Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Keep Going?

They still want Hill:
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters think Clinton should immediately stop campaigning if she is charged with a felony in connection with her use of a private e-mail server while secretary of State. Fifty percent (50%), however, think she should continue running until a court determines her guilt or innocence. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Voters were evenly divided on this question in January, but at that time we didn’t include the name of any candidate.

Among Democratic voters, 71% believe Clinton should keep running, a view shared by only 30% of Republicans and 46% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

Forty percent (40%) of all voters say they are less likely to vote for Clinton because of the e-mail issue, while nearly half (48%) say it will have no impact on their vote. Just eight percent (8%) say the issue makes them more likely to vote for the former first lady.
I'm sure she'll thank them from her cell...

Meat Madness

When meat eaters attack:
They pulled out grilled meat, sausages, fish and started eating them and throwing them at customers before starting to smoke, which is forbidden at the cafe.

When the owners tried to get them to leave a fight started and spilled into the street. The cafe owners say neighbors, who are not happy with a vegan establishment being located there, joined in the fight.

The attackers left before police arrived although the cafe owners say some of their workers were brought to a police office for interrogation.

The owners of the cafe in the former Soviet republic say there has been another recent incident where the group had been asking questions about whether foreigners, gays or other members of the LGBT community had frequented the cafe.
If you don't like vegans, go to McDonald's. Don't make their case for them.

No Hate Allowed

Social media goes after the haters:
Beyond national laws that criminalize hate speech, there is a need to ensure such activity by Internet users is “expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame,” the companies and the European Commission said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
The code of conduct arrives as Europe comes to terms with the bloody attacks in Paris and Brussels by Islamic State, which has used the Web and social media to spread its message of hate against its enemies. The companies said it remains a “challenge” to strike the right balance between freedom of expression and hate speech in the self-generated content on online platforms.
“We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow,” said Twitter’s head of public policy for Europe, Karen White, in the statement. “However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate.”
But how do they decide what that is? Do trolls count, or only those that disagree?

Beck Begone

Glenn Beck is out:
SiriusXM encourages a diversity of discourse and opinion on our talk programs. However, comments recently made by a guest on the independently produced Glenn Beck Program, in our judgement, may be reasonably construed by some to have been advocating harm against an individual currently running for office, which we cannot and will not condone. For that reason, we have suspended The Glenn Beck Program from our Patriot channel for the coming week and are evaluating its place in our lineup going forward. SiriusXM is committed to a spirited, robust, yet responsible political conversation and believes this action reflects those values.
Caution: Cheetos dust can be bad for your mental health...

Monday, May 30, 2016

Your Building Friend

What if you had to "Friend" your own apartment?
As KSL-TV reports, residents of an apartment building in Salt Lake City, Utah, say they found a curious piece of paper stuck to their doors.

Headlined "Facebook Addendum," it had fascinating stipulations.

It insisted that tenants had five days to "friend" the City Park Apartments on Facebook or they'd be in breach of their lease. The fact that they'd already signed their lease perhaps months previously didn't seem to matter to the owners.
Just trying to be be "friendly..."

Party For The People

Welcome to the Libertarian Convention:

His Kingdom For A Candidate

Who wants to be Bill Kristol's choice?
Every other former GOP presidential candidate from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on down to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and all the rest of them have endorsed Trump–except for former New York Gov. George Pataki. If Pataki ran as an independent, though, it would be hard to take his candidacy seriously–he barely ever cracked a single percent in polling during the GOP primary.

For such an independent bid to be successful—success being defined as getting into debates and actually affecting the two major parties’ candidates, Trump and likely Clinton—any potential candidate would have to have enormous name identification already built up. They would also have to have vast resources, or access to major donors, since getting on the ballot across the country in enough states to matter as a candidate would be difficult and, without the backing of a serious party, such an independent could be even less successful than libertarian candidates.
Anyone else? Bueller, Bueller...Bueller?

Cocoa Madness

It's the chocolate scene:
According to Ozy, at parties on both sides of the Atlantic chocolate is just one of the substances an offer at day-time raves which do not serve alcohol (and illegal drugs remain, you know, illegal).

Raw chocolate or cocoa is taken in drink, pill or powdered form.

Club goers report that the positive effects of cocoa are really quite something. The "high vibe" medicine of raw cocoa provides users with a flood of happy endorphins as it enters the blood stream, and then magnesium which is a muscle relaxant. A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated that cocoa also contains flavanols which improve blood circulation and cognitive function.
Chocolate-the cause of, and the answer to, all of life's problems...

The Diversity Downward Spiral

How's that college diversity program going?
UW commissioned an independent study of its Pre-College Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence, better known as PEOPLE. The purpose of the program, which started in 1999, is to provide college preparatory help to students from non-white, low-income, and less-educated backgrounds in the hopes it will improve their chances of later attending and graduating from UW.

But the study, carried out by Education Northwest and released late last week, found if anything, PEOPLE has been counterproductive. Only 23 percent of participants who later attended UW were able to graduate in four years, and the six-year graduation rate was just 66 percent. Both figures, the report said, were lower than those for students of similar backgrounds who did not participate in PEOPLE. The report also found the graduation rates for PEOPLE participants have been declining, even as the graduation rates for low-income UW students as a whole have been rising.

The program is also only moderately successful at drawing students to UW. Only about 46 percent of program participants even end up enrolling at UW.
Who wants social justice? Apparently no one...

A Public Service?

Did Eric Snowden do the wrong thing for the right reasons?
"We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made," Holder told David Axelrod on "The Axe Files," a podcast produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

"Now I would say that doing what he did -- and the way he did it -- was inappropriate and illegal," Holder added.
Holder said Snowden jeopardized America's security interests by leaking classified information while working as a contractor for the National Security Agency in 2013.

"He harmed American interests," said Holder, who was at the helm of the Justice Department when Snowden leaked U.S. surveillance secrets. "I know there are ways in which certain of our agents were put at risk, relationships with other countries were harmed, our ability to keep the American people safe was compromised. There were all kinds of re-dos that had to be put in place as a result of what he did, and while those things were being done we were blind in certain really critical areas. So what he did was not without consequence."
So says the government's own gun runner...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Diane's Defense

She's fed up with all this email talk:
“I think this is a woman who wants a little bit of a private life,” Feinstein, who endorsed Clinton, said on “This Week.” “She wants to be able to communicate with husband, with daughter, with friends and not have somebody looking over her shoulder into her emails.”

She also stressed that from what she can see, the front-runner hasn’t broken any law.

“I read all 42 pages of the report. The conclusion of the report does not say that. What it says is that the department does not handle these electronic platform operations well and needs to do better,” Feinstein said.

Feinstein also noted that Clinton herself has acknowledged her mistake and would have done things differently a second time around.

“I mean, what do people want?” Feinstein asked, adding later, “Having said that, it is what it is and, you know, I don’t think we should make a federal case over it.”
It might literally be too late for that, I fear...

The Intolerance Of The Tolerant

Liberals, diversify yourselves:
As I see it, we are hypocritical: We welcome people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.

It’s rare for a column to inspire widespread agreement, but that one led to a consensus: Almost every liberal agreed that I was dead wrong.

“You don’t diversify with idiots,” asserted the reader comment on The Times’s website that was most recommended by readers (1,099 of them). Another: Conservatives “are narrow-minded and are sure they have the right answers.”

Finally, this one recommended by readers: “I am grossly disappointed in you for this essay, Mr. Kristof. You have spent so much time in troubled places seemingly calling out misogyny and bigotry. And yet here you are, scolding and shaming progressives for not mindlessly accepting patriarchy, misogyny, complementarianism, and hateful, hateful bigotry against the LGBTQ community into the academy.”
It's called actual liberalism-allowing for other points of view, which is something "progressives" have forgotten.

Injustice For All

What happened to the Justice Department?
Based on what’s happening inside the Obama administration’s Justice Department, it’s clear the Department of Justice is not doing justice.

These recent court findings underscore what we have known for some time: the Justice Department is focused on settling political scores, instead of upholding the Constitution and the rule of law.

In the immigration case, the conclusion by Judge Hanen that the DOJ attorneys were “unethical” and “intentionally deceptive” is symptomatic of a pattern of behavior that appears to be the rule, rather than the exception – behavior that should trigger disbarment proceedings against the attorneys involved.

