Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Judge Speaks

Clarence Thomas goes after the bigger bigots:
In segments from a forthcoming documentary called "Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words" — which was made available to ABC News — Thomas argues he became the target of politically motivated accusations because of his conservative viewpoints, especially on abortion.

"I felt as though in my life I had been looking at the wrong people as the people who would be problematic toward me. We were told that, 'Oh, it's gonna be the bigot in the pickup truck; it's gonna be the Klansmen; it's gonna be the rural sheriff,'" Thomas says in the film.

"But it turned out that through all of that, ultimately the biggest impediment was the modern day liberal," he said about his confirmation hearings. "They were the ones who would discount all those things because they have one issue or because they have the power to caricature you."
They don't like anybody who escapes the plantation...

Money Drop

Don't mention Harvey, she said:
According to the Washington Examiner, Clinton and Farrow used to be close. She even appointed him as a special adviser in 2011 when she led the State Department under the Obama administration. "Farrow said he had worked with Clinton 'for years' when he was looking into the Weinstein story," the Examiner's Caitlin Yilek noted.

The newspaper also noted that Weinstein was a major donor to groups backing Clinton's 2016 presidential candidacy.

They 'sounded very concerned'

In October, Farrow acknowledged that Clinton's staff raised concerns over his Weinstein reporting and backed the former secretary of state out of an interview with him after learning he would likely ask her about the accusations against the Hollywood mogul.

"Hillary Clinton had scheduled an interview while it was at the height of the Weinstein reporting and her folks got in touch and said, 'We hear you're working on a big story,'" Farrow said, according to The Examiner. "[They] sounded very concerned and tried to cancel that interview."

"She attempted to withdraw from an interview that she had committed to for a foreign policy book that I was working on, for which I interviewed every other living secretary of State," Farrow told Fox News last month. "And, before doing so, her staff raised concerns about the fact that I was working on this story about one of her most significant donors — a big bundler of Hollywood money," he added.
Some friends are more equal than others...

Grass Tax

The weed tax comes to town:
Officials say the program will help the city’s black population stay in Evanston while also providing training for jobs and other benefits.

“We can implement funding to directly invest in black Evanston,” said Ald. Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, who proposed the reparations bill.

While Evanston officials have voted to permit, tax and appropriate money from recreational marijuana sales, many other suburbs have voted not to allow recreational marijuana dispensaries to open when the businesses become legal next year under state law.

Evanston leaders say they see the dispensaries as an opportunity to pay for a local reparations program that would address the lingering institutional effects of slavery and discrimination. The proposal passed 8-1, with Ald. Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, voting against it.

Simmons said the source of the money was especially appropriate, as many black residents were victims of the “war on drugs” and spent time in jail for smoking marijuana, a substance that in specific quantities will now be permitted in Illinois.

The tax on marijuana will “be invested in the community it unfairly policed and damaged,” Simmons said.
Well, it is a good cash cow...

Green Name Game

Time for a name change?
The terms “Global Meltdown” or “Global Melting,” for instance, deliver a more negative image than mere “Global Warming,” he contends. “The names signal that ice caps are melting, but also create a more visceral image in the mind — that real feeling of ‘melting’ when it’s too hot outside. A meltdown is a disastrous event that draws from the ultimate terror of a nuclear meltdown, an apt metaphor for global destruction.”

“Climate Collapse” and “Climate Chaos,” on the other hand, “instill a clear message or even a direct call to action,” Hall notes, adding that “there’s nothing neutral about collapse or chaos.”

To up the rhetoric even more, Hall proposes the weaponized term “Scorched Earth.”

“Sometimes a brand name needs to be hyperbolic to truly capture hearts and minds. If we don’t take massive action now, Earth will be uninhabitable — an irreversible barren wasteland,” he insists. “‘Scorched Earth’ paints the direst picture of what’s to come and what we must avoid and is likely the edgiest brand name from our exploration.”

“Whatever we call it, impending climate doom is upon us if we don’t act quickly,” Hall concludes. “Perhaps a new name will shift the needle, even if just a little.”
Because scare tactics have worked so well in the past...

Friday, November 29, 2019

Last Clean Channel Standing

Hallmark is under attack:
The Hollywood Reporter penned an article called "Hallmark Channel Struggles to Give Diversity a Home For the Holidays." In it, author Lesley Goldberg takes aim at white people liking to other watch white people as if it's some kind of mortal sin. "While other networks are viewing the holidays with an eye toward inclusion, Hallmark is delivering the dream of a white Christmas, just like the one's audiences used to know." I doubt Goldberg would ever complain about the lack of diversity on Black Entertainment Television (which, by the way, I happen to think is a great idea and caters to a specific audience that likes what they do. What a concept!)
Therein lies the true diversity...

Asbestos They Can

What's in a town's name?
The Quebec town, population 7,000, announced on Wednesday that it will change its name because it does not have a "good connotation."

"There is really a negative perception around asbestos," Mayor Hugues Grimard told the CBC. "We have lost businesses that don't want to establish themselves here because of the name."

The town thrived for decades on asbestos mining and product manufacturing and its asbestos mine was once the single-largest source of the product in the world. Asbestos was once the main go-to material for insulating buildings.

The product is now banned in most construction around the world. Inhaling it can cause server lung damage and cancer. Canada banned the substance last year.

The new name will be announced next year, the city said.
Who wants to name this town?

The Left-Wing Defense

You don't have to be crazy to be a left-wing murderer:
The 24-year-old leftist was transferred to the custody of the Department of State Hospitals after pleading no contest to the first-degree murder of a 27-year-old teacher, Emilie Inman, and the attempted murder of her friend, Kiana Schmitt.

Gomez — who had been a Chicanx/Latinx Studies major at UC Berkeley at the time — fatally stabbed Inman at her home on January 6, 2017, and then went on to stab Schmitt after hiding the teacher’s body in the garden, according to the Post Millennial.

The report added that Schmitt — who had driven Gomez to Inman’s home, believing it to be the home of one of his friends — found the man in the yard, drenched in blood, with a knife. That’s when Gomez reportedly stabbed Schmitt, who managed to escape the attack, despite her injuries.

According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Alameda County assistant district attorney Teresa Drenick said that Gomez made the pleas with a stipulation that he would be not guilty by reason of insanity based on the opinions of four doctors at the time of the crimes.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay, however, reportedly said in court that if Gomez is ever restored to competency and deemed fit to stand trial, he will serve the remainder of his sentence in prison.
Where he can see first hand the results of left-wing ideas...

Green Payday

Time to pay the green piper?
In an open letter to the president of the COP 25 talks, Chile’s environment minister Carolina Schmidt, the organisations urged agreement on “the creation of a comprehensive financing facility, including debt relief, for developing countries experiencing such disasters.”

The U.N.-sponsored Madrid conference is set to be dominated by discussions on so-called “loss and damage” funding, with a sharp divide between developing nations and richer polluters over how finance should be structured.

Green groups this week claimed the increased pace and intensity of climate disasters, such as the twin cyclones that devastated parts of Mozambique this year, means that funding needs boosting to keep track.

They said the amount needed for loss and damage would top $300 billion annually by 2030.
Any of the European governments ready to pay up?

Boomer Bust

Getting old is hard, being a meme is harder:
Having peaked nearly two weeks ago, the meaning of OK Boomer may have already been forgotten by its millions of users. Dictionary.com, the meme reliquary, is here to remind us: OK Boomer was a “slang phrase” used “to call out or dismiss out of touch or close-minded opinions associated with the Baby Boomer generation and older people more generally.” The essential document was a split-screen video, seen in various versions on YouTube and TikTok. On one side, a Baby Boomer, bearded, bespectacled, and baseball-capped (natch), lectured the camera on the moral failings of Millennials and members of Generation Z; on the other side, as the Boomer droned on in a fog of self-satisfaction, a non-Boomer (different versions exist) could be seen making a little placard: ok boomer.

In an irony-soaked era, a word is often meant to be taken for its opposite, and so it was with OK Boomer. OK means “not okay”—OK here means (borrowing a meme with a longer shelf life) “STFU.” Many Boomers were thus quick to take offense, since taking offense is now a preapproved response to any set of circumstances at any time. One Boomer even objected to the plain word Boomer, calling it the “N-word of ageism.” Once again, Boomers are getting ahead of themselves. No one has yet begun referring to the “B-word” as a delicate alternative to the unsayable obscenity Boomer. My guess is that it will take a while.
Boomers still gotta boom...

