Sunday, September 24, 2017

Keeping Up With America's Top Trash

Have we really had to deal with these people for that long?
The clan has lived with us for 10 years now, and just as an entire generation doesn’t know life pre-iPhone, they don’t know life pre-Kardashian.

Oversexualized tween and teenage girls, sexting and oversharing online, with “social media influencer” a viable career option — none of this would have happened without the Kardashians. Just as Lucille Ball set the template for the sitcom and Steve Allen the late-night talk show, the Kardashians invented a new kind of celebrity.
....

It’s the Kardashian Generation, and overseeing all is Kris Jenner, who has used her family’s trashier aspects to muscle their way into the upper echelons of fashion and commerce. She may be among our greatest con artists, wearing us down by refusing to go away, her very staying power validating her pop-cultural omnipotence.
Like one long train wreck, people for some reason have been paying attention to them. Congratulations, America...

The Farce Is With Them

Much editing needs, this does:
Saudi Arabia has no public movie theaters, suggesting that few teenagers may even know who Master Yoda is. The artist, however, photoshopped the Jedi in with the Saudi king as a tribute to Faisal.

"I am the one who designed it, but I am not the one who put it in the book," artist Abdullah Al Shehri told The New York Times. The 26-year-old Shehri, who goes by the nickname Shaweesh, mixes pop culture icons into historic photographs.

Shehri said he was inspired by photo archives from the Middle East. "All the pictures were very sad, you know, refugees and war," the artist recalled.

He came across a photo of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, however, in which the president met Mickey Mouse in Disneyland. "This is what the archive needs," Shehri recalled thinking. "Something fun, something that makes it less depressing."
Like life in Saudi Arabia in general?

House Of Glass

Bringing Philip Glass to the Philharmonic:
Overlooking Mr. Glass’s work had to have been a deliberate choice by a succession of music directors, because, love him or hate him, he has been an influential figure in contemporary classical music for some 40 years.

And this 27-minute concerto in three movements, which had its premiere in 2015 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is inventive and unusual. The orchestra starts off abuzz with rippling, subdued riffs. Almost immediately the pianos, backed by various instruments, play a slippery theme in chords that dip and rise almost step by step.

The music is fidgety and full of harmonic shifts, run through with two-against-three rhythms. There’s a mellow, jazzy quality at play: Imagine Gershwin as a Minimalist.
The modern masters often did more with less, but sometimes you want more...

The Black Meal

Why do we like dark food?
SO WHAT DOES the color black — or, if you insist, the lack of color — taste like? More precisely, what do our brains tell us it should taste like? From experience, we might expect the tartness of blackberries or the brininess of black olives or the near-bitterness of charred meat and blistered pizza crusts. Black is the menthol buzz of licorice or the density of rough bread from countries near the Arctic Circle, where the winter months see only a few hours of daylight. It’s marine, like rice blackened by cuttlefish ink in Valencia, Spain, or turfy, like rice blackened by long-soaked djon-djon mushrooms in Haiti. It’s the mineral tang of British blood pudding, Ecuadorian morcilla, Tibetan gyuma, French boudin noir. It’s the funk of huitlacoche, a fungus borne of rotting corn, blossoming like a nuclear cloud out of the dying cob, a delicacy in Mexico. It’s the subtle presence of vanilla, announced by sootlike black spots, scraped from the hard furrowed pod. But even given these associations, when I see a food that’s not naturally black turned that dramatic shade, it strikes me as so discordant that I expect it to taste like nothing I’ve tried before.
The rich allure of dark flavor may all be in your head, but that doesn't mean it's not there...

Underground Art

The subway as a canvas:
Many of the people in Subway Portraits have been frequent subjects of Close’s art through his career spanning nearly five decades.

Close made his artistic debut in 1968 with Big Self Portrait, a nine-foot-tall photorealistic painting of his face. And he doesn’t shy away from his roots in Subway Portraits: He created two different self-portraits for the subway station.

The portraits, 10 of which are nearly nine feet tall, are the largest public artworks that Close has ever created and took him years to complete working with the MTA.

