Monday, July 31, 2017

Monkey Man

Human see, human take selfie:
Self-funding a trip to Indonesia to work with this particular monkey tribe, Slater staged the photo during a month of working with the macaque monkeys. He set up a camera on a tripod, taught the monkey to come close to it and got it to press the button, Slater described on this week’s “The Jeff Fisher Show.”

Wikipedia was Slater’s first problem, determining that the famous “monkey selfie” was public domain because the monkey pressed the button. PETA next jumped in on the case, pretending that the monkey took the photographer’s camera, ran off with it and somehow knew to take the photo on its own.

Six years later, Slater is still fighting a legal battle for his photo. A judge ruled in 2016 that animals can’t own rights to photos, but a lawyer appealed the case on behalf of the monkey PETA claims is the monkey in the photo. According to Slater, PETA doesn’t even have the correct monkey because the monkey in the picture is not Naruto, a male, but a female macaque named Ella.
Meanwhile, monkeys laugh at hairless apes...

Game Over

Unleash the Horde:
According to sites that track the value of both currencies, KalebPrime’s math is outdated, and WoW gold is now worth even more than the bolivar.

According to the site dolartoday.com, which actively tracks the worth of the bolivar on the black market, the bolivar has dropped to 11,185.95 per dollar since KalebPrime posted .

Meanwhile, according to mmobux.com, which tracks the value of WoW’s in-game currency for sales outside of the game, the lowest sale of 10,000 gold in a real life exchange will get you $1.21.
It'll take more than a Paladin to solve this problem...

Mooch Is Out

That was quick:
“Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement. “Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best.”

Mr. Scaramucci’s abrupt removal came just 10 days after the wealthy New York financier was brought on to the West Wing staff, a move that convulsed an already chaotic White House and led to the departures of Sean Spicer, the former press secretary, and Reince Priebus, the president’s first chief of staff.

In a Twitter message just before 5:30 on Monday morning, just hours before the announcement about Mr. Scaramucci, Mr. Trump insisted that there has been “No WH chaos!”
He was just a poor boy from a poor family...

It's A Madhouse

You blew it all up, damn you:

Turn Out The Green Lights

Are "green" light bulbs actually bad for you?
Arnold Wilkins, a professor of psychology at the University of Essex, said LED lights dim by 100 percent, which means the turn on and off hundreds of times every second. This constant flickering is not noticeable to many people, but Arnold said the effects of the flickering can include headaches, feelings of pain, and dizziness, according to a report by the Daily Mail (U.K.).

Writing for The Conversation, Wilkins said, “We know from earlier work on fluorescent lighting that even though the flicker is too fast to be visible, it remains a likely health hazard. In 1989, my colleagues and I compared fluorescent lighting that flickered 100 times a second with lights that appeared the same but didn’t flicker. We found that office workers were half as likely on average to experience headaches under the non-flickering lights.”

“No similar study has yet been performed for LED lights,” Wilkins continued. “But because LED flickering is even more pronounced, with the light dimming by 100% rather than the roughly 35% of fluorescent lamps, there’s a chance that LEDs could be even more likely to cause headaches. At best, it’s likely to put some people off using LED bulbs because of the annoying, distracting effect of the flickering, which we know can be detected during saccades.”
The planet's health is more important than your own, you know...

The Wages Of Hypocrisy

Practice what you preach:
On Thursday, Warren spoke to a group of liberal activists with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and renewed her calls for equal pay.

“Boy, do they keep reminding me about this on Capitol Hill the need to say this,” she said, according to the Washington Free Beacon. “We believe in equal pay for equal work.”

However, according to a report from the Free Beacon, Warren’s gender pay gap in her office is so large that it is 10 percent larger than the national average.

The Free Beacon reported in April — the same month as “Equal Pay Day” — that women in Warren’s office earn on average just 71 percent for each dollar the men earn. That equates to more than $20,000 less for women then men per year.
Senator speak with forked tongue...

Worst In Show

It's the human animals who can be dangerous:
Frank Cochran, 59, bought the weapons - one of which was disguised as a torch - in March 2014 during a trip to California after experiencing "acrimony" from fellow dog show competitors.

Mr Cochran directed police to the locations of both weapons during a raid on his property in Church Eaton, Staffordshire, on October 6 last year after his ex-wife had alerted them.

He admitted two counts of possession of illegal firearms at Stafford Crown Court and was sentenced to one year in jail, suspended for two years, and ordered to serve 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £535 in legal costs.

Mr Cochran is a former member of the Great Britain Olympic trench shooting squad - where groups of clays are fired at varying angles from a trench - and has also represented Scotland at shooting.
The competition is brutal out there...

Are You Talking To Me?

You can be a good listener:
Psychology researchers from Michigan State University and University of Michigan conducted a study to determine if self-talk could reduce anxiety. To do so, scientists rounded up a group of participants for two experiments.

For the first one, the subjects were shown disturbing images, such as a man holding a gun to their heads. Then, they were asked to respond to the pictures in first-person and third-person as their brain activity was being monitored.

For the second one, they were asked to recall a traumatic experience in first-person and then in third-person while their brain activity was being reviewed.

In both cases, they found that participants displayed less brain activity in the region most associated with storing emotional experiences when speaking in the third-person than when speaking in the first-person.

"Essentially, we think referring to yourself in the third person leads people to think about themselves more similar to how they think about others, and you can see evidence for this in the brain," Jason Moser, one of the MSU researchers, said in a statement. "That helps people gain a tiny bit of psychological distance from their experiences, which can often be useful for regulating emotions."
You're not crazy, you're just calm...

Stardust

Get your ashes to space?
It costs about $5,000 for a “burial” in low-Earth orbit, where a travel-shampoo-size urn can spin for years at 17,000 mph until it gradually descends into the white-hot re-entry atmosphere. That’s what was done with bits of “Star Trek” entertainment franchise creator Gene Roddenberry, and famed writer and psychedelic drug advocate Timothy Leary.

A thimble of ashes or DNA can be shot to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere for about $1,000.

These mostly symbolic services are widely viewed as oddities catering to highly imaginative nerds. But business is better than ever. Hundreds of Americans have already ordered space burials this year.

And the first privately funded payload to the moon is set to launch by early next year carrying ashes among its many other packages.
In space, no one can see your remains...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Never Mind The Scandal

Scandal? What scandal?
Investigators accuse Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, of attempting to commit bank fraud by misrepresenting themselves on a loan application for a rental property they had. According to the criminal complaint against them, Awan and Alvi had plans to wire the proceeds to people in Pakistan, CNN reports.

Awan worked for a number of congressional offices, but was fired from most of them earlier this year after he and several of his colleagues were accused stealing equipment. However, Wasserman Schultz’s office kept Awan on the payroll up until his arrest last week.

The story took another turn last week after it was revealed the FBI had recovered smashed hard drives from Awan’s home. The contents of those computer drives are not yet known.

However, unless you’re a consumer of conservative-leaning news, you wouldn’t know about the Awan story or the building scandal engulfing Wasserman Schultz and her campaign office.

Newsbusters reports that the major three news networks — ABC, NBC and CBS — which most Americans tune into to consume news, have largely ignored the story. However, Newsbusters notes that CBS’s morning show, “This Morning,” did cover the story last Wednesday, but for only 37 seconds. And when CBS reported on the story, they cited a Politico report instead of the Daily Caller, which has led in news media in the Awan story.
Fake news won't mention the real scandal in its midst...

Fake Versus Fake

You know things are bad when fake news calls itself out:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mr. Rock Goes To Washington

The Kid Rock movement is real:
Ritchie has yet to decide whether to run for office, and released a statement on Wednesday about all the speculation in which he announced he is starting a non-profit group to encourage voter registration.

“One thing is for sure though…The democrats are ‘shattin’ in their pantaloons’ right now…and rightfully so!,” Richie said in the statement. “We will be scheduling a press conference in the next 6 weeks or so to address this issue amongst others, and if I decide to throw my hat in the ring for US Senate, believe me… it’s game on mthrfkers.”

The poll released by Trafalgar Group shows that indeed it will be “game on” if Ritchie runs. The musician leads among potential Republican candidates with 49.62 percent. In second is “undecided” with 28.10 percent.
He can't do any worse than other celebrities who got elected, and could do better...

