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Some Media Are More Equal Than Others

When snobs attack:Schumer said, “Here is the greatest thing I worry about this country, we are no longer fact based. The Founding Fathers created a country based on fact. Then we debated the facts. We debate them at the constitutional convention. We debate them in town hall throughout America. We are supposed to debate them in the legislature. We don’t have a fact base if, say, Breitbart News and The New York Times are regarded with equal credibility, you worry about this democracy.”I worry about this democracy when a politician defends fake news...

Le Sore Loser

A French mayor lets his constituents know how he feels:“It is catastrophic,” Mr. Delomez said. “It’s possible that I will step down as I do not want to dedicate my life to arseholes.”

Far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon came in distant second in the town with 19.25 per cent and came fourth overall in the race. Mélenchon’s policies were highly controversial amongst the wealthy of France after he called for a 90 per cent tax rate on anyone making over €400,000 a year. Some elites even spoke of leaving the country if Mélenchon had made it to the presidency.

“I was annoyed that so many people could vote FN,” Delomez said. He told media that he initially voted for Mélenchon, but would now switch his vote to pro-globalist candidate Macron in the second round of the French presidential elections on 7 May. Delomez said that he intends to present his resignation after discussing the matter with his political group in the local council on Tuesday.Public meltdowns have the habit of making you radioacti…

Forward Rail Pass

Is there a place for high speed rail after all?In a Las Vegas Review-Journal story, the paper cited the impending arrival of the Raiders, along with the Trump administration’s pledge to spend on infrastructure, as reasons for the revival of a once-thought doomed project:

The recently completed investment grade ridership and revenue forecast study completed by Southern California’s High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Authority reiterated what longtime Las Vegas developer Tony Marnell has suspected all along — that there would be significant demand for the XpressWest high-speed rail project linking Southern California with Las Vegas he wants to build.

President Donald Trump’s desire to invest in infrastructure projects, the favorable ridership study and a new reason for Southern Californians to make quick trips to Las Vegas in a few years — NFL football games, concerts and other special events — add up to new hope to press forward on the $7 billion rail project that has been under consider…

Flotation Device

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Doesn't Delta have enough problems?

Working Class Guardian?

Chris Pratt runs afoul of Hollywood's defenders after criticizing Hollywood:The “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” star said today’s polarizing political climate is keeping people from relating to one another. Pratt, who is from Washington state but now lives in Los Angeles, dared to suggest he could help bridge those differences, since he doesn’t feel he fits neatly into either established political side.

“I really feel there’s common ground out there that’s missed because we focus on the things that separate us,” he told the magazine. “You’re either the red state or the blue state, the left or the right. Not everything is politics. And maybe that’s something I’d want to help bridge because I don’t feel represented by either side.”

But Pratt was met with backlash almost immediately after Men’s Fitness published his comments.
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Pratt responded on Twitter to the Marie Claire piece, writing: “That was actually a pretty stupid thing to say. I’ll own that. There’s a ton of movies ab…

Here's Not Looking At You

The eyes have it?The university’s “Equality and Diversity Unit” recently informed students and staff that “not speaking directly to people” is a form of “subtle racism” and “racial micro-aggression” that can lead to “mental ill health,” according to the Telegraph, which is published in London.

The information was included in the school’s Trinity term newsletter, which also informed students and staff that asking someone where they’re “originally” from is another form of racism because it implies they aren’t British.

“Sometimes called ‘micro-aggressions,’ subtle everyday racism can appear trivial,” the newsletter said, according to the Independent. “But repeated micro-aggressions can be tiring and alienating (and can lead to mental ill health).So can political correctness...

Not Their Party

Who says their party is out of touch?The national poll found that 62 percent of respondents feel the Republican Party is out of touch with most Americans’ concerns, while 58 percent view President Trump as out of touch.

ABC News notes that in March 2014, 48 percent said the Democrats were out of touch with most Americans’ concerns. Three years later, 67 percent of Americans feel that way about the Democratic Party — a 19 percent increase.