“They’re in a medium he has never done before, which is mosaics and ceramic tile,” said Lester Burg, MTA Arts & Design deputy director. “It’s very exciting to have museum-quality work in the New York City subway.”
Life and art go on underground...

The Dude Still Abides

Jeff Bridges, all-around dude:
His parents, mainly his dad, are the reason he got into acting, Bridges told Esquire. His mom is also the person who gave Bridges the best piece of advice he ever received: “Have fun and don’t take it too seriously.”

At 67-years-old, Bridges says that he’s “beginning to live his teenage dream” by playing in a band. Throughout all the years, he was able to keep playing music, something that he feels very passionately about. He likes jazz (Bill Evans, Miles Davis) and just that “ambient kind of music.”

As a recent grandfather, Bridges said that he realized how “wonderful being a child is again” but that the best age is where you are. Speaking of children, Bridges says that one thing “close to his heart” is ending childhood hunger, especially in America. He told Esquire that one good thing about fame is that you draw attention to things that deserve it.

And his favorite role? Well, that would be “like asking ‘Which is your favorite kid!'” he said. But Bridges did tell Esquire that while all his roles are special to him, “The Dude has got to be right up there.”
Sometimes, there's an actor...

Life Before Texting

Remember what it was like?
“My position is not anti-technology, it’s pro-conversation,” asserts Sherry Turkle the director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self in a short interview at the 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival. Turkle believes that technology is an important part of modern life, but also that people need time away from their phones to cultivate the best relationships with other people. She argues that there should be spaces in everyone’s home and life where there are no phones at all.
Sometimes you just need to step away from the screen...

Football Follies

So the entire NFL is apparently now going nuts:
The Tennessee Titans are joining the Seattle Seahawks in deciding not to come out for the national anthem.

The Seahawks announced nearly 30 minutes before kickoff that they would not stand for the national anthem because they “will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country.”

The Titans followed 10 minutes later by saying they will remain in the locker room during the national anthem. They posted a statement on their website noting they want to be unified as a team with the players deciding jointly that staying inside was the best course of action.

The team also said their commitment to the military and community is “resolute” and that “the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn’t be misconstrued as unpatriotic.”

Seattle has been one of the more outspoken teams in professional sports on social issues, led by Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin.
Meanwhile, it's no longer just the NFL:
“The point of my kneeling was not to disrespect our military or our constitution or our country,” Maxwell said. “My hand was over my heart because I love this country and I have family members, including my father, who bled for this country, and who continue to serve. At the end of the day, this is the best country on the planet. I am and forever will be an American citizen and grateful to be here, but my kneeling is what’s getting the attention, and I’m kneeling for the people who don’t have a voice.
“This goes beyond the black and Hispanic communities because right now we have a racial divide that’s being practiced from the highest power we have in this country saying it’s basically OK to treat people differently. I’m kneeling for a cause but I’m in no way disrespecting my country or my flag.”
It's all fun and games until someone takes a knee-or loses their job...

No Speech Today

Free speech may now be officially dead in the place where the free speech movement was born:
In an email chain obtained by the Bay Area News Group, Lucian Wintrich, one of the supposed speakers, told UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof Saturday morning that the event had been merely an attention grab from the start.

“It was known that they didn’t intend to actually go through with it last week, and completely decided on Wednesday,” Wintrich wrote.

“Wait, whoah, hold on a second,” wrote a clearly surprised Mogulof. “What, exactly, are you saying? What were you told by MILO Inc? Was it a set-up from the get-go?”

“Yes,” Wintrich, a writer for the right-wing blog The Gateway Pundit, responded.

When he withdrew his name from the speaker list last week, Wintrich was hit with allegations that he was scared of left-wing “antifa” protesters, he said by phone Saturday afternoon.

“No, no,” Wintrich said. “What’s the point of keeping your name on something that’s set up to fail?”
They know where they're not really wanted...

