Sunday, July 31, 2016

Lost And Found

So that's where they went:
Stated Binney: “Now what he (Mueller) is talking about is going into the NSA database, which is shown of course in the (Edward) Snowden material released, which shows a direct access into the NSA database by the FBI and the CIA. Which there is no oversight of by the way. So that means that NSA and a number of agencies in the U.S. government also have those emails.”

“So if the FBI really wanted them they can go into that database and get them right now,” he stated of Clinton’s emails as well as DNC emails.

Asked point blank if he believed the NSA has copies of “all” of Clinton’s emails, including the deleted correspondence, Binney replied in the affirmative.

“Yes,” he responded. “That would be my point. They have them all and the FBI can get them right there.”
Maybe they can refresh Mrs. Clinton's memory now...

Friends Of Russia

Who was really more in bed with Russia?
Following his 2009 visit to Moscow, President Obama announced the creation of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state directed the American side, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov represented the Russians. The stated goal at the time: “identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people.”

The Kremlin committed $5 billion over three years to fund Skolkovo. Mrs. Clinton’s State Department worked aggressively to attract U.S. investment partners and helped the Russian State Investment Fund, Rusnano, identify American tech companies worthy of Russian investment. Rusnano, which a scientific adviser to President Vladimir Putincalled “Putin’s child,” was created in 2007 and relies entirely on Russian state funding.
It takes a collectivist...

Ghosts Of The Road

The history of highway hypnosis:
Highway hypnotism was first noted in 1921, on Riverside Drive. A New York Herald reporter happened to be walking along the parkway when he witnessed the strangest of collisions—one chauffeur rear-ended another chauffeur, and yet neither seemed fazed, as though they shared in some quiet understanding. “It was absurd,” the reporter wrote. Before the collision, the chauffeur “had sat at ease, his hands on the wheel, his gaze straight ahead. There was nothing to divert his attention.” The reporter proffered a theory: The accident was caused by “a self-induced yet uninvited malady,” which takes hold on “a long stretch of road” paradoxically among the most skilled chauffeurs, for whom driving had become “routine or second-nature.” The problem, he claimed, was the increasing tension between automated machines and autonomous people. The result was nothing short of a “modern Frankenstein monster”—mechanically it was “a thing of beauty, efficiency and comfort,” yet spiritually it failed to “synchronize the human soul with steel and iron and rubber.”
Even if you like the open road, it might not always love you back...

Where L. Ron Hubbard Lives

The cool cult comes to Taiwan:
Scientology around the world is in broad retreat, but to be in Taiwan you would never know that. In an area slightly smaller than the combined size of Delaware and Maryland, with a total population of 23.4 million—roughly the same as that of the New York metropolitan area—Taiwan has 15 Scientology missions and churches. Per capita, it’s one of the most Scientology-friendly countries on earth. The island serves as a major source of donations and new members for the church, which has capitalized on L. Ron Hubbard’s early suggestions that he was a new Buddha. In a sign of Taiwan’s importance to the church, Scientology chief David Miscavige also attended the 2013 Kaohsiung reopening of the hotel as a Scientology megachurch.

Elsewhere, including its homeland the United States, Scientology has been facing setbacks. Some of Scientology’s highest-ranking members have left the church in recent years and denounced its leaders for alleged abuses. Defectors have also leaked documents, exposing the church’s secrets to unwanted scrutiny. Celebrity members have left its ranks, including the King of Queens actress Leah Remini and the Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis.

And though the church claims millions of members, census figures say its numbers in the U.S. may have fallen to 25,000 or lower in 2008 from a peak of 55,000 in 2001. High-ranking defectors say that missions around the world have closed or consolidated and showcase properties stand empty.

By contrast, Scientology’s biggest church in Taiwan—the 108,000 square-foot ex-hotel in Kaohsiung—is bustling. When I visited one evening last fall, I saw dozens of people coming and going in the course of a few hours. Taiwanese believers are also fundraising to build the island’s second lavish megachurch in Taipei.
Every cult has to have followers somewhere...

Back To The Cave

He's the world's least loneliest man:
The 79-year-old survives without running water or electricity in his cavern high in a mountain in northern Tucuman province. When he gets hungry he picks up his rifle and goes hunting or heads on a three-hour trek down the mountain to the nearest settlement of San Pedro de Colalao. A creek is his main source of water.

"It's the purest, richest water there is," he says.

His cave mates? Eleven roosters and two goats that roam the mountainside during the day and return at night looking for shelter from pumas and other predators. The crows of the roosters wake him up at around 3 a.m. every morning and he begins the day by starting a fire.

"Fire is magical," he says, as the smoke fills his cave.
Fire good. But IMO civilization still preferable...

With A Net

It's still a long way down:

The Clinton Tapes

Hillary Clinton gets grilled over emailgate:

Gray Area

Evidence? What evidence?
Detective Dawnyell Taylor reportedly revealed in case notes that she was handed a narrative by the prosecution that she read to the grand jury. She wrote that the narrative “had several things that I found to be inconsistent with our investigation.”

“I thought the statements in the narrative were misquoted,” the detective added.

In one of the leaked text messages, Taylor also reportedly told the top investigator she didn’t feel comfortable reading the script provided to her.

“I’m fine with finding the facts but between us I believe we omitted key things from their combined statements,” Taylor said.
Fortunately, a jury saw through this. Yes, the law still matters...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Street Talk

Who has more friends on Wall Street?
For nearly six months, Clinton primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders railed against “big money” in politics and vowed to “reform” Wall Street, with an insurgent campaign that relied largely on small-dollar contributions.

“With a political campaign finance system that is corrupt and increasingly controlled by billionaires and special interests, I fear very much that … government … is beginning to perish in the United States of America,” Sanders said. “We cannot allow that to happen.”

In addition, Clinton, a former secretary of state and New York senator, has clear ties to Wall Street, with critics repeatedly pointing out that in recent years she has received $21 million in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms.
Big money makes the campaign go 'round...

The Extremist In The Mirror

Terrorism is a Muslim problem, say...other Muslims:
Intellectuals from Saudi Arabia and Jordan to Egypt and Morocco are slamming Muslim leaders and clerics for ignoring the problems of Muslim society and dismissing terror attacks with faulty platitudes such as the oft-repeated, “Not in Islam’s name.”

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors Arab-language media, published translations of explosive articles arguing that the ideologies behind terror groups such as the Islamic State stem from Islamic jurisprudence that is no longer relevant today.

Writing in the London daily Al-Hayat after the July 14 truck-ramming attack in Nice, France that claimed the lives of 84 people, a Palestinian writer and academic living in Britain, Khaled Al-Hroub, called on Muslims to acknowledge that terrorism perpetrated by Muslims is in fact inherently tied to Islam.

“Our repeated claims that the perpetrators of terrorism are nothing but ‘a gang’ that does not represent us are no longer effective,” Al-Hroub writes.
Ducking responsibility doesn't absolve you from it...

Friday, July 29, 2016

When Leakers Fight

Can't they all just get along?
On Thursday, Mr. Snowden, the former government contractor who released a trove of National Security Agency documents and now lives in exile in Russia, credited WikiLeaks, a clearinghouse for similar disclosures, with furthering the cause of transparency but also criticized its unfiltered approach.

His words prompted a swift and cutting reply from WikiLeaks, which had once come to his aid.

Mr. Snowden, it suggested, was trying to ingratiate himself with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, just days after WikiLeaks had released embarrassing emails showing that Democratic Party officials had derided the campaign of her main rival in the primary, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

WikiLeaks is often criticized for releasing documents without editing or regard for the sensitive information they may contain.
Maybe Mr. Snowden is just jealous...

Farming For The Revolution

Venezuela's neo-Communist collapse continues:
In a vaguely-worded decree, Venezuelan officials indicated that public and private sector employees could be forced to work in the country's fields for at least 60-day periods, which may be extended "if circumstances merit."
"Trying to tackle Venezuela's severe food shortages by forcing people to work the fields is like trying to fix a broken leg with a band aid," Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas' Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.
President Nicolas Maduro is using his executive powers to declare a state of economic emergency. By using a decree, he can legally circumvent Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly -- the Congress -- which is staunchly against all of Maduro's actions.
Emptying the cities will be next-assuming everyone in them hasn't already starved to death...