As the Wall Street Journal correctly opines, “. . . this is a constitutional challenge with major consequences for the separation of powers, and the deceit must have required the participation and coordination of dozens of political appointees and career lawyers. That suggests a serious institutional failure, not mere rogue actors.

But don’t expect to hear anything about this from the Obama administration. It continues to move forward with its 3-D strategy: Delay, Distract, and Deflect – acting like the Wizard of Oz – hoping the American people will pay no attention to what’s behind the curtain.
Pay no attention to the corruption behind the curtain...

Self-Destruct Mode

the beginning of the end?
Democrats could hardly believe their good fortune last month when it became clear that Hillary Clinton was headed to a general election showdown with Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump carried so much baggage and had insulted so many voting blocs that some Clinton supporters began to imagine a landslide.

But early optimism that this would be an easy race is evaporating. In the corridors of Congress, on airplane shuttles between New York and Washington, at donor gatherings and on conference calls, anxiety is spreading through the Democratic Party that Mrs. Clinton is struggling to find her footing.

While she enjoys many demographic advantages heading into the fall, key Democrats say they are growing worried that her campaign has not determined how to combat her unpredictable, often wily Republican rival, to whom criticism seldom sticks and rules of decorum seem not to apply.
At least he's not worried about breaking the rule of law...

Saturday, May 28, 2016

And Idiocy For All

That Declaration is racist, yo:
Louisiana lawmaker Barbara Norton (D-Shreveport), argued that America’s founding document was racist during debate on a bill requiring public school students in the state to recite the Declaration of Independence daily, Fox & Friends reported Saturday.

“For the Declaration of Independence only Caucasians (were) free,” Norton, who is black, said Wednesday during the debate on the floor of the Louisiana House of Representatives. “And for you to bring a bill to require that our children will recite the Declaration of Independence I think it’s a little bit unfair.”

Rep. Valarie Hodges (R-Denham Springs) shelved the bill before lawmakers could vote on the proposal, which she sponsored. The measure would have required public school students in fourth through sixth grade to recite a passage from the Declaration of Independence.

Norton and Pat Smith (D-Baton Rouge) told Hodges that children shouldn’t have to recite words written at a time when slavery was prevalent, reading the document was used to bar blacks from voting at polling places and equality wasn’t extended to all people.

“Back in 1776 our forefathers who wrote the Declaration of Independence, I don’t believe they had any idea or that they thought for a moment that America would be as diverse as it is today,” Norton told KTAL-TV.
Diverse enough for revisionism, anyway...

WHO Cares About Zika?

The Olympics won't be moved:
With just 10 weeks before the Games are due to begin, 152 leading scientists have written an open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) saying new findings about the virus make staging the event in the city "irresponsible" and "unethical".

But the WHO rejected the warning, insisting that shifting the Olympics would "not significantly alter" the spread of the virus.

It said in a statement: "Based on current assessment, cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus.

"Brazil is one of almost 60 countries and territories which to-date report continuing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes. People continue to travel between these countries and territories for a variety of reasons.

"The best way to reduce risk of disease is to follow public health travel advice."
Like, stay away?

Friday, May 27, 2016

No Goal

He's not a fan:

Bunker Mentality

Mark Zuckerberg has a plan for the angry masses:
Zuckerberg bought four surrounding houses to his $7 million mansion and has started the process of tearing one down in order to make way for security additions detailed in a recently submitted plan to the Palo Alto planning department.

According to the plans, Zuckerberg’s panic bunker is described as having “white brick walls, dark steel doors and windows, dark gray siding and louvers where they occur above the roof line, and a dark gray standing seam metal roof,” giving the impression of a steel fortress for the Facebook CEO to hide in if necessary.

Zuckerberg’s compound already has a perimeter of black panel walls in an attempt to stop both trespassers and snoopers. The Facebook CEO was slammed on social media after criticizing Donald Trump’s Mexican border wall plans and then returning to his fortressed mansion.
He now has the ultimate safe space...

Spectacle

The better to prank you with:
Khayatan told Buzzfeed that he and his friends came up with the idea after observing one piece on display in the museum that they found puzzling.

“We stumbled upon a stuffed animal on a gray blanket and questioned if this was really impressive to some of the nearby people,” he said.

The group then decided to leave the glasses on the floor and watched as several visitors gathered around to observe the “art.”

Khayatan was surprised by both the reaction to the prank and its viral success, but said that his group generally enjoyed the museum’s exhibits.

“Some may interpret it as a joke, some might find great spiritual meaning in it. At the end of the day, I see it as a pleasure for open-minded people and imaginative minds,” he said.
Or gullible...

The Grandmother And The Computer

Apparently Grandma doesn't do computers:
The revelations came as part of a May 18 deposition released Thursday by Judicial Watch, the nonprofit government watchdog group, of Lewis A. Lukens, a veteran 27-year foreign service officer at the State Department who served as the deputy executive secretary and executive director of the Office of the Secretariat from 2008 to 2011.
From the start of her term in January 2009, State Department officials grappled with Clinton’s ignorance of the use of basic computers. In a January 24, 2009 email from Lukens to the department’s Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy, the foreign service officer said Clinton didn’t know how to use a computer for emails.
Citing a conversation Lukens had with Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, he wrote, “She says problem (sic) is HRC does not know how to use a computer to do emails — only Blackberry.” HRC refers to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Don't blame Grandma...

Secret European Wars

What is the EU Army for?
Liam Fox, the former defence secretary who served under David Cameron, told The Telegraph that the ambitions showed the EU is wedded to the “dangerous fantasy” of creating a single defence force.

Another eurosceptic Tory MP said voters were being “deceived” and “hoodwinked” about the true scale of the EU’s drive to create a single army.

The backlash came as it emerged plans to move towards the creation of a European army are being kept secret from British voters until the day after next month’s referendum.

Drawn up by the EU’s foreign policy chief, the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy foresees the formation of new European military and operational structures.

This first step towards an EU army is supported by Germany and other countries, The Times reports.
Every empire needs one...

Up The Long Ladder

The next time you hear a kid complain:
Children, between ages 6 and 15, scale a cliff about 2,625 feet high multiple times a month between their home and a school in Atuler village. The trip takes about 90-minutes.
Images from their home trek, taken by award-winning Beijing News photographer Chen Jie, went viral on Chinese media after appearing on the front page of the English-language China Daily and other newspapers on Thursday, AP reported. Now, authorities in the area said they are looking for ways to help the villagers, including building a steel staircase, according to The Guardian.
Chen, who spent three days with the villagers and made the journey with them three times, told The Guardian “if you have any kind of accident, you will fall straight into the abyss.”
It's sort of the ultimate "when I was your age" argument...

Shark Psych

They may not have charm, but they have personality:
A team of researchers from Macquarie's Department of Biological Sciences observed the behaviour of sharks from the east coast of Australia and found that individual sharks had distinct and consistent responses when exposed to an unfamiliar environment and stress.
In humans our personality defines who we are and how we are likely to respond to certain situations. If you know someone well enough, it is possible to predict how they will likely respond in given situations. That is, their behaviour tends to demonstrate repetition over time or in similar situations. It is this behavioural stability and predictability that defines personality.
"Over the past few decades, personality research has shown that nearly 200 species of animals demonstrate individual personality. Personality is no longer considered a strictly human characteristic, rather it is a characteristic deeply engrained in our evolutionary past," says lead author Evan Byrnes.
But how do you give a shark therapy?

There's Always A First Time

Dr. Heimlich finally uses his own maneuver:
Monday’s incident at the Deupree House was the first time Heimlich, who has demonstrated the maneuver countless times since inventing it in the 1970s, used it to stop someone from choking, he said.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Heimlich recounted what happened. He said Ris had been sitting next to him at his table.

“When I used it, and she recovered quickly,” he said, “it made me appreciate how wonderful it has been to be able to save all those lives.”
You're never too old...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Non Family Man

It's no longer a family matter:
O’Sullivan argues that the phrase “start a family” is “loathsome” because of its implication: children. “What this euphemism means is get pregnant — or try to get pregnant, or have a baby, or adopt,” Sullivan claims. And that’s offensive.
“Start a family devalues any couple who doesn’t happen to have kids, for whatever reason. It even sells single people short, who may not have children but do have ‘chosen’ families of friends,” he argues.
O’Sullivan also points out that the phrase has “heterosexist” roots. He notes that LGBT people now use the phrase as well (implying it might not be “heterosexist” to say “start a family”) but he still hears it “more often from straight people.”
Either way, he says, “For the sake of all the ways to be in the world, it’s time to put an end to start a family.”
Spoken like a man whose family line will end with him...

