Monday, October 31, 2016

No Hope, All Hype

Whatever happened to hope and change?
For many, who will wait hours in line to hear him speak, Obama’s 2008 election represented one of the most hopeful moments in American politics in decades. He was not only the first African American president but a relative newcomer to national politics with a remarkable life story who promised to bridge the country’s historic divides.

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” Obama said that election night in Chicago’s Grant Park.

Today those words sound as if they came from a different era. Obama will close out his presidency at what is perhaps the least hopeful moment in American politics in decades, a time when the two major-party candidates have historically low approval ratings and are locked in a bitter and coarse election contest. For much of this year, Obama, like the people who pack his rallies, has puzzled over what happened.
He promised, but never delivered...

The Listening Party

Where the hip listeners hang out:
Following the lead of a cult party series created by the D.J. and impresario David Mancuso in 1970s New York, the organizers prioritize audio quality above all else. With Mr. Mancuso’s blessing, they began running events in London in 2003, starting a slow-burn trend that has spread around this city: Numerous listening clubs now invite people to experience recorded music played through hi-fi rigs that most humble audiophiles can only dream about.

The newest is Spiritland, a cafe-bar in central London that claims to offer “the best sound system in the world” — an imposing array that dominates the room like a shrine in a temple. Two sets of bulky yet elegant speakers finished in vintage wood sit on either side of an Italian amplifier with colorful valves and tubes that glow orange when the lights are low.

“I always wanted to go somewhere which could be all about musical appreciation, to hear someone dig really deeply into their record collection and explore their private passions,” said Paul Noble, Spiritland’s creative director. After two successful years with a pop-up venture at a restaurant in East London, his team found a permanent home and invested heavily in a customized system, designed by the British company Living Voice. It is valued at just under a half-million dollars.
For your listening pleasure...

Blogging In The Years: 1971

How M.C. Escher does his thing:

The Hand Of Marlowe

Who wrote with Will?
Editors said the discoveries showed that rather than being rivals that influenced each other, Shakespeare and Marlowe actually worked with each other on the plays, thought to have been written in 1591. “A lot of scholars have suspected this since the 18th century but until very recently we didn’t have any way to prove it that was reliable,” general editor Gary Taylor of Florida State University told AFP.
Taylor said “big data” computerized databases built up in the last 20 years meant experts could conduct precise comparisons of different authors. Researchers used a range of methods including establishing the sociolect, the way people spoke at the time, and the idiolect, or speech habits of an individual. They identified words and phrases that were more heavily used by one writer of the time than their contemporaries.
“The whole team is confident that Marlowe wrote some of the scenes in each of these three plays. They had to have both been working on these plays,” said Taylor. The level of collaboration with Marlowe, whose works include “Doctor Faustus” and “The Jew of Malta”, has thrilled scholars.
So maybe Bacon didn't write Shakespeare, but somebody else helped...

Climb Every Rock

The tough joy of climbing:
I was determined to recover. But to do what? My feelings were complicated by the recent disappearance of my friend Kyle Dempster and his climbing partner Scott Adamson. Kyle and I had climbed together in the Karakoram Mountains of Pakistan, where I had never felt more alive. In those same mountains, they were last spotted high up on the hauntingly spectacular north face of Ogre II when a storm hit. No trace of them has been found.

Was I still willing to accept the risks I once took? Did I still have the drive?

My birthday arrived two weeks after my surgery. I celebrated alone with a hike. I began walking at dusk, when the last flickering light cast soft hues upon the golden leaves of autumn. Soon I noticed my smile, one that seemed to have left me an eternity ago. The moon was nearly full, guiding me without my headlamp. After an hour, I reached an alpine lake at 10,000 feet in a glacier-carved gorge, surrounded by walls, spires and memories. How long had it been since I could walk even half this far?
The walk of life gives everyone their own path...

ET Goes Mainstream

Consider it the flip side of the X Files:
Created by playwright David Jenkins, the series follows veteran New York City journalist Ozzie Graham (Wyatt Cenac), who is assigned an article about the support group.

The work brings him to the small town of Beacon, N.Y., which he soon learns is a hotbed of extraterrestrial encounters. (A real place, Beacon is known more for its transplanted Brooklynites than space invaders.)

Ozzie initially dismisses the “experiencers,” as the abductees prefer to call themselves, as harmless weirdos, but he gradually realizes a car accident on his first night in town may actually have been an encounter with extraterrestrial life. He’s also creeped out by his boss, Jonathan (Michael Cassidy), a vapid, Paleo-dieting, media titan who for reasons that will soon become clear is far too interested in his whereabouts.

So Ozzie somewhat reluctantly lays down roots in Beacon and begins to learn more about his fellow experiencers. In the most unexpected and interesting aspect of “People of Earth,” they are treated sympathetically, not as deluded, tinfoil hat-wearers. Most have in fact been abducted and also are dealing with an assortment of painful, if earthbound, experiences: death, divorce, childhood trauma and so on.

At its most intriguing, “People of Earth” is an earnest look at the sometimes ridiculous ways humans try to deal with loneliness, loss and rejection. (The group meets in the basement of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, which is apt.)
Perhaps we are the aliens, and we just need our own support network...

The Green-Eyed Pirate

When typists were every wives' nightmare:
Simply speaking, a tort is a civil wrong that produces legal liability. In the case of heart balm, the most common ways to wrong someone included seduction, breach of promise to marry, criminal conversation, and, yes, alienation of affections.

In Goslin’s case, she accused Magher of looking at her husband “longingly, lovingly, and sweetly.” According to the complaint, this offensive ogling eventually provoked Goslin’s husband to run away to Paris with Magher. On January 12th, 1909, the New York Supreme Court handed down a verdict awarding Goslin $50,000 in punitive damages: balm to ease her aching heart.

The Goslin v. Magher case was particularly unique, but not because Goslin was suing a third party for the breakdown of her marriage. Rather, that Goslin used a relatively new rhetorical device to build her case: She claimed that Magher was a love pirate. The term might conjure a mental image of balbo beards, flamboyant waistcoats, and finely sharpened cutlasses. But once again, just as the term heart balm had nothing to do with ointment, love pirate also had nothing to do with buccaneering.
There be man thieves here...

Get Off The Bus?

What is the future of public transportation?
The private sector has some big advantages when it comes to improving existing infrastructure: It can innovate, using new technology and customer input in ways that government can’t. Government is huge, after all, and can’t experiment with money from venture capitalists to try out new ideas; it has to serve existing customers. This applies to things outside of transit, too. In today’s world, there are start-ups that try to create better schools, better mail delivery, and better loan products than what the government can currently provide. Chariot, specifically, is set up in a way that allows it to maximize profits in a way public transportation can’t: It only operates during commuting hours, and only runs on popular routes. It changes the number of trips its vans make depending on demand, and requires passengers book trips through their smartphones to ensure maximum occupancy. In this way, both Chariot and its customers are enjoying an improved system.

The private sector creates some losers, too, though. Chariot doesn’t serve many of the poorer neighborhoods in San Francisco, for example. (A spokesperson for Chariot says its routes are crowdsourced, and thus chosen by its users.) And the service is only accessible to people with smartphones who commute during the morning and evening rush. This means that low-income people, who already have limited access to transit, can’t use the service to get to work as quickly as wealthier people can, even though they are the ones that often need reliable transportation even more, since their work schedules are less flexible.

But the private sector doesn’t have to completely replace government services. Sometimes they can work together, says William Eggers, the executive director of the Center for Government Insights at Deloitte, and co-author of The Solution Revolution, a book about how government and business are working together to solve societal problems. Some governments are embracing efforts by social entrepreneurs to solve problems the government hasn’t figured out, he told me. The city of Helsinki, for example, has an ambitious goal to make car ownership obsolete by 2025. Instead, the city envisions a plan where customers use their smartphones to plan and book both public and private transit.
But is that really a solution, or just another government idea gone bad? Choice means choice.

Pardon, Ma'am?

Could Hillary Clinton pardon herself?
While the president is powerless to pardon an individual impeached and convicted, if President Clinton pardoned himself for other crimes, it would be up to the courts to decide whether to accept the pardon as valid or not.

Another consideration is whether an individual must accept a pardon or not. This became an issue when President Gerald R. Ford issued a pardon to his immediate predecessor Richard M. Nixon for crimes that may or may not have been committed during his tenure.

