Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Release The Robots

Who could have seen this coming?
"Last year was tough — 5 percent wage inflation," said Bob Wright, Wendy's chief operating officer, during his presentation to investors and analysts last week. He added that the company expects wages to rise 4 percent in 2017. "But the real question is what are we doing about it?"

Wright noted that over the past two years, Wendy's has figured out how to eliminate 31 hours of labor per week from its restaurants and is now working to use technology, such as kiosks, to increase efficiency.

Wendy's chief information officer, David Trimm, said the kiosks are intended to appeal to younger customers and reduce labor costs. Kiosks also allow customers of the fast food giant to circumvent long lines during peak dining hours while increasing kitchen production.
The wages of "fairness"...

Experience Sometimes Necessary

Women don't always make less because of sexism:
ts data clearly suggests the salary gap is because female journalists are, on average, six years younger than their male colleagues, and have 5.3 less years of work experience. They are also less likely to work full time and hold management positions.

This demographic information is buried on page 126 of the study, and is nowhere to be found in the press release entitled: “New study finds female journalists paid 26 per cent less.” It claims to account for “equivalent rank and experience.”

The study did find the average after-tax income of a male journalist in the country is $55,552, while the average female journalist earns $44,104. This statistic on its own can be misleading without the context of the work experience gap.
If you want more, learn more...

Cashing Out

Is cash becoming illegal?
Regardless of what you think about the seriousness of the threat posed by the BTCA to the idea of physical currency, make no mistake: powerful, well-funded forces are determined to push for a world that functions entirely on digital currency.

Already in the United States, possession of any substantial amount of cash is considered de facto evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Consider that federal law requires banks to immediately report any customer who withdraws more than $10,000 in cash from their own banking account to the federal government, so that law enforcement agents can promptly question the offending customer about their intentions and the disposition of the withdrawn cash. Note that moving an equivalent amount of digital currency from place to place carries with it no such reporting requirement, presumably because it is already easier for the government to track digital currency.

Additionally, law enforcement agencies have increasingly begun to treat the mere possession of large sums of cash as sufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing to justify seizure of that cash under civil asset forfeiture laws.
Collect a few hundred dollars, go directly to jail...

Don't Look In The Mirror

When your own reflection is bad:
Mirrors in Bucknell’s Swartz Hall were covered on Sunday evening in an effort to promote “body positivity” and “self-love.” The construction paper was draped over the mirrors to bring attention to Eating Disorder Awareness Day, which took place on Monday.

The coverage of the restroom mirrors was done in part to draw attention to “Self-Love Week,” an initiative program taking place this week at Bucknell. One of the events being advertised on the mirror of the men’s restroom is entitled “Words Your Body Needs to Hear,” and will be taking place in the Swartz Hall lobby on Tuesday.
The mirror doesn't lie-therefore it must be covered up...

Bill Nye The Fake Science Guy

Tucker Carlson calls him out:

Hard Times

Speaking of people who are living in their own reality:
Pelosi said, “The case is being made about the emoluments clause and you have to have evidence and the rest, but the case has not fully been made. The fact is that when I was speaker after we won in ’06 — in ’07 people wanted me to impeach President Bush because of the war in Iraq. I never recovered with the left on this subject for not impeaching President Bush because of the war in Iraq. You don’t impeach somebody because you don’t like their policies. When they break the law, that’s when you have grounds for impeachment. And at the time of the war, I said, as a top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, ‘The intelligence does not support the threat,’ and so did Senator Bob Graham.”

“But the administration was making this strong case with the American people. And perhaps misrepresenting the American people could be a cause for impeachment,” she continued. “If so, there’s plenty of grounds right now with the current president, but it just isn’t the case. That doesn’t mean nobody is listening to cases that are being made in a very scientific, methodical way as to whether there are grounds for an impeachment. But the fact is that we’re trying to unite the country. Many of the President’s supporters are just not ready to accept the fact that their judgment might not have been so great in voting for him. And by the time the case is made, perhaps they’ll be ready to accept that. It’s very hard, impeachment. It’s very hard.”
So is actually making a case for it...

The Sims

So what is going on?
There may be not merely a glitch in the Matrix. There may be a Loki, a prankster, suddenly running it. After all, the same kind of thing seemed to happen on Election Day: the program was all set, and then some mischievous overlord—whether alien or artificial intelligence doesn’t matter—said, “Well, what if he did win? How would they react?” “You can’t do that to them,” the wiser, older Architect said. “Oh, c’mon,” the kid said. “It’ll be funny. Let’s see what they do!” And then it happened. We seem to be living within a kind of adolescent rebellion on the part of the controllers of the video game we’re trapped in, who are doing this for their strange idea of fun.

The thesis that we are in a simulation is, as people who track such things know—my own college-age son has explained it to me—far from a joke, or a mere conceit. The argument, actually debated at length at the American Museum of Natural History just last year, is that the odds are overwhelming that ours is a simulated universe. The argument is elegant. Since the advance of intelligence seems like the one constant among living things—and since living things are far likelier than not to be spread around the universe—then one of the things that smart living things will do is make simulations of other universes in which to run experiments. (We’re not all that smart, and we’re already starting to do it, modelling large interacting economies and populations on our own, presumably “primitive” computers.)
It's simulated craziness all the way down...

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Russians That Weren't There

There are no Russians near Trump:
Nunes avoided specifying how he could be certain that “there’s nothing there” regarding the allegations that Trump’s ex-advisers talked to Russian officials.

He said that “the scoping” of his investigation has been completed and that the committee will soon “move into actually receiving the evidence.”

“But as of right now, of the initial inquiries I’ve made to the appropriate agencies, I don’t have any evidence,” he said.

“As of right now, I don’t have any evidence of any phone calls. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, but I don’t have that.”

One reporter asked Nunes whether he has been directly informed by federal investigators that there is no evidence of improper phone calls or whether the evidence has just not yet been turned over to his committee.

“The way it sounds like to me is it’s been looked into, and there’s no evidence of anything there. Obviously, we’d like to know if there is,” he said.
Saying it doesn't make it so, media...

State Of The States

Governors have reason for optimism:
“We’re going to give you back a lot of the powers that have been taken away from states and great people and great governors, and you can control it better than the federal government because you’re right on top of it,” Trump said.

The president delivered a speech at the National Governors Association meeting on Monday.

He explained that more states needed to compete for the best solutions around the country, citing the importance of citizens holding their state governors accountable.

“They know the best how to spend their dollars and how to take care of the people within each state,” Trump said, referring to state elected officials. “And states are different and people are different. So the governors are going to have a lot more decision-making ability than they have right now.”
States know better than those who think they know what's best for them...

Blue Fear

Someone was out to get her:
“I was scared,” Brazile added. “I was scared that first day and night. I went home that night, I couldn’t talk to anybody because I had a — I couldn’t even tell the staff what was happening to them.”

She told DNC members last week that staffers faced death threats following the Russian hacks and leaks into the party’s internal documents and communications last year.

Brazile became interim chairwoman after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) stepped down during the 2016 Democratic National Convention amid controversy after leaked emails purported to show the party working to ensure Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee and damage Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) candidacy in the process.

Following the DNC leak – including her own emails published on WikiLeaks — Brazile said she became so fearful of her status as a target that she hired someone who would check to make sure her house was safe every time she went home.
Who wouldn't be scared of Hillary?

Smugness Will Out

Hollywood liberals need to take a chill pill:

Ministry Of Trolling

Yeah, this'll show 'em:
“Ministers are to summon Facebook, Twitter, Apple and others to Whitehall and will demand that they develop new technological solutions similar to those used to thwart paedophiles and terrorists,” reported The Times of London on Sunday. “The call will be backed by the threat of legislation, with a green paper promised in the summer.”

The Samaritans claimed last week that there were “correlations” between internet use and self-harm, but added that it was unrealistic to remove all “harmful” content online.

“While we cannot realistically hope to remove all harmful suicide-related content online there is still progress that can be made by encouraging the organisations which operate highly popular sites, such as social networks, search engine providers and news media outlets, to develop responsible practices relating to suicide which reduce the availability of harmful content and promote sources of support,” proclaimed the charity.

Health Secretary and former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt also encouraged social networks to “reduce the risks” associated with their users last year.

“There is a lot of evidence that the technology industry, if they put their mind to it, can do really smart things,” he said. “I think there are a lot of things where social media companies could put options in their software that could reduce the risks associated with social media, and I do think that is something which they should actively pursue.”
Government bullies can be worse than any other kind...