“The biggest change has occurred chiefly among the party’s own typical loyalists, with ‘out of touch’ ratings up 33 points among liberals, 30 points among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and 26 points among moderates and nonwhites alike,” ABC News reports.Keeping the faith is harder when you don't earn it...

Le Election

What the French election is really about:The election is widely being seen as a vote on the future of the European Union — with most of the French candidates railing against its institutions.

Both Le Pen and Melenchon — from opposite extremes of the political spectrum — have supported pulling France out of the 28-nation bloc and its shared euro currency in a so-called “Frexit.”

A French exit, however, could spark a death spiral for the EU, for France and Germany are the bloc’s strongest economies and biggest proponents of a united Europe.

If either Le Pen or Melenchon wins a spot in the runoff, it will be seen as a victory for the rising wave of populism reflected by the votes for Brexit in Britain and Donald Trump in the United States.Will France finally stop surrendering to the EU?

Political Climate Science

When science becomes ideology:"When they behave like partisan hacks in the name of science, they politicize science and undermine trust in science," Marlo Lewis, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), declared at a Heritage Foundation event on Wednesday. "When you use your expertise as a license to regulate others and tax others ... ordinary people are going to get very skeptical, not only about your expertise but about your motives."

The "March for Science" started as a form of opposition to President Donald Trump, whom many have accused of launching a "war on science." The march's original statement declared "certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives" such as "the Earth is becoming warmer due to human action," and "the diversity of life arose by evolution."
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"This is an attempt now to silence and chill speech through the threat of litigation and prosecution,&quo…

The Battle Of Berkeley

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Bill Maher defends a fellow free speech advocate:

Blue Versus Blue

Can't they all just get along?Just as the Republican establishment battled the nascent Tea Party over conservative purity after its 2008 loss, Democrats are enduring internecine strife over what it means to be a progressive.

“Anytime your party is out of power, you face a choice,” said Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist. “Do you want to hunt down heretics or seek out converts?”

Mr. Sanders and his supporters are the ones preaching inclusion, at least on social issues.

“Every single Democrat is not necessarily pro-choice,” said Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator from Cleveland and an ally of Mr. Sanders. “And Democrats need to understand that, and not vilify people because of it.”Maybe they should focus on why they lost instead of each other-but why mess up a good thing?

Street Fighters Against Free Speech

They're the anti-fascist fascists:Many are blaming the violent protests targeting conservative speakers on the left-wing agitator group Antifa. Critics say Antifa, a group that calls itself “anti-fascist,” has sparked violence on college campuses across the country to further its radical agenda.

In the UC Berkeley riots that broke out recently, pictures and video were tweeted out of rioters beating people with “Antifa” flagpoles and then spraying them with pepper spray. Antifa rioters often wear masks to conceal their identity. And to separate themselves from anarchists in the black bloc, they often wave distinctive red and black flags that were often seen at the Berkeley riots.

“In no uncertain terms we are working in close concert with local, regional, and national law enforcement agencies on investigations concerning the group referred to as the black bloc,” UC Berkeley Assistant Vice Chancellor Dan Mogulof told Fox News.

Kyle Shideler, director of the Threat Information Office…

Wiki Bust

Julian Assange comes home?Prosecutors first had issues pressing charges as they debated whether the information published by WikiLeaks fell under the First Amendment, but now believe that they have discovered a way to move forward. During the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric Holder and other Justice Department Officials determined that due to WikiLeaks not being the sole publisher of the documents, prosecution would be difficult. This lead to the investigation being put on hold.

Following the Ecuadorian election, US officials hoped that Assange’s asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy would be revoked with a new government. However, after the victory of Lenín Moreno over his opponent Guillermo Lasso, Assange will most likely be permitted to continue living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Moreno previously stated that he would allow Assange to stay in the embassy, upholding the decision made by his predecessor, Rafael Correa, who granted Assange asylum in 2012.If they want to…

Russian Dressing

How to start a fake narrative:The authors detail how Clinton went out of her way to pass blame for her stunning loss on “Comey and Russia.”