Hollywood Accents

Is a cartoon character racist?
The documentary follows several successful Hollywood players — including Kal Penn, star of “Designated Survivor” and who was appointed to former President Barack Obama’s White House Office of Public Liaison — who are also of Indian descent, and who expressed their distaste for “The Simpsons” character.

In the documentary, Kondabolu also interviewed Dana Gould, writer and co-executive producer of the hit show, who, about Apu’s character and his demeanor, said, “There are accents that, by their nature, to white Americans, sound funny. Period.”

“It’s ‘funny’ because it’s racist,” Kondabolu noted.

Whoopi Goldberg, who was also featured in the documentary, was asked by Kondabolu, “Does Apu count as a minstrel, since it’s brown paint, a white guy’s voice?”

Goldberg said that the elements for racism are all present in “The Simpsons,” and specifically in the character of Apu.
Hollywood is filled with phony types-and phony outrage...

Trump Fatigue

Is Mooch's marriage over?
The report said that Deidre Ball “despises” Trump, and didn’t like the “naked ambition” with which her husband sought after the president’s favor.

“Deidre has left him and has filed for divorce,” a source told Page Six. “She liked the nice Wall Street life and their home on Long Island, not the insane world of D.C.”

“She is tired of his naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end,” the sourced continued. “She has left him even though they have two children together.”
It's hard when there's another man in your husband's life...

Many, Many Wives?

The more the merrier?
According to Gallup’s survey of 1,011 adults aged 18 and older, 17 percent of Americans believe polygamy is “morally acceptable,” up by 2 percentage points compared to 2016 and more than triple the figure recorded in Gallup’s 2006 survey, when only 5 percent said it was acceptable.

Gallup reported roughly the same percentage of respondents who identified themselves as Protestant (9 percent), Catholic (10 percent), or Mormon (12 percent) said they believe polygamy is morally acceptable, all of which fall below the national average.

The group most likely to say polygamy is acceptable is nonreligious Americans.

Gallup Analyst Andrew Dugan wrote, “Between 2011 and 2017, 32% of Americans who do not associate with a particular religion or have no religion at all said polygamy was ‘morally acceptable.’ This follows the general tendency for those who are less religious to be more liberal on social issues.”
Sharing the love?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Out With The Old

There's a new Chief of Staff in town:
Kelly, who vehemently defended Trump’s travel ban, has grown close with the president the past few months.

The Washington Post said Trump is “drawn to the discipline that Kelly and his other advisers who are former military officers bring to their roles.”

He is also allegedly close to both White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, and liked by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. He’s described as low-key and a good collaborator.
Can he stop the sense of chaos surrounding the administration? Or could he be too calm for the room?

Who Wants A Scandal?

Be careful what you wish for:
Democrats have jumped headlong into claims that Donald Trump "colluded" with Russia in order to win the 2016 election. While Donald Trump Jr. did take a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on the pretext that she would give him opposition material against Hillary Clinton, that meeting bore no fruit. While Trump did suggest Russian President Vladimir Putin hack into Clinton's email to reveal the missing emails, that also led to nothing.

Earlier on Thursday, however, it was revealed that Fusion GPS, the same Left-wing group that defended Planned Parenthood, attacked Mitt Romney donors, and compiled the Trump dossier, was hired by none other than Veselnitskaya to destroy the good name of a whistleblower murdered by Putin's regime. Oh, and Fusion GPS did not register as representing a foreign agent.

Clinton and the Left seemingly have clearer ties to Russia than Trump ever did (remember Uranium One?), but the Left and the Democratic Party have squeezed the Trump-Russia narrative dry.

Could it be that they were trying to distract Americans from yet more brewing scandals? Could they be trying to hide just how divided the Democratic Party still is, in the wake of 2016? Could they be hiding their lack of a message?

Imran Awan, who was released pursuant to a high-intensity supervision program, knows all the answers, and he is wondering whether spilling the beans to the FBI will help him get back to Pakistan with all his cash. It's time to grab the popcorn and watch the Democrats squirm.
Those who live by the dirt, die by the dirt...

RIP Repeal

Repeal is dead:
Not since September 2008, when the House of Representatives rejected the Troubled Asset Relief Program — causing the Dow Jones industrial average to plunge nearly 800 points in a single afternoon — had such an unexpected vote caused such a striking twist.

The bold move by the nation’s most famous senator stunned his colleagues and possibly put the Senate on the verge of protracted bipartisan talks that McCain is unlikely to witness as he begins treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer.

“I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict party-line basis without a single Republican vote,” he said in a statement explaining his vote. “We should not make the mistakes of the past.”
If at first you don't succeed...oh, wait, they tried that already, didn't they?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Silence On The Hill

What are they afraid of?
Bill Browder, the CEO and co-founder of Hermitage Capital, was set to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee that the co-founder of the firm Fusion GPS was hired to conduct a "smear campaign" against him. Further, he planned to testify the campaign was orchestrated by Natalia Veselnitskaya -- the Russian attorney who sought the highly scrutinized Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort in June 2016.

Browder released written testimony ahead of the hearing but his public remarks were delayed when Democrats invoked the "two-hour rule" to protest Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare. The seldom-used rule bars committees from meeting more than two hours after the full Senate begins a session.

“I don’t know if the minority is intentionally trying to block testimony that may be critical of a firm behind the unverified Trump dossier, but I’ll bet two bits that had Paul Manafort or Donald Trump, Jr. appeared at today’s hearing, it would not have been prematurely shut down," Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement. "The Democrat leadership is playing politics, plain and simple."

Browder now is expected to testify Thursday, but his statement makes clear that he will have plenty to say about Fusion GPS, the shadowy intel company founded by a pair of former Wall Street Journal reporters, including Glenn Simpson.
Real collusion deserves to be seen and heard from...

Jumping The Gun?

Trans staying, for now:
In a memo to service chiefs and commanders, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr. declared no changes to the policy until "the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance" -- which has not yet happened.

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect,” Dunford said in the memo obtained by Fox News. “As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.”

Dunford’s statement suggests Defense Secretary James Mattis wasn’t given any significant heads up on the policy change. Mattis was on vacation when Trump tweeted. Mattis has also been publicly silent amid questions about Trump’s announced ban, though the White House said Wednesday that Mattis was "immediately informed" of Trump's decision.
Sometimes you need more than a simple decree...

Criminals For Hire

At the IRS, some things never change:
According to a report released on Thursday by the Treasury Department inspector general, more than 200 of 2,000 former IRS employees who were rehired between Jan. 2015 and March 2016 were previously “terminated from the IRS or separated while under investigation for a substantiated conduct or performance issue.”

Four of those 200 had previously been terminated or resigned for willful failure to file their tax returns; 15 had other tax issues; four were terminated for unauthorized access to taxpayer information; 13 had falsified documents, and another 86 were fired for various workplace infractions, such as absences, workplace disruption, or failure to follow instructions.

Those rehired employees worked in “positions with access to sensitive taxpayer information, such as contact representatives,” the report states.

In its investigation, the inspector general found that past IRS employment history is not provided to hiring officials during the hiring process. Of the more than 200 former employees who were rehired, 27 failed to disclose a previous firing or conviction on their application.
Corruption always needs criminals...

Panning For Dollars

Don't feed the panhandlers?
“We want to illustrate that there are better ways to help the transient population than to give them money for panhandling,” the department’s Facebook post reads. “This person collected $234.94 in just a few hours of asking for money. Rather than feeding someone’s alcohol addiction, you can donate directly to local charities such as the Comea Shelter where your money will assist the homeless in a much more effective way.”

The post, which got more than 38,000 shares and 28,000 reactions, attracted comments from people who thought the police overstepped their authority.

“Just when I think this place can’t get any more backward. I will give MY money to whoever I please. You’re seriously telling us, like we’re children, how we should treat people?” one woman wrote.

“Public shaming, nice. Cheyenne Police Department should be ashamed of themselves,” another woman said. “What they do with their money is none of your business and Addiction isn’t a punchline in a Facebook post. Awful.”

The post also drew comments from people supporting the police department’s actions.

“It’s funny, everyone wants to attack the pd for trying to raise awareness for severe alcoholism, and the publics accidental enabling. Everyone freaks out thinking they stole his money,” another commenter wrote.
Liberals always want to increase dependency, not end it...

Spy Sweepers

Remember when Obama promised transparency?
The memos, which The Hill was able to review, were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the ACLU. They cover compliance with privacy rules between 2009 and 2016. Equivalent assessments of the Trump administration’s first year will not be prepared until next spring.