Ghosts Of The Lake

The ships that once sailed:
For more than a century, sinking ships claimed thousands of lives, burnishing Lake Michigan's reputation as being among the most dangerous waters to navigate. Its notoriety as the deadliest of the Great Lakes is evident from an expansive graveyard of shipwrecks spanning the shoreline of Wisconsin — a testament to the perils taken on by crews and passengers who navigated the waters in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Under a new push by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the ghostly collection of sunken vessels could become the first national marine sanctuary in Lake Michigan and the second in the Great Lakes. NOAA is expected to make a final decision by next year, then Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Congress are to review the proposal.

Advocates say time is of the essence if the public is to view and study the wrecks because their structural integrity is endangered by the zebra mussels, an invasive species known for its propensity to cling to objects underwater and rapidly reproduce. The mussels can be cancerous, as evidenced by what happened to the Gallinipper, a fur trading ship that went down in 1851 and remained in pristine condition on the lake floor for more than a century.

"If it was raised, it could sail again," said Brendon Baillod, a Great Lakes maritime historian. "But it became so encrusted and caked in zebra mussels it started to collapse. So, in a sense, there's an urgency to finding these wrecks now, because in 10 years they could start disappearing."
The sea claims its own, but can it be saved before its forgotten?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Who Killed The NFL?

So President Trump basically said what a lot of people already think. And the NFL is failing:
Football, which is practically the state religion in Texas and across the South, used to be closely tied up with patriotism and love of country. The militaristic component of the sport, which was presented as akin to war, appealed especially to red-state dwellers. But sportscasters and sportswriters are overwhelmingly leftist in their outlook, and their eagerness to turn Kaepernick into a civil-rights icon has repelled a sizable section of football's core audience -- and one that, by the current evidence is growing.
The fault, dear players, lies in yourselves...

Friday, September 22, 2017

Killer Brew

Check the label:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe botulism as a rare illness caused by toxins attacking the body's nerves. It can lead to breathing problems, paralysis and death. Slurred speech, drooping eyelids, double vision, dry mouth and muscle weakness are among botulism's symptoms. Those experiencing such symptoms should see a doctor.

The New York-based company, which boasts "The World's Strongest Coffee" on its website, initiated the recall. It has since stopped making the nitro cold brew, "until an additional step in the manufacturing process is made," the CDC said. The company has also pulled the coffee cans from store shelves and removed the product from its website. People with the coffee should throw it away or return it for a refund.
If it does as advertised, what's the difference?

Don't Panic

You won't need your towel after all:
Meade said his prediction is based on verses and numerical codes found in the Bible, specifically in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation. He said recent events, such as the solar eclipse and Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, are omens of the approaching apocalypse.

The significant number is 33, according to Meade.

“Jesus lived for 33 years. The name Elohim, which is the name of God for the Jews, was mentioned 33 times [in the Bible],” he said. “It’s a very biblically significant, numerologically significant number. I’m talking astronomy. I’m talking the Bible...and merging the two.”

Sept. 23 is also 33 days since the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

Meade has also built his theory on the so-called Planet X, which is also known as Nibiru, which he believes will pass Earth on Sept. 23. This will cause volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes, he claims.

NASA has repeatedly said Planet X does not exist.

Meade’s prediction has been dismissed by people of faith including the Roman Catholic and Protestant branches of Christianity.
Sorry, you'll still have to go to work or school next week...

McCain Strikes Again

This time, it's permanent?
Mr. McCain, who killed the previous repeal effort with his dramatic “no” vote in July, released a statement saying that he could not “in good conscience” support the latest proposal, by Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is Mr. McCain’s closest friend in the Senate.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” Mr. McCain said. “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.”

With two other Republican senators likely to vote no, Mr. McCain’s opposition to the bill could be fatal, as Senate Republicans could afford to lose no more members.
....

Mr. McCain has for months lamented a Senate legislative process that avoided hearings or formal bill-drafting procedures and assumed that an Affordable Care Act repeal bill could clear Congress with no Democratic votes. Those concerns were compounded by the decision of Republican leaders to press forward with a vote next week before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office could complete a full analysis of the Graham-Cassidy legislation.
At least he wanted to read it before they passed it...

