs were labeled pork-free — important for certain religions — but were found to contain pork after all. Others listed only one type of meat but included several or didn’t contain all the ingredients listed.
Even grosser: 2 percent of all samples were found to have traces of human DNA in them. Veggie dogs were the worst off, accounting for 67 percent of the hygiene issues and two-thirds of the human DNA found.
The good news: As bad as some brands were found to be, there are some trustworthy options out there. The report lists the soy chorizo and meatless corn dogs at Trader Joe’s as safe picks for vegetarians, and Taveritte’s, Whole Foods’ 365 brand, Aidell’s, Hebrew National, Ball Park, Oscar Mayer, and Johnsonville for meat eaters.But at least vegans have less fat...

Justice For Some

Developing countries aren't too keen on being poor for the planet:There are no low-carbon energy technologies available today that can sustain the economic growth rates these countries need to lift their people out of abject poverty, let alone offer Western living standards at anything resembling an affordable cost. Over 300 million Indians still live below the poverty line, earning less than $1 per day. India's per capita energy consumption is 15 times less than the United States'. India has to keep boosting its energy use — and therefore carbon emissions — for at least another two decades to eliminate dire poverty, which is why its reduction plan only commits to slashing "emission intensity" — its emission rate as a percentage of its GPD — not emissions themselves.

Even this much, India claims, will require up to a $2.5 trillion investment over the next 15 years in renewable energy sources and adaptation technologies. Even if that figure is exaggerated, clearly…

Meatheads

The World Health Organization wants you to know:Processed meats – such as bacon, sausages and ham – do cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Its report said 50g of processed meat a day – less than two slices of bacon – increased the chance of developing colorectal cancer by 18%. Meanwhile, it said red meats were “probably carcinogenic” but there was limited evidence.

But the WHO said meat did also have health benefits.
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Processed meat is meat that has been modified to increase its shelf-life or alter its taste – such as by smoking, curing or adding salt or preservatives. It is these additions which could be increasing the risk of cancer.

“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” Dr Kurt Straif from the WHO said.Eating is bad for you. Spread the word...

The Wages Of Joblessness

wow, who could have foreseen this coming:“One likely cause of the stagnation and decline of Seattle area restaurant jobs this year is the increase in the city’s minimum wage,” the report speculated. “It looks like the Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start. Especially considering that restaurant employment in the rest of the state is booming, and nearly 6,000 more restaurant workers are employed today than in January.”

Seattle was the first place to pass a $15 minimum wage measure and became the first major victory for supporters. San Francisco and Los Angeles followed not long after and now many cities have either enacted it or are considering it. Some states are also giving the $15 minimum wage serious consideration. Currently it has not passed on the state level.

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo first announced Sept. 10 his plan for raising the state minimum wage. If enacted, the increase will gradually put New York City to the $15 mark by 2018 and the …

Money Not Well Spent

What happened to all the Obamacare exchange money?About $4.6 billion was given to these 17 recipients, including California, New York, Washington state and Kentucky.

But the GAO report found that so far, just $1.4 billion of that has been spent on IT projects, and a total of $3 billion has been “spent or drawn down,” though not all the spending is detailed.

That, then, leaves at least $1.6 billion unaccounted for. Yet only three states returned any portion of the money – a total of just over $1 million was given back.

“[T]he specific amount spent on marketplace-related projects was uncertain, as only a selected number of states reported to GAO that they tracked or estimated this information,” the report said.I'm sure there was enough to spread around somewhere...

Old Media Man

Mitt Romney is not a fan of new media:“There was a time when we all got the news with the same facts, if you will,” he said. “We had three networks we watched for the evening news. Most of us got newspapers. Everybody in the middle class got a newspaper, so we got the same facts whether we agreed or not with them.”

Now, according to Romney, people “get their news on the web” and “they tend to read those things which they agree with.” He said people are “not seeing the other side” and “not even getting the same facts” while “we have commentators” on left-leaning and right-leaning cable news channels “who are hyperbolic in expressing their views on issues.”

Romney lamented that more Democrats are considering themselves “liberal” and “in my party, there are more and more who feel they are more insurgent than towards the center of the party.”

“And I think that divisiveness is one of the things that has led to Washington having such a hard time getting things done,” he said.He says that li…

Still Targeting After All These Years

The IRS is still at it:Several lawsuits, including one seeking to be certified as a class action, are still pending against the IRS.

“It’s no wonder why so many Americans have had it with Washington and the elite political class who can get away with something like this,” said Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self-Governance and one of the organizers of the class-action lawsuit.

Yet another case is pending before a federal appeals court after tea party challengers lost at the district court level, where the judge ruled that the IRS targeting stopped in 2013 so there was no longer a case to be decided.

That was news to the Albuquerque Tea Party, which applied for nonprofit status in December 2009 and is still awaiting approval, according to the group’s attorneys at the American Center for Law and Justice. Another of the center’s clients, Unite in Action, an Ohio group, has been waiting more than three years for approval.

“It’s an outrage — a mockery of justice,” Jay Sekulow, chi…

Space Booze

In space, no one can hear you drink:According to an international team of researchers including scientists from NASA, Lovejoy has been found to emit ethyl alcohol, the kind found in beverages, and a type of sugar as it passes through space. In addition to the two compounds, the team determined 19 other organic molecules. A report of their observations was published this week in the journal Science Advances.

“We found that comet Lovejoy was releasing as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during its peak activity,” said lead author Nicolas Biver of the Paris Observatory in a statement.

Scientists observed Lovejoy, or comet C/2014 Q2, as it passed close to the sun earlier this year, forcing it to release water at the rate of 20 tons per second. Using a telescope in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Spain, they were also able to observe its microwave glow at its brightest.The space bar is open...

Energy Man

Watch out for the quiet ones:Carson, 64, said that as a teenager he would go after people “with rocks, and bricks, and baseball bats, and hammers.” At age 14, growing up poor in Detroit, he tried to stab a classmate with a camping knife . “Fortunately, you know, my life has been changed. And I’m a very different person now,” said Carson…

Carson agreed with a suggestion that people mistake his soft-spoken manner for a lack of energy. “I have plenty of energy,” he said. “I will tell you, in terms of energy, I’m not sure that there’s anybody else running who’s spent 18 or 20 hours intently operating on somebody.”Careful...he still knows how to use a blade...