Winners And Winners

So here's the Oscar moment that will live in infamy:

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Chinatown

Who really runs Hollywood?
Few Americans realize that a Chinese company, Dalían Wanda Group, is the world’s largest cinema operator (the company owns AMC Theaters and Hoyts Cinema). Even fewer probably realize that this same Chinese company owns Legendary Entertainment (Jurassic World and Interstellar)—and that their plans include the acquisition of one of the “Big Six” movie studios.
It doesn’t take the imagination of a La La Land auteur to envision the potential negative consequences.
Last September, 16 members of Congress sent a letter to the head of the Government Accountability Office, asking this question: “Should the definition of national security be broadened to address concerns about propaganda and control of the media and ‘soft power’ institutions?” And they’re not alone in their concern. A clandestine group called “Wolverine Entertainment” created a Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about Chinese influence in Hollywood.
While there are reasonable concerns about China exporting overt propaganda via their increasing control (through a private company) of production and dissemination, we are already witnessing a less-paranoid scenario: self-censorship in Hollywood in pursuit of profits.
That's been a part of Hollywood for a long time, but at least it was Americans doing it...

Obamacare Goes Where?

John Kasich is concerned:
Kasich said, “I mean there’s going to be a problem in the House of getting anything out of there that still provides coverage to people. That’s why the Republicans have to reach out to some of the Democrats. I don’t know whether that’s going to happen.”

He added, “Well because I think there are some very conservative Republicans in the House who are going to say just get rid of the whole thing. And that’s not acceptable when you have 20 million people or 700,000 people in my state because where do the mentally ill go? Where do the drug addicted go?”
Back to the Democratic Party?

Down The Drain

Did he at least put the seat down?
A state judge on Thursday threw Frederick Ramirez off the ballot in the race for an open House seat in Philadelphia.

The judge found that low water and electric use at the house Ramirez claimed as his residence showed he really didn't live in the district.

According to testimony, for 11 months he was billed for a total of about 3,000 gallons of water, or the equivalent of less than two toilet flushes a day on average.

His lawyer said the low numbers, showing zero use in some months, are misleading because of how bills are calculated.

Neighbors testified they never saw Ramirez on their block, the bedroom light was always on and the home never seemed to put out trash for curbside pickup.

"The fact that there are no photographs or pictures on the walls, combined with the fact that his daughter's room is still decorated for an infant, more strongly reveals that (the) candidate is not domiciled at (the house), but merely uses that location as a convenient place to stay" when he is working at a nearby clinic he owns, wrote Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey.
A man's home is not just his convenient castle...

Game Over, Man

Time to pay the fiddler:
“It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” a family representative said in a statement. “A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”

Paxton, born in Forth Worth, Texas, had a long and accomplished
career in television and film. Memorable films include “Titanic,” “Aliens,” “The Terminator,” “Tombstone,” “Apollo 13” and “Twister.”

As a boy, Paxton was in the crowd that welcomed President John F. Kennedy in Texas on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, hours before Kennedy was killed in Dallas.

He was also featured in many television shows, including the lead in
HBO’s “Big Love,” the “Hatfield & McCoys." He was most recently cast in the CBS drama "Training Day."
Where she stops, nobody knows. RIP.

Freedom Up North

Mark Steyn stands for free speech:
He didn’t spare environmentalists and the “cartoon climatology” extremists like Canadian activist David Suzuki who “want to lock-up everybody who doesn’t agree with him. There are other people who think you should be killed for disagreeing with them.”

Steyn referenced the burgeoning refugee crisis on the border with the U.S., suggesting that Canada was becoming a nation that was losing its identity: “when no one is illegal then no one is legal.”

Turning his attention to the increasing political correctness at universities in North America, Steyn ridiculed the tendency for academic institutions to “create another safe space” every time they object to something a student says.

He decried he lack of discussion at colleges, saying that “fewer people think there should be a difference of opinion but only one opinion on every issue…only weak ideas need protection from criticism.”

“Sometimes a society becomes too stupid to survive,” he said to uproarious applause and cheering from the audience.
And there won't be any safe spaces when it falls...

Party Trades

Meet the new boss of the DNC:
Perez, who was discussed as a potential vice presidential pick before former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton selected Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, remained a strong supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). His views on the deal continued even after the party’s shift to the left forced Clinton and other Democrats to denounce former former President Obama’s signature trade deal.

“Trade agreements like the TPP are critical to our 21st century competitiveness,” Perez wrote in an April 2015 op-ed featured in the Boulder Daily Camera. The former labor secretary championed the TPP under Obama, becoming one of its most vocal supporters.

Over one year later, Perez said his position on TPP remained unchanged, even after Clinton changed her tune, at least publicly, and came out against the increasingly unpopular trade deal. During a July 3, 2016 interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Perez asserted that his work on the TPP put the American worker first and gave his full endorsement to the trade proposal.
Still the king of bad ideas...

Press Pass

So President Trump's not going:
The White House Correspondents’ Association, which organizes the dinner, insisted the April 29 event would still go on as planned as a “celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic.”

“We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession,” WHCA president Jeff Mason, who covers the White House for Reuters, said in a statement.

The tradition, which dates back to 1921, sees a handful of journalism students receive scholarships each year.

Trump’s tweet came a day after he renewed his assault on the media by calling it “the enemy of the people,” in an ongoing battle in which he has labeled the fourth estate “fake news” and the “opposition party.”
So why would he hang out with them?

What If?

The real history of racism:
“What if I told you that white supremacy is real in America, and it came with the very first gun law? That black people had no right to protect themselves from the KKK?” Johnson said to applause and appreciative “amens” from the audience.

“What if I told you white supremacy was real in the form of Planned Parenthood?” Johnson continued to growing applause. Progressives put “Planned Parenthood centers right in black neighborhoods.”

“What if I told you white supremacism was real in the criminal justice system, because you have people that think they can change human nature by passing a law, and they realized that they could [bypass] the Thirteenth Amendment and still restrict you to slavery by convicting you of a crime?”

All of these factors “culminated in a campaign of a self-professed, Woodrow Wilson-era progressive,” Johnson said. “Who wants to push an FDR jobs program. Who loves Planned Parenthood. And who hasn’t met a gun law she didn’t like. And who ran on the Democrats’ side: Hillary Clinton.” (“Mmm-hmm,” the audience replied in unison.)

“Every single aspect of systemic racism and white supremacy they have pushed remains on the Democratic side,” she said, later adding: “They came from the Democrat side and they remain on the Democrat side.”
You'd be telling the truth, but the Democrats would never admit it...

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Striking The Tents

The circus is no longer coming to town:
The company has faded over the decades, its grandeur eclipsed and its animal acts seeming fusty, but make no mistake: Something irreplaceable will be lost when Ringling closes up its tent for good — a tradition of inspiring awe that connected parent to child, generation to generation.

Ringling didn’t invent the circus, whose modern origins date to around the founding of this country, but it supersized it, increasing the blockbuster visuals and the travel. P. T. Barnum and his partners led the first circus to transport its entire show (including animals) on newly built transcontinental railroads and coined the phrase “greatest show on earth.” After joining with a competitor in 1881 to become Barnum & Bailey, they toured Europe, gaining steam before merging with another competitor, Ringling Brothers, in 1907. What resulted was a cultural behemoth.
....

What really distinguishes Ringling Brothers are the animal acts. They have long been the bread and butter of this circus — one of its most classic posters promises “the world’s most terrifying living creature.” And in this show, they were out in force: llamas, hopping dogs, a donkey, lions and tigers, a kangaroo and a lumbering pig.

This menagerie has inspired furious protests, including activists outside this show holding photos of tigers that read: “Whipped for your entertainment.” For those who want their circuses cage-free, Cirque du Soleil shows that you can offer crowd-pleasing spectacle without lions and tigers and pigs.

In response to the criticism, Ringling stopped using elephants last year, sidelining perhaps their most famous stars. (The word “jumbo” derives from the African elephant P. T. Barnum brought to America and showcased in his circus.) Perhaps it’s for the best. The world moves on, even when a link to the past is broken.
And, sometimes, the world is worse off for it...

Blue Times

Democrats try to figure out how to stop losing:
“America needs non-partisan redistricting commissions,” O’Malley said at Boston College Law School, where he’s now a visiting professor. “This simple reform … must become the new norm of American democracy. … How can we expect people to vote if their voice has been carved into irrelevance by a political map ahead of time?”