NSA spokesman Michael Halbig is quoted arguing that the 90-plus incidents documented by the memos represent a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands of phones and email addresses monitored under the FISA Section 702 warrantless surveillance program – an argument that may not be all that comforting to privacy advocates. Halbig also said the violations described by the memos are proof that the NSA’s compliance program is working.

Representatives of several agencies echoed Halbig’s point that the compliance system and its strict reporting requirements are helping the government to constantly improve its performance and insisted the oversight system deserves credit for detecting and addressing the incidents described in the memos.

“Americans should be alarmed that the NSA is vacuuming up their emails and phone calls without a warrant. The NSA claims it has rules to protect our privacy, but it turns out those rules are weak, full of loopholes, and violated again and again,” countered ACLU lawyer Patrick Toomey.
During the Obama era, some rules were meant to be weakened...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Taking The Money And Trying To Run

So who is this guy?
Awan has been a staffer for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and other top congressional Democrats since 2004:

UPI reports more than 24 different Democratic House offices used Awan’s services. Awan’s time with Wasserman Schultz included her entire tenure as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Estimates are that Awan and his family received more than $4 million from House Democrats since 2009.

2. Awan was still employed by Wasserman Schultz’s office until he was arrested Tuesday night:

According to Fox News reporter Chad Pergram, the former DNC head’s office only terminated him after authorities moved in for the arrest as Awan tried to make his way out of the country via Dulles International Airport despite his being publicly under investigation for what appear to be embezzlement and fraud allegations.
A thief by any other name...

Mad Tax Men

Will Congress tax advertising?
Aside from some exceptions related to false and misleading content, the federal government has always respected the constitutional mandate to leave advertising alone. That's why the Supreme Court case Valentine v. Chrestensen (1942) was overturned — the bench's declaration that "the Constitution imposes no restraint on the government as to the regulation of 'purely commercial advertising'" was 100 percent unconstitutional.

Now Congress wants to limit free speech by regulating the First Amendment — one of our country's core founding principles — as an excuse to extort more wealth from American businesses' pocketbooks? Camp's 50-50 proposal would treat advertising like an asset, such as a machine, instead of like an expense, such as research and salaries — an unprecedented, unconstitutional move.
First, they came for the commercials...

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Regulation Train

Who regulates the regulators?
Today, US Railroads run a successful freight transportation system for shippers and consumers. Their networks exhibit fair prices, efficiency, strong competition against other surface transport modes, and an impressive safety record. Unlike some critical infrastructures, private railroads have an enviable record of investments and keeping maintenance current.

While for three decades since regulator reforms took place and the success story that followed for investors, shippers and consumers, STB has recently been reverting to ICC tendencies of unjustified regulations. There are no excess profits, no lSack of competition, no failing safety record, and no harm to consumers that justifies the STB’s current rush to socialize each railroad’s use of other railroads’ assets, without any guarantee of recovering the costs this “reciprocal switching regulation” imposes.
Only over-eager regulators could make the trains not run on time...

A Scandal That Matters

One phony investigations deserves a real one:
Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) have drafted an amendment that would compel government cooperation with a congressional probe into Lynch’s and Comey’s activities.

Specifically, the amendment—a draft of which was obtained by Breitbart News—would compel the production of documents and evidence regarding Lynch’s order to Comey to “mislead the American people by starting he should refer to the investigation into the mishandling of classified data and use of an unauthorized email server by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a ‘matter,’ rather than a criminal ‘investigation.’”

The amendment specifically presses the Department of Justice to cooperate with the congressional investigation this would create, making it easier for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to probe these and the other matters laid out.
....

It’s unclear as of yet when the amendment will be introduced. But many of its authors, after Breitbart News obtained a draft copy, confirmed their plans in statements or interviews.

“For the past several years, Democrats have obstructed justice and blocked every Congressional investigation imaginable,” Jordan said in an email. “Now they want to investigate? Ok, let’s investigate! Both parties have criticized James Comey over the past year for his performance as FBI director. Even Sen. Feinstein says there should be an investigation into Loretta Lynch and James Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation. Let’s have a special counsel for that and see how serious Congressional Democrats are about getting to the truth.”
Not very, if their past history is any indication...

Bad Credit

What was that about voter fraud?
“The number of Democrats in Congress not requiring CVV has increased by 43 percent since the 2012 elections, from 148 to 211,” says the study, titled: “America the Vulnerable: Are Foreign and Fraudulent Online Contributions Influencing U.S. Elections? Taking Another Look.” Conversely, says the report, “The number of congressional Republicans not requiring CVV has decreased by 62.5% since the 2012 election, (From 64 to 24).”

In addition to examining the active donation pages of House and Senate members, GAI also reviewed the campaign contribution pages for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. During the 2016 election, both presidential candidates required donors to enter the CVV to make an online donation. GAI’s 2012 analysis found that Barack Obama did not require the CVV for campaign contributions.

Currently, no law requires that federal candidates use the basic CVV credit card security protocols that almost all online retailers use to prevent fraud.

“While many will laud the need for electoral integrity,” the GAI report concludes, “few seem willing to take the steps to assure it, especially when the lack of integrity favors their political goals.”
Foreign money or funny money-it doesn't seem to make much difference to them...

Sessions' Last Stand?

Is Jeff Sessions in trouble?
“That, honestly, is a very, very difficult question to answer at this point,” Castro said in response to a question from host Joe Scarborough about whether or not Sessions should resign. “I was somebody who said that Jeff Sessions should not have gotten the job. I’ve said previously that he should resign. So I’m in a very weird position, not just myself but so many others, that the president has put the country in now, where you almost don’t know which way to go.”

“On the one hand, I don’t want to allow Donald Trump to dictate the terms of the Russia investigation because him forcing out Jeff Sessions, to me, seems like a prelude to essentially do away with Bob Mueller,” he added. “And the country cannot allow him to do that. On the other hand, I also think that Jeff Sessions has a lot of conflicts of interest and, for that reason, he shouldn’t be in that job. So this is a very awkward position to be in, quite honestly. And in the next few days, I think that we will probably see Jeff Sessions gone.”
If he is, it wouldn't be for actually doing his job...

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Kid Rocks

Senator Rock? It's no laughing matter:
While Ritchie tweeted that his Senate run would definitely happen, many still have doubts. Ritchie’s alleged campaign website only had paraphernalia for sale, and was allegedly run by entertainment company Warner Bros. He had also yet to file anything with the FEC to make his campaign official.

Regardless, the mere threat of Ritchie making a run at a Michigan Senate seat was enough to cause Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) alarm. Warren compared Ritchie to President Donald Trump, saying that while it’s possible Ritchie could be doing this to promote a new album, many thought Trump was running to promote “The Apprentice” during the 2016 presidential elections.

Warren’s fears may be substantial, as data from Delphi Analytica poll conducted July 14-18 of 668 Michigan residents showed that Ritchie is ahead in the polls over Stabenow by 8 percentage points.

According to Delphi Analytica, in a hypothetical matchup, 44 percent of respondents did not want to give an answer as to their voting preference or were undecided. Among those who did respond, Ritchie led Stabenow by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent.
In an anti-establishment era, we could do worse. And have...

Happiness Is

Money really does work?
In 28% of cases, the answer was yes. These folks spent an average of $147.95 per month to buy themselves extra time.

What they lost in currency, they made up for in happiness. Whillans and her colleagues found that the people who traded money for time were more satisfied with life than their counterparts who didn’t. They also were less likely to say they felt “time stress,” a condition that was linked with lower levels of life satisfaction.

Just in case their original question was too narrow, the researchers conducted a second survey that asked more than 1,800 Americans whether they spent money to buy themselves “more free time.”

This time, half of the survey-takers answered yes. These folks spent between $80 and $99 per month, on average, so that others would handle chores like cooking, shopping and “household maintenance.”
Having money is better than not having it. Being able to keep it is even better...

Bewitched And Bewildered

Lana Del Rey, sorceress?
The singer sparked speculation that she was attempting to use witchcraft to get rid of Trump earlier this year, when she asked her Twitter followers to gather mysterious ‘ingredients’.

Now, she has confirmed it in a new interview with NME when quizzed about her love of the occult.

“Yeah, I did it. Why not? Look, I do a lot of s**t”, she replied.

