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Showing posts from 2017

When Monkeys Go Bad

And now-monkey con?Locals have long observed the monkeys’ rude behavior at Uluwatu Temple on Bali. Videos from the renowned temple show the animals leaping onto unsuspecting tourists, stealing their stuff and hobbling back to their perches as they await a ransom.



But there’s important science to be gleaned from these aggressive animals, say researchers from the University of Liège in Belgium. Since the Uluwatu Temple is really the only place where monkeys act this way, the behavior must be learned.

With each generation, the monkeys have grown bolder and have learned from their parents that if they hold onto the stolen goods, they will get a tasty treat.

The monkeys are actually pretty smart to be able to pull this stunt off over generations, the scientists say.This is how it starts. First the small-time treats, then whole bananas...

Encyclopedic Art

The art of knowledge:Montreal-based Guy Laramée creates sculptures out of old dictionaries and encyclopedias, or anything else a library visitor might walk past without a second glance. Most of his pieces are under a foot tall, but up close they contain grand vistas.

Laramée carves cavernous valleys, formidable peaks, and cascading hills into the sets of books. The detailed etchings are done via sandblasting.

With the books arranged in a variety of different ways, he glues them together with adhesives and applies layers of paints, inks, pastels, and crayons to provide color.

Not surprisingly, each piece, whether it’s a unique inspired or a commissioned work, takes several months to produce.I don't know anything about encyclopedias, but I know what they are when I see one...

Hypno-Vision

That time a TV psychic tried to hypnotize an entire country:Through the broadcasts, Anatoly Mikhailovich Kashpirovsky promised to heal the populace, even as their world changed forever.

Kashpirovsky has been described as “perestroika’s chief magician.” Born in Ukraine in 1939, he trained in clinical psychotherapy and practiced it for 25 years. Having worked successfully with the Olympic weightlifting team, in 1989 he appeared on TV six times for “séances” in which he promised mystical benefits to his viewers.Communism had already been fooling the masses for decades; I suppose this was its last resort...

Flourish Or Perish

Meet the new puritans:The feverish obsession with sex in all its myriad forms and embodiments has led to some very bizarre ideas and mind-numbing outcomes, of which gender (or non-biological) self-identification and transgender fluidity are among the most conspicuous. The pursuit of the sexual makeover has become gruesomely popular. And when mother and son transition to father and daughter, we know we have entered the twilight zone. Indeed, one feels as if one is living among James Cameron’s epicene avatars or deep in some psychotic’s substitute world. And yet the gender radicals are chiefly accredited academics, journal editors, published feminists and government functionaries, an infallible sign that our so-called elites have entered the realm of the fabular, dragging the wider culture and its political masters with them.

What we are observing is a bizarre form of Puritanism. The visceral yet denied fixation on sexual expression and behavior that we associate with the Puritan sensib…

The De-Regulators

President Trump may finally succeed where others have failed:Trump and his agencies have already wielded executive actions and Republican control of Congress to postpone, weaken or outright kill dozens of regulations created by Barack Obama’s administration, often using delays in the courtroom to buy time to make those changes. Their targets have included protections for streams from coal-mining pollution and a directive on the rights of transgender students.

Other Obama-era regulations are in the crosshairs for possible elimination or downsizing, such as limits on greenhouse gases from power plants and rules meant to prevent concentrated ownership of media companies.

But Trump is going after even bigger targets, setting bureaucratic wheels in motion that could eventually ax or revise hundreds of regulations as agencies reorient themselves toward unwinding red tape and granting speedier approvals to projects. Just one of those efforts — an upcoming plan by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ro…

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

A Democratic senator offers grudging opposition to "dark money":“The Republican Party is the party of dark money these days. They’re fond of pointing out that given that they have defended these dark money rules that Democrats have also followed that path as well, now that these are the rules of political engagement,” Whitehouse said on a conference call Thursday about requiring “high-ranking government officials” to disclose their political contributions.

“We on the Democratic side are reluctant participants who continue to try to solve this problem legislatively, so there is a partisan divide on this and it has to do with where the Republican Party gets its money and how badly those big special interests, particularly the fossil fuel industry, want to obscure their hand in the political influence game,” he added. “So this is not going to be easy.”When your own party has dirty hands, it never is...

Auf Wiedersehen, Sweetheart

Elizabeth Merkel is not a team player:Merkel warned of changing relations after Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump. She said a division within the western alliance became evident during the G7 meeting in Italy this weekend.

“The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days,” Merkel said at a campaign rally in Munich. “We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.”

While Europe will stay close to its traditional allies, “we have to fight for our own destiny,” according to Merkel.

She described climate talks with Trump during the G7 as “very unsatisfying” Saturday. Trump left the summit as the only leader to not commit to the Paris Agreement.

“The Paris deal isn’t just any other deal,” she said Saturday, according to Deutsche Welle. “It is a key agreement that shapes today’s globalization.”Deal, or no Deutschland?

Collusion Coda

This is not the conspiracy you were looking for:Recent leaks about the Russia probe, although damaging to the Trump White House, have actually worked against the collusion narrative.

The New York Times reported that Russian officials discussed finding backdoor ways to influence Trump without his knowledge through retired Lieutenant Gen. Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. If true, the Times’ report appears to be inconsistent with the narrative that Trump was engaged in a quid-pro-quo with Russia, as alleged by the infamous Trump dossier that some liberals have used to accuse Trump of colluding with the Russians. (It’s also worth noting that the US officials who leaked to the Times admitted that there is no evidence that Russia actually followed through in that influence campaign.)

Similarly, reports that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner suggested opening up covert channels with Russian officials after the election also appear to work against the collusion narr…

Angry Grandma

You still mad, Hillary?It has been more than six months since Clinton lost to Trump in last year’s presidential election. She mostly kept quiet in the following months and was frequently spotted in public living a normal life. But in the last month or so, Clinton has increased her number of interviews and speaking engagements.

In interviews and while speaking, Clinton refuses to take personal responsibility for her second unsuccessful run at the White House. She blames former FBI Director James Comey, Russia interference, sexism, racism, among other reasons, for her loss. She recently even blamed voter suppression.

But it’s clear Clinton isn’t yet over her loss.Unfortunately, she's not alone in that regard...

Au Revoir, C'est Climate Change

It may soon be official:Publicly, Trump's position is that he has not made up his mind and when we asked the White House about these private comments, Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks said, "I think his tweet was clear. He will make a decision this week."

Why this matters: Pulling out of Paris is the biggest thing Trump could to do unravel Obama's climate policies. It also sends a stark and combative signal to the rest of the world that working with other nations on climate change isn't a priority to the Trump administration. And pulling out threatens to unravel the ambition of the entire deal, given how integral former President Obama was in making it come together in the first place.All it takes is one loose thread...

The Art Of The Declined Deal

President Trump's views might be "evolving," but his decisions aren't:Trump’s decision upset world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, desperate to convince the president of the agreement’s merits.