An early test for Democrats trying to win state-level races and stopping the Trump wave arrives this weekend.

Delaware is holding a special election for an open state Senate seat that will decided whether Democrats keep their roughly 40-year hold on the chamber.

"If we lose, a new Republican majority will take power and rubber-stamp every single one of Trump's hateful policies," the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee said in a recent fundraising letter. "They'll grind all our progress to a halt."
Stopping with the Trump hate might help...

Rock Star

This is your brain on boulders:
Speaking to AFP through a crack in the limestone boulder late Friday, Abraham Poincheval said he had been buoyed by how his performance has "got into people's heads".

The artist made headlines worldwide when the two halves of the rock closed around him on Wednesday at a Paris art museum.

Poincheval, 44, had carved out a hole inside the rock in his own image, just big enough for him to sit up in, with a niche to hold supplies of water, soup and dried meat.

"People seem to be very touched. They come and talk into the crack, read poetry to me, or tell me about their nightmares or their dreams," he said.

"They are not so much talking to me, I think, as to the stone. I am very happy that the stone has got into their heads."
A rolling artist gathers no moss...

The Lobby Door

The party of the people goes big:
Democratic candidates for president, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, previously condemned what they called a cozy relationship with Wall Street, asserting the Democrat Party was the only one that could stand up to Wall Street and represent “Main Street.”

Voting members of the DNC apparently disagreed, deciding to permanently vote down the ban, clearing the way for lobbyist involvement in the 2017 and 2018 mid-term elections.

Former President Barack Obama initially put the ban in place in 2008, and the decision severely limited funds from federal lobbyists and political action committees to the DNC’s war chest.

Former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz previously rolled back the ban, citing a concern Republicans would be able to easily outspend Democrats during the 2016 race.
"They're lobbyists, but they're OUR lobbyists..."

Friday, February 24, 2017

This Means War

The battle is joined:
The New York Times reported Thursday that there was a time when Democrats were divided on their Trump approach. Trump did win former blue states in his November victory and Democrats in those states witnessed a new vulnerability.

The report, however, said that protests and angry emails have prompted Democrats to "cast aside any notion of conciliation with the White House.”

“My belief is, we have to resist every way and everywhere, every time we can,” Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington told the paper. Inslee said there was a “tornado of support” for a wall-to-wall resistance.

Douglas E. Schoen, a former pollster for President Clinton and Fox News contributor, wrote in an opinion piece that “Trump's ascendance is rooted in America’s preference for center-right policy."

"As the Democratic Party shifted ever leftwards under Obama, it suffered net losses of 11 Senate seats, 62 House seats, and 10 governorships since 2010, as well as nearly 1000 state legislative seats.”

He went on to say, “The groups driving the Democratic Party to the left believe their only path to victory is mobilization. These forces are pushing the party away from the American public, which fundamentally is center-right, and channeling the concerns and priorities of the core Democratic coastal base.”
They're going down fighting...

Winning Ugly

Ugly people are winners, too:
Researchers at the London School of Economics and the University of Massachusetts have been able to somewhat dispel a pervasive theory regarding attractiveness, commonly referred to as a “beauty premium” or the “ugliness penalty.” Previous studies have found that those who are good-looking command higher wages in their employment. This phenomenon has been seen in a wide range of professions, from business to law.

It turns out that people aren’t necessarily discriminated against because of their appearance, the researchers determined.

For their analysis, Satoshi Kanazawa and Mary Still, the study’s co-authors, examined a data set pulled from a popular survey looking at adolescents, the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, also known as “Add Health.” The survey is notable in that it measures physical attractiveness for a given individual in four installments over a period of 13 years, doing so on a five-point scale.

In their analysis, Kanazawa and Still found that while more attractive individuals often outearned their less attractive peers, this was often due to the presence of other qualities, such as being smarter, healthier, calmer, more extroverted, and more conscientious.

“Physically more attractive workers may earn more, not necessarily because they are more beautiful, but because they are healthier, more intelligent, and have better personality traits conducive to higher earnings,” says Kanazawa.

Interestingly, those who were categorized by Add Health as being “very unattractive” were also higher earners. They always outearned those who were deemed “merely unattractive,” and in some cases made more money than individuals of average and above-average attractiveness.
You don't have to be one of the beautiful people after all...

Real Science Marches On

Al Gore willnot be pleased:
More than 300 eminent scientists signed the letter to Trump, delivered Thursday, arguing he should pull out of the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) because it targets carbon dioxide — a gas essential for life.

CO2 “is not a pollutant but a major benefit to agriculture and other life on Earth,” reads the petition, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Observations since the UNFCCC was written 25 years ago show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign — much less than initial model predictions.”

Trump promised to pull out of the Paris agreement on global warming, which went into effect in November 2016. President Barack Obama signed the U.S. up to cut greenhouse gases 26 to 28 percent.

The hundreds of scientists who signed the letter, however, argue that’s not far enough. Trump should pull out of the foundational treaty the Paris agreement is based on — the UNFCCC.
The science is not settled, but the debate may be...

Black Magic Women

Well, nothing else seems to have worked:
The “mass spell to bind Donald Trump” will be performed at midnight on every waning crescent moon beginning Friday, February 24, “until Donald Trump is removed from office,” the group’s website states.

The mass ritual will allegedly be repeated again March 26, April 24, May 23, June 21 (the summer solstice), July 21, and August 19.

The spell also invokes evil on “those who abet” Trump, which would seem to appear to cover his staff and political nominees, and perhaps the millions who voted for him as well.
Eye of Newt Gingrich?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Walker's Way

How Scott Walker could reform welfare:
As part of his executive budget, Walker is proposing an expansion of work requirements to able-bodied adults with school-age children on food stamps. In addition, he calls for extending these work requirements to childless adults on Medicaid and pursuing a pilot program to implement work requirements for able-bodied adults in public housing.

Walker's reforms would counteract a wave of increased dependency and poverty. These work requirements would reinforce the idea that, to interrupt the generational cycle of poverty, able-bodied parents need to model work and not dependence.

Research published by the Foundation for Government Accountability found that after more than 40,000 childless adults on food stamps were faced with work requirements, record numbers went to work, their average incomes doubled, and their income gains more than offset their lost welfare benefits.
Actually helping those on welfare get off of it-sounds like something liberals would want...

Hannity Without Colmes

RIP Alan Colmes:
Colmes was known for his electric commentary and for the fierce debates across Fox News programs since the channel's launch in 1996. "Hannity & Colmes" debuted on Fox News in 1996 and ran until Jan. 2009.

Colmes also hosted the nationally-syndicated "Alan Colmes Show" on Fox News Radio. He addressed his recent absence from the show in a note to listeners on Jan. 30.

"As I previously mentioned on the show last year, there would be times I would be taking off from the show to deal with a medical issue. This is why I’ve been out recently and will be out this week as well. But I will be back taking your calls as soon as I can," he wrote.
Now he is forever fair, balanced, and unafraid...

Clap Hands And Rant

Seriously, what is going on with her?

The Last Repeal

No repeal at all?
Boehner, who resigned in 2015 amid unrest among conservatives, said at an Orlando health care conference that the idea that a repeal-and-replace plan would blitz through Congress is just “happy talk.”

Instead, he said changes to former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement would likely be relatively modest.

“[Congressional Republicans are] going to fix Obamacare – I shouldn’t call it repeal-and-replace, because it’s not going to happen,” he said.

Boehner’s comments come as Republican lawmakers across the country are facing angry constituents at town halls worried that Obamacare will be yanked away without a suitable replacement.
Meanwhile, what about angry conservatives who are worried that Obamacare won't go away?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Flushed

No more bathroom breaks:
The decision, not yet announced, would be a reversal of an Obama-era directive issued in May requiring public schools to grant bathroom access even if the student's chosen gender identity isn't the same as what's in the student's record.

Although the original guidance carried no force of law, transgender rights advocates say it was necessary to protect students from discrimination. Opponents argued it was overreach.

The Obama administration's guidance was based on its determination that Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education and activities, also applies to gender identity.

It was not legally binding but sent a warning that schools could lose funding if they did not comply with the administration's interpretation of the law.