Full Erasure

No more searches for you:
For years, the OGE website featured a sortable, searchable list of over 1,000 government appointees, including their names, agencies and titles, and flagging new ones. By clicking on a name, users could easily access multiple disclosures for the appointee, including yearly financial accounting, stock ownership and a letter detailing any agreements surrounding conflicts, such as issues when the individual promises to recuse himself.
By January, the list was inexplicably removed, leaving only a search box. That action severely reduced the chance of officials’ finances being scrutinized because it became necessary to know the name of a person and have a reason to want to look up that individual, as opposed to, for example, looking for listings from an agency of interest.
Now, even that capability is gone, along with almost all references to actually seeing the disclosures. Thousands of PDFs have also been deleted, leaving dead links.
"Transparent" shouldn't mean "Invisible..."

The Voting Dead

In California, it's the zombie vote:
“CBS2 compared millions of voting records from the California Secretary of State’s office with death records from the Social Security Administration and found hundreds of so-called dead voters,” according to investigative reporter David Goldstein.

“Specifically, 265 in Southern California and a vast majority of them, 215, in Los Angeles County alone.”

The voters are genuinely dead, but others are voting in their names, often through vote-by-mail.

While it is not clear how the “so-called dead voters” voted, 86 were registered Republicans, and 146 were registered Democrats. Votes have been cast on behalf of some dead individuals for decades, over several election cycles.
The dead are always there for you...

Cotton Pickin' Fight

Tell him how you really feel:

The Magic Number Man

Donald Trump gets the nomination:
Trump was put over the top in the AP delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the national convention in July. Among them was Oklahoma GOP chairwoman Pam Pollard.

"I think he has touched a part of our electorate that doesn't like where our country is," Pollard said. "I have no problem supporting Mr. Trump."

It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination. Trump has reached 1,238. With 303 delegates at stake in five state primaries on June 7, Trump will easily pad his total, avoiding a contested convention in Cleveland.

Trump, a political neophyte who for years delivered caustic commentary on the state of the nation from the sidelines but had never run for office, fought off 16 other Republican contenders in an often ugly primary race.

Many on the right have been slow to warm to Trump, wary of his conservative bona fides. Others worry about his crass personality and the lewd comments he's made about women.

But millions of grass-roots activists, many of them outsiders to the political process, have embraced him as a plain-speaking populist.
So where does the RNC go from here? Where, indeed?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Obamas' New 'Hood

So what kind of a place are the Obamas moving to?
Obama’s new neighborhood is one of DC’s richest. According to Statistical Atlas, Kalorama sits among DC’s wealthiest twelve neighborhoods and has a median household income four times that of the city’s poorer African-American neighborhoods (such as Anacostia).

According to Washingtonian Magazine, a four-bedroom home in Kalorama goes for about $2.8 million.

“It’s hard to imagine the Obama of eight years ago deciding to forgo the potential to move to a revitalizing area, or just a slightly less hoity one, in favor of a zip code where the blood runs royal blue and the servants’ stairs are still used by the help,” the magazine said in a piece that was critical of the president’s neighborhood choice.
I'm sure he'll be a hit at all the parties...

Bursting Her Bubble

Elizabeth Warren, real estate queen:

How Much For The Island?

Who really benefits from "saving" Puerto Rico?
While precise details of Ryan’s rescue plan aren’t finalized, the legislation is expected to create a financial control board to oversee a restructuring of the territory’s massive $70 billion debt. Aside from rampant government spending in Puerto Rico, the island is suffering from decades of economic micromanagement from Washington. It is unclear whether the control board would have the necessary powers to reform the territory’s economy.

Many supporters of Ryan’s effort point out that bondholders will have to absorb a “haircut” in any restructuring deal. Under some proposals, bondholders would have to accept a 47 percent cut on the par-value of their bonds. For example, if an investor holds bonds with a face-value of $10,000, it would have to accept $5,300 for them in a restructuring.

Supporters stress this as both a means to explain opposition of some bondholders to a federal rescue package and an assurance to outsiders that “Wall Street” will take some losses in a restructuring deal.

This argument, however, obscures the fact that many hedge funds have already purchased Puerto Rico bonds at a steep discount to their face value. On just Tuesday, a host of Puerto Rico bonds were sold at prices ranging from as low as 50 percent below their face-value. These bondholders could realize an immediate gain even after a restructuring enforced haircut, because they were purchased before the new Congressionally-mandated price.
So much for the haircut. How about just a trim?

Hillary's Law Is No Law

Email rules are for little people:
Notably, current SecState John Kerry, and his predecessors Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice, cooperated with the OIG… but Hillary Clinton and her highly controversial top aides Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Huma Abedin did not. That’s a massive scandal, bordering on a national embarrassment, in its own right.

No amount of padding can soften the blow of what the OIG determined about Hillary Clinton’s uniquely furtive tenure as Secretary of State.

“At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service,” says the Inspector General report. No amount of bleating about what Condi Rice did, back when America Online and dial-up Internet were all the rage, can excuse Clinton for deliberately refusing to comply with such a basic, common-sense requirement.

The Washington Post reports that the Inspector General could find no evidence that Clinton ever obtained a review by legal counsel for her email arrangement, even though her aides have insisted the system was legally approved.
Self-approval is always easier...

McBot

The robots come to McDonald's:
Ed Rensi has said that buying highly skilled robotics is a cheaper alternative than employing people on minimum wage to work in the company's worldwide restaurants.

He warned that huge job losses are imminent, and commented that it would be 'common sense' to replace humans in the workplace.

This comes as a study into the future of human employment has predicted a surge in machine-led work such as robotic counsellors, body part makers and virtual lawyers.

The worrying research, by professor of management practice at London Business School, Lynda Gratton, and futurologist David A. Smith, suggests that humans will be replaced because robots are able to produce better results.
Robots don't whine...

Below Average Intelligence

Failure is literally not an option:
The students say that between their activism work and their heavy course load, finding success within the usual grading parameters is increasingly difficult. "A lot of us worked alongside community members in Cleveland who were protesting," Megan Bautista, a co-liaison in Oberlin's student government, said, referring to the protests surrounding the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a police officer in 2014. "But we needed to organize on campus as well — it wasn't sustainable to keep driving 40 minutes away. A lot of us started suffering academically."

The student activists' request doesn't come without precedence: In the 1970s, Oberlin adjusted its grading to accommodate student activists protesting the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings, The New Yorker reports. But current students contend that same luxury was not granted to them even though the recent Rice protests were over a police shooting that took place just 30 miles east of campus.

"You know, we're paying for a service. We're paying for our attendance here. We need to be able to get what we need in a way that we can actually consume it," student Zakiya Acey told The New Yorker. "Because I'm dealing with having been arrested on campus, or having to deal with the things that my family are going through because of larger systems — having to deal with all of that, I can't produce the work that they want me to do. But I understand the material, and I can give it to you in different ways."
It's hard out there for a slacker...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

No Woman, No Card

Hillary drops the gender card:
A research report completed by Emily’s List, which is a Democratic organization that supports female candidates for abortion rights, suggests the likely Democratic nominee should “de-emphasize the ‘first’ talk” in reference to being the first woman on top of a political party’s ticket and possibly the first woman president.

“They already know she’d be the first woman president,” the report stated, referencing donors, adding, “But we don’t get anything by reminding them.”

According to the Associated Press, speaking about being the first female president was not benefiting the candidate.

“Clinton has stopped explicitly mentioning her role in history and joking about being the “youngest woman president.” That’s by design: Those kinds of direct appeals weren’t working with voters,” reports the Associated Press.
Neither, apparently, are most others...

"Nobody Told Me About My Corruption"

Terry McAuliffe is shocked that there was crooked activity in his establishment:
“No one had outreached to us,” McAuliffe told reporters Tuesday after a bill-signing at the state arboretum. “Listen, you get leaks and things happen in the business. As I say, I’m very confident.”

CNN first reported the inquiry, saying that investigators are looking into a six-figure contribution that Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang made to McAuliffe’s campaign through his U.S. businesses.

But a federal official told The Washington Post federal investigators are looking broadly at donations to McAuliffe and at his personal finances

Attorneys for McAuliffe’s 2013 gubernatorial campaign carefully reviewed all donations, the governor said.
They just wanted to make sure they got their story straight...