“She wants to make sure all these narratives get spun the right way,” a longtime Clinton confidant is quoted as saying.

The book further highlights how Clinton’s Russia-blame-game was a plan hatched by senior campaign staffers John Podesta and Robby Mook, less than “within twenty-four hours” after she conceded:

That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.

The Clinton camp settled on a two-pronged plan — pushing the press to cover how “Russian hacking was the major …

Small Spaces And Smaller Minds

Because tiny houses are offensive, or something:From dumpster diving to trailer-themed bars to haute cuisine in the form of poor-household staples, it’s become trendy for those with money to appropriate the poverty lifestyle  -- and it troubles me for one simple reason. Choice.

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It’s likely, from where I sit, that this back-to-nature and boxed-up simplicity is not being marketed to people like me, who come from simplicity and heightened knowledge of poverty, but to people who have not wanted for creature comforts. For them to try on, glamorize, identify with.While it's true that hipster poverty seems to be a thing with some people, what are people who don't live in rich liberal enclaves like San Francisco supposed to do if things get tough? Apologize for "income appropriation?"

Fraud For Fun And Profit

Why it's so hard to get rid of fraud at the IRS:At issue is an IRS effort to replace the Electronic Fraud Detection System (EFDS) – which dates back to 1994 -- with an update called the Return Review Program (RRP). In 2010, the IRS described the EFDS “too risky to maintain, upgrade or operate beyond 2015.”

However, despite the program being in development since 2009, the replacement is not expected to be completed until 2022.

And that time is money.

According to a 2015 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report, a two-year pilot program found the new program missed tens of thousands of fraudulent returns, amounting to a cost of $313 million.

The CAGW noted a 2015 Government Accountability Office report also found the program exceeded its initial budget by $86.5 million.

“This is unfortunately typical of information technology modernization projects throughout the federal government,” Tom Schatz, president of the CAGW, told Fox News. “The unfortunate result…

Vouching For Vouchers

Choice comes to California:Among adults, the survey finds 73 percent of African Americans, 69 percent of Latinos, 56 percent of Asian Americans, and 51 percent of White Americans favor school vouchers. Republicans are more likely to favor school vouchers than Democrats, 67 percent to 46 percent.

At the same time, results of the poll show that most Californians give passing grades to their local public schools. Among adults, 54 percent give their public schools an A (22 percent) or a B (32 percent), with only 7 percent giving a grade of F.

Most adults (64 percent) and likely voters (66 percent) also say current funding for public schools is inadequate.

“Most Californians give passing grades to their local public schools,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “But many believe that the state isn’t spending enough money on K–12 education and should also spend what it has more wisely. In this context, many are willing to raise their local taxes and consider a voucher system.”It w…

Repeal Deal Two

Another deal in the works:The agreement, brokered by House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), would allow states to eliminate Obamacare’s community rating system, a rule that prohibits health insurers from pricing health care plans based on age, gender, or health status. States that repeal Obamacare’s community rating rules would have to join a federal high-risk pool or establish a local high-risk pool to obtain the waiver.

The deal, known as the MacArthur amendment, would also reinstate Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits, although states could waive Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits if they were to prove that eliminating those regulations would lower premiums, increase the number of people insured, or “advance another benefit to the public interest in the state.”

Essential Health Benefits require that health insurance plans must cover certain services such as doctors’ services, inpatient or outpatient hospital care, …

Censorship By Choice

Fear is an ugly weapon:More than two-thirds of those questioned said they had suffered threats of violence, a third cited police intimidation and 53 percent said they were subjected to online harassment, the report by Europe’s leading human rights monitor said.

“It should therefore come as no surprise that the survey found high levels of self-censorship among journalists,” the report said.

“Many are compelled to tone down controversial stories, or abandon them altogether,” the report added, after sounding out reporters from five media associations, including Reporters Without Borders, in member states and non-member Belarus.

The council’s secretary general Thorbjoern Jagland called on its 47 member states to fully implement its 2016 recommendation on affording journalists protection and safety in their work “to create a climate of open debate and free speech.”The new fascism works through cooperation...