Republicans immediately pushed back, arguing it was an example of federal government overreach and the Obama administration meddling in local matters. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick equated it to "blackmail" and said at the time that the state was ready to forfeit federal education money rather than comply with the guidance.
Politically correct blackmail is an ugly business...

Who Controls The Message?

This is what media types actually believe:
SCARBOROUGH: "Exactly. That is exactly what I hear. What Yamiche said is what I hear from all the Trump supporters that I talk to who were Trump voters and are still Trump supporters. They go, 'Yeah you guys are going crazy. He's doing -- what are you so surprised about? He is doing exactly what he said he is going to do.'"
BRZEZINSKI: "Well, I think that the dangerous, you know, edges here are that he is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job."
Doesn't seem to be working...

The Mini Me Method

How to lose even more friends and not influence anybody:
Much of the world believes North Korea ordered the hit on Kim Jong Un’s half-brother and experts say that could further alienate the country from the few allies it has.

“By conducting this kind of killing, North Korea is biting the hand that feeds it economically by alienating China, by running the risk of further restrictions in Malaysia and by essentially looking like an actor that is unreasonable,” said Scott Snyder, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, “thus making it much more difficult to try and use reason or dialogue as a way of addressing the problem.”
Snyder said if North Korea’s leader is willing to kill a member of his own family, who knows what he’s capable of doing next.
“It shows a depth of paranoia on the part of Kim Jong Un that implies that he will go after enemies, especially family members and remove them as potential alternative sources of competition for rule,” Snyder said.

If he keeps this up, there won't be anyone left to-oh, wait...

The IT Money Trail

They had friends in low places:
Imran Awan and four of his relatives were employed as information technology (IT) aides by dozens of House Democrats, including members of the intelligence, foreign affairs and homeland security committees. The aides’ administrator-level IT access was terminated earlier this month amid a criminal probe by U.S. Capitol Police of a suspected security breach, including an off-site server housing congressional data.

The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has reported that while working for Congress, the Pakistani brothers controlled a limited liability corporation called Cars International A (CIA), a car dealership with odd finances, which took–and was unable to repay–a $100,000 loan from Dr. Ali Al-Attar.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, wrote that Attar “was observed in Beirut, Lebanon conversing with a Hezbollah official” in 2012–shortly after the loan was made. Attar has also been accused of helping provoke the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq as a leader of Iraqi dissidents opposed to Saddam Hussein.

After moving to the U.S., Attar made his money practicing medicine in Maryland and Virginia and defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies by billing for non-existent medical procedures. The FBI raided his offices in 2009 and the Department of Health and Human Services sued his business partner in 2011.

Attar was indicted in March 2012 on separate tax fraud charges after the IRS and FBI found he used multiple bank accounts to hide income. He fled back to Iraq to avoid prison.
In other words, he fit in well in Washington...

Who Hacked Whom?

Who needs the Russians?
The attacks are the second confirmed IT scanning assault by DHS officials against states that resisted then-President Barack Obama’s attempt to increase federal involvement in state and local election systems by designating them as “critical infrastructure” for national security.

Members of the National Association of Secretaries of State voted Saturday at their winter meeting to oppose the designation. They are asking President Donald Trump to overturn it.

Former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was also Trump’s vice presidential-elect during much of the period covered by the DHS scans of the Indiana system.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, the incoming president of the association, told TheDCNF Tuesday that, “we know that between November 1 and December 16 we were scanned with about 14,800 scans, nearly 15,000 different times.”

The state’s IT team traced the intruder to a DHS computer’s IP address. The same DHS unit attempted 10 times in 2016 to hack into the Georgia electoral system.

Federal officials are barred under DHS rules from trying to penetrate a state system without the express approval of the state. Neither Georgia nor Indiana approved the DHS scanning attempts.
Hacking rules are for little people...

The Mirror Universe

Welcome to Clinton World:
“Approval ratings for President Clinton hit 89 percent,” “Confused by fake news, Redditers think Trump is president” and “DOJ considers charging Trump with treason” are just a few headlines featured on HillaryBeatTrump.org, a satirical news site devoted to covering stories from an alternate universe where Hillary won last November’s election.

“In the midst of a Constitutional crisis, this is our response,” the site’s description reads. “Long live the true president, Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

The site’s proprietors do not identify themselves online, and did not return TheDC’s request for comment, but their articles suggest they have liberal leanings.
Everyone has their own fantasy land...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dumpster Shopping

It's the socialist diet:
A combination of socialist economic mismanagement, government rationing of basic goods, and corruption have contributed to the situation in which Venezuela currently finds itself. For years, finding supermarkets properly stocked with basics such as flour, vegetable oil, and butter has been an odyssey for most Venezuelans. Under Hugo Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, the situation has become more desperate, with many Venezuelans resorting to extreme measures to survive.

A poll released in September found that 15 percent of the nation relied on garbage, most from industrial businesses like groceries and restaurants, to eat. Over half of Venezuelans said they had experienced going to bed hungry, and a similar amount said they were forced to take days off from work to search for food.

That situation has not improved — on the contrary, video surfacing this year appears to indicate that scavenging in garbage dumpsters for food has become so popular that Venezuelans now stand in line in front of dumpsters to look for food.
Feed a revolution, starve a country...

On His Own

Milo speaks out:
I haven’t ever apologized before. Name-calling doesn’t bother me. But to be a victim of child abuse and for the media to call me an apologist for child abuse is absurd.

I regret the things I said. I don’t think I’ve been as sorry about anything in my whole life. This isn’t how I wanted my parents to find out about this.

But let’s be clear what is happening here. This is a cynical media witch hunt from people who don’t care about children. They care about destroying me and my career, and by extension my allies. They know that although I made some outrageous statements, I’ve never actually done anything wrong. These videos have been out there for more than a year. The media held this story back because they don’t care about victims, they only care about bringing me down. They will fail.
Haters usually do...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Paysplaining

Equal pay, or no way?
Green wrote a letter in response to Senate Bill 210, which focuses on equal pay and would force some employers to create a standard to determine who gets raises or not.

Green claimed that men need to make more than women so they can support their families. If women start earning more money, men’s wages will be lowered as a result, Green reasoned.

“If that happens, then men will have an even more difficult time earning enough to support their families, which will mean more Mothers will be forced to leave the home (where they may prefer to be) to join the workforce to make up the difference,” Green wrote, adding that this would hurt society at large.

Green said the outrage over the letter was so great that he chose to leave his position.

“I didn’t want to hurt the party any further,” he said. “They didn’t force me to do it. There was no coercion. I chose to step down.”
The wages of an honest opinion...

Canadian Carbon

Carbon taxes don't sit well with Canadian conservatives:
Leadership candidate Chong, trailing badly in the race, announced his support of a federal carbon tax and was roundly criticized by his Conservative colleagues.

“With respect, Michael, I am not in this race to out-Liberal the Liberals,” said fellow leadership candidate and Ontario MP Erin O’Toole, a former minister of veterans affairs, who told the debate audience that he would scrap any federal carbon tax imposed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

O’Toole told The Daily Caller that “Chong has bought-in to the Liberal notion that you help the environment by raising taxes, despite the fact that average Canadians are not the problem. I like Michael a lot, but creating a new tax and running a large deficit to do it is not a conservative plan,” he said.
There are other ways of going green without making people pay more green...

Permanent Day Off

Protesters discover the price of "justice":
NBC News reports at least 100 workers lost their jobs at different restaurants and businesses after the February 16 protest.

Migrants who advocated for the wage-suppressing, cheap labor policies allowing them to work in the U.S. found themselves rapidly replaced by new workers. One business, the I Don’t Care Bar and Grill in Catoosa, Oklahoma, fired several workers by text message: “You and your family are fired. I hope you enjoyed your day off, and you can enjoy many more. Love you.” The next day, the restaurant posted an announcement looking for new workers on Facebook.

The migrant workers say they felt their firings were unfair, but the owner had a long-standing “no call/no show” policy.

Another 18 employees working at Bradley Coatings in Tennessee told their bosses they were skipping work to protest in a “Day Without Immigrants” demonstration. The business promptly fired them for missing work.

“I would tell him he was unfair, after working for them for so many years, giving him our best,” one migrant worker told KTNV. “They could not understand that it was just one day. We were going to make up that day on a Sunday, but they didn’t understand that, and it was not the best way. They didn’t give us an opportunity and just told us we were fired.”
They did, however, seem to understand that if you don't do your job, you don't get paid...

