Monday, December 31, 2018

The Hip Hand Me Downs

Where did trash fashion come from?
“It began as an anti-fashion stance of the late ’60s and early ’70s,” Nancy B. Diehl, director of NYU’s Costume Studies program, told The Daily Beast. “Those marks of wear make clothing really individualized, and the idea is that has more authenticity.” In pursuit of a worn aesthetic, hippies would sandpaper Levis down by hand.

Even if baby boomers weren't trying to make a statement with their dungarees, home economics classes taught them basic sewing skills that allowed them to patch up hand-me-downs. This mending was more of a pass at frugality rather than a radical statement, but the vogue for worn and vintage took hold.

Somewhere along the line, Diehl said that make-do mentality permeated into "fashion fashion."
Make do is now...make coin?

No New Rules

When it comes to government, President Trump believes less is more:
CEI regulations guru Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. said in a year-end report provided in advance to Secrets that Trump ended the year with 3,367 new regulations. That is the lowest since records were first kept in the 1970s.

But Crews noted that Trump’s number of new regulations is lower. The reason: the government requires a “regulation” to kill a regulation, and Trump is continuing on his promise to kill two regulations for every new one he proposes.

“Obama’s own lowest count was 3,410, not much more than Trump’s new score. But fewer of Obama’s rules would be expected to have been devoted to rollbacks of prior initiatives, the emphasis of Trump’s ‘one-in, two-out’ executive order,” said Crews, CEI’s vice president for policy.

“The Federal Register closed out 2018 with 3,367 final rules in all. The only lower count was 3,281 under Trump a year ago, which was the lowest count since records began being kept in the mid-1970s,” he added.
Some rules were meant not to be introduced...

Deniers Go Home

No deniers for him:
"This morning, we’re going to do something that we don’t often get to do: dive in on one topic,” Todd said after showing video clips of dramatic weather incidents in the last year. He continued that climate change is “a literally earth-changing subject that doesn’t get talked about this thoroughly, at least on television news."

"Just as important as what we are going to do is what we’re not going to do," Todd said. "We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it. The earth is getting hotter and human activity is a major cause, period."

"We’re not going to give time to climate deniers," Todd added. "The science is settled even if political opinion is not."
And the political debate should still be allowed, shouldn't it?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Feed The Tree

Let the grass be your memorial?
The process is called "recomposition" and involves placing bodies in a vessel filled with nutrient-dense soil so they can quickly decompose. Then, the soil is returned to families, according to NBC News.

"People from all over the state who wrote to me are very excited about the prospect of becoming a tree or having a different alternative for themselves," state Sen. Jamie Pedersen, a Democrat, who is sponsoring a bill in Washington's Legislature, told the news outlet.

If approved, the bill would also make Washington the 17th state to allow alkaline hydrolysis. That process involves dissolving bodies with with water and lye until "just liquid and bone remains," according to the report.
Pulping yourself for future generations of trees...

Let's Get Ready To Throw

This isn't your father's dart game:
For years, professional dart associations have tried to shed the game’s links to the smoky pubs where it blossomed nearly a century ago. Beer has been banished from the stage. So have cigarettes. Players walk to their places through cheering throngs of fans as a handpicked song booms over the loudspeakers and the auditorium becomes bathed in cool, blue light.

At the World Championship, being held this month at the Alexandra Palace in north London, it can be difficult at times to reconcile the crowd’s costumed revelry with the intensity of the players slinging needles at tiny sections of dartboard. The effect was that of a 3,000-member fraternity party taking place in the same convention hall as a complicated tooth extraction.
Two throwers enter, one leaves...

Slab City Living

Welcome to Slab City:
Slab City, riding edges of green fields and brown desert, makes room for people who seek freedom out of necessity and in the wake of power. This opportunity to craft identity—both individually and communally—comes amid the tangible struggles of those who rework a site founded on basic ideas of control, struggles that also served as training for combat and survival. Living at Slab City requires both resistance and adaptation: you are camping in the middle of the desert on a former military camp. You are two hundred miles from LA and one hundred and fifty miles from San Diego, in the margins of a county that has the second highest unemployment rate in the country. You are free to resist but you must adapt.
Adaptation may be futile...

Old World Order

The Establishment had another rough year:
The biggest loser of 2018 was the post-Cold War system that the U.S. and its closest allies hoped would shape global politics. The idea was that liberal democracy, market-based economic systems and the rule of law would spread from the West into the postcommunist East as well as into the Global South. International institutions would increasingly replace the anarchic competition of states by developing rules-based approaches to issues from trade to climate change.

Great powers like Russia and China never liked this approach, seeing it as a thinly disguised form of U.S. hegemony and a threat to their illiberal political systems. The aspiration for a liberal world system has faced growing headwinds for many years; in 2018 it buckled further under stress.
The desire for control versus the demand for change...

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Don't Turn Left

Leftism doesn't sell:
Medicare-for-all and other traditionally left-wing ideas are too politically poisonous to sell in red states, the Indiana senator told CNN in a sit-down interview. Democrats need to do a better job of connecting with voters in middle America, Donnelly added.

“We have not made enough of a connection … that the people of my state understand culturally, we (Democrats) want to make sure you succeed,” he said. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has pushed hard to make climate change and Medicare-for-all a high dollar issue for Democrats.

But Donnelly is warning Democrats to tread lightly. “[W]hen you talk ‘Medicare-for-all’ … you start losing the people in my state,” he noted. “When we start talking about, ‘Hey, we’re going to work together with the insurance companies to lower premiums,’ that’s what connects.”

The ideal candidate to oppose President Donald Trump in 2020 is someone who can focus on issues like manufacturing and health care, said Donnelly, who lost his re-election bid in November to Republican Mike Braun.

Donnelly added: “The talk on the coasts just doesn’t get it done in the middle.”
Talk is cheap-except when it costs voters more...

The Case Of The Thin Skinned Feminist

Do not question her, she said:
It’s not clear how Amy Siskind, founder of the feminist nonprofit The New Agenda, privately reacted to the criticism by political talk show host David Pakman last week. In an email to The College Fix, Siskind did not specify what was incorrect about Pakman’s accusation against her.

Neither Cornell nor Boston College responded to Fix queries seeking clarification on what action, if any, Siskind took against Pakman.

Both identify as political progressives, and their dispute has split fellow progressives. A civil liberties group offered to defend either of them if their academic employers took action against them for their stated views.
Who gets fired first?

Going Up The Country

Where will the old hippies be this summer?
The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a concert venue built on the original Woodstock site, announced Thursday that it will host the golden anniversary event Aug. 16-18.

The center says performers will include “prominent and emerging artists spanning multiple genres and decades.” The venue says talks by “leading futurists and retro-tech experts” will also be featured.

Beth Woods says the names of performers and speakers will be announced soon.
Will the ones who are still alive please stand up (if you can?)

Saved By The Bid

Sears literally lives another day:
The bid would "offer employment to up to 50,000 associates," the spokesperson for ESL said, cautioning, though, that it would depend on "further actions the company may take between now and closing." It would also reinstate severance protections for "eligible employees."

The bid may help divert liquidation, but may not necessarily. Sears' advisors have until Jan. 4 to decide whether ESL is a "qualified bidder." Only then could ESL take part in an auction against liquidation bids on Jan. 14. They will weigh the value of Lampert's bid against offers to liquidate the company.

The full structure of Lampert's bid could not immediately be determined, but will be made public in coming days. If it is similar to the $4.6 billion proposal he outlined earlier this month, it is likely to face pushback from the company's unsecured creditors. As part of the initial bid, which regulators required Lampert to make public, financing would in part stem from $1.8 billion in debt that Lampert would forgive through a so-called "credit bid."
But is it too little, too late?

Uncle Sam's Guns

Stocking up for the winter?
Included in this arsenal, according to the GAO, were 15 “fully automatic firearms” and 56,000 rounds of ammunition for those fully automatic firearms.

The same report--"Federal Law Enforcement: Purchases and Inventory Controls of Firearms, Ammuntion, and Tactical Equipment"--says that the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services had 194 fully automatic firearms and 386,952 rounds of ammunition for those fully automatic firearms.

“The term ‘fully automatic’ used in this report,” says a footnote in the report, “encompasses a range of firearms classified as machine guns, including submachine guns, three round burst guns, and guns with a selector switch that can enable continuous fire.”
Why don't we hear more about this violent government culture?

The Smell Of The Streets

By their poop you shall know them:
Disgusted business owners and residents are using social media to show the magnitude of the tech-town's indigent encampments in hopes that officials will do more to end rampant public drug use and defecation on the sidewalks.