Nixon was never impeached by the House, so his case was never adjudicated by the Senate. Thus, as it stood unresolved, Ford wanted to immunize Nixon for his return to private life, and his staff convinced him that Nixon had to formally accept it, which he did.
But Nixon was at least honorable in the end. Hillary Clinton, not so much...

Donkey Piles

It's a metaphor for our times:
A sheriff’s deputy noticed the pile and notified office leaders of it around 8 a.m. Saturday, the Washington Post reported.

A similar dump happened at the exact same location in 2012, but nobody was caught, the Daily News reported.

“At the time, we did not have a camera system, because it kind of caught us by surprise,” Bethe Goldenfield, chairwoman of the Warren County Democratic Party, said of the 2012 dump to the Washington Post. “We didn’t think something like that would happen.”

This time, security cameras caught the action on tape. Party officials handed over the footage to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office where it’s currently being reviewed.

Goldenfield said that she wouldn’t elaborate on what the cameras captured, but she did say that a dump truck was involved.

“And I’m not going to jump to the conclusion that it was the same person [as in 2012], but of course that crossed my mind,” Goldenfield said. “We just need to have a little more specifics, and then hopefully we’ll bring the perpetrators to be accountable.”
Why punish someone for what voters want to do anyway?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hot Seat

John Podesta is not a happy man these days:

Mook's People

The "activist" on call:
“Just wanted to pass along this note I sent to Bob Creamer, who as you may know is consulting for the DNC and is close to Robby Mook,” reads a Dec. 17, 2015 email from Michael Lux, the co-founder of the progressive group Democracy Partners, to Neera Tanden, a former Hillary Clinton campaign official.

Tanden forwarded the email to John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman whose emails were hacked and have been released by WikiLeaks.

The email further undermines Mook’s claims on CNN last week that Creamer had no relationship with the Clinton campaign.

Creamer resigned from his work with the Democratic National Committee after Project Veritas released undercover video showing the operative and Scott Foval, the national field director for People for the American Way, discussing inciting violence at Trump rallies.
He's there if you need him...

The Anti-Obamacare Option

republicans offer their alternative:
“As you can see, Obamacare is more than just another pile of broken promises,” Ratcliffe said. “It’s the worst of all worlds. It’s higher costs and fewer choices. It’s less freedom and more government. It’s more uncertainty and less peace of mind.”

But, according to Ratcliffe, there is a “better way.”

“Republican are offering a plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with real, sensible, patient-centered solutions,” he said.

“Our plan gives you more control so you can choose the plan that best fits your needs — not Washington’s mandates,” Ratcliffe added. “That means things like making it easier to take insurance from job to job. Giving small businesses more leverage to negotiate better rates. And finally allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines.”
There are always choices...

Comey Blinks

Why now?
This morning I sent a letter to Congress in connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation. Yesterday, the investigative team briefed me on their recommendation with respect to seeking access to emails that have recently been found in an unrelated case. Because those emails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, I agreed that we should take appropriate steps to obtain and review them.

Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.

At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression. In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.
Now he just needs you to help him save his phony baloney job...

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Tangled Up

Yes, Bob Dylan knows he won:
“The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless”, he told Sara Danius, the Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize in Literature, in a phonecall Friday. “I appreciate the honor so much,” he said.
The Nobel Foundation said it was unsure whether Dylan would attend the ceremony in December to collect the award (and £750,000 prize money).
However, the 75-year-old singer confirmed he “absolutely” hoped to attend if “at all possible”, in an interview with British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. He said being awarded the prize was “amazing, incredible”, but appeared bemused by the attention his apparent refusal had provoked.
The circus is in town...

Big League Man

Donald Trump knows what he's saying:
Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, said in an email on Sunday that Mr. Trump had been saying “big league,” not “bigly.” Companies that provide transcripts of the debates have agreed with her, as have many professional linguists, who have been mulling the question for months.

Susan Lin, a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, performed an audio analysis of Mr. Trump uttering the phrase in September during the first presidential debate. She visualized her findings using two tools of her trade, a wave form and a broadband spectrogram, that have been widely discussed online.

Dr. Lin said her findings “demonstrate definitively that at least in this utterance, which is from the very first presidential debate, there are three of the acoustic cues that would indicate to me a ‘G’ was produced at the end of this.”
Enunciation is in the ear of the beholder?

That Face

You know that face, or do you?
The woman who had shared the image in the first place attempted to settle the debate: “It’s totally Bill. I can vouch cause I'm the one in the photo with the massive grin thinking ‘oh my god this is going to be an awesome photo!’”

This didn’t satisfy everyone. The debate—which began when the photo was first posted in 2013 and was revived this week—continues from there.

In making their case for either Hanks or Murray, people examined eyebrow bushiness and the contours of the actor’s left ear. They looked for telltale scars and forehead crinkles. “What I learned from the comments: When Bill Murray is crying, he starts to look like Tom Hanks,” one person wrote.

One of the weird aspects of all of this is that Tom Hanks and Bill Murray are both ultra famous and don’t normally look very much alike. Computer scientists have even studied Tom Hanks’s face to reverse engineer what it is about Hanks that makes him look like himself.
But who makes him look like Bill Murray? Does Bill Murray look like Bill Murray?

Nessie Goes North

Is this Nessie's Alaskan cousin?
Bureau of Land Management staffer Craig McCaa was recording video of the Chena River Oct 18 when he saw a 12-to-15-foot-long object swirling back and forth in the current for several minutes, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

McCaa posted the video on the BLM-Fairbanks video page where speculation is runing rampant over what the creepy object might be, the paper reports.

As of Saturday the video has been viewed more than 178,000 times.

“I initially thought, and several people thought, it could be some rope that snagged on the bottom of the river with chunks of ice,” McCaa said. “Other people have mentioned everything from sea monster to giant sturgeon.”
That's a big fish...

The Danger Of Carlos Danger

Trump knew:
Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump hammered Clinton for keeping Abedin and by extension Weiner on board.

“Her No. 1 person, Huma Abedin, is married to Anthony Weiner, who’s a sleazeball and pervert,” Trump said on July 27. “I’m not saying that. That’s recorded history. I don’t like Huma going home at night and telling Anthony Weiner all of these secrets.”

After Weiner got caught sexting an underage girl, Abedin decided to separate from her husband. Trump immediately stated that Clinton showed bad judgment by allowing Weiner “close proximity” to classified information.

“Huma is making a very wise decision. I know Anthony Weiner well, and she will be far better off without him,” Trump said in an Aug. 29 statement. “I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information. Who knows what he learned and who he told? It’s just another example of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment. It is possible that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this.”
Letting Weiner in close proximity to anything with a camera is a risk...

Bill's Extra Income

Bill Clinton's money train:
Scherer said, “The remarkable thing I think is that it undercuts the Clinton line that the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative were really altruistic do-gooder efforts. You know, they have helped a lot of people. There are some programs that have been very beneficial in parts of the world. But it’s clear from this memo that the same operation that was raising money for Haiti or AIDS drugs was making Bill Clinton rich. And they — and the same operation, Doug Band, who was raising money for the foundation on one hand, says I’m, at the same time, without being paid by anyone, the person responsible for getting Bill these million-dollar speaking engagements, for getting him these contracts. And, at the same time, I have my own private list of clients who Chelsea Clinton, we know, has accused Doug of trading on Bill Clinton’s name. So there just weren’t these lines of divisions that you would want. And I think the damage there is undercutting the defense that the Clinton campaign has used for months now.”
Grifting is a dirty job, but somebody has to justify it...

Wiki World

It's hard out there for old media:
The only major television outlet to cover WikiLeaks from their inception through their daily unfolding has been Fox News. The clear indication that President Obama knew all about Clinton’s private e-mail server long before “the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports;” the details about foreign governments offering what used to be called bribes to secure meetings; the money that Bill Clinton was devouring from the Clinton Foundation – all of it seemed like a distant war to a media isolated from Clinton scandal.

Then Bob Woodward, who still commands respect from liberal scribes and editors for his historic Watergate investigative journalism, announced that the Clinton Foundation was clearly corrupt and it seemed like E.F. Hutton talked and the Democratic media started to listen.
And then promptly dismiss real news again...