This Is Your Representative On Drugs

You'd have to be high to be a-oh, wait:
The 12-term state representative arrived late to a March House appropriations committee hearing and said: "I know I'm talking a lot. I'm full of morphine and will be headed out of here soon," according to a court filing by the Travis County district attorney's office this week, The Daily Mail reported.

The Mail said that authorities contend the Democrat "was noticeably impaired on one occasion while performing legislative duties at the Capitol."

That charge and others appear in the court filing this week. Dukes faces trial Oct. 16 on corruption charges.

The Democrat is accused of using taxpayer funds to give a raise to a legislative aide to cover gas money for driving her Dukes' daughter to and from school. Dukes is also accused of giving investigators a different cellphone from the one they were seeking when they served her with a search warrant.

The DA's office also says Dukes spent $51,000 to a psychic from December 2014 to January 2016 -- nearly $1,000 a week. But the filed court document doesn't say if she used public money for the psychic.
Shouldn't she have seen this coming?

Unnaturally Natural

Nature is still doing its own thing:
Every time anything happens with the weather, climate change alarmists always scream that this is proof they were right, even when their own models never are.

A planet's climate is a complex thing, so it's not hard to imagine the possibility that humans could potentially impact it in a negative way. Maybe.

However, that complexity is also the likely culprit as to why these models are never accurate. Basically: there are at least some factors that affect our climate that aren't being accounted for.

So until you can show me that you can accurately predict the climate in five years or so, I see no reason to take your word that we shouldn't call these disasters "natural."
Like hurricanes, alarmists tend to be full of hot air...

Due Process Gets Its Due

There are new rules coming:
The Obama administration had reshaped how colleges handle complaints of sexual assault, setting new rules and starting hundreds of investigations into colleges accused of straying from them.

Central to the debate is a 2011 department memo that laid out rules colleges must follow when responding to complaints of sexual assault from their students.

The memo requires colleges to investigate complaints even if there's a separate criminal inquiry. It also established what has become a polarizing standard of evidence used to judge cases.

Critics have, among other complaints, claimed the system denies due process to the accused.

Unlike in criminal courts, where guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, colleges judge students based on whether it's "more likely than not" they committed the offense.
Innocent until proven guilty is a real world thing...

The Lord Of The Metaphors

Why The Hobbit matters today:
The internal and external quests of The Hobbit are perhaps especially important today. In a time when young men in particular seem disaffected, unmoored, prone to violence and radicalization, and are dying at accelerating rates from “deaths of despair”—suicides and overdoses, mostly—the central lessons of the book aren’t found in the fantastic elements, on the backs of Eagles, or in the scope of Tolkien’s maps. Rather, the important lessons are found in the development of Bilbo and his dwarf companions Thorin, Balin, Fíli, and Kíli: the dignity of humanity, the virtue of generosity, a respect for life, a duty to do good, and the ways in which brotherhood can be used to move men toward those ideals. In a world today where nuclear doom—for which The Ring can be read as a metaphor—hangs over every country, where efforts to work for common good seem to crumble, and where inequality and hegemony seem likely to persist in perpetuity, perhaps those quaint values are more crucial now than ever.
Always listen to a Hobbit...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Free Money?

Well, it's their money:
The incubator has already piloted a study of the effects of introducing a basic income. It gave cash handouts to residents of Oakland, California, to test how money would affect individuals' behavior.

Y Combinator's Basic Income Project will select 3,000 individuals from two U.S. states at random to compare how one group of people who receive a basic income will behave as opposed to another sample who do not.

Out of those 3,000, 1,000 will receive $1,000 per month for up to five years, while 2,000 will receive $50 a month for comparison.
Any takers?

No Reason Necessary

They don't need a reason, she said:

Foreign Friends Of Censorship

Foreign regulation the old fashioned way?
Could a foreign government — such as Russia, Ukraine, or Mexico, for example — bribe or “incentivize” a federal agency such as the Federal Election Commission to regulate (or "rein in") conservative news websites?