“The Paris deal isn’t just any other deal. It is a key agreement that shapes today’s globalization,” Merkel said, describing discussions with Trump about climate change “very unsatisfying.”

For opponents of the agreement, the decision is a welcome development after the president’s economic adviser, Gary Cohn, told reporters that Trump was “evolving” on the issue. But it still was not a fulfillment of his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement.Hopefully that comes soon...

Blue Losing Streak

The Democrats just can't seem to catch a break:In the three opportunities they've had to deliver a brushback to Trump through special U.S. House elections, they've failed. These districts are undoubtedly conservative-leaning, having not been held by a Democrat for decades, and in one case, Democrats still have a shot to flip a seat in Georgia next month.

But for all the raised expectations on the left and the hand-wringing on the right, the results have been the same, underscoring just how difficult it will be for the minority party to claw its way back into power. Trump is weakened, but far from vanquished. Republican candidates may be flawed, but their loyal constituencies are showing up to bail them out – if only to rebut the narrative they're constantly hearing permeate out of Washington.
....

The seesaw of politics says Democrats should have the wind at their backs during next year's midterms, especially if Trump doesn't improve his own standing. Over the …

From A To Z

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It's the Pelosi alphabet:

When All Is Innuendo

Innuendo and rumors aren't evidence:Normally if a U.S. official is suspected of treason, the government collects evidence before hinting to the public what it might be seeking evidence about. Think of FBI agent Robert Hanssen or CIA officer Aldrich Ames, both of whom provided the Soviet Union with information that led to the deaths of American agents. Ames and Hanssen are fiends. And yet the public learned about their treachery only when the government charged them.

The discretion of our spy hunters is important not just to protect the rights of the accused. It also is vital to the health of our own political culture. Public discussion of ongoing counterintelligence probes by necessity relies on state secrets. When anonymous allegations of political figures find their way into the press, the guardians of those secrets control the debate. What's more, political debates that revolve around the loyalty of current or former high officials historically has degenerated into witch…

Losing To Themselves

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tom Perez thinks he knows why his party is getting beat, despite spending more than the opposition:

Mean Trolls

Don't hurt their feelings:Feminists United, a student group at the University of Mary Washington, has claimed in a recently filed lawsuit that the administration failed to protect them from posts made on the anonymous social media app, Yik Yak.

The suit alleges that the university failed to protect the students by refusing to ban access to the app via the university’s wifi system. The complaint ignores the reality that most students have access to the app via LTE internet service on their cellular devices, which would render a ban on the university’s wifi system almost worthless.So it would match the opinions of radical feminists, then...

Stamp On, Stamp Off

Earn it or lose it?Many states have work requirements for food stamps. However, the Obama administration granted states waivers during the recession, and many states continue to use waivers for the food stamp requirements.

In 2014, Maine dropped its waiver for work requirements, and required everyone who could work and did not have dependents to either get employment for at least 20 hours a week, enter job-training programs, or volunteer a minimum of 24 hours a month.

Before Maine dropped its waiver in 2014, there were 13,332 food stamp recipients. By March 2015, the number of food stamp recipients dropped by 80 percent, to 2,678 recipients who decided to get a job, participate in job training, or volunteer. Roughly 9,000 people dropped out of the program, leading many analysts to observe that many of those food stamp recipients worked off the books and used food stamps to save money for other expenses. Others stipulated that many became so dependent on government welfare that they co…

Tell It To The Judges

trump's travel ban is headed for the high court:In a 10-3 vote, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban likely violates the Constitution. And it upheld a lower court ruling that blocks the Republican administration from cutting off visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th Circuit is the first appeals court to rule on the revised travel ban unveiled in March. Trump's administration had hoped it would avoid the legal problems that the first version from January encountered. A second appeals court, the 9th U.S. Circuit based in San Francisco, is also weighing the revised travel ban after a federal judge in Hawaii blocked it.

The Supreme Court almost certainly would step into the case if asked. The justices almost always have the final say when a lower court strikes down a federal law or presidential action.

Trump could try to persuade the Supreme Court to allow the policy to take effect, even while the justice…

Pass Or Fail

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Nancy Pelosi swears it will happen:

If You Are Captured Or Exposed, We Never Heard of You

It's hard out there for a press spy:Plenda announced that the AP has terminated her effective immediately in an interview with the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple. Her termination comes as a Nov. 10, 2016, Facebook post she wrote—in which she pledged resistance to then-incoming President Donald J. Trump—was found to be in direct violation of the AP’s editorial standards.

Plenda, in her interview with Wemple, confirmed she wrote the leftist activist post on her Facebook page—a post she has since deleted, but of which Breitbart News published a screenshot earlier this week.

“There’s no denial from Plenda that she authored the tract in question,” Wemple wrote, summarizing their interview.

“I wrote that,” Plenda is quoted as saying.

“It started out on her ‘personal, private’ Facebook page, she says, and then someone shared it more widely,” Wemple continued, paraphrasing the interview with Plenda before dropping the biggest revelation—one the AP’s own spokeswoman Lauren Easton would not …

What About Bob?

Bob Woodward will not be popular with his peers after this:When asked about press “smugness,” Woodward said, “Yes. I think that is a giant problem. On television particularly, you will see a White House correspondent deliver a report and then say ‘the Trump White House said…’ and then there’s a kind of smug smile, which is the correspondent undermining what the White House says. And there may be grounds for that, but it should be reported. It should be straight.”

He added, “I think there are so many people that are treating the Trump presidency as if it’s a tryout—as if it’s provisional. I was reading a column this morning that said Trump half won the presidency because he did not get the popular vote. He is president. Odds are he is probably going to be president for a full term, four years and maybe even more. There is hyperventilation. There is this kind of sense of too many people writing things like—when is the impeachment coming, how long will it last, will he make it through th…

Revenge Of The Anti-Nerds

Silicon Valley may be facing its own version of "Occupy":With large cap tech stocks that are mostly headquartered in Silicon Valley accounting for about 40 percent of all market gains from the Trump stock boom, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Chief Investment Strategist Michael Hartnett suggests that the irrational bonanza “could ultimately lead to populist calls for redistribution of the increasingly concentrated wealth of Silicon Valley,” as first reported by the Value Walk blog.

B of A sees parallels to the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in 2011 that targeted the “one percent,” including big banks that were bailed and given cheap federal loans during the financial crisis of 2007-8. Occupy protestors claimed the government loans were a wealth transfer for the rich, at the expense of workers.

The bipartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks the influence of Silicon Valley money on American elections and government bureaucrats, commented, “Just as water flows downh…

Fake News Numbers

The least trusted names in fake news:According to new Harvard-Harris Poll data, which was first obtained by The Hill, a majority of Americans — 65 percent — believe there is no shortage of fake news in the mainstream media.

That number includes a whopping 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents, and a surprising 53 percent of Democrats. President Donald Trump has long decried the media — and CNN, in particular — as “fake news,” and Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, has dubbed journalists the “opposition party.”

