Thursday, October 27, 2016

Take your time

Figure out what you want to be, like Hailey Whitters "Late Bloomer"

An old song* gets new life

From the pen of Jim Morin


And the lawyers are already working to get around it

It may actually be closing the barn door after the horses got out, but the FCC has approved new rules for Internet providers requiring explicit customer opt-in before sharing many types of customer information with third parties.
Federal regulators have approved unprecedented new rules to ensure broadband providers do not abuse their customers' app usage and browsing history, mobile location data and other sensitive personal information generated while using the Internet.

The rules, passed Thursday in a 3-to-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission, require Internet providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, to obtain their customers' explicit consent before using or sharing that behavioral data with third parties, such as marketing firms.

Also covered by that requirement are health data, financial information, Social Security numbers and the content of emails and other digital messages. The measure allows the FCC to impose the opt-in rule on other types of information in the future, but certain types of data, such as a customer's IP address and device identifier, are not subject to the opt-in requirement. The rules also force service providers to tell consumers clearly what data they collect and why, as well as to take steps to notify customers of data breaches.

“It's the consumers' information,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “How it is used should be the consumers' choice. Not the choice of some corporate algorithm.”

In the near term, what consumers see and experience on the Web is unlikely to change as a result of the rules; targeted advertising has become a staple of the Internet economy and will not be going away. But the regulations may lead to new ways in which consumers can control their Internet providers' business practices. That could mean dialogue boxes, new websites with updated privacy policies or other means of interaction with companies.
We can now expect a two pronged approach to countering this from Big Telecom. First will be a bums rush on their favorite Republican lawmakers to pass laws overruling the FCC and the second will be a rash of lawsuits to suspend or overturn the rules if they can get them into the right courts. And in the end they will probably keep on selling our info and counting the individual settlements as a cost of doing business.

The courts say you can do it

But those states determined to prevent you from voting are taking their own sweet time enforcing the courts decree. So close to the election, what might be simple heel dragging becomes an effective way of avoiding a court ruling not to the liking of TPTB.
U.S. voting rights advocates scored a string of courtroom victories this year that rolled back some of the nation's most restrictive voting laws. Now they face another challenge: making sure those rulings are not undermined by officials who oversee elections at the local level.

With early voting already under way ahead of the Nov. 8 election, local officials in several states are trying to enforce restrictions that have been suspended or struck down in court, civil rights advocates say. In some cases, the action appears to be the result of bureaucratic confusion. In other cases, they appear to be actively resisting the law.

"There are still too many places where voting is going to be difficult and confusing, not easy and straightforward," said Leah Aden, senior counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

The foot-dragging by local officials adds another element of uncertainty to what already promises to be a volatile election.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that states with a history of racial discrimination don't have to win approval from the U.S. Justice Department when they want to change the way they conduct elections - the first time the Deep South will be free of federal oversight since 1964.

That same ruling has also hobbled the Justice Department's ability to dispatch observers to potentially troublesome spots, raising concerns that it will be harder to deal with any problems that unfairly stop voters from casting their ballots.

Voters in 14 states will also face new voting restrictions, from scaled-back early voting hours to photo-identification requirements, according to New York University's Brennan Center for Justice. Roughly 10 percent of eligible voters do not have a government-issued photo ID, including a disproportionate share of minority, poor, student and elderly voters.

Voting rights advocates have managed to roll back some of those restrictions in Texas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Kansas, Ohio and Wisconsin, potentially making it easier for millions of people to vote in states that have the potential to determine the outcome of the election.

Not all court challenges have been successful. Civil rights groups in Arizona have failed to defeat a new law that makes it illegal for them to collect absentee ballots by hand, a popular practice in Hispanic and Native American neighborhoods. Republican legislators said the law was needed to combat fraud, though they could cite no examples.
Few people follow the rulings of various courts closely enough to make them general knowledge. Knowing that, the illegal restrictions can still be imposed on those who don't know better.

It works America

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A song about the environment

By the Colombian group with the French name Monsieur Periné "Lloré"

His aim sucks

From the pen of Matt Wuerker

Guaranteed obstruction

If anyone ever needed a reason to get up and vote Democratic they can read the remarks of Rep Jason Chaffetz on what he expects to do in the next Congress.
Jason Chaffetz, the Utah congressman wrapping up his first term atop the powerful House Oversight Committee, unendorsed Donald Trump weeks ago. That freed him up to prepare for something else: spending years, come January, probing the record of a President Hillary Clinton.