The Tiny Economy

So, how would Hillary fix this?
Gross domestic product rose at a 1.2 percent annualized rate after a 0.8 percent advance the prior quarter, Commerce Department figures showed Friday in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 2.5 percent second-quarter increase.
The report raises the risk to the outlook at a time Federal Reserve policy makers are looking for sustained improvement. While consumers were resilient last quarter, businesses were cautious -- cutting back on investment and aggressively reducing stockpiles amid weak global markets, heightened uncertainty and the lingering drag from a stronger dollar.
“We’re just muddling through," said Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in New York, who had forecast a 1 percent gain in second-quarter GDP. “Consumer spending looks good, but the problem is that the rest of the economy is soft. The economy remains vulnerable to downside risks. The Fed is right to be cautious."
The non-recovery muddles along...

The Long Jump

The ultimate Daredevil?
Over the years Aikins has taught skydiving, taught others to teach skydiving, even participated in world-record stacking events, those exercises where skydivers line up atop one another as they fly their open chutes across the sky.

He tells of having his chute tangle with others on a couple of those efforts and having to come down under his reserve parachute. In all, he's used his reserve 30 times, not a bad number for 18,000 jumps.

This time, though, he won't have any parachute.

"If I wasn't nervous I would be stupid," the compact, muscular athlete says with a grin as he sits under a canopy near Saturday's drop zone.

"We're talking about jumping without a parachute, and I take that very seriously. It's not a joke," he adds.
Don't look down...

Le Bomb

She set him up the bomb?
On Tuesday, French and Swiss police initiated a major scale up of security at Geneva’s Cointrin airport, that included extra security checkpoints, ID checks and the blockage of several entrance points after receiving an anonymous bomb threat. Hours of tightened security caused massive traffic delays around the airport, according to Reuters. But by late Tuesday, authorities were able to trace the number that placed the bomb threat to Annecy, France, a town about 28 miles from Geneva.

Police raided the address and, upon discovering the woman at home, determined the bomb threat to be a false alarm.

But the woman, who has been married for 22 years, admitted in a French court on Thursday that she called in the threat to keep her husband from flying to see his alleged mistress. She said she “did not think about the consequences when she phoned in a false bomb threat," according to news agency Swiss Info.
Cheaters beware...

The Not So Great Coronation

A look at Hillary's strange night:
Clinton gave a mediocre speech obsessed with Donald Trump.

“He wants to divide us from the rest of the world,” she said, pushing globalism against Trump’s nationalism.

“We will not ban a religion,” she said. She loudly ranted at awkward times in her speech, like when she was reciting the job titles of teachers and doctors and police officers (etc. etc.) who can fix the country in addition to Trump, who said that “I alone can fix it.”

She kept getting thrown off by delegates chanting “Hillary! Hillary!” out of desperation because Bernie delegates kept interrupting her speech.
Along with her on-stage problems, something seemed to be missing. But maybe she'll remember her past after she staggers to the finish line...

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Targets Of Political Opportunity

The IRS knew:
According to the documents, Paz and other IRS officials were notified in the late spring and summer of 2011 that agents in the Cincinnati branch were flagging Tea Party and conservative groups for additional scrutiny in their applications for nonprofit status.

In the spring of 2012, official Nancy Marks was tasked with investigating how applications were being processed and to find any problems.

The documents show she told then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller on May 3, 2012 that “Cincinnati was categorizing cases based on name and ideology, not just activity.”

Miller responded by throwing "his pencil across the room" and saying, "Oh sh-t," according to the FBI summaries of interviews with officials.
Deeper in it than ever...


They're not going quietly:
They’re operating in part under the Twitter hashtag #DemExit, one that Green Party candidate Jill Stein has deftly been using as she openly appeals to Sanders supporters to join her team outside the Philly convention arena.

“DNC wants your support for lying, undermining, and insulting you. They'll lock you out if you don't comply. #DemExit,” Stein tweeted.

Stein has proven to be a chief agitator, as Bernie Sanders himself rejoins the fold and urges Democrats to get behind Clinton’s campaign. Even the celebrities are split, with liberal Hollywood stalwarts like Susan Sarandon standing with the Sanders crowd this week.

Clinton is set to deliver her nomination acceptance speech Thursday night. Before she does, a group called Black Men for Bernie is hosting a de-registration event outside City Hall. From there, another #DemExit de-registration event is slated for mid-afternoon outside the Wells Fargo Arena, the convention site.
Maybe they're just following his lead...


Could Marilyn Mosby lose her job?
Banzhaf stated:

She had a case which, at the very beginning, she couldn’t reasonably believe. Yet there are now three decisions by the judge throwing out each and every one of her legal theories, saying with regard to most of the key facts she has to prove. It wasn’t that there was little evidence. He said, “No evidence. No evidence. No evidence.” Yet she continued to do it. And it was only the pressure of, I think, the threat of disbarment–two complaints against her; one is mine, and the mounting lawsuits which finally forced her to say, “Okay, I’m not going to keep digging this hole any better. I’m going to get out, and I’m now going to claim that I won because all of these victories have occurred.”

He said, “What do you do when you have a runaway prosecutor? You can’t rely upon the press and public pressure. Obviously, it didn’t work in Baltimore.”
Neither did her agenda...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Foundation Of Guilt

The IRS finally investigates the Clinton Foundation:
The request to investigate the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation on charges of “public corruption” was made in a July 15 letter by 64 House Republicans to the IRS, FBI and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They charged the foundation is “lawless.”

The initiative is being led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican who serves as the vice chairwoman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which oversees FTC. The FTC regulates public charities alongside the IRS.

The lawmakers charged the Clinton Foundation is a “lawless ‘pay-to-play’ enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years and should be investigated.”
With the Clintons, corruption is always a family affair...

The Twittering Class

Twitter supports free speech, sort of:
We are not and never will be a platform that shows people only part of what’s happening or part of what’s being said. We are the place for news and social commentary. And at its best, the nature of our platform empowers people to reach across divides, and to build connections, to share ideas and to challenge accepted norms.

As part of that, we hope – and we also recognize it’s a high hope – to elevate civil discourse. And I emphasize civil discourse there. Abuse is not part of civil discourse. It shuts down conversation. It prevents us from understanding each other. Freedom of expression means little if we allow voices to be silenced because of fear of harassment if they speak up. No one deserves to be the target of abuse online, and it has no place on Twitter.
Then why did they allow it against a gay conservative?

Hinkley Goes Home?

He's a free lunatic:
Hinckley, 61, no longer poses a danger to himself or others and will be freed to live full-time with his mother in Williamsburg, Va., effective as soon as Aug. 5subject to dozens of temporary treatment and monitoring conditions, U.S. District Judge Paul L Friedman of Washington wrote.

If Hinckley adheres to all restrictions, they could begin to be phased out after 12 to 18 months, removing him from court control for the first time since he was confined to St. Elizabeth's Hospital after the shooting, according to the order.
We'll see if his treatment took or not...

Bill Makes The Case

Bill Clinton tells the tale:
The former president's tenth address to a Democratic convention was by far his most personal, a 42-minute tour through wedding proposals and Halloween parties, the deaths of parents and movie marathons.

Perhaps their worst moments - the Monica Lewinsky scandal, impeachment and legal battles that followed - were conspicuously omitted though hinted at.

"She'll never quit on you," he said. "She never quit on me."

Instead, Bill Clinton cast himself as a passenger in his wife's life, reshaping the story of much of their decades in politics.
B.S.'ing their way through life...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Planned Freedom

Sometimes telling the truth wins:
David Daleiden and his associate Sandra Merritt were indicted for their roles in the release of the videos in January. Misdemeanor charges against Daleiden were dismissed last month.

But Texas District Judge Brock Thomas dismissed the last charge — tampering with government records, a felony — Fox News reported. Prosecutors alleged Daleiden and Merritt used fake driver’s licenses while dealing with Planned Parenthood, the network said, adding that if they had been convicted of the felony charge, each could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

The controversial videos released last summer depicted Planned Parenthood employees appearing to negotiate the price of aborted fetal body parts “per specimen.” Profiting from the sale of human body parts — including those of the unborn — is a felony in the United States. Spokespersons for Planned Parenthood have denied illegal conduct.

In a statement, Daleiden said that the dismissal of the “bogus, politically motivated charges” against them is “a resounding vindication of the First Amendment rights of all citizen journalists, and also a clear warning to any of Planned Parenthood’s political cronies who would attack whistleblowers to protect Planned Parenthood from scrutiny.”
Real justice trumps social justice...