And it appears many Americans agree with Trump, at least on this issue. Eighty-four percent of the survey’s 2,006 respondents said it’s difficult to know what news to trust.

“Much of the media is now just another part of the partisan divide in the country with Republicans not trusting the ‘mainstream’ media and Democrats seeing them as reflecting their beliefs,” Mark Penn, co-director of the Harvard-Harris Poll, said. “Every major institution from th…

The Secret Surveys

The NSA spied, Obama lied:More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

The normally supportive court excoriated administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to a “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to just…

Wage Hikers Strike Again

San Francisco has become another example of why wage hikes don't work, but there are others:The high minimum wage affects restaurants on the margin -- those already losing money or barely squeaking by. How many of those would eventually have succeeded without the wage hike, with success being measured by the ability of the business to stay open for five years or more? Impossible to say.

That Harvard study appears to take the factors above into consideration, so at least nine of those 64 restaurants were forced to close because of the higher wage. But no study can predict how many restaurants won't even open because of the high minimum wage. An established business can get away with raising prices to a certain extent as well as cutting staff. But how many potential restaurant owners are looking at the numbers and changing their minds? Again, we'll never know.

Unions have been pushing the "15 or Fight" movement because the higher minimum wage means higher wages fo…

Real Spies For Fake News

If you can't find anything, send a spy who will make stuff up:Following the fundraiser, the Associated Press published a short story without a byline that was “grossly inaccurate,” NHGOP adviser Patrick Hynes told local television outlet WMUR-9.

“President Donald Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway has told supporters in New Hampshire they should ‘just ignore’ his critics and the incessant chatter about the scandals dogging him,” the “reporter,” later learned to be Melanie Plenda, wrote for the AP.

The report also said about 150 attended, and attendees were “largely friendly” to Conway, but “some people in attendance withheld applause when Conway let loose with snarky comments about Democrat Hillary Clinton.”

“The Associated Press in New Hampshire appears to be engaged in leftwing activism rather than journalism,” Hynes told Breitbart News. “And Melanie Plenda is a leftwing activist not a journalist.”

“They conspired to sneak this leftwing activist into an event for which they were…

That Old Black Magic

Witchcraft is the last resort of desperate liberals:The “binding-spell movement,” according to Wagman, began with a Medium post by magician Michael M. Hughes, who wrote the initial spell “to be performed at midnight on every waning crescent moon until [Trump] is removed from office.”

“I don’t believe in the devil, but I do believe our country has gone to hell,” Wagman wrote, “and I am willing to try anything to save us.”

Before beginning the ritual, Wagman said she “researched” binding spells because she “didn’t want to send bad vibes into the universe” since “there is enough evil in Washington already.”They even have spirit cookers...

Avert Your Eyes

Do not embarrass the King:Article 112 of Thailand’s criminal code states that anyone who insults the king, queen, heir or regent will be sentenced up to 15 years in prison.

Earlier this month the King threatened to sue Facebook because users posted videos of him in public at a German shopping mall wearing a crop top. The footage quickly went viral.

According to the current law, the technology crime suppression police division has to ask internet service providers for cooperation, which ISPs are not required to provide. It is unclear how they will enforce this interpretation.No funny pictures for you...

Stirred, Not Shaken

RIP Roger Moore:Born in London, the only child of a policeman, Moore had studied painting before enrolling in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He played a few small roles in theater and films before his mandatory army duty, then moved to Hollywood in the 1950s. He appeared opposite Elizabeth Taylor in 1954's "The Last Time I Saw Paris" and with Eleanor Parker in "Interrupted Melody" the following year.
In 1970, he became managing director for European production for Faberge's Brut Productions. With the company, he co-starred with Tony Curtis in "The Persuaders!" for British television and was involved in producing "A Touch of Class," which won a best-actress Oscar for Glenda Jackson.
Three years later, he made his first Bond film, "Live and Let Die."
He would make six more, "The Man With the Golden Gun," ''The Spy Who Loved Me," ''Octopussy," ''Moonraker," ''For Your Ey…

Burning Down The House

Hugo's home gets burned:Demonstrators lit the house in the city of Barinas where Chavez spent his early years aflame Monday afternoon along with several government buildings, including the regional office of the National Electoral Council, said Pedro Luis Castillo, a legislator who represents the area.

The burnings capped a violent day in Barinas — known as the cradle of Chavez's revolution — during which protesters clashed with national guardsmen, businesses were shuttered and roads were blocked with fire-filled barricades.

Nineteen-year-old Yorman Bervecia was shot and killed during a protest, according to the nation's chief prosecutor. His death brings to at least 49 the number killed in nearly two months of anti-government protests demanding new elections.

"It is pretty symbolic that the citizens are venting their frustrations on the author of the Bolivarian revolution," said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas.One "revolution&…

Manchester Madness

First, a reminder of how this happened:Around 400 ISIS-trained fighters are believed to have returned from war zones in Syria and Iraq.

Despite being on red alert for more attacks on home soil like today's carnage in Westminster, new statistics show the number of arrests, stop and searches, and examinations of suspected terrorists at ports and airports dropped in 2016 on the levels seen in 2015.

This comes at the same time that the number of people arrested on suspicion of plotting terror strikes on British soil has grown by eight per cent.Meanwhile, Chris Matthews apparently doesn't know real news when he sees it:As Matthews speaks, a video plays in the background from the arena, and loud screams are heard as people on the scene navigate the aftermath of the attack. Matthews nevertheless quickly moved on to a more pressing matter.

“We’ll get the latest on that in a minute,” he said. “We begin however, with the shocking news in Washington tonight.”

That news, Trump asking the …

The Trillion Dollar Man

President Trump cuts deep:Trump’s proposal, to be released Tuesday, claims to balance the budget within a decade. But it relies on a tax plan for which the administration has provided precious little detail, the elimination of programs backed by many Republican lawmakers, and heavy use of accounting gimmicks.

Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal has already been declared dead on arrival by many of his Republican allies in Congress. The plan would slash Medicaid payments, increase monthly student loan payments and cut food stamps and agricultural subsidies, each backed by powerful constituencies. The administration is unbowed.

"We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs," White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said. "We’re going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off those programs and back in charge of their own lives."But then, where would big-government liber…

Don't Ask, Don't Collude

Well, this won't look good:Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”He was just asking...

Fake Bias

When fake news fakes its own data:According to the study, 52 percent of Fox News’ Trump coverage over his first 100 days as president was negative, while 48 percent was positive. It’s a far cry from CNN, NBC News and ABC News, which covered Trump negatively more than 90 percent of the time.

But if you happened to be watching CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday, you might think that Fox News covered Trump in an overwhelmingly positive fashion while outlets such as NBC News and CNN painted Trump in a much more favorable light than The New York Times or Washington Post.

That’s because, as the Daily Caller first reported, “Reliable Sources,” which advertises itself as “telling the story behind the story,” used the wrong data chart when reporting on the study during its Sunday show.