Restauranteur Adam Mesnick, who resides in San Francisco's South of Market — or SoMa — neighborhood, created the Twitter handle @bettersoma two years ago and uses it to document the squalor in his surroundings.

On Thursday, Mesnick posted the image of a man steadying himself on a street curb — pants on the ground with buttocks fully exposed, relieving himself in broad daylight. According to the photo caption, the perpetrator isn't even homeless.
But in San Francisco, it's easy to pretend...

Warmer Reception

It's not just warmer down South:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently blamed cold weather for the state’s population exodus, but last year frigid New Hampshire with no income tax attracted 3,900 newcomers from other states. Last year’s federal tax reform limited the deductibility of state-and-local taxes and may be driving more affluent households out of high-tax states, though it’s too early to have hard data. Immigration flows into New York City mask the economic debacle of upstate despite Mr. Cuomo’s corporate-welfare programs.

Illinois’s population has declined by 157,000 over the past five years, which is equivalent to the mid-sized city of Rockford. According to research outfit Wirepoints, more than 114,000 residents left the state on net in 2018 and nearly 1.5 million people since 2000. Cold weather? While Illinois’s population has declined by 0.8% since 2010, Indiana’s has grown 3.1% and Wisconsin’s by 2.2%.

These population shifts mean that several states including New York, Illinois and Minnesota are likely to lose House seats after the 2020 reapportionment. States that have been rapidly adding population like Arizona, Florida and Texas are likely to increase their representation. It’d be nice to think this would finally prompt Democratic politicians to rethink their anti-growth policies. But with state political cultures dominated by public unions and welfare spending, they probably require a much deeper crisis to face reality.
Check your state's temperature?

Just XHale

Another day, another racist Trump supporter-oh, wait:
The pro-Trump customer was denied service and asked to leave the store while the vape shop employee accused him of being a “racist motherf*cker.”

A black man was also standing in front of the counter watching it all go down and it was all caught on video.

“If you do not stop recording in my store, I’m going to call the police and ask you to leave,” the triggered employee said.

The customer refused to be bullied and told the clerk to call the police — this is when things took a wild turn.

“F*ck off dude! F*ck off! Get the f*ck out of here!” the employee screamed as he assaulted the customer.

The employee is heard talking on the phone presumably to his boss where he calls President Trump a “treasonous asshole.”

At this point the lunatic employee walks back over to the Trump-supporting customer, assaults him then calls him the N word.

“Leave the store! Leave the store! Leave the store! F*ck off! Get the f*ck off n*****!” the employee screamed.

At one point the customer threatened to call the cops for assault if the employee didn’t ring up his order.
Derangement syndrome may be bad for your future employment prospects...

Friday, December 28, 2018

Grover Versus Grover

Say what, Grover?
A video circulating around the Internet has social media users divided over whether “Sesame Street” character Grover dropped the f-bomb.

The video first popped up on Reddit which appeared to show the blue puppet telling Rosita, “Yes, that sounds like an excellent idea!”

However, some people hear it differently. Some social media users claim they hear Grover say, “That sounds like a f-----g excellent idea!”

“I hear Grover swearing. I don’t believe Grover actually swore. I’m confused and will need some time with my thoughts as I try to figure this out,” a social media user tweeted.
Things must be getting rough on Sesame Street...

The Surreal Thing

Edward Gorey, surrealist at large:
The hallucinatory logic of surrealism, a 20th-century movement in the arts and philosophy that sought to capture the irrational air of dreams, pervades Gorey’s work. Surrealism “appeals to me,” Gorey said in 1978. “I mean that is my philosophy if I have one, certainly in the literary way … What appeals to me most is an idea by [the surrealist poet Paul] Éluard,” Gorey continued, referencing one of the movement’s founders. “He has a line about there being another world, but it’s in this one. And [the surrealist turned experimental novelist] Raymond Queneau said the world is not what it seems—but it isn’t anything else, either. Those two ideas are the bedrock of my approach.” Far from some purveyor of stock Gothic fare, Gorey embraced enigma and sought to relay, if indirectly, his surrealist philosophy through his art. “Gorey was a surrealist’s surrealist,” Dery aptly notes.
Welcome to the surreal life...

Green Monster

Being green gets ugly:
Doering — who also serves as a fellow for the Royal Canadian Geographic Society and regularly appears on media outlets to discuss climate change, sustainability and related topics — had to be separated from his fiancée by responding officers when they got to the couple’s apartment in Minneapolis, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the newspaper.

The woman, who had bruises on her neck and red marks on her forehead, told police Doering had dragged her through the apartment by her hair before beating her and choking her to the point that she thought she would lose consciousness, the complaint shows.

“Victim believes [Doering] will kill her if he returns to the apartment,” according to the court document.

The woman claimed that the alleged assault was not the first time she had been victimized by Doering. She also provided police with photographs to back up those claims.

Doering, who remains jailed in Hennepin County on $40,000 bond, is set to make his initial court appearance Friday afternoon, county records show.

Doering’s status at the university remained unchanged as of late Thursday, a spokeswoman told the Star Tribune.

“We’re aware of the situation and will be reviewing the matter,” director of public relations Lacey Nygard said.
ESPN is hiring...

Basic Bust

Basic income hasn't been doing so well:
As you might imagine, giving away free money is expensive. Private tests must rely on generous donors and often struggle to raise the cash they need. Y Combinator has had to raise $60 million from individuals, national foundations, and local philanthropic groups. It has said the test won’t start until all the funding is obtained. Government projects, on the other hand, have to get support from tax-paying citizens and politicians. Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister in charge of social services, cited the high cost of the project ($150 million in Canadian dollars) as the reason for the cuts and said it was “clearly not the answer for Ontario families.”
Somebody else always has to pay for "free stuff..."

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Bullets Over Miami

Just a reminder:
The event is held twice a year — typically before the Fourth of July holiday — and picked up steam after an errant bullet came down on a party "years ago" in Miami neighborhood Overtown, according to the station.

According to the event's website, "The aim of the event is to urge the public to refrain from celebrating New Year's Eve with gunfire and, more importantly, to refrain from senseless gun violence resulting in the loss of life of our children."

"We do not need to celebrate by shooting guns in the air," Edmonson said during the event. "Because when a bullet goes up, it must come down."
Nobody wants to have to duck on New year's Eve...

Team T

It's the Taliban spirit squad:
Ditching their typical video recipe of highlighting immense monkey bar-traversing talents, the Taliban Commandos incorporated a bevy of choreographed stunts, dance moves and teamwork to challenge any and all cheer squads who stand in their way.

These guys are in it to win it and are here to p-p-p-pump you up, so bring it on. That goes for you, too, Rancho Carne High School cheer squad.

The routine has everything. Choreographed squad push-ups? Check. The most crisply-executed leap-frogging ever performed? Definitely. Death-defying, flaming hoop dives? You bet. Sword fighting with sticks? Hell yeah.
What's that spell? It doesn't matter, because they can't spell!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Not Their Chairman

If you try remembering chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow:
Qiu Zhanxuan, head of the Peking University Marxist Society, was grabbed and forced into a black car outside the east gate of Peking University by a group of heavy-set men who identified themselves as police, a student told Reuters.

“I saw a black car parked by the gate and seven or eight men in plainclothes lifting him by his arms and legs and forcing him into the car,” the student said, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the situation.

Qiu was on the way to attend a memorial for the 125th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s birthday that he organized and had already been warned by a school adviser about the event on Tuesday, the student said.

“What’s wrong with remembering Chairman Mao? What law does it break? How can they publicly kidnap a Peking University student?” the student added.
Some Communists are more equal than others...

The Big Push

They've got plans:
Come January, proposals like “Medicare for all” and a host of other generous-but-costly welfare programs that were little more than talking points in recent years could have a shot at passing a chamber of Congress.

“There are dozens of measures like this that have been languishing with Republicans at the helm for years, and I expect to see many of them finally come to the floor under Democratic leadership,” Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., told Fox News.

With the GOP’s expanded majority in the Senate, it’s unlikely these measures would make it to President Trump’s desk. But their consideration on the House side would mark a first step in formally considering major government expansions – concerning everything from education to health care – that Democrats increasingly favor. And with “Medicare for all” and similar proposals amounting to litmus tests for modern progressives, roll-call votes on any of these issues would reveal just how broad their support is.
A mile wide and an inch deep?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Crazy K

You don't have to be crazy to create a fake holiday, but it helps:
A psychiatrist who examined Karenga in 1971 concluded he was insane. A sentencing hearing transcript shows that the unidentified psychiatrist believed that the founder of Kwanzaa was “both paranoid and schizophrenic.”

Judge Arthur L. Alarcon ordered Karenga to undergo mental testing to determine whether Karenga had “so deteriorated mentally” that he was a threat to society.