Friday, October 28, 2016

No Safe Spaces For Them

Conservatives not welcome:
Of the over 2,000 students from across the political spectrum who participated in the survey, over 75 percent agreed that Yale “does not provide a welcoming environment for conservative students to share their opinions on political issues.”

“Anybody who supports Donald Trump or is a Republican is just hated,” said one survey respondent, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash from liberal students. “I just get the general vibe that Republicans aren’t respected for their beliefs as much as maybe the liberal people are.”

Of the Yale students that support Donald Trump, more than 60 percent revealed that they feel uncomfortable discussing their political beliefs publicly.
Free speech for whom?

Carlos Danger Returns

He's back:
The F.B.I. is investigating illicit text messages that Mr. Weiner sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. The bureau told Congress on Friday that it had uncovered new emails related to the Clinton case — one federal official said they numbered in the thousands — potentially reigniting an issue that has weighed on the presidential campaign and offering a lifeline to Donald J. Trump less than two weeks before the election.

In a letter to Congress, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said that emails had surfaced in an unrelated case, and that they “appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”
So who falls on their sword this time? Aside from Hillary, that is?

Job Losses For Everybody

If you want more, be prepared to lose more:
Ballot initiatives in Arizona, Colorado and Maine to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and one in Washington to raise it to $13.50 would slow job growth, the right-of-center American Action Forum concluded Friday.

"While initiatives to raise the minimum wage are popular, it is important to understand that they have a cost," author Ben Gitis wrote. "The low-wage, low-skill workers who labor advocates want to help are the very workers who bear this cost, as hundreds of thousands would be unable to maintain their current job or attain a new one."

The group, which advocates for conservative policies, based its estimates on a recent study by Texas A&M economist Jonathan Meer and University of Santa Cruz economist Jeremy West, which included estimates of lost job growth based on the size of minimum wage increases.
Wage hikers just want to help you...into the poorhouse...

The Pirates Of Cold Water

Tis a fine day for an election, me hearties:
The Pirates have been riding a wave of anger against the establishment in a country that was one of the hardest hit in the 2008 financial crisis when its banking system collapsed, hitting thousands of savers.

Polls put it in close second place to the Independence Party, currently the junior partner in the governing coalition.

It wants, among other things, to give asylum to U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, accept the bitcoin virtual currency and clean up corruption.

The Pirates - founded less than four years ago as a protest movement against global copyright laws, and whose election campaign is partly crowdfunded - have 21 percent in a Morgunbladid poll published on Friday.

The Independence Party polled 22.5 percent.
The Pirates of Reykjavik?

Children Of Major Tom

Bring out your space dead?
Under a certain set of circumstances, microbes carried by a human corpse might be able to survive the space environment, especially in a world like Mars, explained Louisiana State University microbial biologist Gary King in an interview with Astronomy Magazine.

The researcher, who studies microbial life in extreme environments, says these organisms are already known to live in harsh, space-like conditions.

‘We’ve pulled microbes out of permafrost, and there we’re talking about organisms surviving around one million years in suspended animation,’ King told Astronomy Magazine.
Some believe that life out there began here...

The Long Clinton Con

Grifting is a family affair:
It is astonishingly detailed proof that the Clintons do not draw any lines between their “charitable” work, their political activity, their government jobs or (and most important) their personal enrichment. Every other American is expected to keep these pursuits separate, as required by tax law, anticorruption law and campaign-finance law. For the Clintons, it is all one and the same—the rules be damned.

The memo came near the end of a 2011 review by law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett into Clinton Foundation practices. Chelsea Clinton had grown concerned about the audacious mixing of public and private, and the review was designed to ensure that the foundation didn’t lose its charitable tax status. Mr. Band, Teneo boss and epicenter of what he calls “ Bill Clinton, Inc.,” clearly felt under assault and was eager to brag up the ways in which his business had concurrently benefited the foundation, Clinton political causes and the Clinton bank account. The memoed result is a remarkably candid look at the sleazy inner workings of the Clinton grifters-in-chief.
These are the Clintons you know...

Silence On The Hill

Loretta Lynch clams up:
In an Oct. 24 response, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik responded on Lynch’s behalf, refusing to answer the questions and informing the lawmakers that they are barred from publicly disclosing any details about the cash payment, which was bound up in a ransom deal aimed at freeing several American hostages from Iran.

The response from the attorney general’s office is “unacceptable” and provides evidence that Lynch has chosen to “essentially plead the fifth and refuse to respond to inquiries regarding [her] role in providing cash to the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism,” Rubio and Pompeo wrote on Friday in a follow-up letter to Lynch, according to a copy obtained by the Free Beacon.

The inquiry launched by the lawmakers is just one of several concurrent ongoing congressional probes aimed at unearthing a full accounting of the administration’s secret negotiations with Iran.

“It is frankly unacceptable that your department refuses to answer straightforward questions from the people’s elected representatives in Congress about an important national security issue,” the lawmakers wrote. “Your staff failed to address any of our questions, and instead provided a copy of public testimony and a lecture about the sensitivity of information associated with this issue.”
Don't mention the ransom...

Back To Court, Mrs. Clinton

The email investigation is back on:
"In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation," he added.

"Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony," Comey concluded in the letter addressed to several lawmakers who chaired committees.
Funny how they keep finding what Hillary says she lost...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Billionaire Boys' Club

Big money makes the campaign go 'round:
Former hedge fund manager turned environmentalist Tom Steyer will have spent more than $75 million on this year’s election when all the dust settles. Much of his efforts have gone toward registering millennials to vote, mostly on environmental issues.

Steyer has so far shoveled more than $56 million into elections on the local, state, and national level, according to Nevada casino owner Sheldon Adelson has donated the second most amount of money this election year, dumping $47 million on Republican candidates.

Steyer, who is also rumored to be exploring a run for California gubernatorial seat in 2018, plows most of his considerable political donations through the political action group, NextGen Climate Action, which spent about $20.7 million in independent expenditures in 2014 opposing Republican candidates.

His money accounts for nearly 100 percent of NextGen’s entire political war chest, a number totaling more than $7,000,620. Steyer has given the group $7,000,000.

The Democratic mega donor said Oct. 24 that NextGen has managed to register 1 million voters, including nearly 750,000 in California and about 300,000 in battleground states. Steyer called the surge a “positive signal about the future of our country.”
Buying an election is hard work...

Biology Ideology 101

Why feminism and nature don't mix:
“Ideology is a double-edged sword. Dedication to a set of beliefs can be admirable, but when it leads to inflexibility and obstinance in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it is a dangerous thing,” Berezow said. “[F]eminism has been built upon ideas that can neither be proven nor refuted, precisely the sort of evidence-free groupthink that typifies unscientific thinking.”

Berezow noted that many feminists “deny the prominent role of biology in our lives” allowing instead for the promotion of ideas that are “dangerous nonsense” on college campuses, which should be unbiased sources of truth.

“Unfortunately, feminist ideology has already undermined academic freedom,” Berezow continues. “Despite such well documented biological and psychological differences between men and women, some scientists have admitted being afraid to talk about them out of fear of being labeled ‘sexist.'”
Because nature is sexist, or something...

Make Every Vote Count, Almost

One party's suppression is another's campaign tactic:
Both campaigns run active voter suppression campaigns. Clinton allies telling Jewish voters that Trump is Hitler, for example, is classic suppression (and there is evidence that it is working).

There is also “reverse suppression.” Telling black voters that voter ID is an attempt to suppress them, for example, is a tactic that President Barack Obama and other Democrats have used to encourage black voters to go to the polls (even though polls suggest most black voters actually approve of voter ID laws).

And then there is the opposite tactic, which is to scare voters into heading to the polls by telling them that they will face some kind of sanction if they do not vote. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was unapologetic about mailers his campaigns used in Iowa that reminded voters their participation in primaries was a matter of public record. Democrats sent a similar mailer in 2014.
It's always easier to lie about your opponents than rough up their supporters. Too bad Democrats seem to want to do both.

RIP Obamacare

What killed Obamacare?
The basic premise of the ACA was to enroll nearly every working age American in large employer-sponsored insurance or policies sold on government run websites to create competition that would lower costs, but it has not worked out.