“It’s a target-rich environment,” the Republican said in an interview in Salt Lake City’s suburbs. “Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”

If Republicans retain control of the House, something that GOP-friendly maps make possible even in the event of a Trump loss, Clinton will become the first president since George H.W. Bush to immediately face a House Oversight Committee controlled by the opposition party. (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama lost Congress later in their presidencies.)

And other Republican leaders say they support Chaffetz’s efforts — raising the specter of more partisan acrimony between them and the White House for the next four years.

“The rigorous oversight conducted by House Republicans has already brought to light troubling developments in the [Hillary] Clinton email scandal,” the office of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement to The Washington Post. “The speaker supports [Oversight’s] investigative efforts following where the evidence leads, especially where it shows the need for changes in the law.”

And the Oversight Committee may not be the only House panel ready for partisan battle. While the Select Committee on Benghazi appears to have finished its work, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a committee member who says Clinton might have perjured herself on questions about her email, said recently that he wants the committee to continue.

If she wins, Clinton would enter office with low favorable ratings and only one-third of voters considering her “honest and trustworthy.” As a result, Republicans are not inclined to give her a political honeymoon. To many of them, a Clinton victory would mean that Trump threw away an election that anyone else could have won.
Ostensibly elected to be part of the government, the Republicans in Congress are planning to impose their destructive anarchy on the woman who has kicked their asses for years. I would suggest that as there is no such thing as a clean politician, Ms. Clinton should appoint a capable partisan Attorney General to put orange jumpsuits on those in Congress who don't want to do their jobs.

Republican autosarcophagy

As the disaster known as Trump approaches its electoral Waterloo, the Republican Party is looking forward to the post election period. What they see is a grand division between the old party committed to obstruction and delegitimizing Democrats and the new party of Trumpoons, Teabaggers and various racist bigot scum devoted to absolute and total anarchy.
Though a victory by Mrs. Clinton is far from a foregone conclusion, what does seem clear is that the frustrations and anxieties that fueled Mr. Trump’s rise will not be fleeting. And a defeat of Mr. Trump — which he has already darkly alluded to as part of a plot to disenfranchise his supporters — could further inflame those on the right whose goal all along has been to disrupt the country’s political system.

Some of the loudest voices on the right seem poised to channel that anger into one of their favorite and most frequent pursuits: eating their own.

Some in the deeply factionalized Republican Party, including Mr. Trump and some of his senior aides, are already fanning the flames for a revolt against the House speaker, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, once Congress reconvenes after the election. Mr. Trump, who has lashed out at the speaker for being critical of him, has privately said that Mr. Ryan should pay a price for his disloyalty, according to two people close to Mr. Trump who insisted on anonymity to describe internal campaign discussions.

Mr. Trump made his frustrations plain on Tuesday. “The people are very angry with the leadership of this party, because this is an election that we will win, 100 percent, if we had support from the top,” he said in an interview with Reuters. (He hastened to add: “I think we’re going to win it anyway.”)

Mr. Trump’s role in a postelection Republican Party is far from clear. Though some of his senior advisers have discussed the possibility that he would continue to be a vocal and visible antagonist to Mrs. Clinton — much as Sarah Palin was to President Obama — it is unclear that he would have any interest in doing so.
Having pissed on the petunias and shit in the punch bowl, Donald has done what he set out to do and will fly off into the sunset. With a total lack of any kind of leadership, the Republican Party having already turned upon itself will hopefully collapse into a smoking stinking heap of ruin, Conservatives will proceed to consume themselves instead of the country..

Stephen Colbert stands up for Planned Flaghood

Stephen Colbert on the Trump Flag Hump

They finally pinned something on Hillary

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

If you live long enough

You get to be a fan of the children of musicians that you were a fan of when we were all younger, like Chelsea Crowell, daughter of Rodney Crowell and Rosanne Cash. From her album Crystal City, "I'm Gonna Freeze"

What those other people are for

From the pen of Tom Toles

Just because the judge said so

Do not expect the GOP to let you register and vote. The laws designed to suppress your vote will still be enforced by people who say they haven't been told otherwise.
While Donald J. Trump repeatedly claims that the election is “rigged” against him, voting rights groups are increasingly battling something more concrete in this year’s ferocious wars over access to the ballot box: Despite a string of court victories against restrictive voting laws passed by Republican legislatures, even when voting rights groups win in court, they are at risk of losing on the ground.

