Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Day The Blue Wave Died

Did Anthony Kennedy stop the wave?
The reason so many liberals are convinced there will be a "Blue Wave" is that many Democrats want to vote against Donald Trump at any opportunity, and they believe that voting for Democrats for Congress will effectively do that. (Many are campaigning on impeaching Trump.)

Few issues would balance out this liberal enthusiasm like the Supreme Court. With Democrats pledging not to consider any Trump nominee, and others having voted against Gorsuch (with whom conservatives are very happy), they may be setting themselves up for electoral doom in November.

It has always been likely that Republicans will win a Senate seat or two this year. Now, Democrats have made that effectively certain.
The self-inflicted Doom of the Democrats?

The Mob Doesn't Rule

Where are we headed?
What’s happening now is different, and scarier in a way. What we’re seeing is much more like the spiraling out of control that happened during the French Revolution. The effort to reform a bankrupt French government had begun in 1789 with solemn religious processions led by bishops. Within just four short years, the French parliament had murdered France’s king and its queen and slaughtered thousands of aristocrats, foreign visitors, priests, monks, nuns, and political dissenters. It seized all the Church’s property and sold it cheap to wealthy allies, and was forcibly conscripting unwilling peasants to fight its wars. One of them was a war of genocide against the conservative, pious population of the Vendee region. The Revolutionary armies massacred some 300,000 civilians, for instance by roping men and women together naked and drowning them in rivers, a rite it sacrilegiously called “republican weddings.” Or loading families onto rafts, then sinking them.

The political frenzy we’re enduring today is much more Jacobin than Confederate. Its demands keep escalating, as one belief or practice that was broadly accepted ten years ago now gets painted as evil, even criminal.
Meanwhile, actual criminals are literally getting away with murder...

Friday, June 29, 2018

Passing On The Pact

No Pact for them:
Emphasizing that unchecked climate change could profoundly disrupt the world’s economies and cause massive human suffering, Brown stated: “That’s the reason why California and Quebec are joining with Ontario to create an expanded and dynamic carbon market, which will drive down greenhouse gas emissions.”

Kathleen Wynne, as Canada’s first openly LGBT candidate for a provincial premiership, led her Liberal Party to 58 assembly seats and majority-control of Canada’s most economically dominant province in 2014.

Wynne and the Liberals ran on an even more extreme social justice agenda in 2018, which promised to fight global climate change aggressively, raise the minimum wage, expand free pharmacare, and establish universal child care.

But newcomer Doug Ford reorganized Canada’s Progressive Conservative Party to campaign directly against Wynne and her Liberal Party’s tax-and-spend policies. The Conservatives’ most effective campaign issue leading up to the June 7 election was blaming the Liberals for Ontario residents being forced to spend an extra 38 cents per gallon of gas and about 30 percent more for electricity to offset the cost of buying emission credits on California’s carbon trading exchange.
Economic reality beats ideology...

Go For Soda

Could there still be hope for California?
In a signing statement, Brown said soda taxes “combat the dangerous and ill effects of too much sugar in the diets of children.” But he added that mayors across the state called him to support the deal because they were alarmed by the tax initiative.

Brown also reacted strongly to another part of the initiative, which would have restricted the state’s ability to raise certain fees without a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

“This would be an abomination,” Brown wrote.

Many lawmakers shared Brown’s mixed emotions toward the soda tax ban.

During debate on the legislation, Assembly Bill 1838, legislators said they reluctantly voted to impose the moratorium because the ballot measure, for which signatures were gathered by a political campaign financed by more than $7 million from the beverage industry, would have been worse for state and local government coffers.
They were against it until they realized that their voters were for it...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Rising To The Occasion

FDR never let anything slow him down:
Roosevelt, who contracted polio in 1921 at the age of 39, subsequently required leg braces and assistance to walk. His disability, however, was kept from the American public as the White House imposed strict rules on how he could be photographed or filmed. “No images of FDR in his wheelchair or being helped in and out of cars were permitted; no visual record was to be made of the arduous effort it took him to move just a few steps on his rigid braced legs,” explained Geoffrey C. Ward, Roosevelt historian and Library Trustee, in a statement.

The 1935 footage was captured during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on April 22 of that year. The silent black-and-white film was shot by Frederick Hill, a Nevada rancher, who was attending the event with his wife and two children.

Armed with his movie camera, Hill was apparently oblivious to the White House rules and pushed in behind a group of news cameramen to film FDR slowly walking along the mansion’s portico. The smiling president leans on a cane in his right hand, while his left hand grips the arm of his bodyguard, Gus Gennerich.
He stood on his own two feet...

Annapolis Attack

Another day, another lunatic:
A Twitter account matching Ramos' name with a location of Laurel, Maryland, includes years of tweets railing against Capital Gazette and includes details of a yearslong legal dispute with the company.

According to an unreported 2015 opinion filed in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, Ramos pleaded guilty to criminal harassment in July 2011. Five days later, an article about the case appeared in The Capital, one of Capital Gazette's publications. The story detailed accusations by a woman who said Ramos harassed her online and off for months, calling her employer and trying to get her fired. The woman eventually went to the police and Ramos pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of harassment in 2011.

The Twitter account that matches Ramos' name began tweeting about Capital Gazette several months after the conviction.