The Corrections

Big Brother is correcting you:
The government said it had issued a “targeted correction direction” to Facebook in connection with a post containing allegations that authorities had made a wrongful arrest. The information was incorrect and no such arrest had been made, the government said.

Its order requires Facebook to publish a “correction notice” in a way that users of the platform in Singapore who see the original post also see the correction.

How Facebook responds to the government order will set the course for social-media regulation in the country and influence so-called fake news laws taking shape elsewhere. Governments around the world are looking for ways to curb the spread of false information, which has led to violence in some countries.

But broad government powers, such as those under the new Singapore law, have alarmed technology companies and human-rights groups that say the rules could be used to stifle political dissent and free speech.
Only after Facebook does it first...

Forever Man

Eternal detention?
ICE wanted to deport Hassoun, but his statelessness as a Palestinian got in the way. No country—not the Lebanon of his birth, not the Israel that occupies the West Bank and Gaza—was willing to take him. Aided by attorneys at the University of Buffalo Law School, Hassoun in January won what should have been his freedom, on the grounds that his deportation was unlikely.

The Trump administration instead declared him a threat to national security. It did so at first using an also-obscure immigration regulation designed to sidestep a 2001 Supreme Court ruling imposing a six-month detention limit. And it was aided by a testimonial, under seal, of Hassoun’s alleged misdeeds behind bars as related by what his attorneys describe as jailhouse snitches who provided second- or third-hand accounts. But as the government fought what had become a habeas corpus case for Hassoun’s release, the Department of Homeland Security invoked, for the first time in U.S. government history, section 412 of the PATRIOT Act.

Section 412 gives the government broad powers to detain non-citizens on American soil whom it can’t deport but deems, on “reasonable grounds,” to be engaged in “activity that endangers the national security of the United States.” It makes that determination for a six-month period that it can renew without limit. To little fanfare, the former acting secretary of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, informed Hassoun on Aug. 9 that “you will therefore remain in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) pending your removal from the United States or reconsideration of this decision.”
Which may be a long time in coming...

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Blogging In The Years: 1620

The Governor of the Plymouth Colony rejects forced cooperation:
For the young men that were able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children, without recompense. The strong, or men of parts, had no more division of food, clothes, etc. then he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labor, and food, clothes, etc. with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignant and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc. they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could husbands brook it.
....

And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end . . .This had a very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness, and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.
A free colony is a happy colony...

The Kids Are All Right

They're not all "okay, boomer":
Don't give up on them. That's much easier to do if you regularly remind yourself of what it's like to be 14, 15, 16, 17 years old. Yes, there are more distractions and ways to get in trouble today than there were when you were a kid. But the makeup of a teenager is the same.

Remember being awkward? That's still a thing.

Remember not having confidence (though we all faked it when we could)? That's still a thing, too.

Remember teenage love and heartbreak? Yep, still a thing.

Remember the smells, feelings, pain of puberty? Still happening.

Remember trying out for teams ... and not making it? Or missing an assignment? Or forgetting about a test? Or missing your ride?

Remember wondering how the people you cared about most would react when they found out about your latest screw-up in what seemed like an endless string of failures?

Yeah, the youth in your community experience that, too.

If you can remember what that's like, you'll be able to impact a life or two. When you do, your perspective will be altered permanently — and it's usually a needed change in perspective that gives us hope.
Of course, that hasn't stopped some of them from being self-absorbed asses, but still...

Turkey Trots

How to stay safe from your own dinner:
If you’re betting on how you will be poisoned by eating turkey, though, you’re more likely to take a less serious hit from the toxic spores of Clostridium perfringens. The toxin is similar to that of its cousin Clostridium botulinum, used in Botox. Instead of recreationally paralyzing facial muscles, this toxin makes bowels spasm and empty themselves. Gastrointestinal fluidity typically lasts for a day, but in children and elderly people it can last a week.

To prevent these and other poisonings, as always, turkeys should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. Do not rinse your meat. There’s no culinary or antimicrobial benefit to doing this. All you do by rinsing is spread microbial life around, and infectious pathogens could splash all over your sink, your countertops, your guests, and nearby food and dishes. To totally sterilize a dead turkey, you’d have to submerge it in iodine or incinerate it. Or just cook it properly.
Keep that dead bird clean...

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Squatting By The Bay

Homeless Californians are literally headed out to sea:
The number of these so-called "anchor-outs" has doubled in recent years, and today more than 100 people comprise a community some liken to a floating homeless shelter.

But Jimi Mcintosh, a plumber who's lived off the shore of Sausalito for years, says given his finances, he has no other choice.

"It's impossible making what I make, even working full time, to live on land. With deposits, it just gets to be almost $9-thousand (a month), so I can't even afford to move into a studio."

The problem is squatting on the bay is illegal, and some of the makeshift homes are so cluttered and decrepit, they're barely afloat. Sausalito Police Chief John Rohrbacher took Fox News on a tour of some of the worst offenders--aging vessels stacked with generators, grills, tarps, and all kinds of household items.

"It's a safety issue for responding first responders fire or police if we have to go on board," Rohrbacker said. "But it's also a safety hazard for the people that live on it because they can't get off."
Boat bums are still bums...

Dirty Work

Hunter Biden's China problem:
For almost six years, the firm connected to Hunter Biden in China has moved more than $2.5 billion into various automotive, technology, energy, and mining endeavors.

Analysts point to the plethora of “ethical challenges” of Hunter doing such deals in China while his father was in the White House.

“At a time when the Obama administration was trying to pivot to Asia, a policy that ultimately fell flat, one has to at least stop and think what connections between policy and personal interests were there,” said Harry Kazianis, senior director for the Center for the National Interest. “While chances are Hunter Biden was doing what a lot of family members of famous politicians do – cash in on their name – it looks dirty.”

Biden served as one of nine directors of the private equity firm Bohai Harvest RST – better known as BHR Partners – which is 80 percent mandated by shareholders in the Chinese government, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It's a Chinese puzzle that may cause Hunter's downfall...

For A Good Cause

He wants to help:
The $100,000 from Trump’s third-quarter salary will go to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health and is earmarked “to continue the ongoing fight against the opioid crisis.” Opioid-related deaths have been on the rise over the past several years, with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) finding that 2017 was one of the worst years for overdose deaths on record.
....

Trump pledged to donate his $400,000 annual presidential salary while in office, and has given to a variety of causes, including border security and alcoholism research.
He gives, so wealthy Hollywood liberals don't have to...

The Missing Editor

Whatever happened to the mad geneticist?
He was last seen in early January in Shenzhen, on the balcony of an apartment at his university, which fired him from its faculty after his work became known. Armed guards were in the hall, leading to speculation he was under house arrest.

A few weeks later, China’s official news agency said an investigation had determined that He acted alone out of a desire for fame and would be punished for any violations of law.

Since then, AP’s efforts to reach him have been unsuccessful. Ryan Ferrell, a media relations person He hired, declined to comment. Ferrell previously said He’s wife had started paying him, which might mean that He is no longer in a position to do that himself.

Hurlbut, who had been in touch with He early this year, declined to say when he last heard from him.
He's around...somewhere...

Native History

Another Thanksgiving, another attempt at revisionism:
In his new book, entitled, This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving, professor David Silverman explains why he believes the First Thanksgiving is a “myth” that should actually be a “National Day of Mourning.”

“These [native] men and women are hurt by the way we celebrate this national holiday,” explained Silverman. “It makes them feel like second class citizens in their own country.”

“The National Day of Mourning calls attention to the fact that white America’s triumphs have been borne on native peoples’ backs,” the professor added.

The university highlighted the book on its website, lauding professor Silverman as “an expert in Native American history and the author and editor of eight books on indigenous people and colonial America,” who “deconstructs the facts around the Thanksgiving holiday.”

“To me, a myth that treats American colonialism as a bloodless affair is more than bad history,” said Silverman. “It is hurtful to both modern native people and to Americans generally because it doesn’t allow us to understand ourselves in a critical way.”
Leave it to another white man to explain why other people should be offended...

Climate Crazy

Climate change is making people mentally ill, or something:
Lise Van Susteren, a Washington psychiatrist, says that she is concerned that society discounting climate change's mental health implications is problematic.

"I actually have no hesitation in saying that on some level, I believe that everyone now has some climate anxiety," Van Susteren says.

Alicia Cannon, an environmental lobbyist, says that she personally suffers from climate anxiety.

"I think a lot of people that work in climate feel some kind of climate anxiety because it's such a large-scale issue and it's overwhelming and you feel that it's overwhelming because of helplessness," she says.
Maybe if they stopped listening to the alarmists, they'd feel better...

