Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Regulation Train

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

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

A Scandal That Matters

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

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

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

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

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

Bad Credit

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

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

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

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

Sessions' Last Stand?

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

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

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Kid Rocks

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

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

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

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

Happiness Is

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

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

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

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

Bewitched And Bewildered

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

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

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

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

The Mouse Is Watching

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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Liberal Learning Curve

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

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

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

Busted Blues

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Drowning Stream

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

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

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

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

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

Fast Fact Check

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

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

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

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

Land Of A Thousand Loons

In Minnesota, the mob apparently rules:

Some Women Are More Equal Than Others

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

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

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

Derpy Is As Derpy Does

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

And we need terms like that in our language.

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

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

Protesters Wanted, No Experience Necessary

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

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

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

What if you did the following, as well?

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

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

The List Of Lists

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

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

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

Stress Test

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

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

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

Blue Spending Blues

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

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

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

Mad Maxine 2020

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

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

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

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

Deal Time

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

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

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

Spicy Spiked

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Wait Is Over

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

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

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

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

Poverty For Profit

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

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

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

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

One-Man Show

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

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

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

Clowning For Climate Change

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

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

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

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

Brother, Can You Spare A Venue?

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What's Yours Is Theirs?

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

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

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

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

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

In Memory Of Robo Mall Cop

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, Bother

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

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

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

Baa Baa Boring

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

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

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

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

Pork Cuts

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

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

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

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

Postal Politics

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

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

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

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

No Plan, No Gain

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back To Basic?

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

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

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

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

The Regulation Train

Who regulates the regulators? Today, US Railroads run a successful freight transportation system for shippers and consumers. Their networks ...