“I’m in line with Yoko [Ono]and John [Lennon] and the belief that there’s a power to the vibration of a thought. Your thoughts are very powerful things and they become words, and words become actions, and actions lead to physical charges.”
Watch out for vibrating thoughts, such as they are...

The Mouse Is Watching

In Disney, movie watches you:
Studios like Disney have used the reactions of test audiences to gauge early cuts of films for decades, often making changes to the edit or ending if the film wasn’t hitting as hoped. What’s different in this instance is the sheer amount of analysis Disney Research was able to produce with this methodology: 3,179 people generated 16 million points of data.
As Disney Research scientist Peter Carr put it to Phys.org: “It’s more data than a human is going to look through. That’s where computers come in–to summarize the data without losing important details.” Impressively, the neural net isn’t just capable of summarizing takeaways. Within just a few minutes of watching a filmgoer, it could predict their facial expressions throughout the rest of the film.
Mickey knows what you're feeling...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Liberal Learning Curve

A Harvard professor comes to awareness:
In a Twitter conversation that ensued, Vermeule suggested that on average Democrats and Republicans look at politics differently, which explains its differing effects on one’s personal life and relationships.

Liberalism, he stated, “makes an idol of politics,” and thus, political dissent is looked upon as heresy. In the case of conservatives, however, politics plays a different role. “The data show that Republicans are more politically tolerant,” he said, because “politics isn’t as likely to be an idol, on average.”

In other words, Republicans tend to be more politically detached, with politics playing a less central role in their existence, meaning that they can more easily overlook a friend’s contrary political opinions without it jeopardizing their relationship.
Sanity helps...

Busted Blues

Thanks, Tom Perez:
According to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, the DNC is currently $3.3 million in the red. In June, the party raised just $5.5 million while they spent $5.7 million, meaning they added $200,000 in debt.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee outpaced the DNC by more than $8 million in June, raising more than $13.5 million.

The DNC ended the month with just $7.4 million with cash on hand, while the RNC has nearly $45 million in cash on hand, according to the filings.

The Republican Party has raised more than $75 million in 2017 alone.
The Democrats sure do know how to waste other peoples' money...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Drowning Stream

Is being a heartless bystander a crime?
Authorities originally indicated the teens — who range in age from 14 to 18 — couldn’t be charged since they weren’t directly involved in the July 9 death of 31-year-old Jamel Dunn, and state law doesn’t require bystanders to intervene when someone is in distress.

“I want to think that’s a natural instinct for any of us, that if we saw somebody in trouble or somebody having an issue, that we would at least try to get them help,” Cantaloupe added.

But police said they’ll pursue a misdemeanor charge of failure to report a death under Florida Statute 406.12 — and whether the charges stick or not will be up to the State Attorney’s Office.

“It’s our belief that this law has never been enforced in a scenario like this, but we feel it could be applicable,” Cantaloupe said, adding that “what it comes down to is it’s a moral issue.”

“There is absolutely no justification for what the teens did,” he added. “Pursuing criminal charges is a way to hold them accountable for their own actions.”
There's no law that says you have to help someone. But acting like an idiot while watching it happen doesn't exactly help your case, either.

Fast Fact Check

Perhaps Eric Holder shouldn't be the one to lecture:
Trump could either instruct deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to fire or limit Mueller, or Trump could repeal a set of special counsel regulations adopted in 1999 to fire Mueller himself. Neither of these options are favorable, however, and an attempt to remove Mueller could get the ball rolling on impeachment proceedings as they are what began former President Richard Nixon’s fall, Katyal said.

Trump’s other option would be to work out a deal with Rosenstein to rein in Mueller’s power. This option is least likely to carry political ramifications.

However, many found Holder’s attempt to lecture Trump about the law pretty rich. After all, Holder was deemed responsible for “Operation Fast and Furious,” a gun-running operation that led to a Border Patrol being shot by an American firearm.

Holder was even held in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the case during the course of a congressional investigation into the operation.
How quickly they remember, even if he won't...

Land Of A Thousand Loons

In Minnesota, the mob apparently rules:

Some Women Are More Equal Than Others

Why do feminists hate successful women?
Dee Dee Myers and Dana Perino — two previous White House press secretaries who also happened to be female, and maybe … just maybe got the jobs because they are qualified — were celebrated, lauded for their groundbreaking work in a “man’s world.”

Sanders, however, seems to have gotten the rougher end of the stick, and because she had the audacity to accept a position that many women in the political arena would give their life for no matter what their political affiliation, she’s automatically forced to turn in her feminism card — if she even cared to carry one at all.

If conservatives or Republicans said even half of the things about prolific liberal Democrats in power that liberals have said about Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, and now Sanders over the last six months and more, you’d have a liberal lynch mob on your hands.
Where's the real outrage over fake outrage?

Derpy Is As Derpy Does

Some people are just plain dumb:
Insulting someone for low intelligence is, by its very nature, what the left calls "ableist." You're describing them as being like someone who is mentally deficient in some manner, usually those who are mentally disabled. It's an insult, which makes the term a slur by its very nature.

And we need terms like that in our language.

Not all that long ago, we called people "retarded." But we were told that was insensitive to people who were mentally disabled, even though we weren't allowed to call them retarded anymore either, though the word means "slowed," which is actually an accurate description of their learning ability. We had to use different terms.

So, people started looking for terms that they could use without appearing insensitive, so "derpy" was coined. From the start, it was meant to belittle people, because, frankly, some people need to be belittled.
There are morons in the world (warning: NSFW):

Protesters Wanted, No Experience Necessary

It's good work if you can get it:
The A-Teams project offers as much as $15,000 for the first month to political activism teams to fight a wide range of social and political issues listed on the website, including, “Healthcare / ACA, Climate, Immigration, The Wall, Corruption, Racism / Fascism, Police, Prisons.”

The website encourages people to create political groups and become full-time grassroots political activists, offering the possibility of funding to these groups, allowing them to turn their activism into a paying job.

You can call Congress, or attend a protest. And you should. But is that it? Why stop there? Why set aside everything you’ve learned, everything you are, to be simply one more terrified person on a phone line, or marching in a street?

What if you did the following, as well?

Find someone you love to work with.
Pick an issue area and angle.
Do activism full-time using every connection, skill, tool, and trick at your disposal—until you win.
Our goal: to convince you to take exactly these steps, give you a playbook, and then potentially fund you.

Further down the page, however, the funding description becomes slightly less promising: “To start, we’re going to select some of the strongest teams for funding. So if you’ve got a 2-3 person A-Team and a target, you should apply. We’d potentially give you $15,000 for the first month, just to see what you can do.” The website states that the group would “potentially” pay out $15,000 for the first month and continues to say, “If you make a big splash or measurable impact on your target in that time, we think we can find you more.” Essentially, none of the funding for this project is guaranteed.
It's for the future, with benefits...

The List Of Lists

They were the regulations they didn't want you to see:
“They had a bunch of things that they wanted to regulate. And what we’re hearing is that they just didn’t want to tell you about it,” said Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. “They thought it would be bad for their reelection prospects in 2012, so they created a secret list of regs that were not disclosed to you folks, and we are disclosing it.”

Mulvaney noted that President Trump has promised a “two-for-one policy” on regulations, meaning that for every new regulation introduced by the Trump team, two old regulations would be eliminated.

So far, that policy has led to the removal of 860 rules, the budget director said.
Some rules were meant to be removed...

Stress Test

It's hard to be a teacher, especially when they all quit:
One teacher told the Bristol Post “all of the teachers are leaving. We’ve had enough. Many of them were signed off with stress, and the pressure was unreasonable.” Teachers were told they needed to follow the head’s methods or they would not be welcome at the school.

Teachers have not taken the decision to leave lightly. They recognize the importance of the children having common teachers over the years and many have spent their entire teaching career at the school.

The unnamed teacher told the Post “leaving will cause them great emotional stress, because they share such a tight bond with the school, the children, the parents and the community.” They added that the decisions were especially difficult because “the students are lovely, and the parents are so supportive.”
Teachers are human, too...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Blue Spending Blues

Democrats stay true to tradition:
The DNC raised just $5.5 million over the June fundraising period and outspent themselves by about $200k, finishing the month with $3.3 million in debt, according to the most recent FEC filings (RELATED: New Democratic Slogan Is Reminiscent Of Papa John’s Pizza)

Comparatively, the RNC outpaced the DNC by $8 million, raking in a record-breaking $13.5 million in total contributions.