Bloomberg's Rules

The former head of the FCC warns that Bloomberg may be too biased for its own good:
Spakovsky said:

The problem with what Bloomberg [News] has announced is that they are not going to be giving equal coverage to all opposing candidates.They're only going to be covering one opposing candidate, and that's Donald Trump… if they're not willing to do any negative stories that might come up about Mike, whereas they are about Trump, then they're directly helping his campaign.

I think if a complaint were to be filed with the FEC, where I served for two years, there would be serious questions raised whether this policy violates this particular provision of the FEC.
However, not all election law experts agree with Spakovsky's assessment.

Former FEC Chairman Bradley Smith explained to the Daily Caller News Foundation that the determining factor in whether Bloomberg News' coverage policy violates FEC rules hinges on whether or not Trump is, at this stage of the campaign, one of Bloomberg's opponents.

"A good argument nonetheless could be made that the press exemption should not apply here, given Bloomberg's own declaration, 'I'm running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America,'" Smith told the news outlet.
But leave those poor Democrats alone...

Chickens For Sale

Chick-Fil-A's secret past:
Chick-fil-A reportedly donated $2,500 to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2017, according to a new report.

The SPLC has designated Christian beliefs on same-sex marriage as "hate."

What are the details?

Tax records obtained by ProPublica reveal that Chick-fil-A made the donation in question.

Chick-fil-A also reportedly donated to the YWCA, which allegedly has a pro-choice stance, the New Leaders Council, which refers to itself as a "hub of progressive millennial thought leadership," and other organizations with pro-choice ties.

Townhall reports that the restaurant chain also donated $50,000 to The Pace Center for Girls, which promotes a pro-choice stance.

"The education and advocacy group featured radical pro-abortion feminist Gloria Steinem ... as their keynote speaker for their most recent girls' Summit," Townhall writes.

Also, Chick-fil-A also reportedly donated to Chris 180, "a pro-LGBT behavioral health and child welfare service agency."
Not quite as bigoted as advertised?

The Clueless Generation

They think they know, but they can't say:

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

No Go Joe

Obama is not impressed:
“Sometimes [Obama] offers candid advice about his visitors’ strengths and weaknesses. With several lesser-known candidates, according to people who have talked to him or been briefed on his meetings, he was blunt about the challenges of breaking out of a large field. His advice is not always heeded. He told Patrick earlier this year that it was likely “too late” for him to secure “money and talent” if he jumped in the race. Occasionally, he can be cutting. With one candidate, he pointed out that during his own 2008 campaign, he had an intimate bond with the electorate, especially in Iowa, that he no longer has. Then he added, “And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.”
Hey Joe, who's gonna endorse you now?

No Funny Stuff

No humor, please, we're college students:
Davidson claimed that comedians are afraid that performing for sensitive audiences on campuses will hurt their careers.

It makes doing college [shows] really hard. I refuse to do a college after this year ’cause it’s like, you’re just setting yourself up for trouble… Comedy is just, like, getting destroyed. Standup’s about to be about, like, sneakers. Like, “Hey, everyone like sneakers?” You can’t talk about anything. You can’t. The second you open your mouth and have an opinion, you lose money today. And I don’t think that’s a safe place to live in.

The Saturday Night Live star told Paper Magazine that sensitive audiences make it difficult for comedy to flourish because material often requires experimentation. Davidson says that “political correctness” takes away a comic’s freedom to explore new territory.

Yeah, look, when I’m doing standup and stuff, nothing I ever say is coming from a hateful place. And you can’t know what’s funny until you try it, you know? But anything I’ve ever said on stage or made a joke about, I don’t regret it. I mean, some jokes I’m like, “Welp, that joke sucked.” You know? But I’m never like, “Aw fuck!” ‘Cause there are times I try things that I think are ridiculous and they work. And that’s what sucks about political correctness in comedy, I think that you need freedom.
Unfortunately too many of his peers feel otherwise...

No Hugs Allowed

Hey, Grandma, leave those kids alone:
The organization says that these behaviors, suggesting a girl owes somebody a hug after not seeing them in awhile or because she received a nice gift from them, may spark something later in life where a girl determines whether it is okay to “owe” someone sexual favors because someone decided to take her to dinner.

“The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn’t pertain to children, but the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older,” said Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald.
Remember, no affection allowed...

Will Workout For Food

Colin K still can't get a job:
Not only has Kaepernick's highly publicized workout not resulted in any job leads from the seven teams that attended the workout, but his representatives sent film from the workout to the 25 other teams that did not attend; that, too, has not generated interest.

More from ESPN:

The fact that the NFL tried to spark interest in Kaepernick last week, and could not, and that his reps made sure that video of the workout was delivered to every team, are just the latest signs that the chances are bleak that a team will step forward and sign him.

Some sources speculated that there had been teams interested in making a move with Kaepernick, and could in the weeks after his workout. But nothing has materialized, and nothing is expected to at this time.
After his workout, Kaepernick called out the NFL and claimed the league has "denied" him a job.
I understand Burger King is hiring...

People Eating Tasty Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving, PETA style:
To get the word out, PETA put together 25,000 new #PETATrumpsThanksgiving coasters appearing this month at 10 high-traffic bars around the nation's capital, the animal rights organization said.

“Turkeys don't care what your political leanings are, but they're rooting for everyone to join in this Thanksgiving and save millions of birds' lives," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said. “Let's vote for life and give thanks for all the delicious vegan holiday foods that offer the side benefit of good health."
Well, they're right about the turkeys not caring...

Monday, November 25, 2019

Iowa International

Iowa goes global?
The Wall Street Journal reported last week:

Applications to hold caucuses in places other than the roughly 1,700 Iowa sites sanctioned by the state Democratic Party are due Monday. The expansion is part of an effort to make the tradition-bound process more accessible, including for disabled people or night-shift workers who struggle to attend what can be hourslong caucus meetings.

The additional caucuses have to start at the same time as the Iowa meetings, 7 p.m. Central time, and can be held wherever there are groups of Iowa Democrats—inside or outside of the state—including potential sites such as casinos, retirement homes, college campuses or military installations.

Politico‘s “Playbook” reported Monday that Iowa Democrats had received applications for “satellite” caucuses from several states — and six foreign countries:

Iowa Democrats have received 173 applications for individuals or groups to hold satellite caucuses, including more than 100 within Iowa, 47 out of state (including 10 in Florida, seven in Arizona and four in both Illinois and California) and six countries: New Zealand, Georgia, Japan, Scotland, France and Mexico, Iowa Democrats tell us.

The state party will review applications before finalizing the list of caucus sites by December 18, Politico reports.
I thought Democrats were against foreign influence in our elections...

Impeachment Hot Seat

Democrats are feeling the heat:
Politico reported over the weekend that vulnerable Democrats are "watching in horror" as Republican interests sow impeachment opposition in their home districts. The anxiety has caused many Democrats to demand increased support from their party leadership.

Specifically, the fear is that $8 million worth of ads — set to air over the Thanksgiving holiday in battleground districts with anti-impeachment messaging — will sway voters in favor of the Republican Party. By comparison, Democratic groups have spent just $2.7 million for holiday ads, just $2.1 million of which aid vulnerable lawmakers, according to Politico.

"Many of us have been expressing our concerns to leadership," one Democratic lawmaker told Politico. "Everyone knows you don't just take a shot and sit there. It's like someone taped our arms to our side and punched us in the face."
You did it to yourselves, guys...

Claim To Defame

Do not mock the climate cultists:
The justices declined to hear appeals filed by National Review magazine and the Competitive Enterprise Institute seeking to overturn a lower court's ruling that allowed the lawsuit filed by scientist Michael Mann to go forward.

One justice, conservative Samuel Alito, dissented, writing that the case raised questions "that go to the very heart of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and freedom of the press."

Mann, a Penn State professor known for his research on climate change, filed suit in a local court in the District of Columbia in 2012 after online posts by the magazine and think tank that compared him to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at the same university in State College, Pennsylvania.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Money makes the lawsuit go 'round...

His Inner Mobster

From top cop to top crook?
The subpoenas offer the clearest indication yet that federal prosecutors are examining Mr. Giuliani’s consulting work. Among the entities named in the subpoenas are Giuliani Partners, a security-consulting firm founded by Mr. Giuliani in 2002 that had multiple foreign clients, including a city in Ukraine. The subpoenas also sought information on a company co-founded by Mr. Parnas that paid Mr. Giuliani for business and legal advice.