Second Historical Thoughts

Tony Blair on the Iraq war:“Of course, you can’t say that those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015,” he said. “But it’s important also to realize, one, that the Arab Spring which began in 2011 would also have had its impact on Iraq today, and two, ISIS actually came to prominence from a base in Syria and not in Iraq.”

More broadly, Blair said, the policy debate on Western intervention remains inconclusive.

“We have tried intervention and putting down troops in Iraq; we’ve tried intervention without putting in troops in Libya; and we’ve tried no intervention at all but demanding regime change in Syria,” he said. “It’s not clear to me that, even if our policy did not work, subsequent policies have worked better.”Intervention, or non-intervention? Neither seems to work very well in the Middle East these days...

The Bridge That Never Was

Alaska is finally abandoning its invisible bridge:Officials settled on a bridge alternative in 2004. But critics including Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain labeled the project a "bridge to nowhere." In 2007, the department said then-Gov. Sarah Palin directed it to find the most fiscally responsible alternative for access.

Improving access between Ketchikan and its airport on nearby Gravina Island has long been an issue; without a so-called hard link, like a bridge, public access is available by ferry.

Asked if a bridge remained a feasible option, Ketchikan Mayor Lew Williams III said the "financial times have made that decision for us."

"Everybody knows we don't have the money to build a bridge or maintain it or anything like that," he said.It just took them this long to admit it...

Party Favors

It was all for the greater good:According to the New York Times, Watts filed 648 individual claims under a program set up by BP that was to compensate seafood industry workers. Out of those claims Watts filed, nearly all of them were denied. Then, the New York Times reported, Watts filed almost 44,000 claims under an additional program. Of those claims, 40 percent used social security numbers that belonged to someone other than the claimant and 5 percent used social security numbers belonging to people who are deceased.

BP sued Watts in 2013 and alleged that his “brazen fraud” had inflated the amount of money set aside for the program meant to compensate seafood industry workers, according to the New York Times. That lawsuit is still pending.

The News-Express reported that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Jackson, Mississippi would not confirm the indictment but lawyers for Watts and his brother did confirm the indictment which also names his brother, David. Both brothers are expected to…

A Pound Of Horse Flesh

Another government agency displays its compassion:Between 2009 and 2012, rancher Tom Davis purchased the horses through the agency’s Wild Horse and Burro Program (WH&B) and wrongfully sent them to slaughter, according to the report from the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General. According to the allegations and news reports, Mr. Davis also had farming and trucking connections with former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

“We determined that BLM did not follow current law while managing WH&B. BLM also failed to follow its own policy of limiting horse sales and ensuring that the horses sold went to good homes and were not slaughtered,” investigators wrote in the report.

Mr. Davis admitted that most of the horses that he purchased through the BLM went to slaughter.

He told investigators that “in selling so many loads of horses, BLM had to know that the horses would end up at the slaughterhouse.”Because they care...

The Odd Couple

Joe and Hillary apparently didn't get along:Meetings with his foreign policy aides veered into lengthy discussions about Mrs. Clinton’s hawkish stance. At dinners with donors, Mr. Biden expressed astonishment at her handling of the controversy over her private email server. Those close to him say the mere mention of her name could make him fume, and he viewed her family’s potent, sometimes punishing political machinery with growing resentment.

The decades-long relationship between Mr. Biden and Mrs. Clinton has included many public expressions of warmth, but in private, it has been marked by an intense rivalry as they both imagined ascending to the highest office in the land. And as the Democratic establishment this summer increasingly fell into line behind Mrs. Clinton as the party’s best chance of winning the presidency, Mr. Biden felt slighted and hurt.Everyone is an afterthought in Clinton land...

Medicinal Value

A drug manufacturer gets a taste of its own medicine:A San Diego biomedical company on Thursday announced it’s selling an alternate medication to Daraprim for $1 a capsule, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Mark L. Baum, CEO of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, told the paper that one catch is that its formula isn’t FDA-approved and may be sold only through a doctor’s prescription to a specific person. He added that the process of getting FDA approval would take years and cost millions, while not filing keeps prices low and profits higher.

Shkreli initially said the price increase of Daraprim was needed to fund future research on the 60-year-old drug, which some doctors said wasn’t needed. Then Shkreli backed off and said he would reduce the price. A Turing spokesman last week told The Associated Press that the company is still determining the “most appropriate price for Daraprim” but has capped per-prescription co-payments at $10 for patients with commercial insurance and $1 for Medicaid…

No Charges Necessary

Lois Lerner gets away with it:There will be no charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner or anyone else at the agency, the Justice Department said in a letter.

The probe found “substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia leading to the belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted them based on their political viewpoints. But poor management is not a crime.”

“We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution,” Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik said in the letter. “We also found no evidence that any official involved in the handling of tax-exempt applications or IRS leadership attempted to obstruct justice. Based on the evidence developed in this investigation and the recommendation of experienced career prosecutors and supervising attorneys at the department, we are closing our investigation and will not seek a…

Rules Of The Hosting Game

The FCC rediscovers equal time laws:The head of the Federal Communications Commission promised Thursday to enforce his agency’s regulations requiring television stations to give political candidates equal opportunities for airtime.

“The rules are pretty clear. Rules are rules,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters Thursday. “I hope that we have developed a reputation as folks who enforce the rules.”

Hillary Clinton’s appearance earlier this month on Saturday Night Live could trigger the so-called “equal-time” rules, as could Donald Trump’s plan to host the long-running NBC comedy show next month. That doesn’t necessarily mean Lincoln Chafee will be the next host of SNL—but it could mean that local NBC affiliates across the country will have to give presidential candidates access to equal TV time.Because there's apparently not enough comedy to go around...

No Speech For Them

Free speech is like, so eighteenth century:By a margin of 51 percent to 36 percent, students favor their school having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty. Sixty-three percent favor requiring professors to employ “trigger warnings” to alert students to material that might be discomfiting. One-third of the students polled could not identify the First Amendment as the part of the Constitution that dealt with free speech. Thirty-five percent said that the First Amendment does not protect “hate speech,” while 30 percent of self-identified liberal students say the First Amendment is outdated.That whole Constitution thing, after all...