In July 2012, Ramos filed suit against Capital Gazette for defamation, according to the 2015 court filing. The complaint was just four paragraphs long, but Ramos filed a longer 22-page claim several months later.

In 2012, a judge dismissed the lawsuit on the basis that "there is absolutely not one piece of evidence, or an assertion by you that the statement [in the article] was false."
Sometimes a lunatic is just a lunatic...

The Memory Of Crows

The birds know:
A long-simmering debate among evolutionary biologists asks how much of the crow’s tool-making ability is genetically programmed, and how much is acquired and transmitted through learning and memory.

A famous experiment filmed in 2002 featuring "Betty the crow" showed the bird bending a straight piece of wire into a hook in order to retrieve a morsel of meat stuffed in a narrow plastic tube.

The feat was hailed as proof that the New Caledonian crow could invent new tools on the spot, a rare ability among non-human animals.

But a study published a dozen years later found that more than a dozen wild-caught crows also broke off small branches and fashioned them into tiny hooks with their beaks, leading some researchers to conclude this ability is at least partly hardwired.

To the extent it is learnt, there's a further split: some experts think the birds are mimicking witnessed techniques, and others -- including Taylor -- say the crows have a more sophisticated approach.
The bird engineers?

Who Stored My Cheese?

We are a nation of cheese hoarders:
According to a report on cold storage from the USDA, America has 1.385 billion pounds o cheese in its stockpile, the highest since records started being taken in August 1917.

The report found that the East North Central region of the United States has the highest stock of natural cheese for American and other cheese, with 339 million pounds of American cheese and 374 million pounds of other cheese.

According to the Washington Post, the cheese stockpile is so high because there's too much milk on hand for processors, and milk is more easily stored as cheese. Combine that wil school being out and cows being more productive, you get the record number.
When the cheese apocalypse comes, at least we'll be ready...

Intern Income

At long last, pay for interns?
Tracking how much interns are paid can be difficult. While some offices pay per hour, others, like that of Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, offer a stipend. Mr. McConnell’s office pays approximately $330 a week. But many Capitol Hill offices that offer paid internships or stipends do not disclose on their websites how much applicants can anticipate being paid. The website of Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, for example, states only that “a limited number of paid positions” are available.

Having to pay for housing, food and transportation — not to mention a professional wardrobe — in a city that is routinely ranked among the top 10 most expensive places to live in the United States can be a deal breaker for students who are unable to work without being paid.

Other students, determined not to let the opportunity to work on the Hill slip away, stretch themselves thin, taking out loans and working 70-hour weeks at second jobs to make ends meet.

“Internships can often be the gateway to working on the Hill, and we need to make that ladder of opportunity available,” Mr. Van Hollen said.
If you think working in Washington is worth it, that is...

Deathbed Stories

RIP Harlan Ellison:
During a career that spanned more than half a century, Ellison wrote some 50 books and more than 1,400 articles, essays, TV scripts and screenplays. Although best-known for his science fiction, which garnered nearly a dozen Nebula and Hugo awards, Ellison's work covered virtually every type of writing from mysteries to comic books to newspaper columns.

He was known as much for his attitude as his writing — he described himself once as "bellicose." His targets were anyone or anything that offended him, from TV producers to his own audience. An encounter with Frank Sinatra, when the two faced off while Ellison was shooting pool, was immortalized in Gay Talese's famous 1966 magazine profile of the singer.

"I go to bed angry and I get up angrier every morning," he once said.
Hopefully, angry but at peace...

Softball Target

For once, Dick Durbin gives an honest answer:
DURBIN: "Well, we don’t have the power. I mean, if we had the power and the authority to make those decisions, it’s one thing. But under the rules, under the rules with Justice Gorsuch, in a matter of three months or so, he went from being nominated by the White House to being approved by the United States Senate. In the meantime, there was vetting, investigation, hearing, questions, votes and committee, consideration on the floor. But it was on a path where a majority controlled the outcome and at this point we don’t have the majority."
The way things are going, they might not have it later on, either...

The Blue Reds

Blues are Red again:
In largely forgotten history, the DSA played a central role in helping found the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), which advanced radical DSA ideology within the Democratic party. The CPC was established in 1991 by six members of the House of Representatives, including Bernie Sanders, Ron Dellums and Maxine Waters.

With Ocasio-Cortez’s clinch of the nomination, the DSA now moves into the open within the mainstream of the Democratic party. She beat veteran Congressman Joe Crowley in an upset victory that sent shockwaves across the U.S. political landscape.

“Tonight’s victory shows that we are in the middle of a political revolution,” said Christian Bowe, a member of the DSA’s National Political Committee. “By running on an unabashedly Democratic Socialist platform focused on healthcare for all, housing as a human right, abolishing ICE, justice for Puerto Rico and a federal jobs guarantee, Ocasio-Cortez was able to defeat a powerful establishment Democrat who has been in Congress since 1999.”
The old guard has been put on notice...

Making The Case

Newt Gingrich on welfare reform:
“The Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services (JOBS) for Success Act, sponsored by Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., was reported last month by the House Ways and Means Committee,” Gingrich wrote. “It would help our country meet the demands of the growing economy by putting in place popular reforms that will help get millions of Americans out of dependency and back to work.”
He goes on to blame the Obama administration for undoing many of the welfare reforms passed during his tenure as speaker and said the left’s policies have led to increased poverty and more dependence on government.