In an election year when turnout could be crucial, a host of factors — foot-dragging by states, confusion among voters, the inability of judges to completely roll back bias — are blunting the effect of court rulings against the laws.

Last month in Texas, a federal court that invalidated that state’s voter ID law in July ordered recalcitrant state officials to change their public education campaign on new ID rules. The reason: Critics complained that the campaign muddied the central point of the court’s ruling, that voters without a state-approved ID could simply sign an affidavit to cast a ballot. In Kansas, the chief elections official, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, agreed last month to add nearly 20,000 properly registered voters to the state’s rolls only after being threatened with contempt of court.

And this month in North Carolina, plaintiffs complained to a judge that early-voting plans in five populous counties, including Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County, embraced some of the same discriminatory practices that federal courts had outlawed this summer. That came after two senior Republican Party officials advised local elections boards in emails to choose polling places and voting hours that inconvenience minorities and other Democratic-leaning constituencies.

To Barry Burden, who directs the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, such spats mirror a growing and worrisome use of election rules as tools to win elections, not run them fairly.

“When competition filters into making the rules themselves, it’s a recipe for disaster,” he said.

The courts’ effort to loosen voter ID laws “in practice so far has not fixed problems for voters facing special burdens to produce identification,” Richard L. Hasen, a University of California, Irvine, law professor and elections expert, wrote in The Wisconsin Law Review last month.

The Republicans who devised the laws call them both fair and necessary. In federal court, lawyers for Wisconsin have called its election rules “voter friendly” compared with those of many states, and said the court’s voter ID order was so lax that any excuse for lacking proper identification documents, including that “the DMV is haunted,” was sufficient.

But the crux of the Republicans’ argument is less whimsical: Tough election laws, they argue, are needed to keep Democrats from stealing elections. “What I find is that leaders of the other party are against efforts to crack down on voter fraud,” Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, a Republican, said in March. Numerous studies and surveys of voting show the opposite: Election fraud is rare, and the in-person fraud that the laws could prevent is virtually absent.

Wisconsin, too, has been hauled into court for failing to obey a judge’s order. On Oct. 7, after Judge James D. Peterson of Federal District Court read articles in The Nation and The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel documenting problems with the ID program, he summoned state officials to explain themselves.

The officials acknowledged flaws in the ID-issuing process and promised to fix them. But barely two weeks earlier, they had maintained in a report to the court that the ID process was running smoothly and that clerks in motor vehicle offices had been trained to deal with applicants.

That claim was belied when Molly McGrath, the national coordinator for the voting rights group VoteRiders, dispatched her mother to request help in getting an ID at 10 motor vehicle offices across the state. Few could navigate the application process. “They’re changing things so quick that it’s hard for us to keep up,” one clerk told her. Another, apparently unaware of the court’s order to issue IDs promptly, told her that “nothing’s guaranteed.”
Just too many people to throw in jail for engineering a long term effort to prevent the "wrong people" from voting.

Can Donald Trump Lose Texas

Well, he is a Texas sized asshole and his campaign from the beginning has been a Texas sized pile of shit so while the final outcome is debatable, he has brought the election to a point close enough to debate.
“This year, it appears anything is possible, but a Clinton victory in Texas remains extremely unlikely,” said Mark P. Jones, a political science fellow at the Baker Institute of Rice University in Houston.

But some Democrats, pointing to the recent polls, see it differently. They predict a large turnout by black and Latino voters. And they have become energized as the Clinton campaign has opened offices and run TV ads in Texas and as local Republican-to-Democrat defections have made the news. Lauren Parish, a Republican judge in East Texas, said on Friday that she was leaving the party and becoming a Democrat because she saw “no way of reconciling my Christian beliefs with the manner in which the Republican Party is conducting itself.”

Gilberto Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, said of Mrs. Clinton, “I think she can carry Texas.”