Dirty Blue Money

What was that about big money in politics?
The current federal election campaign laws require strict separation between a political party and a candidate. The party cannot 1) coordinate with candidates and 2) use party soft money funds raised for “party building activities,” such as efforts to “get-out-the-vote” and generic “issue advertising” to promote a particular candidate.

The WikiLeaks disclosures suggest a deep “coordination” between the DNC and the Clinton campaign, but there is no direct evidence in the initial dump of hacked emails that there were any “coordinated expenditures” between the DNC and Clinton. It is possible, however, that the use of DNC staff man-hours and equipment to aid one candidate in the context of a primary election could have violated the soft-money expenditure ban.

The DNC and Clinton campaign may also be at risk for violating the campaign finance laws of the 50 states. In the 27 states with Republican Attorneys Generals, the DNC and Clinton probably cannot benefit from political loyalties — but most state campaign finance laws are very lax.
As are Hillary's ethics...

The End Of Bernie Mania

They said they wanted a revolution:
Outside, a rowdy protest of several hundred Sanders fans — and their communist fellow-travelers — chanted, “Hell no! DNC! We won’t vote for Hillary!”

Inside, Sanders delegates booed anyone who told them to support the presumptive nominee.

And yet, by the end of the evening, Sanders had thrown in the towel completely — live, on national television.

“This is the end of the road,” one Sanders delegate said to another, glumly, as the Vermont senator wound to a close. Some clung to their resistance, and vowed to keep up the protests every day of the convention — but even they knew that it would merely be symbolic, now.

In fact, it had been symbolic since last October, when Sanders said: “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

It was too late to start caring about them now. What was it all for? Who knows.
Much ado about noise?

The Zombie Vote

She already has Tim Kaine, but it's not like they'd actually know:

Food Kings

Why don't Democrats like poor people?
The Democratic Party tossed out leftover food after a welcome party for delegates at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Sunday, leaving at least one delegate fuming.

“I was a hungry child. Went to bed hungry many a night,” Timothy Baumgardner, a Washington state delegate, told The Post. “I fed people from the garbage.”

He said he asked the caterer whether the food could be donated to the poor, but was told that wasn’t allowed. “Sad,” Baumgardner said.
Let them eat platitudes...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Who Watches The Watchdogs?

Getting the media to actually do their job:
“The media’s love affair with Hillary will reach its apex this week in Philadelphia,” MRC president Brent Bozell said. “They have been in the tank for her since the beginning. We can safely predict that at the Democratic National Convention they will need smelling salts to recover from their fainting spells.”

According to Bozell, the media has been overly protective of Clinton amid myriad scandals and, at best, half-truths ranging from the attacks in Benghazi to her use of a private email server and questionable donations to the Clinton Foundation.

“It’s very simple: Cover Clinton like you’re covering Trump. Nothing more, nothing less,” Bozell said.
But then where would Hillary get her propaganda?

Erdogan's Law

The Second Ottoman Empire is off and running:
Lawyers from the Ankara Bar Association's human rights commission say members have reported the alleged abuses after trying to meet with clients. Other lawyers and human rights organizations have made similar allegations.

In addition to verbal and physical abuse, clients complained about a lack of food and that their hands have been bound for days, said Sercan Aran, deputy head of the commission. The mistreatment is "systematic," he said, while lawyers have been prevented from documenting physical signs of beatings and abuse.

The Turkish government strongly denies the allegations, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed in interviews that due process is being followed.

"We are doing everything according to the law," said a Turkish official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in line with government protocol. He said that the law is being upheld and that he "categorically denies" that prisoners have been abused in custody.
You can't make a dictatorship without breaking a few rights...

Sir Internet And The Dragon

In China, Internet reports on you:
Government rules prohibiting the publication of "self-edited" news and information by websites that were not set up by news entities have been widely ignored, with many websites running robust reporting operations.
Websites run by Sina Corp, Inc, Netease Inc, Phoenix New Media Ltd's iFeng and others had engaged in "actions that seriously violated regulations and had a completely vile effect", state media reported, quoting the Beijing municipal arm of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).
The sites were ordered to "rectify" their wrongdoing and slapped with administrative fines, it said.
Who do they think they are-Twitter and Facebook?

Off To A Rough Start

This might be Hillary's coronation, but things are already not going well:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Sign Of The Thumbs

Letting her fingers do the talking?
The hand signal is listed on the illuminati hand signs conspiracy theory website illuminatiRex and described as a 'Merkel-Raute'.

The 'Merkel-Raute' is a reverse variation of the first illuminati 'Roc Sign' - roughly in the shape of a diamond or pyramid - used by celebrities such as actors, Denzel Washington, Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise

Users of the 'Merkel-Raute', as it has become known due to the German's frequent use, have also included other European historical figures including Pope John Paul II and Adolf Hitler.

'The pyramid is an important Illuminati symbol showing their few ruling the many on the bottom type power structure,' the illuminatiRex website states.

'The symbol becomes more powerful when the sign is done over an eye, representing the All-Seeing eye in a capstone floating over an unfinished pyramid.'

'The pyramid sign is seen by many researchers to be THE sign of the Illuminati.'
Sometimes a pair of hands is just a pair of hands...

If You Like Your Scam

Unfortunately, the real thing isn't much better:
Esformes is charged with conspiring with Arnaldo Carmouze, 56, a Palmetto Bay physician’s assistant, and Odette Barcha, 49, a former longtime director of outreach programs at Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami. Authorities would not confirm whether that was the local hospital at the center of the alleged scheme.

Esformes is also accused of referring his own network of patients to other convicted healthcare fraud offenders, who swindled Medicare for mental health, prescription drug and home healthcare services and ultimately helped federal investigators target the Miami Beach business executive. According to the indictment, those kickbacks were “disguised” as payments for escort services for Esformes as well as related travel and hotel expenses.

Justice Department officials — along with South Florida’s U.S. attorney, the FBI and Health and Human Services agents — described the Esformes case as one for the record books in the nation’s long-standing battle against healthcare fraud. They noted that while his healthcare network billed $1 billion for fraudulent medical services, Medicare paid Esformes’ skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities about $500 million since 2009.

“This is the largest single criminal healthcare fraud case ever brought against individuals by the Department of Justice,” the criminal division’s assistant attorney general, Leslie R. Caldwell, said Friday during a news conference at the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami.
Actually, I think Obamacare got there first...

The Rehab Dead

Well, even the dead might need treatment:
According to The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), Lewis and Trice started running their fraudulent drug program in 2011—and by 2015, they’d allegedly defrauded the state of $60,000. Some of the drug rehab “clients’ listed by Lewis and Trice told police they’d never received treatment from the organization. Others would have been hard to reach in prison. Still others were dead.
The last publicly available tax form for the Mount Hopewell Community Development Corporation, the entity through which the addiction rehabilitation program was operated, dates from two years ago. (The form was marked as received by the IRS in 2015, despite covering the 2013 calendar year.)
In it, Lewis notes that since 2010, the Mount Hopewell Community Development Corporation has received $61,200 in grants for the drug recovery program. It received $14,400 a year from 2010 to 2012, and $18,000 in 2013.
Aside from rehab, group members are also eligible to vote...

The War On Coolants

John Kerry says the greater danger comes from...air conditioners:

True Blue History

How quickly they forget:

Revenge Of The Leakers

Debbie won't do Philly:
A Democratic insider told CNN that Schultz has been dropped from the lineup to “keep the peace” within the party, amid calls from Sanders’ campaign manager for someone at the DNC to be “held accountable” for the anti-Sanders collusion seen in the leaked emails.

That collusion included the leak of a Sanders campaign document to the Wall Street Journal as well as active attempts to harm Sanders’ image with Southern Baptist Democrats by drawing attention to his atheism.

The DNC, and Wasserman Schultz in particular, came under heavy criticism from Sanders during the primaries, during which he accused them of showing favouritism to Hillary Clinton. In this, the WikiLeaks revelations have wholly vindicated him.

According to CNN, Democrat insiders hope that the absence of Schultz will prevent “chaos on the convention floor” from angry Sanders supporters.
They should have thought about that before bad-mouthing them...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bring Out Your Selfies

If you can't trust paramedics:
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office says in a news release that 24-year old Kayla Renee Dubois was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of interception and disclosure of oral communications. Authorities have issued arrest warrants for 33-year old Christopher Wimmer on seven counts of the same charge. The release says Wimmer also faces a misdemeanor battery charge for holding open the eyelid of a sedated patient.