The RNC has $44.7 million cash on hand compared to the DNC’s $7.5 million.
Always spending money they don't have...

Mad Maxine 2020

Oh, please do:
Ahead of an appearance in New Hampshire, Waters, who has repeatedly called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, was asked by the Daily Caller if she would consider running for president.

Waters said she was in New Hampshire just to support the Democratic Party, but when pressed by the Daily Caller, she admitted her presidential ambitions.

“I’m not running for anything but my own seat,” Waters said. “I don’t have any presidential aspirations.

“If the millennials want me to do it, I’d do it, though,” Waters said.
The problem is that nobody else would...

Deal Time

Who wants a new deal?
Politico, which first reported on this, suggested the “Better Deal” hearkens back to President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” which was created in response to the drought and dust storms of the 1930s that escalated into an environmental disaster.

According to Politico, “The slogan, which is still being polled in battleground House districts, aims to convince voters that Democrats have more to offer than the GOP and the self-proclaimed deal-maker in the White House.”

“Democrats will try to pass it legislatively for a year and campaign on it in 2018,” Schumer reportedly told ABC last month. “It’s what we were missing in 2016 and in the past.”
Some new ideas might help, too...

Spicy Spiked

Sean Spicer is out:
Mr. Spicer’s turbulent tenure as the president’s top spokesman was marked by a combative style with the news media that spawned a caricature of him on “Saturday Night Live.”

He had hoped to last a year. He lasted six months and a day.

His rumored departure has been one of the longest-running internal sagas in an administration brimming with dissension and intrigue. A former Republican National Committee spokesman and strategist, Mr. Spicer was a frequent target of the president’s ire — and correctives — during the first few months of the administration.

His resignation is a serious blow to the embattled White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the former Republican Party chairman who brought Mr. Spicer into the West Wing despite skepticism from Mr. Trump, who initially questioned his loyalty.
As he rides off into the sunset, remember:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Wait Is Over

At long last, an exemption:
In 2012, the American Center for Law and Justice, or ACLJ, filed a lawsuit against the IRS on behalf of the Albuquerque Tea Party as well as other conservative groups whose requests for tax-exempt status seemed to be put on hold during the Obama administration.

"The ACLJ is pleased to announce that after a long, arduous legal battle, our client, the Albuquerque Tea Party, has finally received their tax-exempt status – nearly eight years after originally filing their 501(c)(4) application," the organization said in a statement on its website Wednesday. "This is a major victory for free speech."

"The widespread and coordinated attacks against conservative groups like the Albuquerque Tea Party began in early 2010," the ACLJ said. "The IRS literally took their money and then ignored their application requesting tax-exempt status for eight long years.

"This is outrageous," the group said. “No organization should ever be forced to wait that long for a determination."
There's not enough opportunity for corruption in being quicker...

Poverty For Profit

Making money on behalf of poor people is good work if you can get it:
The groups pursue various activist causes, but each participates in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Approved Counseling Agencies program, which pays nonprofits across the country to help people “find housing, make more informed housing choices, or keep their current homes,” according to HUD.

HUD awarded at least $42 million to 204 such groups in 2016, which was predicted to assist more than 1.4 million households, agency data shows.

The department even has a step-by-step guide that shows organizations how to become a nonprofit and ultimately a counseling agency. HUD considers the charities’ prior performance when vetting their applications for the grants, which includes the number of impacted clients, past budgets and how grant money was spent previously.

At least 14 recipients appear to be national-level activist groups and have raked in $916 million across government from 2013 through 2015, TheDCNF’s analysis found.
They love redistribution, at least among themselves...

One-Man Show

What happens when a politician debates himself:
The situation came about after other candidates raised objections with the debate format, which involved a six-way debate between six minor vice-presidential candidates, accompanied by a face-off between the two frontrunners later on in the evening.

A letter signed by all six minor candidates on Sunday accused Debate Media Limited, the alliance of broadcasters behind the debate, of running an “unconstitutional, illegal and discriminatory process,” and confirmed that they would only participate if all eight vice-presidential candidates were to debate simultaneously.

“We made it clear that we shall take part at 8pm Debates that was to bring all candidates together,” Ekuru Aukot, presidential candidate for Third Way Alliance, wrote on Twitter.
Politicians do love to hear themselves talk, so at least he had that going for him...

Clowning For Climate Change

All those old people need to die, he said:
Nye, 61, responded to a question on the generational differences in views of climate change, and said that those willing to embrace his take on climate change tend to be younger, and that those he calls “climate deniers” tend to be older.

In order for his views to advance, Nye told the LA Times that older people will have to die:

It just sounds like people are scared. It just sounds like people are afraid. And the people who are afraid in general — with due respect, and I am now one of them — are older. Climate change deniers, by way of example, are older. It’s generational. So we’re just going to have to wait for those people to “age out,” as they say. “Age out” is a euphemism for “die.” But it’ll happen, I guarantee you — that’ll happen.

The LA Times later asked Nye if he ever thought he’d be defending “science” in political circles. Nye suggested his political involvement was forced, and called his climate change opponents “clowns.”
As opposed to fake scientists?

Brother, Can You Spare A Venue?

It's always for "security reasons":
Seems UC Berkeley — known as the birthplace of the free-speech movement in the 1960s — only can accommodate venue requests “when events are held at a time and location that allow for the provision of any required security measures,” according to a letter from Greenwell and the student organization coordinator, the College Fix noted.

YAF said the school’s “inability to find a lecture hall more than two months in advance is laughable,” the College Fix added.

But Bradley Devlin, secretary of the Berkeley College Republicans, on Thursday wrote a scathing piece for the Daily Wire, ripping his school administration for trying to block Shapiro’s speech using “lies, deceit, and incoherent policy” — and then putting officials on notice.
Safety over free speech?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What's Yours Is Theirs?

Sessions supports seizure:
Sessions argues that increased civil forfeiture powers gives law enforcement officials an effective tool to go after lawbreakers. The ability to freeze funds and seize assets allows authorities to hit alleged criminals where it hurts the most – their wallets.

But Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who sponsored legislation earlier this year to regulate asset forfeiture, said Sessions’ agenda is “a troubling step backward” that would “bring back a loophole that’s become one of the most flagrantly abused provisions of this policy.”

He added, “Criminals shouldn’t be able to keep the proceeds of their crime, but innocent Americans shouldn’t lose their right to due process, or their private property rights, in order to make that happen.”

There have been multiple cases where the authorities have stepped on the paper-thin protections people have against asset forfeiture.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas also has gone on the record about asset forfeiture reform in the past.
Is theft still theft when the government can do it?

In Memory Of Robo Mall Cop

He was a robot who apparently had a brief but tough life:
People laid colorful flowers and left behind letters at the spot where the robot had been based at Washington Harbour in Georgetown.

“In Loving Memory of our security robot... but more importantly our friend,” one missive read.

Steve was about four feet tall and oblong. He was a roving robot charged with keeping an eye on the business and retail complex. He was new to the job, with about a week under his belt. While on patrol Monday, Steve fell down some concrete stairs and into the ankle-deep waters of a fountain. He was eventually rescued.

Knightscope, a Silicon Valley start-up that made the robot, said the accident was "an isolated incident" and promised to deliver a new robot this week for free.

Photos of Steve's misfortune set off a flurry of online attention.

The memorial featured a photo of a candle with the words "Never Forgotten," a box of tissues, photos of people posing with the robot, several letters, a set of batteries (for the robot hereafter, perhaps) and what appeared to be a cassette tape.
Perhaps Steve realized what the robots were planning and didn't want to be a part of it? Rest (or rust?) in peace...

Oh, Bother

Silly, silly old censors:
Obviously not every instance of Winnie the Pooh online would have to do with President Xi, but bloggers have been using him to make references to the president.

BBC pointed out some examples from over the last few years. In one, Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are compared to Pooh and Eeyore after what the internet saw as a disastrous attempt to shake hands in 2014. In another, President Barack Obama is compared to Tigger walking alongside Pooh.

The government is trying to stop ridicule of its leader and is also trying to stop Pooh from becoming a go-to symbol for anything beyond a chubby, iconic children's character.
Well if they want chubby there's the fat kid running North Korea...

Baa Baa Boring

The world's most boring movie?
"Baa Baa Land" consists entirely of slow-motion shots of sheep in a field. The film was shot in Essex, England, and was produced by the founders of a digital meditation app, Calm.