At, families often pay $500, $1000 or more a month for policies imposing high deductibles and co-pays and with quite limited provider networks. Many have lost access to family doctors, encountered limited out-of-state-coverage when they travel and are generally excluded from using higher cost providers where they live.

The latter can be life threatening. As of the end of 2015, for example, none of the policies offered access to New York included the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Problems are particularly acute in areas where the number of specialists are limited, and hospitals and group practices are monopolized enough to resist negotiating much on price with insurance companies.

Insurance companies are taking big losses, resulting in the large premium increases noted above—or leaving the website markets across the country. At least 650 of counties nationwide will have only one company offering policies next year.

Many folks won’t feel the full brunt of rate increases, as the federal government is obligated to subsidize premiums for low and middle income families, but the Congressional Budget Office estimates the ACA will cost $8.9 trillion over ten years.
They'll feel it soon enough...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dancing With America

Who wants to dance?
“I think we need a big national dance,” she said during an appearance on the show, calling for America to “close the fun deficit.”

“I’m sick of all this meanness,” she continued. “Why don’t these people who support my opponent go out and have fun dancing? You think they dance.”

Clinton recalled fondly the White House dance parties when Bill Clinton was president.

“I love to dance,” she said. “And when we were at the White House and in years since, we’ve had a lot of dance parties just because I love the way people kind of lose themselves, right?”
Grandma's dance lessons?

The Middle Finger Vote

Even Michael Moore acknowledges:
“Donald Trump came to the Detroit Economic Club and stood there in front of Ford Motor executives and said, ‘If you close these factories as you’re planning to do in Detroit and build them in Mexico, I’m going to put a 35 percent tariff on those cars when you send them back and nobody’s going to buy them.’ It was an amazing thing to see. No politician, Republican or Democrat, had ever said anything like that to these executives, and it was music to the ears of people in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — the ‘Brexit states.’”

Trump’s sincerity in wanting to stand up for the average Joe doesn’t even matter, Moore argued, because voting for him is a giant message that disaffected Americans will be happy to send to media and political elites who they see as not caring about them.

“Trump’s election is going to be the biggest ‘fuck you’ ever recorded in human history — and it will feel good,” Moore argued.

“Whether Trump means it or not is kind of irrelevant because he’s saying the things to people who are hurting, and that’s why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump,” Moore continued. “He is the human Molotov cocktail that they’ve been waiting for, the human hand grenade that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them.”

Moore has repeatedly made clear that he does not support Trump, just that he can see why some people choose to. (He supported Sen. Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries and now supports Clinton.)
Well, so much for the middle class, then...

Ball One

No tickets for them:
Cubs spokesman Julian Green said aldermen who asked about World Series tickets were directed to the ethics board's guidance memo, which he said "prevents members of the City Council from purchasing tickets."

In the memo, the ethics panel explained that if city officials, including Emanuel, buy the tickets at face value they would have to perform some sort of "ceremonial duty or action," such as throwing out the first pitch or standing on the field with other elected officials. That's because the tickets are worth far more on the secondary market.

Friday's memo also stated there must be "a clear and direct connection between the official's attendance and the performance of such ceremonial duty or action and the nature and location of the event itself." It goes on to cite as examples the mayor or alderman whose ward includes the venue — which in the case of Wrigley Field is Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th.
Local politicians will have o find other ways to ingratiate themselves...

The G.I. Billed

The government wants the money it wasn't supposed to give out back:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Monday, asking that Congress intervene in the Pentagon’s debt collection efforts after the Nov. 8 election. The letter stated:

These brave Californians were willing to give everything to serve our country, and they earned every penny and benefit given to them. The overpayment of enlistment signing bonuses by the Department of Defense should not be the responsibility of our service members or veterans to pay back, years after the fact.

California’s two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, also requested that the military forgive the debt, which amounts to millions:

These men and women voluntarily reenlisted with the understanding that they would receive substantial bonuses. The Department of Defense should use its existing authority… to waive the repayment of these enlistment bonuses” and “help those service members who have already fully or partially repaid these incentives.

The California National Guard said it doesn’t have the power to forgive the debts but told soldiers they can legally appeal their cases to the National Guard Bureau, the federal agency that oversees the 50 state Guard organizations. But that requires them to spend even more money for an outcome that is all but certain.
Leave it to the government to find a way to stiff those who served...

All The Bias That Fits

Yes, the Times has a bias problem, says-Chris Matthews?

Dinner With Hillary

It was the Justice Department Plate Special:
The dinner arrangement, revealed in hacked Podesta emails released by Wikileaks, is just the latest example of an apparent conflict of interest between the Clinton campaign and the federal agency charged with investigating the former secretary of state’s email practices.

Podesta and Kadzik, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, were in frequent contact, other emails show. In one email from January, Kadzik and Podesta, who were classmates at Georgetown Law School in the 1970s, discussed plans to celebrate Podesta’s birthday. And in another sent last May, Kadzik’s son emailed Podesta asking for a job on the Clinton campaign.

The post-Benghazi dinner was attended by Podesta, Kadzik, superlobbyist Vincent Roberti and other well-placed Beltway fixtures.
Dinner and a cover-up?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

If You Like Your Spikes

Obamacare's death spiral reaches its end game:
The Obama administration confirmed Monday the sharp rise in planned premiums for 2017 and the fact that many Americans will have to choose plans from only one Obamcare insurer in their region, reports the Associated Press.

Consumers will see their premiums for a midlevel benchmark insurance plan jump an average of 25 percent in the states with exchanges run by the federal government, admits the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

In addition, 20 percent of Obamacare customers will be forced to choose from health insurance plans from only a single health insurance company, because big national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana, and Aetna have backed out of the program.

The number of health insurers on the federal exchange is dropping 28 percent, from 232 in 2016 to 167 next year. About 1.4 million Americans are expected to lose their current medical payment plans in 2017 as the companies flee Obamacare.
But what does Hillary want to replace it with? What, indeed?

An Ill Wind

The windmills are coming?
While not one of her top talking points, a President Hillary would increase the amount of taxpayer dollars available to industrial wind developers. At a July 2015 campaign stop in Iowa, she supported tax incentives and said: “We need to continue the production tax credits.” Previously, she claimed that she wants to make the production tax credits (PTC) for wind and solar permanent. (Note: without the PTC, even the wind industry acknowledges it won’t “be able to continue.”) She frequently says: “I want more wind, more solar, more advanced biofuels, more energy efficiency.” Remember, her party platform includes: “We are committed to getting 50 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources within a decade.” And: “We believe America must be running entirely on clean energy by mid-century.”

So, if your area hasn’t been faced with the construction of wind turbines, you can expect that it will be. The good news is the more wind turbines spring up, the more opposition they receive—and, therefore, the more tools there are available to help break the next wind project.
How to stop unwanted wind farms? The answer is blowing in the wind...

Don't Mix And Drive

Driving under the wrong gender:
The woman, together with two male passengers, was handed over to the vice squad after intoxicating substances were found in the car.

The three will be indicted for illegal driving and gender mixing.

Meanwhile, the Shura Council, Saudi Arabia’s parliament, will convene next week to discuss a bill to “foster an environment conducive to legalize female driving.”

Sultan al Sultan MP has asked the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Interior Ministry to carry out a study into the matter. Speaking to Al Hayat newspaper, he said that his proposal was meant to alleviate difficulties of transportation that families incur given the fact that women are not allowed to drive.

In addition, he said, the cost of hiring a chauffeur often deters women from entering the labor market.

“That’s why female driving has become a social issue that requires review in light of the social and security situation, on top of the behavioral consequences that children face by virtue of having a stranger around all the time,” he said, providing an economic motive to boot: “More than a million foreigners work here as chauffeurs, sending their countries more than 1 billion riyal [$250 million] monthly. We would be better off if this sum was invested in developing our country.”
Like moving past the 8th Century?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fund Or Fall

It's strictly business:
The report notes that while community organizing groups have been using aggressive, “terrorist” tactics for decades to force banks to provide funding for their operations, the Obama administration has brought the power of the federal government to bear on their behalf. Banks are threatened with lawsuits for racial discrimination based on the controversial “disparate impact” theory, and offered incentives to settle by paying left-wing groups directly, beyond the review or oversight of Congress.