The release says the selfies included 41 patients, three of whom apparently agreed to the photos.

The sheriff’s office began investigating in May after complaints from three other emergency workers. Dubois was fired a week later, and Wimmer resigned the same day.
Patients aren't just there for their entertainment...

The Art Of Hoarding

One person's trash really is another's art:
With more than 4,000 objects from over two dozen collections, “The Keeper” is a sprawling, four-floor exhibit devoted to the art of collecting things, examining not just the method behind the keeper’s madness but the keeper himself.
What does the process of curating and cataloguing objects reveal about the individual collector? What do our collections say about love, loss, the passage of time, and the unpredictable variety of life?
These questions came to mind during the hour or so I spent looking at over 3,000 photographs—almost uniformly black and white—of people with teddy bears.
Collected by Canadian contemporary artist Ydessa Hendeles, most of the photographs hang on walls as part of a floor-to-ceiling installation that looks like a library, with spiral staircases leading up to a mezzanine. Visitors who want to survey every image will likely end up with their cheeks to the floor, scanning photos for harder-to-spot teddy bears as if scanning the pages of “Where’s Waldo.”
It's sort of like Pokemon for art snobs...

Weekend At Jack's

He was just resting:
The restaurant, Hungry Jack’s, issued a statement Saturday confirming the incident at a restaurant near Perth and expressing readiness to cooperate with the investigation. The body of the man, who has not been identified, was discovered Monday morning. He had entered the restaurant on Friday before entering the bathroom, where he was found dead in a stall, according to local media. A police spokesman said the death was not suspicious but police were looking into the circumstances of how the body went unnoticed for so long.
The dining dead?

More Emails, More Problems

Wiki Leaks does it again:
On its web page, Wikileaks said the new cache of emails came from the accounts of "seven key figures in the DNC" and warned that the release was "part one of our new Hillary Leaks series" - an indication that more material might be published soon. Among the officials whose emails were made public were DNC spokesman Luis Miranda, national finance director Jordon Kaplan and finance chief Scott Comer, but other DNC and media figures and even some White House officials communicated with them between January 2015 and last May, Wikileaks said.

The emails include several stinging denunciations of Sanders and his organization before and after the DNC briefly shut off his campaign's access to the party's key list of likely Democratic voters.

The DNC temporarily curtailed Sanders' access to the list in December 2015 because the organization accused the insurgent campaign of illegally tapping into confidential voter information compiled by the Clinton campaign. The Sanders campaign briefly sued the DNC but the party reached an accord with Sanders and the suit was dropped in April.
Team Clinton seems to have a history of email troubles...

Run For The Border

The exodus continues:
No exact figures are available, but the number of Venezuelans fleeing to Colombia is already "quite large," and Colombia should prepare itself for more, Gottwald told AFP in an interview.
"The avalanche is probably going to increase, with or without the reopening of the border," he said.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro closed the countries' border in August 2015 after an attack on an army patrol. He blamed right-wing paramilitaries from Colombia.
The leftist leader briefly reopened it last weekend to allow Venezuelans to stock up on food, medicine and other basic supplies amid severe shortages in Venezuela.
Will the last one to leave Venezuela please turn out the-oh, wait...

The City Of Brotherly Corruption

Hillary will feel right at home:
Philadelphia is no stranger to political malfeasance.

It's where congressmen and other elected officials were caught taking illicit cash payments in the Abscam sting operation in the 1970s. During that investigation, then-Rep. Michael "Ozzie" Myers was caught on tape, saying: "Money talks in this business and bull---- walks."

A state where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were produced is now so rife with political scandal that it scored an F grade in the 2015 State Integrity Investigation.

Over the past decade, former state Sen. Vince Fumo, a Democrat, went to prison for defrauding the state Senate, a South Philadelphia nonprofit and a seaport museum of millions of dollars. Former City Councilman Rick Mariano got prison time for taking bribes.

Jubelier said that it may seem like political infractions are on the rise, but that's only because "everyone's a journalist. All the coverage and the videos and the bloggers." Still, he added, "when you have someone as high up as Chaka Fattah, that levels a boom."
Somebody has to keep them semi-honest...

Friday, July 22, 2016

Listening In

For those in need of a temporary husband:
"For me, the service is a hobby more than anything," says Nishimoto, who first came up with the concept four years ago and who now has a growing network of some 60 men across Japan.

"The initial idea was to improve the image of guys my age, people who might not be spring chickens anymore and not taken so seriously."

And while the 48-year-old professional fashion coordinator is used to renting himself out, he insists conversation is all he offers to between 30 and 40 clients a month, roughly 70 percent of whom are women.

"The people who rent me are just asking me to keep them company for an hour or two, mainly to listen to them," he tells AFP between sessions, giving the example of a woman in her 80s who would book him every week for a walk around the local park.

"I almost became like her son," he says.
No experience necessary...

Clap Off

Hold your applause:
Teachers will be the ones to initiate the silent cheer which is promoted as "a great way to expend children's energy and reduce fidgeting."

The newsletter goes on to explain that "this practice has been adopted to respect members of our school community who are sensitive to noise."

A spokesperson for the New South Wales Education Department points out that the new policy was instituted to "...minimise discomfort to a teacher with a hearing disability that causes acute sensitivity to loud noise."

He also says that the practice will be observed during occasional assemblies, but at other school events, there are no restrictions on clapping and cheering.
Jazz hands, anyone?

Trumping The Media

Naturally, they're not fans:
From Hollyweird:
As much as Hollywood hates Donald Trump, it’s amazing how many of them actually watched the nominee’s highly anticipated RNC speech last night. What’s less amazing were the typical cries of doom and gloom on their Twitter feeds in the wake of Trump’s remarks.

A lot of celebrities had a real problem with how long the speech, which clocked in at over an hour, lasted. Many took to Twitter to vent their frustration. Seinfeld and Veep actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus demanded to know "Is this speech going to end soon? I've had it. "Tremendous problem" #RNCinCLE."
And now the rest. MSNBC:
WILLIE GEIST: Donald Trump painted a picture of an almost dystopian, Mad Max America last night where there’s shoot outs in our streets, where there is terrorism arriving in our stores, where the bridges and roads are crumbling, where the schools have all gone to hell.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I think a lot of people feel that way and certainly the conversations we have had on this show over the past two years have been talking about the decline of America, the decline of our infrastructure.
Maybe because it's true? Finally, the NYT:
With dark imagery and an almost angry tone, Mr. Trump portrayed the United States as a diminished and even humiliated nation, and offered himself as an all-powerful savior who could resurrect the country’s standing in the eyes of both enemies and law-abiding Americans.

“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” an ominous-sounding Mr. Trump said, standing against a backdrop of American flags. “The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.”
The media can't seem to grasp this, either...

And Now, Germany

Not another one:
Munich police spokeswoman Claudia Kuenzel told The Associated Press there had been "several dead and wounded" in the shooting at Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall. She could not provide exact numbers.

"The shooter or shooters are still on the run" either in or around the mall, she said.

The Bavarian Interior Ministry confirmed at least one dead and multiple people hurt.

Munich police spokesman Thomas Baumann told German news agency dpa the attack started at a fast food restaurant in the mall shortly before 6 p.m. local time. He said police didn't know whether they were dealing with one or multiple shooters.

Public broadcaster Bayrischer Rundfunk reported that shops in the center of Munich had closed with customers inside. Munich police urged people to avoid public places. "The situation is still unclear," they said on Twitter.
The EU is being destroyed from without, while disintegrating from within...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Vegan Vamping

What's happened to Italian cuisine?
Mayor Chiara Appendino of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement is advocating for plant-based foods as an alternative to the authentic meat dishes that have inspired cooking in northern Italy for centuries.

Appendino, 32, who was sworn into office last month, making her the 20th mayor of Turin, pledged this week that the promotion of a vegetarian and vegan diets will be a “priority” in her administration in an unprecedented move in Italian government.

“The promotion of vegan and vegetarian diets is a fundamental act in safeguarding our environment, the health of our citizens and the welfare of our animals,” the mayor’s five-year political manifesto stated, according to The Local.
This being the EU, she may get away with it...

An Ill Wind Out Of Ankara

Erdogan gets his dictatorship:
Parliament voted 346-115 to approve the national state of emergency, which will give Erdogan the authority to extend detention times for suspects and issue decrees that have the force of law without parliamentary approval, among other powers.