The judge read from the psychiatrist’s report in court in September 1971, according to a FrontPage Magazine report.

“Since his admission here he has been isolated and has been exhibiting bizarre behavior, such as staring at the wall, talking to imaginary persons, claiming that he was attacked by dive-bombers and that his attorney was in the next cell,” the psychiatrist’s report said, in part. “During part of the interview, he would look around as if reacting to hallucination and when the examiner walked away for a moment he began a conversation with a blanket located on his bed.”
And even the blanket told him he was nuts...

The Great Plan

How much would the Democrats' Great Leap Forward cost?
For starters, moving the U.S. to a 100-percent renewable electric grid could cost as much as $5.2 trillion over two decades, according to a 2010 study by the conservative Heritage Foundation. That’s about $218 billion to move the grid away from coal and natural gas.

On top of that, the non-energy-related portions of the Green New Deal could cost trillions more, including universal health care and guaranteed income.

The libertarian Mercatus Center released a study in July that found Sanders’s “Medicare for All” plan would cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years. That same month, hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio estimated the cost to taxpayers of a universal basic income policy would top $3.8 trillion a year — and that’s assuming every American citizen got just $12,000 a year.

For comparison, the Great Society policies pursued by the Johnson administration during the 1960s cost $22 trillion, according to estimates from the Heritage Foundation. Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” of the 1930s during the Great Depression cost $500 billion in today’s dollars, The Nation reported in 2008.
Go big, go broke...

Better Lit Than Never

The tree is safe:
The reopening of the tree comes just a few days after the tree was closed on Friday due to a man climbing 15 to 20 feet up the tree, damaging it in the process. Due to the government shutdown, funds to repair the tree were not allocated, and many worried that the lighting of the tree would not be possible. Fortunately, a grant from the National Park Foundation has meant that the tree will be lit as it is every Christmas.
It's still the most funded time of the year...

On The Job

Don't worry; they still know where Santa is:
NORAD's Santa tracker will be fully staffed with more than 1,500 military personnel and volunteers who are running the program from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. The program is funded through the Department of Defense's budget that was approved earlier this year, the Associated Press reported. The agency will be tracking Santa Claus and answering calls from children, just as it has for 63 years.
Some things are just too important...

Blogging In The Years: 1956

It's Christmas, E.E. Cummings style:
Image result for E.E. Cummings Christmas 1956

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Democratic Model

It was the russians-oh, wait:
According to the Washington Post, Facebook “suspended the account of Jonathon Morgan, the chief executive of a top social media research firm, after reports that he and others engaged in an operation to spread disinformation during the special election in Alabama last year.”

In a statement, Facebook confirmed its suspension of “five accounts run by multiple individuals for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” one of which was reportedly Morgan, and claimed to have an “ongoing” investigation.

“We take a strong stand against people or organizations that create networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are or what they’re doing,” proclaimed Facebook. “We’ve removed thousands of Pages, Groups and accounts for this kind of behavior, as well as accounts that were violating our policies on spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior during the Alabama special election last year.”

Last week, the New York Times revealed that Democrat activists, funded by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, imitated “Russian tactics” to push the 2017 Alabama Senate election in favor of the Democratic Party.
Who wanted to influence whom?

Season's Grievances

'Tis the season for waste:
As the political establishment becomes budget hawks on funding a border wall, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) annual “Festivus Report” reveals that about $115 million in American taxpayer money funded a slew of government projects, including $200,000 to put on plays in Afghanistan.

American taxpayers this year have also been forced to subsidize:

$76 million to provide stipends to Somali National Army
$18 million to promote tourism in Egypt
$2.4 million to study daydreaming
$1 million to support “legislative priorities” in Libya
$875,000 to study the sexual habits of quails on cocaine
$635,000 to develop a Pashto-language TV drama series for Afghanistan
$400,000 to support asset seizure programs in Paraguay
$360,000 to study horse and donkey hunting on the ancient Anatolian Peninsula
$250,000 to teach Rwandan special interest groups how to lobby elected officials
$75,000 to make videos marketing U.S. colleges to Indian students
$75,000 to blow leaf blowers at lizards
$35,000 to encourage people in the Republic of the Congo to use local resources
$15,000 to fund a fictionalized opera about Prince Harry, called “Stone Prince”
$50,000 to create conceptualized games in India
$50,000 to teach female entrepreneurs in India how to “vlog”
$50,000 to fund museum trips in Bosnia & Herzegovina
These are your birds on drugs...

Classical Trash

The eternal garbage dump?
The laurels upon which the city has rested for so long are wilting. Rome now overwhelms the senses, not just with unrestrained beauty, but with overflowing dumpsters, like rancid coral reefs sprouting pink and blue and yellow garbage bags on seemingly every city street. Seagulls, protecting their trashy turf, caw in the air, and public buses — which often break down, sometimes explode, but rarely arrive on time — screech on the ground. Potholes rupture spinal discs. Dimly lighted streets force drivers to develop night vision. Uncurbed dogs render sidewalks treacherous. My son calls Rome “poop city.”
The decline and fall of the trash empire...

The Beto Battle

Bernie Sanders is no longer the cool one:
His challenge now is that he’s no longer the master of this decentralized progressive universe. The Des Moines Register poll revealed as much. Sanders boasted 96 percent name recognition among Iowa Democrats, but he was the top choice of just 19 percent of them. Sanders also has the third-highest unfavorable ratings of any Democrat, behind Clinton and Michael Bloomberg (who, yes, might hilariously run for president as a Democrat). In other words: Democrats like Sanders. But when presented with other candidates, they’re happy to look elsewhere.

The howls about O’Rourke from the Chapo wing of the Internet say as much about Sanders’s diminished stature among Democrats as they do about the golden boy from Texas. Sanders remains a powerful figure who has a better shot at the nomination than most. But he can no longer count on the power of one of his strongest assets in 2016, which was simply that he was the lone alternative to Clinton when the country was in a populist mood. None of the Democrats who might run in 2020, including O’Rourke, are Clinton. And just because some of those candidates might end up with staffers and donors who supported Clinton, well, that doesn’t make any of them Clinton either.
Now, nobody wants to be Bernie...

The Method To His Message?

Somebody seems to have missed their memo:
Whatever Mnuchin was trying to do, he did not succeed in it, instead stoking market fears and sowing confusion. Perhaps the clearest takeaway is that Mnuchin and Trump’s Treasury lacks the expertise to communicate clearly and forcefully with the markets—no surprise, given how few experienced financial operatives Trump has hired and how many experienced non-political civil servants have fled Treasury during this administration.
Who wants to own the correction? Anyone?

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Shutdown Lite

Suppose they gave a shutdown and nobody noticed?
“We’re trying to make the shutdown as painless as possible,” the official said. Echoing a message from President Donald Trump, the official said the administration is trying to work with Senate Democrats to get border security funded in a bill to fund the government.

The partial government shutdown that began after midnight Friday only affects a portion of government activities, as the majority remains funded. All food safety under the USDA continues under the shutdown and preparations for the 2020 census continue, as well as national weather service activities. Border security activities continue under the shutdown including detention activities and work on any border barriers.

The Transportations Security Administration (TSA) is exempt from the shutdown, likely an item high in the minds of any Christmas season travelers. The U.S. Post Office will continue to deliver mail. Wildfires will still be fought and public housing authorities will still make payments, including activities under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Parks and monuments are to remain open during the partial government shutdown, but some day-to-day activities may be affected, according to the senior administration official.

Federal law enforcement and the Department of Justice will continue, and passport operations will continue through the shutdown. The Smithsonian will remain open at least through the end of the month as they currently have the funds to do so, the official specified.
If you wanted a smaller government, here it is...

Big Kids On Campus

Meet the new student activists:
Student activists from all 50 states, and some from Canada and Australia, listened Wednesday night to speakers including Dennis Prager, Dave Rubin, and Candace Owens.

Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA, shared a video to his Twitter Wednesday evening to share his excitement for the event.

In his tweet, Kirk questioned why the media is ignoring the conference and asked Twitter users to share the tweet with others so the media “can’t ignore” the event.

Kirk also claimed in his tweet that this year’s Student Action Summit, held in the southern portion of Florida, was the “largest EVER gathering of young conservatives.”
The times they are a changing...

Follow The Money Trail

Fake reporter, real crime:
Relotius' troubles began when an Arizona woman, Jan Foley, emailed him in December to ask where he got information for his story about a vigilante group conducting patrols along the Mexico border. Foley, who handled media requests for the group, said Relotius never spoke with any of its members.

The latest part of the scandal involves readers that contacted Der Spiegel to report that Relotius allegedly solicited donations for orphans in Turkey, the BBC reported. According to the readers, they were asked to send money to his personal account.