Not only did they use the wrong chart, but the show used a chart that gave viewers the impression that Fox News was overly biased in favor of Trump by covering Trump positively 67 percent of the time.

They even …

Green Radiation

Why do environmentalists hate green power?Every time we shut down a nuclear power plant in the United States, carbon emissions go up by millions of metric tons. Isn’t that a bad thing?

When Bernie’s own state shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, it was replaced by a plant burning a fossil fuel: natural gas. Emissions went up by five percent, the first increase since 2010.

Thirty million tons of carbon emissions spewed into the crisp Vermont air, partly blamed on the cold winter and New Englanders trying to not freeze to death.

Nuclear power is largely carbon neutral and in theory, “an environmentalist’s dream,” Stu said. Yet seven more plants are scheduled to close between now and 2025. The Energy Information Administration predicts an increase of 30-46 million metric tons of carbon emissions.Some carbon is more equal than others...

Seniority For Sale

Call it the UK anti-retirement plan:In her biggest misstep of the campaign so far, May set out plans on Thursday to make some elderly people pay a greater share of their care costs, before hastily announcing on Monday there would be a limit. Questioned at an election event, she grew irritated at suggestions she was backing down.

Six opinion polls published in the past three days have all shown the Conservative Party's lead over the opposition Labour Party narrow by between 2 and 9 percentage points, though all project May will win the election.

May said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and other opponents had tried to scare the elderly by spreading "fake claims" about her plan to transfer more of the cost from taxpayers to recipients who can afford to fund care themselves.

Dubbed the 'dementia tax' by opponents, the proposal had raised concerns that some seniors might see their houses sold off to pay for care, rather than passed on to their descendants.Just because yo…

Inside Panic

So does the Seth Rich case actually have legs?“The behavior is near open panic. To even mention this name in D.C. Circles [sic] will bring you under automatic scrutiny. To even admit that you have knowledge of this story puts you in immediate danger.

If there was no smoke there would be no fire. I have never, in my 20 years of working in D.C. Seen [sic] such a panicked reaction from anyone.

I have strong reason to believe that the smoking gun in this case is out o [sic] the hands of the conspirators, and will be discovered by anon. I know for certain that Podesta is deeply concerned. He’s been receiving anonymous calls and emails from people saying they know the truth. Same with Hillary.”The Clintons are certainly capable of a great deal, but we'll see if this will truly be their undoing or not.

Stamp Of Corruption

They're only following the Democratic model:U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Mohammad Shafiq, 51, to four years in prison and three years of supervised release after his sentence ends, in addition to making him pay $3.7 million in restitution, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Shafiq was the latest defendant to be sentenced in a series of prosecutions of 14 retailers in the Baltimore area.

A federal grand jury indicted the retailers in August 2016 for food stamp and wire fraud.

The 14 retailers stole a total of $16 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture by illegally exchanging food stamps for cash, according to the indictment.

Twelve out the 14 defendants pleaded guilty, and two were sentenced this week, according to the Sun.On the bright side, they can get "free" food in prison...

No Parent Left Behind

The plan for choice:In September, then-candidate Donald Trump rolled out a $20 billion block-grant proposal that would have provided states with access to federal funds for creating school-choice programs.

The plan DeVos is expected to outline on May 22 will likely be more similar to the Educational Opportunities Act, legislation proposed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) in 2013. Under that proposal, which was not approved by the House or the Senate, would have provided individuals with a tax credit amounting to as much as $4,500 for donating money to nonprofit scholarship-granting organizations, which would then provide scholarships to low-income students for use at public or private schools, including religious schools. Corporations could receive a tax credit worth up to $100,000 for their donations.

Politico also reports it’s unlikely the Trump administration’s plan will require states to create school-choice programs.

Because the proposal could be built i…

Fake News Without Shame

They're not even pretending:In their effort to impugn Trump, the Times and the Post violate the most basic journalistic standards. Publishing parts of a document that you do not possess and cannot verify, and timing the release to cause maximum political damage (right after the president leaves the country), is not investigative journalism. It is political propaganda.

It is the mirror image of what the Los Angeles Times did in April 2008, when it published a story referring to a speech then-State Senator Barack Obama gave at a farewell celebration for radical Palestinian-American academic Rashid Khalidi in 2003. The Times was given a video of the speech, but refused to publish the video. Instead, it offered a mere summary, raising suspicions that the Times had sanitized the event to protect Obama’s presidential campaign.

The pattern is the same, from the Khalidi tape to the “nut job” story. For the elite mainstream media, when it comes to protecting Democrats or attacking Republic…

You Auto Know

One of the ideas for replacing Obamacare might not be so great:As for auto-enrolling Americans without health insurance, you are mainly talking about a group of low-income people who choose not to buy insurance even if they are healthy. It’s a practical question how do you make that work and stay with it, and especially for people who are loosely connected to the workforce, and don’t have a lot of income and usually go to a clinic to get care. This is the problem with expanding Medicaid; it does not do a lot to change their behavior, it does a lot more to get the hospital paid.

So there’s a number of issues you have to think through on that, that I believe they have to do.

Once you enroll people, how do you keep them in the system? They do not want to pay nominal premiums, and that’s what happened with Obamacare. With Obamacare, we got them insured in very subsidized coverage, and the insurers were surprised that once they were healthy, they would not even pay ten bucks to keep the co…

This Is...A Brain Freeze

Everyone has a bad day. Maybe it was the heat? Or just working for CNN?

Shallow Waters

There are no Russians here:Huffington Post editor Sam Stein, a frequent “Morning Joe” guest, asked Waters on Thursday what she meant when she accused Trump of “collusion” with Russia. Stein said that “collusion,” to him, means something very specific and that most of the evidence cited by Waters so far seems circumstantial.

“I am talking about strategies that were developed, working with the Trump campaign. I really do believe that much of what you saw coming out of Trump’s mouth was a play from [Russia President Vladimir] Putin’s playbook,” Waters responded.

Waters explained that Trump calling Hillary “crooked” and encouraging talk about locking her up were strategies developed by Putin and the Russians. The congresswoman added that the Russians needed Trump in order to lift drilling sanctions in the arctic, turning a blind eye to the invasion of Crimea, and allowing the reunification of the Soviet Union.

“But just to be clear, there has been no actual evidence yet?” Stein asked.

“No…

Clocked Out

Clock Boy gets his cleaned:On September 14, 2015, 14-year-old Ahmed gained national attention when his high school teacher suspected he brought a bomb to school.

Ahmed was surprised and showed the teacher it was actually a homemade alarm clock. She told the Muslim teen she would keep it behind her desk for the rest of the day.

Mohamed filed a Federal lawsuit against the City of Irving, Texas and Irving Independent School District accusing them of violating his son's civil rights.
....

Court papers obtained by DailyMail.com reveal on May 18, a judge dismissed the entire case. The lawsuit sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages along with attorney fees.