I, Minion

Minions not welcome:Atheist Chaz Stevens, 51, said his request this week is part of his "Satan or Silence Project" aimed at persuading elected officials to either drop prayers before meetings or allow him to lead a prayer and ask for blessings from the devil.

"At best, it [the invocation] is going to be solemn and right to the occasion, but it might very well raise the dead," he said Thursday. "I mean think about it. We're talking about Satan."

But commission Chairman Jimmy Conner said he has no plans to accept the "over-the-top" request.

"There won't be any satanic prayers while I'm chairman," Conner said. "The man isn't going to bully me. If he hates God, he can do that. But we're not going to spread devil worshipping in our chamber."There are plenty of other politicians for that already...

Dead School

How to be dead:They are made to sign fake wills and are locked inside coffins where they are given mock funeral services.

And at the Seoul Hyowon Healing Centre in the capital, business is booming.

Sitting between rows of coffins, with pens and paper littering small desks, the students listen as the head of the centre, former funeral company employee Jeong Yong-mun, explains that the problems we face in life are a part of life. They are told they must accept them and try to find joy in their hardships.

Among the students are teenagers who can’t cope with exam pressure in school, parents who find themselves useless after their children have left home, and the elderly terrified of being a financial burden on their young families.

South Korea has rocketed from being one of the poorest countries in the world to the 12th biggest global economic power in just a few decades.The benefits of the zombie economy?

Beavers Away

Behold the beaver bombs:According to Boise State Public Radio, “Fur for the Future,” as the film was called, was found by Sharon Clark, department historian. It was not only mislabeled, but it was in the wrong box.

“When you’ve got film with parachuting beavers, you’ve got a story,” the department’s news release about the video posted Monday stated.

The 14-minute-long video, which has been converted to digital, explained in its introduction that the relocation program, which included animals other than beaver, was meant to “repopulate regions that will support these valuable animals.”Let the fur fly, literally...

Dirty Word

Who made feminism a dirty word? Could it be, actual feminists?

Return Of The Soda Jerks

If you can't ban 'em, tax 'em:A stringent tax such as the one being proposed is portrayed as a public health issue, but that’s a pretty tough sell and actually flies in the face of normal governmental procedure. Much the same as with cigarettes, if you believe something is actually toxic and harmful to people, why are you allowing it to be sold at all? Some advocates are flat out calling soda poison. If that’s the case, you are not only knowingly allowing poison to be sold to the public under the guise of being a beverage, but you’re collecting taxes on it to fill the state’s coffers. But it’s the “filling the coffers” part that’s really at the heart of it, isn’t it? You can’t modify people’s behavior through the tax code even if you truly wanted to. But you can get people to swallow a tax hike (pun intended) if you disguise it as a public health initiative.In a free society, you can't tell people what to eat or drink. But some folks are going to make sure you go broke…

Lessons In Censorship

It cuts both ways:Carson is promising under his administration the Department of Education would probably only go after leftists, who have “extreme political bias.” But what happens if a Democrat comes into power after Carson? Would that Democrat use the “extreme political bias” directive to force out people who might be conservative or libertarian? If someone says they think “trigger warnings” are a bad idea, would the university they work for be forced to fire them or turn them over to the thought police for “reeducation”? Carson’s idea is just completely short-sighted, and it’s unfortunate because the guy isn’t an idiot. He’s a very smart man and a good guy who’s got a great story. But this is one of those ideas he should toss in the incinerator and hope no one else steals it.Never give the other side an excuse...

The Big Spill

The EPA was responsible, after all:EPA documents show its officials knew of the potential for a major blowout from the Gold King Mine near Silverton as early as June 2014. EPA officials described the blowout as "likely inevitable" because so much water had built up inside the mine.

The Interior report directly refutes that assertion and says the cleanup team could have used a drill rig to bore into the mine from above to gauge the danger of a blowout.

"This error resulted in development of a plan to open the mine in a manner that appeared to guard against blowout, but instead led directly to the failure," according to engineers from Interior's Bureau of Reclamation who spent two months evaluating the technical circumstances surrounding the accident.They knew, the mine still blew...

Elections, Lies, And Videos

Yes, it was an attack:The Obama administration continued for days after the attack to claim that the YouTube video — entitled “Innocence of Muslims” — had sparked protests which turned violent. Critics of the administration’s handling of the response to the attack assert that the YouTube video was used as political cover to protect Obama ahead of his re-election bid. Obama had been on the campaign trail insisting that he had destroyed al-Qaida.

Jordan compared Clinton’s disparate positions, asserting that she “knew the truth” but insisted on casting some blame on the video.

“You tell the American people one thing, you tell your family an entirely different story,” Jordan said.

He also cited a call Clinton made the night of the attack to Mohammed Magariaf, who was then the president of Libya. According to a transcript of the call, Clinton acknowledged that the al-Qaida affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia was “claiming responsibility” for the attack.

And in a phone call with Egyptian Prime…

Brother, Can You Spare Some Campaign Contributions?

The Democrats stay true to form:The Senate Republican committee hasn’t raised as much money this year as the Democrats. Since January, Senate Republicans have raised $30 million to defend their majority, while the Democrats have raised $34 million.

Both party committees have just over $8 million in the bank ahead of next year’s elections. The Senate Republicans, however, have no campaign debt. The Senate Democrats’ debt, though, at $13 million, is almost 150% of its cash balance.

It would perhaps be fitting that the Senate Democrats’ opportunity to return to control of the Senate would be stymied by too much debt.It's not like they can raise their own ceiling...

The People's Choice

Well, he can't be any worse than Boehner:As Speaker, Flame promises he would take legislative action on “cool things” like “marijuana, women’s rights and gun control,” while pledging to block “stupid sh*t” like “trans-Pacific partnerships, voter ID laws, and building a wall around Mexico.”

Flame also couldn’t resist taking a shot at Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the presumptive successor to the outgoing Rep. John Boehner (R-OH).

“You don’t want Paul Ryan: Mall Cop as Speaker of the House. You want Waka f***in’ Flocka f***in’ Flame,” he said. “There’s no law against it, and it’s the job that I want, and it doesn’t pay much, just $223,500 a year, but weed is legal in D.C. as long as you smoke in your house, and I’m definitely gonna smoke in my house… of Representatives.”Homie in the House?