“These are simple, common sense reforms — and they are very popular. Ninety percent of American voters support the idea that able-bodied adults should have to work, train, or volunteer to receive welfare benefits,” Gingrich wrote. “Also, 89 percent of the American people believe work requirements help people get out of dependency and off welfare.”
Simple, yet too complicated for many liberals to understand...

Fake News Patrol

Big Adviser is monitoring you:
California Senate Bill SB 1424, which passed the California Senate and is moving through the California Assembly, would call on the state’s attorney general to create an advisory committee consisting of representatives from social media companies, civil liberties groups, First Amendment scholars, and at least one person who works for the Department of Justice.

The bill also gives the attorney general a deadline of April 1, 2019, to create the committee.

Once the committee is assembled, the group would be tasked with studying the spread of online information, determining what is “fake news” and what is not, and telling social media companies how to stop the spread of “fake news.”

After the committee comes up with their findings, the attorney general would be responsible for presenting the committee’s plan to the state legislature.

Some groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), have come out against the bill. EFF told CBS Sacramento that the bill would give the government the power to decide what content should be considered true or false, adding that the First Amendment prevents restrictions of content even if the information is false.

The problem of “fake news” is on the minds of many Americans, especially after companies like Facebook have come under fire for determining what content is newsworthy and what is not.
Now California is apparently following their lead...

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Nothing More Than Feelings

Liberals are in total meltdown mode over the news that Justice Kennedy is leaving. Once again, their feelings are making them their own worst enemy:
You don't have to like Trump's so-called "travel ban" to see he has the legal power to implement it. And yet, in a dissent, leftist Sonia Sotomayor claimed that Trump's anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric somehow overrode the facts of the case. In other words, what would have been legal for a president she liked was not legal because... Trump.

If the rule of law can be overridden by the emotions of the people, the machinations of officials or the prejudices of courts, we can no longer depend on equal treatment or representative government. Given the fact that most of the above cases were decided by only one vote, news of Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement from the court comes as something of a relief. Kennedy has been an unreliable vote for liberty and if Trump can put another Gorsuch-like constitutionalist in there, all of our freedoms will be safer.
The laws of the land protect your right to express your feelings, but it's not based on them. Liberals need to remember that.

The Force Is Not With Her

Who killed the Force?
The problem is that Kennedy destroyed the "Star Wars" legacy and put a half-baked, heartless carbon-copy in its wake. The whole franchise feels less like a creative labor of love and more like a cheap cash grab that cons the public into buying tickets based on brand recognition alone, all the while pushing messages about feminism and capitalist greed. Nobody likes it and feminists are too few and far between.

So now Disney has a dead horse on its hands and has no idea what to do with it. The simple solution – cleaning house by firing Kennedy – will not be easy. According to Grace Randolph, insiders say that if Iger just up and fires her, nobody in Hollywood has the cajones to take the reins as she would leave behind a house of loyalists who will have the daggers out for whoever fills her shoes.
Ended, the franchise is...

Related image

The Dues Come Due

No dues necessary:
The decision is a major victory for free speech and for workers’ rights — and a major setback for public sector unions, who have emerged in recent decades as a powerful left-wing political force.

Mark Janus, the Illinois state employee who challenged compulsory dues, had been required to pay about $535 per year, even though he opposed his union’s positions on many issues in its collective bargaining.

Under the precedent established in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), public sector unions could not force non-members to contribute to their political activities, but could compel them to pay dues toward collective bargaining.

That precedent looked shaky, however, as workers sued unions, arguing that many of the unions’ collective bargaining activities were inherently political. Abood was expected to be overturned in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (2016), but the death of Justice Antonin Scalia left the court deadlocked, 4-4.

But President Donald Trump’s victory later that year paved the way for the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch — after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had stalled the confirmation of Obama nominee Merrick Garland — and the Court found another chance to overturn Abood.
Workers' rights win again...

Talking 'Bout Their Generation

Old-timer Blues face a new generation:
The left didn’t win everywhere. In Colorado’s 6th District, Rep. Jason Crow held off Levi Tillemann, who recently posted audio of Steny Hoyer encouraging him to get out of the race. And in Colorado's 5th District, sitting Rep. Diana DeGette managed to hold progressive challenger Saira Rao. Democratic incumbents in New York's 9th and 12th also managed to win. But their margins were thin, so it's hard to portray those victories as resounding endorsements of the establishment.

It's important not to get carried away with The Narrative here: House incumbents on both sides of the aisle still win hugely in the vast majority of districts. And just because a candidate was progressive doesn't mean that's why the candidate won. Factors independent of ideology—candidate biography, skill, fit with the district, fundraising ability—also matter.

But taken together, Tuesday's results are good for the progressive left. They aren't moving seats the way the Tea Party did, but they do show that the progressive wing has energy.
The future is coming, whether some like it or not...

Hateful '18

A house divided:
The latest survey from Rasmussen Reports found that 59 percent of all voters “are concerned that those opposed to President Trump’s policies will resort to violence.”

And, added Rasmussen, 31 percent believe “it’s likely that the United States will experience a second civil war sometime in the next five years.”