“We’re looking at this cleareyed, but we have never been this close in a presidential election, at least for many years,” he said. “This election may be different because Republicans irresponsibly nominated someone who is just so far out there in every aspect.”

Lionel Sosa, 77, a Republican media consultant in San Antonio who created ads for Ronald Reagan and other Republicans, said he would vote for Mrs. Clinton, calling it a “protest vote.”

State Representative Richard Peña Raymond, a Laredo Democrat who is the Texas political director for the Clinton campaign, said that as Mr. Trump has angered women, Mexican-Americans and moderate Republicans, he has helped Mrs. Clinton gain support.

“The longer this campaign keeps going, the less support Trump has in Texas and the more support Hillary has in Texas,” he said. “Each day is a good day for Hillary and it almost appears like each day is a bad day for Trump. I don’t think it’s specific to Texas.”
Trump's campaign has had two complimentary effects. It has driven some Republicans to vote Democratic or at least not vote for Trump. And it is bringing people to the polls who have not voted before or had given up trying to elect decent people. This year their choice is a no-brainer. We will have to wait until Election Night to see if it is enough.

People who have never owned one or touched one

Samantha Bee takes a moment away from the election to look at Catholic "Dogmatic Health"

Truth can be scarier than fiction

Monday, October 24, 2016

Stopped by for the PT-22 primary trainer

And stayed for the music from Minnesota's Haley Bonar. "Kill The Fun" from her Last War album.

Talk about aliens

The intrepid reporter Tom Tomorrow has discovered who, or rather what, is the real Donald Trump.

How about a discount this time?

From the pen of Matt Davies

Location, location, location

Still a key element in retail and now a prime element in the length of your sentence if you rape your daughter. One man in California gets 1503 years for his multiple rapes and another man in Montana gets 60 days for pleading to one count.
Several factors could explain the sentencing disparity between the two rape cases.

For one, the father from Glasgow in eastern Montana pleaded guilty to only one count of incest to receive a lighter sentence. Two other counts were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Rene Lopez, of Fresno, was found guilty by a jury of 186 felony charges, including 22 counts of rape of a minor and 163 counts of rape. The trial lasted 11 days, court records show.

Lopez could have received a much lighter sentence.

Prosecutors offered him a plea deal twice, the Fresno Bee reported. The first offer could have secured him a prison sentence of 13 years, at most; the second, 22 years. But Lopez rejected both offers and chose to go to trial instead.

According to the Fresno Bee, Lopez raped his then-teenage daughter from May 2009 to May 2013. She was raped two to three times a week, on Christmas and other holidays.

In a statement explaining his decision, McKeon, the Montana judge, said the victim’s mother and grandmother wrote letters asking for the defendant to not be sent to prison, the Associated Press reported. While his actions were horrible, the man has two sons who love and need him, the women wrote.

Nobody spoke on the victim’s behalf, according to the AP.

In Montana, prosecutors did not challenge a psychosexual evaluation’s findings that the defendant could be safely treated and supervised in the community, the AP reported.

McKeon explained that although the plea agreement recommended a sentence of 25 years, it also provided for a lesser sentence depending on the results of the psychosexual evaluation. Under Montana state law, defendants may not face the mandatory 25-year prison sentence for incest involving children age 12 and younger if an evaluation finds that they can be rehabilitated.

Montana’s sentencing policies “encourage and provide opportunities for an offender’s self-improvement, rehabilitation and reintegration back into a community,” McKeon wrote in his statement, according to the AP.

A clinical social worker also testified that the defendant is not likely to commit a similar crime if properly treated. Public defender Casey Moore said the man is remorseful and has cooperated with law enforcement,
What kind of a horrid family life did the victim have when neither her mother nor her grandmother said anything on her behalf but stood up for the rapist instead? And what difference does his remorse and his psych exam matter if he serves no significant time for it? Location, location, location.

R.I.P. Robert Thomas Velline

Bobby Vee, you filled the period between Buddy Holly and The Beatles with some great tunes.

R.I.P. Thomas Emmet Hayden

From your college activism to your final days you talked the talk AND walked the walk. And you still couldn't please everyone.