Relotius, 33, has not publicly responded to the embezzlement allegations, the report stated. It is not yet clear how much money was collected and where it was sent. Der Spiegel is currently gathering more evidence for prosecutors.
He tried to take the money and run...

Michael Moore's Christmas Carol

Because, Christmas?
Instead of choosing a Christmas symbol, Moore has selected none other than Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — well, a doll of the Supreme Court justice — to adorn the top of his tree.

Moore posted pictures of his tree topper to Twitter with the message: "My Christmas Tree Topper this year. Better than an angel or the star over Bethlehem. A nation of millions stand with you."

....

It's no secret that Moore is a diehard liberal whose popular films advance progressive causes. However, many found his decoration creepy.

"Remarkably sad," one person said.
"Even on your tree, she leans to the left," another person said.
"Well that's disturbing," one person responded.
"I look forward to seeing her replacement up there next year," another person added.
"U truly need help!" one person exclaimed.
"Creepy obsession," another person said.
You'd better watch out...

Saturday, December 22, 2018

All That Glitters

The strange history of glitter:
Glitter as a touchable product — or more correctly, an assemblage of touchable products (“glitter” is a mass noun; specifically, it is a granular aggregate, like “rice”) — is an invention so recent it’s barely defined. The Oxford English Dictionary principally concerns itself with explaining glitter as an intangible type of sparkly light. Until the invention in the 20th century of the modern craft substance, one could either observe something’s glitter (the glitter of glass), or hold something that glittered (like, say, ground up glass). Tinsel, which has existed for centuries, does not become glitter when cut into small pieces. It becomes “bits of tinsel.” The tiny, shiny, decorative particles of glitter we are familiar with today are popularly believed to have originated on a farm in New Jersey in the 1930s, when a German immigrant invented a machine to cut scrap material into extremely small pieces. (Curiously, he did not begin filing patents for machines that cut foil into what he called “slivers” until 1961.) The specific events that led to the initial dispersal of glitter are nebulous; in true glitter fashion, all of a sudden, it was simply everywhere.
The ultimate shiny distraction...

Mountain Hoops

How basketball came to Tibet:
In Zorge Ritoma, villagers played a rough, unusual variation of basketball using a wooden hoop, Jampa Dhundup, a point guard and leader for Norlha’s team, told me. According to the rules, the ball couldn’t touch players below the waist. And “whichever team fought the best won—no one thought about skill.”

In the late 1990s, television started trickling into remote areas. At the same time, basketball was becoming a favorite pastime of Tibetan monks. Johnson mentioned to me an old tradition of “big, strong monks who were athletes”—an apparent reference to the dobdobs, the physically aggressive monks who carried weapons, engaged in sporting competitions, and served as monastic police and bodyguards for important lamas and other travelers.

Alex McKay, a Tibetologist and sports historian of the Himalayan region, suggested to me that the macho image of the American basketball star likely appeals to eastern Tibetans because they have roots in a warrior culture. As one Tibetan player from Amdo told Chinese media during a tournament in March: “We don’t have professional coaches back home. All of us learned to play by watching NBA and CBA games on TV, by following the players’ movements. No one gave us any direction.”
And no egomaniacs in shorts, either...

Evolution Devolution

The offensiveness, it hurts:
Many students and alumni have condemned Kanazawa, writing comments on the petition such as “People like him reinforce the violence of science,” “This makes me feel so unsafe,” and “His presence is a threat to all students on campus.

Provost Jonathan Holloway condemned Dr. Kanazawa in a statement to the student body.

“I find that his scholarship presents ideas that are antithetical to values that Northwestern University holds dear,” wrote Holloway. However, Dr. Kanazawa has been publishing in peer-reviewed journals since 1992, and, as such, many academics in the field of evolutionary psychology are familiar with him. PJ Media reached out to three and asked what they made of the petition.

“Some of his research is sloppy, and he tends to pursue controversial topics in fairly inflammatory ways,” said one evolutionary psychologist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“However, this petition to get him banned from doing research at Northwestern is purely politically motivated; if he was a Leftist scholar making equally inflammatory statements, he would provoke very little backlash,” he added.

Dr. Kanazawa admits his work is controversial. He has one more year at Northwestern before he returns to the London School of Economics to teach psychology.

“If the truth offends people, it is our job as scientists to offend them.”
The truth hurts their feelings...

Land Of Leaving

Who killed Illinois?
The writing is on the wall with the election of Pritzker. Rather than cut anything from the state budget, Democratic politicians will tax the "rich," including imposing new business taxes. It's a formula that will please their cronies in labor and activist groups, but few others.

Pritzker-Madigan have been vague about how they are going to defuse the massive pension bomb set to detonate during the next economic downturn. The shortfall in annual funding for those pensions has become so bad that the state is on the hook to pensioners for about $120 billion -- money that must be paid, by law, even if taxpayers have to pay it. The entire state budget in 2017 was $38.5 billion.

The exodus from Illinois is past the tipping point. The smartest, most industrious, most ambitious, and hardest-working citizens are leaving, meaning that the remaining taxpayers will have to pony up to support those who live off government.
Both elected and otherwise...

Friday, December 21, 2018

Northern Police Lights

Crime goes North:
The heist was the first ever bank robbery in living memory on Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago about halfway between Scandinavia and the North Pole.

'There was an armed robbery at around 10.40am,' Terje Carlsen, a spokesman for the local governor in Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard said.

'A man with a gun seized a sum of money. He was arrested quite quickly' in the town centre he added.

Police said the suspect was a foreigner travelling in the region, but declined to give more details about his identity, the amount stolen or the weapon used in the robbery.

He has since been transferred to the town of Tromso on the Norwegian mainland where he will be questioned.

The odds of the heist succeeding were always low on the archipelago, famous for glaciers and its polar bears who outnumber residents.
Somebody's definitely getting a lump of coal in their cell this Christmas...

Faking All The Way

How did it happen?
Relotius was a most brilliant counterfeiter: His pieces are full of minute detail so specific, so precise, as to appear necessarily authentic. And why doubt a celebrated reporter who describes a small-town street corner as if it were etched into his photographic memory?

“He could not have made it up,” his fact-checker may have surmised. “It is so perfect, you feel as if you are standing there yourself.” Too bad Google Earth can do that for you from 5,000 miles away as the all-seeing camera captures the flowerpot on the stoop.

Like Jayson Blair, Relotius was a wunderkind of journalism. He won Germany's Reporterpreis, a coveted annual award, four times. Why would you insult this giant by pestering him with picayune questions? Only small-minded tax officials running through an audit would probe and poke.

Fact-checkers are humans, too, and so they will not insult the dignity and authority of the greats by doubting their words.
Who checks the fact-checkers?

Season's Beatings

And people say our politics is toxic:

The Liars' Club

Voters don't mind the liars they like:
In a study published Tuesday and conducted with a sample of 370 Australians, researchers found that the veracity of a political candidate's claims does matter to voters -- sometimes. When Australian subjects were shown an array of politicians' false statements corrected by fact-checking, they reduced their belief of those assertions. When they were shown fact-checked true statements, whether attributed to a politician on the right or one on the left, their belief in the assertions increased as well.

This fact-checking changed subjects' views about which politicians they supported, but only slightly -- only when false statements outnumbered true statements by a ratio of 4-to-1. When false statements and true statements were attributed to a candidate in equal numbers -- four falsehoods in balance with four true statements -- Australian subjects didn't change their opinions at all.

Study co-author Adam J. Berinksy, a political scientist at MIT, said he considered those results a bit less depressing than what he found when he tried the same experiment on American subjects. When the authors presented fact-checked assertions from Trump and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to Americans, "the magnitude of the overall effect was minute," even when false statements outweighed true ones by the same 4-to-1 margin.
Who lies best, wins?

No Green Deal

To go green, they want your green:
A carbon tax is both bad policy and bad politics. As a simultaneous tax and spending hike, carbon taxes raise the cost of living and hit lower-income workers and small businesses hard. They give the government more control over private decisions.

It’s no wonder all but six House Republicans voted for a resolution noting a carbon tax is detrimental to the U.S. economy. Only seven Democrats supported the resolution.

There is a clear contrast between the two parties, and voters favor the Republican position.

The sprawling carbon-tax-industrial-complex of left-wing “green” groups, complete with highly compensated marquee lobbyists with an “R” after their name (Trent Lott) will, therefore, come knocking on certain gullible Republican doors in January.

The groups will promise things: glowing press coverage, support in the next campaign, happy constituents waving carbon tax “dividend” checks, adulation from the establishment as a deep thinker, invitations to Aspen.