Friends Of Jeb

Cronyism paid for that:“It’s easy for elected officials to lay out standards of performance for others,” Mr. Bush said during a July speech in Tallahassee, where he worked for eight years as Florida’s governor. “But what are the high standards worth if they’re not applied to themselves?”

Yet a review of Mr. Bush’s finances shows that he has built his personal wealth with the help of companies that had business interests with Florida while he was governor, and that singled out his political expertise and government experience as important assets. Roughly half of the $36.8 million he has earned since he left office in 2007 stems from such companies, according to campaign disclosures and government filings.

Mr. Bush’s financial ties are the focus of a planned 38-page e-book by Peter Schweizer, the researcher who recently chronicled the financial entanglements of the Clinton family in the book “Clinton Cash.” Back-scratching is all in the dynasty...

Who Killed Ronald McDonald?

Why McD's is dying:McDonald’s was never meant to be a fancy, high end eatery, nor were they a health food store. It was fast food that tasted good and people were willing to tolerate all the negatives that came with that deal if the price was right. It’s true that costs of beef and some of their toppings have been going up, leading to pressure on them to raise prices, but that’s hardly the only cause for their woes. Everyone in that market sector is dealing with the same problems. No… what really killed McDonald’s market position was selling out to liberal pressure groups.They will starve you for your own good...

All Incomes Are Not Created Equal

Yes, we have the right to be wealthy:Democrats act as if there is something inherently evil in the idea that some people have more than others, whether they earned it by dint of their own efforts or inherited it. Can anyone justify that in an open society founded on capitalist principles? In the end, America is supposed to be a place where everyone is assured equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. When we find areas where people are being denied opportunity we should correct that, and the government can do much to ensure that the greatest opportunity possible is made available. Sadly, the socialist tenets of the Democrats seek to do just the opposite, robbing the rich to give to the poor with little concern for whether or not that generates disincentives regarding productivity and ambition."Free" money always comes at someone else's expense, and sometimes that person is the one who's actually earned it...

Joe Says No

Joe Biden stays out:Encouraged by some who were seeking an alternative to Clinton, Biden had spent the past several months deeply engaged in discussions with his family and political advisers about entering the primary. Yet as the deliberations dragged on, Democrats began publicly questioning whether it was too late for him to run, a notion that hardened after Clinton's strong performance in last week's Democratic debate.

Notably, Biden did not endorse Clinton or any of the other Democratic candidates. Instead, he used the announcement to outline the path he said the party should take in the 2016 campaign, including a call for them to run on Obama's record. In what could have been a campaign speech, Biden deplored the influence of unlimited contributions on politics, called for expanding access to college educations and called on Democrats to recognize that while Republicans may be the opposition, they are "not our enemy."

"While I will not be a candidate, I…

Lessons In Non-Democracy

When democracy doesn't matter:While she would ultimately relent and release the results, her decision spurred anger among parents and kids who felt that the principal was putting diversity ahead of democracy. Critics compared her to a dictator who scraps elections when results don’t go her way…“The whole school voted for those people, so it is not like people rigged the game,” seventh-grader Sebastian Kaplan told KRON 4, who had run for class representative yet had no clue a week later if he won. “But in a way, now it is kinda being rigged.” … The controversy began as soon as the Oct. 9 election results rolled in. Everett’s 36-year-old principal, Lena Van Haren, was disturbed by the lack of diversity among the winners, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.I'd say the kids have already learned an important lesson...

Truth Is Still Fiction

A not-so-magnificent obsession:Five years. What this says about the special zeal that drove this mission we can leave aside. Ms. Mapes would find her fateful opportunity, finally, with Mr. Burkett and his documents. To obtain them, she complied with Mr. Burkett’s special request that she connect him with the Kerry campaign so that he could provide advice on election strategy. Ms. Mapes promptly called Mr. Kerry’s top aide, Joe Lockhart, telling him about the important, unfriendly investigative story on George W. Bush that CBS was about to run, and about one of her chief sources, who could be of interest to the Kerry campaign—they might want to call him.

In the years since this affair, Mr. Rather and Ms. Mapes have held fast to their regularly repeated assertions that whatever mistakes may have been made, they had reported a true story. “Truth”—starring Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes facing down the enemies of the good and the true—is the latest iteration of the Mapes-Rather claim that t…

The Beginning Of The End?

The end is near:Despite subsidies to help with premiums and out-of-pocket costs, most of the uninsured who are eligible for ObamaCare are saying “no thanks.” Only one in seven is expected to sign up. That’s despite a hefty increase in the financial penalty next year for not having insurance.

The president sees the writing on the wall. You won’t be seeing the customary nationwide TV campaign to encourage sign-ups, as there were in previous years. Remember the young guy in plaid pajamas — “Pajama Boy,” to conservatives — well, he won’t be back this winter.

Bad enough that healthy people aren’t buying. Worse is that the administration is spending billions of your tax dollars covering up the problem, paying insurers to keep offering the plans, even though they’re losing their shirts. But facts are facts — and there’s no hiding these.Obamacare is dead, it just doesn't know it yet...

New Kid In Town, Eh?

Canada has a new Prime Minister:The former French teacher, aged 43, overcame campaign attack ads claiming he was "just not ready" to lead Canada.

With his mop of dark curly hair, a confident swagger and hints of his father's style of speaking, Trudeau looks years younger than he is.

Rivals cast this as a liability during the campaign as he tried to convince voters he was shrewd and experienced enough to be prime minister.

Trudeau is actually only three years younger than outgoing Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper was when he was first elected in 2006.Here are the keys, kid. Don't wreck it...

Brother's Keeper

George W is not a fan of one of his brother's rivals:One donor told Politico that Bush said he found Cruz to be “opportunistic” for his apparent alliance with Donald Trump.

Another said that Bush was worried Cruz would give his brother Jeb a run for his money.

“He said he thought Cruz was going to be a pretty formidable candidate against Jeb, especially in Texas and across the South,” a donor told Politico.

Cruz, in usual fashion, responded in a statement to Politico with praise for the former president.