Erdogan, who had been accused of autocratic conduct even before this week's crackdown on alleged opponents, says the state of emergency will counter threats to Turkish democracy.

Even without the emergency measures, his government has already imposed a crackdown that has included mass arrests, mass firings and the closure of hundreds of schools. Erdogan said the new powers would allow the government to rid the military of the "virus" of subversion, blaming the coup attempt on a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The cleric has strong denied any knowledge of the attempted coup.
You can't have an excuse for a new regime without a scapegoat...

Blogging In The Years: 1976

He may have lost the primary battle, but Ronald Reagan is supporting the Republican nominee to win the war:

Shadow Money

Who's paying Bill?
Government watchdogs say the practice is troubling from a transparency perspective, because it obscures the actual source of Clinton’s hefty payments. While the Free Beacon was able to track down information on the likely funders of several of these speeches, at least 30 of them remain a mystery.

Spokespersons for the Clinton campaign and Bill Clinton’s office declined to provide the names of any actual payment sources when contacted for this article.

Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, said the way the Clintons have handled these paid speaking engagements “suggests secrecy and non-transparency.”

“While those paying the exorbitant fees have included special interests with lobbying efforts to influence federal policy, even more troubling is the fact that the true financial sponsors are sometimes hidden through cut-out middlemen or anonymous donors,” said Boehm. “The tens of millions in speaking fees going directly to the Clintons should be completely transparent. Anything less suggests unethical conduct.”

Senate ethics rules also frown on the practice.

“For payments which are received by an individual through a speaker’s bureau, list the actual payer as the source,” says a Senate advisory on federal disclosure filings.
Like everything else with the Clintons, ethics are for little people...

Cruz Crash And Burn

So, this happened:
On terror and trade, on education and employment, on immigration and the Internet, Cruz spelled out stark disagreements between Democrats and Republicans — focusing, interestingly, on Obama and not his would-be successor.

“Freedom means free speech, and not politically correct safe spaces,” Cruz added, nothing that the Bill of Rights applied equally to all, including “gay or straight.”

On abortion, Cruz said: “Freedom means that human life is precious and must be protected.” And he reminded the gathering: “Our party was founded to defeat slavery … Together, we passed the Civil Rights Act, and together we fought to eliminate Jim Crow laws. That’s our collective legacy — although the media will never share it with you.”

And then, Cruz delivered those fateful words: “Vote your conscience.”

The boos and interruptions never ceased after that, with chants of “We want Trump!”

He concluded with a call to unity: “The case we have to make to the American people … is to commit to each of them that we will defend freedom and be faithful to the Constitution.”

But Cruz left the stage having divided the party.
Burning his bridges behind him? Or just burying any chance at running again in 2020?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fatwa Them All

No Pokemon hunting allowed:
The kingdom’s Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta said in its latest announcement on its website that it has republished a 2001 edict on the game after “receiving many questions” on it from the public.

The 15-year-old fatwa said the game was too much like gambling and that the concept of its characters appeared to be based on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which is rejected by Islam.

It also said most cards on the game carried symbols of “deviant” religions and organisations, such as “international Zionism” and Israel, Christian crosses, Freemasonry, and symbols from Japan’s native Shinto religion.

The Pokemon game was un-Islamic as it contains polytheism, said the edict, without specifically referring to the popular smartphone app.
Saudis will have to get lost in the Sahara on their own...

Save Our Species

Is space the place for our DNA?
As it stands, experts neither have the technological capability or the knowledge of how to mass-transfer the human race to a nearby habitable planet – with the closest being 14 light years away (one light year is equal to 5,878,499,810,000 miles).

This is why some are looking at the possibility of using the Universe as a sort of ‘cosmic cloud’ to back up data of the human race for when we do meet our inevitable end.

A project called Voices of Humanity would send data, messages and even DNA into space using laser propelled spacecrafts where “Your data will live forever in the universe. You will be immortalized,” according to the KickStarter page.
In space, no one can hear you splice...

The Wolves Of Hollywood

The dirty money trail:
Federal officials announced that the Department filed a motion to seize the film’s rights after an investigation revealed that the film was financed by a Malaysian government fund established to spur local economic development through foreign direct investment in the beleaguered Asian nation. The DOJ wants to recover more than $1 billion and various assets allegedly obtained through the corruption.

The account, 1Malaysia Development Bhd.(1MDB), was established by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and administered by his stepson, Riza Aziz, who is the co-founder and chairman of Red Granite Pictures — the entertainment outfit that produced “Wolf of Wall Street.”

DOJ officials say that more than $100 million originating with 1MDB were laundered through shell corporations and offshore accounts in the British Virgin Islands with the assistance of a shady financier in Abu Dhabi named Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny.
Now, if they would only do the same thing to other crooks like the Clinton Foundation...

Bucking In Baltimore

Not all Democrats are on board:
“We cannot continue to try to lead the state in these fiscal times that we have in the city of Baltimore,” Young said, according to the Baltimore Business Journal. “I think this is the fairest way to do it.”

Baltimore wouldn’t be the first city to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. Seattle became the first in the country to enact the policy in June 2014. New York and California both became the first and only states Apr. 4 to raise their minimum wages to $15 an hour. The Baltimore measure is designed to phase in the increase over the next few years.

“We just can’t do $15 … I think even $11.50 is a stretch, but I think it’s a compromise,” Young continued. “Anything other than that, I will not be voting for this bill.”
If you can't afford it, they won't come...

Food, Glorious Food

So that's what it looks like:
Tearful Venezuelans had gone weeks without basic food items like milk, flour and toilet paper. It's a sad but common part of daily life today in crisis-ridden Venezuela, a country that has the world's largest proven reserves of oil. Colombian officials estimate that about 100,000 Venezuelans crossed the border.
Venezuela is expected to dive deeper into the abyss this year, according to new projections published Wednesday by the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF forecasts Venezuela's economy will shrink 10% this year, worse than its previous estimate of 8%. It also estimates that inflation in Venezuela will catapult to 700% this year, up from the earlier guess of about 480%.
Starve a population, feed an exodus...

Wanted-A Coup

Trump is apparently so fascist, he needs to be replaced with...a military dictatorship:
Kirchick cites the example of the recent failed coup in Turkey as a source of inspiration:

Americans viewing the recent failed coup attempt in Turkey as some exotic foreign news story — the latest, violent yet hardly unusual political development to occur in a region constantly beset by turmoil — should pause to consider that the prospect of similar instability would not be unfathomable in this country if Donald Trump were to win the presidency.

Kirchick goes on to argue that Trump is a nascent authoritarian, whose illegal military orders — such as torturing terrorists — the military would be required to ignore, and then resist by force.

Curiously, Kirchick cannot fathom Hillary Clinton doing anything illegal with the military (despite her mis-handling of classified national security information, or her evident pride in the Libya war, which Congress never approved):

Needless to say, such dystopian situations are unimaginable under a President Hillary Clinton, who, whatever her faults, would never contemplate ordering a bombing run or — heaven forbid — a nuclear strike on a country just because its leader slighted her small hands at a summit.

Kirchick concludes that unless voters stop Trump from becoming president, a violent coup may be the only solution: “Trump is not only patently unfit to be president, but a danger to America and the world. Voters must stop him before the military has to.”
This is how democracy dies-with calls for a revolt by the media...

The Exile

Milo has been banned from Twitter:
The justification for the suspension is currently unknown, although it could be as a result of Milo’s run-in with Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones on the site. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey publicly reached out to Jones late on Monday evening after she complained about “abuse” on the platform. Milo was suspended despite the fact that he sent no abusive tweets to the actress.

BuzzFeed gleefully reported that the suspension is permanent, citing a statement from Twitter promising a clampdown on “targeted abuse.” Milo has also received a message from Twitter confirming that that his ban is permanent, copied below.

The statement also promises to tackle “hateful” conduct, in the wake of widespread media condemnation of racist tweets sent to Leslie Jones. However, it remains to be seen whether Twitter will take any action against Jones’ own racially hateful tweets, seen below and archived here.
Real bigots are more equal than nonexistent ones...

The Price Of Losing

They weren't worth it:
Bush, who ended his presidential campaign in February after a poor showing in South Carolina, had only three delegates vote for him at the Republicans' nominating convention Tuesday. His campaign and super PAC spent $46 million for each delegate, according to The Washington Post's Dave Weigel.
He was a favorite going into the primary season and had substantial financial backing from his family network, but he was unable to muster the enthusiasm his campaign needed.