The result, the GAI report says, is a system of political patronage:

The old time political machine has been replaced by these nonprofits and a system of patronage now operates with the imprimatur of the DOJ. The DOJ has instituted a system that provides significant funding for nonprofit “community organizers” through a pattern of extortive lawsuits. This system, wherein appointed attorneys can legally extract money from the private sector and redistribute the funds to third-party organizations outside of the appropriations process, shows an unprecedented and extraordinary disregard for Congressional authority.

Left-wing groups have long used the Community Reinvestment Act — signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977 and boosted by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s — to threaten bank mergers unless the banks fund their lending and activist operations.
A little extortion goes a long way...

Mr. Clean

I could name a few:
Speaking to donors at a private fundraiser in California, Obama railed against former House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa for calling his administration corrupt.

“Here’s a guy who called my administration perhaps the most corrupt in history — despite the fact that actually we have not had a major scandal in my administration,” he said, referring to Issa, according to a transcript of his speech.

Issa was the key figure in several investigations of the Obama administration, including the Fast and Furious debacle with Attorney General Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton’s failure in Benghazi, the failures in the Veterans Affairs department, and the IRS using its power to target conservative Tea Party groups for investigations.

Obama accused Issa of wasting taxpayer money “on trumped-up investigations that have led nowhere.”
Except for exposing stuff that actually happened...

Warm Change

Faking science for fun and profit:
The UK government gave $11 million dollars to the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) in exchange for research that the organization reportedly never actually did.

Many papers CCCEP claimed to have published to get government money weren’t about global warming, were written before the organization was even founded, or were written by researchers unaffiliated with CCCEP. The government never checked CCCEP’s supposed publication lists, saying they were “taken on trust,” according to the report.

“It is serious misconduct to claim credit for a paper you haven’t supported, and it’s fraud to use that in a bid to renew a grant,” Professor Richard Tol, a climate economics expert from Sussex University whose research was reportedly stolen by CCCEP, told The Daily Mail. “I’ve never come across anything like it before. It stinks.”
Apparently he never met other climate "experts..."

The Insiders

Who killed honest journalism?
Reporters are supposed to accord that kind of eliding of responsibility by public officials considerable skepticism. Vogel did not make a “mistake.” And, if his action was “not consistent” with POLITICO policies, why was he not disciplined or reprimanded? Ditto for Thrush.

But the most curious thing was Politico’s insistence that even though policies were violated in reporting, the final product was excellent—objective and hard-hitting. Imagine how well a parallel rationale would fly from anybody else.

Suppose a boxing promoter busted for fixing the fight said, “Well, this guy would have won anyway, he threw better punches than Joe Frazier. It was a great fight.” Or if somebody indicted for insider trading said he would have bought the same stock anyway.
If you want to be a cheerleader, don't criticize the team...

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A.I. Law

Here comes the A.I.:
As early as the 1960s experts predicted that computers would one day be able to predict the outcomes of judicial decisions.

But the new method is the first to predict the outcomes of court cases by automatically analysing case text using a machine learning algorithm.

“We don’t see AI replacing judges or lawyers, but we think they’d find it useful for rapidly identifying patterns in cases that lead to certain outcomes,” said Dr Nikolaos Aletras, who led the study at UCL Computer Science.

“It could also be a valuable tool for highlighting which cases are most likely to be violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.”
Order in the programming...

Quiet Time

Is this the age of silence?
Perhaps the most well-known silent social is the silent retreat. Recently featured in an episode of BBC comedy Fleabag, silent retreats vary in tone and purpose, and are more popular than you might imagine. The retreats often have a religious or spiritual element, with Buddhist, Christian and Catholic retreats making up the majority. They can last anywhere between a couple of days to a few weeks, set in locations that are usually fittingly pastoral, in old farm buildings or country piles.

Silent retreat regular Peter Cadney first discovered the power of silence on a 10-day vipassana silent meditation course, in 2013. The technique emphasises developing a connection with silence and accessing the “stillness” within yourself.

“There had been a number of events in my life that I hadn’t been able to deal with very well; things like relationship breakups and the death of a close friend. I’d spent years working at a computer and was feeling the effects of muscle tension, anxiety and stress. I felt drawn to finding somewhere quiet to sit in order to find peace within myself.”
In my day we called that a library or your room...

Granny Dangerous

Hillary is dangerous, says...the New York Times?
They’re the dangers of elite groupthink, of Beltway power worship, of a cult of presidential action in the service of dubious ideals. They’re the dangers of a recklessness and radicalism that doesn’t recognize itself as either, because it’s convinced that if an idea is mainstream and commonplace among the great and good then it cannot possibly be folly.

Almost every crisis that has come upon the West in the last 15 years has its roots in this establishmentarian type of folly. The Iraq War, which liberals prefer to remember as a conflict conjured by a neoconservative cabal, was actually the work of a bipartisan interventionist consensus, pushed hard by George W. Bush but embraced as well by a large slice of center-left opinion that included Tony Blair and more than half of Senate Democrats.

Likewise the financial crisis: Whether you blame financial-services deregulation or happy-go-lucky housing policy (or both), the policies that helped inflate and pop the bubble were embraced by both wings of the political establishment. Likewise with the euro, the European common currency, a terrible idea that only cranks and Little Englanders dared oppose until the Great Recession exposed it as a potentially economy-sinking folly. Likewise with Angela Merkel’s grand and reckless open-borders gesture just last year: She was the heroine of a thousand profiles even as she delivered her continent to polarization and violence.

This record of elite folly — which doesn’t even include lesser case studies like our splendid little war in Libya — is a big part of why the United States has a “let’s try crazy” candidate in this election, and why there are so many Trumpian parties thriving on European soil.
The elite effect?

Prohibition, Iraqi Style

Prohibition comes to Iraq:
Proponents of the ban argue that it is justified by the constitution, which prohibits any law contradicting Islam.

But some opponents argue that it also violates the same constitution which guarantees the traditions of religious minorities.

According to an MP and a parliament official, the ban was a last-minute addition to a draft law on municipalities that caught the anti-ban camp flat-footed.

The law was also passed by MPs in Baghdad as all eyes were on the north of the country, where forces involved in Iraq's biggest military operation in years are battling the Islamic State group and moving to retake the city of Mosul.

"A law was passed today and article 14 of that law bans the import, production and sale of all kinds of alcohol," Yonadam Kanna, a veteran Christian MP, told AFP on Saturday.

"Every violation of this law incurs a fine of 10 million to 25 million dinars (roughly $8,000 to $20,000)," he said.
That's a lot of dinars for having a drink...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Red Money

They may still hate us, but now they can get our money:
The change is part of the new round of regulations announced last week by the Obama administration. Along with measures that attracted widespread attention — such as the removal of the restrictions on the purchase of rum and tobacco by American travelers — this more discreet provision debunks a long-standing policy of prohibiting U.S. transactions with most members of the Cuban government, its political organizations and defense system.

As the updated Cuban Assets Control Regulations now stand, the prohibitions remain only for the members of the Politburo of the PCC, members of the Council of Ministers and high-ranking officials in the Cuban armed forces (FAR).

The category of “prohibited members” of the Cuban government and the Communist Party previously included members of MININT; the PCC secretaries and members of its Central Committee; members of Parliament; the Supreme Court; state media editors; deputy ministers and mid-level officials within the ministries; directors of companies and other state institutions; secretaries of the Confederation of Cuban Workers; and local chiefs of the Defense Committees of the Revolution (CDR).
Welfare for Communists? What are we, socialists?

Blue Bucks

Who's voting for whom?
While polling data on the rich is imprecise given their small population, polls of the top-earning households favor Hillary Clinton over Donald J. Trump two to one. The July Affluent Barometer survey by Ipsos found that among voters earning more than $100,000 a year — roughly the top 25 percent of households — 45 percent said they planned to vote for Mrs. Clinton, while 28 percent planned to vote for Mr. Trump. The rest were undecided or planned to vote for another candidate.

The spread was even wider among the highest earners. For those earning $250,000 or more — roughly the top 5 percent of households — 53 percent planned to vote for Mrs. Clinton while 25 percent favored Mr. Trump. The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus four points.

It is unclear whether those patterns have changed since July. But if the numbers hold, historians and wealth experts say that next month’s elections may prove to be the largest vote by the wealthy for a Democratic candidate in recent history.