"We don’t expect it to break box-office records but believe there is at least a niche audience for it", Michael Acton Smith, one of the film's executive producers and a co-founder of Calm said in a statement.

"We’re in discussion about U.S. and wider distribution and in talks with an American TV channel", he said.

Producer Peter Freedman, said in a statement that he believed it could be the dullest film ever, adding: "We hope that audiences will, too".
Hollywood's made worse...

Pork Cuts

There's still a lot of pork going around:
The 15-page Pig Book shows the number of appropriations earmarks increased from fiscal 2016 to 2017 -- as well as the cost, from $5.1 billion to $6.8 billion.

The report acknowledged the recent totals are lower than during the earmark heyday -- fiscal 2006, when a record $29 billion was inserted to appropriations bills.

However, it also pointed out that totals have steadily increased since the $3.3 billion recorded in 2012, the first year after Congress agreed to an earmark moratorium.

“We’re no longer finding indoor rain forests or teapot museums, but there are some concerning findings,” group President Thomas Schatz said.
Everybody seems to want their pork, but guess who's paying for it?

Postal Politics

Neither rain, nor snow, nor campaign contributions:
According to a report from FoxNews.com, the Office of Special Counsel recently determined that the USPS violated the Hatch Act by allowing nearly 100 employees to take leave from work in order to participate in the AFL-CIO’s “Labor 2016 program.”

The OSC report says the USPS showed “bias” by allowing workers to take leave to help conduct the union campaign activities. The report says 97 postal workers were granted “union leave.” Those workers took weeks off from their jobs at the postal service and were reimbursed by the National Association of Letter Carriers for their campaign work.

“The Labor 2016 program sought to ‘elect Hillary Clinton and pro-worker candidates across the country,’” according to the OSC report.

The workers who took leave were primary from key battleground states: North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Nevada. Their campaign work consisted of “door-to-door canvassing, phone banks and other get-out-the-vote efforts,” according to Fox News.
The U.S. Mail is always there for your vote...

No Plan, No Gain

First, repeal goes down. Next, tax cuts?
The budget plan unveiled Tuesday is crucial because its passage would pave the way to pass a tax overhaul this fall without the fear of a filibuster by Senate Democrats.

But it also proposes trillions of dollars in cuts to the social safety net and other domestic programs and puts congressional Republicans at odds with Trump over cutting Medicare. It also would sharply boost military spending.

“In past years, the budget has only been a vision. But now, with the Republican Congress and a Republican White House, this budget is a plan for action,” said Budget Committee Chair Diane Black, R-Tenn. “Now is our moment to achieve real results.”

Unclear, however, is whether GOP leaders can get the budget measure through the House. Conservatives want a larger package of spending cuts to accompany this fall’s tax overhaul bill, while moderates are concerned cuts to programs such as food stamps could go too far.

“I just think that if you’re dealing with too many mandatory cuts while you’re dealing with tax reform you make tax reform that much harder to enact,” said Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa.

Black announced a committee vote for Wednesday, but was less confident of a vote by the entire House next week; a delay seems likely because of the ongoing quarrel between the GOP’s factions.
When in doubt, delay, and delay again?

Back To Basic?

Is it really time for a basic income?
The concept has been around, with different names and in different countries, for centuries, said Karl Widerquist, co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network.

It enjoyed a wave of U.S. popularity in the 1910s and ’20s and again in the ’60s and ’70s when it was championed by free-market economist Milton Friedman, Martin Luther King and, for a while, Richard Nixon.

It resurfaced again after the 2008 financial crisis, when soaring unemployment and corporate bailouts focused attention on the “99 percent.” The concept picked up steam in recent years as studies started predicting widespread unemployment because of automation.

Basic income has fans across the political spectrum, but for very different reasons. Libertarian backers would replace all or most welfare programs with a monthly cash payment as a way to prevent poverty, reduce government bureaucracy and let people decide for themselves how to use the money.
A nice idea, but since when has any plan actually allowed that to happen?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

That Old Fashioned Internet

Web nostalgia is real:
Some websites are purposely cumbersome to navigate, with loud, clip-art-filled pages. Others employ a simplistic Craigslist-style utilitarianism that feels like a throwback to an era when web pages were coded by hand.

“There’s a lot of animated GIFs and flames, but mixing it with something new,” Mr. Lee added.

While millennials and members of Generation Z — those born in the years from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s — may not remember what the web looked like in the era of AltaVista and GeoCities, the retro designs tap into the current cultural revival of all things ’90s. (See the return of “Twin Peaks,” “Will & Grace” and concert T-shirts.)

For those who are older, these sites recall the improvised internet of their youth, in the days before mobile optimization and beta-tested user interfaces brought a sleek uniformity to modern web design.
Of course, if you're really nostalgic, you can still see what it was really like back then:

The Long Stay-Cation

Some might call this a good thing:
A funny thing happened on the way to libertarian utopia. Indeed, it turns out that the GOP-controlled Congress can't seem to pass any meaningful laws at all. Either they have forgotten how, or the divisions in their own increasingly radicalized caucus are proving too difficult to surmount. Whatever the explanation, thus far these GOP legislators are on track to be the least productive group since at least the Civil War.

Now, okay, technically the Ryan-McConnell 115th Congress is so far actually a bit more active than recent Congresses, if you measure by the 43 laws that President Trump has adorned with his garish signature. Obama was at 40 at this point in 2009. George W. Bush had signed even fewer midway through 2001. But sheer number is not the best way to think about how much is being achieved. As The Washington Post's Philip Bump pointed out, a majority of the bills signed by Trump thus far have been one page long, meaning many are just symbolic or ceremonial.
If they don't want to work, perhaps voters should ask why we should hire them...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Don't Call It A Bribe

Brother, can you spare a vote?
The House-passed bill, otherwise known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), included an amendment known as the “Buffalo Bribe.” Rep. Chris Collins sponsored the measure to prevent state governments from forcing local counties to contribute to a state’s Medicaid program. The Buffalo bribe appeared in the Senate healthcare bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which would make the bill easier to pass in the House if the Senate passes it.

The BCRA, like the House’s AHCA, places per capita caps on Medicaid spending and winds down Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion after seven years. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) pushed for the revised BCRA to allow for exceptions to the caps on Medicaid spending in the event of an emergency, such as the Zika virus outbreak in Florida.

The Senate bill also changes the funding formula for hospitals based upon a state’s number of uninsured citizens, rather than the number of Medicaid enrollees that the original BCRA used. States that did not expand Medicaid such as Florida would benefit from this change.

Under the new BCRA, states that expanded Medicaid can now include their expanded population if they chose to block grant their Medicaid spending. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson lobbied the Senate leadership to include this change to Medicaid block grants.
One man's kickback is another's reward...

Who Cares About Hacking?

Not them:
Democrats have claimed that they deplore hacking and view cyberattacks as a dangerous frontier. Wasserman Schultz introduced an amendment Thursday aimed at blocking a “security clearance for any individual in a position in the Executive Office of the President, who is under a criminal investigation by a federal law enforcement agency for aiding a foreign government.”

Yet the lawmaker has refused to fire Imran even after House law enforcement banned him from the network.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she wasn’t familiar with the issue.

“I haven’t followed that very closely,” she said. She shrugged at Wasserman Schultz’s continued employment of Imran, saying “there are plenty of people who are under investigation who still have their jobs.”
And many of them hold political office...

Social What?

What is this socialism thing of which you speak?

The Anti-Trump Stump

What does the Democratic Party stand for, if anything:
The poll found that Trump’s overall approval rating has dropped to 36 percent, down from 42 percent in April. His disapproval rating climbed five percentage points to 58 percent.

However, as the president’s poll numbers slip, Democrats are struggling to tell the American people what their core message is.

Just 37 percent of respondents said the Democratic Party stands for something, while 52 percent say the party mainly stands in opposition to Trump.

A majority of independent voters — 55 percent — said the Democratic party merely stands against the president. A majority of Democrats say their party stands for something, but over a quarter of Democrats — 27 percent — said the party mainly opposes Trump.

The vast majority of Republicans — 82 percent — said the Democrats just stand against Trump.
Standing for nothing is easier than standing for something most people wouldn't vote for...