Outside D.C.’s walled garden, the two-in-one combined potency of an energy issue with a tax issue has produced a consistent rejection of carbon taxes by voters, even in blue states.

Voters oppose carbon taxes and the politicians who push them year after year.
So why do Democrats keep going for the Green?

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Fake Russian Dressing

From fake Russians with love:
The secret project, which had a budget of just $100,000 and was carried out on Facebook and Twitter, was revealed after the New York Times obtained an internal report detailing the efforts.

“We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” the internal report said. It also took credit for “radicalizing Democrats with a Russian bot scandal” after experimenting “with many of the tactics now understood to have influenced the 2016 elections.”

Jones said Thursday he is "outraged" over the report and wants a federal investigation over the project.

"I'd like to see the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department look at this to see if there were any laws being violated and, if there were, prosecute those responsible," he said. "These authorities need to use this example right now to start setting the course for the future to let people know that this is not acceptable in the United States of America."
Who needs Russians, when you have Democrats?

No Bragging Rights

You don't have to be an idiot to reveal your master plan, but it helps:
On the tape Al Haggagi, who was arrested in 2016 for identity theft, admits to using a stolen credit card to purchase some material needed for his planned attack.

He admitted to wanting to start a fire with gasoline around the Berkeley area, near the University of California-Berkeley campus.

“I was thinking about just burning the hills,” Al Haggagi said. “Because there’s a lot of trees and a lot of homes.”

he subject of an FBI investigation since 2016, Al Haggagi appeared in federal court Monday and pleaded guilty to plotting terrorist attacks.

He faces up to 47 years in prison.
Stupidity is no defense...

She Is Not Amused

Oh, my:

You Otter Know

Don't hurt the otter's feelings:
Despite the fact that few users complained and the tweet received a larger number of retweets and likes, the aquarium quickly followed up with an apology, claiming to be “deeply sorry” if anyone felt “alienated” by the “problematic and insensitive” jokes.

“Hey everyone. It has come to our attention that some of the references in this tweet are problematic and insensitive,” Monterey Bay Aquarium declared. “If our tweet alienated you, please know that we are deeply sorry, and that we offer our sincerest apologies. If you follow our feed, we often reference popular memes to talk about the ocean. In this case, the memes used had connotations we were unaware of until now.”
It's a thick topic...

Pale Fire

The political correctness, it burns:
“Picture a typical firefighter,” Bendensky poses. “Who comes to mind? If you imagined a white man, that’s understandable: 96% of U.S. career firefighters are men, and 82% are white. This homogeneity is striking, especially when you compare it to the U.S. military, which is 85% men and 60% white, and local police forces, which are 88% men and 73% white.”

Bendensky goes on to make the bizarre argument the firefighters place an inappropriate emphasis on physical strength. This emphasis is in place, according to Bendensky, to uphold “white men’s dominance in the fire service.”
....

Despite Bendensky’s criticisms, firehouses around the country have lowered the eligibility requirements in recent years in order to increase diversity. One specific policy change will allow individuals who have not earned 60 college credits to apply for a position at local firehouses near Chicago.
the good news is that fire is an equal opportunity burner...

The Walls Within

No wall, no government:
Trump, who seeks $5 billion to build his proposed border wall, will refuse to sign the measure without his desired border security measures, House Speaker Paul Ryan said after a meeting with Trump on Thursday. Trump's decision throws more chaos into the late scramble to keep the government running through Christmas and the New Year.

"We just had a very long, productive meeting with the president," Ryan told reporters after House Republicans met with the president for more than an hour. "The president informed us that he will not sign the bill that came up from the Senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns for border security."

At a bill signing Thursday afternoon, Trump laid out in more detail why he would not back the legislation. He said "any measure that funds the government must include border security." He pushed for a wall — "also called, so that I can give them a little bit of an out, steel slats."

"Hopefully, that will all come together," he said.
Or it could all fall apart...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Counting Their Chickens

Chick-Fil-A is filling its coffers:
Kalinowski Equity Research told Marketwatch that Chick-fil-A’s popularity is growing faster than expected, as the chain was not expected to grow this quickly until 2020.

“We have long pointed out that Chick-fil-A is the restaurant competition with which McDonald’s U.S. should most concern itself – and by extension, investors should too,” according to a statement from Kalinowski Equity Research. “But this goes beyond McDonald’s.”

The chain’s projected sales for 2018 are expected to top $10 billion, even though the chicken sandwich joint is only open six days a week to keep company founder Truett Cathy’s wish to close the stores on Sundays to observe it as a holy day.

McDonalds took the stop spot for America’s largest fast-food chain in 2017, reporting $37.6 billion in sales. Starbucks took second place, reporting sales of $17.65 billion.

Although the chain has been rejected on some college campuses for its traditional Christian values, it is expected to expand in states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Ohio to compete with larger fast food chains.
Conservatism is good for business?

California Dummyin'

Big, Blue, and Dumb?
9.7 percent of California residents 25 and older, the Census Bureau says, never completed ninth grade. Only 82.5 percent graduated from high school.

8.7 percent of Texas residents 25 and older never completed ninth grade, and only 82.8 percent graduated from high school.

California and Texas—while having the highest percentages of residents 25 and older who never finished ninth grade and the lowest percentages who graduated from high school—are the nation’s two most populous states.

In fact, the 2,510,370 California residents 25 and older who, according to the Census Bureau, never finished ninth grade outnumber the entire populations of 15 other states.
It might go a long way towards explaining California's politics...

Claas Dismissed

Der fake news:
Spiegel published a lengthy report on its website after conducting an initial internal probe of the work of Claas Relotius, a 33-year-old staff writer known for vivid investigative stories. The magazine said Relotius resigned Monday after admitting some of his articles included made-up material from interviews that never happened.

The Hamburg-based magazine said Relotius contributed almost to 60 articles published in print or online since 2011, first as a freelance writer before being hired full-time last year. The reporter previously worked for other German and Swiss publications and won numerous awards, including CNN Journalist of the Year in 2014.
Well, he would fit in with them...

Not With A Bang, But A Withdrawal

The US is getting out of Dodge:
The withdrawal plan drew concerns from the White House and Capitol Hill to the State Department and throughout the U.S. military, three U.S. officials said. The decision will have widespread consequences for American policy in the Middle East, where the Trump administration has been working to defeat Islamic State, contain Iran and expansionist ambitions and counter Russia’s influence in Syria, where Moscow has a vital Navy base.

The U.S. has long stated that it would remain in Syria until Islamic State was defeated and local forces could prevent a new rise of extremist forces, and to press Iran to withdraw all of its military forces from the country.

While those objectives have not been met, Mr. Trump declared an end to the fight against Islamic State, or ISIS, in a Tweet on Wednesday.

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” he wrote on Twitter after the Wall Street Journal reported on the plans.
Victory in our time?

Ryan's Lost Hope

It appears his work is done:
with Ryan preparing to retire from Congress, the annual federal budget deficit is again approaching $1 trillion. Over his two decades in Congress, the total national debt increased from less than $6 trillion to nearly $22 trillion. Yet the years of his speakership saw no new foreign conflict or recession that forced the government to live beyond its means. The problem was a Republican-led Congress that pushed a small-government agenda only in part. When President Trump took office, he embraced tax cuts but rejected structural spending overhauls. But even he complained about the spending bill Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought him last year, which met Democrats’ demands for more domestic spending to keep up with the $716 billion Republicans pledged for defense in 2019 without imposing discipline in other areas to compensate.
Who's going to pay for Ryan's bill?

Chepe Shots

Meet Antifa's "community organizer":
Alcoff left nearly no connections between his real identity and Jose Martin and Chepe, but a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation of public records, social media posts, media reports, books, protest videos and podcasts dating back to 2004 found that all three identities are actually one person, posting online from the Twitter handle @Sabokitty.

He has used his Jose Martin identity to make public appearances to promote socialism, once calling for a society without police. But his communist Chepe alias makes his Jose Martin identity seem moderate, using it to advocate for violence to achieve his goal of eliminating capitalism and the U.S. government.
....

Alcoff, who’s been involved in radical movements for decades, seeks to create “a world that is without capitalism, without private property … that is socialist and communist,” he’s said as Chepe.

He’s been an organizer for left-wing movements such as Occupy Wall Street; has close ties to left-wing legal groups such as the National Lawyers Guild; has conducted legal trainings for protesters as a member of Cop Watch; and has frequently appeared on mainstream and far-left media to discuss his radical vision for society.
Every extremist needs an audience...

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Lazy Days

There are literally no words:
“These are dividing words, misunderstanding concepts, rather than language which joins and deepens mutuality and self-relationship,” Brenner asserts, and their use constitutes “an act of linguistic violence.”