The new polling evidence of fear in the country over political division follows the harassment of three top Trump aides, including spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, ordered out of a southern Virginia restaurant, and senior adviser Stephen Miller whose condo drew protests from liberals.
Who or what is responsible? Maybe the "tolerant" ones should be asking themselves:

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Swedish Model

Swedes may finally be getting tired of their welfare state:
Paying some of the world’s highest income-tax rates has been the cornerstone of Scandinavia’s social contract, with the political consensus in Sweden to save money for when the economy is less healthy. Yet the country is showing strains all too familiar in other parts of Europe with nationalists gaining support and Swedes increasingly questioning the sustainability of their fabled cradle-to-grave welfare system.

Resentment has built over the influx of more than 600,000 immigrants over the past five years, many from war-ravaged countries like Afghanistan and Syria, a huge number for a country of 10 million people.

There are also soaring crime rates, gang violence, complaints about education and pregnant mothers even being turned away from maternity wards due to a lack of capacity. The number of people waiting longer than 90 days for an operation or specialist treatment has tripled over the past four years.

“The Swedish social contract needs to be reformed,” a dozen entrepreneurs including Nordea Bank AB Chairman Bjorn Wahlroos and Kreab Founder Peje Emilsson wrote in an op-ed in the Dagens Industri newspaper on May 31. “Despite high taxes, politics isn’t delivering its part of the contract in important areas. We get poor value for money.”
Time for a new contract?

A Movement Too Far

Where resistance has failed:
The Democrats’ debate is not unlike the one raging over whether to openly call for the impeachment of Trump, something party leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi say is not appropriate at this time, especially as Democrats are trying to regain control of the House.

Pelosi urged caution Monday about expanding the protests against Trump Cabinet members beyond official events. Linking to an article about Waters’ comments, Pelosi took to Twitter to urge civility.

“Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea," she said.

Other high-profile Democrats, like former Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod, called it counter-productive.

“Disgusted with this admin’s policies? Organize, donate, volunteer, VOTE! Rousting Cabinet members from restaurants is an empty and, ultimately, counter-productive gesture that won’t change a thing,” he said in a tweet.
Threats of criminal behavior rarely do...

Monday, June 25, 2018

Free Speech For Some

Some speech is more equal than others:
The document notes that “a decision by the ACLU to represent a white supremacist group may well undermine relationships with allies or coalition partners, create distrust with particular communities, necessitate the expenditure of resources to mitigate the impact of those harms, make it more difficult to recruit and retain a diverse staff and board across multiple dimensions, and in some circumstances, directly further an agenda that is antithetical to our mission and values and that may inflict harm on listeners.”

But the ACLU also realizes that “not defending fundamental liberties can come at considerable cost,” the document says. “If the ACLU avoids the defense of controversial speakers, and defends only those with whom it agrees, both the freedom of speech and the ACLU itself may suffer.”

What did Kaminer have to say about the internal document?
Kaminer asked in her op-ed, “Where is the comparable set of guidelines explaining when the ACLU should decline to defend gay-rights claims that infringe on religious liberty or women’s-rights cases that infringe on due process?”

“The speech-case guidelines reflect a demotion of free speech in the ACLU’s hierarchy of values,” she added. “Their vague references to the ‘serious harm’ to ‘marginalized’ people occasioned by speech can easily include the presumed psychological effects of racist or otherwise hateful speech, which is constitutionally protected but contrary to ACLU values. Faced with perceived conflicts between freedom of speech and ‘progress toward equality,’ the ACLU is likely to choose equality. If the Supreme Court adopted the ACLU’s balancing test, it would greatly expand government power to restrict speech.”
In many cases, the left seems way ahead of them in that regard...

The Missing One

A nation turns its lonely eyes to:
Beyond the anguish is, often, simply bafflement: How did the most ubiquitous man in America for eight years virtually disappear? Over the course of his presidency, Obama cast himself as the country’s secular minister as much as its commander-in-chief, someone who understood the moral core of the nation and felt compelled to insist that we live up to it. What explains his near absence from the political stage, where he might argue publicly against the reversals of his policy accomplishments, and also from American life more broadly? What is keeping him from speaking more frequently about the need to protect democratic norms and the rule of law, to be decent people? Where is the man who cried after Sandy Hook and sang in Charleston, who after each mass shooting tried to soothe an outraged nation, who spoke of American values in his travels across the globe? And, tactically, what is behind the relative silence of one of the most popular figures alive just as American politics appears to so many to be on the brink of breaking?
Silence is golden?

Doctor's Orders

Medical marijuana gets approved:
The drug, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is made of cannabidiol, or CBD, a component of marijuana that does not give users a high. It is given as an oil, and in clinical trials, it was shown to reduce the number of seizures by about 40 percent in patients with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.

“This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. “And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development.”

The FDA’s decision was expected. FDA officials had indicated they supported approving Epidiolex, and an advisory panel had unanimously recommended it get the green light.
The prescription for what ails you?

The Anti-Malaise Era

When asked whether or not Trump should be impeached, many Americans might well ask, "Why?"
According to a CNBC All-America Economic Survey of 800 U.S. adults, 51 per cent approve of Trump's economic job performance. Just 36 per cent give him a thumbs-down.

But his base of support on the economy now includes three in 10 Democrats, a number that will likely stun his political opponents as they consider the looming midterm congressional elections.

Jay Campbell, CNBC's Democratic pollster, told the net work that 'there is [a] component of [the] Democratic base that’s willing to acknowledge the improving economy and willing to give Trump a certain amount of credit for it.'