The Zombie Constituency

They're always reliable:
CBS2 compared millions of voting records from the California Secretary of State’s office with death records from the Social Security Administration and found hundreds of so-called dead voters.

Specifically, 265 in Southern California and a vast majority of them, 215, in Los Angeles County alone.

The numbers come from state records that show votes were cast in that person’s name after they died. In some cases, Goldstein discovered that they voted year after year.

Across all counties, Goldstein uncovered 32 dead voters who cast ballots in eight elections apiece, including a woman who died in 1988. Records show she somehow voted in 2014, 26 years after she passed away.

It remains unclear how the dead voters voted but 86 were registered Republicans, 146 were Democrats, including Cenkner.
Just check which Democrat got the most votes...

Facebook Wars: Rogue

Blame it on the rogues?
The online giant denied that it’s shown “systematic political bias,” but admitted employees played a bigger role than previously acknowledged in determining what news is highlighted in the trending topics section.

Facebook also acknowledged that it couldn’t rule out the possibility that rogue employees unintentionally discriminated against conservative stories or even acted with malice in “isolated improper actions.”

In one instance Facebook rejected a story this year about the opening of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — the largest gathering of right-wing activists in the country. Facebook says that was likely because there were already enough stories about the Republican presidential primary. But the company said since it allowed CPAC posts in 2015, and covered other parts of the 2016 conference, there wasn’t any discrimination.

“Our investigation has revealed no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature. In fact, our analysis indicated that the rates of approval of conservative and liberal topics are virtually identical in Trending Topics,” Colin Stretch, the company’s general counsel, said in an extensive reply to Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, who is probing the allegations of bias.
Some topics are still more equal than others...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mac's Millions

It was strictly business:
Federal officials are investigating whether Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's 2013 campaign accepted illegal campaign contributions, sources familiar with the investigation confirmed Monday to Fox News.

The Democratic governor and Clinton ally is the target of a Justice Department investigation into whether he violated campaign finance laws.

The probe, first reported by CNN, involves a $120,000 donation from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang through his U.S. businesses. U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals to donate to political races.

McAuliffe's attorney, Marc Elias, said in a statement his office was not aware of the investigation, but would cooperate if contacted by federal officials.
Hillary may avoid prison time, but some of her friends might not...

The Regulations Left Behind

His work really is done:
More than $22 billion per year in new regulatory costs were imposed on Americans last year, pushing the total burden for the Obama years to exceed $100 billion annually.

That’s a dollar for every star in the galaxy, or one for every second in 32 years.

The consequences of this rampant rulemaking are widespread:

Restricted access to credit under the hundreds of rules unleashed by the Dodd–Frank financial regulation statute
Fewer health care choices and higher medical costs from the Affordable Care Act
Reduced Internet investment and innovation under the network neutrality rules dictated by the Federal Communications Commission

These are just a few of the 2,353 regulations of 2015—and there have been 20,642 since Obama took office in 2009.
My God, it's full of red tape...

Empty Gardens

Whatever happened to gardens?
Sue Biggs, director general of the society, said she believed the gap in knowledge was because Britons that age were born after it became common for both parents to work.

“The lost generation are the ones from their mid-twenties to forties,” she said, according to The Times.

“For a lot of them, their parents just didn’t teach them gardening and we lost a lot of the skills.”

Ms Biggs explained that her mother did not work and consequently had time to teach her children about plants and gardens.

Her comments came after a RHS survey, which saw 500 people from three different generations asked about their gardening habits, showed that less than 1 per cent of parents were taught how to garden in school.

This was in comparison with 55 per cent of grandparents, the 2011 research showed.
Today's growers seem to be more interested in a different kind of crop, at that...

Hating On Hillary

Why don't people like her?
Think of her worst moments: Does she exaggerate? Hmm. OK. She’s in politics. Does Trump exaggerate? Are there any Trump voters out there equally offended by his flat-out lies, or is it just the woman in the race?

Trump says that she’s an enabler of Bill Clinton. I would think anyone thinking of voting for Trump is enabling a truly mentally-ill con artist (his GOP opponents said it, not me), but let’s look at that assertion for fun.

Bill gets caught. It’s embarrassing. He has been with a bunch of other women, which isn’t exactly a Breaking News Alert for Hillary. She has even said that “Bill is a hard dog to keep on the porch.”

So she stays with him. Perhaps she actually loves him enough to forgive him. Is that enabling? If you’re in politics, everything is cynical, right? Or maybe some things are just as they appear.
In that case, Hillary is exactly what many people think of her...

Against His Own Flag

Meet the new anti-leader of Austria:
Alexander Van der Bellen – who appears to have defeated the Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer by around just 30,000 of nearly five million votes – has a track record of opposing the nation state as a concept, and his own as a reality.

In 2007, while he was leader of the Austrian Greens, the party published a picture of a dog with the Austrian flag in its mouth. The poster read: “Take your flag for your gag”, followed by the declaration that anyone who loves the country “must be sh*t”.

The flag “joke” was a play on a campaign urging dog owners to place their dog’s excrement in bags and trash cans. The Austrian greens replaced the bag with a flag of Austria in the image (right).

And while, of course, efforts were made to distance Van der Bellen from this 2007 Green Party initiative, the issue re-emerged on the run up to this weekend’s final round of presidential election voting. Far be it from a “gag” or one-off incident, critics say, this attitude against borders and nations runs deep through the Austrian Green Party which is now in charge of the presidency of the country.
Or, as things might stand now, their former country...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Paper Trail

Paper through the ages:
“As with all new inventions, some saw parchment as the way of the future and others disdained it,” Kurlansky writes. The concerns were political as much as economic. Parchment was more durable than papyrus and immune to Egyptian papyrus monopolies, but it was still relatively expensive and labor-intensive to produce. Rulers also fretted how rising literacy and access to new ideas might affect their populations. “A new way of thinking was emerging,” Kurlansky writes, and it needed to be recorded in a new way. “Something as disposable as wax, as light as leaves, as cheap as clay, and as durable as parchment was needed.”
And thus was early social media born...

King Is Gone

Shaun King quits:
While my practice and devotion to religion has waxed and waned across the past few years, I still very much believe that verse is true. When you find evil in the world, when you find corruption, when you find starvation and exploitation, when you find poverty and despair, when you find drugs, guns, and substandard housing, when you find evil — if you dig far enough, you will often discover the love of money at the root. Underneath so much of what is wrong in this country is the deep love of money and all that it brings. Sometimes the connection is obvious and undeniable – other times not so much, but like the huge glacier underneath the still water, it is there.

Right now, the Democratic Party, which I have called home my entire life, is deeply in love with money. Consequently, its leaders have supported and advanced all kinds of evil, big and small, in devotion to this love affair.
At least he seems to have seen the light. Will others follow?

Never Trump, Nevermore

Yes, they lost:

A Fake Dog's Life

They're men...dressed as dogs:
Tom has spent more than £4,000 over the past 10 years on his canine habit and he shows off his rubber costume, complete with breathing tube, but admits: 'It is quite awkward to put on, you need a lot of talc.'

So intense is Tom's craving that he has taken to sleeping in a dog training crate, lined with puppy training pads in case he has to answer the call of nature.

Tom - or Spot, as he likes to be known - was crowned Mr Puppy UK in November - pipping Minty and Oakleigh - and is filmed travelling to the finals of Mr Puppy Euro in Belgium.

On his Twitter account Spot says he is owned for by Colin, whose own Twitter profile describes him as being into 'Lycra, Gunge, Pup Play, BDSM.'

Tom tells the programme: 'Rachel thought I was becoming gay.'

He later admits: 'A tiny bit of me regrets being a puppy because I lost what I had.'
Your sanity?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

RIP Never Trump

It's over:
While a small group of Republicans has wrung its hands raw over the choice between the GOP’s nominee and Hillary Clinton, the party’s firmament – social and intellectual conservatives, the lobbyist and donor class, powerful operatives and outside groups – is increasingly getting in line behind Donald Trump.

Never mind that many of them complain about his bombastic and unpredictable political style. The thawing has slowly but surely begun – and it’s visible everywhere — from mega-donors like Foster Friess rallying Republican governors to Trump, to Mitt Romney’s allies agreeing to raise money for him, to leaders of the Never Trump movement conceding their cause is lost.