Trump gets his first real newspaper endorsement

And it turns out to be the newspaper that Sheldon Adelson had to buy so it would stop saying mean, but truthful, things about him.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal became the first major newspaper to endorse Donald Trump for president this election season, stating that, while the candidate has flaws, he'll bring needed disruption and change to Washington.

"Mr. Trump represents neither the danger his critics claim nor the magic elixir many of his supporters crave," the paper said in its endorsement. "But he promises to be a source of disruption and discomfort to the privileged, back-scratching political elites for whom the nation's strength and solvency have become subservient to power's pursuit and preservation."

Trump tweeted, "Thank you Las Vegas Review Journal" with a link to the editorial.

The paper was bought by Sheldon Adelson last year, a major Republican donor who is also another billionaire linked to casinos. It remained unclear who bought the newspaper at the time of the deal, but many speculated whoever it was – that person really wanted to own this newspaper.

Soon after, it was reported that Adelson bought the Review-Journal for a whopping $140 million.

"Suspicions about his motives for paying a lavish $140 million for the newspaper last month are based on his reputation in Las Vegas as a figure comfortable with using his money in support of his numerous business and political concerns," the New York Times reported in January.

The Review-Journal has a circulation of about 98,000 daily, 119,000 on Sundays and "remains a prime target for anyone seeking to influence voters in Nevada," The Post's media critic Paul Farhi wrote.
Probably a moment of remorse by Shelly since he was no longer giving money to the Trump campaign/circus.

John Oliver is still following the election campaigns

By now it must be some sort of obsessive, compulsive thing.

Just forget about those little things

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Wishing You Well

Charlene Soraia from he Crypt Session

Seeing the world through rigged glasses

From the pen of Brian McFadden

Veteran threatens notorious lobbyist's bagman

In the Missouri Senate race the Democrat is someone who can field strip an AR-a5 and reassemble it blindfolded. The Republican is an old slug who made a fortune snuggling with lobbyists and who couldn't give a damn about the people in his state if they aren't making him richer. As a result, the race is tighter than normal.
For much of the year, Democrats viewed Jason Kander as a perfect Senate candidate running in the wrong state.

A charismatic former military intelligence officer and Missouri’s current secretary of state, Mr. Kander, 35, faced an entrenched Republican incumbent in a place where Donald J. Trump seemed destined to win.

Then Mr. Kander released a television ad last month in which he put an AR-15 assault rifle together blindfolded while reciting a script about gun rights, and started assailing his rival, Senator Roy D. Blunt, on his lobbyist ties.

Suddenly, it was game on. Mr. Kander’s poll numbers soared. So did the panic among Republicans trying to save Mr. Blunt, and possibly their Senate majority.

Mr. Kander’s ascent is the starkest demonstration of the volatile and at times confounding dynamics of the battle for control of the Senate, with at least six races in a statistical dead heat just over two weeks before Election Day.

Surprisingly, Democrats have improved their chances in places like Missouri and North Carolina, where they seemed to have no shot just six months ago, while they have all but given up in Ohio and pulled their money out of Florida, where prospects had seemed bright. Republicans continue to cling to hope in New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania, despite what looks like faltering support for Mr. Trump in those states.

“With two weeks to go, control of the Senate is up for grabs,” said Nathan Gonzales, editor of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report. “If Republicans can break even in the tossup states, they have a chance to maintain control. But if the landscape shifts just a couple of points against Republican candidates, Democrats will capture the majority.”

In perhaps the oddest quirk of a decidedly erratic year, Mr. Kander may be benefiting from Mr. Trump’s anti-establishment message. Mr. Blunt, who has served in Congress since 1997 and whose family is chockablock with lobbyists, is the archetypal boogeyman Mr. Trump has attacked in his assault on Washington insiders.

Mr. Kander often finds Trump and Clinton supporters at his campaign events — people who fight among themselves, he said, even as they share support for him.
A very clear example of one of the many ways that Trump will drag the Republicans to a much deserved oblivion.

You can buy it at the corner store

But be careful where you carry it afterwards. Not every place is marijuana friendly, even in states that let you buy it retail, as one city attorney found out to his cost.
On July 8, 2014, the first day that retail stores began selling marijuana in Washington state, Holmes went to Cannabis City in Seattle and plopped down $80 for two 2-gram bags of weed. Then he went back to his office and put the drugs on his desk, not realizing that even though his purchase was legal under state law he had just violated the city’s drug-free workplace policy.