The truth could be stranger than fiction if you examine the habits of the federal commissioners who run our regulatory agencies.


Over the summer, Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub expressed fear that foreign money could influence American elections and suggested that the feds examine the money behind political websites such as the Drudge Report. (Fat chance Democrats would consider doing the same to the Huffington Post or another one of their favored news outlets.)

The concern is ironic considering Weintraub has been the top beneficiary of foreign money at the FEC. She would never allow that to influence her judgment or regulatory agenda, right?
They'd call it a "donation..."

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Le Whistle

Feminists in France want to punish guys for...being guys:
The crackdown comes after surveys show virtually all French women have been harassed on public transport, in the street or elsewhere at some time.

France’s new leader, President Emmanuel Macron, has pledged to end this during his election campaign this year.

Only a few countries, including Belgium and Portugal, have banned such behaviour.

The UK and others have broader laws against harassment in general but none so specific.

Some lawyers believe men should only be prosecuted when police officers witness an offence.

Others say women should be able to file criminal lawsuits against offenders at a later date.
First they came for the whistlers...

Back To Court

Rolling Stone is in trouble again:
Rolling Stone has faced several lawsuits over the infamous (and now-retracted) article, which claims a student named "Jackie" was invited to a party at UVA fraternity Phi Kappa Psi, only to be dragged into an upstairs bedroom, beaten, thrown through a glass table, and then repeatedly raped as part of a bizarre PKP hazing ceremony. The story chronicled Jackie's heart-rending, terrifying, and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to get UVA administrators to punish the frat - or even acknowledge her story.

It turned out, however, that Jackie's story was almost certainly fabricated from whole cloth. In depositions, Erdely admits she didn't fact-check Jackie's story, or even interview key named witnesses - she merely took Jackie and UVA's campus anti-rape activists at their word.
....

A dismissal, against one final member of PKP, did stand. the court said "Hadford" was the only biking member of the frat, but that Jackie's description of one of the frat members "riding a bike around" campus grounds wasn't sufficient to identify Hadford.

The Court did suggest, however, that there's a claim for "group defamation:" the whole UVA PKP fraternity may have a claim, since they were both identified in the story and suffered damages.
When you lie, the lie catches up with you...

Workers' Rights Wins Again

Workers keep their rights, labor unions hardest hit:
A coalition of the state's largest labor unions, including the Wisconsin state AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers District 2, and International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 10, along with IAM Lodge 1061, filed a lawsuit to block the 2015 law, called Act 1, which banned companies from making union membership compulsory as a condition of employment. The court stated, "Act 1 does not take property within the meaning of the Wisconsin Constitution. … The Unions have no constitutional entitlement to the fees of non-member employees.”
....

On Monday, the West Virginia state supreme court also halted a preliminary injunction placed on West Virginia’s right-to-work law. The court ruled, “The unions have not directed us to any federal or state appellate court that, in over seven decades, has struck down such a law. The circuit court erred in granting the preliminary injunction.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 1977’s Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that objectors to union membership or policy could not have their dues used for other ideological or political purposes.
That hasn't stopped the unions from trying...

The Real Settled Science

Actual scientists debunk fake science:
“We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations,” study co-author Myles Allen, a geosystem scientist at the University of Oxford, told The Times on Monday.

“The models end up with a warming which is larger than the observed warming for the current emissions. … So, therefore, they derive a budget which is much lower,” study co-author Pierre Friedlingstein of the University of Exeter said, according to The Washington Post.

The study seemed to confirm claims made by scientists skeptical of catastrophic man-made global warming claims that models were showing more warming than actual observations.

For example, Cato Institute scientists Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger have noted the climate models have been over-hyping warming for decades.
Don't believe the warming hype...