“I am slow-walking the Donald Trump candidacy. It’s a very deliberative process. You can’t beat Hillary Clinton with nothing, and the question is can we fundamentally energize conservatives quickly and can we use our joint desires to unite to find a path forward,” said Ken Blackwell, a former ambassador in the George W. Bush White House and key figure in conservative circles who formerly advised an anti-Trump super PAC. “That’s very methodically playing out.”
There's a method to Trump's supposed madness, and it started with letting the opposition eat itself.

Iran Uncovered

Women in Iran find a way to fight back against the regime that hates them:
A number of women have shared photos of themselves in public with their hair uncovered on Instagram and other social media.

The women have cut their hair short in some images and in others are dressed in clothes more typically associated with men.

The hijab is becoming an increasingly contentious issue in Iran as women step up their campaign against it and other oppressive, gendered laws. In recent months, women have been filmed walking through Tehran with their hair uncovered and activists have urged Western tourists to violate laws by refusing to wear the hijab during their visits to the Islamic republic.
....

In a photo that provoked a particularly strong reaction on Instagram, a woman took a selfie while driving in her car with short hair, without a hijab on, as a man on a scooter rode past.

In another, a girl appears with short hair and wearing a shirt and jeans. The caption next to the picture reads: “I am an Iranian girl. In order to avoid the morality police, I decided to cut my hair short and wear men's clothes so that I can freely walk in the streets in Iran.”
Meanwhile, "activists" in America argue about their "right" to use the ladies' room....

Things Don't Go Better With Socialism

Have a shortage without a smile:
Venezuela's economy is teetering on the edge of collapse with widespread food shortages and inflation forecast to surpass 700%.

Last month, Venezuela's largest food and drinks company, Empresas Polar, stopped production of beer because it was unable to obtain enough imported barley.

Coca-Cola said sugar-free drinks would be unaffected.

The move comes after a week of violent clashes between security forces and supporters of the opposition to President Nicolas Maduro.

Last week Mr Maduro imposed a 60-day state of emergency giving extra powers to police and soldiers.

But analysts say that for many Venezuelans, the state of emergency is irrelevant as their daily life now involves spending hours waiting to buy scarce food and basic goods.
Feed a Revolution, starve the people...

Sunburn City

A massive solar energy plant torches itself:
A fire at the plant Thursday morning, which may have been caused by “misaligned” mirrors used to reflect sunlight at boiler towers, broke out in the facility’s interior — literally scorching parts of the plant.

NRG Energy, the company operating the Ivanpah solar plant in southern California, was forced to shut down one of its generating towers and is investigating if mirrors, or heliostats, failed and torched a boiling tower. Now, the plant, which got $1.6 billion from the Obama administration, will only be able to generate electricity from one of its three towers.

An NRG spokesman said it’s too early to say exactly what caused the failure, but it’s likely due to these misaligned heliostats, according to Gizmodo.
What happens when your pet project literally goes up in smoke...

It's Good To Be A Union King

They're getting their share:
The AFL-CIO found the average CEO of a S&P 500 company Tuesday made 335 times more money than the average worker in 2015. Union Facts countered the analysis, highlighting that S&P 500 companies tend to be among the largest. Instead, when all CEOs are taken into account, union presidents often get paid more.

“Dozens of union bosses rake in cushy six-figure salaries on the workers’ dime,” Union Facts Executive Director Richard Berman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Many of them make more than CEOs. And they spend member dues — still mandatory in many states — on a host of luxuries, from $160 dinners and luxury wines to pricey limousine services.”

The union report found the average president of a S&P 500 company made $12.4 million last year. The report aimed at highlighting an ever growing wage gap between corporate elites and everyday workers. Union Facts found in its own analysis that the top 153 union presidents made more than the average CEO in gross annual salary.
All in a dishonest day's work...

How Much For The Cause?

The price of Social Justice:
Rep. Sean Duffy, a Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Financial Services oversight and investigations subcommittee, said Friday the officials “skimmed” off three percent from mortgage-related bank settlements. This created what he called a $500 million “slush fund” that could be steered toward favored groups.

“The first objective of a settlement is to make sure that we have victims who are made whole,” Duffy said, referring to millions of Americans who lost their homes during the meltdown that led to the Great Recession of 2009. “If you’re diverting money away from victims and sending it to third-party activist groups, you have victims who are being harmed not just once, but a second time.”

Justice officials were long able to “skim 3 percent of any settlement money into their own account to for the most part spend it the way they see fit,” Duffy told participants in the media briefing hosted by the Cause of Action Institute, a nonprofit legal watchdog group.
I guess it has to go somewhere...

Faced Off

So much for the meeting:
Only a few days after the widely publicised meeting of “top conservatives” with Mark Zuckerberg to address censorship of conservative media on Facebook, it seems the site is up to its old tricks of silencing conservatives and right-wingers.

The admin of Disdain for Plebs, a pro-Trump, alt-right Facebook page, was banned for arguing that Trump was not anti-Muslim, but anti-ISIS, and that his proposed ban on Muslims was not due to innate racism, but because “Homeland Security cannot differentiate which Muslim is radical wanting to cause harm and which is a harmless refugee.”

Facebook moderators, however, apparently considered this to be wrongthink. The post was subsequently removed, as can be seen below, and the account suspended.
No word from Glenn Beck. Maybe he's eating Cheetos with Mark Zuckerberg...

Salt Of The Earth

Too much salt? What about too little?
A global study has found that, contrary to past belief, low-salt diets may not be beneficial.

Rather, they can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death, compared with average salt consumption.

The study, published in the reputable Lancet journal, has garnered strong reaction, with one expert declaring his 'disbelief', while others are critical of the study's methods, and calling its findings into question.

The research was carried out by investigators at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.

They analyzed more than 130,000 people across 49 countries, focusing on whether the relationship between sodium (salt) intake and death, heart disease and stroke differs in people with high blood pressure compared to those with normal blood pressure.

Their findings showed that regardless of whether people have high blood pressure, low-salt intake is linked to a greater incidence of heart attacks, stroke, and deaths compared to average intake.
A little salt for thy heart's sake?

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Imaginary Attacker

The UVA case gets worse for the supposed victim:
New evidence submitted in an ongoing lawsuit against Rolling Stone suggest that the legal team of Jackie Coakley, the University of Virginia (UVA) student responsible for a massive gang rape hoax, has been withholding evidence from an ongoing lawsuit. The withheld evidence offers strong evidence of what has long been suspected: That Coakley’s infamous fake gang-rape was concocted as part of a convoluted catfishing scheme to win a boy’s affection.

The new evidence is part of the ongoing defamation lawsuit filed by UVA dean Nicole Eramo against Rolling Stone magazine. While Eramo is not suing Coakley directly, she has played a major role in the case, as Eramo’s lawyers argue Coakley is an egregious serial liar Rolling Stone should have known not to trust. As part of their suit, Eramo’s attorneys have successfully subpoenaed Coakley for all the relevant communications she made during the fall of 2012, when her alleged rape supposedly occurred.
....

The evidence in question concerns a person by the name of “Haven Monahan” who was central to Coakley’s suppose rape. Coakley claimed she was dating Monahan, a fellow UVA student, and that he was one of the perpetrators in her rape, but an investigation by police found no evidence Monahan even existed. Instead, Coakley appears to have invented him as part of a bizarre scheme intended to win the affections of Ryan Duffin, a boy she had a crush on. Until now, though, all evidence connecting Coakley to Monahan had been circumstantial.
The man who never existed will always take the fall...

Jobless Joe

Well, at least he's honest about it:
“I’ve never been gainfully employed in my life,” he said as the audience laughed. “I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do.”

Biden made his remarks during the National Urban League’s Legislative Policy Conference, vowing to work with the organization even after he left office.

“I’ve never cashed a paycheck in my entire life, you think I’m joking, I’m not,” he added.

He added that he would need “career advice” from some of the people at the conference.

Biden appeared to have a chip on his shoulder from a comment his opponent for Vice President, now-Speaker Paul Ryan once said on the campaign trail about working at McDonalds and having dreams about his future.

“I remember the last campaign … I really got offended when one of the candidates said, that ‘I worked in a McDonalds and I had dreams.’ — Like I worked there and didn’t have dreams?” Biden said, before admitting that he had never worked at McDonalds.
It's tough out there for an unemployed politician...

Boxer Versus Bernie

Barbara Boxer, victim of blue on blue violence?

Thick Heads For Censorship

Thus it begins:
“It is unacceptable that we have textbooks in our schools that spread doubt about the human causes and urgency of the crisis,” said Lincoln High School student Gaby Lemieux in board testimony. “Climate education is not a niche or a specialization, it is the minimum requirement for my generation to be successful in our changing world.”