Grammar Grabbers

Because spelling is racist, or something:
“Linguistic and writing research has shown clearly for many decades that there is no inherent ‘standard’ of English,” proclaims the writing center’s statement. “Language is constantly changing. These two facts make it very difficult to justify placing people in hierarchies or restricting opportunities and privileges because of the way people communicate in particular versions of English.”
In the introduction to its “commitment” section, the Tacoma Writing Center pledges to “listen and look carefully and compassionately for ways we may unintentionally perpetuate racism or social injustice, actively engaging in antiracist practices” before making nine specific promises to students.

“We promise to emphasize the importance of rhetorical situations over grammatical ‘correctness’ in the production of texts,” announces the poster. “We promise to challenge conventional word choices and writing explanations.”
How about an explanation as to why me no spell good?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The "I" Word Is Out

No impeachment after all?
Just a month into Donald Trump’s presidency, Democratic Party leaders are trying to rein in the talk of impeachment that’s animating the grass roots, the product of a restive base demanding deeper and more aggressive investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia.

Democratic officials in Republican-dominated Washington view the entire subject as a trap, a premature discussion that could backfire in spectacular fashion by making the party appear too overzealous in its opposition to Trump. Worse, they fear, it could harden Republican support for the president by handing his party significant fundraising and political ammunition when the chances of success for an early impeachment push are remote, at best.
Especially when he hasn't actually done anything yet...

Coal Sacked

China puts North Korea on notice:
China’s announcement on Saturday that it would suspend all coal shipments from North Korea was a surprise, but not totally unexpected. On Monday of last week, the day after the ballistic missile test, China prevented a North Korean ship from unloading a shipment of 16,295 tons coal, worth about US$1 million, at a Chinese port, and ordered that it be returned to North Korea. However, China blamed the rejection not on the ballistic missile test, but instead on a claim that the coal contained higher-than-permissible level of mercury.

China’s announcement could have significant economic impact on North Korea. In order to import foreign goods, North Korea needs foreign reserves. In order to get foreign reserves, it needs to export goods. About 90% of North Korea’s exports go to China, and most of that is coal. So this announcement will severely limit the foreign goods that North Korea can import.

The intent is that by limiting North Korea’s ability to import, the country will be unable to import that equipment required for further development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. It is not clear that this objective is realistic, as Kim Jong-un has previously been willing to allow his people to starve rather than to allow his nuclear weapons program to starve. No matter what the intent, Kim will let his people starve and will torture, jail and execute anyone who objects.
Don't make Mini Me even more insane than he already is...

Mac Attack

John McCain is not a fan of these attacks on the people who don't like Trump anyway:

The French Russian Connection

Man, those Russians are everywhere:
Jean-Marc Ayrault, in an interview published Sunday in newspaper Journal du Dimanche, said Russia appears to be targeting centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, while favoring more pro-Russia candidates such as conservative Francois Fillon and nationalist Marine Le Pen.

Macron’s campaign has described hacking attempts that it suspects are linked to Russia, though it’s unclear whether the detected activity was more than routine cybersecurity breaches. The Kremlin has denied involvement.

Ayrault is quoted as saying “this kind of interference in French democratic life is unacceptable….The French will not accept anyone dictating their (electoral) choices.”
So surrender, already...

Un-Raveled

No more regulating for her:
Ann Ravel, who wanted to regulate political speech on the internet from websites such as the Drudge Report, announced Sunday that she is stepping down from her post.

“It’s been an honor to serve the FEC. I’m committed to transparency – here’s my resignation letter to Donald Trump,” Ravel tweeted on Sunday morning.

Ravel attached her resignation letter to President Donald Trump, which focused on asking Trump to prioritize campaign finance reform.

"I respectfully urge you to prioritize campaign finance reform to remedy the significant problems identified during the last election cycle," the letter says. "Disclosure laws need to be strengthened; the mistaken jurisprudence of Citizens United reexamined; public financing of candidates ought to be expanded to reduce reliance on the wealthy; and Commissioners who will carry out the mandates of the law should be appointed to expired terms at the FEC. Thank you very much."

Ravel’s resignation will be effective March 1.

The Democratic commissioner has come under fire on numerous occasions in the past due to her desire to regulate online political speech—actions some viewed as targeting conservative websites.

Ravel has also been a no-show from FEC public meetings in recent months, phoning it in from California after being passed up for the attorney general spot in the state. During one meeting, Ravel seemed so distant that the Democratic chair of the commission asked if she was awake.
Now she'll have plenty of nap time...

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Out On The Town Hall

Republicans deal with "tolerance":
The advisory issued Thursday by the House Sergeant at Arms “strongly encouraged” the chamber’s roughly 435 members to review security protocols as they leave Capitol Hill for a “District Work Period,” which historically includes town hall-style events and other interactions with constituents.

“This is important if your district office becomes a potential demonstration site,” the advisory reads. “If your home address and phone number are publicly available, you should remain particularly alert regarding your surroundings.”

On Saturday, GOP Rep. Tom Reed hosted another town hall event in his upstate New York district in which attendees gave him rough time, demanding answers about his purported desire to shutter the Environmental Protection Agency and about “Russia, Russia, Russia.”

The situation follows several town hall events hosted by House Republicans over the past several weeks in which some attendees shouted and demanded answers to a range of concerns about their agenda and that of Republican President Trump – particularly whether millions of Americans will lose health insurance if ObamaCare is indeed dismantled.
The brownshirts are out there, waiting...

Back To Home School

Do you need a "right" to homeschool?
King’s bill would first repeal the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. While many homeschoolers agree with the repeal of ESEA, the bill next would send all federal education funds to the states in the form of grants, which states would then distribute as vouchers to public, private, and homeschooled students.

Estrada asserts the bill would essentially create a “federal right to homeschool.” Section 104 of the bill states, “To be eligible to receive a grant…the State will…make it lawful for parents of an eligible child to elect…to enroll their child in any public or private elementary or secondary school in the State; or to home-school their child.”

While this sounds good, HSLDA has fought — successfully—for decades to make sure that there is no “federal right to homeschool” because what could be created by a favorable Congress could be regulated by a future, hostile Congress. It is far better (and far more constitutionally sound) for education decisions—and homeschool freedom—to be protected at the state level. We ask our friends at the federal level to simply leave homeschooling families alone.
With friends like them, parents don't need enemies?

Blind Evil

Good riddance:
Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995 of plotting terror attacks throughout New York City, targeting the United Nations and other New York City landmarks. He was also linked to the 1993 World Trade Center attack in which six people died and more than 1,000 others were injured.

Known as “The Blind Sheikh,” Abdel-Rahman lost his eyesight when he was 10 months old. By the time he was 11 years old, he had memorized the Braille version of the Qur’an and was sent to an Islamic boarding school.

He went on to study at Cairo University’s School of Theology and later earned a doctorate in from Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Abdel-Rahman went on to become one of the country’s most prominent and outspoken Muslim clerics to denounce Egypt’s secularism.

In the mid-1980s, Abdel-Rahman made his way to Afghanistan, where he built a strong rapport with former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden once credited Abdel-Rahman as the inspiration and justification for the September 11 attacks which destroyed the World Trade Center.
He rotted in prison, now he rots in the ground...

Biting The Bullet

The Republican plan comes forward:
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said, “We’re going to continue to work through this through the district work period next week. And as we come back in the weeks ahead we’re going to be moving forward with legislation.”

Republicans leaders hope to soon provide a credible alternative to Obamacare. House congressional committees including Ways and Means, as well as Energy and Commerce, will start the markup of the bill after the president’s day recess next week.

The Republican proposal would include health savings accounts, high-risk pools for sick people, and states receiving greater control over health care. The plan also includes tax credits for individuals to buy health insurance dependent on age and family size rather than Obamacare’s income basis.
If you like their plan, you'll be able to try their plan...

We Can Forget It For You Wholesale

Clinton voters, rejoice:
The process mirrors the storyline in the hit movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind although it fails to bring happiness to Jim Carrey’s character.

University of Toronto experts have discovered that although there are millions of brain cells in the brain, only a handful are linked to bad memories.

And in groundbreaking studies on mice, they were able to pinpoint those brain cells associated with “fear or threat” memories - and delete them.

Crucially, the researchers found they could wipe away single, specific memories while leaving other memories intact.
You can do the same thing with alcohol, although this sounds less painful the morning after...