The Manafort Tapes

The evidence is in:
Insofar as can be determined given the lack of any corroboration coming from the government, the narrative surrounding Manafort goes something like this: Manafort, together with a number of other Washington based consultants, was a top adviser to former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich between 2004 and 2014. His involvement somehow came to the attention of the FBI in 2014 and a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant was sought by the Bureau and then issued to permit teltapping and other forms of investigation to determine if foreign lobbying laws had been broken. The initial inquiry was eventually allowed to lapse “for lack of evidence.”

A second warrant was obtained in the summer of 2016, presumably when Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager, based on apparently new information that had been obtained by the Bureau. Manafort was wiretapped, presumably to include his residence in Trump Tower, and the eavesdropping continued until early in 2017, after Donald Trump was inaugurated. Manafort reportedly spoke with Trump throughout that period though it is not clear whether the president-elect or president was personally recorded as a consequence of the tap.
Sometimes it takes a non-existent scandal to reveal a real one...

At Long Last, Repeal?

The effort may finally happen:
Earlier this month, the GOP effort was all but dead as Republican leaders pivoted to tax reform. But the health-care legislation has picked up a significant amount of momentum over the past several days.

“I’ve never felt better about where we’re at,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the bill’s sponsors, told reporters after senators met with Vice President Pence to discuss the new health-care proposal.

“At the end of the day, I really believe we’re going to get 50 Republican votes,” he added.

Other GOP senators said the measure has a real prospect of success.

“Our members are thinking about it, they’re studying it. They’re talking to the authors of the bill. But I think we’ve made good headway,” said Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.).
The time is soon...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ditching The Grade

No more grades?
“The grading system is pretty broken,” says Kate Reeser, Director at San Domenico School in San Anselmo.

She and other administrators there are exploring a new school of thought when it comes to grading. They want to do away with the concept of letter grades entirely.

“It’s about gaming the system, students no longer care about learning the information it’s about getting the A,” says her Cecily Stock who heads the school.

San Domenico is one of more than 100 schools across the country participating in the mastery transcript consortium. It is a new teaching model that aims to evaluate how well a student has ‘mastered’ a concept. Rather than receiving a letter grade, students will be given a review from their teacher.

“Instead of a B it would look like more of a narrative,” Says Reeser.
But what if your kid is still failing the narrative?

Babies Wanted

The welfare state is not good for kids:
Demographics are a concern across the developed world, of course. But they are particularly problematic for countries with a generous welfare state, since they endanger its long-term survival.

For Heidi Schauman, the statistics are "frightening."

"They show how fast our society is changing, and we don't have solutions ready to stop the development," the Aktia Bank chief economist said in a telephone interview in Helsinki. "We have a large public sector and the system needs taxpayers in the future."

To do that, the fertility rate should equal two per woman, Schauman says. It was projected at 1.57 in 2016, according to Statistics Finland.
Who wants to buy another generation?

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Challenge

Hillary goes there:
Clinton stated that she believes the Russian government influenced the election in favor of Trump, and that this could make the outcome illegitimate.

“[Trump knew] they were trying to do whatever they could to discredit me with emails, so there’s obviously a trail there… There’s no doubt they influenced the election: We now know more about how they did that,” Clinton said in the interview.

However, Clinton went on to add that she does not think there is a “mechanism” in place to officially overturn the election results.

“There are scholars, academics, who have arguments that [the election should be challenged], but I don’t think they’re on strong ground. But people are making those arguments. I just don’t think we have a mechanism,” she concluded.
Or any basis in fact...

SNAP Inspection

Food stamps have fallen fast:
Food stamp usage has been on a steady decline since Donald Trump began his presidency in January 2017, with the latest data showing that SNAP enrollment decreased by more than 1.3 million, or 3.23 percent, since the beginning of his term in office.

A closer look at the data shows that food stamp usage has been consistently decreasing each month since January 2017.

Here is the breakdown of how many people dropped off the food stamp rolls each month of 2017:

January to February- 408,956
February to March- 95,152
March to April- 521,295
April to May- 176,527
May to June- 178,648
The most significant drops in enrollment took place from January to February and March to April.
It's like people don't need them anymore, or something...