Mr. Giuliani said in an interview that he hadn’t been contacted by prosecutors and has denied wrongdoing.

Subpoenas described to The Wall Street Journal listed more than a half dozen potential charges under consideration: obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements to the federal government, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the Justice Department, donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person or allowing someone else to use one’s name to make a contribution, along with mail fraud and wire fraud.
Frauding his way to the top for all these years?

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Squad Patrol

Has the Squad been busted?
Ocasio-Cortez’s political rise in 2018 was made possible in large part to Justice Democrats PAC, an outside political action committee that recruited her to enter politics in 2017 and provided much of her campaign’s staffing and overhead needs in the lead-up to her June 2018 primary victory over former Rep. Joe Crowley.

Ocasio-Cortez’s relationship with Justice Democrats became the subject of intense scrutiny in 2019, resulting in two complaints submitted to the FEC.

One complaint, submitted in April, centered on Ocasio-Cortez’s control over Justice Democrats while the PAC was simultaneously supporting her primary campaign.

Ocasio-Cortez and her former campaign chair Saikat Chakrabarti were appointed to hold two of the PAC’s three board seats in December 2017, but the Federal Election Commission was never notified of the affiliation between her campaign and Justice Democrats.

Multiple former FEC commissioners told the Daily Caller News Foundation that Ocasio-Cortez could face civil or criminal penalties for failing to disclose her campaign’s affiliation to the outside PAC.

“At minimum, there’s a lot of smoke there, and if there are really only three board members and she and [Chakrabarti] are two of them, sure looks like you can see the blaze,” said former FEC Chairman Brad Smith.
The Squad that runs together, does time together?

Rune Ruminations

The second coming of runes:
runes—which originated in the first or second century—are gaining a made-for-Instagram facelift. The hashtag “Runes” yields over 530,000 photos, the most popular among them stylized flatlays of the stones held in perfectly-manicured fingers. Rune readings may not be as mainstream as the better-known Tarot, but some say this could change.

“A lot of people don’t know about them, but they are popular, and when we tell customers about runes, they ask for them at parties,” said Crystal Scott, who works at NYC Tarot. “Runes feel almost like charms, and they’re something different.”
....

“There is a clash between those who are fascinated with rune stones as a spiritual aspect, and other people who use it probably more as an agenda for their own political views,” Scarlet Ravenswood, a Chicago-based pagan influencer, said.

The 31-year-old became fascinated with runes when a 23andMe test revealed Scandinavian ancestry, but she does not think that Norse paganism belongs to any one demographic. “I consider myself a universalist, and I think it’s a spirituality open to all,” Ravenswood said.

She finds the ADL’s classification of rune writing as potential hate speech “deeply upsetting,” adding, “I use the symbols for divination or do artwork with them.” For Ravenswood, rune stones can also be “therapeutic tools.” She conducts paid readings over Skype.

“It can work well for people who might not want to go to therapy, but might be lonely and want to speak to someone for an hour about their life,” Ravenswood said. “I use these runes as a way to connect and talk about wider issues, like what’s going on with family, career, feelings.”

Where the New Age generation of rune casters planned events and meet-ups to discuss divinity, Ravenswood sees the next generation as less connected. “You’ll see this massive movement happening online, a YouTuber with 500,000 plus followers, but the old school conventions see declining attendance. It’s becoming more of an isolated experience, expressing your spirituality online,” she said.
People who don't cast runes shouldn't throw stones?

Last Rites

Is it the real thing?
Even though it was unlikely to be real, most people thought that the radiocarbon dating would be the silver bullet that would either confirm the inauthenticity of the Shroud or dispel Shroud doubters once and for all. Vatican agreement for testing took decades to obtain and then, finally, in 1987, laboratories in Arizona, Oxford, and Zurich were selected to perform independent tests. On April 21, 1988, a sample was taken from one corner of the cloth and distributed to the three sets of scientists. The resulting publication declared that there was “conclusive evidence” that the linen of the shroud dates to 1260-1390 CE with 95 percent confidence in those results.

Since 2005, however, a growing number of scholars have questioned the results of the now 30-year-old tests. Some claimed, for example, that the area tested was a portion of the cloth that was repaired and that the tested strands reflect those repairs. We know, for example, that efforts were made to restore the Shroud in the 16th century. The fact that testing only used samples from one corner of the cloth makes it impossible to know if this is a claim is correct or not.
Is this the shroud they were looking for?

The Last Workout

Whatever happened to Colin K?
The fact that the NFL tried to spark interest in Kaepernick last week, and could not, and that his reps made sure that video of the workout was delivered to every team, are just the latest signs that the chances are bleak that a team will step forward and sign him.

Some sources speculated that there had been teams interested in making a move with Kaepernick, and could in the weeks after his workout. But nothing has materialized, and nothing is expected to at this time.

After completing his 40-minute workout on Nov. 16, Kaepernick said he’s ready for another opportunity and wants the league to ‘stop running” from him.
Maybe if he stopped kneeling...

The Conservative One

Barack Obama, elder statesman of the establishment?
the contrast between Obama's steady approach and the seeming radicalism of his Democratic heirs can't just be chalked up to changing times. It's because the former president, going back at least to his 2004 Senate race, hasn't really occupied the left side of the ideological spectrum. He wasn't a Republican, obviously: He never professed a desire to starve the federal government, and he opposed the Iraq War, which the GOP overwhelmingly supported. But to the dismay of many on the left, and to the continuing disbelief of many on the right, Obama never dramatically departed from the approach of presidents who came before him.

There's a simple reason: Barack Obama is a conservative.
Not really, but it says something about today's democrats when he's the voice of reason...

The Tao Of Cohen

Leonard Cohen lives on:
Cohen certainly wasn’t afraid to come off like a jerk, or “a lazy bastard living in a suit,” as he put it in 2012’s “Going Home.” Thanks for the Dance makes for a ravishing, faithful-feeling extension of his legacy precisely because it does not polish out Cohen’s kinks. With vocal tracks that Cohen recorded for his phenomenal 2016 farewell album, and understated backing from Cohen’s musical collaborators and friends, the project revives Cohen as both the mystic and the man.

Cohen famously approached his death with clarity, and Thanks for the Dance honors his late-career habit of seeming to write elegies for himself. In the album’s opener “Happens to the Heart,” the singer tuts at his years of being a “young messiah,” when he was untroubled by the fact of his own mortality. His sarcastic descriptions of the prime of one’s life—“In the prison of the gifted / I was friendly with the guards”—will rattle in the listener’s head the next time they feel things are going the right way. The last line, which circles out mysteriously to both the existential and presently political, is a showcase of Cohen’s great gift for writing kickers. “I fought for something final,” he rasps, “Not the right to disagree.”
Final, but also eternal...

America's Disappearing Mayor?

If he goes down, he's taking them with him?
Without offering proof, Giuliani tweeted that he had “files in my safe about the Biden Family’s 4 decade monetizing” of the former vice president and senator’s office. “If I disappear, it will immediately appear.”

Giuliani’s tweet also referred to his “RICO chart.” Mentioning the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the federal law aimed at prosecuting organized crime, may imply Giuliani still has information that’s not been released publicly from his days as a U.S. Attorney.

Also on Saturday Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, said on Twitter that “the Mafia couldn’t kill me so NO, I am not worried about the swamp press.”

Saturday was a busy day on social media for the former New York City mayor, who’s said to be under investigation for possible campaign finance violations and a failure to register as a foreign agent. He said, again without elaborating, that he “plans to bring out a massive pay-for-play scheme under the Obama administration that will devastate the Democrat Party.”
Just because you're paranoid...

The Boss's Rules

Well, as long as they're impartial:
The announcement followed Michael Bloomberg‘s official campaign launch Sunday. “We will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike (and his family and his foundation) and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries,” editor-in-chief John Micklethwait wrote in a note to staffers.

“If other credible journalistic institutions publish investigative work on Mike or the other Democratic candidates, we will either publish those articles in full, or summarize them for our readers — and we will not hide them.”
They're just trying to be fair...

Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Bird's Words

Don't upset the Twitter mob:
The new tool will allow users to hide specific comments made on their posts, meaning that the comments won’t be visible to other users unless they specifically click a button to reveal them. This change gives users a greater degree of control over their own tweets and the discussions they prompt, and allows them to hide inappropriate replies. Twitter stated a number of facts they learned during their tests in a blog post.