The word “lazy,” for instance, “suggests there’s something fundamentally wrong with you if you can’t work hard,” Brenner writes, while “the answer may simply be to give yourself smaller goals.”

Other labels that should be removed from our vocabulary are “bored,” “hypocrite,” and “spoiled,” Brenner suggests. Being spoiled “is actually the result of a complex relationship process, whether that dynamic plays out internally in self-labeling, or externally with close others,” Brenner said.

Another off-limits word is “stupid,” which often comes from a feeling of vulnerability when being observed and a lack of self-forgiveness when making a mistake, he said.

The sixth bad word — “selfish” — often has roots in childhood, said Brenner, and can stem from parents calling us selfish when our needs were inconvenient or difficult.

“When we do this with ourselves, labeling ourselves as selfish when we have legitimate needs, we do violence against ourselves and undermine both healthy self-care behaviors as well as reinforcing a sense of being a bad person,” he said.
No more bad words for anybody...

For Women Only

No men allowed:
The event, called Statement, was held in Gothenburg in August this year having been billed as 'the world's first major music festival for women, non-binary and transgender only'.

But describing the festival as 'male-free' was a violation of anti-discrimination legislation, Sweden's Discrimination Ombudsman (DO) has ruled.

Men were not prevented from buying a ticket or entering the festival grounds but male members of artists' entourages and the likes of technicians and managers were reportedly restricted to a so-called 'man-pen' in a backstage area.

DO press officer Clas Lundstedt said in a statement: 'It is important to point out what an infringement is. These are the statements made before the festival, what they wrote on their website.

'Still, we haven't been able to prove that someone would have been discriminated against in connection with the implementation or that someone would have been rejected.'

Lundstedt said nobody suffered damage as a result of Statement saying men were not welcome and there will be no penalty for organisers.
Men are the wrong gender for that sort of thing...

The Junk Report

The Russians that weren't there:
The Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project had attacked several conservative outlets as “junk news” in previous studies. Those targeted outlets include Drudge Report, NewsBusters, CNSNews, MRCTV, Breitbart, the Daily Caller, Free Beacon, LifeNews, National Review, the Federalist, and the Red State. (Three of those are operated by the Media Research Center, which runs NewsBusters.)

The study on “junk news” drew on “a list of sources that consistently publish political news and information that is extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news, and other forms of junk news.”

That study was also produced by Oxford and Graphika. Two of the people behind that study, “Junk News Consumption,” were involved in this latest study, “The IRA, Social Media and Political Polarization in the United States 2012-2018.” Philip N. Howard and John Kelly worked on both projects. On Twitter, Howard has posted that he is against the Second Amendment, and repeatedly pushed that Trump supporters and the Trump campaign work primarily through “fake news.”
Junk studies for fake news?

The Wall That Won't Be There

No wall after all?
Trump’s push for the money has threatened a partial government shutdown when funding for seven agencies lapses after midnight Friday. Last week, the president said he would be “proud” to close parts of the government over border security.

“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion that we’ll work with Congress,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News on Tuesday morning. She added that the Trump administration could support $1.6 billion in border security funding proposed by Senate Democrats, as long as it can “couple that with other funding resources” to get to $5 billion.
....

Sanders’ comments mark a de-escalation in the White House’s rhetoric on the proposed barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump has repeatedly threatened to force a shutdown if he cannot secure money for the wall. As a candidate, he promised to force Mexico to fund the barrier.

Still, Trump himself has not weighed in Tuesday on how much money he would accept. As always, a comment or tweet from the president could trample on the message administration officials try to send. On Tuesday afternoon, he told reporters it is “too early to say” if parts of the government will shut down.

Later Tuesday, Sanders put the burden on Congress to find a solution, even though GOP lawmakers have said they do not know what Trump would accept. The White House wants to “see what the Senate can pass” and then the administration will “make a determination” on whether to sign it, she said. She added that Trump has directed agencies to see if they have money to put toward border security, though Schumer flatly said Tuesday afternoon that such an effort would not get congressional approval.
If you don't build it, they won't fund...

Monday, December 17, 2018

Chronic Time

You can't have your pot and smoke it, too:
Rose claims his religion includes pot smoking. Because he is a “Rastafarian,” Rose says being prevented from smoking marijuana violates his Constitutional rights of freedom of religion.

He also accuses the state of forcing him to cut his hair, even holding him down to do so.

“I grew dreadlocks as a part of my Rastafarian religion and asked to be accommodated with marijuana as part of my religion and practice,” the lawsuit states.

“The injuries I’ve sustained related to the events were migraine headaches, psychological trauma, mental anguish (depression), panic attacks, and nightmares,” Rose states in the lawsuit.

The litigious inmate is demanding $100,000 in punitive damages not to mention to be allowed to smoke pot and grow out his dreadlocks.
It's for the faith, mon...

No Cheese For You?

Is the trade war hurting American cheese?
The current stockpile of unsold U.S. manufactured cheese amounts to roughly 1.4 billion pounds worth of the product, the largest in U.S. history.

This is due in part to retaliatory tariffs that China and Mexico have put on U.S. dairy import in response to protectionist tariffs put into place this year by the United States. By September, cheese exports to Mexico had dropped by 10 percent for the year, while cheese exports to China had dropped by 63 percent.

In addition to tariffs, U.S. cheese is also becoming harder to sell domestically. Americans have been getting more adventurous with their cheese eating, choosing to purchase foreign cheeses instead of U.S. products like cheddar or American cheese. American manufacturers also increased production just before the tariffs went into effect, exacerbating the problem.
What do you do, when you have too much cheese?

Life After Obamacare

What now?
For the immediate and near-term future, all this means that nothing much is changing for Obamacare. O’Connor did not issue an injunction against any part of the law, likely expecting an appeal and stay from the Democratic state attorneys general defending the ACA. Really, as the lawsuit barrels toward the higher courts and as partisan battle lines are drawn around it, the resolution to this drama could be far off, meaning most of the uncertainty is in the future.
If you like your Obamacare plan, you can sort of keep your Obamacare plan...

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Zen Wars

Whose meditation is better?
Both startups are venture-backed, founded by charismatic British guys who moved to California. Both practice what they preach, offering officewide daily meditation sessions. And both apps have been downloaded more than 38 million times, with each hitting 1 million paid subscribers in June, the companies say.

“Headspace launched two years before us, and now we’re neck and neck,” says Dun Wang, Calm’s chief product and growth officer.

Founded in 2010, Headspace had dominated the meditation category until this year, when Calm caught up.

Calm got a boost from winning the 2017 iPhone App of the Year award from Apple ’s App Store last December.

“Since winning App of the Year, we seem to have a much higher growth rate than they do, and we’ll surpass them from now on,” Calm’s Ms. Wang says.

Calm has topped the category in both downloads and mobile revenue since last December, with revenue through October at $50.7 million, according to estimates from mobile-data firm Sensor Tower. Headspace, now in second place, saw revenue of $34.3 million, according to Sensor Tower. Both offer standard subscription rates of $13 a month. Annual subscriptions cost $96 a year at Headspace and $70 a year at Calm.
Everybody just stay Calm...

Rap, Nyet

Vladimir Putin discovers rap music:
"If it is impossible to stop," he said at a St. Petersburg meeting with cultural advisers Saturday, "then we must lead it and direct it."

But Putin said that attempts to ban artists from performing will have an adverse effect and bolster their popularity.

Putin noted that "rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest." But he is particularly concerned with drug themes prevalent in rap, saying "this is a path to the degradation of the nation."

He said "drug propaganda" is worse than cursing.

Putin's comments follow a spate of concert cancellations by venue owners and local authorities across Russia and the brief arrest of a popular rap artist, Husky.
In Russia, rap listens to you...

Searching Through Filters

Is Google still being evil?
The CEO of LiftTable media, Western Journal’s parent company, showed Breitbart News an email exchange with Google’s technical support team. After initially saying that the problem had been caused by a technical issue, a Google representative told the CEO that they were “investigating the issue.”

However, Google’s representative then went dark. After eight days and numerous requests for updates from the Western Journal, they have not responded.

The conservative site, which frequently documents anti-conservative bias from tech companies, remains delisted from Google News.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently testified before Congress where he was pressed on the topic of anti-conservative bias by numerous representatives including GOP Reps. Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz.
One man's censorship is another's "filter..."

It's Alive After All

The Internet still lives:
Despite assurances from Democratic politicians and progressive advocacy groups like Planned Parenthood and GLAAD that the internet, as we knew it, would be transformed forever without the "protections" of net neutrality, the reality is there that no negative consequences have surfaced as a result of the FCC's controversial decision.

In fact, the results have only been positive.