“It was a completely inadvertent violation, but it was a violation nonetheless,” said Holmes, who apologized and fined himself $3,000, donating the money to Seattle’s downtown emergency services.

If prosecutors can’t keep up with the maze of competing marijuana laws these days, one might forgive regular folks who feel a little hazy about them.

And workplace attorneys say the issue promises to become even more puzzling for employers and employees alike on Nov. 8, when voters will decide whether to allow or expand legal access to marijuana in nine more states.

Pot backers hope that all or most of the ballot measures pass, making 2016 the point of no return in the long drive to end federal marijuana prohibition. On Nov. 9, recreational marijuana could be legal in states that represent nearly a quarter of the U.S. population.

As a result, larger companies with multistate operations will have the most homework, scrambling to figure out how to deal with employees who work in jurisdictions with differing marijuana laws.

“The labyrinth of laws are going to become even more complicated and complex,” said Tad Devlin, a professional liability partner at Kaufman Dolowich and Voluck in San Francisco who counsels employers and insurers on marijuana issues in the workplace. “What it’s going to do is create more uncertainly and potential for dispute claims and even litigation.”
So many laws, rules and regulations piled up since marijuana was declared illegal make a legal minefield for sellers and users alike. And while many will be changed or ignored, a thorough housecleaning is definitely in order.

Not So Great Expectations

Saturday, October 22, 2016


Bonnie Bishop from her sixth album, Ain't Who I Was

It's what Pooty would do

From the pen of Jeff Danziger

Wars cost money

And nowadays sometimes you have to pay a bounty to get people to sign up. And now that the crunch is over, the auditors think that some of the ones who took those bounties were overpaid and have to pay it back.
Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.

But soldiers say the military is reneging on 10-year-old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on veterans whose only mistake was to accept bonuses offered when the Pentagon needed to fill the ranks.

“These bonuses were used to keep people in,” said Christopher Van Meter, a 42-year-old former Army captain and Iraq veteran from Manteca, Calif., who says he refinanced his home mortgage to repay $25,000 in reenlistment bonuses and $21,000 in student loan repayments that the Army says he should not have received. “People like me just got screwed.”

In Iraq, Van Meter was thrown from an armored vehicle turret — and later awarded a Purple Heart for his combat injuries — after the vehicle detonated a buried roadside bomb.

The problem offers a dark perspective on the Pentagon’s use of hefty cash incentives to fill its all-volunteer force during the longest era of warfare in the nation’s history.

Even Guard officials concede that taking back the money from military veterans is distasteful.

“At the end of the day, the soldiers ended up paying the largest price,” said Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, deputy commander of the California Guard. “We’d be more than happy to absolve these people of their debts. We just can’t do it. We’d be breaking the law.”

Facing enlistment shortfalls and two major wars with no end in sight, the Pentagon began offering the most generous incentives in its history to retain soldiers in the mid-2000s.

It also began paying the money up front, like the signing bonuses that some businesses pay in the civilian sector.
Yes, it's a dirty job, but now that they did it, we want the money back.

Donald Trump loves to sue

Right now he is a little busy throwing the presidential campaign to Hillary Clinton with all his might. But when he is done boy is he gonna get his lawyers working hard to sue all those "nasty Girls" who accussed him of sexual assault groping and harassment.
Donald Trump delivered a message Saturday to the women who have accused him of sexually molesting them over the years: Prepare to be sued.

Campaigning in Pennsylvania on Saturday, Trump called the women's accusations falsehoods bent on damaging his campaign in its final weeks.

"Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign," Trump said during a speech in which he also rolled out his plans for his first 100 days in office. "Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over."

So far, nearly a dozen women have spoken publicly about Trump groping or kissing them in the past.

Many of Trump's accusers have come forward this month after the release of a 2005 audio recording in which Trump can be heard making lewd comments and boasting about groping women.

On Saturday, another accuser is set to make a public statement about Trump groping her.
One reason why they didn't come forward earlier has been the threat of legal action. Most of the women can't afford the lawyers needed to fight the Great Vindictive Asshole on equal terms.