“I have great respect for George W Bush, and was proud to work on his 2000 campaign and in his administration,” Cruz said. “It’s no surprise that President Bush is supporting his brother and attacking the candidates he believes pose a threat to his campaign. I have no intention of reciprocating. I met my wife Heidi working on his campaign, and so I will always be grateful to him.”"Now pardon me while I go beat on your kid brother some more..."

School's Out Forever?

Tennessee learns a hrd lesson in taxation:"Clay County's inability to generate the revenue to offset the mandates is what's caused this to come to a head," he said. "The straw that broke the camel's back was really the Affordable Care Act for us and it has made it very difficult for us to have our employees properly covered and meet the mandates of the law. That was going to require new revenue and the commission felt like they couldn't do that through a tax increase."

Strong said the county commission, which funds the schools, has declined to increase property taxes and a proposed wheel tax referendum vote won't take place until March.

State Education Department spokeswoman Ashley Ball said Tennessee districts have on rare occasions gone past Oct. 1 without passing budgets in the past but have sorted things out quickly. She said the pressure of students missing school and staff not being paid tends to lead toward resolution.

Each district is le…

The Dutch Dream

No, Bernie Sanders, Denmark really isn't that socialist:For decades, according to World Bank figures, Denmark has maintained a sound budget. Aside from the Clinton Administration’s record from 1992 through 2000, the United States has been much weaker in this area. During those years of fiscal probity, balanced-budget advocacy group The Concord Coalition published an annual scorecard of the “Deficit Hawks” in Congress. Then-Congressman Bernie Sanders did not make the list. On the contrary, in both the House and Senate, Sanders has supported spending such as agribusiness subsidies, while opposing fiscal reforms such as earmark bans and balanced budget amendments. On the campaign trail, when challenged over his ideas for substantial new spending, Sanders claims the spending will be offset by economic growth and long-term cost reductions. That type of “dynamic accounting” was popular with Reagan and George W. Bush, and has consistently led to higher deficits.Trickle-down socialism doe…

Like, Hacking, Dude

Did a stoner get his hands on the CIA director's secret files?CIA Director John Brennan’s private account held sensitive files — including his 47-page application for top-secret security clearance — until he recently learned that it had been infiltrated, the hacker told The Post.

Other e-mails stored in Brennan’s non-government account contained the Social Security numbers and personal information of more than a dozen top American intelligence officials, as well as a government letter about the use of “harsh interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects, according to the hacker.

The FBI and other federal agencies are now investigating the hacker, with one source saying criminal charges are possible, law-enforcement sources said.Wait a minute-AOL still exists?

Women In Uniform

Should women be drafted?In the old days, of course, patriarchy paid. Despite tales of fierce female Amazon warriors, sexual division of labor — in which women focused on childbearing and child-rearing while men engaged in war — tended to make societies much more formidable. A nation could lose a large chunk of its fighting-age men and still bounce back, so long as its fertile women remained.

Nowadays, when war isn’t a matter of hacking at people with sharp objects, that matters less. Women’s primary activity is no longer childbearing, and many women will never have kids at all. And even those who do have kids often delay childbearing until their late 20s or even 30s, long after any draft-induced military service would end.So, feminists, who's willing to step up and join the ranks?

Slightly Used House, Not Cheap

Who wants to buy a green home? Anyone?More than 50,000 California households have signed up for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing since state legislators passed a law in 2008 allowing residents to borrow money for such things as solar panels and energy-efficient windows. The financing method, authorized by cities and counties, and funded by venture capital-backed startups like Renovate America Inc, Renew Financial LLC and Ygrene Energy Fund Inc, is then paid off through special assessments on property tax bills.

Because the improvements stay with the home, and subsequent owners will reap the benefits of them, the assessments are intended to remain with the property in the event of a sale.

But some homeowners trying to sell their houses have found potential buyers scared off by the higher tax assessments. And now realtors in the state are organizing against PACE, saying it makes getting new mortgages much tougher and can leave sellers stuck in their homes.You built it, yo…

No Conservatism Allowed

A student encounters campus censorship:Moriah DeMartino, a 22-year-old political science major, said the fight with HCC began after she requested to launch a Turning Point USA chapter at Hagerstown Community College and was told by college administrators that if she wanted to start a group that was conservative in nature, a club specifically for Democrats would have to be started at the same time. The email to DeMartino also said that students cannot “start new clubs that duplicate the purpose and mission of existing clubs,” according to a blog post on Turning Point USA’s website.
....

The mission of Turning Point USA, according to its website, is to “identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government.”

DeMartino said she wasn’t able to submit a formal application to start the club as she was denied before she could even do so.

“I don’t understand how they can deny me whenever I hadn’t even put in an a…

Peace On The Peninsula

North Korea sort of wants peace:North Korea reportedly rejected the idea of resuming talks to abandon its nuclear program on Saturday, but said it would welcome negotiations for a peace treaty with Washington.

North Korea’s foreign ministry made the statement one day after President Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye said they were ready to open talks with Pyongyang on sanctions if they were serious about dissolving its nuclear program, according to Reuters.

“If the United States insists on taking a different path, the Korean peninsula will only see our unlimited nuclear deterrent being strengthened further,” the North said in a statement.

North and South Korea are still technically at war after signing a truce in 1953 to temporarily end their conflict.They're no longer at war with us, they just want to act like they are...kind of like always?

Here She Comes

First Kanye, now:The actress, 29, shared the news on her Instagram Friday, where she gave a shout out to Kanye West, who announced his presidential bid in August, and thanked President Obama for inspiring us all to “be better people.”

“In #2020 I may run for president. Through ups and downs #YESWECAN lets do this @kanyewest #truespirits thank you for inspiring us to be better people @barackobama #kanyewest2020,” she wrote.

In a separate post, Lohan sounded more like a candidate for Miss America when she said the first thing she would do as POTUS would be to “take care of all the children suffering in the world.”

Presidential candidates must be at least 35 years old, per the United States Constitution, so Lohan would be pushing it at just 34.A Kanye versus Lohan race? No word on whether or not any Kardashians will be running...