Donald Trump's attacks on Bush as “low-energy” resonated with GOP voters and hurt the former Florida governor, who struggled to compete with the business mogul.

Bush has said he won't vote for either Trump or presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and has no plans to attend the Republican convention.
Sulking is its own reward...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

For Want Of A Sandwich

What hath Chick-fil-A wrought?
Chick-fil-A axed the popular, spicy breaded sandwich for the first addition to its breakfast menu in six years—the new Egg White Grill, which features grilled chicken breast, grilled egg whites, and American cheese served on a multigrain English muffin.

But is chicken breast really a breakfast meat? David Farmer, vice president of menu strategy and development, says the new menu item is part of the company’s effort to offer more healthy items.

“At Chick-fil-A, we’re constantly looking for innovative and delicious ways to meet the needs of our guests,” said Farmer.

“We understand the importance of breakfast and the impact it has throughout the day. We tested the Egg White Grill in select markets across the country, including our busiest restaurants in Manhattan, and our customers gave us great feedback. The Egg White Grill is the perfect solution for our health-conscious customers looking for a grab-and-go breakfast.”
Too bad the customers don't see it that way...

You Gotta Carry That Weight

Now you know:
There are roughly 28 grams in an ounce, meaning an ounce of weed should yield about 88 joints. The New York Times points out the question has been answered before, and those previous estimates have been higher: This 2011 study found the average to be 0.66 grams per joint (while noting blunts used even more, at 0.97 grams).

A government report went with 0.43 grams, and a press release notes the Office of National Drug Control Policy uses 0.5 grams as its baseline.

Two interesting sidenotes from the Times: First, the estimate isn't perfect—a point that researchers Greg Ridgeway and Beau Kilmer concede—because the data was sourced from a single group, those who have been arrested.

It also notes that weight is just one part of the equation: How much THC is in the pot used to make the joint matters, too, in terms of understanding the health implications for users—and today's pot is much stronger than 1995's.
But what is the rate of munchies to weed?

Crooked Number Two

One of Hillary Clinton's potential VP picks may be in trouble:
The seven-page report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded Castro violated the Hatch Act, which bars most Executive Branch officials from expressing their political views while on official business. According to the report, he crossed the line during an April 4 interview that mostly was about HUD’s plans to increase Internet access to children and other agency-related issues.

Castro, though, responded to a question during the Yahoo News interview about Clinton’s presidential bid.

“Taking off my HUD hat for a second and speaking individually,” Castro said, while going on to call Clinton the most experienced 2016 candidate and criticizing Republicans. BuzzFeed News first reported on the OSC findings.

“Castro’s statements during the interview impermissibly mixed his personal political views with official agency business, despite his efforts to clarify that some answers were being given in his personal capacity,” states the OSC report, which will now be referred to President Obama, who will decide on what if any action to take.
If he gets picked? Most likely, none...

Good Governance Grief

How to run a nonprofit long con:
The “good governance” movement in the nonprofit field has been gathering strength for two decades, but it clearly has yet to reach the Clinton Foundation. Most foundation boards have on average 15 members, according to a 2015 survey by Boardsource, a national organization working to strengthen nonprofit board leadership.

Good governance groups also encourage well-managed non-profits to create dedicated oversight committees for audits, donations, governance, executive compensation and whistle-blower policy. The Clinton Foundation has none of those committees, according to its Internal Revenue Service 990 tax filings.

Term-limits are also recommended for board members to encourage fresh thinking in non-profit management. Seventy-one percent of all public foundations today have term limits, according to Boardsource.

Most of the Clinton Foundation’s board members have occupied the same board seats for most of the controversial non-profit’s life.
Cronies have to work somewhere...

Copy This

Who copied whom?
Michelle Obama: “…the world as it should be.” In 2008, the aspiring First Lady was accused by bloggers of lifting lines for her DNC speech from Saul Alinsky. Alinsky wrote, in Rules for Radicals (emphasis added): “The standards of judgment must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be.” Michelle Obama said: “And Barack stood up that day, and he spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about ‘the world as it is‘ and ‘the world as it should be.'” (Perhaps Mr. Obama who left out the attribution.)

The Trump campaign denied it borrowed lines from Michelle Obama, including: “that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond…”.

Senior communications adviser Jason Miller said: “In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
There are worse things than being less unoriginal than a Democrat...

Monday, July 18, 2016

Glorious Real Cheese

It's the real cheese revival:
Changing consumer concerns has led to more discriminatory tastes in cheese. America is experiencing a collective nostalgia for the cheeses of yesteryear—less processed, farmstead brands that hail from smaller-scale, pasture-based farms rather than the corporate behemoths of industrialized agriculture that currently dominate the market.

The popularity of books like Fast Food Nation and Omnivore’s Dilemma and documentary films like Food Inc. and Cowspiracy have raised public awareness about the environmental impact of large-scale animal agriculture, contributing to a backlash against the CAFO method of dairy farming. It has also fostered a second wave of interest in organic and local food production, where cheese reigns supreme and looks and tastes nothing like the hyper-processed cheeses of my childhood.

In 2012, 825 licensed, artisan cheese producers in the U.S. provided more than 300 varieties of cheese—more than doubling the figures from six years before. Sales in the natural and specialty cheese markets are expected to reach $19 billion in 2018. And small cheesemaking facilities accounted for 46 percent of all cheesemaking establishments, up five percent since 2007. Meanwhile, the USDA reports that consumption of processed cheeses has declined by four percent. Real cheese is back.
All well and good, but who decides what's good for you?

The Sanders Frankenstein

What hath Bernie Sanders wrought?
The surprise walk-out of protesters from a conference of US progressives in St Louis this weekend forced the cancellation of its panel on “translating millennial votes into power”. But here was more vivid testimony. Despite Sanders urging his supporters to back Hillary Clinton in an official endorsement a few days earlier, the energy once captured by his campaign – and beyond it, in the Black Lives Matter protests – appeared already to be slipping out of the hands of Democrats.

Hands Up United – a group born of anti-police violence protests in nearby Ferguson – brought both the Netroots convention and surrounding freeways to a standstill, accusing the largely white delegates of becoming “occupiers” in the “disunited States of America”. “Mic check, mic check,” they chanted, in an echo of the Occupy movement that used voices in the street to amplify its message.

Across the corridor in another unofficial Netroots spin-off, a different group of activists were plotting to do the same on a bigger stage in Philadelphia, where the Democratic party is holding its national convention in a week’s time. Democracy Spring is planning non-violent civil disobedience on a daily basis, scheduling sit-ins and mass arrests until the party promises to scrap the system of super-delegates that so enraged Sanders supporters during the long and bitter nomination contest.
Sanders may be gone, but his supporters are trying hard to make sure that they're not forgotten...

The Russians Aren't Coming?

It's doping all the way down?
WADA issued a seven-point list of requests after it published a report which confirmed claims of state-backed Russian cheating at the Sochi Olympics and beyond.

WADA also wants Russian government officials to be denied access to international competitions, including the upcoming Olympics. The anti-doping watchdog also calls on world governing bodies of sports implicated in the inquiry report to consider action against Russia.

CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Travis Tygart described the accusations as "a mind-blowing level of corruption within both Russian sport and government."

The practice lasted at least four years, covered 28 Olympic sports and the Paralympics and involved at least 312 positive tests that went unreported at the behest of higher-ups in the country's sports ministry, according to a 97-page report issued Monday.
Dopes are everywhere these days...

Secret Union

Where do unions get their members? Do they even know?
Minnesota lawmakers allowed the union to organize all home health care workers as a single bargaining unit by passing a law dictating they are state employees simply because they collect Medicaid funds. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton tried to do the same in 2011 through an executive order, but it failed in the courts. The Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) is assisting with the effort to decertify.

“They declared these home health care workers to be public employees by an act of legislation and its only in regards to collective bargaining,” CWF Executive Director Matt Patterson told TheDCNF. “Its a perversion of Democracy and we suspect there are a lot of these PCAs that don’t even realize they are unionized.”

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt with a similar situation out of Illinois during the 2014 case Harris v. Quinn. The SEIU has been unable to collect mandatory dues because of the case, but critics warn it has only posed a minor setback. The home health care workers are still subjected to the labor agreement and it’s often a difficult logistical mess of paperwork to get out of paying dues.