Continue reading the main story
“This would be a big deal, and fundamentally different from what we’ve seen before,” said Andrew Gelman, professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University and co-author of the book “Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do.”
Blue bloods go blue? Fools and their money are soon parted...

Battle Of The Parodies

It's Weird Al's take on the election:

What Would Wonder Woman Do?

Superman was unavailable for comment:
U.N. staffer Cass DuRant, who held a sign saying "Real Women Deserve a Real Ambassador," said the protesters "don't think that a fictitious comic book characters wearing basically what looks like a Playboy-type bunny outfit is really the right message we need to send to girls or even boys for that matter."

The super heroine's image will be used by the U.N. on social media platforms to promote women's empowerment, including on gender-based violence and the fuller participation of women in public life (using the hashtag WithWonderWoman). The push, hoping to reach young people, is backed by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros., which produce both comics and films featuring Wonder Woman.

But an online petition , started by U.N. staffers, asked the secretary-general to reconsider the appointment, saying, "The message the United Nations is sending to the world with this appointment is extremely disappointing." As of Friday afternoon, it had more than 1,100 signatures.
At least she'd be able to use the lasso of truth there...

Russians Stay Home

No Russians allowed:
The Louisiana Secretary of State told Zakharov he was denying the request was because of the impact of massive floods in the region which affected over 60,000 homeowners.

“I have approximately one-third of my employees personally affected, we are short-staffed and working day and night to prepare for this election along with the changes of precinct locations and other related processes,” Schedler said to Kakharov. “Had this flood event not occurred, we certainly would have been open to such a visit, but I cannot meet such a request with the situation I have currently in front of me.”

Schedler said Zakharov could ask again in the 2020 Election, as Louisiana law permits foreign monitors at its voting sites.

Texas and Oklahoma also denied the request.
Nyet means nyet...

No Deal, Eh?

Canada rejects free trade:
Fighting back tears, Canadian International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said it had been impossible to overcome the differences with Wallonia, a French-speaking region of barely 3.5 million people.

Despite the stunning setback, European officials refused to accept that the pact, which had been agreed on provisionally two years ago, could not be saved. The impasse, however, raises troubling questions about the 28-nation EU’s ability to negotiate major international agreements.

“I think it’s impossible. We’ve decided to return home,” Freeland said after the talks with Walloon officials and EU representatives broke down. “I’m really, really sad. Truly.”

The pact known colloquially as CETA needs unanimous support within the EU, and Belgium in turn needs unanimity among its regions.

“It seems that for me, and for Canada, that the EU is not capable now to have an international deal, even with a nation with such European values like Canada,” Freeland said.
Or, maybe, not as European as they hoped...

No Skeptics Allowed

Censorship doesn't always win:
Nuttall tried to justly the UN media ban by noting that The Rebel TV host Ezra Levant has called UN promoted climate change fears a “crock.”
“What does [calling climate change a ‘crock’] add to the public’s understating?” Nuttall asked the CBC.
The UN’s Nuttall told the CBC “I don’t see what he is actually reporting, you know, as being particularly helpful.”
But much to the shock of the UN official, the warmist Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) Carol Off was having none of it. The CBC’s Off openly challenged the UN’s censorship of the media outlet.
“Do people have to prove that they’re helpful in order to be accredited journalists?” Off, who hosts the ‘As it Happens’ program on the CBC, asked the UN’s Nuttall.
A clearly flustered Nuttall responded, “Well, what do you think journalism is about?”
The CBC’s Carol Off tersely responded “reporting.”
Too bad so many journalists don't remember that...

Blogging In The Years: 2012

Obama mocks Romney for saying Russia might be a threat:

Hack Attack

Did anyone else feel that?
The company, Dyn, whose servers monitor and reroute internet traffic, said it began experiencing what security experts called a distributed denial-of-service attack just after 7 a.m. Reports that many sites were inaccessible started on the East Coast, but spread westward in three waves as the day wore on and into the evening.

And in a troubling development, the attack appears to have relied on hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices like cameras, baby monitors and home routers that have been infected — without their owners’ knowledge — with software that allows hackers to command them to flood a target with overwhelming traffic.

A spokeswoman said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security were looking into the incident and all potential causes, including criminal activity and a nation-state attack.
Welcome to Cyber War One?

The Real Email Deal

No, they weren't faked:
Many email systems use a verification system called DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) that shows whether an email has been changed. It uses a key stored on the email server that sent the email, so it can’t be forged. uses Gmail to handle its mail and uses DKIM. Staffer Jennifer Palmieri, using her email, replied to a Brazile email warning that Brazile was “worried” about Clinton’s ability to answer a question about the death penalty, that she said would be asked at an upcoming debate. She copied Podesta — who also uses Gmail — presumably so that he could encourage Clinton to prepare for the question.

The emails were hacked from Podesta’s account by WikiLeaks, but Clinton’s campaign — and Brazile — have all but claimed their contents have been falsified.

But a check of the DKIM signature by the Daily Caller News Foundation against’s key shows that Palmieri did, in fact, send the exact email to Podesta that WikiLeaks says she did.
Now who's being a conspiracy theorist?

Women's Work

Women don't want equal pay, after all?
According to Perry’s research, American women received 57% of all bachelor degrees granted in 2014, which equated to nearly 200,000 more degrees granted to females than to males. Despite this disparity, the degrees granted to women came overwhelmingly in lower-paying majors, such as Nursing, Journalism, and English.

For example, in 8 out of the 10 highest-paying college majors — various Engineering fields, Computer Science and MIS — men represented more than 80% of the college graduates in those fields. The only college major of the top ten where women are over-represented is Nursing, a field where 84.4% of the bachelor’s degrees in 2014 were awarded to women.

For the top ten highest-paying college majors as a group, men earn an average of 72% of the bachelor’s degrees in those fields. For the top 20 college majors, men earn an average of nearly two-thirds of those degrees; for the top 30, the male average is 60.5% and for the top 50 (actually only 40 majors are considered), the average for men is 53.7% of degrees.

Perry concludes that the much-discussed pay gap is not a result of gender discrimination by employers, but rather the result of the choices of females entering the labor force.
Different jobs, different wages...

Not That Wiki


Friday, October 21, 2016

Ancient Metal

Who made the aluminium?
The discovery of the mysterious chunk of metal in communist Romania in 1973 was not made public at the time, according to CEN.

Testing has since revealed that the object is made of 12 metals and is 90 per cent aluminium with Romanian officials dating it as being 250,000 years old.

The initial results were later confirmed by a lab in Lausanne, Switzerland, CEN reports.

Metallic aluminium was not really produced by mankind until around 200 years ago, so the discovery of the large chunk that it claimed to be up to 250,000 years old is being held up as a sensational find.
Aliens, always leaving their spare parts lying around...

Is This The Real Life

So are we or aren't we in the Matrix?
A who’s who of world-renown philosophers and physicists spent hours discussing the controversial concept known as the simulation hypothesis at an annual event at the American Museum of Natural History earlier this year.

The debate moderator, famed astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, said the likelihood that you, me and the universe we think we inhabit are not real “may be very high.” Cosmologist Max Tegmark of MIT suggested that what we perceive to be the laws of this universe are simply the rules of the program our virtual characters exist in.

A few Silicon Valley elites are obsessed with the notion that our world is entirely written in software code, as Keanu Reeves’ character Neo discovered in the movie The Matrix. I don’t know which is stranger: that Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk pegs the chances that this is reality at “one in a billion,” or that I am not the least bit surprised.
The election alone could be proof enough that this isn't the real world...

Power Fraud

When in doubt, hide:
A source familiar with the Western Area Power Administration’s (WAPA) information technology system has indicated the agency intends to withhold documents and data from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“The agency asked me to withhold data,” the source told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They’re trying to withhold anything.”

House lawmakers from both parties sent a letter to WAPA President Mark Gabriel Tuesday asking for records related to “financial and facility management” at the agency. The lawmakers’ letter comes after reports that lax oversight at WAPA led to millions of dollars in potentially fraudulent spending and letting grid security slide.

“They’re going to claim attorney-client privilege on the documents,” the source said, adding there’s basically “no such thing” when it comes to the types of records being requested about budgets and grid security.
Well, they're not Hillary Clinton, after all...