Tapping In

No, Trump wasn't paranoid:
The report said the secret court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act had authorized a surveillance warrant against Manafort for an investigation that began in 2014, looking into his firm, the Podesta Group, and another firm’s lobbying work for Ukraine’s pro-Russian former ruling party.

“The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence,” a source told CNN.

However, the FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended early into this year. The report notably does not say when the new warrant was obtained. Manafort joined the Trump campaign as its chairman in May 2016.

The new warrant was “part of the FBI’s efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives,” according to the report.

The report notes, “such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials” — but doesn’t specify which top Justice Department and FBI officials had approved it.
Did it matter? They were literally all out to get him...

Cotton Pickin' Moment

Cotton-the other white cloth?
Now perhaps these people didn’t get a proper high school economics education, so I’ll break it down quickly.

Cotton rules the economy.

It has for centuries. We fought a war about it. The Antebellum South exported lots of things, namely cotton, tobacco, and indigo. It’s true, these products were largely cultivated dependent on slavery, which was eradicated after the Civil War.

A hundred-some-odd years later, though, and the South still exports these things. Without slaves. Do you know how many things are made of cotton nowadays? You can’t go five minutes without coming into contact with something made of cotton. Most of our clothes are cotton byproducts. Bedsheets, rugs, coffee filters, even some fire hoses are made of cotton.

Is Daniell Rider perhaps suggesting we let houses burn down because fire hoses are racist?
Clothing is racist!

Making Plans With Nigel

For those who really need help:
The robot named ‘Nigel’ uses artificial intelligence (AI) to become aware of its user’s life and utilise the information by offering advice to user’s including how to vote.

Robot developed that helps you vote, AI taken too far?
Mounir Shita hopes Nigel will be able to assist with voting by next year.
Unlike other AI robots Nigel programmes itself as it goes, rather than teach itself how to perform and effectively carry out tasks. It works solely on how the user is themselves, for example if they offer traits of a left wing supporter he will adapt to that life style.

However, Nigel will offer alternative advice if it thinks that certain aspects of the user ‘don’t add up’ based on different algorithms from its system, prompting them to make a different decision. The robot is described as the first human like artificial intelligence to date.
Nigel knows better?

Deadline Time

The quest to replace Obamacare continues:
Under the plan, Obamacare money that pays for an expansion of Medicaid and that subsidizes coverage for many of those who buy insurance on the exchanges would be pooled and instead given to states as block grants. The states would tailor the money to their own health care plans.
The bill would immediately repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate requiring people to get coverage or pay a tax and its rule requiring large employers to provide coverage or face crippling penalties. It also scraps the 2010 law’s tax on medical device sales.
There are “people coming out regularly and saying they’re for it, either privately or publicly,” Mr. Cassidy said.
But Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, announced Friday that he is staunchly opposed to the bill, lengthening the odds of success as his party continues to struggle with its seven-year promise to scrap the Affordable Care Act.
AARP, an influential lobby for older Americans, also said it opposes the bill, enthusing Obamacare supporters.
Senate Republicans must act by the end of the month under the 2017 budget to help avoid a Democratic filibuster.
Can they fit it into their lack of a schedule?

Welcome To Softball Dome

Do not question the Queen:
Clinton was on the show last Wednesday promoting her book “What Happened,” with conservative Bila calling her “tone deaf” and asking the former presidential candidate a tough question.

“To be fair, it hasn’t just been Republicans who have taken issue with the writing of this book. Some Democrats have come out as well,” Bila said to Clinton. “Former campaign surrogates of yours, former fundraisers and said, ‘This book puts us in the past and we wanna move forward, we wanna figure out where to take this party, how to succeed in the future. And this places us in the past.’ How do you respond to Democrats also coming out in criticism of you writing this?”

“I think they first should read the book,” Clinton answered.

“There was a lot of staff who were upset about how that interview was handled,” says the source, speculating that “The View” wants the former secretary of state to appear on the show multiple times. “They had a lot to say to Jedediah about calming things down.”
Too much excitement for them?

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