“We believe a lot of PCAs who are paying dues don’t realize they don’t have to,” Patterson continued. “We don’t know what they have been told by the union. Obviously the government and state is not going to tell them all the facts. The legislature and governor are totally in the pocket of the union. So we are going to make sure they know they don’t have to pay dues.”
Knowing is half the battle. The other half is being able to do something about it...


Um, okay:
Artist Spencer Tunick stands on a ladder holding the camera focused on the women, wiping sweat off his brow. He shouts, “We love you all! This is beautiful,” as he takes photos for his art installation, “Everything She Says Means Everything…”
Since Tunick put out his casting call for the event in May, 1,800 women signed up to participate… Some are here to send a message to Donald Trump and others just wanted to take the opportunity to proudly show their bodies publicly…
At 6:53 a.m., Tunick gathers the crowd. “The Republican party has given an excuse to hate. We have daughters and we want them to grow up in a society where they have equal rights for women,” he says. “The sun is coming up. Now, when I say three, let’s get naked!”
Well, they wanted to show him...

Harping On Warming

It's a conspiracy, you know:
“The US has developed a type of weapon called High Frequency Active Auroral Research Programme (HAARP). It strikes the upper atmosphere with a focussed and steerable electromagnetic beam,” Anil Madhav Dave, India’s Environmental Minister, told Business Standard Monday. “HAARP is an advanced model of a super powerful ionospheric heater which may cause the globe to warm and have global warming effect.”
Dave was replying to a question on whether the government is aware of HAARP.
HAARP is a regular target of conspiracy theorists, who claim that it was capable of modifying weather, disable satellites and control people’s brains. Conspiracy theorists have blamed HAARP for causing earthquakes, droughts, floods, the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 the 2003 destruction of the space shuttle Columbia and Hurricane Sandy.
The alien overlords know, but they won't say anything...

Presidential Lies Matter

Obama tells the police it's their fault:
"There are legitimate issues that have been raised, and there’s data and evidence to back up the concerns that are being expressed by these protesters.

"And if police organizations and departments acknowledge that there’s a problem and there’s an issue, then that, too, is going to contribute to real solutions. And, as I said yesterday, that is what’s going to ultimately help make the job of being a cop a lot safer. It is in the interest of police officers that their communities trust them and that the kind of rancor and suspicion that exists right now is alleviated."
Trust goes both ways, and right now it seems that the President doesn't have a whole lot of it...

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Economic Forecast Updates

All unexpectedly, of course:
The White House now forecasts that gross domestic product will rise 1.9% this year and 2.5% in 2017, down from estimates of 2.6% for both years in its February forecast. It reduced long-run growth forecasts, for years after 2018, to 2.2% from 2.3%.

Gross domestic product grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.1% in the first quarter, the weakest pace in a year, due largely to a slowdown in business investment.

Meantime, the White House reduced its forecasts of government borrowing costs, which trimmed projected budget deficits beginning next year. It now projects deficits to fall to 2.3% of GDP in 2017, from 2.6% in the February forecast, and to 1.7% in 2018, from 2.3%.

The deficit is expected to rise to 3.3% of GDP this year, from 2.5% last year, a projection that was unchanged in Friday’s report. The increase largely reflects policy changes resulting from last fall’s bipartisan budget and tax agreements.
Revising the economy downward has become a familiar trend...

Unfit For Duty?

How do you know if someone is too old to serve?
After all, history shows presidents have been adept at hiding frailty: Woodrow Wilson's secret stroke; Franklin D. Roosevelt's severe heart disease during his final campaign; Grover Cleveland even sneaked onto a boat for cancer surgery.

"What have we done to help independently vet those who would lead the most powerful nation on earth? Nothing," bioethicists Arthur Caplan of New York University Langone Medical Center and Jonathan Moreno of the University of Pennsylvania wrote in the Chicago Tribune.

Others say candidates' health habits offer important clues.

"It's not a matter about what illnesses you bring but what's your endurance going to be like, and how do you prepare your body to endure a lot of stress," said Dr. James Dewar, vice chairman of family medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Wisdom can come with age, but so can a lot of other problems...

The Last Surfers

Where have all the surfers gone?
Two decades after Yahoo’s founding — the equivalent of several lifetimes in Silicon Valley — Elvis still serenades the surfers at the headquarters here in Sunnyvale, and Yahoo is at a crossroads. The company, long since eclipsed by Google and Facebook, now commands just a tiny fraction of people’s attention and advertisers’ dollars.

Yahoo is auctioning itself off. Bids are due on Monday, the same day the chief executive, Marissa Mayer, is expected to report yet another quarter of dismal financial results.

Most, but not all, of the surfers have scattered across Silicon Valley and the world. The careers of some followed the arc of the tech world’s obsessions and idiosyncrasies over the last 20 years. Others took their stock windfalls and dropped out to pursue other passions. Taken together, the surfers, about 10 of whom are still in the building, embody the technological and cultural changes that transformed the valley and the world — and left Yahoo in the dust.
The wave rolled on without them...

The End Of Neckwear

RIP the tie:
Neckties are increasingly absent on fashion runways, even those of classic brands such as Giorgio Armani; on red carpets, many style-minded celebrities prefer to pair tailoring with tees and open-neck shirts; even President Obama has famously turned the Oval Office into a tie-optional zone.
Is the necktie finally dead?

“Ties are restrictive and uncomfortable,” says Fasser. “I also think the whole Silicon Valley culturalization has actually made it more of a power move to dress down at work, as in, ‘I can wear whatever I want.’ ”
Dress for casual success?

When The Memory Doesn't Remain

What's it like, when you don't know what you just did?
I had never heard of transient global amnesia, a rare condition in which you are suddenly unable to recall recent events. Its causes are unknown. Unlike other triggers of memory loss, like a stroke or epileptic seizures, the condition is considered harmless, and an episode does not last long.

“We don’t understand why it happens,” a neurologist would later tell me. “There are a million theories.”

Studies show that during episodes, blood decreases to the brain’s temporal lobe, which we use to understand speech, and to the hippocampus, which processes long-term memory.

Competing theories have linked the amnesia to a history of migraines, psychiatric disease and vascular diseases. I have none of these, but I am in the target-age range for an episode, 40 to 80.

It may be largely a medical curiosity. But taking a hiatus from my conscious waking life — while I was fully awake — tipped me into a bout of existential questioning. This is the strangest thing I have ever experienced, I remember thinking.
Life can be strange, but not forgettable...

California Dimming

What happens when the lights go out?
Pacific Gas and Electric will shutter its two Diablo Canyon nuclear units in 2024 and 2025, respectively, when their current operating licenses are set to expire or need to be renewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Despite the NRC indicating that these units are well run and among the best in the country, and the utility indicating that they are able to withstand earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding, Pacific Gas and Electric will shutter them and replace them with renewable energy and efficiency programs.

Diablo Canyon produces 9 percent of California’s electricity and 20 percent of Pacific Gas and Electric’s power, which is a lot of power to be replaced by solar and wind units that are not controllable by the system operator. While Pacific Gas and Electric expects its demand to be less when it shutters these units because of California’s law to double energy efficiency by 2030, it is unclear that consumers will demand less even though rooftop solar systems are booming in California, and decreasing demand for the company’s power.
Will the last one to leave California please turn out the-oh, wait...

The Martian Code Chronicles

What is Mars saying?
In a statement, NASA explained that the dunes are influenced by local Martian topography. “The shape and orientation of dunes can usually tell us about wind direction, but in this image, the dune-forms are very complex, so it’s difficult to know the wind direction,” it said.

The space agency notes that a circular depression on Mars, which is probably an old impact crater, has limited the amount of sand available for dune formation and also influenced local winds. “As a result, the dunes here form distinct dots and dashes,” it said. “The ‘dashes’ are linear dunes formed by bi-directional winds, which are not traveling parallel to the dune.”

Winds hitting the dunes at right angles from two directions funnel the surface material into the linear shapes seen in the image. “The smaller “dots” (called “barchanoid dunes”) occur where there is some interruption to the process forming those linear dunes,” NASA explained. “This process is not well understood at present and is one motivation for HiRISE to image this area.”
Maybe Mars is just telling us to stay off its lawn...

Got Brains?

This is literally your brain on drugs:
Local media, citing police, reported that when Long's aunt asked him about the brain, Long admitted that it was a human organ and that he and his friend, Robbie Lee Zoller, would soak marijuana in the preserving formaldehyde.

Authorities say the high from smoking so-called "wet" marijuana is intense and dangerous, often causing hallucinations.