The resolution passed Tuesday evening calls for the school district to get rid of textbooks or other materials that cast doubt on whether climate change is occurring and that the activity of human beings is responsible. The resolution also directs the superintendent and staff to develop an implementation plan for “curriculum and educational opportunities that address climate change and climate justice in all Portland Public Schools.”

Bill Bigelow, a former PPS teacher and current editor of ReThinking Schools, a magazine devoted to education issues, worked with 350PDX and other environmental groups to present the resolution.

“A lot of the text materials are kind of thick with the language of doubt, and obviously the science says otherwise,” Bigelow says, accusing the publishing industry to bowing to pressure from fossil fuels companies. “We don’t want kids in Portland learning material courtesy of the fossil fuel industry.”

In board testimony, Bigelow said PPS’ science textbooks are littered with words like might, may and could when talking about climate change.
Even though it might be true and may cause the kids to think for themselves?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Internal Removal Service

this may soon be an ex-Chief:
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is seeking Koskinen’s resignation or removal for what he calls an alleged “pattern of conduct inconsistent with the trust and confidence placed in him as an officer of the United States.”

If censured, Koskinen, who became commissioner in 2013, would also forfeit his government pension and other federal benefits.

House Republicans are upset with what they consider Koskinen's failure to cooperate with their investigation of Lois Lerner and other IRS officials who targeted for additional scrutiny conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Chaffetz on Wednesday cited a long list of grievances in calling for the censure -- including Koskinen allegedly lying under oath, allowing “key evidence” to be destroyed by failing to comply with a subpoena and not preserving backup computer tapes that contained as many as 24,000 missing Lerner emails, allegedly destroyed by a computer malfunction.

“Koskinen must be held accountable for his misconduct,” Chaffetz said in a statement. “I am committed to using every tool at my disposal to hold Mr. Koskinen responsible for his offenses.”
It would be nice if somebody were...

Thick Red Skins

Real Native Americans aren't that upset after all:
The NFL and the Redskins have been under siege for several years as activists have sought to force the team to abandon its “offensive” moniker. But this new poll shows how few people of Native American heritage really care much about the whole controversy.

The survey of 504 Native Americans found the result fairly consistent across all age groups, income brackets, and sexes. In the end, few were bothered by the name and less than a quarter thought the word was disrespectful.

The poll conducted over a five-month period asked respondents who identified as having Native American heritage the following:”The professional football team in Washington calls itself the Washington Redskins. As a Native American, do you find that name offensive, or doesn’t it bother you?”

With that question in mind, a whopping 90 percent said it did not bother them.
File this under "things that only guilty liberals care about..."

Gary Johnson Returns

Whatever happened to Gary Johnson? He's found a new friend:
Billionaire David Koch will bankroll Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson’s third party presidential run with tens of millions of dollars, according to a report.
The eight-figure sum may help Johnson win the Libertarian Party nomination and break into the mainstream.

Johnson also ran for president in 2012 as a third party candidate and won some 1.275 millon votes, 0.99 percent of the popular vote. Libertarian candidates may have cost the GOP several congressional race victories that year. (David Koch himself was the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee in 1980 when he and Ed Clark set the record for most votes for the party.)
So he has some experience at being a loser, then...

A Community Event Organizer

It was strictly business:
Kenneth Brissette oversaw tourism, sports, and entertainment in Boston for the mayor. He was arrested by federal officials for allegedly withholding city permits unless Boston Calling hired union stagehands for its music festival. U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz notes Brissette allegedly withheld permits between July and September 2014 while telling the company it had to hire union workers.

“While the company was awaiting the issuance of certain permits and approvals required for its music festival, Brissette, and at least one other city official, repeatedly advised the company that it would need to hire members of Local 11,” Ortiz said in a statement to The Boston Globe. “Three days before the music festival the company entered into a contract with Local 11.”

Ortiz declined to name the other city official who allegedly assisted Brissette. Boston Calling hired an additional eight union stagehands and a foreman as part of the contract.
All the world may be a stage, but it doesn't need a crooked union...

Try And Collect

So Iran wants damages:
During its Tuesday morning session, the Parliament cited examples such as the U.S involvement in the coup of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, America's support of Iraq in its war with Iran from 1980 to 1988, and the destruction of oil platforms in the late '80s.
This comes as a response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last month, which ruled that Iran should hand over nearly $2 billion in frozen assets to Americans affected by attacks that Iran was accused of organizing.
"(The law) provides a new standard clarifying that, if Iran owns certain assets, the victims of Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks will be permitted to execute against those assets," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority.
I'd tell them to go pound sand, but they already do...

"I Was Born A Poor Black Child In A White Child's Body"

Is this the wanna-be generation?
The experiment included 74 children and 28 adults. Children were recruited in the Midwest at museums, and adults were recruited online.The data were collected between 2014 and 2015.

Researchers showed participants pictures of children who were happy or angry and black or white, and asked them to indicate which of two adults each child would grow up to be. One adult matched the child in emotion (but not race) and the other matched the child in race (but not emotion).

Participants could have chosen a same-emotion but different race match, or a same-race but different emotion match.

White adults, white 9- to 10-year-olds and racial minority 5- to 6-year-olds selected the same-race matches, which meant they believed, for instance, that a white child would grow up to be a white adult.
And then they can start acting black, I guess. Well, it worked for Eminem...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Workers Not Needed

Fifteen or fight loses the war:
Last week, Wendy’s fast food restaurant chain announced plans to offer self-serving kiosks at its 6,000-plus locations across America, making them available to costumers by the end of 2016.

Last February, McDonald’s rolled out its “Create Your Taste” touchscreen kiosks, which allow customers to customize their own meals and burgers.

Panera Bread was among America’s first food service outlets to head down the path of lower labor costs and service efficiency that self-serving kiosks provide. Panera unveiled its “Panera 2.0” initiative in April 2014. At the time, roughly half of the company-owned stores were equipped with the new self-serve technology. The company, like its competitors, planned to expand the devices to its remaining locations by the end of 2014.

Before Panera Bread, Chili’s Grill & Bar began testing tablets that allow diners to order beverages and desserts and pay their entire bill, free from the struggle of having to flag down a server. An initial 180 tablets in a handful of Chili’s restaurants, soon ballooned into 45,000 tablets across 823 Chili’s restaurants. The restaurant’s executives called it “the largest rollout of tabletop tablets in the U.S.”

Last March, Breitbart News reported that Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurant chain CEO Andy Pudzer said he has plans to fully embrace automated machines.

“We could have a restaurant that’s focused on all-natural products and is much like an Eatsa, where you order on a kiosk, you pay with a credit or debit card, your order pops up, and you never see a person,” Pudzer said after visiting a fully automated restaurant named Eatsa.
Eat that, wage hikers...

Pronoun Trouble

New York City will now fine people for improper gender usage:
The “legal guidance” in part:

a. Intentional or repeated refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title. For example, repeatedly calling a transgender woman “him” or “Mr.” after she has made clear which pronouns and title she uses …

Covered entities may avoid violations of the NYCHRL by creating a policy of asking everyone what their preferred gender pronoun is so that no individual is singled out for such questions and by updating their systems to allow all individuals to self-identify their names and genders. They should not limit the options for identification to male and female only.

The commission has the power to FINE these “covered entities” for violations, Volokh writes in The Washington Post:

So people can basically force us — on pain of massive legal liability — to say what they want us to say, whether or not we want to endorse the political message associated with that term, and whether or not we think it’s a lie. …

We have to call people “him” and “her” even if we believe that people’s genders are determined by their biological sex and not by their self-perceptions — perceptions that, by the way, can rapidly change, for those who are “gender-fluid” — and that using terms tied to self-perception is basically a lie.
Nobody knows lying better than politicians and their lawyers...

Serving The Servers

The FBI needs to come clean:
So far, the FBI has said that the Clinton email probe is an investigation, contrary to Clinton and Co.’s claim that it is a mere “security review.” But FBI Director James Comey last week declined to say whether the investigation is a criminal one.

Investigators are looking into whether classified information was mishandled on Clinton’s server.

In response to a federal lawsuit filed by Vice News reporter Jason Leopold seeking a variety of records related to the server, the government has claimed that it must keep the documents secret because they are part of a “pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding.”
Not criminal? That's criminal...