The firm claims that these were the result of its tests:

People mostly hide replies they think are irrelevant, off-topic, or annoying.
The option is a new way to shut out noise; 85% of the people who hide replies are not using block or mute.
People were curious to see how public figures like those in politics and journalism would use this update. So far, they aren’t hiding replies very often.
In Canada, 27% of people who had their Tweets hidden said they would reconsider how they interact with others in the future. Also, they thought it was a helpful way to manage what they saw, similar to muted keywords.
We learned that you may want to take further action after you hide a reply, so now we’ll check to see if you want to also block the replier.
Some people mentioned that they didn’t want to hide replies due to fear of retaliation as the icon remains visible. We’ll continue to get feedback on this.
These are early findings and we look forward to continued learning as the feature is used by more people.
The company ended the blog post stating:

Looking ahead, we’re working on new controls and more clarity around the rules of conversation spaces. Soon, we’ll be launching a new hide replies endpoint so developers can build additional conversation management tools. We’re exploring more options around who can reply to or see specific conversations, and are testing engagement changes to see if these lead to healthier discussions. We’re committed to making sure people feel safe and comfortable talking on Twitter.
Unless you hurt a troll's feelings...

For The Children

America does help poor kids, after all:
An October 2018 article in the Washington Post declared, "The U.S. spends less on children than almost any other developed nation." Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that, "The U.S. has the highest child poverty rate of almost any country on Earth." Even supposed moderate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) claimed our country has "The moral obscenity of having the highest levels of child poverty in the industrialized world."

However, according to a study from the American Enterprise Institute, claims of child poverty in the United States are grossly overstated.

As AEI research fellow on poverty studies Angela Rachidi explained, "[c]hild poverty rates in the US are at historically low levels, and similar to other countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada." The finding of her report challenge the left's false claim that America lacks effective anti-poverty programs for children.

In fact, the poverty expert noted that spending on social programs designed to help needy children has sky-rocketed over the past few decades.
Maybe liberals are upset because America is actually doing their job for them...

Friday, November 22, 2019

Church Time

Don't take them to church?
"It is our understanding that Harris County Sheriff officials organized two concerts for inmates and staff on Friday, November 15," the letter recalls. "Kanye West and his choir performed songs from West's recent religious album, 'Jesus Is King,' and the performances were 'really more like a church service,' a sentiment you explicitly and publicly admitted. Photos suggest this is true, too."

The "photos" in reference show one tweet by Sheriff Gonzalez saying, "[Kanye West] and his choir brought some light and #churchservice to people who needed it today at the Harris County Jail," and another recalling West's words to inmates that "this is a mission, not a show."

Did the inmates have Christianity forced on them?

"In short, this was unconstitutional," the atheist group's letter said, arguing that the inmates didn't really have a choice — "nobody believes there is a genuine choice between sitting in a cramped, locked cell, and listening to a two-hour long concert."

"This constitutional violation is particularly egregious because it imposed religion on inmates — literally a captive audience — who have a deep and immediate interest in being seen favorably by [Sheriff Gonzalez] and [his] staff."
The inmates themselves didn't seem to mind...

No Jail Time

No more prisons?
The group's Facebook page outlines its stated mission as the creation of "a world where the Prison Industrial Complex in all of its forms has been destroyed and built in its place are systems of accountability that allow for healing and growth."

Another presenter, Aida Sherif, argued that the very roots of the U.S. criminal justice system are based on prejudice toward impoverished people and minorities.

"Prisons were founded in the ideas of punishing the poor, punishing people of color," Sherif said. "I don't see it as an institution that can ever fully break away from those foundations."

OK, so prisons are abolished ... then what?
According to the Brown Daily Herald report, RailRoad members did not outline explicit plans or a specific timeline for accomplishing prison abolition at the teach-in.

Instead, the students encouraged the other attendees to not assume that prisons are necessary.

"Our society is constructed in a way that would have us believe prisons are absolutely necessary," Sherif said at the event. "People perceive it as crazy, unreasonable, dangerous, too radical. Abolition is not anarchy."

The students also did not specify what the "systems of accountability" that would replace prisons would look like.

Rather, they encouraged ceasing construction of new prisons and then experimenting with alternative institutions for justice as some first steps toward abolition.
The system might need change, but what about those who still need to be put away?

An Inconvenient Target

Do Democrats really want Trump gone?
Some Democrats have long worried that impeachment is a waste of time: The Republican-controlled Senate will never vote to convict Trump, they argue, and an impeachment process with no real consequences for the president might only serve to dishearten Democratic voters ahead of the 2020 election. The many voters I met outside the hearing room seemed to acknowledge the likelihood that, when all this is done, Donald Trump will still be president. But they weren’t exactly disappointed about that prospect, either: They still see impeachment—the whole process—as good for American democracy and, more important, good for the Democratic Party heading into an election year.

“This is the healing that our country’s got to go through from someone who’s destroyed it,” 65-year-old Sulyporn Bannon Kulsrethsiri told me outside the hearing room on Wednesday morning. “The focus right now isn’t so much on removal itself, but more on the 2020 election,” said Mason Hill, a 22-year-old Washington, D.C., resident, the day before. It’s “to paint a picture [of the president] in the general public’s mind.”
Without Trump, what do they have?

Street Heathens

It's still the economy, stupid:
In recent days, demonstrators angered by the fuel price hike have confronted security forces in at least 100 locations, surpassing the previous protests in ferocity and geographic scale. They burned banks and police stations, ransacked government buildings, and blocked roads. Riot police responded with tear gas, water cannons and live fire, rights groups said. More than 100 demonstrators may have been killed, according to Amnesty International.

"The common thread between the 2017-2018 protests and those taking place today is the sense among many Iranians that the economy favors entrenched interests and that much of the nation's wealth is not being spent on its people," said Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, founder of Bourse & Bazaar, a website featuring economic analysis on Iran. "Iranian taxpayers are rightly wondering why they need to bear the brunt of fiscal reforms when entrenched interests continue to benefit from state funds while putting nothing back into the coffers."

Many of Iran's state-owned enterprises - including those affiliated with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, and the Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful security branch - are exempt from paying taxes. Iranians have balked at the money they say is spent funding Iran's military operations abroad.
Revolutions are expensive...

Prince Of Creeps

A prince without a home:
The British royal got his marching orders and was told to clear out on Friday — just days after announcing he was formally stepping away from official duties after a “car crash” of an interview defending his friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, the Times of London reported.

According to the report, the 59-year-old prince, who is facing a sea of criticism amid allegations he had sex with an underage girl, was told he and his staff would have to find another location to do business.

It is the latest humiliation for Andrew this week amid reports suggesting the disgraced Duke of York was sacked by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who reportedly was concerned the scandal would tarnish the rest of the famous household.
Don't sweat it-oh, wait...

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Climate Of Contempt

Lock 'em up, he says:

No, Minister

Netenyahu is in trouble:
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit charged Netanyahu with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three different scandals. It is the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been charged with a crime. Mandelblit was set to issue a formal statement later Thursday.

Allegations against Netanyahu include suspicions he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of champagne and cigars from billionaire friends, offered to trade favors with a newspaper publisher and used his influence to help a wealthy telecom magnate in exchange for favorable coverage on a popular news site.

The indictment does not require Netanyahu to resign but is expected to raise pressure on him to step down.

Netanyahu has called the allegations part of a witch hunt, lashing out against the media, police, prosecutors and the justice system.
Sounds familiar, but do they have a case?

Tax Clearance

First, the Supremes, now California:
In a unanimous ruling, the seven justices of state's high court found that the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act was in violation with the terms for presidential elections set forward by the State's constitution.

"The Legislature may well be correct that a presidential candidate's income tax returns could provide California voters with important information," the majority ruling, which was authored by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, said. "But article II, section 5(c) embeds in the state Constitution the principle that, ultimately, it is the voters who must decide whether the refusal of a 'recognized candidate throughout the nation or throughout California for the office of President of the United States' to make such information available to the public will have consequences at the ballot box."
Lawyers can't decide everything...

Transgender Rules

Don't offend while arresting:
The LGBTQ Equity Directive — rolled out Wednesday by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal — also instructs officers to use a people's chosen names and pronouns, even if either differs from official records, the paper said.

"No one should be afraid about interacting with police because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity," Grewal said in a statement, the Times noted. "Building on the extraordinary work of law enforcement agencies across this country and right here in New Jersey, we're ensuring that our officers will act in ways that promote the dignity and safety of LGBTQ individuals, whether they are victims, witnesses, suspects, arrestees or other members of the public. Only by having the trust of our diverse communities can we fulfill our mission of protecting all New Jersey residents."

What else does the directive state?