'A large number still disapprove of Trump on the economy but 30 percent of Democrats is not nothing.'
The haters will still try to pretend otherwise...

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Baby, You Can Drive Your Car

Ladies, start your engines:
Women in Riyadh and other cities began zipping around streets bathed in amber light soon after the ban was lifted at midnight, with some blasting music from behind the wheel.

"I feel free like a bird," said talk show host and writer Samar Almogren as she cruised across the capital.

Television presenter Sabika al-Dosari called it "a historic moment for every Saudi woman" before driving a sedan across the border to the kingdom of Bahrain.

The lifting of the ban, long a glaring symbol of repression, is expected to be transformative for many women, freeing them from dependence on private chauffeurs or male relatives.
Entering the last century, one step at a time...

Mad Maxine On The March

No Trump people for her:
“God is on OUR side!” she declared, as the crowd went wild. “On the side of the children. On the side of what’s right. On the side of what’s honorable.”

“And so, let’s stay the course. Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up and if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” she yelled.

Waters remarks were then marred by a screeching microphone.

“Mr. President, we will see you every day, every hour of the day, everywhere that we are to let you know you cannot get away with this!” she yelled.
What about your side getting away with lunacy?

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Jacket Code

So the latest "controversy" concerns Melania Trump's wardrobe:
Runways and store shelves have been filled in recent years with T-shirts bearing several messages: “We should all be feminists” shirts at Dior, “I am an immigrant” at Prabal Gurung, “People are people” at Christian Siriano. Even President Trump’s red “Make America Great Again” hats have become a way for people to express their views. The controversial Zara jacket is from two years ago and doesn’t appear to be for sale anymore on Zara.com.

“Slogan T-shirts have often been a vehicle for communication, and they’ve come back in vogue in the last year or two with the political upheaval in many countries, including our own,” said Wendy Liebmann, chief executive of consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail. “Fashion is a very powerful billboard, and it’s become a way people feel comfortable communicating a message without carrying placards or holding protest signs.”
One person's attire is another's statement?

No Room For Her

A local restaurant manager really didn't like Sarah Sanders:
The incident garnered attention after the waiter who served Sanders and her family, Jaike Foley-Schultz, posted about the incident on his Facebook page, denying Sanders had been kicked out.

“I just served Sarah huckabee sanders for a total of 2 minutes before my owner asked her to leave and she complied. Her family left on their own accord, we didn’t actually refuse service or ‘kick her out,'” Foley-Schultz said.

The waiter’s Facebook post only garnered attention after a verified Twitter user posted a screenshot of Foley-Schultz’s post to social media.

The incident came just days after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled at a Mexican restaurant in Washington.
If you eat out, bring your credit card-and your civil rights lawyer?

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Doctor Is In

Ben Carson gives the real cure for poverty:

Where Anger Goes To DIe

So much anger, so much wasted oxygen:
All of this behavior is acceptable because these brave #Resistance fighters are very, very angry. Their anger doesn't care about your facts or decorum or common sense. They can't win elections anymore, so this is their only outlet for their formless, free-floating rage. Why should they care about unintended consequences? Or about the intended ones, for that matter? Such concerns are for the bad guys.
....

The good news is that in a week, maybe less, they won't be shrieking about this anymore. They'll be shrieking about something else. They'll pretend to be outraged about some other issue they never cared about when Barry was their liege.
What happens when they run out of stuff to be angry about?

Time For A Correction

Time Magazine enters the fake news fray:
The media claimed that the mother and child were separated after crossing the border illegally, under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. However, it emerged on Thursday that the two were never separated at all and are still together.

In addition, the mother had left Honduras without informing her husband. She had also been deported from the U.S. in 2013. And her motives for migrating appeared to be economic, not for reasons that would qualify her for asylum.
Never let facts get in the way of a story for the "moment..."

Don't Call Us, We Won't Call You

Phones are free:
The legal and privacy concern was that police gathered the four months' worth of Carpenter's digital footprints without a warrant. A Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals judge ruled that cellphone location data isn't protected by the Fourth Amendment, which forbids unreasonable search and seizure, and therefore didn't require a warrant.

In the Supreme Court's ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the government's searches of Carpenter's phone records were considered a Fourth Amendment search.

"The government's position fails to contend with the seismic shifts in digital technology that made possible the tracking of not only Carpenter's location but also everyone else's, not for a short period but for years and years," he wrote.

Roberts said allowing government access to historical GPS data infringes on Carpenter's Fourth Amendment protections and expectation of privacy, by providing law enforcement with an "all-encompassing record" of his whereabouts. He added that historical GPS data presents an "even greater privacy risk" than real-time GPS monitoring.
A man's phone is the same as his castle...

The Queen Is (Almost) Dead?

Is her time over?
If Democrats do win back control of the People's House on Election Day, the potentially narrow margin would give Pelosi almost no room for mistake as she lobbies for the 218 votes needed to win a floor vote, Politico reports. And Pelosi could face resistance from a fresh crop of Democrats, who have said on record they would oppose her as they call for new leadership.

Max Rose, who is running for a House seat in New York state, is one of the party hopefuls who has spoken out against Pelosi.

“If the Democratic Party is going to earn back the trust of the American people, then we need to show them that we are serious about changing our politics – and that means we need a change in leadership," he said in a statement to Politico.