Debbie, Go Home

Oh, my-Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is not popular these days:

Environmental Problem Agency

Jason Chaffetz is not pleased with the EPA:

Overtime Over-Regulation

What does overtime Obama-style really mean?
Many businesses like restaurants, retailers, landscapers and moving companies will have to transition staffers, many of whom are low-level managers, to hourly pay and limit the number of hours these employees work. That can increase the workload for other staffers, have everyone scrambling to get work done in fewer hours and hurt morale. Some owners say they’ll have to limit hiring, cut services or other costs. Others are turning to technology to try to get work done in less time. And some say they’ll give staffers a raise to get them out of overtime territory.
....

The new rules, which will be revised every three years, aim to increase pay for an estimated 4.2 million workers, including many who work 45, 50 or more hours in a week without extra pay. Businesses have been on notice about higher overtime costs since last summer, when the government issued proposed regulations. Companies are on the hook not just for time and a-half, but also for higher Social Security and Medicare taxes employers must pay on all of a staffer’s compensation.
At this rate, your boss may not be able to pay. What then?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Blue On Blue

The GOP may have had its problems with their delegates, but what about the Democrats? Even Rachel Maddow is not amused:

One Bullet Left

Stupidity versus safety:
Doctors in Barcelona have claimed that ‘sex roulette’ parties taking place, usually among gay men – and it echoes previous reports of such parties among wealthy people in Serbia.

The ‘thrill’ comes from knowing you might be infected, people who claim to have attended such parties say.

Dr Josep Mallolas of Hospital Clinic Barcelona says that the parties are a sign that people have ‘lost respect’ for HIV, in a report in el Periodico.

Mallolas says, ‘There is everything: sex roulette parties, or sex parties you can only attend if you already have HIV.’
But the funerals will be fabulous...

No Women Or Women Allowed

Men and women might not belong in the same bathrooms, but what about other women?
In an eight-minute video posted to Facebook last week, Aimee Toms says a woman walked up to her in the women’s restroom at one of the retail stores and told her, “You are not supposed to be here! You need to leave!” according to the New York Daily News.

Toms said the incident “really got my gears turning” as to how “amazingly ridiculous” this is becoming as an issue,” referring to the recent controversies over whether transgender people should be allowed to use whichever restroom they choose, as opposed to the one that matches their biological sex.

Toms, who has short hair, said she was wearing a baseball cap and a plain blue t-shirt when the incident allegedly occurred. She told the Daily News that she can understand why, at first glance, the woman might have mistook her as transgender.

“But I turned around and I looked at her,” she continued. “And at the sake of sounding blunt, I am not a flat chested person. I mean, I have got something going on up here.”

Toms went on to voice her opposition to so-called “bathroom laws,” like the one recently passed in North Carolina. She referred to such laws as “state-sponsored discrimination.”

“If a guy was going to commit a crime in a woman’s bathroom, this law isn’t going to invite them to do it. They’re going to do it anyway,” Toms argued.
A victim of her own opposition?

Trumping Ryan

There's a reason Donald Trump is more popular than the man who would be his replacement:
At the end of 2015, Speaker Ryan had ushered through Congress an omnibus spending bill that funded all of Obama’s policy initiatives, including ObamaCare, and broke the spending caps that had been implemented five years ago.

Speaker Ryan has also been one of the leading voices among Republicans for comprehensive immigration reform, Washington code for greatly expanding immigration into the U.S. Ryan has also emerged as a leading critic of Trump’s proposals to curtail refugee resettlement from war-torn Syria and explore a temporary ban on Muslim migration into the U.S. Ryan has also been a vocal defender of pending trade agreements negotiated by the Obama Administration under a veil of secrecy.

The NBC survey suggests that Trump’s rise isn’t merely a reaction to Ryan’s leadership of the House, but a complete takeover of the Republican party. In exit polling during the primary campaigns, around a majority of Republicans said they were “angry” at Washington and felt “betrayed” by Republican party leaders.

Republicans have acted on these feelings of betrayal, according to this survey. Ryan positioned himself as the leader of the Washington-consensus for Republicans. As a result, his vision has been eclipsed by that of Donald Trump.
Maybe because Ryan's "vision" was more focused on keeping the status quo?

The Anger Of Crowds

The people of Cuba Lite aren't happy:
Many of them used to be devoted supporters of Hugo Chavez, the late socialist president who brought his quirky brand of left-wing nationalism to the OPEC nation during a 1999-2013 presidency.
Now, in the grumbling of pre-dawn lines, there is disillusionment with Chavez's "Beautiful Revolution" and undisguised anger at his successor and self-declared "son" Nicolas Maduro.
Word that no price-fixed food - only diapers, detergent and deodorant - would be on offer this particular morning spreads quickly, further deflating and frustrating the crowd.
The day before, when food ran out, there was a riot.
"This is unbearable," says Wilson Fajardo, 56, a mechanic whose three children ate only bread for dinner the previous night. "We voted for Maduro because of a promise we made Chavez, but that promise has expired. Either they solve this problem, or we're going to have to take to the streets."
A self-made failed state will have that effect...

Don't Talk To Strangers On Capitol Hill

The Iran deal has some, shall we say, questionable history behind it. So much so that Team Obama doesn't want you to know about it:
Members of Congress had been eager to prod Mr. Rhodes over misrepresentations, but the White House had seemed skeptical, saying lawmakers should poke one of their own, Mr. Cotton, an Arkansas Republican that Mr. Obama’s aides say has been misleading.

Mr. Cotton jumped at the chance — and then the White House backed out, refusing to let Mr. Rhodes testify, citing executive privilege.

“Specifically, the appearance of a senior presidential adviser before Congress threatens the independence and autonomy of the president, as well as his ability to receive candid advice and counsel in the discharge of his constitutional duties,” W. Neil Eggleston, the White House’s chief lawyer, wrote to the House Oversight Committee on Monday.

Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz was nonplussed.

“What is mystifying to me is how readily available he made himself to the media,” the Utah Republican said Tuesday morning as he kicked off the hearing, which went ahead without Mr. Rhodes or Mr. Cotton, who Mr. Chaffetz said wasn’t needed anymore after Mr. Rhodes refused.
Why go to people who might actually ask questions about the deal?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Trans Theory

Transgenderism, a mental disorder?
“A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking,” the doctors stated. “When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such.”

The pediatricians noted that children who think they are a different gender than they are suffer from a recognized mental disorder called “gender dysphoria.”

The letter from the Obama administration treats gender dysphoria as if it were a healthy, rather than pathological, mental condition.
Sounds like a fair description of liberalism...

Pets Aren't People Too?

This won't make him popular in certain circles:
During his audience before tens of thousands of people in Saint Peter’s Square Saturday, Francis said that the Christian virtue of piety and mercy shouldn’t be confused with the compassion we feel towards our pets. It sometimes happens, he said, “that we have these feelings toward animals, and yet remain indifferent in the face of the suffering of our brothers and sisters.”

This isn’t the first time the pontiff has expressed concern that people pay more attention to animals than to human beings.

A year ago, the Pope expressed his bewilderment when he read about what people spend their money on, saying that it reflects how twisted people’s values are.

“After food, clothing and medicine,” he said, “the fourth item is cosmetics and the fifth is pets. That’s serious.”

In fact, for an “environmental pope,” Francis seems to think that people pay altogether too much attention to pets.
But what about cats and dogs, living together?

Once And For All?

Because there are still loons out there:
Paul Salo, 51, posted a video to YouTube earlier this month detailing his plans to purchase a 767 aircraft, fully loaded with fuel, and fly it at 500 miles per hour into a structure “similar” to that of one of the twin towers.

“Many people want to know more about 9-11. We are like a Mythbusters for September 11th,” Salo wrote in a description on his Indiegogo fundraising page. “Many people doubt various details of 9-11. As the world has changed our trust in government and media has declined significantly. We want to see for ourselves. We don’t need people to guide our thinking.”

“We’re going to purchase a 747 or equivalent aircraft that’s about to go out of service, we’re going to fill it full of jet fuel, we’re going to purchase a building that’s about to be torn down in the countryside,” Salo says in the video, adding, “and we’re going to crash it at 500 miles per hour into that building.”

The goal is to see what happens when the “extreme circumstances” (or alleged circumstances, according to conspiracy theorists) of 9/11 are replicated.

“If there’s just a smoking hole in the building and nothing happens, you pretty much know it was a hoax, right? Cause it’s obvious, right?” he says.
Only to the oblivious...