The directive also says officers shouldn't stop, question, search, arrest, or detain persons because of actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation and shouldn't ask about their sexual practices or anatomy unless necessary for ongoing criminal investigations, the paper said.
The anatomy might feel discriminated against, after all...

Smells Like Animal Spirit

Teen angst in the animal kingdom:
Human "adolescents frequently put themselves in danger deliberately," Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers write, adding: "Adolescent risk-taking is seen throughout the animal world."

The result, unsurprisingly, is that adolescence can be pretty dangerous for animals, ranging from fish to birds to mammals. For the youths that have big bodies but little life experience, there's a "spike in mortality . . . they are easy prey," Natterson-Horowitz said.

One reason is that they engage in behaviors that are risky but beneficial, Bowers said in an interview. An example is a practice called "predator inspection," or approaching predators rather than fleeing. The trade-off for the danger of proximity is that adolescent animals watch, smell and learn, accumulating all kinds of information that can keep them safer as adults.

"The idea that adolescents are hard-wired to take these risks can put a new spin on the knuckleheaded antics of our own human teens," Bowers said.

Teens seem driven to chase novelty and test boundaries in their own version of predator inspection, Bowers said: chalking up as many experiences as they can - the good, the bad, the ugly - before they leave the nest.
And, just as in real life, they often have to get kicked out...

Framing The Frame-Up

Clint Eastwood gives the media a failing grade:
Most Hollywood films about journalism since All the President’s Men 43 years ago have taken the free press’ side, portraying it as a scruffy if noble institution essential to the well-being of democracy. Eastwood and screenwriter Billy Ray (The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips) here take a rather different view of the Fourth Estate, portraying it as reckless, corrupt and immoral. At the center of its frenzy is the hapless and clueless Jewell, an overweight oddball who may well be the least likely leading man in any of Eastwood’s 40 — count ‘em, 40 — films as a director, but Paul Walter Hauser makes the most of it.
....

The mob of reporters covering the story resembles a plague of locusts, with any little tidbit being transformed into big news as the media tries to finger a culprit. Jewell, along with his mother, must endure this combination of attack and deprivation for three months until, finally, the FBI realizes that, from a purely logistical point of view, the young man couldn’t have physically pulled off what they believed he did. The reality lay elsewhere, but that is another story.
One that, unfortunately, the media didn't give as much coverage...

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

No Speech Class

This is how free speech dies:
Minority high schoolers tended to be more supportive than white students of the idea that they should not be punished for posting opinions about teachers to social media, but more likely than white students to agree that “websites should be punished for publishing comments from the public that many people would consider offensive.”

Opposition to the First Amendment is linked to lack of civics education, and assessments suggest that only one in four U.S. students are able to score “at a proficient level” at civics, the survey stated, citing the 2014 Civics Assessment.

“On average, students who have taken a class that dealt with the First Amendment are more supportive of various rights and protections, and less likely to think the First Amendment goes too far,” it stated.
It depends on whose speech they agree with...

The Revolutionary Diet Plan

Feed a revolution, starve a country:
“You know what, brother: you don’t have to have 4,500 people,” Morales replies in the audio. “Divide the union into four or five groups, so it lasts longer. … If you concentrate [in one place], people give up, but if there are groups, they take turns, we can hold up the blockade.”

“Brother, don’t let food into the cities, we will really blockade,” Morales continues. “When they expelled me from Congress in 2002, they did a blockade. And now, they kick me out of Bolivia; there is a blockade. We will win.”

Murillo told reporters the call occurred “three days ago” but could not reveal how Bolivian intelligence services acquired it. He accused Morales of “terrorism” and “crimes against humanity” for helping Yucra organize violent blockades that could starve out thousands of poor Bolivians.

“It is not possible for Evo to continue pitting Bolivians against Bolivians, to order food not to enter, it is a crime against humanity,” Murillo stated, according to the Bolivian newspaper El Deber.
Of course the socialists themselves wouldn't have gone hungry...

Mayor Of Money Town

It was good to be the Mayor, while it lasted:
Pugh resigned in May after the details of a scheme spanning about 12 years that earned her hundreds of thousands of dollars for children's books purchased by organizations interested in doing business with the city of Baltimore.

"The people of Maryland expect elected officials to make decisions based on the public's best interests, not to abuse their office for personal gain," said FBI special agent Jennifer Boone in a statement.

What is she accused of?

Pugh received $500,000 for 100,000 copies of her children's book, "Healthy Holly," beginning in 2011 when Pugh was a state senator. The books were purchased by the University of Maryland Medical System while Pugh sat on the hospital network's board and sat on a state Senate committee that partially funded it.

Kaiser Permanente also paid Pugh $100,000 while she was mayor, at the same time that Kaiser Permanente was trying to get a $48 million contract with a city board.
How much for just the hospital?

Everyone Must Pay

Democrats are trying to find more ways of separating you from your money:
This year, American workers and their employers owe a combined 12.4 percent on Social Security payroll taxes for income up to $132,900 (rising to $137,700 in 2020). They owe nothing on earnings above that level.

Some Democrats in the thick of the presidential race and on Capitol Hill now seek to change or eliminate that cap — potentially placing a new double-digit tax on high earners, with several plans focusing on earnings above $250,000.

This would pump vastly more money into Social Security, enabling more generous benefits and helping sustain the finances of a program that could be forced to slash benefits in the decades ahead if nothing is done.

The result would be a large tax increase on high earners, even before other changes a Democratic administration might contemplate, such as increasing income tax rates or taxes on investment income.
First, they came for the "high earners..."

Witnesses For The Prosecution?

With friends like these:
on the questions central to impeachment, Morrison did little to help the president’s case. He acknowledged that both he and Vindman were disappointed with the message that Trump delivered to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in their July 25 call—the one in which Trump asked Zelensky for the “favor” of an investigation into Biden. Both men, Morrison said, had hoped Trump would deliver a stronger message of support for Ukraine. And when asked by Democrats whether it was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign government to investigate a domestic political opponent, Morrison replied: “It’s not what we recommended the president discuss.”

In the first two hours of testimony, the best Republicans could get from Volker and Morrison was a firm “no” when they were asked whether anyone at the White House had ever asked them to extort or bribe anyone. Indeed, the clearest defense of Trump’s actions today did not come from testimony on Capitol Hill at all, but from an unsolicited statement issued by Vice President Mike Pence’s national-security adviser, Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg. He is the direct supervisor of Jennifer Williams, a Pence adviser who testified alongside Vindman in the morning. Kellogg said he was also on the July 25 call, but unlike Williams, he did not find anything amiss. “I heard nothing wrong or improper on the call. I had and have no concerns,” Kellogg said in his statement.

Perhaps that’s what Republicans were hoping to hear from Volker and Morrison, their chosen witnesses. What the two witnesses presented to lawmakers, however, was consistent with the testimony that’s been delivered in the House for the past week—that Trump’s demand for an investigation of Biden was at best unusual and inappropriate, and perhaps much worse.
I suppose it depends on who's doing the talking...

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Rotten Foundation

The Clinton Foundation continues to crumble:
The Clinton Foundation reported $30.7 million in revenues in its recently-released 2018 Form 990 tax return, the lowest figure posted by the charity since 2002 when it raised $25.6 million.

The foundation’s 2018 revenue was just 12% of the $249 million it raised in 2009, the first year of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state under former President Barack Obama.

The Clinton Foundation also posted its third straight year of losses of $16 million or more in 2018, bringing its total losses since 2016 to $49.6 million.
Suppose they had a foundation and nobody cared?

We Don't Work

Wework, or no work?
The investigation comes as WeWork is expected to enact mass layoffs this week. The financially troubled company employs an estimated 12,500 individuals worldwide and the layoffs could impact as many as half the employee base.

New York-based WeWork reported $1.25 billion in losses for the third quarter as it attempts to regain its footing following a failed IPO this year.

SoftBank, the Japanese financial and tech conglomerate headed by Masayoshi Son, recently provided a lifeline to WeWork in a deal that would value the company by as much as $8 billion, a major comedown from the company’s $47 billion valuation earlier this year.

As part of the deal, WeWork’s former CEO Neumann departed the company with an approximately $1.7 billion golden parachute.

Neumann was allegedly an erratic leader who trademarked the word “We” and charged WeWork $6 million to use the word. His rocky tenure was marked by allegations of unprofessional behavior, including alleged drug use.
Being an ass is expensive...

Little Things

No more small things:
The new terms, introduced during Hockey Canada’s winter congress in Montreal, will take effect for all minor boys and girls hockey programs governed by Hockey Canada starting with the 2020 season.