Eulogy For The Bunny

Playboy, RIP:Hugh Hefner’s “Playboy philosophy,” which he used to set out in windy essays sandwiched between the pictorials, is still considered good for a laugh decades later. But every magazine does express a philosophy, whether or not it chooses to yammer on about doing so, and Playboy’s epicureanism was a powerful one. It practically amounted to a guarantee to the customer: if you bought Playboy, the only uplift you were at risk of encountering would involve lingerie, not morality.

When you were done being titillated by an issue of the magazine, the ads and the articles about stereos and cigars and cocktails were there to linger as an aftertaste, making a subtle but sharp imprint on one’s endocrine system. It is hard for us to appreciate what this kind of thing means in a strongly collectivist, egalitarian society. People who visited the old Soviet bloc, and who saw what blue jeans or heavy-metal cassettes did to the brains of the people there, will have some idea. It is an enigma…

#Cluck

Meet the tweeting chicken:For the last week, the company’s tweets have been mostly nonsensical strings of characters typed by Betty as she pecks at or walks over the keyboard.

It is, not surprisingly, a marketing stunt. The company will continue this exercise until Betty successfully tweets a five-letter word in English, which will apparently earn her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. She seems to be making progress — on Thursday, she typed “bum.” Dark irony undercuts the humor here, of course. Betty is unwittingly working to promote a firm that exists only to execute and barbecue her brethren for human consumption.But she tastes like...

The Online Curtain

Are the Russians trying to get rid of the Web?Andrei Soldatov, an expert in Russian security services, told the UK Daily Telegraph the tests are a “pretext” and said the government is getting ready for the possibility of shutting down the flow of information from the outside world.

“This is actually just one of a series of such experiments, and it gives us a very good idea of what they have in mind,” Soldatov said. “If you look at the doctrine of information security, it is all about the same thing: the fear of Western countries using the Internet as an instrument of influence in Russia and so on.”In Russia, Internet accesses you...

Home To The Sea

He wants to be the first man to swim the Atlantic:If he pulls it off, he will undoubtedly inspire many – as his own heroes Sir Ranulph Fiennes and David Hempleman-Adams did, with their feats of courage and stamina.
And he is deadly serious, spending the past two years training in the warm waters off the Florida Keys, while assembling a support team, including doctors and academics who will monitor his progress as well as marine wildlife and debris in the middle of the ocean. He has raised more than £100,000 of the required £150,000 funding through sponsorship.
But no amount of planning will fully prepare him for the obstacles he will face during the swim. There is the immersion in salt water – “amazingly horrendous, it scorches the back of your throat, especially in the heat” – and it will be surprisingly hot in the middle of the Atlantic, with the water temperature reaching a heatstroke-inducing 30-32C in the waters around the Equator.
Then, there are monster waves to contend with. “…

Pay For Pain

Bill Maher actually asks Bernie Sanders a relevant question:Sanders asked Maher—Maher?!—to explain why he feels his universal healthcare plan wouldn’t work. And Maher obliged him.

“Because they control both ends of it,” said Maher. “If you’re saying that the government is going to pick up the tab but not make the insurance companies, the hospitals, and the doctors not gouge people, then we are going to break the budget. It has to work both ways. So you’re going to make the hospitals do that? Because that is socialism.”The ideology where everyone else pays except those who support it...

All The Vanities

In search of Tom Wolfe:Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. was born on March 2, 1930, and grew up in Richmond, Virginia, the son of a conservative, God-respectful southern editor of an agricultural trade magazine. Home was never something he was looking to get away from; it was never even something he was looking to pretend he was looking to get away from. He was accepted at Princeton but chose to attend Washington and Lee, to remain close to home. Every now and then one of his teachers would note that he had a way with words, and some artistic talent, but artistic ambition, for a conservative southern male in the 1950s or really any other time, was too vague and impractical to indulge. After college, he took the advice of his professor and went to Yale, for a doctorate in American studies—and right up to this point in his life there isn’t a trace of institutional rebellion in him. He pitches for the baseball team, pleases his teachers, has an ordinary, not artistic, group of pals, and is devot…

The Dark Lesson Of History

Rand Paul's history lesson:In an interview with radio host Vince Coakley, the Kentucky senator said socialism is “alive and well” among the Democratic presidential candidates but warned that it was “no accident” that multiple socialist leaders were responsible for the killings of millions of people.

“It amazes me, and it actually kind of scares me. I’ve been making and spending more time going after Bernie [Sanders] and socialism because I don’t want America to succumb to the notion that there’s anything good about socialism,” Paul said. “I think it’s not an accident of history that most of the time when socialism has been tried, that attendant with that has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it. [Joseph] Stalin killed tens of millions of people. Mao [Zedong] killed tens of millions of people. Pol Pot killed millions of people.”Rand Paul is right about this. But you'd never hear today's historical revisionists admit it.

The Law Down Under

So what's Hillary's plan for gun violence? The Australian way:Why? Because each of them had mass killings, Australia had a huge mass killing about 20 or 25 years ago. Canada did as well, so did the UK. In reaction, they passed much stricter gun laws. In the Australian example, as I recall, that was a buyback program. The Australian government as part of trying to clamp down on the availability of…weapons offered a good price for buying hundreds of thousands of guns and basically clamped down going forward, in terms of having more of a background check approach–more of a permitting approach.Except that Americans aren't "permitted" their rights...

Save Our Party Leadership

Who killed the GOP establishment?Speaking with the Washington Examiner, Priebus explained, “We’re seeing more and more that if you don’t hold the White House, it’s very difficult to govern in this country – especially in Washington D.C. However, I think that we may have become, unfortunately, a midterm party that doesn’t lose and presidential party that’s had a really hard time winning.”

Priebus concluded: “I do think we’re cooked as a party for quite a while as a party if we don’t win in 2016.” In the past, Priebus has stated that Republicans will have to be “about perfect” in order to win the presidency, before averring that the GOP must do more minority outreach.But that's not really the issue when it comes to them trying to save their phony-baloney jobs, is it?

Male Report

Why male students shouldn't go someplace just to be made to feel guilty:It’s notable that Lawlor didn’t even mention gender in his column for student newspaper The Tab, arguing instead that he found the whole idea of consent classes repugnant. “I don’t have to be taught to not be a rapist,” he wrote. “That much comes naturally to me, as I am sure it does to the overwhelming majority of people you and I know. Brand me a bigot, a misogynist, a rape apologist, I don’t care.” He’s right, of course, that these classes are demeaning and insulting to both sexes.