All Bets Are On?

Let it ride?
In a statement sent to ESPN, Pallone said the Committee on Energy and Commerce would soon be looking at the laws to see how they can be updated to reflect today’s needs. “The laws need a wholesale review to see how they can actually work together and create a fairer playing field for all types of gambling, both online and offline, including sports betting and daily fantasy sports,” Pallone told the site. “At the same time, we must ensure the laws are actually creating an environment of integrity and accountability, and include strong consumer protections. I plan to continue discussions with the key stakeholders and then will introduce comprehensive legislation to finally update these outdated laws.”

As ESPN notes, “Three statutes — the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), the Federal Wire Act of 1961 and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) — are the core of a patchwork of federal laws touching on sports betting. The potential new legislation would attempt to harmonize these laws.”
Place your bets...

Halloween Trauma Drama

Don't be scared, they're only trigger warnings:
“If you choose to participate in Halloween activities, we encourage you to think about your choices of costumes and themes,” the school advises in a recent blog post from the public university’s administrators.

Several Twitter users lambasted the students at the University of Florida for their willingness to be coddled. One user criticized the decision to allocate public funds for the purpose of comforting students upset by Halloween costumes.

Students who are triggered by insensitive Halloween costumes are instructed to contact the university’s 24/7 counseling services center for support.
It's the great safe space, Charlie Brown...

Fat Man And Little Boy

Life with the Kims:
A connoisseur of good food, Kim enjoys consuming Emmental, a medium-hard Swiss cheese that he became familiar with during his boarding school days in Switzerland, according to KBS.

In 2014, Kim reportedly dispatched officials to learn the cheese-making techniques at a French culinary school, after becoming angry with North Korean chefs for their inability to reproduce the same flavors he had tasted in Switzerland.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service stated at a recent parliamentary briefing on Wednesday that Kim’s health has not improved since July, when the spy agency noted Kim weighed about 290 pounds, up from an estimated 200 pounds in 2012.

The NIS also said in a recent assessment that Kim’s older brother Kim Jong Chul engages in violent behavior when drunk.

Kim Jong Chul, who was seen at an Eric Clapton concert in 2015, destroyed bottles in his hotel room after excessive drinking, the spy agency said.
The Super Happy Fun dictator's family...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Blogging In The Years: 2002

So who really won in 2000? Well, according to Hillary Clinton:

Image source: Newsweek microform

Inflatable Obamacare

Obama wants to save Obamacare by...making it bigger?
"The problem is not that government is too involved in the process," Obama said, speaking at Miami-Dade College in Florida. "The problem is we have not reached everybody and pulled them in."

In past speeches about his healthcare law, Obama has touted its consumer protections and financial assistance for low- and middle-income Americans. But faced with spiking premiums and insurer exits from the marketplaces, the president used his speech Thursday to downplay its influence on the public and list some fixes.

Most people don't get marketplace coverage — just 10 million or so Americans who were previously uninsured, the president noted. And insurance premiums had increased dramatically before the law was passed. But when consumers find their insurance rates are rising, they like to blame him unfairly, Obama said.

"People think 'my insurance rates are going up, it must be Obama's fault,'" Obama told the students.
Maybe because it is?

Paying Bill

Foundation work pays:
The surprise claim was made by Doug Band, Bill Clinton’s longtime aide and the co-founder of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), in a Nov. 17, 2011 email released by WikiLeaks on Thursday.

Band appeared frustrated that he was forced to sign a conflict of interest policy for his roles as a CGI board member and adviser to the Clinton Foundation while Clinton did not.

“I signed a conflict of interest policy as a board member of cgi,” he wrote in an email to John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman whose hacked emails were released by WikiLeaks.

“Oddly, wjc does not have to sign such a document even though he is personally paid by 3 cgi sponsors, gets many expensive gifts from them, some that are at home etc,” added Band.
But hey, it's for a good cause...

Who's Rigging Whom?

It depends on what the meaning of rigged is:
What do they say? The Russians are trying to rig our elections. The Democrats are the ones caterwauling and whining and moaning about rigged elections every day. WikiLeaks, the Russians, Mrs. Clinton at the debate last night, “I have never seen anything like this in American politics, where a foreign government is attempting to sabotage our election,” dumping on the Russians for what? Trying to rig the election.

So Trump says, “No. I’m gonna keep my options open. I don’t know what’s gonna happen.” The only sensible answer there is to that question the Democrats, the whole debate, prior to the debate, whining and moaning about rigged elections ’cause the Russians are trying to screw ’em because the Russians are releasing emails that Podesta sent to everybody under the sun, so the Russians are what? Trying to cheat. Who is it that’s alleging rigged elections? Who is it that’s trying to defuse the truth coming out about them by blaming it on the Russians trying to rig elections? It’s our good buddies and good friends the Democrats and their fellows in journalism.
One man's rigged election is another's conspiracy theory...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wiki What?

Don't talk about Wikileaks:

What They Always Wanted

As expected:
White House press secretary Josh Earnest argues that a public option would help create more competition for private health insurance companies.

“Added competition in all 50 states would, we believe, have the effect of further challenging private health insurance companies to improve their offerings and reduce their prices,” Earnest said during the White House press briefing on Wednesday.

Obama is planning to deliver a major speech about Obamacare in Miami, Florida on Thursday, where he is expected to address some of the growing problems with his signature legislative achievement.

But Earnest admitted that despite Obama’s proposed solutions, it would be up for the next president to offer a solution.
It was designed to fail-but what do they want to replace it with?

Planet Of The Tool Makers

Apes with hammers?
The flakes were thought to represent a turning point in human evolution because they demonstrated a level of planning, cognition and hand manipulation that could not be achieved by other animals.

But the new research suggests that flakes can be made without any such foresight. In fact they can simply be made by accident.

“The fact that we have discovered monkeys can produce the same result does throw a bit of a spanner in the works in our thinking on evolutionary behaviour and how we attribute such artefacts,” said Dr Michael Haslam, lead of the Primate Archaeology project at the University of Oxford.

“Our understanding of the new technologies adopted by our early ancestors helps shape our view of human evolution. The emergence of sharp-edged stone tools that were fashioned and hammered to create a cutting tool was a big part of that story.”
Take your stinking paws off our tools you filthy humans...

The Dark Side

The Force is not with them:
Lucasfilm filed a lawsuit last week against New York Jedi and Lightsaber Academy, which teach classes on how to engage in Jedi battles, alleging that the businesses’ use of the words “Jedi” and “lightsaber” along with a logo of the Jedi Order are in violation of intellectual property laws.

The lawsuit identifies Michael Brown, also known as Flynn Michael, as the man behind the businesses. It says that he had sought licensing permission from Lucasfilm and, having been denied it, continued to operate despite receiving multiple cease-and-desist letters.

Mr. Brown answered emails on Tuesday but said he was too busy and had poor cellular reception, so he could not answer questions about the lawsuit. He did not respond to an email message early Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Lucasfilm declined to comment on details of the lawsuit but said, “We protect our intellectual property rights vigorously and we take reports of suspected infringement seriously.”
I find their lack of fun disturbing...

Campus Color Lines

Who are the real racists?
Because it was geared “to create an open dialogue geared specifically to all people of color involved in the program,” a reporter from The Michigan Daily was asked to leave the forum for non-white students.

The reporter was permitted to attend the other event.

Senior Admissions and Recruitment Coordinator Logan Corey defended the racial separation, saying it was “to ensure that students and faculty of color felt safe raising concerns and sitting in solidarity with other people of color, given the current climate on campus.”

Director of Residential College Jonathan Wells added that the separate events were appropriate because it gave “people of color a space to talk without feeling ‘watched.’”
Oh, the horror. Not all snowflakes are white...

Bus Dump

Hillary Clinton literally dumps on America:
CBS46 viewer Mike Robins, manager of a nearby business, took several photos of the tour bus dumping waste into the storm drain. In the pictures, a liquid can be seen coming from the bottom of the bus.

According to Robins, a hazardous materials crew responded to the location and collected the waste to keep more of it from entering the storm drain.