Beauty And The Beasts

Ugly people are still ugly:
“I know we are supposed to say beauty is inner — but come on. If that was true, there would be no models,” observed author Fran Lebowitz during a New York Fashion Week party for the Pirelli calendar at Cipriani Wall Street.

“Artifice is fashion,” she further mused. “People’s concept of beauty is different now than it was 50 years ago … It used to mean blond, blue-eyed white girl, and now it can be any color of person and any ethnicity. But still beautiful. There are no models that are not beautiful. They may not be to your taste … but that is a personal thing.”
The ugly stick still hits some people whether they like it or not...

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Ruination

The fault, dear media, lies not in Trump, but yourselves:

Non Union Label

Democrats are scared:
Some unions, even if traditionally Democratic, have aims that align with Mr. Trump’s stated priorities: building infrastructure, rewriting trade agreements, blocking an exodus of jobs. But union leaders are in many cases scrambling to get in step with members who responded to his pro-worker rhetoric — and to tap into that energy.

The dynamic was on display earlier this week, when some employees at Boeing’s South Carolina facilities, which Mr. Trump visited Friday, spoke of a rising feeling of empowerment tied to the president’s posture and cited it as a factor in their vote for a union. (The union vote failed.) …

Progressives have groused that some blue-collar unions are willing to sell their souls for a few thousand jobs. They say that members who enthuse about the president’s ostensible victories for workers, like his efforts to block the manufacturer Carrier from sending jobs to Mexico from Indiana, are utterly blinkered. “Trickle-down economics dressed in populist garb is still trickle-down economics,” wrote Robert B. Reich, labor secretary under President Bill Clinton.
Maybe they're just tired of walking in lock-step with their union bosses?

Rise Of The Machine Tax

Tax the robots?

Sue You In Court

Judicial Watch wants to know:
The group filed Freedom of Information Act requests for the records weeks ago but are planning to sue by next week for the records if they do not receive anything by then.

Judicial Watch filed the requests with the FBI, NSA, CIA, and Treasury Department, according to the group’s Director of Investigations and Research Chris Farrell.

The group is aiming to find out whether there was ever a warrant allowing the U.S. government to wiretap Flynn’s phone calls, and if so, who requested it and why.

“If you have a warrant, attached to the warrant 99 percent of the time, there is an affidavit, a sworn declaration normally by a law enforcement officer or senior official,” said Farrell.
The Deep State may not be so deep, after all...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Blue Ghosts

Well, maybe:
Greenwald pointed out the losses Democrats have suffered in prior elections, particular at the state level and said that the party wasn’t learning from its mistakes, but doubling down on what it had done before.

He noted that the GOP have two-thirds of the governorships and are just one state house away from having the ability to convene a constitutional convention.

“It is a party that has collapsed as a national political force in the United States,” Greenwald said. “It’s not just the national presidential election.”
Both parties have gone through long dry spells, but it does look like the Democratic wilderness is turning into an arid wasteland...

The Vast Violent Conspiracy

Another "journalist" tries to make the case that the right is just as bad as his side:

Chocolate Crunch

Nestle quits California:
According to an op-ed from IBD’s Terry Jones, Nestle was lured from Glendale, California, to Rosslyn, Virginia, through tax incentives worth $16 million. But the tax incentive played only a part in the decision by the chocolate company to relocate:

[A]part from having higher taxes, absurd housing costs and more regulations than nearly any other state, California’s wacky laws have turned the Golden State into a venue of choice for activist groups to file costly class action lawsuits — or to launch anti-corporate PR campaigns against big, wealthy targets like Nestle.

In recent years, Nestle has faced two such activist-led actions, both spurious: One involves allegations that Nestle improperly documented its anti-slave-labor policies. Not that it employed slave labor, it just didn’t document it online.

Corporate harassment has become the norm in a state where, writes Jones, “top officials and local politicians — virtually all of them far-left progressive Democrats — actively despise capitalism.”
They'd rather enslave people to the welfare state...

Crimebook

Why are so many criminals using Facebook?
Facebook has not yet commented on the recent incidents. In the past, Mark Zuckerberg has posted heartfelt reactions to these instances on his own Facebook page and admitted that while his platform brings people together, these incidents show "how far we still have to go." Following a string of crimes in July, the tech giant said the rules for live video are "the same for all the rest of our content." Later in an interview with TechCrunch, the company elaborated on this saying they will only remove content "if it celebrates or glorifies violence."
Unfortunately stupidity knows no boundaries...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fake News Need Not Ask

So now the people who already don't like Trump are in a snit because he won't call on them:
“Calling on only conservative press who refuse to press [President Donald Trump] about his Russia connections is not freedom of the press,” USA Today senior politics reporter Heidi Przybyla tweeted after the two reporters were called on.

CNN’s Jim Acosta said after the press conference, “There’s no other way to describe it but: The fix is in.” Boston Globe Washington bureau chief Matt Viser said Trump not getting asked about alleged Russian connections was a “blow to the press.”

Acosta’s colleague Jim Sciutto tweeted, “One way to avoid hard questions on Trump admin [Russia] ties? Call on CBN & a conservative website.” NBC’s national correspondent Peter Alexander said that the reporters called on by didn’t ask any “real questions.”

However, the questions from the conservative reporters got Trump to make news and say that he wants Israel to stop building settlements and that the “fake media” is after him. BuzzFeed News political editor Katherine Miller commented on Twitter, “Am I missing something or have most of the questions from conservative outlets/broadcasters been fine or good?”
Real questions usually are...

No Penalty Phase

The IRS is lightening its rules in at least one area:
The health law's individual mandate requires everyone to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a "shared responsibility payment." The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. Alternatively, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.

For most filers, filling out line 61 would be mandatory. The IRS would not accept 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, or the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption form included. Otherwise they would be labeled "silent returns" and rejected.

Instead, however, filling out that line will be optional.

Earlier this month, the IRS quietly altered its rules to allow the submission of 1040s with nothing on line 61. The IRS says it still maintains the option to follow up with those who elect not to indicate their coverage status, although it's not clear what circumstances might trigger a follow up.
Don't ask, don't pay...

Where Leakers Lurk

So who's spying on President Trump?
Asked whether he believes the NSA is tapping Trump, Binney replied: “Absolutely. How did they get the phone call between the president and the president of Australia? Or the one that he made with Mexico? Those are not targeted foreigners.”

Binney further contended the NSA may have been behind a data leak that might have revealed that Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, allegedly misled Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials about the contents of his phone calls with Russia’s ambassador to Washington.

Regarding Flynn’s case, Binney stated of the NSA:

If they weren’t behind it, they certainly had the data. Now the difference here is that FBI and CIA have direct access inside the NSA databases. So, they may be able to go directly in there and see that material there. And NSA doesn’t monitor that. They don’t even monitor their own people going into databases.

So, they don’t monitor what CIA and FBI do. And there’s no oversight or attempted oversight by any of the committees or even the FISA court. So, any way you look at it, ultimately the NSA is responsible because they are doing the collection on everybody inside the United States. Phone calls. Emails. All of that stuff.
When the left hand thinks it has free reign, it's time to cut it off...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

California Red

Who's really working for the Russians?
In January, Marinelli's group started collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution.

When asked by the I-Team if he was a U.S. citizen, Marinelli replied,"Yes."

We recently spoke with him from his home in Yekaterinburg. "I'm in Russia for a number of reasons," said Marinelli. "I have personal reasons. I want to be here and I have political goals to achieve while I'm here, one of which is to build a bridge between California and Russia."

He says his personal reasons center on his marriage. "My wife is a foreign national from Russia," he said. "As you can imagine, we've had difficulty and an expensive and difficult time navigating the immigration system."
Which is why I guess he wants California to create its own...

Town Hall Non-Meeting

When town halls become too hostile:
Rep. Tom MacArthur says his town hall schedule is on hold because he doesn’t “want to be baited into having an event that some outside group can just make a spectacle out of.’' Instead, MacArthur held a one-hour telephone town hall on Monday, where constituents were invited to call in their questions.

Town halls by GOP lawmakers have heated up since Trump’s inauguration last month. It’s also the first time there’s been Republican majorities in the House and the Senate in over 10 years.

While the majority of calls during the town hall were supportive, MacArthur fielded several questions that challenged the Trump administration’s views on border security, health care and other issues.

MacArthur was New Jersey's lone Republican to say no when the House last month overwhelmingly voted to start in motion the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“I voted no because, even though I believe we have to replace Obamacare, I don’t think we have to do it instantly and I think we’re going a little too fast,’’ he said in response to a question.
The left is all about free speech, until they're not...