But Hadfield was more direct about the real driving force behind consent classes, even though they are, of course, marketed to both sexes: “I’m not going. I think we all know what goes down at these things anyway, don’t we? The male students will be bombarded with stats about ‘1 in 4 women,’ bogus and offensive conspiracy theories about ‘toxic masculinity,’ and suggestions that yes, all men are potential rapists.

“Well, I’m sorry…

Best Of Frenemies

Hillary Clinton's new friends?“I am coming in, as I always am, ready to find common ground with anybody, anywhere, anytime,” she said, adding, “But also to stand my ground.”

“And when I’m in an office, as I was in the Senate for eight years or as I was the Secretary of State for four years, I work very well with Republicans. And if you go back and look at the very kind favorable things that they said about me, particularly while I was Secretary of State, I really appreciated that. And then as soon as I started running for President again it all ended and they began insulting and attacking and all of that. That’s politics, I get it. It was a little tongue in cheek when I said that in the debate because we are going to be in a very contested political campaign. And I’m going to do everything I can to win. But then, once the election is over, it’s time to start trying to bring people together to start governing.”Can't we all just get along until the next election?

The Other Prison Meat

Inmates can have their pork after all:After the bureau drew complaints from the American pork industry and most recently from Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley for the ban, the senator's office tells FoxNews.com that the bureau informed them they're backing off the decision and returning pork to the menu.

The bureau has not responded to a request for comment. It's unclear what exactly prompted the reversal, and whether pork will still be served on just a limited basis.

The Washington Post, which first reported on the reversal, said the bureau has only agreed to bring pork roast back to the menu -- reportedly the only pork dish served to prisoners after other pig products were recently phased out.

The Bureau of Prisons, responsible for over 200,000 inmates, has claimed that it was phasing out pork because surveys of prisoners' food preferences showed it wasn't a very popular menu item. Plus they blamed the cost of pork, moving to impose a total ban at the beginning of the…

No Security, No Problem

Negligence at the top:Three months after Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address and server while secretary of state was referred to the FBI, an intelligence source familiar with the investigation tells Fox News that the team is now focused on whether there were violations of an Espionage Act subsection pertaining to “gross negligence” in the safekeeping of national defense information.

Under 18 USC 793 subsection F, the information does not have to be classified to count as a violation. The intelligence source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the ongoing probe, said the subsection requires the “lawful possession” of national defense information by a security clearance holder who “through gross negligence,” such as the use of an unsecure computer network, permits the material to be removed or abstracted from its proper, secure location.

Subsection F also requires the clearance holder “to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or…

Pennsylvania Dues

Good:Pennsylvania’s state senate approved a controversial bill Wednesday which would prevent unions from taking money from workers’ paychecks and using it for political purposes.

Senate Bill 501, dubbed the “Paycheck Protection” bill by supporters, narrowly passed a senate vote by 26-23. Despite four Republicans voting against the legislation, enough voted for it to pass. It will now await assignment in a House committee.

Currently, public sector union workers, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters, have money deducted from their paychecks which can go towards political reasons or groups, such as PACs. The “Paycheck Protection” bill would be “leveling the playing field,” according to State Sen. Scott Wagner.Workers have the right to decide where their dues go; politicians and union goons hurt most...

ET Was Here?

What's going on out there, anyway?KIC 8462852 is about 50 per cent larger than our sun, so if this comet explanation is correct, the dust cloud would be pretty big. It would be an impressive sight up close, says Boyajian. Something that size in our solar system would blot out a significant amount of sunlight. When Earth passes through the debris clouds left in interplanetary space by passing comets, we get meteor showers. There’s no evidence of a planet in the KIC 8462852 system, but someone standing on such a world as it passed through the dust cloud would see quite a light show, says Boyajian. “The scale of the meteor shower would be huge, like cosmic-scale fireworks.”
....

Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University, is set to publish an alternative interpretation of the light pattern. SETI researchers have long suggested that we might be able to detect distant extraterrestrial civilizations, by looking for enormous technological artifacts orbiting other stars. Wrigh…

Thank You, Canada

RIP:Some of Taylor’s exploits in Iran in 1979 later became the subject of the 2012 Hollywood film, “Argo.” But Taylor and others, including former-U.S. President Jimmy Carter, felt the film downplayed his role and that of Canada in the operation.

Taylor’s wife said he was diagnosed with cancer in August and that friends from Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere visited him at New York Presbyterian hospital where he was being treated.

She said Taylor, born in 1934 in Calgary, has a legacy of generosity.

“He did all sorts of things for everyone without any expectation of something coming back,” she told the Associated Press in a telephone interview.

“It’s why that incident in Iran happened,” she said. “There was no second thought about it. He just went ahead and did it. His legacy is that giving is what is important, not receiving. With all his friends that’s what he did.”

The six U.S. diplomats had managed to slip away when their embassy was overrun in 1979. They spent five days on the move,…

Who Lies Least?

Why Obamacare is unpopular, according to the White House:“The fact is, we’ve seen the Republicans lie to the American public for years about it,” Earnest told reporters Thursday. “They’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars to propagate those lies. The fact that there is a little bit of confusion is not surprising to me.”

Open enrollment for the Obamacare exchanges, or marketplaces, begins Nov. 1. However, Earnest said that because of the GOP’s dishonesty, there might be fewer people signing up than there should be.

“It’s irresponsible that we continue to see Republicans spend so much time and energy lying about the Affordable Care Act,” Earnest said. “It doesn’t just have political consequences, it has potentially real life consequences.”So does the cost of Obamacare...

Bernie's Millions

So how much would a Sanders presidency cost?On Monday, Reuters columnist Daniel Indiviglio analyzed Sanders’ proposals and foresaw an $8 trillion deficit in its first decade. Expanding Medicare would cost $9.6 trillion alone, with another Obama-style infrastructure stimulus for supposedly shovel-ready jobs adding another trillion dollars. His tax hikes would only bring in $4 trillion, leaving a massive hole in the US budget. “If Sanders wants to realize his socialist dream, he’ll need much higher taxes to achieve it,” Indiviglio concludes.