According to PCMag, internet download speed has increased a whopping 35.8 percent over the last year. The news outlet attributed the faster internet speeds to "the expansion of Gigabit internet connections."
The Internet's death appears to have been greatly exaggerated...

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Love And Fake Marriage

It's the game where women can star in their own reality show:
Why are these women so keen to carry on fake relationships with virtual boyfriends? After all, China’s now-abandoned “one-child policy” created a country where men outnumber women by nearly 34 million—which should make finding mates outside a mobile game easy for heterosexual women.

But the policy also granted girls, once seen as less of a priority than their brothers, unprecedented access to parental resources, particularly in urban areas. As these highly educated and financially independent women have come of age, many don’t want to marry as young as their parents did. Over the past five years, China’s marriage rate has dropped by almost 30 percent. In 2012, the average age of marriage for women in Shanghai was over 30 for the first time. And dating—highly discouraged for young people until they reach college—can feel inaccessible or frightening, even for 20-somethings. According to Joy Chen, the Chinese American author of Do Not Marry Before Age 30, which was a runaway hit among young women in China, the appeal of Love and Producer is the “wish fulfillment” it provides—the thrill of dating “without all the risks, potential humiliation, tragedies, and comedies.”

Still, that’s not the only reason the game draws millions of women. Married women confess to playing Love and Producer—describing it as a sort of guilty pleasure, like reading a trashy romance novel or watching reality TV—while their husbands are sleeping or out.
Guilt-free gaming?

Putting It Off

Why do we procrastinate?
According to the DePaul University psychology professor Joseph Ferrari, there are two distinct types of people who have a problem completing household chores in a timely manner: task delayers and chronic procrastinators. The scientific distinction between the two is hazy, but it comes down to pervasiveness. You might feel overwhelmed by your aversion to housework, but on its own, it’s not enough to be indicative of a chronic problem. All people procrastinate sometimes, Ferrari says, but for chronic procrastinators, it happens in all areas of life and has a negative impact on a person’s health and relationships. It’s a “lifestyle of avoidance,” he says.

Ferrari’s research finds that description applies to about 20 percent of people. Simple task delayers are more common, but they usually have a much easier time building better habits than their chronic counterparts, which is good news for people whose primary problem is chore procrastination. We’re not that bad!

Part of the reason task delayers are lulled into their bad habits in the first place might be the time of the day or week when chores often occur. “Doing those tasks takes some self-control, and if you’ve made a lot of choices already that day, it’s harder to exert self-control,” says Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist and Florida State University professor. Baumeister is referring to a somewhat contested theory called “decision fatigue,” which holds that people’s brains get worn out by the necessity of being decisive and exercising restraint, usually at work. If you could sit at your desk and play Candy Crush all day like you might want to, washing some plates when you get home might not seem as onerous.
When in doubt, just play?

Halftime No Show

Who wants to do the Superbowl? Anybody?
Curiously, the Super Bowl halftime show doesn’t pay, which makes it even tricker to book an A-list act. And while the viewing audience is undoubtedly enormous, the criticism over aligning with the NFL promises to ring as loudly. “Nobody wants to be associated with it,” says one insider privy to talks about the halftime show. (That statement also begs the question of who will deliver the National Anthem at the game’s start.)

So what’s a halftime performer to do? “It’s like a movie — if you can’t cast the biggest stars, you need a high-concept,” says public relations veteran Howard Bragman of LaBrea.Media. “If other networks smell a weaker show, they’re gonna be counter-programming, so you have to come out really strong.” But considering the location and the still-lingering outcry by celebrities like Amy Schumer to boycott the Super Bowl, “there’s no question it’s going to be a challenge” for Maroon 5, he adds, though Bragman has some suggestions. “They could put a 500-person choir there or find one made up of local kids,” he offers. “Regardless, it has to be diverse. That’s who the audience is and that’s the world we live in.”
They could always go the Oscars route and not have anyone-it might be more entertaining that way...

Heart Of The Matter

Some people just lose their luggage:
“It’s very clearly labeled that this is a gift. It’s clearly labeled that this is human tissue for transplant so that the handlers are aware to treat this very carefully,” said Deanna Santana with Sierra Donor Services.

Santana said she has not seen anything like this in her seven years at Sierra Donor Services.

“Everybody involved is going to evaluate the process, they’re going to make sure what happened and make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Santana said.

More than an hour into the connecting flight to Dallas, the pilot turned around, leading to a five-hour delay for passengers.

In a statement, Southwest Airlines said, “the shipment was delivered to its destination within the window of allotted time by our cargo customer. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers and the safe delivery of the precious cargo we transport every day.”

Valve tissue has a 48-hour window of viability. Amazingly, the heart made it in time to save the life of its intended recipient.
It's not the sort of thing you usually find at the lost and found...

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Search Nazi

No, Dilbert's creator is not a Nazi:
Adams stated during the live stream: “So you know that Google was recently called in front of Congress to ask about, among other things, their bias in terms of being anti-conservative. You may or may not know that I am not a conservative but I talk about President Trump all the time, and I guess that’s enough, I guess that’s enough!”

Adams continued: “So if you go to Google right now, and you Google my name, do you know what comes up? Well I’ll show it to you, so there’s several pictures here on this little slider,” said Adams holding up his phone and pointing to a row of images that appear when searching his name. “The first three are just ordinary pictures, but the fourth and the fifth are photoshopped pictures of me wearing Nazi uniforms.”

“Now, these are real pictures that people have ‘memed up’ on Twitter and somewhere else, but here’s the thing, if you click through to those pictures they are the least, smallest, most minor mention of me compared to everything I’ve been doing for years. So, I’m asking myself, and I’m gonna ask you as well, do you think given that – so one of these clicks through, one of the pictures of me wearing a photoshopped Nazi uniform, if you click through it goes to a fake Twitter account that’s pretending to be me that has only 15 followers.”
Haters gotta fake it...

Free Speech Safe Space

The Constitution lives:
FIRE Director of Litigation Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon said that Shaw has been fighting for his First Amendment rights ever since they told him he was not permitted to hand out copies of the Constitution in the center of campus. “More than two years ago, administrators wrongly told Kevin he was not allowed to hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution in the center of his public college campus,” she said. “He’s been standing up for his First Amendment rights every day since, and in the process has vindicated the rights of every student in the district.”

This week, the Los Angeles Community College District, which oversees Pierce College, agreed to withdraw the unconstitutional “free speech zone” policy at all of its campuses.

Arthur Willner, a partner at Leader Berkon Colao & Silverstein and co-counsel with FIRE in the case, said that he believes this victory will remind public colleges that they have a duty to uphold the First Amendment. “Hopefully, this settlement will serve as a reminder to both students and their colleges that the free and open exchange of ideas on campus is a precious commodity to be celebrated rather than feared or restricted,” he said.
Free for all, or none...

Going Basic

More money, less problems?
The money is part of the city’s basic income pilot program. Stockton is the first city in the country to launch it.

The letter 1,200 people will be receiving over the next few days does not mean people will automatically receive money but it brings them closer to potentially being selected.

Stockton dad Jose Miranda works hard to save his money, but setting aside a small portion of his paycheck every other week can be a challenge. He says his expenses just keep piling up.

“Kids you know, my kids. I spend money on my kids the most, I think. And rent, in particular. Food and phone,” said Miranda.
This could work for the people that really need it. But what about those that don't, but want it anyway?

Weekly No More

RIP the Weekly Standard:
Employees were told at an all staff meeting, which CNN obtained an audio recording of, that they would be paid through the end of the year, and that afterward they would receive severance which would range in scale depending on factors like seniority. To receive severance, however, employees would need to sign a strict non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreement.
"I know it's an emotional day, but I want to tell you don't get on social media and attack anybody because it will put your severance in jeopardy," McKibben told employees in the meeting.
Employees were also told to clear out their desks by the end of the day. People familiar with the matter said that the email addresses of employees were already in the process of being shut off.
When employees raised questions during Friday's meeting, McKibben told them, "I'm not going to take questions. This isn't a press conference."
The closing of the magazine represents a broader shift in conservative media. Outlets on the right that are critical of Trump have lost influence or changed their tone, while media organizations on the right supportive of the President have flourished.
But that might not be the only reason...

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Unkind Rewind

Is this the most unpopular Youtube video ever?
YouTube’s 2018 Rewind video, which currently has over 10 million dislikes with only 2.1 million likes, further demonstrated this anger.

In comparison, Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” which was regarded as the most-disliked video on the platform for years, has just under 10 million dislikes, with 10 million likes.

The Rewind video also has more dislikes than Jake Paul’s “It’s Everyday Bro,” Call of Duty’s Infinite Warfare reveal trailer, Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito,” and Rebecca Black’s “Friday.”