Money Town

Some people never learn:
"We are a laboratory for the Brazilian left," says Washington Quaqua, who introduced the experiment as mayor in December 2015 before stepping down. He was replaced by another candidate from the leftist Workers' Party, Fabiano Horta.

The idea of a universal basic income isn't new, but long-considered as a potential tool for social equality and redistribution of wealth.

The concept has gained traction more recently among high-powered business thinkers, especially in Silicon Valley, as they ponder how society will cope with the ever-expanding role of automation -- a trend some futurists believe may create mass unemployment.

In Marica -- a surviving Workers' Party bastion in increasingly right-leaning Brazil -- the basic income idea fits in well with the leadership's socialist fervor.
And when it doesn't work, they'll gladly shift the blame...

Cash Withdrawal

What happens when cash ends?
“Many countries are already doing this. Some states in the US you cannot make cash transactions above a certain amount. Governments love it. Then they can control you. If you want to go and buy a cup of coffee, they know how many you drink, where you buy them, etc., if they can all put it into electronic formats and they will. The world is all going electronic,” the investor said.

According to Rogers, governments will claim they are doing it for the public good, not for themselves.

“When it's done, the governments are going to be very, very happy they are going to say they're doing it for our own good, this is not them, this is for our good. That they're doing this, but it’s coming, and it's going to be a whole different world in which we live. Probably we are not going to have as many freedoms as we have now even though we are already losing our freedoms at a significant pace,” Rodgers told the radio.

This month, the European Commission proposed a bill targeting cash payments.

"Payments in cash are widely used in the financing of terrorist activities… In this context, the relevance of potential upper limits to cash payments could also be explored. Several Member States have in place prohibitions for cash payments above a specific threshold," said the Action Plan.
It's your money...or is it?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Flynn Is Out

Michael Flynn resigns:
Flynn, in his resignation letter, wrote that he "inadvertently" briefed top officials with incomplete information regarding his call with the Russian ambassador.

"I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology," the letter read.
The White House earlier said Trump was "evaluating the situation" regarding Flynn's conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., deepening the uncertainty surrounding Flynn's future in the new administration.

Flynn apologized privately for the controversy to Vice President Mike Pence, according to a White House official. Pence, relying on information from Flynn, publicly vouched that the retired Army lieutenant general did not discuss U.S. sanctions against Russia in calls late last year. Flynn has since told the White House that sanctions may have come up.
Just in casual conversation...

The Conservative Closet

What it's like to really come out:
In his article “I’m a gay New Yorker – and I’m coming out as a conservative,” Moore details how after he published the profile on MILO, fellow liberals and even his best friend started to ignore and cut ties with him.

“After the story posted online in the early hours of October 21, I woke up to more than 100 Twitter notifications on my iPhone,” wrote Moore. “Trolls were calling me a Nazi, death threats rolled in and a joke photo that I posed for in a burka served as ‘proof’ that I am an Islamophobe. I’m not.”

“Personal friends of mine — men in their 60s who had been my longtime mentors — were coming at me. They wrote on Facebook that the story was ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dangerous.’ A dozen or so people unfriended me,” he continued. “All I had done was write a balanced story on an outspoken Trump supporter for a liberal, gay magazine, and now I was being attacked. I felt alienated and frightened.”
You quickly find out who your friends are in such an intolerant environment...

Money Talks, Protest Balks

Hate him, love his money:
"The Recording Academy, together with America's music makers, call on the president and Congress to help keep the music playing by updating music laws, protecting music education, and renewing America's commitment to the arts," Neil Portnow, the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, said during the 2017 Grammy Awards Sunday night.

The appeal demonstrated how the business side of the music industry will have to grapple with the reality of Trump's victory, following an evening dotted with political attacks on Trump from the artists themselves. It was also a savvy attempt to use the spectacle of the Grammys as an opportunity to win grassroots political support for the artists' running fight with the radio companies who broadcast their music.

"What we need so desperately are more reminders of all that binds us together," Portnow said. "Behind the extraordinary artists you see here on our stage are hundreds and thousands of unsung musicians and songwriters, producers, engineers — American creators, whose jobs suffer from outdated rules and regulations, some going back 100 years."
remember, it's for the little guy-who already happens to make a ton of money...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Private School Panic Button

Teacher's unions are scared:
According to studies conducted by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, Michigan charter school students, on average, “make larger learning gains in both reading and mathematics” than Michigan students in traditional public schools. Similar findings were identified in Detroit charter schools, with African American, Hispanic, low-income and special education students making larger gains in both reading and mathematics than students in traditional schools.

With respect to vouchers, the experience of the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program has demonstrated that voucher programs can yield positive educational outcomes, including higher graduation rates.

Notably, DeVos has repeatedly stressed that education policy is better made at the state and local level, which, if she sticks to her word, should allay any rational concern that what we’ll see is expansive federal overreach into education, which certainly should be avoided.

Of course, the hyperpoliticized teachers unions can’t resist appealing to manufactured fear over DeVos to advance their own agenda. The California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers, for example, are asking Californians to take a pledge in support of “the public education all California’s students deserve.” According to the unions, attaining public education that students deserve requires one to support sanctuary cities and the belief that “social justice for all begins with a quality, free public education,” whatever that means.
What about just providing all parents with the right to a quality education?

The Cats Attack

Liberals don't like women who won't toe the line:
Just like the organizers who refused to let pro-life women participate in the Woman’s March, and the conga line of liberal elites who bash conservative female pundits and politicians as if they’re Sarah Palin beating a halibut, women who attack Ivanka are backstabbing harpies. That’s all. They’re not principled. They don’t care about women’s rights. They don’t care about the dignity of all women. They care about one thing—their own egos, which are wrapped up in their liberal politics. They don’t care about you. They care about themselves.

Instead of engaging in rational debate, they attack, boycott, politicize, and propagandize. They bastardize their art and their platforms to perpetuate an ideology that undermines our republic, our freedom, the American people, and the very women they say they represent.
Lock step liberalism is NOT liberal...

Uncivil Servants

Meet the office extremists:
Christian Adams, a lawyer and the author of “Injustice,” has witnessed ideological battles inside the Department of Justice. In this exclusive video interview, he condemns the intolerant left wing, with its violence, fire, riots and “totalitarian tendencies,” daring to label others as fascists or nazis.

He says it’s a tactic used to scare and conjure up horrors against their enemies. Adams says that use of such labels, is an Orwellian corruption of the language, showing how far the left has sunk in its hatred of America.

The “civil service has been radicalized and is an instrument of the institutional left,” he says, mentioning immigration, open borders, green energy, labor policy for unions and more. He says, with the power and protections of civil service employment, these bureaucrats are poised to impose their own ideological will through the administrative state, despite Trump’s victory at the ballot box.
They work for the people-or at least, they used to...

Action Over Inaction

While Washington flounders, the states act:
In states from New England to the Midwest and across the South, conservative lawmakers have introduced or enacted legislation to erode union powers and abortion rights, loosen gun regulations, expand school-choice programs and slash taxes and spending.

State Senator Scott L. Fitzgerald of Wisconsin, the Republican majority leader, said conservatives in the states had taken the party’s national victories in November as a directive to “shake up” government.

“That has been amped up as a result of Donald Trump being elected president,” he said. “There’s a higher expectation now.”

If Republicans in the states have taken Mr. Trump as an inspiration, in some respects they are also largely unburdened by his personality and his political whims. Republicans in Congress are plainly struggling to overcome deep internal disagreements and to balance traditional conservative goals with Mr. Trump’s distinctive priorities. But for Republicans in state capitals, these are comparatively remote considerations.

Some Democrats fear that while their own party is consumed nationally with fighting Mr. Trump, leaders and activists may be too distracted to throw up effective roadblocks to the ideological agenda that Republicans are ramming through at the state level.
That's called being the majority party...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Fowl Solution

The Revolution is for the birds:
Flamingo hunting is both illegal and unusual at the lagoon, less than 200 miles from the Colombian border. Sibera, who had been studying the pink birds that nest there for years, had never seen anything remotely like that before.

Since then, though, he's seen at least 20 similar cases, most recently in January, when he found several carcasses hidden under shrubs, with a shotgun shell nearby.