In contrast, Arkansas' Clarke Tucker is blasting his opposition across the airwaves: “I’ve said from Day One that I won’t vote for Nancy Pelosi."

Pelosi told the Boston Globe in May that she has her sights set on a return to the speakership.

“We will win. I will run for speaker," she said. "I feel confident about it."
But given her recent history, will she even remember winning?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Poor Little Rich Center

Poverty is good for business:
While little is publicly available on the SPLC's actual transactions, the Washington Free Beacon discovered forms last year that shed light on some of its transfers to entities that are mainly located in the Cayman Islands. The SPLC additionally reports investments in entities in Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands. The Weekly Standard later found that the SPLC had $69 million in non-U.S. equity funds.

The SPLC reported $92 million in non-U.S. equity funds as of October 31, 2017, according to its most recent audited financial statement: a $23 million increase from the previous year and an amount that equates to around 20 percent of its total assets.

"Those on both the Left and Right have the same question: what kind of nonprofit that has ‘poverty' in its name hoards nearly a hundred million dollars in offshore accounts? The SPLC will now have to update its treasure map to keep track of its massive offshore fortune," said Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, the executive vice president of the Family Research Council.
For some non-profits, the profits roll in...

The New National Socialists

History repeats itself:
Figures released by the domestic intelligence agency BfV on Wednesday show the number of left-wing extremists whom authorities consider potentially violent rose 27 percent from 7,100 to about 9,000 between 2012 and 2017.

The number of violent crimes committed by left-wing extremists rose 88 percent during that period, to 1,648 from 876.

Last year saw a spike in left-wing violence partly due to the G-20 summit in Hamburg. The rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany has also given left-wing extremists a new target in recent years.

BfV chief Hans-Georg Maassen called for more public debate about the need to reject violence as a means of achieving political ends.
Unfortunately, the violent types don't seem to want to listen...

Murder Wasn't The Case

Fake murder news:
The network covered President Donald Trump's afternoon meeting live in anticipation of his announcement that he was issuing a directive to end the practice of separating parents and children caught crossing the border illegally.

During the ABC broadcast, the banner briefly displayed the chyron "Manafort pleads guilty to 5 charges of manslaughter." While the former Trump campaign manager is in jail after his bail was revoked, he has not pleaded guilty to any crimes and has not been charged with manslaughter.

In a series of tweets, ABC News apologized for the error and promised to get the bottom of why the graphic appeared.
Wishful thinking on their part?

Family Matters

Trump changes course:
Trump said he will not end the administration's "zero tolerance" policy of criminally prosecuting every adult who crosses U.S. borders illegally, including those seeking asylum. The White House also will keep pressure on Congress to pass legislation that meets Trump's goals of halting the separation practice, funding his proposed border wall and limiting legal immigration.

"We're keeping families together and this will solve that problem. At the same time we are keeping a very powerful border and there continues to be a zero tolerance," Trump told reporters before he signed the order.

The order is expected to allow families to be housed together even while adults in the family are being detained or prosecuted for crossing the U.S. border illegally or for seeking asylum at the border outside of a designated border entry point.
All in the family?

Cage Fight

Is President Trump going to do an about face?
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly drafted an executive action and took it to the White House, which would instruct the Department of Homeland Security to keep families together. The AP cited two people with knowledge of the situation, but who only spoke under the condition that they would remain anonymous.

In a separate report, Fox News said that Trump was considering signing an executive action that would allow children to stay with their parents. It is not clear if this is the same action that Nielsen drafted.

President Trump also tweeted at 10:41 A.M. ET on Wednesday that the situation was “Democrats[‘] fault,” but that he was “working on something.”
Fixing somebody else's mistake?

Northern High

Canada legalizes weed:
The bill fulfills a campaign promise made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who was elected in 2015. Trudeau is a member of the ruling Liberal Party.

“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept,” Trudeau tweeted shortly after the Senate’s vote to approve the measure.

Supporters believe the move will help control organized crime while keeping pot out of kids’ hands, according to the bill.

Marijuana became illegal in Canada in 1923, but its use for medical purposes was legalized in 2001.
Expect sales of Cheetos and downloads of Rush music to rise proportionately...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Crazy Town

Well, that explains a few things:
In the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, Murphy considered the "big five" personality traits by state: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Based in part on a 2013 study that tied certain characteristics to psychopathy — disinhibition, boldness, and meanness — Murphy set out to demonstrate show how those behaviors correspond to the "big five" traits and to extrapolate patterns of psychopathic behavior.

“Boldness corresponds to low neuroticism and high extraversion, meanness corresponds to low agreeableness, and disinhibition corresponds to low conscientiousness,” Murphy explained in the study. Based on this findings, he was able to translate personality traits into a psychopathy score for each state along with the District of Columbia.

Murphy compared the personality trait estimates to two variables that relate to psychopathy: the homicide rate and the percentage of the state living in an urban area. He noted that "there is a strong correlation between psychopathy and the variable for urban," adding that the District of Columbia is an outlier, at least in part, "due to it being an entirely urban geographic area."
The lunatics really are running the asylum?

Red Cadet

Communists don't win:
Spenser Rapone rocked the military community last year after his social media posts were revealed, showing him wearing a Che Guevara shirt underneath his military uniform.