Bill's Last Hurrah

Bill O'Reilly is out:Mr. O’Reilly’s departure comes two and a half weeks after an investigation by The New York Times revealed how Fox News and 21st Century Fox had repeatedly stood by Mr. O’Reilly even as sexual harassment allegations piled up against him. The Times found that the company and Mr. O’Reilly reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.

Since then, more than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show, and women’s rights groups called for his ouster. Inside the company, women expressed outrage and questioned whether top executives were serious about maintaining a culture based on “trust and respect,” as they had promised last summer when another sexual harassment scandal forced the ouster of Fox News’s chairman, Roger Ailes.Maybe they can go on "vacation" together now...

Their Losing Season

It has not been a good year for Democrats:For all the anger, energy, and money swirling at the grass-roots level, Democrats didn’t manage to pick off the first two Republican-held congressional seats they contended for in the Trump era, and the prospects aren’t markedly better in the next few House races coming up: the Montana race at the end of May, and the South Carolina contest on June 20.

Their best shot at knocking Donald Trump down a peg appears to be Ossoff’s runoff against Republican Karen Handel, also scheduled for June 20. But the Democrat will be an underdog in that contest, when there won’t be a crowded field of Republicans to splinter the vote.

After that, it’ll be a further five months before the New Jersey and Virginia elections for governor, leaving some strategists and lawmakers wondering how to keep the furious rank-and-file voters engaged in fueling and funding the party’s comeback — especially given the sky-high expectations that surrounded Ossoff’s ultimately unsu…

Not Their Boss

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It's tough being the leader of your party when your own party doesn't like you:

Goodbye Dolly

Talking dolls really are evil?The unique selling point of My Friend Cayla is that not only does the doll speak, but it uses speech-to-text protocols to be able to have conversations with the children. An example on the website has a girl asking the doll what a baby kangaroo is called, with the doll correctly identifying it as a joey. However, this listening functionality leaves the doll open to hacking. Anyone who has access to a valid version of the doll’s connected mobile app can access the toy via Bluetooth.

The FNA, Germany’s telecommunications network, first raised the problem of the dolls back in February, instructing parents to destroy it for containing a “concealed transmitting device.” Now it is taking the extra step of completely banning the sale, purchase, and ownership of the dolls.

Stefan Hessel, a law student who helped formulate the FNA’s legal opinion to ban the doll, told the Wall Street Journal that “it’s pretty bad bringing a doll on the market anybody in a 30-feet …

Eager To Believe

Another bad day for fake news:The original post, which can be viewed here, was written by someone named Shelley Garland, who claims to be a philosophy student.

Except, according to Huffington Post SA Editor-in-Chief Verashni Pillay, Garland isn’t a real person.

“Huffington Post SA has removed the blog ‘Could It Be Time To Deny White Men The Franchise?’ published on our Voices section on April 13, 2017,” Pillay wrote to her readers over the weekend.

“We have done this because the blog submission from an individual who called herself Shelley Garland, who claimed to be an MA student at UCT, cannot be traced and appears not to exist,” she explained.They'd have made her up on their own soon enough...

A Taxing Education

People pay the taxes they deserve?Some 57% of taxpayers don’t know what a W-4 is, the Nerdwallet survey found, and 59% don’t know that April 18, 2017 is the deadline for making a tax-deductible contribution to a traditional individual retirement account for the 2016 tax year. What’s more, 58% of taxpayers incorrectly believe that getting a tax extension means they can delay the due date of their income tax payment.

The majority knew about tax withholdings from their paycheck, but they understandably struggled with more complex questions about Roth IRA and individual retirement accounts, says Alex McAdams, product manager at NerdWallet. People shouldn’t be too quick to celebrate an income tax refund, which averaged $2,860 in 2016. “You are essentially giving the government a free loan as opposed to having control of that money all year long and putting it in a savings account or maybe even investing it,” he says.

“Some of the questions were easy, but others I wouldn’t expect people to …