But this isn’t simple poaching, he said. Sibira and other investigators from Zulia University, a public university in Maracaibo, are convinced that the protected birds have become the latest victims of Venezuela's growing hunger crisis. People have become so desperate, he said, that they are butchering and eating flamingos.

There are other signs that food shortages have led to the slaughtering of animals not generally considered meat: giant anteaters, for one. The university investigators — biologists and biology students — say they have kept records to show that dozens of the slow-moving creatures, classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, also have been killed for food.
Let them eat flamingos...

Hostile Territory

Angry Democrats find their targets:
Angry constituents swarmed events held by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Diane Black (Tenn.), Justin Amash (Mich.) and Tom McClintock (Calif.). They filled the rooms that had been reserved for them; in Utah and Tennessee, scores of activists were locked out. Voters pressed members of Congress on their plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, on the still-controversial confirmation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and even on a low-profile vote to disband an election commission created after 2000.

House Republicans had watched footage earlier this week of McClintock’s raucous town hall in northern California and his police-assisted exit — a warning of what might come. And with Congress scheduled for a week-long recess and a raft of additional town halls starting Feb. 18, the warning may have been warranted.

On Thursday, participants were spurred to show up by a variety of forces: large-scale publicity campaigns by major opposition groups such as Planned Parenthood; smaller grass-roots efforts; or their own deep objections to Trump’s presidency so far. Some were Democrats, some were independents and some were Republicans, but most were liberal activists who had opposed Trump all along and were simply looking for new outlets to object to him.

What was less clear was where it would all go. If nothing else, the size and tone of the crowds fed Republicans’ worries and Democrats’ view that the GOP agenda and the president’s tone and missteps have activated voters who may have sat out previous elections.
Anger is part of the cycle, but when does it end?

Why We Hate Spam

The price of Spam:
Between 2012 and 2015, Persaud used multiple IP addresses and domains to send spam emails over at least nine networks, including several servers in Chicago, according to the indictment. He sent more than a million spam emails to people in the U.S. and abroad, using false names to register domains and creating fraudulent “from address” fields to conceal the fact that he was the one sending the emails.

He used a California company called Impact Media LLC and other aliases, including “Michael Prescott,” “Michael Pearson” and “Jeff Martinez,” to send spam on behalf of “sellers of various goods and services,” according to prosecutors. He earned a commission for each sale generated by the emails.

Persaud gained access to multiple networks by claiming that he would comply with their policies prohibiting spamming, prosecutors said. When some of them terminated his lease and denied him access, he used false driver’s licenses and debit cards under his aliases to contract other networks.

He was arraigned on the wire fraud charges Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox in Chicago, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Those who spam, get what they deserve...

The Establishment Syndrome

So what will the Republicans do about Obamacare taxes?
Republicans and President Donald Trump have been edging away from their promise to quickly eliminate Obama's entire law. Still, annulling its taxes would be a partial victory and is irresistible for many GOP lawmakers and the conservative voters at the core of their support.

"We should do full repeal," said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a leading House conservative. "And full repeal means not taking the taxes" from people.

Yet voiding those levies erases a mammoth war chest Republicans would love to have - and may well need - as they try replacing Obama's law. It's a major rift GOP leaders face as they try crafting a health care package that can pass Congress.

"These are sources of revenue you just can't discount," said Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., a member of the Tuesday Group of GOP pragmatists. He said the money could help "create a soft landing and coverage for those who currently rely on Obamacare."
With all due respect, sometimes you need a hard landing...

Doctor's Orders

Please excuse this patient from the Jihad:
One Belgian militant had a medical note saying he had “back pain” and would not join the battle, according to the documents reported by the Washington Post.

Another foreign fighter from Kosovo said he had “head pain.” He and another Kosovar asked to move to Syria.

Another from France said he wanted to leave Iraq to carry out a suicide attack at home, several requested transfers to Syria, and some just refused to fight.

The stashes were found by Iraqi forces after they took over an ISIS base in Mosul, the terrorists’ embattled stronghold in Iraq.

“There are fighters who don’t want to fight or who are making excuses and want to leave the country, [the records] are indicators that are useful to us and they provide some insight into the state of the enemy,” the spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition Air Force Col. John Dorrian told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday.
Fighting infidels just doesn't sound as fun as they thought it would be...

The Sean Spicer Show

Meet daytime TV's biggest star:
Mr. Spicer’s briefings, carried live by the major cable news networks, are pulling in an average of 4.3 million viewers, according to data from Nielsen. Audiences across Fox News, MSNBC and CNN grow by an average of 10 percent when Mr. Spicer comes onscreen to discuss the latest news on President Trump, statistics show.

The soap opera at the White House is outscoring actual soaps like “General Hospital” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” which typically air around the same time. Mr. Spicer’s ratings are on par with prime-time entertainment like “MasterChef Junior” on Fox and the ABC sitcom “Dr. Ken,” which draw around four million viewers each.

The big ratings offer a quantifiable measure for what has become a truism in Washington: Three weeks into the Trump administration, Mr. Spicer’s daily joust with reporters — peppered with fiery exchanges, memorable malapropisms and some much discussed dissembling — are now must-see-TV for the political class.
He's more entertaining than most shows, at that...

Friday, February 10, 2017

Reign Of The Generals

The paranoia is striking deeper every day:
Crowley said, “You know, these are millions and millions of Americans, people around the world who are really concerned, maybe that’s an understatement. They’re nervous. They’re frightened about what they see happening to the American government. And this Trump regime—I don’t call it an administration, I call it a regime. That’s how they act. They have appointed several former generals, that’s very junta-like to the rest of the world. They have billionaires who have been appointed to cabinet positions, some of whom have no experience whatsoever in the field in which they are now in charge. That’s very frightening to people.”

“Cronyism at the highest levels has many people in this country nervous and around the world as well,” he continued. “So I think there’s going to be plenty of opportunities in the future, unfortunately, for the American people to express themselves, and I think we as Democrats will be able to support that effort when we believe it’s warranted.”
And yet, many of these same people are calling for a junta of their own. So, do they want a military dictatorship, or not?

Reform The Hard Way

Be patient, they say:
The Wall Street Journal reported that while White House officials have been discussing tax issues with House and Senate Republicans, Trump's announcement caught GOP officials by surprise. House Speaker Paul Ryan told Fox News last week that tax reform was eyed for the spring, after an ObamaCare repeal.

"You can't do them both at the same time because of how the budget system works," he said. House Republicans are working on a plan, but have not formally introduced a bill.

However, a number of barriers stand in the way, one being that Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary – Steve Mnuchin – has not yet been confirmed as Democrats hold up the president's Cabinet picks. Wide-ranging fiscal reform could be difficult to enact without a Treasury secretary installed.

“Democrats have thwarted [Trump’s] efforts to get a Treasury secretary – who will actually be driving that train when it comes to tax policy,” former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown said on Fox News Thursday.

“It’s been nineteen days. I know Donald Trump can work out good deals but, it’s been nineteen days. I think people need to relax and give the guy at least his full Cabinet, and give him a month maybe?” he said.
You can't always get what you want right away...

More Union Dues Blues

How another battle for workers' rights is shaping up:
Hughes and the plaintiffs are fighting to make Illinois a right-to-work state, and their lawsuit is headed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, where Hughes says the court might rule in favor of the unions based on a previous precedent. That case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, in 1977 established it’s legal for unions to collect fees and split the money between items that are either “political” or “not political.”

The argument in this lawsuit, however, is that all union cash eventually is used for a political purpose.

“Everything government unions do is political in nature, and if it is political in nature, then the First Amendment is going to cover it, and workers can’t be required to pay anything to unions as a condition of keeping their job in government,” said Mark Mix, of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

If Janus and the plaintiffs lose the appeal, their lawyers plan to take the case to the Supreme Court where President Trump’s recent nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, if confirmed would be expected to restore the 5-4 split between conservatives and liberals—which could increase the chances of ruling in favor of Janus.

But pro-union politicians and many workers argue right-to-work laws amount to a special interest cause pushed by wealthy execs and conservatives trying to make it difficult for workers to band together.

“Working people like me are frustrated by an economy and politicians that have left us behind, and this case threatens to make it even worse,” said Stephen Mittons, in a written statement provided by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “This case threatens to weaken our ability to have a voice on the job and serve our communities.”
And tell those workers what to do...

Fake News Fails Again

Was this the media's worst week ever? It is, of course, completely plausible that one source might innocently misread a date on a docume...