“I’m almost glad that I’m not in it because it’s such a cringey video at this point,” declared PewDiePie in response to the video. “It’s so disconnected with the community and its creators.”
Don't be cringey, bros...

Prosperity In Abstentia

Better off without him?
Al Amoudi, is "still alive" and will stand trial at some point for corruption and bribery, according to a Saudi official, who asked not to be identified.

What’s remarkable about his situation is that despite his prolonged detainment, a result of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on graft in the Kingdom, the bulk of Al Amoudi’s global business empire has boomed.

Sales at his Sweden-based oil refiner Preem AB have surged more than 30 percent and his Stockholm office properties have risen in value. Since he was seized by security forces in Riyadh last year, his net worth has climbed by about 6 percent to $8.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.
Who needs the boss?

Tough Road Ahead

It's hard out there for a self-driving vehicle:
People have thrown rocks at Waymos. The tire on one was slashed while it was stopped in traffic. The vehicles have been yelled at, chased and one Jeep was responsible for forcing the vans off roads six times.

Many of the people harassing the van drivers appear to hold a grudge against the company, a division of Mountain View, California-based Alphabet Inc., which has tested self-driving technology in the Chandler area since 2016.

“(The suspect) stated that he was the person holding up the gun as the Waymo vehicle passed by and that his intentions were to scare the driver,” said a report from Detective Cameron Jacobs, after police arrested 69-year-old Roy Leonard Haselton on Aug. 8.

The self-driving vans use radar, lidar and cameras to navigate, so they capture footage of all interactions that usually is clear enough to identify people and read license plates.

According to police reports, Waymo test drivers rarely pursue charges and arrests are rare. Haselton was charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, and police confiscated his .22-caliber Harrington and Richardson Sportsman revolver.

“Haselton said that his wife usually keeps the gun locked up in fear that he might shoot somebody,” Jacobs wrote in the report. “Haselton stated that he despises and hates those cars (Waymo) and said how Uber had killed someone.”

Haselton's wife told officers he was diagnosed with dementia, according to a police report.
Careful-these vans know where you live...

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Collector

Where a man keeps his record collection:
The bar itself was inspired by traditional vinyl bars in Japan, and the records are organized by seven genres: rock and hip-hop at the front, soul and funk closer to the middle and electronic, jazz, reggae and “world” (which includes Latin and Afro rhythms) in the back room. “By the DJ area is all miscellaneous pulled from the seven genres,” says Chris. “We switch ’em every few weeks or so.”

Most nights, a guest DJ arrives, picks records from the stacks and places them in the DJ station to have them close at hand. If a record is played too frequently, it goes back to the stacks. “Because we don’t really have a dance floor, I’d prefer that the DJ plays the whole song,” he says. “DJing has gotten to the point with computers and everything, you can really load a bunch of songs in and quick mix, and songs just don’t breathe like they used to … here it’s more of just playing good music, or music you want to share with people.”

Chris also owns Stones Throw, the record label upstairs that he started in the ‘90s to support local producers. Chris started spinning at 14; he says the first album that made him want to become a DJ was Herbie Hancock’s Future Shock. Much of his early soul collection of 45s is housed at the entrance of the bar in a vintage jukebox that he purchased from the Record Parlor in Hollywood.
Where the music leads, there it gets kept...

Acting On The Side

Dinner theater literally lives up to its name:
Food and theater have long been on amicable terms. After all, lunches and dinners are efficient ways for playwrights to throw characters together onstage — a technique Jez Butterworth has recently put to terrific use in “The Ferryman.”

But now we, the audience members, are getting to chow down, and not just on concessions during intermission. These productions try to connect the food with the show’s theme, feeding a hunger for “experiences” that dovetails with an appetite for immersive theater, whose popularity shows no sign of abating.

There is a straight line going from the rambunctious 1988 hit “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” (at which patrons hobnobbed with actors at a mock Italian-American party) to the sexy 2014 circus “Queen of the Night” (acrobatics and a full meal) to the highfalutin “The Dead, 1904” (taking place at the American Irish Historical Society’s Fifth Avenue mansion).

Attempts to link the dramatic and the gastronomic contrast with the tradition of dinner theater, which a lengthy New York Times article from 1973, during that phenomenon’s heyday, defined as “restaurants that feature live theater.”

Now we have theaters that feature live eating. We don’t expect any less in the age of Instagram, when so many people serve the narratives of their lives around photos of their meals.
The food's the thing...

Crying Time

In Japan, crying is good for business:
Terai’s Tokyo-based company, Ikemeso Danshi—which roughly translates to “Handsome Weeping Boys”—provides cry-therapy services for those seeking a catharsis they feel unable to express in daily life. “He is selling the elation and lightness that is felt after a cry, similar to how people will go to the cinema for a tearjerker,” explained Thoms. Japanese companies often hire Terai’s team to make staff cry.


Thoms gained Terai’s trust after a few meetings with the businessman. Eventually, Thoms was able to secure permission to film a crying session. In his short documentary Crying with the Handsome Man, the session leader, known as the “tear courier,” induces tears among a group of Japanese women by showing them an emotional film. When the film is over and the waterworks have subsided, the women say they feel calmer.


“In Japan, people do not usually express their emotions,” says the tear courier in the film. In fact, Japanese are among the least likely of all nationalities to cry, according to a poll conducted by the International Study on Adult Crying. (Of the 37 nationalities polled, Americans were the most likely to shed tears.)
A good cry is good for the soul?

The Deep

The sea has its secret missions:
Robert Ballard, a former US naval intelligence officer and oceanographer, wanted to search for the Titanic in 1982.

Mr. Ballard was reportedly in the process of developing his own remote-control underwater vehicle, but was cash-strapped and needed more funding, according to CBS News in the US.

So he asked the Navy’s Deputy Chief of Operations Ronald Thunman.

“He said, ‘All my life I’ve wanted to go find the Titanic,’” Mr. Thunman said.

“And I was taken aback by that.

“I said, ‘Come on, this is a serious, top secret operation. Find the Titanic? That’s crazy!’”

Mr. Thunman agreed to fund the Titanic expedition on one condition — that Mr. Ballard use the money and the time to also locate two nuclear submarines that went missing in the Atlantic in the 1960s.

“It was very top secret,” Mr. Ballard recalled.
What was lost, gets found...

The Bird

Giving your local authorities a salute?
Pelkey dropped $4,000 and commissioned the giant, wooden middle finger.

“I’m hoping we can get it through to the people in the town of Westford to have a really long look at the people who are running their town,” Pelkey said.

Westford residents are a bit perplexed by the monumental “eff you.”

“It’s very odd,” Deanna Wilcox said. “And certainly not the love that I hope everybody is spreading in the world today that we really need.”

“It’s somebody’s expression and it didn’t hurt anybody as far as I know except for maybe somebody’s feelings,” another resident said.
It's certainly one way of getting your message across...

Taxing The Messenger

Is California getting a text tax?
Who is behind this?
The proposal was filed by California's Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), a group that regulates public utilities operating in the state. In addition to communications services, such as cell phone carriers, the group is also responsible for regulating energy, water and transportation over rail systems, and passenger cars.

Why are they doing this?
The proposal hopes to use the tax to help fund access to telecommunications services for lower-income California residents, making up for lost revenue the state used to receive from a tax on voice calls.

As mobile phone users shifted from making phone calls to using messaging services to communicate, voice call revenue for these state programs has dropped by roughly a third, from $16.5 billion in 2011 to $11.3 billion in 2017, according to filings from the commission.

Who would be taxed?
It's not entirely clear.

Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, a California business advocacy group, said he found the details vague.

"I don’t know how clear the CPUC has been with answering these questions," Wunderman said. "Does the sender pay? Does the receiver pay? What if you move out of state but you keep the California number? What if you drive down to Reno, Nevada and get a phone? Can you avoid the charge then? These are all things that would be really hard to resolve."
A pox on their tax house...

Name Game

What's in a name?
Joshua Trump’s problems started in elementary school, when the 45th president announced his candidacy, but the boy’s parents thought things might be different in middle school.

“He was being ridiculed and bullied for the fact that his last name was Trump,” said Bobby Berto, Joshua’s father. “I pulled him out of school and homeschooled him for a year.”

Joshua’s parents met with school officials and teachers ahead of the school year to warn them about the boy’s past problems.

“New school, new start,” Berto said.

But the parents contend the Brandywine School District has done little to help their son, and the issues have only gotten worse.

“They curse at him, they call him an idiot, they call him stupid,” Megan Trump said.

“I do know the teacher were aware of his last name, and I know in speaking with the student that the teachers do their very best to try not to say his last name,” Tally Middle School Principal Mark Mayer told WPVI.
It could have been worse...