No Treason Here

No, it wasn't treason, says Alan Dershowitz:
“If it were to be prosecuted, the First Amendment would trump. A candidate has the right to get information from whatever source the information comes. It’s very much like the New York Times publishing the Pentagon Papers story or the Washington Post publishing information stolen by [Edward] Snowden and [Chelsea] Manning,” Dershowitz said. “You don’t prosecute the newspaper, they have a First Amendment right. And you don’t prosecute the candidate or the candidate’s son. They have a First Amendment right to get the material.”

Dershowitz explained that, legally speaking, you can only prosecute people who illegally obtain information, not people — even political candidates — who use illegally obtained information.

“So you can’t include information under the campaign finance law. That would be unconstitutional,” Dershowitz said.
Not that it matters to the anti-Trump fanatics...

Sunday, July 16, 2017

No Kids For The Welfare State

While environmentalists might claim that having kids is bad for the planet, having less of them also hurts another liberal sacred cow:
The causes of the declining birth rates and delays in childbearing are both economic and a result of changing societal roles for women, who have more career and educational opportunities than in the past. Southern California’s cost of living also continues to outpace wages, and owning or renting a house to start a family now often requires two household earners.



In California, what had been 20.4 seniors per 100 working-age residents in 2000 could climb to 28.6 in 2020, then to 38.3 in 2030, burdening old-age programs, the study found.
You can't have your welfare state and expect others who don't exist to eat it for you, too...

Pork For Play

Everybody still gets their share?
Trump’s proposed 2018 Budget would close the PTWC to reduce NTWC total staffing from 55 to 15, to save $12 million annually. Given its almost complete automation, staff reductions would still provide a minimum of two staff tsunami monitors 24-hours per day.

According to a recent “Downsizing the Federal Government” study, annual federal civilian compensation costs per worker average $123,160, or 76 percent more than the average of $69,901 private-sector compensation costs per worker. Civilian federal workers earn average wages of $86,365 and benefits of $36,795, whereas the 112 million private-sector workers earn average wages of $58,726 and $11,175 in benefits.

Federal employee unions have argued that government needs a high-end workforce. But the federal workforce has always been heavily populated by supposedly skilled professionals, such as lawyers.
I guess even they have to make a living-but why off our largess?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

State Of The State

Trump wants to remake the State Department:
Trump’s budget proposal would gut the State Department budget by as much as 30 percent. One of the areas hardest hit could be foreign aid, which has long been decried as a source of wasteful spending by nationalists — money that could be spent on rebuilding infrastructure at home rather than in faraway countries.

The Hill reports that the 30 percent number, which could be cut as much as half by budget negotiations in the House, has even former Republican administration officials spooked.

“We have never before seen a third of their budget potentially being eliminated,” Anita McBride, who worked in the Bush and Reagan administrations, told the outlet. “If we pull back too much and it affects the good work on the ground, those countries will see it as a reason to not invest as much as they should.”
It's our money and goodwill that's being spent. Sometimes I think these other countries forget that...

Have A Lawsuit And A Smile

Because people are dumb, or something:
The lawsuit alleges the two pastors have repeatedly tried to teach their congregations about the harmful effects of sugar, but have been stymied by Coca-Cola’s advertising.

“Pastor Lamar’s efforts to provide spiritual guidance to congregant families and the larger community regarding the hazards posed by sugarsweetened [sic] beverages are hampered by Defendants’ deceptive marketing, labeling, and sale of Coca-Cola’s sugar-sweetened beverages,” the complaint states.

“Faced with a growing scientific consensus linking sugar-sweetened beverages to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, Defendants made numerous false and deceptive representations, including … sugar-sweetened beverages’ purported value as healthful sources of hydration for most consumers,” the plaintiffs said in the lawsuit.

Coca-Cola says the plaintiffs’ allegations are “factually meritless.”

“The allegations here are … legally and factually meritless, and we will vigorously defend against them,” Coca-Cola said in a statement.

The plaintiffs’ claims about Americans’ view of sugar is not supported by the available evidence. In fact, most surveys show people believe sugar to be harmful, but choose to consume it anyway.
Darn that freedom of choice...

Friday, July 14, 2017

What About Mike?

Where in the world is Mike Pence?
Despite the drama, Pence himself is keeping up appearances as an enthusiastic partner to Trump, using his Twitter account to demonstrate loyalty to the president as the Trump Jr. email controversy dominates headlines.

“Many Media & Dems will try to stop us but now more than ever we owe the American people to continue to deliver what @POTUS & I campaigned on,” Pence tweeted on Wednesday.

In another tweet, the vice president tweeted an image that said: “Thanks to the leadership of President Trump, we are in the midst of a great national renewal.”

As he sought to distance the vice president from the controversy involving Trump Jr., Pence’s spokesman also went out his way to express Pence’s allegiance to Trump.

“The vice president is working every day to advance the president's agenda, which is what the American people sent us here to do,” Lotter said.
For now, anyway...

The Not So Golden State Goose

Why even California Democrats are leery of single payer:
National Democrats — especially those from swing districts — are even more risk-averse than their counterparts in deep-blue California, and many of them would be similarly inclined to avoid voting on a measure that opponents could caricature as a budget-busting foray into “socialized medicine.” National Democrats also receive a lot of money from the health industry — $69 million in 2016 alone. If Democrats can’t pass single-payer in Sacramento, there’s little chance they could pass it in Washington, D.C.

Not that this will prevent more and more Dems from running on single-payer in the coming elections. After all, that’s what Democrats have been doing in California for decades now. In fact, if the party does win back Congress in 2018, legislators may even send a single-payer bill to Donald Trump’s desk, just as California Democrats did with Schwarzenegger. What the state’s latest single-payer skirmish shows, however, is that the calculus changes when it’s a Democrat who would have to sign such a bill into law.
Somebody always has to foot the bill...

Libertarianism Is Here

I blame the Lannisters:

Russians In The Green

Where there really are Russians:
Russian financing makes up a significant part of “a concerted effort by foreign entities to funnel millions of dollars through various non-profit entities to influence the U.S. energy market,” the congressmen assert in their letter.

They also reference public statements by European officials as well as the U.S. intelligence community declaring that “Russia and its government corporations are funding a covert anti-fracking campaign to suppress the widespread adoption of fracking in Europe and the U.S.—all in an effort to safeguard the influence of the Russian oil and gas sector.”

Along with statements from NATO officials, the congressmen also cite Wikileaks revelations suggesting that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was well aware of Russian efforts to subvert the U.S. energy sector by financing “phony environmental groups.”
Do you know where your environmentalism is coming from?

Special Subsidy Delivery

Why Amazon gets a government subsidy:
In 2007 the Postal Service and its regulator determined that, at a minimum, 5.5% of the agency’s fixed costs must be allocated to packages and similar products. A decade later, around 25% of its revenue comes from packages, but their share of fixed costs has not kept pace. First-class mail effectively subsidizes the national network, and the packages get a free ride. An April analysis from Citigroup estimates that if costs were fairly allocated, on average parcels would cost $1.46 more to deliver. It is as if every Amazon box comes with a dollar or two stapled to the packing slip—a gift card from Uncle Sam.
Postal favoritism is not a free market solution...

The Invisible Cuts

Whatever happened to tax cuts?
“We’re almost at the 200-day mark,” Meadows said during a “Conversations with Conservatives” event today on Capitol Hill. “It’s not a good story.”

Meadows said Republicans would not be able to pass a tax reform package if they wait to begin the legislative process in September.

“I think we may need to move it up sooner. If we are waiting until September that means we will not get tax reform, guys, if we’re waiting until September. You guys have all been around. If we wait until September that means that we get legislative text maybe in October, that means that we maybe get it out of here if it’s fast-tracked by the end of October, which means that it goes over to the Senate and it sits there,” Meadows said.

“There’s zero chance that gets enacted into law before the end of the year. I think the tax cut needs to be retroactive so we get the economy moving right away,” he added.
The problem with putting something away for another day is that another day comes soon enough...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Land Of Insolvency

There's enough risk to go around for everyone:
In many ways Illinois is simply the poster child for what is wrong with states. They are supposedly the providers of education, roads, parks, mass transit and public safety, among other services to their residents. But their real purpose in many instances has been to appease militant public sector labor unions.

Unions representing public workers have managed to persuade state agencies to reward them with gold-plated pension plans, and in some cases, retiree health care. These plans have been agreed to with little or no public input, or understanding by bureaucrats and lawmakers who know they will not around when the bills come due.

The most generous states are Alaska, California, Colorado and Nevada, where the average career worker pulls in more than $60,000 annually and many take in six figures. Those in the worst fiscal shape are Illinois, Kentucky, Connecticut, Alaska and Kansas.