He is no longer part of the U.S. military after top brass at Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division accepted his resignation Monday after an earlier warning for “conduct unbecoming of an officer.” He’s leaving the military with an other-than-honorable discharge.

Army officials condemned the cadet last year and opened an investigation into his social media activity. “Second Lieutenant Rapone’s actions in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army,” an Army statement read.
Live by the red, die by the red...

Shall We Have A Debate?

Skynet versus the humans:
IBM created a system called Project Debater that competes in what the company calls computational argumentation -- knowing a subject, presenting a position and defending it against opposition. At a press event, IBM pitted the system against two humans with a track record of winning debates.

In one debate, Noa Ovadia overall nudged two people among a few dozen in a human audience toward her perspective that governments shouldn't subsidize space exploration. But in the second, Project Debater soundly defeated Dan Zafrir, pulling nine audience members toward its stance that we should increase the use of telemedicine.
....

Project Debater was trained in advance on debating methods, but not the details of the debate itself, which it found out about only moments before the debate started. To formulate its argument, it had at its disposal a collection of 300 million news articles and scholarly papers, previously indexed for quick search results. But it had to find the information, package it persuasively, listen to its opponents' arguments and formulate a rebuttal.
Next stop: Politics?

It's For The Crying Children

Never let crying children go to waste:
“I’ve studied the Bible, both the Old and the new Testament, and what is being done using the name of religion is contrary to everything I was ever taught. Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little children unto me.’ He did not say, ‘Let the children suffer,'” she added.

Then, what did she do?

Later in the day, just about an hour after she criticized Trump over the morality the crisis, the failed presidential candidate used the crisis to raise money.
....

Clinton then directed supporters to a donation page where she encouraged them to donate to 10 activist organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union.

“We can be heartbroken about what’s happening at the border, but we shouldn’t feel hopeless. Make a donation to support the groups working to protect the kids and families separated by ICE,” the donation page instructs.
It takes a village...to fund a campaign?

Monday, June 18, 2018

In Russia, Team Mocks You

Do not make fun, he said:
Vitaly Milonov told The Associated Press on Monday that soccer players and their coach should be considered like "our diplomats, our army," notably during the World Cup that Russia is currently hosting.

The national team — and especially its coach — were the butt of widespread jokes and a popular parody song leading up to the tournament.

Milonov is part of a group of Russian lawmakers in the State Duma who drafted a bill imposing a fine of 10,000 rubles ($160) against anyone who criticizes the team. Milonov is best-known as the author of Russia's law against gay "propaganda" toward minors.

"During the World Cup these people are fighting for the honor of the country," he said in an interview in his hometown of St. Petersburg four days after Russia thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 to open the World Cup. "It's the responsibility of the state to defend its representatives from verbal abuse."
How about defending other spectators from its fans?

Terror By The Bay

San Francisco, the scariest place on Earth?
"You see things on the streets that are just not humane," Kevin Carroll, executive director of the Hotel Council of San Francisco told The Chronicle's Heather Knight in April. "People come into hotels saying, 'What is going on out there?' They're just shocked. ... People say, 'I love your city, I love your restaurants, but I'll never come back.'"

In a completely seperate thread, another Reddit user posted in the San Francisco subreddit "Why is this city so terrifying?"

"The streets are filthy. There's trash everywhere. It's disgusting," Joe D'Alessandro, president of S.F. Travel told the Chronicle's Heather Knight in April. "I've never seen any other city like this — the homelessness, dirty streets, drug use on the streets, smash-and-grabs."

The city, which hands out up to 4.8 million syringes each year, has struggled to figure out how to keep streets clean and safe for residents, while accommodating a growing homeless population and longstanding HIV and Hepatitis C epidemics. There are roughly 16,000 residents in San Francisco with HIV, and 13,000 with Hep C.
Sex, drugs, and liberalism...

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The First Action Hero

Is making the President an action figure creating a bad image?
Clinton and Patterson are far from the first people to imagine the president as an action hero, dodging bullets and explosions. Indeed, it was during Clinton’s presidency that the idea became popular, in movies such as Independence Day and Air Force One. But it has always been a sinister trope, and to see it endorsed by an actual ex-president only makes it more so. That is because the qualities of the action hero—decisiveness, combativeness, the ability to solve all problems and defeat all enemies singlehandedly—are much closer to the ideals of fascism than of liberal democracy.

Indeed, the idea of the president as an action hero is a way of making concrete a common mood in American politics over the last several decades. This is the feeling that all that is needed to solve the country’s problems is a strong leader set free from the shackles of politics. It is heavily symbolic that, to defeat the computer virus, the president must escape from the White House (thus the title), going in disguise to a safe house in Virginia, where he is joined by sympathetic world leaders and white-hat hackers. The White House is the people’s house and the seat of government; but in Clinton’s novel, that is precisely what makes it useless when a president wants to get things done.
The line between fantasy and reality can be a thin one...