Bringing Back Bill

Hillary has a plan:
“My husband, who I’m going to put in charge of revitalizing the economy, cause you know he knows how to do it,” Clinton said at a rally in Kentucky on Sunday according to ABC News. “And especially in places like coal country and inner cities and other parts of our country that have really been left out.”

Clinton’s remarks are the strongest signal to date that her election will signal a third term for her husband former president Bill Clinton. Earlier this month, she told voters in Kentucky that her husband would “come out of retirement” to help her restore jobs in areas hit hard by the loss of manufacturing and coal mining.

But Bill Clinton is far from his wife at the moment, campaigning for her in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico ahead of the primary caucuses there in June.
At least that's what he told her...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Union, Not A Democracy

Boris Johnson is worried:
In a dramatic interview with the Telegraph, he warns that while bureaucrats in Brussels are using “different methods” from the Nazi dictator, they share the aim of unifying Europe under one “authority”.

But the EU’s “disastrous” failures have fuelled tensions between member states and allowed Germany to grow in power, “take over” the Italian economy and “destroy” Greece, he warns.

Mr Johnson invokes Winston Churchill’s war-time defiance, urging the British people to be “the heroes of Europe” again, set the country free and save the EU from itself by voting to leave in the referendum next month.

The former mayor of London, who is a keen classical scholar, argues that the past 2,000 years of European history have been characterised by repeated attempts to unify Europe under a single government in order to recover the continent’s lost “golden age” under the Romans.

“Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically,” he says.

“The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods."
Fascism with a smile is still fascism...

The Judge

Clarence Thomas speaks:
"At the risk of understating what is necessary to preserve liberty in our form of government, I think more and more than it depends on good citizens, discharging their daily duties in their daily obligations," Thomas said Saturday during a commencement address at Hillsdale College, a small liberal arts college in Michigan.

Thomas lamented various aspects of contemporary society, especially with regard to colleges and universities. He diagnosed what he regards as a contemporary tendency to take pride in having "grievances rather than personal conduct" and to focus on individual rights as citizens, rather than responsibilities. "Hallmarks of my youth such as patriotism and religion seem more like outliers, if not afterthoughts," Thomas said.

He added, "Do not hide your faith and your beliefs under a bushel basket, especially in this world that seems to have gone mad with political correctness."
Unfortunately the inmates seem to have taken over the proverbial asylum...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

All Bathrooms Matter

No, it's not the same as civil rights:
“There is simply no relation between the struggles that Black Americans have faced and the desire of a tiny minority group to violate the dignity and privacy of women and girls,” said Rev. Bill Owens in a statement sent to Breitbart News. “To suggest some sort of equivalence is a gross insult to all of those who marched with Dr. King and faced fire hoses and hatred in the name of equality.”

Owens reacted Friday to the Obama administration’s imposition of gender ideology on the United States. In the wake of a new North Carolina law that protects the privacy and safety of women and children in public rest rooms, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a lawsuit against North Carolina alleging the law violates the civil rights of gay and transgender individuals to use the bathrooms of their choice.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch argued that a person’s choice of “gender identity” supersedes communities’ common sense privacy rules that women use women’s bathrooms and men use men’s bathrooms.

The U.S. Department of Education also decreed Friday that schools must accommodate a tiny number of apparently gender confused children by taking single-sex bathrooms, single-sex locker rooms, and sexual privacy away from almost 55 million American students in 100,000 K-12 public schools.

Obama has also come out in support of legislation that would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Owens describes HR 3185 as “an affront to the Black community and a theft of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.”

“Black Pastors will not allow the homosexual and transgender community to rob Black Americans of their battle for civil rights!” he asserts. “If the Rev. Martin Luther King were alive to see this today, he would be angered in the same way that Jesus was angered when he turned over the tables of the money changers.”
Who will turn the tables on the gender changers?

Black Coal Days

Who's really killing coal?
President Obama came into office with a well-expressed desire to cut carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants. In a 2008 interview he explained, “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they’re gonna be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” However, he added a hopeful caveat: “If technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it. That I think is the right approach.”

Unfortunately, the president never followed through on the possibility of clean coal. And that’s a shame because the technology is there.

America’s coal fleet already utilizes 15 different mechanisms to scrub emissions. And carbon capture technology is currently in development. But the administration has simply bypassed carbon storage in favor of heavy-handed mandates to rapidly cut carbon dioxide. And so, despite his comments in the same 2008 interview, when he was “opposed to us saying at the outset here are the winners that we’re picking,” it does indeed look like the president has been hell-bent on eliminating coal from day one.
Coal will never be clean enough for Obama's tastes, or, presumably, Clinton's...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Train To Nowhere

How bad has California's high-speed rail boondoggle gotten? This bad:
California's Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco, has now come out against the project. He's probably a good bet to be elected in 2018 to succeed Brown — he passed up this year's race for the open Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer — and if so, that could put an end to it.

As McQuillen and Park make clear, the High-Speed Rail project today is nothing like what was sold to voters and approved by a 53-47 percent vote in a 2008 referendum. What's proposed now is to first build a line from San Jose to Shafter in the Central Valley, north of Bakersfield.

The fact that no airline currently offers nonstop service from either Bakersfield or Fresno, its larger neighbor to the north, to San Jose suggests that the demand for high-speed service over this stretch is severely limited.

In any case, Interstate 5, which would parallel this line almost all the way, is an excellent candidate for self-driving cars and trucks. It's straight, goes through lightly populated farmlands and could probably accommodate vehicles going 100 miles per hour if self-driving technology can reliably prevent collisions.

Another point: As McQuillen and Park point out, the High-Speed Rail folks have abandoned the original plans for dedicated track from San Jose to San Francisco and from Los Angeles to Anaheim.
If you want to build it, they won't necessarily come...

First Come, First Self Serve

Wage hikes come to Wendy's:
The fast food giant’s decision to move toward automation comes just as “Fight for $15”–a progressive protest movement, pushing minimum wage hikes–is applying pressure on state governments to raise wages for low-skilled fast food workers.

Last August, Wendy’s CFO Todd Penegor told investors that mandated wage hikes will cause his company to pursue other innovative avenues that could lead to fewer jobs for low-skill workers.

“We continue to look at initiatives and how we work to offset any impacts of future wage inflation through technology initiatives, whether that’s customer self-order kiosks, whether that’s automating more in the back of the house in the restaurant,” Penegor said, adding that “you’ll see a lot more coming on that front later this year from us.”

On the same conference call, Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick said that individual Wendy’s franchises “will likely look at the opportunity to reduce overall staff, look at the opportunity to certainly reduce hours and any other cost reduction opportunities, not just price.”
And ignore the Fifteen or Fight crowd's unrealistic demands...

It's A Smaller World

President Obama wants to think small:
“I really do believe that the world would be more secure and more prosperous if we just had more partners like our Nordic countries,” he said. “There have been times that I have said why don’t we just put all these small countries in charge for a while and they could clean things up?”

Obama welcomed leaders of the five Nordic nations to the White House today — Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland — and spoke highly of their leadership abilities.

“They have been extraordinarily important for us in shaping and maintaining an international order that is rule-based that is fair, that is just,” he said.

Obama praised the leaders for focusing on stopping climate change and economic equality as well as their commitment to pluralism and tolerance.
Except for those who disagree with them. Sometimes you need a Gulliver in a world of Lilliputians...

Rules Are Rules

Transgender indoctrination gets underway in the windy city:
According to the new guidelines:

the intentional or persistent refusal by students or school staff to respect a student’s gender identity (for example, intentionally referring to the student by a name or pronoun that does not correspond to the student’s gender identity) is a violation of these Guidelines, the Student Code of Conduct, and Comprehensive Non-Discrimination, Title IX and Sexual Harassment Policy.
CPS warns that “violations will result in appropriate consequences for offending staff and students.”

Under the guidelines, schools cannot require transgender individuals to obtain a court order or gender change before forcing the new vocabulary upon students.

The guidelines explain that the CPS system is adopting a “Gender-affirming approach,” described as “a framework used to create an environment in which transgender and gender nonconforming youth are able to live as the gendered person they identify themselves.”

“The guidelines released today will help ensure every student and adult in the CPS family can participate in an environment of complete tolerance and respect,” CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson said in a press release.
And if they don't, the nanny state will be happy to do it for them...

The Regulation Train

Who regulates the regulators? Today, US Railroads run a successful freight transportation system for shippers and consumers. Their networks ...