The judge wrote: 'Plaintiff does not allege any facts from which this court can reasonably infer that any IISD employee intentionally discriminated against Ahmed Mohamed based on his race or religion.'

Further, he notes that the suit failed to identify any policy, custom, or practice of the City that was alle…

Weiner Dog

Anthony Weiner is officially a creep:Weiner did not comment as he walked out of the courthouse, but in court he said his “… destructive impulses brought great devastation to my family and friends and destroyed my life’s dream of public service.”

He cried as he apologized to the teen saying, “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse.”

Weiner’s attorney said his client “accepted full responsibility” and “apologized, offered no excuses, and made a commitment to make amends.” He said Weiner is “focused on his recovery.”

The judge told Weiner he would have to register as a sex offender.

He has been released on bail pending his sentencing, which has been set for Sept. 8. He could face a fine and anywhere from no time in prison to up to 10 years. Weiner agreed to not appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison.You live by the selfie, you commit career suicide by the selfie...

The Hidden Forests

New forests abound:“We found new dryland forest on all inhabited continents, but mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, around the Mediterranean, central India, coastal Australia, western South America, northeastern Brazil, northern Colombia and Venezuela, and northern parts of the boreal forests in Canada and Russia. In Africa, our study has doubled the amount of known dryland forest,” Lowe and Sparrow wrote in their report at The Conversation.

“With current satellite imagery and mapping techniques, it might seem amazing that these forests have stayed hidden in plain sight for so long. But this type of forest was previously difficult to measure globally, because of the relatively low density of trees,” the report said.

This greening is likely the result of the fertilizing effects of CO2, as revealed in a 2016 study by an international team of 32 scientists from 24 institutions. The study, titled “Greening of the Earth and its Drivers,” utilized satellite sensors over the span of 33 years to m…

Non-Neutrality Territory

Guess who's against free speech online?Members of the alt-left who have been tied to violent protests in the past picketed outside the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday in protest of Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to reverse net neutrality rules. The FCC will vote to undue the Obama era Title II rule that classified Internet service providers as utilities, subjecting them to more federal regulation.

Protesters covering their faces held signs that read "Ban Drudge," with a no symbol over the Drudge Report, the highly trafficked news website run by Matt Drudge. Other protesters held signs to ban other news websites, including Breitbart and InfoWars.

Organizers of the campaign "Protect Our Internet" are connected to PopularResistance.org, which features several members of the antifascist (antifa) campaign."Resistance" against real freedom seems somewhat counterproductive...

General For Hire, Reasonable Rates

Michael Flynn warned them:Flynn's conversation with the transition team came a month after the Justice Department notified Flynn he was under investigation, according to the Times.

The Justice Department investigation was not seen as disqualifying Flynn from the national security adviser position, people close to the retired Army lieutenant general told Fox News.

Flynn was fired as national security adviser by Trump on Feb. 13 after the White House said he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials about his communications with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

The White House had no immediate comment on the Times story Wednesday night.

Earlier Wednesday, people close to the former national security adviser told Fox News that Flynn never asked Trump to interfere or block federal probes.

"Flynn never spoke to the president about trying to end or influence any ongoing government investigations of him," Fox News was told.It might have been awkward…

The Last Broadcast

RIP Fox News' ex-CEO Roger Ailes:Ailes resigned from Fox in summer 2016 in the wake of former Fox News Channel Host Gretchen Carlson's sexual harassment lawsuit against him. Ailes had denied the allegations.

Ailes founded Fox News and helped shape the modern cable news landscape in the process. Before that, he worked as a producer and also worked in politics as a consultant. In the early 1990s, he served as president of CNBC, which he left to create Fox News.

In a statement to Drudge Report, his wife Elizabeth Ailes said, "I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning. Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise—and to give back. During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of m…

The Sheriff Is A...

Sheriff Clarke gets a new gig:Clarke was recently floated as a long shot to replace former FBI Director James Comey after his firing last week. Rumors surfaced last month that Clarke was being considered for a Homeland Security position.

Clarke’s tough talk on crime has made him a hit with conservatives, including with President Trump’s base. He has been a vocal critic of illegal immigration and anti-police crime. He has also caused controversy over his remarks about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Clarke’s new job will be “a huge undertaking,” he told McKenna.

“I’m almost overwhelmed just with the thought of it, but at the same time I never shy away from a challenge,” he said.There's a new sheriff in town...

Spoonman

RIP Chris Cornell:Cornell died at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel, Woody said. He said Cornell's wife had called a family friend and asked him to check on Cornell; the friend forced open a hotel room door and found Cornell on the bathroom floor.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner's office will make an official determination about the cause of death.

News of Cornell's death prompted scores of tweets expressing sadness. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry tweeted: "Very sad news about Chris Cornell today. A sad loss of a great talent to the world, his friends and family. Rest In Peace."

With his powerful, nearly four-octave vocal range, Cornell was one of the leading voices of the 1990s grunge movement with Soundgarden, which emerged as one of the biggest bands out of Seattle's emerging music scene, joining the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.This leaves Eddie Vedder as one of the last survivors of that era...

Love And Self Marriage

What do you do, when you're literally in love with yourself?In the new, sad trend called "sologamy," women are committing themselves to themselves with their own wedding ceremony. These women, such as self-styled "sologamist" Erika Anderson, throw on a white gown, invite their close friends and family and marry themselves in a legally nonbinding way.

“I would describe it as women saying yes to themselves,” Anderson, 37, told WUSA9. “It means that we are enough, even if we are not partnered with someone else.

"You're worth it!" added the feminist.

Anderson tied the knot to herself in New York City and advocates for the self-marriage lifestyle.

"Anderson said she grew tired of people asking why she was still single. So, in front of family and friends she married herself," notes WUSA9.

The trend has grown within the United States and has even gone international.Just because you're lonely, doesn't mean you can't find that perf…

The Snob Party

When you've lost Rahmbo:Emanuel said, “I think don’t we talk about, and fight for the middle class like we are. We believe we’re for them, but they don’t — if they don’t hear we’re for them, then we’ve got a problem. Because we’re not going to convince them that they’re wrong.”

He added that the Democrats have “wandered off” from being the party that fought for working families in some ways.

Emanuel continued, “And it’s not just a string of policies, it’s also a set of values that respect who they are in their lives. And I think we come off, and can come off as a party disdainful of them as the bedrock of this great country.”It doesn't help when you take them for granted, either...

Out On Their Own

Could the entitlement mentality be skipping a generation?Millennials say people should be able to pay for their own housing at 22 years of age, pay for their own car at 20.5 years of age and be responsible for their own cell phone plan at 18.5 years of age, according to a new study from personal-finance site Bankrate.com.

In all three cases, the younger cohort’s average response is about a year and a half earlier than when baby boomers feel these three landmarks of financial independence should happen.

“Millennials are often stereotyped as being entitled,” Sarah Berger, a columnist and analyst at Bankrate.com, said in a statement on the survey released Wednesday. “It’s refreshing to see that millennials really do have high expectations of gaining financial independence and getting off their parents’ payroll.”Unfortunately, many of them still feel otherwise...