Authorities said that Long told his relative that he and Zoller had even given the brain a name: "Freddy".

Police believe the brain was a stolen teaching specimen.

"At this point now we're just trying to figure out where it came from," Pennsylvania State Trooper Robert Hicks told Fox 43. "We're hoping that if anyone is missing a human specimen brain to bring it to our attention and maybe we can return it to its rightful owner."
Is anyone out there missing a slightly used brain?

The Purge

As expected:
NTV television said that 34 generals of various grades had been detained so far. They include senior figures like Erdal Ozturk, commander of the third army and commander of the Malatya-based second army Adem Huduti.

The authorities have been carrying out raids at military bases across Turkey in search of those suspected of supporting the coup, which has claimed at least 265 lives.

In an operation early Sunday, at the garrison in the western town of Denizli, its commander Ozhan Ozbakir was detained along with 51 other soldiers, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

The crackdown is however not restricted to the military and Anadolu said that prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for a total of 2,745 judges and prosecutors across Turkey.

It was not clear how many had been detained so far but the private Dogan news agency said 44 judges and prosecutors were detained overnight in the central city of Konya and 92 in the southeastern city of Gaziantep.
I'm sure they'll all get fair show trials...

Ghost Busted

If you film it, they won't always come:
Given that whether or not the film will be released in China, a huge film market, has yet to be decided, the success of the 80s reboot is far from certain. Given the fan reaction to the film even before it’s release, with it becoming the most disliked video of all time on YouTube, Ghostbusters toys being moved to the clearance aisle before the film was even released and the accusatory and sexist marketing that was used to promote the film, the signs for Paul Feig’s feminist flick aren’t good.
An audience that isn't there, for a remake nobody asked for...

Getting Together

Jon Stewart is coming to town:
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Stewart will join Colbert on his program during its live coverage this week and will appear on the show Monday. It was not immediately clear how often or in what role Stewart would participate on the CBS flagship late-night program.

As Breitbart News previously reported, Colbert is set for two full weeks of live coverage beginning with the Republican National Convention this week and continuing with the Democratic convention in Philadelphia later this month.

Colbert will remain at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York while Late Show correspondents will be on the ground in Cleveland and in Philadelphia. Special guests planned for the two-week live coverage reportedly include Sen. Elizabeth Warren, actors Keegan-Michael Key and Jeff Daniels, fellow late-night host John Oliver and former Congressman Anthony Weiner.

The move to add Stewart to the proceedings could be an attempt to shake The Late Show out of its months-long ratings slump, which hit a new low in June with Colbert’s lowest-rated week ever.
You can't cure unfunny...

All Words Matter

Because he never says anything divisive:
“As of right now, we don’t know the motive of the killer. We don’t know whether the killer set out to target police officers or whether he gunned them down as they responded to a call,” the president said at the White House today.

He also appeared to caution Republicans using the incident for political attacks, after both he and Hillary Clinton signaled sympathy with anti-police protest groups like Black Lives Matter.

“We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric. We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda,” he said. “We need to temper our words and open our hearts, all of us.”

Obama argued that attacks against police officers were not new, but part of an ongoing struggle.

“We have our divisions, and they are not new,” he said. “Around the clock news cycles and social media sometimes amplify these divisions.”
With all due respect, Mister President, you're not helping either...

Exodus From The Revolution

Venezuelans go on the move:
Colombia's foreign ministry said in a statement that at least 35,000 Venezuelans entered Colombia on Saturday, and their entry took place "in an orderly manner and under conditions of security." The border was opened for roughly eight hours and will be opened again on Sunday, it said. Roughly 35,000 people also crossed during last week's 12-hour border opening.

Saturday's opening took businesses in the Colombian border city of Cucuta by surprise since it had been announced that the border would opened on Sunday.

Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said "we have made a great effort to have sufficient supplies" for the Venezuelans expected to stream across the border on Saturday and Sunday.

Gov. Jose Vielma of the Venezuelan border state of Tachira said that President Nicolas Maduro supported the opening, ordering that people "not be disturbed" when they crossed into Colombia.
He can't feed them, so somebody has to...

The Self-Made Coup

Erdogan seems to have found a conveinent scapegoat:
“There is a slight chance, there is a possibility that it could be a staged coup,” Gulen told reporters, speaking through a translator at his Pennsylvania compound. “It could be meant for court accusations and associations.”

Referring to Erdogan’s regime, Gulen said “It appears that they have no tolerance for any movement, any group, any organization that is not under their total control.”

Still, Gulen condemned the coup plot and said democracy in Turkey could not be achieved using military action.

Erdogan blamed Gulen for involvement in the coup attempt and called on the Obama administration to extradite the cleric.

“Today, after this coup attempt, I’m once again calling on you, I’m saying: Extradite this man in Pennsylvania to Turkey now,” Erdogan said in televised remarks appealing directly to Obama.
Every show trial needs a star witness...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Common Core Collapses

Common Core comes undone:
In 2010, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) indicated they had gathered 26 and 32 member states, respectively. But, by the start of 2016, 38 states had left one or both consortia, reports pro-Common Core Education Next.

According to the report:

State participation in the consortia declined just as implementation of the new standards and tests was set to begin. The pace of withdrawals quickened over time, particularly for PARCC, which five or six states left every year between 2013 and 2015. As of May 2016, just six states planned to implement the PARCC-designed assessment in the 2016-17 academic year. SBAC also faced attrition but fared better and still retains 14 states that plan to use the full test…

Only three states have officially repealed the Common Core standards, though at least two – Indiana and South Carolina – simply “rebranded” the standards, or – save for a few tweaks – essentially gave the same standards a different name, a step opposed by grassroots groups of parents.
The name might change, but the government-supported goal remains the same...

Real Time Gets Real

Bill Maher has an actual argument with Frank Luntz:

Looking For A Crisis

Don't worry-the ACLU is ready for President Trump:
Titled “The Trump Memos,” the analysis encompasses the New York billionaire’s proposals on immigration, torture, libel, abortion, and government surveillance. It effectively serves as a blueprint for the legal arguments the ACLU would marshall when challenging Trump’s initiatives if elected president.

“Donald Trump’s proposed policies, if carried out, would trigger a constitutional crisis,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero wrote Wednesday in the Washington Post. “By our reckoning, a Trump administration would violate the First, Fourth, Fifth and Eighth amendments if it tried to implement his most controversial plans.”

“But we need to be prepared because the very freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution could come under a sustained attack by a President Trump in the Oval Office,” he continued. “If that day comes, make no mistake: We’ll be seeing him in court.”
Would they do the same for a President Hillary?

Erdogan's Revenge

The coup seems to have failed:
The prime minister said the government has detained 2,839 military members. And according to Gen. Umit Dundar, who was appointed acting Chief of General Staff, 104 coup plotters have been killed.

According to the Ministry of Interior, 29 colonels and five generals were relieved of their duties.

About 200 unarmed soldiers left Turkey's military headquarters and surrendered to police, Anadolu Agency reported.

Yildirim described the attempted coup as a "dark stain for Turkish democracy" and blamed it on the "parallel terrorist organization" -- a term used by authorities to describe the movement of Pennsylvania-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile.
So the coup may be over, but did Erdogan still lose?

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Winning Ticket

Mike Pence, the man Trump needed?
“This is a great day for conservatism and great news for conservatives,” said Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union. “Governor Mike Pence is an excellent pick to be the Vice President.”

“He is a proven leader who has worked with grassroots conservatives to advance policies and solutions that strengthen our economy, our national defense, and our families,” Schlapp added. “His Reagan-esque approach, as a great communicator with the courage of his convictions, sends the signal to conservatives across America that Donald Trump is eager to bring Americans together to reject Hillary Clinton’s plans to continue President Obama’s radical agenda.”
The vice presidency can be wort something, after all...

Erdogan Out?

His days may be numbered:
A military statement read on Turkish state TV announced that martial law had been imposed across the country and a curfew had been declared. The statement added that Turkey was now being run by a "peace council" and that a new constitution would be drawn up soon.

Earlier, the Dogan news agency published a statement from the military saying the coup was carried out "to reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms, to ensure that the rule of law once again reigns in the country, for the law and order to be reinstated."

The military statement went on to say that "all international agreements and commitments will remain. We pledge that good relations with all world countries will continue."
A secular revolt in that part of the world can't be a bad thing...

No Hackers Near Her

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