The Wall Street Journal priced out Sanders’ agenda and found that it would require “at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade. That may be a low estimate. Last month, The Wall Street Journal priced out Sanders’ agenda and found that it would require “at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade,” an amount that surpasses the current total national debt of the United States.they want somebody to foot the bill, but it's not them..…

Don't Say A Prayer

the Devil made them do it?It was after Chaz Stevens sent numerous emails to Dania Beach commissioners asking about the Satanist prayer that the city attorney recommended that prayer, which had been longstanding, be replaced with a moment of silence, the Sun Sentinel reported.

“If we let Satan guy come up here, I can’t control what [he's] going to do,” commissioner Chickie Brandimarte told the outlet. “I see chaos coming. It would just get into a big, big turmoil here.”

Stevens’ goal of not having prayer be a part of public meetings has apparently been recognized, as Dania Beach’s decision follows others made in Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs and Delray Beach to avoid allowing Satanist invocations; they have all opted for a moment of silence instead.But who is the silence for? Could it be...Satan?

Samurai Baseball

Image
Somewhere, John Belushi is smiling:

Prohibition, Russian Style

In Russia, vodka drinks you:Although the initiative is only in its infancy, both the head of the national consumer protection agency and a top member of the Public Chamber, a Kremlin advisory body, on Wednesday latched onto the idea amid media reports that the Moscow and St. Petersburg city governments were taking the prospect seriously.

The heavy media attention underlined the paradox of alcohol for Russia - while it may be as much a part of the country's identity as snow and Pushkin poems, it is also a severe problem. Heavy drinking is cited as one of the main factors in Russia's high mortality rate: the life expectancy for Russian males born in 2006 is just 61 years, according to a U.N. Development Program report.

The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, famously failed at his attempt to tame alcoholism in the 1980s by imposing production limits and boosting prices.And we all know what happened to him...

Homecoming On Hold

On second thought:The United States will halt its military withdrawal from Afghanistan and instead keep thousands of troops in the country through the end of President Obama’s term in 2017, Mr. Obama will announce on Thursday, prolonging the American role in a war that has now stretched on for 14 years.

The current American force in Afghanistan of 9,800 troops will remain in place through most of 2016 under the Obama administration’s revised plans, before dropping to about 5,500 at the end of next year or in early 2017, senior administration officials said.

Some of the troops will continue to train and advise Afghan forces, while others will carry on the search for Qaeda fighters and militants from the Islamic State and other groups who have found a haven in Afghanistan, they said.

In abandoning his ambition to bring home almost all American troops before leaving office, Mr. Obama appears to be acknowledging that Afghan security forces are still not near ready to hold off the Taliban …

Quite Time

Dennis Hastert makes a plea:Gallo did not mention any of the terms, including what counts Hastert would plead guilty to.

A plea deal would avert a trial and help keep any potentially embarrassing secrets quiet.

The 73-year-old Illinois Republican is charged with breaking banking laws and lying to the FBI in efforts to pay someone $3.5 million to hide claims of past misconduct.

The Associated Press and other media, citing anonymous sources, have reported the payments were meant to conceal claims of sexual misconduct decades ago.

Hastert allegedly structured cash withdrawals in increments of just under $10,000 to avoid financial reporting rules and then lied to the FBI about the reason for the withdrawals. Investigators have said Hastert withdrew about $1.7 million.I guess getting caught was embarrassment enough...

No Lotto for You

There will be no Lotto in the land of Lincoln:In a statement, the Illinois Lottery said that its account for writing out checks to winners would be exhausted as of Thursday, and the agency does not have the legal authority to replenish its own funds. According to the Chicago Tribune, officials say the legislature must authorize the state comptroller to release the funds.

Despite the payment delay, lottery officials have continued selling tickets.

Last month, the Illinois comptroller's office announced that without a budget for the July 1 fiscal year, the agency didn't have the authority to write checks of more than $25,000 and payments would be delayed.

"Once a budget is passed in Springfield, all outstanding claims will be paid," according to the statement.Don't worry, Illinois, I'm sure you still have enough corruption to go around...

Down On The Ranch

The price of being a Kardashian:After the situation deteriorated Tuesday, Hof told ET, “We called 911, my staff did. They said ‘roll him on his left side’ and he started throwing up a lot but he was breathing. Then the ambulance and the police came and took him to the hospital.”

The brothel owner has also been quoted as saying Odom “might not make it.”

Members of the image-driven Kardashian family reportedly did not approve of Hof’s candor when discussing Lamar’s condition.

During a conversation with Nancy Grace Wednesday, Hof said the reality TV bunch asked him through a publicist to stop speaking to the media.

“Speaking of the Kardashians, I got a call from their publicist today saying ‘Are you going to do any media?’ and I said yes I’m going to go on the Nancy Grace show,” said Hof. “And she said ‘please don’t do that, we’d rather have Khloe say what needs to be said.’”

Hof said he responded, “I told her to go to hell.”The rest of the world has been telling them that for a long tim…

Don't Talk About The Weather

Le censorship:Philippe Verdier, a household name for his nightly weather reports on the France 2 channel, has just published a book in which he argues that the climate change industry is a “war machine whose aim to keep us in fear.”

This went down very badly with his employer which is funded by the French government and is ideologically committed to promoting the global warming scare narrative in the run up to the UN’s COP21 climate conference in Paris this December.

“I don’t think management liked it, let’s be honest,” said Verdier, who received a letter on Monday telling him not to turn up to work.You crossed their cult, mon ami...

Auntie Lame

Hey kid, wanna help your aunt break a few bones for some extra cash?“This was meant to be a simple homeowners insurance case,” she said. “Connecticut law is such that I was advised by counsel that this is the way a suit is meant to be worded.”…

“I adore this child. I would never want to hurt him. He would never want to hurt me,” she told CNN.

The boy refers to Connell as his aunt, although she said he is the son of her cousin. The family remains close. Just a few weeks ago, Connell said, she took the boy out shopping for his Halloween costume.

“It’s amazing the power that the Internet has that something can go viral, completely out of context,” she said. “I’m certainly not trying to retire to some villa in the south of France. I’m simply trying to pay off my medical bills.”Now come and give your aunt a phony insurance claim...