The Architects Of Alternate History

The history of places that were never built:
From the beginning, Le Corbusier knew his original plan to house 3 million Parisians would have a polarizing effect. “The shock of surprise caused rage in some quarters and enthusiasm in others,” he noted. His projects contained good ideas and bad. The prospect of bulldozing vernacular architecture, obliterating streets, and displacing communities were rightly derided as philistine. But Le Corbusier’s stated intentions always offered what he saw as healthy solutions to pressing questions of the time, from slums to urban sprawl, traffic to population density. Shoddy imitators proceeded to desecrate the concept of living in the sky. Others, ignoring his careful consideration of zoning, destroy urban tracts without long-term plans. But some elements of Le Corbusier’s plans have aged well—his emphasis on green spaces as “the lungs of the city”; a serviced apartments approach (with childcare, laundry, exercise, and cuisine provided in-house) that is now omnipresent in luxury if not egalitarian circles; his romanticism of aesthetics, and his obsession with access to light and air: “As twilight falls, the glass skyscrapers seem to flame.” In their haste to condemn and forget the failings of the Plan Voisin and its kin, urbanists risk throwing away the lessons it offers in how to live rationally and even poetically.
The lessons of non-history?

No Desert Love Tonight

It really is the end of an era:
With names like Love Ranch and Chicken Ranch, brothels have been legal or tolerated in much of Nevada for over a century and are as much a part of the Silver State’s image of sin and debauchery as gaming and bachelor parties.

The referendum measures, if passed, would outlaw nine bordellos in the two rural counties located a short drive away from Reno and Las Vegas, where prostitution is illegal. Observers say the measures would serve notice to the state’s remaining 11 or so legal brothels that their days could be numbered, too.

A similar referendum on a ban failed at the polls in 2004 in Churchill County, but some industry supporters say the efforts this year have a chance to succeed.

Public sentiment appears to have turned against the brothels lately, these supporters say, in part because of the influx of newcomers from California and other states, and a desire to diversify the state economy beyond tourism. Another factor these people point to is concern over the treatment of women, brought to the fore by the #MeToo movement.

“The future of the industry is in definite jeopardy,” said George Flint, former lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Owners Association and a ban opponent. “I would not put any money on that industry surviving.”
Or sex itself, if Me Too had its way...

Game Over

So Jimmy Kimmel and Ted Cruz played basketball, because, 2018:

From The Media With Love

It's gifts all the way down:
According to DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz, “a large number” of FBI agents were in contact with members of the media, despite having zero authorization to maintain press relationships.

“Although FBI policy strictly limits the employees who are authorized to speak to the media, we found that this policy appeared to be widely ignored during the period we reviewed. We identified numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media, who were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters,” the report stated.

Many of those same FBI agents received unauthorized handouts and perks from media members, the report added, which “were, at a minimum, inconsistent with FBI policy and Department ethics rules.”
Such as they were...

Blogging In The Years: 2015

Donald Trump announces his run for the White House:

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Face To Face

Mark Zuckerberg meets the opposition:
According to a report from Axios, officials from Facebook are set to meet with GOP leaders today to discuss the issue of censorship of conservatives across social media. While Breitbart News has reported on this issue for years, the topic was brought to the forefront of public debate during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress, where he was repeatedly asked about the alleged censorship of political commentary duo Diamond and Silk.

Executives from Facebook will meet with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, and President Trump’s reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale. The meeting is reportedly in response to a letter that McDaniel sent Parscale in May which claimed that “Facebook and Twitter operate in liberal corporate cultures,” and asked that there be some sort of protections put in place to guard against “bias against conservative content.”
Will the rest of social media step up?

Bigots On The Yard

Harvard is racist, according to...Harvard?
Harvard is being sued by the group Students for Fair Admissions, who believes that “racial classifications and preferences in college admissions are unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional.”

SFFA’s suit against Harvard claims that although Asian-American students tend to apply to the school with stronger academic and extra-curricular credentials, they are unfairly “rated down” in subjective categories pertaining to personality traits.

If Harvard applicants were granted admission based solely on their academic merit, Asian-Americans would have made up more than 43 percent of the 2013 freshmen…according to a Harvard study from that same year.

But the number of Asian-American students in Harvard’s admitted class is only at 23 percent; which the school boasts is a 29 percent increase over the last decade.
Only the correct students need apply...

Ryan's Lost Hope

Could Paul Ryan be leaving earlier than planned?
“It’s kind of odd that he has as much power as he has,” Rep. King said on the Patriot Channel. “But I do predict, and it is happening, that that power is diminishing.”

“I also have got information that there are–I’ll say ‘members’–I say that plurally, with knowledge, that are considering introducing a motion to vacate the chair,” he added. “If they do that, that will throw this place into a tizzy and force the kind of election for a Speaker that may bring out someone who is a lot stronger on this.”

The most recent discontent came when Ryan propagated the details of an immigration compromise bill that many saw as conceding too many demands of the out-of-power Democrats.
Is this Ryan's last run?

The Price Of A Legacy

I'd hate to see the late fees:
The state of Illinois has approved $224 million to pay for street and transportation projects in Chicago’s South Side neighborhood around the Obama Presidential Center site, $199 million of which will fall directly on the shoulders of Illinois taxpayers. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law the legislature’s budget on June 4, which included $174 million for road work in and around Jackson Park — where the 235-foot-tall building would be located — and another $50 million to renovate an above-ground rail stop two miles away. “Bringing the Obama Presidential Center to Chicago took leadership and vision, and we are gratified that our partners in Springfield also saw the potential for what this means for all of Illinois,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “The state’s $174 million investment in infrastructure improvements near the Obama Center on the South Side of Chicago is money well spent,” he added.
For those who don't have to pay for it...