Russian naval aviation goes to war

The only Russian aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kusnetzov, is heading toward the Mediterranean to take part in actions in Syria.
If the 15 warplanes on board the Admiral Kuznetsov join the bombardment of Syria, the carrier will have its first active combat role since it was launched more than three decades ago as part of a last gasp by the fading Soviet Union to challenge American naval power.

That is seemingly the intent of the carrier’s current mission — the latest move by President Vladimir V. Putin to flex Russian military muscle abroad and project power anywhere in the world by dispatching a floating air base.

“It is part of Russia signaling that it is back on the world stage, that it is once again a maritime power,” said Magnus Nordenman, the director of the trans-Atlantic security initiative at the Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington.

In addition, the battle group adds to Russia’s military leverage in diplomatic negotiations with the United States and other Western powers over the future of Syria. Russia has also repeatedly used the Syrian war as a kind of infomercial for its weapons sales.

For the moment, Russia has suspended combat operations in Aleppo, Syria, to give rebel fighters and civilians a chance to escape the siege. Driving the opposition from Aleppo would pave the way for Mr. Assad to rule over some manner of rump state; there is little optimism for a permanent truce.

“The deployment is mainly intended to park an 800-pound gorilla off Syria’s coast to intimidate all comers,” said Cliff Kupchan, the chairman of the Eurasia Group, a Washington-based political risk consultancy.

Many military analysts see the Admiral Kuznetsov as merely a 200-pound gorilla, and consider it a gamble to play gunboat diplomacy with a lumbering tub fit for the scrap heap. The latest excursion is only the eighth long-distance mission for the aircraft carrier, which has been something of a lemon from the start.

“I would sum up its history as ‘tortured,’” Mr. Nordenman said.

The carrier underwent repairs from 1996 to 1998, from 2001 to 2004, and in 2008, and its deck and electronic plant were replaced in the past two years, according to Russian news reports.

It is expected back in dry dock after the Syria deployment because its propulsion system needs to be replaced.

Whenever it went to sea over the years, the Admiral Kuznetsov was prone to accidents.

The United States Navy came to its aid during one Mediterranean training exercise in 1996, when the machinery used to distill fresh water from seawater malfunctioned, leaving its crew of nearly 2,000 sailors with a severe shortage of fresh water. The carrier polluted the Irish Sea at one point with a gigantic oil spill, and a fire on board killed a crew member in 2009.

The technology used to launch airplanes is considered obsolete. Most modern carriers fling their fighter jets skyward with a kind of catapult, allowing them to carry a full contingent of fuel and weapons. Planes launched from the Admiral Kuznetsov wobble aloft from a sort of ski jump, forcing them to take off without a full load.

The warship will hug the Syrian coastline, allowing planes to perform bombing runs and return to the ship’s deck before running out of fuel, according to an unidentified source cited by the Tass news agency.

The deployment will include the first of the new MiG-29K/KUB fighters, a modernized version of that MiG jet, and the Su-33a, as well as 15 helicopters, according to Tass. “This is a potent force,” said Prokhor Tebin, a Russian who writes a blog about the country’s navy.
So after this trip "Smoky Nick" will have to have its propulsion systems replaced, assuming it doesn't damage itself enough to justify scrapping it. In the Soviet Navy, the only thing more dangerous to its crew than the Kuznetsov is a nuclear sub.

Words to vote by

Friday, October 21, 2016

I wonder if she had any money left

Sheryl Crow - "Leaving Las Vegas"

She is ready for her big finish

From the pen of Joe Heller

When in doubt throw it out

And that is what the Teabagger Secretary of State John Husted is doing in Ohio to pesky ballot initiatives that would annoy his reactionary backers and perhaps break his rice bowl as he looks forward to running for governor.
This September, county-level "community bills of rights" in Medina, Portage, Athens and Meigs were removed from these Ohio counties' respective ballots, despite all four gathering enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The bills of rights would have banned fracking-related projects, established enforceable rights for ecosystems and carved out powers for localities to improve state protections for health, safety and welfare. Some, like Medina's, would have halted construction on the fiercely contested NEXUS fracked-gas pipeline.

But as a result of the removal of these measures from local ballots, no votes will be cast. They were removed by county boards of elections working closely with the Secretary of State to apply stringent pre-election requirements.