What is most inexplicable about all of this is that progressive groups and progressive voters continue to support public sector unions even as make off with the family jewels.
Not really, since it's in the name of "redistribution..."

Looking For A Few Good Workers

Local businesses in Maine discover the need for American workers:
Because the H-2B visa program has already reached its annual quota, Bar Harbor’s hotels, restaurants and shops can’t bring in any more foreign workers for the rest of the busy summer tourist season. Like hundreds of similar coastal resort towns, Bar Harbor has for many years depended on the H-2B visas for temporary workers. The program allows non-agricultural companies to bring in foreign labor if they are unable to find suitable employees domestically.

Now they are coming up with creative ways to attract local labor, reports the Bangor Daily News.

The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce will hold a job fair Saturday in an effort to recruit significant numbers of workers from the region. Just about every kind of business in the town is looking for help, says chamber executive director Martha Searchfield.

“All types of businesses — retail, restaurants, the tour boats, all the trips, everything. All types of workers are needed,” she told the Daily News.
Especially those who actually want to work...

Travel Time

Trips for me, not for thee:
The FEC — which includes three commissioners each from Democratic and Republican parties — has withheld records related to 17 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed more than three years ago, according to an agency document obtained by TheDCNF. Of the 17, 10 have been pending for nearly four years, another will be five this year and the oldest turned six in June.

The requested documents span a variety of topics, ranging from communications regarding former FEC official Lois Lerner, the central figure in the IRS targeting scandal, to internal communications and commission policy documents.

Four unfulfilled requests, including the oldest, seek records related to FEC commissioners’ travel. These documents are especially relevant because of a recent report showing the Democratic members of the commission have taken at least 50 trips funded by foreign groups, governments and U.S. taxpayers since 2002.

Additionally, foreign groups funded overseas travel for Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub who recently proposed a plan to defend against foreign influence in U.S. elections following allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential contest, TheDCNF previously revealed.

None of the current Republican commissioners have taken such trips.
Maybe they didn't have as much to hide...

The Media Mystery Tour

They're all going to look for America:
Hadas Gold of Politico notes:

Starting in September, a traveling party of rotating HuffPost staff members led by editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen will visit more than 20 cities, eschewing the coasts for the likes of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Oxford, Mississippi and Odessa, Texas. At each city, the site will host events, roll out planned stories with local media outlets, send out reporters to write about the communities and collect stories from residents “in their own words.”

Through the trip, Gold adds, “HuffPost is seeking to reinforce its new, less partisan image.” However, the structure of the trip suggests that it is aimed more at connecting to liberal enclaves in the interior, rather than listening to the conservative views that prevail in “flyover country.” Editor-in-chief Lydia Poltgreen tells Politico that the trip aims to “report out the story of who we should be in the world,” as opposed (perhaps) to who Americans actually are.
I'm sure they'll be welcomed with open arms...

Special Guest Privileges

Who let the lawyer in?
The Moscow lawyer had been turned down for a visa to enter the U.S. lawfully but then was granted special immigration parole by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch for the limited purpose of helping a company owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, her client, defend itself against a Justice Department asset forfeiture case in federal court in New York City.

During a court hearing in early January 2016, as Veselnitskaya’s permission to stay in the country was about to expire, federal prosecutors described how rare the grant of parole immigration was as Veselnitskaya pleaded for more time to remain in the United States.

“In October the government bypassed 
the normal visa process and gave a type of extraordinary 
permission to enter the country called immigration parole,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Monteleoni explained to the judge during a hearing on Jan. 6, 2016.

“That's a discretionary act that the statute allows the attorney general to do in extraordinary circumstances. In this case, we 
did that so that Mr. Katsyv could testify. And we made the 
further accommodation of allowing his Russian lawyer into the 
country to assist,” he added.
Some Russians were more equal than others...

Don't Join The Club

Finally-Harvard bans...groups?
In explaining its reasoning, the committee cited the school’s “commitment to non-discrimination, inclusion, and a healthy social climate,” adding that the impact of the single-gender clubs “permeate[s] the fabric of campus culture.”

“As reflected in survey comments, these organizations directly and negatively influence the undergraduate experience for many students who are not themselves members of these organizations,” the committee’s report states. “The discriminatory practices of these organizations undermine our educational mission and the principles espoused by this faculty and distance their members from their college experience.”

The recommendation came from a committee created in March to determine whether new rules could make the Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus more inclusive.

If the policy is adopted by administration, students will be barred from participating in any sororities, fraternities, or other “exclusionary social organizations.” Those who do join any such organization will face “disciplinary action” from the administrative board.

As Harvard’s student-run newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, astutely pointed out: “The committee’s recommendations will likely draw heavy criticism from both alumni and undergraduates in social groups, who have repeatedly attacked the existing policy as overreaching and unnecessary.”
They'd rather you experience their own groupthink instead...

Feeling The Bern, Again?

Sanders 2020?
Asked on SiriusXM Progress’ “Make It Plain With Mark Thompson,” if he is considering another run for the White House, Sanders replied, “I’m not taking it off the table.”

“I just have not made any decisions,” said Sanders, 75. “And I think it’s much too early.”

Sanders said he is currently focused on defeating President Donald Trump’s agenda.

“Our job right now is to not only fight against this disastrous health care proposal, it is to take on all of Trump’s reactionary proposals,” he said. “He is a representative of the billionaire class. He’s at war against the working class. We’ve got to raise the minimum wage right now, we’re working on that, to 15 bucks an hour. We have got to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. We’ve got to be aggressive on criminal justice reform.”
Well, his wife would certainly know about the criminal justice system...

Idiocy Appreciation Day

Traumatizing kids, because cows:
Kayla Leaming, an organizer for Direct Action Everywhere, stood by the violent demonstration. She told WTVT-TV that it was intended to push back against Cow Appreciation Day and highlight the cruelty of animal slaughter because, in her view, animals have the same rights as human beings.

The goal, she said, was to “show the reality” of what’s happening to animals slaughtered for food.

“We feel like [Cow Appreciation Day] was feeding into the speciesism that we’re trying to fight,” Leaming said. “Speciesism is basically just the idea that one life is more important than the other, simply because of the body they were born into.”
It is when you're hungry...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

An Impeachable Moment?

Thus it begins?
The articles accuse Trump of violating “his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of president of the United States.” Trump “has prevented, obstructed and impeded the administration of justice during a federal investigation,” Sherman’s resolution says.

Both chambers of Congress as well as a special prosecutor appointed by the Department of Justice are investigating Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
....

The articles of impeachment introduced Wednesday accuse Trump of knowingly trying to shut down the FBI investigation of his campaign activities and firing former director James Comey as part of that effort.

“In all of this, Donald John Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as president and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States,” the articles read. “Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.”
How far will this go? I suppose it depends on how crazy his colleagues are...

Socialist Two-Step

Brazil's former president is going to jail:
According to Moro’s ruling, Petrobras had significantly overpaid on multiple contractor projects over the years; the contractors would then give some the extra money back to politicians as a kickback to ensure that they would receive continued business. Lula, the ruling states, personally benefitted from this scheme, purchasing a luxury triplex apartment with the money.

The Brazilian magazine Veja reports that Moro and his team found that Lula personally had a hand in diverting 87 million reais, or about $26 million, in Petrobras funds.

“Upon assuming the office of the presidency of the Republic, Lula ordered the formation of a criminal scheme to divert public resources destined to illicitly enrich as well as ensure criminal perpetuation in power, buy parliamentary support, and finance expensive electoral campaigns,” the prosecution wrote in the case.

Lula, prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol concluded, was “the maestro of this grand orchestra.”
Socialists sure do love redistribution...

Unmade In Japan

Why are the Japanese having less kids?
Marriage has become a minefield of unattractive choices. Japanese men have become less career-driven, and less solvent, as lifetime job security has waned. Japanese women have become more independent and ambitious. Yet conservative attitudes in the home and workplace persist. Japan's punishing corporate world makes it almost impossible for women to combine a career and family, while children are unaffordable unless both parents work. Cohabiting or unmarried parenthood is still unusual, dogged by bureaucratic disapproval.
Of course, Japan isn't the only developed country undergoing a demographic as well as an existential crisis. But this one seems to have been self-inflicted.

Senate Smackdown

He's mad as hell, and he's not gonna take this anymore: