Thursday, August 31, 2017

Swamp Spending

Congress gets ready to do what it does:
Congress must approve a catchall, massive spending measure to fund the government beyond Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year. A slate of 12 annual appropriations bills pay for every government program. The House approved a conglomeration of four spending bills in July. The Senate hasn’t touched any of those. The House is now trying desperately to advance the remaining eight bills – if for no reason than to brag that it did its job and passed the necessary bills. But without Senate cooperation, that leaves the House and Senate one option: a “Continuing Resolution” or CR, a stopgap spending bill to fund the government for a short period of time and avoid a government shutdown.

The government shutters if there’s no spending plan in place by Oct. 1.

But there’s a problem with a CR when it comes to deficit spending: CR’s simply renew old funding to keep the government afloat. Congress can wield more authority and actually reduce spending if it individually approves the 12 annual appropriations bills. Granted, the total price tag of those 12 bills usually jumps each year. But Congress can better control spending if it handles the bills one by one rather than glomming everything together in a gigantic package.
But that would be too responsible...

Climate Reality Wins

The climate alarmists have lost:
On the topic of the science of climate change, including the causes and potential dangers, the debate is still very much alive and well. But the current climate-change debate held in most public forums, including in Washington, D.C., has never been particularly scientific (that is, adhering to the scientific method), and after three decades of debating the claims made repeatedly by climate alarmists such as Al Gore, it’s clear the debate is over, and the alarmists have lost.

What alarmists believe

The current climate alarmist debate involves only two groups. The alarmists are those who say climate change is happening, that it is now and has for decades been caused by humans’ greenhouse-gas emissions, that the warming is causing or will soon cause catastrophic problems, and, most importantly, that the evidence is overwhelming and beyond dispute. Anyone who doesn’t believe in all four of those assertions falls, whether they realize it or not, into the “climate skeptic” camp, a rather large tent.

If this description of the debate surprises you, it’s only because for 30 years alarmists have consistently and improperly been claiming climate-change skeptics are “deniers” — a name that was deliberately chosen because of its link to Holocaust “deniers” — who are stupid, corrupt, or both. They’ve spread countless falsehoods about what global warming actually is and have repeatedly made untrue claims about what skeptics believe.
Lying is pretty much all they have...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Media's Own Monument Mess

The Newseum is in trouble:
The museum charges $25 for what visitors to D.C. get for free at the National Air and Space Museum, Library of Congress, and Jefferson Memorial. This and the internet’s corrosive effect on the print journalism celebrated by the museum serve as the default answers to why the venture, built for $450 million less than a decade ago, struggles. But it really fails because journalists fail at their jobs. Americans don’t view their profession as one comprised of honorable people.

The problems of the Newseum serve as a metaphor, a literary device “Fall of the House of Usher” readers recognize, for the problems of the news media it celebrates. The mausoleum to dead-tree journalism features “sponsored content,” biased presentations, and mission creep ephemera, such as Lady Gaga’s meat dress. Like cable news’s fondness for showing cable news clips from other networks and the numberless shows on the press talking about the press, the Newseum lets the public know that journalists think very highly of journalists—and you should, too. The Newseum crumbles as the profession crumbles, and for the same reasons. Americans distrust and dislike journalists.
Celebrating your own failures is not the key to a lasting legacy...

Reform Or Die

We need it:
Reforming the tax code is the single most important thing that Congress could do to jump-start our economy, create jobs, and raise wages for American workers. Our current code is uncompetitive, overly complex and loaded with special interest provisions that unfairly create winners and losers. This drives down capital investment, reduces productivity and causes wages to remain stagnant.

Individuals and businesses continue to waste billions of dollars and millions of hours each year trying to figure out their tax bills — instead of spending more time with their families, or thinking about how to innovate and expand.

Our corporate tax rate is the highest in the developed world. It has led to more American businesses being acquired by foreigners or struggling to keep pace with their foreign competitors. This means headquarter jobs are going to overseas cities instead of American cities. Our uncompetitive system has trapped more than $2.5 trillion overseas because American companies are penalized for bringing profits back by our high U.S. corporate tax rate, boosting other countries at the expense of our own.

This isn’t about helping companies like JPMorgan Chase. Yes, tax reform will help American companies become more competitive, but the real reason to do it is to increase jobs and increase wages.
Republicans used to support this kind of thing...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Blogging In The Years: 1993

The trials and tribulations of being President:
According to a new TIME/CNN poll, only 36% of the public approves of Clinton's handling of his job, a record low for a postwar President four months into his first term. Meanwhile, for the first time, fully 50% of the public disapproves of his performance as President. Dismayed by Clinton's preference for taxes over spending cuts, 58% of the public believes Clinton is a "tax-and-spend liberal." Such dismal ratings will make it easier for legislators to abandon the President in future contests. "At this moment," said a top political adviser, "nobody is afraid of him, and he has to find a way to change that."

Clinton can take heart from the fact that presidential popularity is an extremely volatile substance. George Bush won an 89% approval rating after the Gulf War in March 1991, but 10 months later it had dropped by half. Clinton can reflect that the polls can just as easily bounce the other way: he has plenty of time to recover from his error-filled start. Still, intimates say Clinton has been "sobered" by "how fast and how far he has fallen." Though most of them continue to insist the President seems to enjoy tough challenges, his advisers say they can detect the stress. Says one confidant: "He says he is fine. But he doesn't sound fine."
Just breathe, Bill...

Liberal Cartography

There are no neo-Nazis here:
The town had previously contested the claim, but the SPLC had stood by its marking the Amanas on the "hate map." Why? The organization claimed "it had confirmation that a group of individuals met sometime in September 2016 at a restaurant in the Amanas."

"The First Iowa Stormer Bookclub was a success!" a user with the screen name Concerned Troll posted in a September 26, 2016, thread. Concerned Troll did not provide specific details about the visit, but went on to suggest a subsequent meeting in Des Moines.

Local officials shot back, explaining that there are no such groups active in Iowa County. Amanas leaders denounced hate groups and their activities, saying none of their messages or activities are welcome in their town. They demanded that the SPLC remove their community from the "hate map."

While Amana had been previously marked on the "hate map," the local leaders remained unaware of this designation until Daily Stormer became infamous following the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va., on August 12.

On Monday, the SPLC finally agreed, removing the town from the map.
Now, if only they would remove their own prejudices...

Banned By The Boardroom

Corporate censorship by any other name:
The issue, in this specific case, involves Stormfront and the Daily Stormer, two white supremacist websites booted off the internet by their web hosts. Now that no one will host these racist sites, the Daily Stormer has been forced to retreat to what’s known as the Dark Net, which makes it inaccessible to most everyone.

But as the Guardian points out, this corporate censorship is not just taking place against neo-Nazis. Twitter and Facebook have become the 21st-century versions of Ma Bell, or the telephone (in other words, the primary means by which Americans communicate with one another) and both sites have become notorious censors and scolds. Under the guise of “hate speech” and the demonic media’s ever-expanding definition of the “alt-right,” today’s Ma Bells are always monitoring your phone calls and warning you not to say “this” or “that” under the threat of cutting your telephone wires altogether.

The lazy conservative argument is that “a corporation has every right to run itself as it pleases.” In a perfect world, yes. But conservatives should also oppose monopolies when a corporation becomes so large, overwhelming and necessary that you have no place else to go.
Where do you want your rights to end?

Army Surplus Sale

Should the police get military gear?
Police work is unquestionably difficult — and often thankless. I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for those who put it all on the line to protect our communities, and I saw their bravery firsthand this summer when Capitol Police officers made all the difference during the attack on our congressional baseball game practice.

To support our local police, we must first realize they aren’t soldiers. But today the line between the two is being eroded.

It’s no surprise you can find big government right at the heart of this problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies — where police departments compete to acquire military gear.
Cops aren't soldiers, and the two shouldn't be confused with each other.

Dutch Tax Treat

Denmark goes for tax reform:
The center-right coalition of Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen wants to shrink the country’s tax burden by 23 billion kroner ($3.7 billion), with the proposed measures to be phased in through 2025, according to a statement published on Tuesday. The administration also said it will “monitor” the corporate tax rate to ensure Denmark stays competitive with its trade partners.

“With this proposal, we’re tackling a number of concrete challenges,” Finance Minister Kristian Jensen said in the statement. “We’re increasing the gains associated with working, we’re making it more attractive to work more and we’re ensuring that it’s more worthwhile to save up toward retirement.”

A fast-growing economy has pushed down the jobless rate to just 3.5 percent, prompting concern about potential labor shortages. An aging population is also weighing on the state’s coffers.
Now, if only our own Republicans could get the message...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

How to troll the opposition:

Our Better Selves

Where the good guys are:
Currently dominating the headlines are stories about groups from both the left and the right fighting in the streets. Stories, articles, and picket signs that openly promote violence or hatred are immediately seen if you walk too close to a working television screen.

You would think our nation is on fire if you follow only the sensationalism on social media or the news. You would think America is on the verge of civil war as radicals with masks over their faces beat up bystanders on the streets and white-supremacists drive their cars into crowds.

But the hurricane — while bringing with it destruction and death — brought out the truth about this nation. We are not the divided mess you’re regularly shown. We’re still a united, giving, and selfless people.
When it comes to the best and the worst, the best still wins...

Sunday, August 27, 2017

IRS Endgame

Things may finally be coming to a head:
Although the arrogance of the IRS is breathtaking, it looks like they may have more than they can handle with Judge Walton. With the agency already proving that it tried to hide documents directly related to a FOIA request, how much nonsense will Walton put up with? He better have a low tolerance for word games and shenanigans by the IRS.

More names means more witnesses to be deposed under oath. Perhaps some promises of immunity are in order so that the truth can be wrung out of an agency that has been used to target the political opponents of a president and materially affect the ability of conservative groups to exercise their rights.
The truth will finally out?

Swamp Rats

Being part of the Swamp means never having to keep your word:
The opportunity arose for the vote to repeal Obamacare, and after huffing and puffing, and huffing and puffing some more, the dust settled and socialized health care remains the law of the land, perhaps permanently.

The opportunity arose for tax reform, to enact the cuts America desperately needs. It was never a matter of if, it was a matter of how much. It is now mid-August and nothing, absolutely nothing has been accomplished — even attempted!

And now we face the final test: the debt ceiling. Will we or won’t we stop the spending madness? Will the Republicans enact the cuts they’ve promised, or will they now be the ones to kick the can, piling evermore trillions of dollars of debt on their own grandchildren?

By every indication that’s precisely what they plan to do. The signal has come from President Trump, from Speaker Ryan, and from Majority Leader McConnell. The debt ceiling will be raised and no fiscal sanity will be restored.

There is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. Put them together. They are the swamp.
The Swamp is all...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Not A Drop To Tax

Paying for the privilege of drinking?
Senate Bill 623, backed by a strange-bedfellows coalition of the agricultural lobby and environmental groups but opposed by water districts, would generate $2 billion over the next 15 years to clean up contaminated groundwater and improve faulty water systems and wells.

“My message is short and direct: We are not Flint, Michigan,” co-author Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said at a Wednesday rally outside the Capitol, where demonstrators held signs reading “Clean water is not a luxury” and “Water is a human right.”

Ironically, many Californians are more aware of the crisis in Flint — where state and local officials in 2015 told residents about lead contamination in the drinking water, after claiming it was safe to drink — than about the water problems in their home state, said the measure’s main author, Sen. Bill Monning, D-Monterey. He called this “a pivotal time in our state’s history to do the right thing.”

SB 623 has been moving through the Legislature for months, but was amended Monday to include the tax on water for both homes and businesses. It also imposes taxes on farms and dairies, roughly $30 million annually, to address some of the contamination caused by fertilizers and other chemicals. Because it includes new taxes, the proposal will need a two-thirds vote in each house to pass, which supporters concede will be a battle.
Let them drink taxes?

Search Engines

While you weren't looking, Congress did it again:
The proposal for a safety commission to act as a wing of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority may sound logical, when its power includes thing such as the ability to “Adopt, revise, and distribute a written State Safety Oversight Program” and to “Review, approve, oversee, and enforce the adoption and implementation of WMATA’s Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan.”

However, there is one major red flag buried within the text of the bill that stems from the list of “powers” given to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, and it violates one of the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution.

“In performing its duties, the Commission, through its Board or designated employees or agents, may:Enter upon the WMATA Rail System and, upon reasonable notice and a finding by the chief executive officer that a need exists, upon any lands, waters, and premises adjacent to the WMATA Rail System, including, without limitation, property owned or occupied by the federal government, for the purpose of making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing as the Commission may deem necessary to carry out the purposes of this MSC Compact, and such entry shall not be deemed a trespass.”

The text gives the Commission the authority to enter property near the Metro Rail System “without limitation” and without a warrant, for the purpose of “making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing.”
What could go wrong?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Super Happy Fun Land

Come for the Communism:
Reuters reported that each guest traveling to the communist country must first be “checked” and will be accompanied by North Korean minders to ensure “adequate behavior of the tourist and guarantee his safety.”

Pictures of military instillations are banned and talking to North Korean citizens for lengthy periods of time is “not recommended.”

According to Reuters, North Korea is attempting to open up a tourism industry due to a dire financial situation. During weeks of trading threats with the U.S. over North Korea’s continued development of nuclear missiles, Washington passed sanctions on North Korea that drove the country’s economy further into crisis.

Reuters reported that the most expensive tour is a 15-day “full immersion in the culture of North Korea” that will cost 118,090 rubles ($1,997). Guests will be taken to a farm, a mineral water factory, and a Buddhist temple. Tourists will also be taken on a walk through the mountains and allowed to try North Korean dishes.
In North Korea, tour takes you...

Don't Misgender Me

Children beware-the gender police are watching you:
“There was a little girl who had been in class with the little boy all last year,” England explained to the Times. “They’re in different classes now, but she saw him on the playground yesterday and called him by his name. The little girl was told ‘You can’t do that, his name is this name,’ and ‘You need to call him a ‘her.'”

After the little girl misgendered her school mate, she reportedly was called to the principal’s office for discussion.

England told the newspaper that she contacted the girl’s parents and said that they were “outraged” over the incident.

Chris Plante, who is policy director for the Family Policy Institute of Washington, defended the young girl.

“Imagine how difficult it is for that first-grader to try to understand that the person that she knew as a boy all last year is suddenly a girl,” Plante said. “And to hold her to account for that, to send her to the principal’s office because she honestly doesn’t understand what this means? It’s mind-boggling.”
Not by today's educational standards...

Gorka Gone

Sebastian Gorka is out:
Gorka’s letter expressed unhappiness with the direction the Trump administration’s foreign policy has taken, as signaled by the president’s recent speech on Afghanistan:

“Regrettably, outside of yourself, the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again,’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan this week…

“The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost…

“Just as worrying, when discussing our future actions in the region, the speech listed operational objectives without ever defining the strategic victory conditions we are fighting for. This omission should seriously disturb any national security professional, and any American who is unsatisfied with the last 16 years of disastrous policy decisions which have led to thousands of Americans killed and trillions of taxpayer dollars spent in ways that have not brought security or victory.”

During his time in the Trump administration, Gorka focused on issues such as countering the Muslim Brotherhood, the crisis in Qatar, supporting efforts to draft a new long-term national security strategy, and combating China’s economic warfare.
Will the last member of Trump's original team please turn out the lights?

The Broken Democratic Trust Fund

Why Democrats are still having a hard time raising cash:
Overall, the Republican National Committee is out-raising the Democratic National Committee by roughly 2-1. Some of that is probably to be expected, given the Republican advantage among the ultra-rich — but the RNC is also winning among small donors by nearly 50 percent. It's a problem driven by the blinkered elitism of the Democratic establishment.

Still, it is particularly odd given the fact that Bernie Sanders — who has effectively become the party's main figurehead through lack of competition, if nothing else — got tremendous amounts of small dollar fundraising during his primary campaign. At the time, Democratic Party officials were slavering over that fact, figuring that if he would just give up his email list, they could get in on the party (and keep those consultant contracts flowing).

But they failed to understand the reason why Sanders got so much small donor cash. The reason is trust.

The fundamental political characteristic of the moment is overwhelming backlash to the status quo. People hate both parties, they hate the leadership of both parties, and they hate the sitting president — whoever it may be. Some of this is pure racism, misogyny, or xenophobia, especially in reaction to the first black president. But at least an equal portion is due to the abysmal economic performance of the last eight years.
For which the Democrats are partly to blame...

Rights Of The Right

Some rallies are more equal than others:
In a letter, Deputy City Manager Jovan Grogan told organizers of the event planned for Sunday in Civic Center Park — the home in recent months to a growing number of such demonstrations — that the “totality of circumstances” prevented Berkeley from being able to safely host the event.
Organizers did not immediately return requests for comment.
On social media Thursday, the far-right event, advertised online as a “No to Marxism” rally, showed no signs of stopping.
Police in Berkeley have given no indications that they will stand down, and similar past events have moved forward, regardless.
Marxists silencing anti-Marxists? I am shocked...

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Affirmative Inaction

Affirmative action does the opposite of what was intended:
The New York Times analyzed admissions enrollment from 100 of the best Ivy League schools, liberal colleges, universities and prominent public state universities in the U.S. dating back to 1980.

The analysis revealed that with affirmative action, black students only made 6 percent of college freshman, despite being 15 percent of college age students. As for Hispanic students, more of them are at the top universities, but the number hasn’t kept pace with the rise in the Hispanic college age population. Hispanics made up 13 percent of college freshmen but made up 22 percent of the college age population.

TheNYT found that black students only made up 9 percent of freshman students, while Hispanic students represented 15 percent of students at Ivy League Schools. White students’ enrollment also went down, while the percent of Asia-American students on the Ivy League campuses increased slightly. When it comes to liberal arts colleges, black and Hispanic students enrollment was on pace with those at Ivy League schools overall.
Selective education is not a solution...

Free Speech Is King

People still support free speech:
A new poll released by Rasmussen Reports on Wednesday revealed that over 85 percent of American adults believe that the right to free speech is “more important than making sure no one is offended by what others say.” A mere eight percent said they believe that guarding against personal offense is more important than protecting free speech.

73 percent also agreed with the famous line often attributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.” Another 10 percent disagreed with that statement, and 17 percent said they are undecided.

The poll reveals that there is bipartisan agreement with regards to freedom of speech. Despite overwhelming support for speech rights, Democrats are slightly less supportive as a group of protecting speech for those they disagree with than are Republicans.
Feel free to offend?

Welcome To Kim Land

Come for the weather, stay for the Stalinist nostalgia:
NKOREAN.RU, a Russian company licensed by North Korea's government, offers organized tours for groups of up to 10 people or individuals "to show the travelers the multi-faceted life of this most closed of countries".

Guests to North Korea must necessarily be "checked" before their trip and will always be accompanied by a guide who will monitor the "adequate behavior of the tourist and guarantee his safety." Pictures of strategic and military facilities are banned and long talks with locals "are not recommended".

The most pricey tour, 15 days "full immersion in the culture of North Korea" costing 118,090 rubles ($1,997), includes visits to a farm, a mineral water factory, a Buddhist temple, walks in the mountains and an introduction to national cuisine. Visits to numerous museums to founding leader Kim Il-Sung are also on offer.

Other less demanding tours include relaxation on a beach, an aviation show and even a beer festival.
In North Korea, tour takes you...

No Winning Here

Democrats, be warned:
Despite a Republican president's unpopularity and the dysfunction of his party in Congress, Democrats have so far been unable to capitalize on the environment. Even by its own modest standards for success, the Democratic National Committee's fundraising has been bleak. On Thursday, Cook Political Report shifted the race for Senate in four Democrat-held states in the GOP's direction.

Attributing Donald Trump's wink and nod in the direction of white supremacy last week to strategic genius is simply deluded. That does not, however, suggest that Democrats are benefiting from Trump's recklessness. Liberals have given the public no assurances that they can govern from the center, or that they even see that as a desirable enterprise. And yet, Democrats still appear convinced they are the default beneficiaries when Trump falls on his face, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
Delusional and dumb is not a good combination...

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Meeting Of The Minds

Peace in our time?
“The President and I, and our teams, have been and continue to be in regular contact about our shared goals,” McConnell said in a statement, vowing to work together on tax reform, infrastructure, to keep the government open, to pass military spending, and commit to fighting ISIS. The Senate majority leader said that Republicans were still committed to finding Obamacare relief and help for veterans.

McConnell issued the statement after the New York Times reported that McConnell and Trump were in a “cold war” after the pair had a shouting match over the phone, laced with profanity. But McConnell indicated that the story was not accurate about the future of the Republican agenda.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we are committed to advancing our shared agenda together and anyone who suggests otherwise is clearly not part of the conversation,” McConnell said in the statement.

Trump followed suit, as White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement of unity.

“President Donald J. Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell remain united on many shared priorities,” Sanders said.
For as long as that might last...

The Name Blaming Game

So now that a guy's name can somehow be considered racist, his "defenders" have come out:
“We want to pretend that sports are a safe sanctuary from the world’s ugly problems, but that has always been a farce,” former ESPN Vice President Roxanne Jones wrote on CNN. Truth is, not even the glorious game of football can keep America’s toxic culture of bigotry, hate and violence at bay. It’s just too heavy a burden.”

Her comments follow her former employer’s decision to remove Asian broadcaster Robert Lee from covering the William and Mary College vs. University of Virginia football game simply because his name resembles that of the late Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

“We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name,” ESPN officials disclosed Tuesday night in a statement obtained from ESPN spokesman Derek Volner. “In that moment it felt right to all parties.”

“No politically correct efforts. No race issues,” ESPN continued. “Just trying to be supportive of a young guy who felt it best to avoid the potential zoo.”
That didn't seem to work out so well, did it?

Going Postal For Hillary

Did postal workers double as Clinton campaigners? Republican senators want to know more:
The letters cited the OSC’s findings regarding the USPS that “only [employees] who wanted to campaign for the [union’s] endorsed candidates were given the opportunity to take several weeks of leave on short notice, over the objections of local supervisors who raised concerns about potential operational impact.” The OSC’s findings revealed that the USPS violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that limits certain political activities of federal employees. While employees are allowed to do some political work on leave, the report said the USPS showed a “bias” favoring the union’s 2016 campaign operation.

“The procedures by which federal employees request LWOP, and by which managers and supervisors consider these requests, are the product of negotiation between the agency and the employees’ collective bargaining representative,” Johnson and Gowdy wrote, requesting specific information to “ensure federal agencies are granting LWOP in a politically neutral manner.”
Don't ask for donations, just deliver...

The Activist Capitalists

Remember when liberals hated corporations? We live in different times:
It might work for Starbucks, with its relentless focus on the “woke college student” demographic, but it’s harder to see how such an approach will work for companies whose products cut across political demographics. Pepsi is just as popular with Trump supporters as it is with Trump opponents (perhaps more so, given the regular “healthy eating” crazes of Metropolitan types). What happens when the former group catches on to the fact that their consumer choices are funding progressive virtue-signaling?

A more dangerous prospect for corporate America is that they all follow the herd, leaving the “non-woke” marketplace wide open for competitors. Just as FOX grew to dominate America’s ratings due to its willingness to embrace conservative viewpoints its competitors despised, if just one or two corporations were to break ranks with the anti-Trump groupthink of their peers, they would win the loyalty of millions.

The problem for corporate America is that their virtue-signalling has diminishing returns: as more corporations jump on board the bandwagon, it looks less like bravery and more like opportunism. Meanwhile, any corporation that does swim against the tide will appear daring.
The profit motive always wins in the end...

This Is A Dead Conspiracy Theory

No Russians for them, please:
“Yeah I spent five days walking 110 miles from the Rhode Island border to the New York border and, the answer is no,” he said, laughing.

“I talked to mainly people who were apolitical,” he explained, “and they didn’t raise Afghanistan, obviously [the president’s] speech hadn’t happened. But they also didn’t talk too much about Russia.”

“They talked about healthcare, primarily, that was loud and clear, the most important issue to them,” he reported.

“They talked about their kids’ schools, how much money they were earning in their paycheck,” he added.
In other words, things that actually matter...

Lee And Lee

What's in a General's name?
ESPN, which has faced accusations of liberal bias that some observers believe has led to a downtick in viewership, said it moved its announcer to the Youngstown State game at Pittsburgh.

The network's full statement: “We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name. In that moment it felt right to all parties. It's a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play-by-play for a football game has become an issue.”
Only because you nimrods made it one...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Big Tech Versus The People

The online customers are always right:
On Tuesday, it was announced by Jihad Watch that their account had been reinstated by PayPal. Breitbart spoke to the website’s director, Robert Spencer, who stated,

PayPal was inundated with complaints and cancellations of accounts from people who understand that my work is not “hateful,” and that it is not hate to oppose jihad terror and Sharia oppression. And so they suddenly decided I wasn’t a “hate group” after all. They wrote me: “PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy in our User Agreement prohibits individuals and groups from using PayPal for activities that promote hate, violence, or racial intolerance. If we become aware of a website or organization using our services that may violate our polices, our dedicated team of professionals conducts a thorough review. Ultimately, a decision is made and communicated to the organization. In this instance, we have made the determination to lift the limitation applied to your account associated with the Acceptable Use Policy.”

This is absurd, of course. They never made a “thorough review” of Jihad Watch either when they banned it or when they restored it. They just blow with the wind. And this isn’t over: the Left knows this, and will blow harder. We will have to fight hard to retain our freedoms.

Similarly, the AFDI, an organization founded by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, had their PayPal account suspended and promptly reinstated following public outrage.
Sometimes a little outrage goes a long way...

Pining For The One

They really miss him:
Some Democrats are pushing for Obama to have a more elevated role, but Obama has made clear he is wary of sliding back into the role of party leader, which could prevent new leaders from emerging.
Democrats acknowledge that being stuck in the Obama era is a concern, but say the party can’t afford to have him on the sidelines.

“Democrats badly need Barack Obama,” said Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist. “He offers such a vivid contrast to Trump in behavior and temperament.”

“He always sounded reasonable and acted responsibly even if you disagreed with him,” Bannon continued. “None of the potential Democratic presidential candidates have the visibility or credibility to be effective.”

Others complain Obama has been doing too little to help the party at a time when it is struggling to rebuild.
And some aren't complaining...

Monday, August 21, 2017

There Goes The Sun

Here comes the eclipse:

Here Comes The Judge

A judge has taken a big step in making the IRS more accountable:
The targeting scandal drew much attention in 2013 when the IRS, headed at the time by Lois Lerner, admitted it was applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups applying for nonprofit status.

“That was wrong,” Lerner said at the time in the press. “That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. ... The IRS would like to apologize for that.”

But director of investigations and research at Judicial Watch Chris Farrell, whose organization is also involved in litigation with the IRS on this issue, told Fox News that the IRS owes litigants “real accountability.”

“This was creepy, chilling stuff,” Farrell told Fox News. “Judge Walton has accomplished more with one ruling than all of the rest of the federal government—all three branches—over the last six years.”
Sometimes all it takes is one...

The Wilderness Brigade

Even Joe Scarborough admits it:

Gruber Gets Got

The Architect is out:
Under the terms of the settlement, Gruber will no longer work as a taxpayer-funded economic consultant for the state’s health care system and he won’t seek to be paid any money he might be owed, reports the Rutland Herald, a Vermont newspaper.

For its part under the agreement, the Vermont’s attorney general will not pursue legal action under the Vermont Civil False Claims Act.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced the settlement on Friday after state investigators wrapped up an inquiry into Gruber’s billing practices.

Officials in Vermont had hired Gruber as an economic consultant to assess, examine and provide economic models for a now-abandoned plan to roll out a single-payer health care system across the tiny state.

The single-payer health care scheme, called Green Mountain Care, was the brainchild of former Gov. Pete Shumlin.
Not so great minds think alike...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Climate By Committee Is Dead

Donald Trump does away with another do-nothing committee, causing liberal outrage everywhere:
The skinny
The panel, aptly named, “Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment,” is a 15-member panel comprised of people from different backgrounds whose purpose was to simplify the findings of the National Climate Assessment for people in and out of the government, according to The Hill.

Ben Friedman, acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, informed the committee on Friday that its charter would not be renewed, according to the Washington Post.

The National Climate Assessment was intended to be updated and released every four years, but only three reports have been released since 1990. The next report was due to be released next year.

Former President Barack Obama established the committee in 2015.

The controversy
There was controversy surrounding the panel earlier this month after the New York Times reported that next year’s report had been leaked to them. However, the reported wasn’t leaked and it had been publicly available for months.

The Times seized on the opportunity to posture the Trump administration in a negative light because the report concluded that human activities were causing a rise in global temperatures. The Times’ report quoted scientists who suggested the Trump administration was trying to suppress the report. However, that was proven false.
Why pay liars when you don't have to?

The King Of Comedy

RIP Jerry Lewis:
Barely out of his teens, he shot to fame shortly after World War II with a nightclub act in which the rakish, imperturbable Dean Martin crooned and the skinny, hyperactive Mr. Lewis capered around the stage, a dangerously volatile id to Mr. Martin’s supremely relaxed ego.

After his break with Mr. Martin in 1956, Mr. Lewis went on to a successful solo career, eventually writing, producing and directing many of his own films.

As a spokesman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Mr. Lewis raised vast sums for charity; as a filmmaker of great personal force and technical skill, he made many contributions to the industry, including the invention in 1960 of a device — the video assist, which allowed directors to review their work immediately on the set — still in common use.

A mercurial personality who could flip from naked neediness to towering rage, Mr. Lewis seemed to contain multitudes, and he explored all of them. His ultimate object of contemplation was his own contradictory self, and he turned his obsession with fragmentation, discontinuity and the limits of language into a spectacle that enchanted children, disturbed adults and fascinated postmodernist critics.
He never stopped going, and maybe still is:

Thumbing For The Gold

Finally: Video games at the Olympics?
According to Associated Press, Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee, will hold talks with the IOC and eSports officials on the matter. He believes a competition involving digital skills should be considered, especially if they’re going to appeal to a younger generation of fans. Estanguet says the discussions will help everyone understand why competitive gaming has been successful, Associated Press reports.

The eSports market is expected to make $696 million in revenue this year and rise to $1.48 billion by 2020, according to Business Insider. Its total audience is expected to grow from 385 million in 2019 to 589 million over the next three years.

The talks are set to begin in 2019, according to the Associated Press. The Paris program will be finalized by the IOC shortly after the 2020 Olympics, giving eSports supports ample time to lobby their cause.
World of Warcraft for the Gold?

Blogging In The Years: 1982

What it's like to get lost in an eclipse:
You do not see the moon. So near the sun, it is as completely invisible as the stars are by day. What you see before your eyes is the sun going through phases. It gets narrower and narrower, as the waning moon does, and, like the ordinary moon, it travels alone in the simple sky. The sky is of course background. It does not appear to eat the sun; it is far behind the sun. The sun simply shaves away; gradually, you see less sun and more sky.

The sky’s blue was deepening, but there was no darkness. The sun was a wide crescent, like a segment of tangerine. The wind freshened and blew steadily over the hill. The eastern hill across the highway grew dusky and sharp. The towns and orchards in the valley to the south were dissolving into the blue light. Only the thin river held a trickle of sun.

Now the sky to the west deepened to indigo, a color never seen. A dark sky usually loses color. This was a saturated, deep indigo, up in the air. Stuck up into that unworldly sky was the cone of Mount Adams, and the alpenglow was upon it. The alpenglow is that red light of sunset which holds out on snowy mountaintops long after the valleys and tablelands are dimmed. “Look at Mount Adams,” I said, and that was the last sane moment I remember.
The moon may not be blue, but there is blue light nonetheless...

Frank Lloyd Wright's Last Island Dream

What would Frank Lloyd Wright have done with Ellis Island?
What Wright proposed was a city of the future. On the square, grassy foundation of Ellis Island, Wright placed another grassy round second level in something of a large-scale Lazy Susan that hovered over the island.
On top of that piece would sit everything a modern community could ever need. Apartments were situated in towers that had long suspension cables extending from their roofs down to the edge of the island.
Visitors could stay at the 500-room hotel, while glass-domed structures dotted around the island would house a theater, planetarium, nightclubs, restaurants, shops, banks, a hospital, a library, a sports stadium, a church, and more.
A swimming pool was cordoned off in the sea, moving sidewalks were placed around the community, and up to 450 boats could dock on the sides of the island under cover from the top piece of land.
“It’s incredible. It’s a little nuts,” Sam Lubell, co-author of Never Built New York, told The Daily Beast. “It’s sort of the part of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career where he had really been seduced by futurism, and some of it’s a little over the top, but it’s also extremely interesting and intricate and kind of wonderful, something that never gets old this whole idea of ebullient futurism.”
Perhaps some things are better left unbuilt...

The Writer's Best Friend

Why the typewriter still matters:
In a scene about half-way through the film, Shepard, in what will surely be one of, if not his last onscreen performance after his July 27 death, is sitting in his indexed library in front of a vintage Swiss-made Hermes 3000 typewriter essentially bleeding his heart out over his keyboard. He talks of apparitions and magic, and then apologizes for sounding “all hocus-pocus” about the experience and solitude of being alone with his typewriter as his one true writing companion.
He speaks lovingly about the feel of the keys under his fingers and the ‘splat’ of the ink as the letter hammer hits the paper. “When you are going to go ride a horse, you have to saddle it,” he says. “When you are going to use a typewriter, you have to feed it paper. There is a percussion about it. You can see the ink flying onto the surface of the paper.”
But what he really captures is the companionship a good typewriter offers to its owner, which even the latest version of Siri can never provide. “I feel my great strength as a writer is being alone,” he says poignantly, grazing the keys of his Hermes. “Aloneness is a condition of writing.” Alone, of course, with his typewriter.
Sometimes all you need is a little creative, mechanical companionship...

Elvis Who?

Remember the King?
Before long we may have more Elvis imitators than Elvis fans.
Unlike, say, Johnny Cash, his fellow Sun Records alumnus, Elvis never caught on in a big way with the generations born after he died. But then, Cash was perennially cool in a way Elvis was not.
Elvis’ appeal was more mysterious. First of all, it wasn’t merely about his music, at least not after the first few years. After he left the army and went to Hollywood and Vegas, the music became just another facet of the empire that his manager, Col. Tom Parker, built and ran off Elvis’ back for more than two decades. There would be more good songs (“Suspicious Minds,” “Burnin’ Love,” best jukebox song ever), but long before he died nobody thought of Elvis as anything but this weird cat in a class all his own.
Is Elvis really eternal, or just generational?

Russian Cash Cow

Don't tell the Democrats:
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has accepted more than $60,000 in small donations from Leonard Blavatnik, a Ukrainian-born energy billionaire with ties to Russian oligarchs, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation examination of the Democrat’s financial disclosure reports .

Blavatnik plowed $25,000 into Schneiderman’s political war chest in January of 2017 – his generous contribution was one of the largest individual donations given to the New York Democrat this year. Blavatnik had previously donated $38,000 to the anti-Trump lawman from 2011 to 2014.

Schneiderman’s office has not responded to TheDCNF’s request for comment in time for the publication of this article.

His fundraising efforts highlighted various legal challenges against the president have earned Schneiderman $1.7 million in contributions during the first half of this year, Politico reported in July. Schneiderman’s first half of contributions were consistent with the $1.6 million he reported in January.
Looking for fake Russians with the help of real Russians is good work if you can get it...

Bottle Backers

Plastic bottles are back:
“While we will continue to encourage the use of free water bottle filling stations as appropriate, ultimately it should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park, particularly during hot summer visitation periods,” Acting National Park Service (NPS) Director Michael Reynolds said in a statement released Wednesday.

A 2011 directive from the Obama administration allowed park officials to ban the sale of water bottles at national parks but allowed bottled soft drinks and juices.

The purpose of the directive was to reduce the sale of plastic bottles throughout the National Park System.

Park Service officials said that only 23 of the 417 national parks in the system, adding that the policy took away “the healthiest beverage choice” available to visitors.
It's all water under the park bridge now...

Water Vapor Trails

Defying the...water authority?
It began when a person by the name of Blake Albert tweeted a short video of himself vaping near a city utility vehicle to appear “gangster.” He tweeted the video at the Lawrence Police Department, presumably because he thought the car he posed in front of was a cop car.

But it wasn’t — and Lawrence PD was quick to inform him.

“I’m sorry Blake, this is awkward, but that’s not a police car. You vaped in front of a water service vehicle. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯,” the police department tweeted.
It's a clear case of H20 brutality...

Saved By A Hair

Haircuts are now racist:
The man aimed for his head over his car door, but Witt blocked the blow with his hand, which needed three stitches.

“I threw my hands up and once the knife kind of hit, I dived back into my car and shut the door and watched him run off west, behind my car."

Witt, who is in no way a neo-Nazi, joked that he believes it was indeed his haircut that confused the anti-fascist, and said he's considering changing his style. He has no other marks that would make his attacker mistake him for a white nationalist, he said.

“Apparently, my haircut is considered a neo-Nazi statement,” he told The New York Post.
Sometimes a haircut is just a haircut...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Creative Labeling

What do we call liberal arts?
The word “liberal” is “politically charged,” the polling group’s essay says, “and ‘arts’ has a negative connotation regarding improving graduates’ job prospects.”

“The words ‘liberal’ and ‘arts’ just don’t resonate in the minds of far too many Americans, especially those at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.”

In support of its claim, Gallup cites data indicating that a majority of Republicans believe higher education is detrimental to the nation. Specifically, a majority of Republicans voters and those voters who lean toward the GOP say they are apprehensive about the value of a college education because they believe the campus environment is “too liberal.” (Majorities of GOP voters do not cite cost or career prospects as reasons for apprehension.)

Also, Gallup notes, a recent poll shows that a large percentage of U.S. parents who have children currently in middle school or high school say they believe “no college at all” is more likely to lead to a good job than a “liberal arts degree.”
Perhaps that's because most jobs require a real degree?

A Tax By Any Other Name

Where do they get these ideas?
Recently, the Daily News and Washington Times reported that party leadership is considering replacing the failed border adjustment tax with revenue raisers from former Rep. Dave Camp’s (D-MI) 2014 tax reform plan. Allegedly, one of the top contenders for replacement is his old advertising tax provision, which would scrap advertising’s full deductibility as a business expense and make it only half deductible, with the other half being amortized over a ten-year period.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) are too smart to let this tax go into their soon to be released tax reform proposal. If it arises, they must use their knowledge and instincts to kill the provision, because passing such a tax would undoubtedly be political and economic suicide.

By holding back Americans’ money for over a decade, the Camp ad tax proposal would be violating that amendment by essentially making free speech a dollar and cents game. Only those who could afford to do without the money would be able to continue.

It’s clearly unconstitutional, and as constitutional scholar Bruce Fein at Huffington Post and litigation attorney Christopher Cooke at The Hill have detailed, there’s plenty of Supreme Court precedent to prove it. Under the plan, advertising would be treated worse than every other business expense that receives full expensing, making it a clear violation of the First Amendment that would lead to the bankrupting of local newspapers and radio stations. This would keep communities in the dark about what’s going on around them, all while adding more monopoly strength to the already-powerful cable news giants. Essentially, it would do exactly what our founding fathers tried to prevent.
Censorship by tax? Leave it to politicians to be this dumb...

Friday, August 18, 2017

Corruption Pays

If you were a crook before, the IRS is willing to rehire you:
According to the document, 13 of those rehired employees had previously been terminated from the IRS for falsifying employment forms, and both official and unofficial documents. Two of those employees had repetitively falsified employment forms by omitting prior convictions or terminations, TIGTA found.

Four of the 213 rehired employees were previously terminated or resigned for “willful failure to properly file their Federal tax returns,” and another 15 separated from the agency for various other tax issues.

Another four of those who were rehired by the IRS had previously separated from the federal agency while under investigation for unauthorized accesses to taxpayer information, while TIGTA cited 86 employees as having separated due to absence and leave, workplace disruption, or failure to follow instructions.
Being a government employee means never having to worry about really losing your job...

Bannon Begone

Steve Bannon is history:
The White House confirmed in a brief statement that Bannon, a hardcore populist who often sparred with his West Wing colleagues, would make Friday his last day -- just over a year after he joined the Trump presidential campaign.

"White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "We are grateful for his service and wish him the best."

One White House aide told Fox News the departure was a long time coming, and that Bannon actually submitted his resignation in writing two weeks ago.
This would have been just days after Kelly joined as chief of staff. Kelly was said to have been the driving force in the ouster of former communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and speculation swiftly centered on Bannon as the next one to go.

Sources say Bannon has become increasingly isolated in the White House. Adding to the pressure, some critics also publicly attacked Bannon in the wake of last weekend's Charlottesville violence, in which a counter-protester was killed at a white nationalist rally. Trump came under intense criticism for his response to that violence, and some blamed Bannon for the tone -- though it's unclear how much influence he had in Trump's remarks.
And now, apparently, no more...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Portrait Of A President

John Quincy Adams in black and white:
Adams, who sat for more than 60 portraits over the course of his life, was intrigued by the uncanny likenesses produced by the new medium of photography, even if he wasn’t always charmed by the results. In his diary on March 8, 1843, he recorded his first visit to the Washington studio of Philip Haas, where he sat for three daguerreotypes. (Daguerreotypes, which are made directly onto chemically treated plates, are unique objects; no negatives are involved.)

“The operation is performed in half a minute; but is yet altogether incomprehensible to me,” Adams wrote. “It would seem as easy to stamp a fixed portrait from the reflection of a mirror; but how wonderful would that reflection itself be, if we were not familiarized to it from childhood.”

He returned a week later, interrupting a sitting of his friend Horace Everett, a congressman from Vermont. Adams sat for three more daguerreotypes, according to his diary, and at some point gave one of them to Everett.
The daguerreotypes make the man...

Time To Pay The Payers

A judge rules that it's time for the IRS to come clean:
IRS senior executive Lois G. Lerner initially said the problem was rogue employees at an Ohio office who botched the handling. But subsequent investigations revealed that IRS officials at the highest levels of Washington were aware of the delays and extra scrutiny.
Some applications are still awaiting approval, though the IRS as of late last month had agreed to a process for deciding on one of the key outstanding cases.
Still, some tea party groups say they feel they are being treated unfairly.
Carly Gammill, a lawyer at the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing some of the groups in the lawsuits, told Judge Walton that they are concerned about an email sent by IRS employees during the initial targeting speculating that they would approve applications but would review them later for follow-ups.
“We suspect we will have to approve the majority of the c4 applications,” Holly Paz, a top Lerner aide, said in one 2011 email. “We will also refer these organizations to the Review of operations for follow-up in a later year.”
Ms. Gammill said the case against the IRS has been open for four years and that it’s time the agency explain what it did and whether it’s still treating tea party applications differently.
An explanation is long overdue...

Avert Your Eyes

Some things are best left unseen:
In just the past month, residents in California, Kansas, Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey, Houston, and Nevada have been shocked to see naked and agitated men in their neighborhoods, acting in bizarre and, in some cases, threatening manners.

On Wednesday, a suspected car thief led police on a chase that ended in a standoff "when the man climbed a crane at the Port of Los Angeles and got naked."

In Lawrence, Kansas, earlier this month, "scores of people" were left speechless when 34-year-old Kyle Carlson nonchalantly decided to walk down the street completely in the buff. Carlson was promptly arrested, but immediately shed his clothes again when he was let out of jail later in the day.
The nude apocalypse?

Pardon Time?

Does Julian Assange really have the inside scoop?
"He reaffirmed his aggressive denial that the Russians had anything to do with the hacking of the DNC during the election," Rohrabacher told the Orange County Register. "He has given us a lot of information. He said there's more to come. We don't have the entire picture yet."

Assange "emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure of those emails," according to a statement from Rohrabacher's office.

Rohrabacher, a former Reagan White House communications aide, is an outspoken defender of Russian President Vladimir Putin and one of the Democrats' top targets for the 2018 midterm elections. He is a fervent supporter of President Trump, who has also cast doubt on whether Russia was involved in the 2016 election meddling.

Speaking of the information he says he obtained from Assange, Rohrabacher told the Register it would have "an earth-shattering political impact. It wouldn't be so important if Democrats hadn't focused so inordinately on the Russians. Democrats are creating a total upheaval over this."
Will Assange create even more upheaval for them? We'll see.

Blade Runners

That's not a knife:
In a twist on typical open-carry laws that deal with guns, Texas starting Sept. 1 will end its ban on the open-carry of any blade longer than five-and-a-half inches.

“Some other states are looking at us as a return to the old Wild West,” said Dianna Knipp, owner of Charlie’s Knife Shop in El Paso.

The new law, while drawing some attention in the press, has stayed relatively under the radar. Some Texas residents Fox News spoke with didn’t know about the change.

“I think it will be similar to the open-carry law in Texas [for firearms] in that it will be a big stir for a while and then it will die down,” Knipp said.
In the end, there can be only one...

Fake News Fight

Do not make fun of the Fake News:

Tax Reform The Hard Way

Can the Republicans still do reform?
Some are pushing for Republicans to embrace a long-shot strategy to tie tax reform to an infrastructure spending package to bring Democrats on board.

Others have given up hope that Congress will be able to pass anything more than a temporary tax cut for individuals — maybe the only measure that can attract 50 Republican votes in the Senate.

“We’ll end up with some lower rates and some business tax changes and probably some tax cuts that are probably temporary because they’re doing it all with Republican votes,” said Randy Hardock, a partner at Davis & Harman who worked for Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) in 1986.

The landmark tax legislation signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 is the standard by which all other tax reform efforts are judged. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has acknowledged the current bill will be less ambitious, Hardock and half a dozen other present-day lobbyists who were involved in the 1986 effort say it underscores just how difficult it will be to pass a true tax reform package.
You can't always get what you want, even when you have the votes...

Blues In The Red

Democrats are still hurting for cash:
Many Democrats are frustrated by the sluggish fundraising pace, which comes even as President Trump's sagging approval rating drives Democratic outrage across the country.

They're also concerned about the implications of being financially outgunned ahead of a pivotal midterm election cycle, where Democrats will attempt to take the House while defending a number of Senate seats.
"We really should be kicking their asses," one longtime Democratic donor said. "It shouldn't even be close, considering all hell is breaking loose on their side."

The donor, like many top Democratic donors and fundraisers who requested anonymity to share their candid assessments with The Hill, conceded that it’s “still early” in the cycle. The group still thinks there's time for new DNC Chairman Tom Perez to right the ship following a bruising 2016 run for Democrats.

“We all know that the last six months has been a complete rebuild of the party structure with Tom Perez and it seems like they are trying to be very methodical on how they rebuild. So it’s not surprising that their fundraising isn’t as aggressive or advanced right now,” one top Democratic fundraiser said.

“What happens six months, nine months, 12 months from now will be a much clearer signal on whether the Democrats are truly in trouble.”
Seems to be happening sooner than that...

No Symbols Allowed

See no Southern evil?
Outlawing all Confederate flags, symbols, statues, and groups would not only be indescribably impractical — taking into account the existence of battlefield monuments, graves, Civil War re-enactors, every single souvenir shop within a 10-mile radius of Gettysburg, historical computer games, and Lynyrd Skynyrd albums — it would also be illegal.

"Even the most liberal Supreme Court justice knows that the remedy to hateful or offensive speech is opposing speech," Eddie Zipperer, an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College, told LifeZette. "This would be a blatant violation of the First Amendment."

"Leftists always haul out the argument that you can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater, so free speech has limits," he said. "But that argument is nonsensical. Historically, the Supreme Court goes to any length to protect political speech — even wildly unpopular speech."
Unfortunately, the left won't...

Like Butter

The Butter Apocalypse is real:
The problem began with the 2014 Russian embargo of European food items (note that 24 percent of the EU’s butter exports went to Russia), which resulted in the price of bottled water being higher than a bottle of milk across much of the continent. European dairy farmers reacted by producing far less milk than they normally would, but the demand for butter, milk, and other dairy products continued to rise.

It’s likely that global demand for butter will rise about 3 percent this year, partially due to the emerging trend of shunning margarine and butter substitutes for the real deal. Even China, which imports the vast majority of their dairy products from New Zealand and Europe, is slated to consume 38 percent more milk in 2017. With a milk shortage already gripping the EU, it’s a good time to be a dairy farmer in New Zealand.

What does this mean for the average European diet? For starters, the price of butter itself has risen 20 percent since June 2016, and the prices for food items containing dairy, including pastries, croissants, and cakes, will likely increase by fall, and shortages of milk and butter are to be expected in the months ahead.
Got milk? Maybe not...

The Rejected Presidents

Thus it begins:
A bronze statue of George Washington on horseback stands at the corner of 51st and King Drive, at the northwest entrance to Washington Park.

Bishop James Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center, said he wants the statue gone, and he wants George Washington’s name removed from the park.

“When I see that, I see a person who fought for the liberties, and I see people that fought for the justice and freedom of white America, because at that moment, we were still chattel slavery, and was three-fifths of humans,” he said. “Some people out here ask me, say ‘Well, you know, he taught his slaves to read.’ That’s almost sad; the equivalent of someone who kidnaps you, that you gave them something to eat.”
He also gave all Americans something else-like the country we live in...

Guests Wanted

Who wants to let in the riff raff?
Homeowners in unincorporated communities who qualify can receive up to $75,000 to build a second dwelling in areas zoned for such structures, while others may get $50,000 to update and legalize an existing dwelling.

The program was introduced last year as part of Los Angeles County’s set of 47 strategies to solve homelessness. The office of Regional Planning will work with several departments countywide with an allocated $550,000 in part to be used to offer subsidies.

Unlike a guest house, second dwellings include kitchens.

The program also will streamline the permitting process and provide technical assistance to homeowners within the county’s unincorporated areas, who would qualify, officials said.

Details of who would be housed and the selection process are still under discussion, said supervising regional planner Connie Chung on Monday. Funding allows for two to three new second dwellings, and for the remodeling of two to three existing ones, she added.
I'm sure there are many wealthy L.A. liberals who would agree to this...right?

Trump Therapy

Let's talk about Trump:
Deborah Cooper, a therapist based out of California, told the New York Daily News that business is so good that she is working overtime to accommodate all her patients.

“I have people I have not seen in literally 30 years that have called me to come back in because of trauma,” she said. “I am more than full. I am overworking.”

Cooper said that Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville was one anxiety-provoking event of many instances in Trump’s presidency that are coming “too fast and furious” for patients and therapists.

Clinical psychologist Scott Christnelly said there is a lot of evidence to back up his patients’ anxiety over Trump’s remarks on Tuesday.

“This is more evidence they should be anxious. There is evidence the anxiety is real, and it’s not just something they are making up,” he said.
Trump is literally living in their heads...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pay Now, Pay Later

The Obamacare subsidies will continue:
The president previously has tried to use the threat of ending the cost-sharing payments as a means to force passage of a bill to replace Obamacare.

But just as he has done every month since taking office, Trump on Wednesday agreed to let them continue.

The Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is formally known, requires insurers to offer reduced out-of-pocket charges customers of individual health plans if those people earn less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level, or less than $30,150 per year for a single person.

A report by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that for people who earn between 150 percent and 200 percent of poverty "the average deductible is reduced to $809, a savings of $2,800" each year.

The ACA also says that the federal government will compensate insurers for the money they do not collect in co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles from the qualified customers.

Next year the subsidies are projected to be worth $10 billion to insurers.
They're not going to give up that gravy train so easily...

Bad For Business

Big business jumps ship:
Their decision was not unanimous, initially. The strategic council's leader, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, seemed reluctant at first to disband the group. He changed his mind on Tuesday, CNBC has learned.

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch was also skeptical at first about ending the forum.

In a statement, the Strategic and Policy Forum members said they "believe the debate over Forum participation has become a distraction from our well-intentioned and sincere desire to aid vital policy discussions on how to improve the lives of everyday Americans."

Corporate leaders and notable Republicans distanced themselves from Trump this week because of his response to last weekend's violence.
They don't want him on their resumes...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Falsely Accused

Student rights are everyone's:
Brent E. Turvey, now the director of the Forensic Criminology Institute in Alaska, advanced the claim in his recently published book, False Allegations: Investigative and Forensic Issues in Fraudulent Reports, designed to be a handbook for criminal investigators.

Students are one of a few “vulnerable groups” that routinely either make false reports or are subject to them, Turvey writes, along with people who suffer from addiction, sex workers, public figures, and politicians. Because college students often accuse their peers, false reports are often made by students against other students, Turvey explains.

Investigating claims of sexual assault made by these students is difficult because of their history of making false allegations, Turvey concedes. Because it is impossible to know off-the-bat whether an allegation is true or false, all complaints must be taken seriously, he says.

Thus, investigators must be prudent to investigate all cases “without consideration of personal bias, public pressure, or politics” that could otherwise cloud the investigation.
Unfortunately campus kangaroo courts don't work that way...

Profit Motives

Never let a riot go to waste:
The broader mission of Indivisible is raising money to “defeat the Trump agenda” and put liberals in public office.

“The Indivisible Project’s mission is to cultivate and lift up a grassroots movement of local groups to defeat the Trump agenda, elect progressive leaders, and realize bold progressive policies,” states the website.

“We need your help to provide the 6,000 grassroots Indivisible groups across the country with resources, tools, and support to take action,” says the website, urging donations. “Most of all, we want you to be part of this nationwide movement.”

“Every part of the progressive ecosystem is under threat by this President and Congress,” according to the website. “The only way to win is by standing together, indivisible.”

The website also lists events for interacting with members of Congress during the August recess.
Come what may, the "cause" goes on...

Fake News Under Fire

President Trump fights back:
“There was no way of making a correct statement that early,” he said, defending his first statement on Saturday before the facts were in. “Unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.”

As reporters grew more agitated, Trump continued defending his decision and condemning the media for their one sided reporting.

Trump again denounced racist elements among the protesters, including people supporting the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists, but clarified that he still believed that there was blame on both sides.

“You look at both sides. I think there is blame on both on both sides. I have no doubt about it … if you reported it accurately, you would say that,” he said.
Never let facts get in the way of the blaming...

Words Times Two

Nobody could ever accuse Hillary's friends of being too original:
CNN posted an excerpt from the book last week, featuring an email Shillady sent to Clinton the day after her shocking election loss titled "Sunday's Coming."

Rev. Matthew Deuel, of Mission Point Community Church in Winona Lake, Indiana, reached out to CNN after noticing striking similarities to a blog post he wrote in March 2016.

For example, Deuel wrote: "For the disciples and Christ followers in the first century, Good Friday represented the day that everything fell apart. All was lost. The momentum and hope of a man, claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah who was supposed to change everything, had been executed."

Shillady's email to Clinton contains a nearly identical passage: "For the disciples and Christ's followers in the first century, Good Friday represented the day that everything fell apart. All was lost. The momentum and hope of a man claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah who was supposed to change everything, had been executed."
It's all in the execution...

One Message For All

Suppose the Democrats had a message and nobody listened?
The Democrats’ leaders have continued to declare that their losses in every special election during President Donald Trump’s first 200 days were not due to any middle-class problem, economic problem, national security problem, religion problem, illegal alien problem or any other policy problem. As Paul Waldman claimed in The Week last month, the only reason Democrats have a problem is that they “don’t have a bunch of simplified messaging and pithy slogans that describe their agenda.”

With 43 years of government experience, Rep. Garamendi served in the State Assembly and State Senate; was California Insurance Commissioner and Lieutenant Governor; and has been a congressman from Northern California since late 2009. During Garamendi’s entire political career, he has constantly pushed the for a single-payer healthcare system — but that message has gone nowhere.
Saying the same thing over and over and expecting people to listen might be considered a form of insanity...

The Gifs That Keep On Giving

Apparently emojois and gifs are now racist:
The online clip, presented by writer and Guardian contributor Victoria Princewill, begins with a “trigger warning”, in case viewers find historical footage of minstrel shows “offensive”.

Ms. Princewill claims the “most popular” reaction GIFs are “black people being dramatic”.

“This, is digital black face,” she declares, before comparing the GIFs to the explicit racism of past decades and claiming the tiny images used to communicate in text messages and on social media are the “21st-century version of that”.
Speaking of people being dramatic...

The New Hieroglyphics

Is the emoji replacing the texted word?
Emojis, a popular way to replicate non-verbal communication, are used six billion times a day and have been described as the fastest growing language in history.

Now it seems that like so many jokey messages that have gone down like a lead balloon, the sender could simply make themselves seem less competent.

Concluding that "a smiley is not a smile", academics have even warned that peppering an email with emojis could harm your job prospects by making colleagues less likely to share information with you.

The effect can be so damaging that people are advised to avoid them at work all together, especially the first time you talk to someone.

Dr Ella Glikson, an expert in business and management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, said: "Our findings provide first-time evidence that - contrary to actual smiles - smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence."
Leave the smiles at home?

Doomsday Deferred

There won't be an Armageddon just yet:
North Korea’s decision to back down is a major victory for the United States, as it was achieved — apparently — with no concessions to the regime, and after a sustained “Twitter war” of words with President Donald Trump.

Trump was roundly criticized by politicians from both parties and by the media for his responses to North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches, and to news that the regime could miniaturize a nuclear warhead. Trump threatened “fire and fury” and declared that U.S. military plans were “locked and loaded.” His critics, including former Obama administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice, accused him of escalating the situation. Rice even suggested appeasement: “[W]e can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea.”

However, Trump’s method of one-upping Kim-Jong-un’s belligerent rhetoric seems to have worked, as Trump cast himself as even more unpredictable than the infamously impetuous tyrant.
Crazy is as crazy does...

Robot Vision

It's time for the Doctor Robot show:
The Daily Star reports Double Act Productions hope to make a version of the successful Jeremy Kyle show.

Showbiz agents have apparently been contacted as the producers look to find celebs interested in having a bot fix their problems.

One agent told the Star: "I wouldn't mind representing the robot, as unlike human hosts it would hopefully be happy with any deal I could fix.

"It sounds like it'll be fascinating daytime TV. Jeremy Kyle needs to keep looking over his shoulder, as artificial intelligence could be the future."

A producers note to agents said: "We’re looking for stories where there is a dilemma or a couple, family or friends needing to make a big decision. This could be just about anything – big or small!"
Could a robot really understand the human mind? Would it really want to?

Clocking Out

London's iconic clock tower is going silent for awhile:
Big Ben is to be silenced amid fears workers involved in a restoration project could have their hearing damaged. Authorities say it would be 'unacceptable' to expose workers on scaffolding surrounding the bell tower to the noise of its chimes – and also 'unacceptable' for them to wear ear defenders.

They say they owe the workers 'a duty of care' on health and safety grounds, but the decision triggered an outcry last night.

Labour MP Steve Pound said: 'They kept the bells tolling through the Blitz. The Luftwaffe could not stop it but health and safety has. There has to be a way around this.'

The bell at the north-eastern end of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster will ring for the last time at noon next Monday. The renovation of the Elizabeth Tower is expected to be completed by 2021.

A spokesman for the Parliamentary authorities said: 'The chimes are being stopped to provide a safe environment for the people working on the scaffolding. Constant proximity to the chimes would pose a serious risk to their hearing, and prevent efficient working.'
Even clocks sometimes need to take a break...

Monday, August 14, 2017

Choking On Collusion

The Russians were interfering a lot earlier:
Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election directly coincided with the Obama administration’s failed efforts to broker a ceasefire deal in the Syrian civil war, where Russia actively sponsors Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Obama’s reticence to confront Russia over its actions at the time stemmed from his desire to save his multiple failed deals in Syria, The New York Times reported in December 2016.

“Everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen,” a senior Department of State official elaborated at the time.

Many former Obama administration officials have lamented their response to Russian attempts to influence the election. One senior administration official, however, admitted to WaPo that the response to Russian actions in the election “is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend.” He continued, “I feel like we sort of choked.”
But that didn't stop them from kicking the blame down the road...

Rage For Rage

Never let a racial attack go to waste:
Far-left “anti-fascist” (or antifa) figures are advising agitators to do the job that police won’t: shutting down “fascists” and prevent them from organizing.

Radical left-wingers have for months justified violence as a way to fight back against “fascism” and “racism” — terms that they have applied not just to white nationalist fringe groups but to prominent figures on the right as well. (RELATED: Shooting At GOP Baseball Practice Latest In Pattern Of Violence Against Republicans)

“Charlottesville is just the beginning. If the alt-right can get away with murder there, none of us will be safe. We have to stand up to white supremacists, we have to shut down and chase out these bigots every time they try to organize, or else they will kill more people,” reads one poster created by anarchist group CrimethInc, a self-described “international network of aspiring revolutionaries.”
Most revolutionaries aspire to be the next big dictatorship...

Banned In Boston?

No free speech for them:
The group Boston Free Speech is hoping to hold a rally next weekend, but Walsh said police are investigating that group, and said he's already decided the event should be called off.

"Our police intelligence unit is doing information gathering right now to see who they are," he said. "We don't need this type of hate. So my message is clear to this group: we don't want you in Boston. We don't want you on Boston Common."

Former Hillary Clinton campaign manager Brian Fallon suggested on Twitter that the rally is being organized by Jason Kessler, who led Saturday's protest in Charlottesville. But the group rejected Fallon's claim.
Free speech-it's not just for liberals...

An Inconvenient Flop

Al Gore got no green for being green:
Of the estimated $121 million Americans spent at the movies last weekend, less than $1 million was spent on the Gore's sad grab at political relevancy. Perhaps Gore can take solace in the fact that he narrowly edged out for 15th place another liberal-biased movie, "Cars 3," which targets children with fossil fuel lies via cute talking cars. No word yet on whether Gore is going to demand a recount.

Despite tens and perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars in free promotion offered by the left-wing media for Gore, Americans didn't take heed. And after eight straight miserable years of the Obama administration misusing its control of government bureaucracies and schools, assisted every step of the way by the government-aligned left-wing media, the purveyors of climate doom thought they had won the battle of public opinion.

Apparently not. Surveys and independent reviews of the peer-reviewed literature show Al Gore and his alarmist minions have not won the battle of so-called "scientific consensus" – which, by the way, is not how real science operates. For no matter how many scientists believed the Earth was flat in the 1500s, or warned in the 1970s an approaching an Ice Age, or announced that the "Piltdown Chicken" proved birds evolved from dinosaurs, it didn't change the facts. The Earth is round, the chicken was a hoax, and we aren't in a dangerous Ice Age yet.
It's hard to sell a hoax...

Phone Fiends

Remember the Obamaphone?
Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Tom Carper, D-Del., want the Federal Communications Commission and its Inspector General to examine a scathing report on the federal Lifeline program that found significant fraud.

The report was authored in May by the Government Accountability Office and found "extensive problems" with the Lifeline program. Specifically, the report accused a dozen phone companies of approving Lifeline applicants "with fictitious eligibility information" 63 percent of the time, and it found the federal government wasted millions annually on subsidies for falsified applications or deceased people.

"Addressing systemic weaknesses in Lifeline management and oversight, along with the referral of each instance of potential fraud identified by GAO, will ensure that the waste, fraud, and abuse that [GAO] identified is eliminated," the senators wrote to the GAO on Monday.

The Lifeline program was created in 1985 to help the poor afford telephone service. It was later expanded to include broadband and cellphones. Former President Barack Obama was at one point erroneously credited with creating the program, and the nickname "Obamaphone" emerged.
Time to finally phone it in?

The Quiet Court Press

While the media wasn't looking, Donald Trump has been getting things done with regards to the courts:
Trump’s biggest achievement in office so far has been the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, for whom Republicans changed the Senate rules to proceed to a confirmation vote with a simple majority.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — who refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court seat, Merrick Garland, after Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016 — has repeatedly pointed to Gorsuch to rebut accusations that the GOP Congress has achieved little under Trump.

"Well, we have a new Supreme Court justice," McConnell said when asked how he’d explain to voters the party’s failure to repeal ObamaCare this summer.

"We have 14 repeals of regulations. And we're only six months into it. Last time I looked, Congress goes on for two years."

While another appointment to the high court in Trump’s presidency is possible or even likely, given the ages of several justices, it’s appointments to the lower district and circuit courts where the president is likely to have a bigger impact.

Ilya Shapiro, a member of the conservative Federalist Society and senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, said only one of the 13 federal circuit courts had a majority of judges appointed by Democrats when Obama took office.

When Obama left office, nine of the 13 courts had a majority of Democratic appointed judges, Shapiro said.
Here come the judges...

Le Love Lost

Whatever happened to Emannuel Macron?
Macron, who shot to power on May 7 promising to overcome France's entrenched right-left divide, has since come under fire for his labour reform programme, budget and public spending cuts as well as a plan to create an official First Lady position for his 64-year-old wife Brigitte.

France's youngest ever president is especially out of favour with civil servants after vowing to put a brake on their salary increases.

Macron "must come down to earth and assume the political cost of his decisions," leading pollster Jerome Fourquet told AFP.

Proposed defence cuts -- part of a plan to trim 4.5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) to bring France's budget deficit within EU limits -- led to a public row last month with the head of the French armed forces, General Pierre de Villiers.

- 'Honeymoon is over' -

Macron rebuked him for questioning the wisdom of cuts at a time the army was in action in the Middle East and west Africa as well as at home. De Villiers resigned a few days later.

"The honeymoon is over between Emmanuel Macron and the French," wrote editorialist Laurent Bodin in the wake of the spat.
So much for the "Roman god" approach, eh, mon ami?

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

Every circus needs a clown: In a tweet on Friday, Griffin announced, “Honored that I’ll be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner f...