"I don't care who you are. I don't care if you're Hillary Clinton. I don't care if you're Donald Trump. I don't care who you are, you don't throw human waste down a storm drain," said Robins. "Wastewater just dumping all out in the street, poured out in the storm drain, and at this time I've got my cell phone out and I'm taking pictures because I don't care who you are. That's just wrong."
Especially as she expects you to clean up after her mess...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

You're Fired

Call it O'Keefe's Revenge:
Scott Foval, the National Field Director of Americans United for Change--who can be seen in the video bragging about paying homeless and mentally ill individuals to cause disruptions at political events--has been fired from the organization.
"Americans United for Change has always operated according to the highest ethical standards," said Brad Woodhouse, President of Americans United For Change. "Scott Foval is no longer associated with Americans United for Change."
You can't always get away with rigging the vote...

Equal Opportunity Discrimination

What was that about equal pay?
“Essentially here are the key take aways: 3 out of the 11 highest paid employees of the Foundation are women,” Karuna Seshasai, a future Clinton campaign staffer, wrote in a Feb. 24, 2015 email released by Wikileaks on Tuesday.

Seshasai had been put to the task of analyzing Clinton Foundation pay after the publication of reports showing a gender pay gap at Clinton’s Senate office.

The former secretary of state has billed herself as a champion of equal pay. She adheres to the disproved claim that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men doing the same work.

Seshasai went on to lay out the massive gender pay gap at Clinton’s family charity.

“Avg salary of the highest paid men is $294,157.50, while the avg salary of the highest paid women is $181,576.66 ($112K difference),” she wrote.
They're with Her hypocrisy...

The Wrong Judge

The Smithsonian tries to explain: asked: “Many prominent African Americans are not included in the museum, most notably Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas … Can [the institute say] why Thomas and the others listed below are not a part of the museum exhibits?”

Linda St. Thomas, chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian, replied:

“There are many compelling personal stories about African Americans who have become successful in various fields, and, obviously, Associate Justice Thomas is one of them,” St. Thomas said in an email. “However, we cannot tell every story in our inaugural exhibitions.

“We will continue to collect and interpret the breadth of the African American experience,” St. Thomas said.
At least that which it deems worthy?

Control Your Emojis

Are your emojis offensive?
Stickers are incredibly popular in China and are shared more than 20 million times a day on messaging app Wechat, a company spokeswoman told Shanghai based news outlet Sixthtone.

But some stickers and emojis use slang terms which can confuse users, the People’s Daily article said, and experts called for tough measures against those with more extreme content.

“Some have pornographic, violent, negative and unhealthy content, (and) some even violate laws and should be firmly opposed," Tang Zhengda, deputy researcher in language research institute of Chinese academy of social sciences told the newspaper.
In China, emojis watch you...

The Robot Beat

Robo-reporters have arrived:
Non-human hacks will be rolled out to cover sports, football and elections for the Press Association in the next few months.

The cybernetic scribes will be "more accurate" than flesh and blood journos in some cases, according to PA's editor in chief Pete Clifton.

Addressing the Society of Editors conference in Carlisle this morning, Mr Clifton said: “This won’t be replacing any of our fantastic journalists, it will be more a case of offering an extra level when it comes to short market reports, election results and football reporting."
They probably will be more objective, at that...

Zombies For Hillary

How many dead voters do you really need?

Not Making The Care Cut

If you want your Obamacare, you can't qualify for it:
The Affordable Care Act has cut the uninsured rate in half, but 27 million people are still without coverage, said the report released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Of that total, 15.5 million don't qualify for help from the federal government in getting coverage, either through enrolling in the Medicaid program or getting subsidies to buy marketplace plans. That's because they earn too much to qualify, lack legal status, have coverage offered through their employer or fall into a "coverage gap" because they live in states that didn't expand Medicaid.

But 11.7 million uninsured Americans are eligible for financial assistance, Kaiser found. About 6 million could enroll in their state's Medicaid program and another 5 million could buy private marketplace plans with the help of federal subsidies.
When you're too poor to afford "free" care...

The Last Conspiracy

A victim of the men in black?
Max Spiers, a 39-year-old father of two, was found dead on a sofa in Poland, where he had gone to give a talk about conspiracy theories and UFOs.

He was ruled to have died from natural causes despite no post-mortem examination being carried out on his body.

But his dark investigations into UFOs and government coverups may have made him enemies who wanted him dead, says mother Vanessa Bates, 63.

In a chilling text message to his mom just days before his death, Spiers wrote: “Your boy’s in trouble. If anything hap
They won't let you survive...

Wahoo Yahoos

Some people literally have nothing better to do:
Mr. Cardinal insists that the team’s name and logo are demeaning and “offensive” to indigenous peoples and he is demanding an injunction barring their use in Canada.

The activist also demands that while in Canada the Indians should be referred to only as “the Cleveland team.”

The Cleveland Indians issued a short statement in response to the assault on their moniker and logo, saying only, “The Indians are focused on competing in the post season. We will not comment any further on matters that distract from our pursuit on the field.”
Maybe Americans should just refer to Canada as "The northern country" then...

No Actual Investigation Required

Welcome to the Clinton FBI:
“This is a textbook case where a grand jury should have been convened, but was not. That is appalling,” an FBI special agent who has worked public corruption and criminal cases said of the decision. “We talk about it in the office and don’t know how Comey can keep going.”

The agent was also surprised that the bureau did not bother to search Clinton’s house during the investigation.

“We didn’t search their house. We always search the house. The search should not just have been for private electronics, which contained classified material, but even for printouts of such material,” he said.

“There should have been a complete search of their residence,” the agent pointed out. “That the FBI did not seize devices is unbelievable. The FBI even seizes devices that have been set on fire.”
Some devices are more equal than others...

Monday, October 17, 2016

What Has She Done?

This seems to be a familiar pattern:

Robo Baby

The age of the robot baby is upon us:
The robot does not look like a baby, but instead models “vulnerable” baby-like behaviours including recognising and responding to people in a high-pitched tone and being unstable in its movements.

At the other end of the spectrum is Yotaro, a robotic baby simulator that uses projection technology for its face so it can simulate emotions and expressions. The simulator also models reaction to touching, mood and even illness through an in-built runny nose.
Diapers for the batteries are optional...

Back Scratchers

Integrity for sale:
Notes from an interview with an unnamed FBI official reveal the State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy tried to horse-trade with the FBI, offering additional slots for the bureau overseas if they would de-classify a particular email marked “SECRET.”

According to the documents, an unnamed individual said he was “pressured” to “change the classified email to unclassified.”

“[Redacted] indicated he had been contacted by PATRICK KENNEDY, Undersecretary of State, who had asked his assistance in altering the email’s classification in exchange for a ‘quid pro quo,’” the 302 states. “[Redacted] advised that in exchange for marking the email unclassified, STATE would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more Agents in countries where they are presently forbidden.”
Who wants an assignment?

You Can't Do That

Don't tell Milo:
“By the logic of gay liberation, Thiel is an example of a man who has sex with other men, but not a gay man. Because he does not embrace the struggle of people to embrace their distinctive identity.”

Referencing Thiel’s endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his support for conservative and libertarian principles, Downs claims, “In this way, Thiel reaffirmed his own sexual choices — while separating himself from gay identity. His notion that transgender people’s predicament is somehow a distraction effectively rejects the conception of LGBT as a cultural identity that requires political struggle to defend.”

“The gay liberation movement has left us a powerful legacy,” he concluded. “And protecting that legacy requires understanding the meaning of the term ‘gay’ and not using it simply as a synonym for same-sex desire and intimacy”.
Now everybody walk in lock-step...

The Democratic Attack Bird Dogs

Infiltrators, exposed:

The Man Who Isn't There

Where's Julian Assange?
Assange is currently residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, England, where he has remained since seeking political asylum in June 2012. (RELATED: Leaked Emails Show Clinton Campaign Struggling Over Gay Marriage Position)

Kerry is currently in London as well for meetings with British, French and German foreign ministers regarding peace brokering attempts in Syria.

Earlier this month, Assange claimed he was going to make a major announcement regarding Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on the balcony of the embassy, but canceled due to “security concerns.”

Over the last week and a half, Wikileaks has steadily released thousands of emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s Gmail account.
Just because he's paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't tweeting him...

Unfair Play

Some politicians are more equal than others: In the case of Clinton’s email probe, Comey relates numerous issues with Lynch’s actions that ...