Don't Harass My Authority

Who says liberals and conservatives can't find common ground?The lawsuit was filed by the liberal blog Plunderbund, the Portage County Tea Party. Also included as plaintiffs are John Spinelli, who frequently writes for Plunderbund, and Tom Zawistowski, head of the Portage County Tea Party.

The plaintiffs claim the law's language is overly broad and prohibits critical speech of public officials. Both groups publish opinions critical of public officials and their court filings say they are not covered under an exception in Ohio law provided for media outlets.

The groups are asking a judge to block the law while the case is pending and to ultimately find the law unconstitutional.

It acknowledges that the groups sometimes put "invective, ridicule and strong language intended to mock, lampoon or call into question the actions, motives and public policy positions of various figures" in its articles. However, that speech is protected and should not be subject to criminal sa…

Mac Makes His Move

John McCain is on the warpath:“Every couple of days, there’s a new aspect of this really unhappy situation… None of us, no matter what our political leanings are, no matter how we feel about Trump, feel this is not good for America,” McCain added.

The comments are the harshest yet from the GOP side of the aisle and come as some Democrats are openly calling for President Donald Trump impeachment over the “Comey Memo.” Rep. Al Green (D-TX) did so on the House floor Tuesday morning.

McCain’s comments add to rumblings among certain other Republicans on Capitol Hill who have signaled their willingness to abandon Trump over the allegations in Comey’s memo and reports of discussion of classified information with Russian diplomats. The Hill reported Wednesday that the Comey Memo was causing more GOPers to try and detach their legislative agenda from the president.

McCain has been a proponent of the Russian election-influence narrative, and a central figure in Senate hearings on the issue. He …

Moore Versus Trump

He's baaaack:It’s called “Fahrenheit 11/9” — a reference not only to Moore’s previous flick “Fahrenheit 9/11” but also to Nov. 9, 2016, the date Trump’s win over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton became official.

“I’m making a movie to get us out of this mess,” Moore said on Facebook of his newest project. “I’ve f***ing had it.”

Moore said in a statement that “filming has been done under a strict cloak of secrecy and is expected to be key in dissolving Trump’s ‘teflon’ shield and, in turn, his presidency,” EW.com reported.

But believe it or not, the filmmaker — who’s been among the loudest and most frequent opponents of Trump among the Hollywood elite — also acknowledged Trump’s famous staying power.

“No matter what you throw at him, it hasn’t worked,” Moore said of the president. “No matter what is revealed, he remains standing. Facts, reality, brains cannot defeat him. Even when he commits a self-inflicted wound, he gets up the next morning and keeps going and tweeting. That al…

A Spy In The House And Senate

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Just how many people did Obama spy on, anyway?

Union Dues

Being a union boss is good work if you can get it:Union leaders earned an average salary of $252,370 in 2016, according to a new report from the Center for Union Facts. The center compiled salary information from federal labor filings from 192 of the largest national, state, and local unions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, business leaders only earned an average of $194,350 — almost $60,000 less than union bosses, the Washington Free Beacon's Bill McMorris reported.

When other perks were taken into consideration, union officials took home an average of $283,678.

For instance, Airline Pilots Association President Timothy Canoll was the highest-paid union leader, taking home a total compensation of $775,829, with benefits added on top of his base salary of $526,292. The union gave Canoll about $250,000 in perks, including $24,000 in allowances and $29,000 in official business expenses including things like meals and entertainment. And there's the $196,534 in compen…

The Laws Of Whose Land?

Democrats try to save Obama's legal legacy:Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Tom Udall of New Mexico introduced the Sunset the CRA and Restore American Protections (or SCRAP) Act to eliminate the law President Donald Trump used to repeal dozens of his predecessor’s environmental rules.

The president has used the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a law passed in 1996 that makes it easier for lawmakers to repeal regulations from the executive branch. Congress only needs a simple majority to nix recently issued regulations, but it must act on the regulation within 60 days.

Booker and Udall’s proposal would allow federal agencies to reinstate rules that have already been struck down under the CRA, which has been used only once since 2001, when former President George W. Bush used it to repeal a Clinton-era labor rule.

Democrats argue Republicans are abusing the law.

“It’s like using a sledgehammer when a chisel is needed,” Udall said. “The CRA never should have been passed …

Deep Blue Mystery

Who killed the staffer?The Democratic National Committee staffer who was gunned down on July 10 on a Washington, D.C., street last July just steps from his home had leaked thousands of internal emails to WikiLeaks, law enforcement sources told Fox News.

A federal investigator who reviewed an FBI forensic report detailing the contents of DNC staffer Seth Rich’s computer generated within 96 hours after his murder, said Rich made contact with Wikileaks through Gavin MacFadyen [pictured: bottom right], a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time.

“I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and Wikileaks,” the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department.A case of Clinton-itis?

Fake News Strikes Again

Who leaked what to whom?In a brief statement in front of the White House, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster described the Post's story as "false."

The newspaper cited current and former U.S. officials who said Trump jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on ISIS in his conversations with the Russian officials, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

"The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation," McMaster said. "At no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed, and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known."

McMaster's statement echoed earlier denials issued by two other administration officials who attended the meeting.

"This story is false. The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced," said Dina Powell, deputy natio…

The Anti-Fascist Fascists

Being openly Republican has become the new taboo:In one of the most recent incidents, police in Tennessee charged a woman with felony reckless endangerment on Thursday for allegedly trying to run Republican Congressman David Kustoff off the road after a town hall. The woman, Wendi Wright, was reportedly enraged over Kustoff’s support for the American Health Care Act and screamed at the congressman and his aide, striking his car windows and reaching inside the vehicle.

The same day that Tennessee police charged Wright for reckless endangerment, police in North Dakota escorted an enraged man from another town hall after he became physical with Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer over his support for the GOP Obamacare replacement. “Will the rich benefit from, if the health care is destroyed, do the rich get a tax break? Yes or no?” the man shouted, before shoving cash down the congressman’s collar. “There you go, take it.”

CNN’s Poppy Harlow downplayed the incident, saying the man was “showing …

The Trade-In

NAFTA's days may be slowly numbered:Congress finally approved Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s nominee for the United States Trade Representative on Thursday, allowing the administration to begin “fast track” trade discussions with Congress. Lighthizer’s nomination was stalled in the Senate for four months, effectively freezing attempts from the administration to move forward on NAFTA.

Despite efforts by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro to progress Trump’s trade agenda, Congress insisted that Lighthizer be confirmed and in place before continuing fast track negotiations, according to White House sources.

“I would call it a slow track to hell,” a White House senior aide said in an interview with Breitbart News, blaming Republicans opposed to renegotiating trade deals and Democrats eager to stall Trump’s agenda. The administration still has to formally notify Congress of its intentions to renegotiate NAFTA, triggering a 90-day waiting period…

I Scream, You Scream, They Scream

Apparently this is the next big Trump scandal:In a segment titled, “Two scoops for Trump,” CNN’s Jeanne Moos talks about Trump’s “executive privilege” for receiving two scoops of ice cream while the three TIME magazine correspondents he had dinner with only got one.

The TIME magazine correspondents made sure to take note of the disparity between the food given to the president and the food they were served in a profile called “Donald Trump After Hours,” the profile the segment was based on.

“At the dessert course, he gets two scoops of vanilla ice cream with his chocolate cream pie, instead of the single scoop for everyone else,” TIME’s Michael Scherer and Zeke Miller wrote.

“With the salad course, Trump is served what appears to be Thousand Island dressing instead of the creamy vinaigrette for his guests,” they added.And what if he adds syrup? That's grounds for impeachment, right there...

Cool Heads Versus Hot Air

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It's Dilbert in denial mode:







Let the outrage begin...

The Wages Of Reality

Wage hikers continue to suffer setbacks in the real world:Mike Whatley, director of state and local government policy for the National Restaurant Association, which generally opposes the higher rates, said activists had plucked the long-hanging fruit when they got traditionally liberal places such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City to adopt $15 rates. Other regions are taking a "more measured approach."

"You see it more and more from politicians of all stripes. They are taking a hard look at the economic impact of this," Whatley said.

The stalled efforts come as reports are trickling in that $15 minimum wage increases in other regions are causing economic problems – well before the full rate has been phased in.

A study by the University of Washington last year on Seattle's increase to $11 an hour — the rate is set to rise to $15 by 2021 — found that the region's low-income workers were marginally worse off because of it.

"The city's lo…

The Non-Watergate Watergate

Bob Woodward in't impressed by the Watergate comparisons:"This is not yet Watergate — not yet a clear crime," said the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who helped report the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. He was participating in a panel on "Fox News Sunday."

Woodward added that Trump's actions since launching his campaign have long been "strange and unpredictable and impulsive."

"But in the case of Nixon, he had his former White House counsel John Dean for four days testifying that the president corruptly and illegally led the obstruction of justice. And you have nothing comparable," Woodward said. "Now that doesn't mean, you know, we don't know where this is gonna go there is a tremendous amount of smoke."

"There are, you know, a thousand questions and they should be answered, but there's no evidence President Trump at this point will somehow involve in collusi…

Last Man Walking

Why was Tim Allen's show axed?The liberal ABC Television Network’s decision to axe Tim Allen’s hit Friday night comedy The Last Man Standing has caused consternation among fans who suspect the highly rated multi-camera sitcom has been nixed primarily because of Allen’s right-of-center political beliefs.

The show was ABC’s second-most-watched comedy this season, with 8.1 million viewers, only behind Modern Family. Deadline Hollywood, which broke the news of the cancellation, reported that The Last Man Standing was “hitting ratings highs in its sixth season.”

Many viewers of the show think that the decision is being made by liberal ABC, owned by Disney, primarily because the series is about an unashamedly conservative character (Mike Baxter) played by a conservative actor. Allen told Jimmy Kimmel in March that living in Hollywood right now was akin to being in Nazi Germany.He seems to have been more right than he realized...

Mother Mothers

What would Mother's Day in the 21st century be without social justice warriors?Writing in the Toronto Star, columnist Emma Teitel says that such “gendered holidays” are “generally a drag for non-binary parents who don’t identify with a single gender.”

There’s even a proposed “Non Binary Parents Day” (July 17), Teitel notes. But she has a different idea: Getting rid of both Mother’s and Father’s Day, and, “in the spirit of both inclusivity and selfishness,” opting for a gender-neutral “Guardians Day.”

“A guardian can be a mom, a dad, a non-binary parent, a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a pet owner, or why the heck not—somebody who takes really good care of his houseplants,” she writes.

This Mother’s Day, several transgender people have written or posted video describing how the holiday can trigger feelings of guilt and confusion.people who are unhappy with themselves generally don't want others to be...

Where Ideologues Go To Die

Suppose you started a fringe movement and nobody cared?Everyday Feminism vows to find a way to survive “at a time when unapologetic white supremacists are in power” and at a time when “millions of readers” seek strategies “for healing from systemic oppression and for inclusive, effective activism.”

The website vows it will only go out of business with “one hell of a fight.”

“Help us resist,” Everyday Feminism implores.

Everyday Feminism claims to be “one of the most popular feminist digital media sites in the world.” The founder and CEO is Sandra Kim, is “a person with multiple marginalized identities.”

According to the “About Everyday Feminism” webpage, the site works “to amplify and accelerate the progressive cultural shifts taking place across the US and the world.” The site also helps people “apply intersectional feminism and compassionate activism to their real everyday lives.”

The term “intersectionality” means the study of links — “intersections” — between different forms of op…

Left Coast Revolt

Californians don't approve of Jerry Brown's gas tax:Citizens have signed signatures for a recall effort against Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman for his vote in favor of for the Road Repair and Accountability Act, and another lawmaker is moving forward on an initiative to repeal the unpopular gas tax.

The law, passed April 6, imposes a 12 cents a gallon hike on citizens and raises the tax on diesel fuel by 20 cents a gallon. It also implements an additional charge to annual vehicle license fees ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the car’s value.

Democrats in the state legislature forced the measure along party lines. Only one Republican — state Sen. Anthony Cannella — voted in favor of the measure after receiving $500 million in kickbacks for a commuter rail extension in his district. But Cannella’s Democratic colleagues are the lawmakers being targeted.Sometimes the people do pay attention when you screw them over...

Lunch Lady Blues

Michelle Obama is unhappy that the days of her lunch menus are over:“We gotta make sure we don’t let anybody take us back,” the former first lady said. “The question is, ‘where are we going back to?’ You know, what is it that people. This is where you really have to look at motives. I mean you have to stop and think why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school?

“What is wrong with you?” she asked rhetorically, to great applause.

“And why is that a partisan issue?” she continued. “Why would that be political? What is going on? You know, now that’s up to moms. Moms, think about this. I don’t care what state you live in. Take me out of the equation, like me, don’t like me, but think about why someone is OK with your kids eatin’ crap.”

“Why you would celebrate that?” she asked. “Why would you sit idly and be OK with that?”Well, she was when it was her crap the kids were eating...

Bill Versus Bill

Bill Maher gets it right:Maher said on Friday’s “Real Time” that Bill Clinton is to blame for the Comey fallout, citing a tarmac meeting he had with Lynch last summer in Arizona just days before Hillary Clinton was to be deposed by federal investigators.

“A lot of this is because of Bill Clinton,” Maher said Friday. “The reason why Comey had to say what he did is because the attorney general had to recuse herself because [Bill Clinton] walked on her plane.

“Let’s not forget that,” Maher emphasized.

“Bill Clinton, once again, f**ked up his wife’s life. If Bill Clinton hadn’t walked on Loretta Lynch’s plane, then she would have been making the statement instead of Comey,” Maher explained, adding that Comey was put in an “almost impossible” position.