Two other leagues, BC Hockey and Athletics Canada, already eliminated the traditional hockey categories last year.

The move to eliminate the “midget” hockey age category came after a parent whose son suffers from dwarfism became outraged at the designation and began a campaign to eliminate the term.

Michael Brind’Amour, chair of the Hockey Canada board of directors, released a statement saying, “We believe everyone should feel welcome in the game and in our on-going effort to make hockey more inclusive, the members at the Hockey Canada annual meeting determined that the names of our age Divisions will change.
The hockey pucks have spoken...

This Little Piggy

Pigs in court?
PETA argues that the castration of male piglets is violating German law, which states that animals shall not be harmed without reasonable explanation. The castration of young piglets without anesthesia was long considered exempt - but that exemption was withdrawn in 2013.

Castration without anesthesia is still in use, however, as the German government delayed the law from taking effect, following a transition period that was initially expected to last four years.

PETA alleges that in delaying the changes, the government is violating German law. It also alleges that even with anesthesia, the castrations will remain illegal, as they will not be completely pain-free, said Christian Arleth, a lawyer with PETA.

Besides seeking an end to the castration practice, PETA aims to get animals recognized as legal entities.

The legal status of animals has gradually expanded in Germany over the last decades, from their de facto perception as objects to their current status as organisms with rights protected by the Constitution. In parallel, the United States has seen a similar proliferation of legal protections for animals.

But in bringing the case before Germany's highest court, animal rights lawyers still face an uphill battle. What remains controversial in both countries and elsewhere, is how violations of animal rights can be brought to courts and whether animals can have their own legal standing.
The tale of the three little piggies and their lawyers...

Royal Pains

The prince takes a pounding:
The question facing Queen Elizabeth II and her advisers is how to protect the historic institution of the monarchy from the taint of a 21st-century sex-and-trafficking scandal and the repeated missteps of a prince who has been a magnet for bad publicity as he struggles to find a national role for himself.

“Prince Andrew, I think, really has to stay out of the limelight for the moment because there really, I think, is no coming back from the damage that was done ... at least, not in the near future,” Kate Williams, a royal historian and professor at Reading University, told ITV News.

Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, tried to end years of speculation about his role in the Epstein scandal by granting a no-holds barred interview to Emily Maitlis, the respected presenter of the BBC’s Newsnight program. But the strategy backfired when the prince failed to show empathy for the young women who were exploited by Epstein even as he defended his friendship with the American financier who was a convicted sex offender.

Epstein died Aug. 10 in a New York prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. His death has been ruled a suicide by the city’s medical examiner.
It looks like the prince might have to sweat it out after all...

Assessing Assange

No jail time for him?
Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison in May for breaching bail conditions when he took up residence in Ecuador's London embassy, where he lived for seven years in order to avoid being sent to Sweden.

The extradition order centred on the rape allegation as well a separate sex assault claim -- but the statute of limitations expired for the second allegation in 2015.

The rape investigation was launched after a woman who met Assange at a Stockholm conference in August 2010 accused the Australian of having unprotected sex with her while she was sleeping. She said she had repeatedly refused to have unprotected sex with him.

Assange has always denied the allegation.

Swedish deputy director of public prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson told reporters on Tuesday said that, in part due to how many years had passed since the incident, "the evidence has weakened in such a way that there is no longer reason to continue the investigation".
Not quite innocent, but no longer accused, either...

The Money Party

Labour goes into full socialist mode:
John McDonnell, the party's finance minister-in-waiting, will say in a speech he wants to "rewrite the rules of our economy", casting the election as a chance to overthrow a system where billionaires can buy access to power.

"No one needs or deserves to have that much money, it is obscene," McDonnell will say, according to excepts of his speech. "It is also obscene that these billionaires are buying access and tax breaks to Boris Johnson's Conservative Party."

Labour's core message -- a pledge to redistribute wealth to the many and not the few -- was a theme it used in the 2017 election, when the party confounded the polls to deprive then Prime Minister Theresa May of her parliamentary majority.

Labour hopes the message will propel them to power as they trail Johnson's party in the opinion polls.

The party's economic policies, which would represent one of the most radical assaults on capitalism seen in a major western economy, include nationalising the rail, utility and water companies, confiscating 10% of big companies' shares, a move to a four-day week and higher taxes on the wealthy.
Meanwhile, Britain's billionaires will be seeking to move elsewhere...

Monday, November 18, 2019

Politician On Parole

He might be a crook, but is he still their crook?
Fresh out of prison, Lula, as he is widely known, is a gifted orator who for decades has been one of Latin America's most influential figures. After serving 580 days for corruption and money laundering, he was released this month on grounds that he had been denied due process.

For now, he is free to give speeches like one at this seaside city on Sunday - or at least until he exhausts all of his appeals.


The uncertainty of his legal situation underscores his political limitations and the obstacles that lie before him in his apparent quest to reassert himself as Brazil's dominant political leader.

He is out of prison, but he is not innocent. He is back in public, but is making appearances only where he is assured to receive a warm welcome. He has spent much of his adult life either running for or being president, but is now barred from doing so because of his criminal record. Even some on the left aren't rejoicing at his return. "Snake charmer," one prominent center-left politician here called him last week.

It is clear that Lula - who has been tweeting, giving speeches and holding rallies since the moment of his release - wants Brazil back. But is the feeling mutual? Or has Lula, who left office with an 80 percent approval rating, become too polarizing, too associated with scandal and corruption, to ever again command widespread support?
He might not be able to buy those same votes this time-or could he?

Air No Evil

Why did ABC kill its Epstein story? Andrew McCarthy wants to know:
The letter accused the network of potentially causing fewer victims to come forward and allowing more people to become victims of human trafficking. McCarthy also requested more information from the network, including that ABC News present Robach’s interview with Giuffre to Congress members.

McCarthy’s letter also asks if ABC News was ever given more evidence about Epstein in between the time of the 2015 interview and when authorities arrested Epstein. He demanded the names of those involved in the decision to kill the story as well as their reasons and asked other questions.

GOP Reps. Mike T. McCaul of Texas and Doug A. Collins of Georgia also signed the letter.

“ABC News’s initial response and subsequent actions reveal their priority is to identify and hold accountable the individual who released the video to the public,” the letter reads. “We believe that uncovering the source of the information is incomparably less important than the possibility of exposing the source of a human trafficking operation.”
In this case, silence isn't golden...

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Chicken Fight

The Chicken Wars continue:
A cell phone video from inside the fast-food joint shows a group of employees engaging in a vicious brawl while customers were inside the restaurant around 9:30 p.m. on November 13, WITI reported.

“I heard one of them yell, ‘It’s a fight,” said Richard Fourté, who caught the brawl on his cell phone camera. “They ran to the back by the grills, OK. Now, there was a fight back there. I didn’t get that one on tape.”

Once Fourté began recording, the fight turned violent, with several employees throwing punches at each other.

Although Fourté got the video, he left without placing a food order.

“Honestly, I wasn’t even going to get the chicken sandwich,” Fourté said.

When the police arrived at the scene, no arrests were made because no weapons were involved. It is unclear what started the brawl in the first place.
Not enough sauce?

Collection Plate

Being Al Sharpton is good work if you can get it:
The sharp-dressing, silver-tongued preacher defended the windfall before taking the stage for his weekly rally at NAN’s House of Justice in Harlem, an event where attendees throw cash in the collection bucket at the reverend’s behest.

“Fifteen years, you are talking about since 2004 when I came back after running for president,” he said. “For anybody else it would be laughable.”

He said he also deserved the 2018 raise.

“It’s a six-day-a-week job and several hours a day and when [the compensation firm] compared it to other companies, other nonprofits, that’s the salary that they would get,” he said.

The firebrand activist and MSNBC host was not exactly earning minimum wage in recent years. The last year he went without a salary was 2008, and he has made well into the six figures every year since, tax documents show.
Welcome to Al, Incorporated...

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Once A Goon

Meet the man running to replace Katie Harris:
Uygur has a controversial past, particularly in regard to women. He was forced out of his own Justice Democrats in 2017 after problematic sexist blog posts from the early 2000s surfaced.

In one post, the Democrat laid out his “hard and fast rules of dating.”

“Women, ignore these at your peril,” Uygur wrote.
....

Uygur apologized for his crude post in 2017, calling it “insensitive and ignorant” and claiming that he was a “different guy,” according to TheWrap:

“The stuff I wrote back then was really insensitive and ignorant,” Uygur said. “If you read that today, what I wrote 18 years ago, and you’re offended by it, you’re 100 percent right. And anyone who is subjected to that material, I apologize to. And I deeply regret having written that stuff when I was a different guy.”

“If someone said that today, I would heavily criticize them on the show and rightfully so, and I have. I’ve criticized myself over the years,” he continued.

“I had not yet matured and I was still a conservative who thought that stuff was politically incorrect and edgy. When you read it now, it looks really, honestly, ugly,” he added. “And it’s very uncomfortable to read.”
I'm sure he'll be forgiven since he's "matured..."

Final Warning

Don't go too far to the left, he said:
According to The New York Times, the nation's 44th president recently told a group of fundraisers that Democrats should be more moderate in their proposals. "Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality," adding, "the average American doesn't think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it."

Obama also warned progressives not to dismiss Americans' concerns with their proposals, reported The Hill. "I don't think we should be deluded into thinking that the resistance to certain approaches to things is simply because voters haven't heard a bold enough proposal and if they hear something as bold as possible then immediately that's going to activate them."
But will anyone listen?

Friday, November 15, 2019

Final Performance

No more animals for them:
A proposal was adopted by the municipal council late Friday that will see permits withheld from 2020 for circuses that wish to operate in the French capital while employing exotic creatures.

"We can congratulate ourselves on this decision which marks a societal advance desired by all French people," said Penelope Komites, a Paris councillor responsible for nature in the city, adding she hoped the national government would follow suit.

Polls show a vast majority of French people to be against the use of non-domestic animals for entertainment, and dozens of cities and towns have banned travelling circuses featuring wild beasts.
Where the wild things aren't..

The Yang Of Social Media

Who writes for the writers?
The algorithms developed by tech companies are the root of the problem, Yang says, as they "push negative, polarizing, and false content to maximize engagement."

That's true, to an extent. Just like with any company or industry, social media firms are incentivized to keep consumers hooked as long as possible. But it's also true that social media does more to boost already popular content than it does to amplify content nobody likes or wants to engage with. And in an age of polarization, it appears that negative content can be quite popular.

To counter the proliferation of content he does not like, Yang would require tech companies to work alongside the federal government in order to "create algorithms that minimize the spread of mis/disinformation," as well as "information that's specifically designed to polarize or incite individuals." Leaving aside the constitutional question, who in government gets to make these decisions? And what would prevent future administrations from using Yang's censorious architecture to label and suppress speech they find polarizing merely because they disagree with it politically?
The road to censorship is paved with bad coding...

A Tweet Too Far?

One tweet too many?
As Yovanovitch testified, Trump fired off his criticism on Twitter, a move Democrats labeled "real-time" witness intimidation.

"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?" Trump asked.

In the most dramatic moment of the impeachment hearings that began on Wednesday, Adam Schiff, the Democrat chairing the hearing in the House Intelligence Committee, asked Yovanovitch for her reaction to the tweet. She said it was "very intimidating."

"I can't speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating," she said.

Schiff replied: "Well, I want to let you know, ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously."

Afterward, Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell, a member of the committee, told reporters the Trump attack could be considered for a separate article of impeachment against Trump for obstruction of justice.
More impeachment ammunition-or tweeting blanks?

The Rolling Stone

Remember Roger Stone?
Stone was convicted Friday of all seven counts in a federal indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election.

He is the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Stone has denied wrongdoing and consistently criticized the case against him as politically motivated. He did not take the stand during the trial and his lawyers did not call any witnesses in his defense.

The Stone case could be the last public gasp of the Mueller investigation, which wrapped up in March. Mueller made clear that his team never considered indicting Trump because the Justice Department prohibits the prosecution of a sitting president.
His former friends, on the other hand...

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Fascist Diet

Even evil has to eat:
The First News reports that the garden was found 2,953 feet from Hitler’s bunker. An excavation uncovered the foundations of the gardener’s house, two greenhouses and an underground boiler room that provided water and warm air to grow fresh produce all year round. Wartime ceramics, porcelain and glassware were also found.

A vegetarian, teetotaler and non-smoker, Hitler enjoyed plenty of green produce at the Wolf’s Lair. Paranoid about being poisoned, the Nazi leader also ensured that a number of food tasters worked at the Wolf’s Lair to sample his meals.

"The food was delicious, only the best vegetables, asparagus, bell peppers, everything you can imagine. And always with a side of rice or pasta," Margot Woelk, one of the food tasters, told the Associated Press in 2013.
Did he rant to his plants?

Like Parents, Like Son

The radical doesn't fall far from the tree:
Boudin was raised by Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, notorious former leaders of the Weather Underground domestic terror group, and formerly worked for the late socialist president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.

His campaign was fiercely opposed by the local police union, which reportedly spent more than $650,000 to counter his candidacy. Law enforcement officials have warned about the message being sent by his platform as the new top prosecutor rails against the criminal justice system he's been elected to lead.

“The criminal justice system isn’t just massive and brutal, it’s also racist,” Boudin says on his campaign website. “It’s a shocking set of statistics, building on centuries of systemic racism beginning with slavery and moving through Jim Crow, housing policy, and the Drug War.”
Uncle Chavez would be so proud...

Woman's' Workout

Antifa messed with the wrong person:
The Twitter account of Long Beach Antifa called LaRosa a "violent white nationalist," and pointed out to pay sites Cash App and Square that she's using them for charity — and wondered if Cash App and Square will "take action" against the MMA fighter.

LaRosa took screenshots of the tweets and asked a question of her own:

“So, let me get this straight... I break up a fight, saving one of their people from taking serious damage... And Antifa tries to deplatform me from yet another site? Awesome," she tweeted.

LaRosa's Cash App link in her Twitter profile was still online Wednesday, Fox Business said, adding that Cash App and Square didn't comment to the cable network.
Bullies never prosper...

Survivor: False Accusation Edition

Bad island?
During the show, Kim can be seen divulging her story to show producers, who reportedly handled the situation off-camera. Later during the episode, however, both Beisel and Byrd told each other that they exaggerated their claims in order to set him up for elimination and secure their own fates in the competition.

Beisel said that she will "play up that card in whatever way possible."

"I'll do it," she said.

Tables turned later on in the episode, however, when the two women were given a chance to vote for Kim to be kicked off of the reality show island over Spilo. Both Beisel and Byrd ended up voting to have Kim removed.

Spilo issued an apology later during the show.
I'm sure he wasn't exaggerating...

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Kid Corral

Don't tell those kids to behave:
The sign said, "Only well behaved Children who can keep their food on their trays and their bottoms on their seats are welcome. If you can't do this you will be asked to leave."

Hemsworth told KARE-TV that her 2-year-old son "doesn't always keep his fries on the tray or his bottom on the seat."

"It was kind of uncomfortable in the restaurant the time we were there," she added. "I have a toddler. I wasn't sure if it was because they didn't want to clean up messes. I always clean up my children's mess anyways, but it as an uncomfortable and stressful meal."

Hemsworth noted that she was "shocked" to see such a bold sign in the restaurant.

"It is a fast-food restaurant, it's not something with white tablecloths," she reasoned. "It's supposed to be family-oriented as far as I knew."
And aren't families-including parents-supposed to know how to act in public?

The Know Nothing

He does not know this whistleblower of whom you speak:

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Praise Climate Change

It's officially a cult:
"For a lot of us, protesting, marching, that's not something that we normally do. But you know what, these are times that call for us to do those things that we believe in and to march. And not just to march, 'cause that's important to show solidarity, but then to do those things such as voter registration, get people out to vote. So that we can have people here who truly are committed to human rights, environmental rights, climate change -- Believe in climate change as though it's a religion, it's not, it's science -- and all the things that remains (sic) to be done. And that is a lot. This is a very divided country, and these are not normal times."
So which climate change denomination are people supposed to pass the plate at?

Still The Same

Welcome to the new Saudi Arabia, same as the old one:
The animated clip posted on Twitter at the weekend by a verified account of the State Security Presidency said "all forms of extremism and perversion are unacceptable".

It listed those concepts alongside takfir - the Islamist militant practice of labelling followers of other schools of Islam unbelievers.

"Don't forget that excess of anything at the expense of the homeland is considered extremism," said the promo's voiceover.
....

Under Saudi law, supporting groups classified as extremist organisations can lead to imprisonment.

Homosexuality and atheism have long been illegal and punishable by death in the absolute monarchy, where public protests and political parties are banned and the media is tightly controlled.
Freedom is a dirty word...