“That’s where we are — Bill Clinton,” Maher said. “Let’s put the blame where it belongs.”Unfortunately, too many on his own side won't...

The T Word

Not all spaces are created equal:Two feminist activists believe Bill C-16 will negatively affect women’s spaces, like rape centers. Under Bill C-16, which would update the Canadian Human Rights Act, it would be illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression.”

“We are worried that this well-intentioned legislation will be used to undermine the rights of women and the crucial work of women’s groups,” Hilla Kerner,a Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter member, said to a committee.

Another feminist activist said the bill’s language makes it seem that a person can just choose their own gender at will.

“This language is a big problem because it treats gender as a personal choice. It treats gender as though it’s the clothes that I wear or my makeup or my behaviour or the way we sit,” Meghan Murphy, founder of the website Feminist Current, said to senators.I guess it depends on how you handle it...

Chronic Cash

Booze and weed for sale?Democratic Mayor Jim Kenny made the suggestion during a local radio interview Wednesday, explaining it will benefit Philadelphia and the state by making it harder for minors to access the substance. Support for the decriminalization or legalization of recreational marijuana is building among lawmakers in the state, but many are still wary of taking action until their medical marijuana program, signed into law in April 2016, is fully implemented, reports Penn Live.

Kenny is a longtime advocate of marijuana legalization and argues it would rake in huge revenue for the state, money that currently flows to the black market.

“The hardest place to get served underage in Philadelphia when I was growing up was a Pennsylvania state liquor store,” Kenny said Wednesday, according to Penn Live. “To me, we have the perfect system to set up the legal recreational use of cannabis through a controlled state store system, allowing the state to capture all the income that is goi…

Real Accuracy In Fake Media

President Trump warns the press corps:n a series of tweets Friday, the president said “it is not possible” for his communications team “to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” He floated the idea of handing out pre-written statements to reporters instead.

“As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!……Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future “press briefings” and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???”No more briefings for you?

Speaking Limits To Power

Is it really time for something like this?Article V lays out the procedure for amending the Constitution. The option, which has never been successfully used before, is for two-thirds of the states to call for a convention to propose constitutional amendments, which will then need to be ratified in three-fourths of state legislatures.

Meckler clarified that the push for a Convention of States is not about rewriting the Constitution, but simply adding amendments that would impose limits on the federal government. “The Constitution’s not at risk; we’re trying to go back to something more like the original Constitution,” he said.

The three proposed amendments aim to curb government spending; restrain the federal government’s scope and jurisdiction; and impose term limits in the legislative and judicial branches.

Meckler noted that the process would be the ultimate lesson in the constitutional process for the nation. Conservatives often lament that people don’t understand the Constitution,…

The Russians Aren't Coming

No, President Trump isn't being investigated:During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Comey refused to confirm whether the president was under FBI investigation, saying that doing so put him on a slippery slope of having to answer who else is or is not under investigation.

“I understand why he took that position, but I don’t agree – at least not when it comes to the President and senior government officials. The American people deserve to know if senior government officials are under active criminal or intelligence investigation,” Grassley said.

The speculation went into overdrive on Wednesday, after Trump fired Comey in a surprise move. In Trump’s letter to Comey announcing the firing, he wrote: “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”

Grassley said wild speculation that the FBI is targeting the president is “not just irresponsible and unfounded,” but also played into Russian goals to undermine the Amer…

Cutting Off The Gravy Train

Even Jerry Brown agrees college corruption is bad:In his latest budget proposal for California’s 2017-2018 fiscal year, Brown said the money will only be released when UC makes progress in fixing its financial problems in addition to meeting other conditions set by his office, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Brown said he wants more transparency and financial reporting from the school system. He also criticized administrators' salaries as being too high.

“I put the $50 million (the amount he is withholding) in there to hold their feet to the fire,” Brown said.

A state audit found that under university system President Janet Napolitano, former Department of Homeland Security chief, UC administrators hid $175 million from the public while increasing tuition and asking the state for more money.

The UC Board of Regents in January voted to increase in-state tuition and fees by $336 next academic year. Some lawmakers called for a reversal of the tuition hike in the wake of the aud…

Brownout

Another day, another Democrat going to jail:The charges stemmed from accusations she illegally siphoned thousands of dollars from her charity into her own bank account for lavish parties, trips and shopping excursions.

Brown was found not guilty on four of the 22 total charges.

Brown served as a Florida representative in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 until 2017. She was defeated in her 2016 primary race.

The indictment came after an investigation into the charity One Door for Education Foundation Inc., which federal prosecutors say was purported to give scholarships to poor students but instead filled the coffers of Brown and her associates.

Earlier this year, One Door President Carla Wiley pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after it as determined that she had deposited $800,000 into the foundation's account over four years. Over that time, federal prosecutors say it gave one scholarship for $1,000 and that Wiley transferred herself tens o…

Cashing Out Of NYC

They never learn:Angelica Kitchen, long a staple of the East Village, closed their doors after 40 years of operation in response to the increased cost of labor mandated by the new wage policy. “I felt like I was being regulated in a way that took certain choices away from me that I felt belonged to me, rightfully, as a business owner,” owner Leslie McEachern said. “I’m not trying to undercut or underpay anybody, but I also don’t know what’s coming down the pike.”

Despite the negative effects of December’s increase, minimum wages in the city are set to increase again by another two dollars at the end of 2017.

Not all restaurant owners are lamenting the new wage policy. Jason Wang, the founder of Xi’an Famous Foods in Manhattan supports the wage increase policy. However, he claims that to offset the increase in the cost of labor, he was forced to raise his prices.

“No one is ever going to celebrate a price increase,” Wang said. “But I think that with the wage increases, people won’t se…

Fraud Division

team Trump goes after voter fraud:Trump has alleged, without evidence, that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally in his 2016 campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton. He has vowed since the start of his administration to investigate voter fraud, a process that has been delayed for months.

The commission will include Republicans and Democrats and be composed of current and former state election officials and other experts, the White House official said.

The panel will aim to ensure confidence in the integrity of federal elections while looking at vulnerabilities in the system and the possibility of improper voting and fraudulent voter registration and voting, the official said.Democrats wanted an investigation into elections. Be careful what you wish for...

The Last Exchange

Adios, Aetna:While the move is likely to attract outsize political attention, the decision affects just Delaware and Nebraska. The Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer already said last year it would pull out of 11 states, and in the last month announced plans to exit Iowa and Virginia.

“At this time have completely exited the exchanges,” Aetna said in a statement Wednesday. The insurer will also stop selling non-Obamacare individual plans in Delaware and Nebraska.

Aetna had indicated it might pull out earlier this month, when Chief Financial Officer Shawn Guertin said the company would take steps to limit its financial losses in the program. Aetna has said it expects to lose more than $200 million on individual health plans this year in the four states where it’s still selling Affordable Care Act plans.All is happening as it was foreseen...