It is a virtual repeat of 2015, when the Ohio Supreme Court sided with Secretary of State and gubernatorial hopeful Jon Husted in a decision that effectively pulled four county-wide initiatives -- in Medina, Fulton, Meigs and Athens counties -- from their ballots, ahead of the November 2015 elections.

The 2015 court battle came after Husted claimed "unfettered authority" to determine the legality of local initiatives before they go to a vote. It was a baseless legal argument that flew in the face of established legal precedent that defines a secretary of state's role in the ballot process as procedural, and which protects petitions from legal or constitutional challenges before citizens get a chance to vote. The court struck down Husted's proclamation but sided with him on a technicality -- and the initiatives were removed.

Decisions, such as this, which sidestep the democratic process, maintain predictable "investment climates" for the oil and gas industry, and perpetuate the illusion of consensus and the notion that somehow issues regarding the oil and gas industry are democracy-immune. The industry -- wary of a domino effect -- does not want the thought that oil and gas extraction can be governed by citizen-crafted law to spread, for fear that if it does, it will do so rapidly. The very concept of putting fracking to a vote is dangerous to the oil and gas companies' agenda. It is why they worked so hard to squelch attempts at 2016 statewide anti-fracking ballot measures in Colorado and Michigan.

This is not the first fracking-related standoff in recent Ohio history. Since 2012, Ohioans working with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund have passed community bills of rights in Yellow Springs, Broadview Heights, Oberlin and Athens, and proposed over a dozen more that either failed at the ballot or were removed from the ballot before votes could take place.

Heading into 2016, activists, seemingly undeterred by the 2015 setback, crafted new initiatives with painstaking attention to detail on the "form of government" requirement. Some went so far as to explain how county coroners would be compensated under the new charters.

But their efforts were not enough to satisfy Husted or the local county boards of elections. Ultimately, all four county measures were removed from the ballot for not delineating every single specific responsibility of all county officials.

Husted appoints all the county boards of elections. In one county, he tapped Ohio Gas Association President Jimmy Stewart. And this spring, Husted organized a fundraiser with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. Husted has also earned infamy for his attacks on early voting and trimming of the state's voter registration rolls.
Beyond depriving voters of access to their democratic process, Husted's activities also highlight the necessity of paying attention to down ballot elections especially those in off years. It is unlikely that anything will be done before the removal of people like Husted and Gov. Kasich.

Trying to prove they can police themselves

The area of online lending should be an area that calls for stronger regulation than standard brick and mortar lending. As of now it has less and the industry is quietly. desperately trying to prove they don't need any more regulation.
A central plank of their strategy is to prove that the industry can tame itself without the need for additional government intervention. By distancing themselves from payday lenders and other businesses whose predatory tactics have drawn regulatory fire, online lenders hope to avoid a similar crackdown.

The up-and-coming industry, which offers fast access to loans for consumers and small businesses, is trying to recover from a difficult summer. Renaud Laplanche, the founder of Lending Club, one of the largest online lenders matching potential borrowers with would-be investors, resigned in May over the mishandling of some loans. Soon after that, several companies, including Lending Club, Prosper Marketplace and Avant, announced that they were cutting jobs because of falling demand from investors.

At the same time, consumer advocates have increased warnings that a lack of federal oversight of the lenders could leave some borrowers with unduly high fees or shut out of the market altogether.

But the lenders are beginning to regroup. They have hired lobbyists, mingled at a slate of financial technology conferences and appeared eager to tell their story before lawmakers and regulators start drafting new rules.

“At a minimum, you want policy makers to understand the nuts and bolts of your business, so they give you a fair shake,” said Brandon R. Barford, a partner at Beacon Policy Advisors, a Washington research firm.

Last year, a group of firms and small-business experts called the Responsible Business Lending Coalition published a “bill of rights” for borrowers of small-business loans and other credit products. Dozens of lenders representing community development financial institutions and online companies have signed on to the agreement, which calls for clear disclosures, no hidden penalty fees and high confidence that a borrower will be able to repay the loan, among other provisions.
Regulated procedures and penalties for violations would do much to shine the light of respectability on the industry, but it would severely reduce the opportunity for big and fast profit before the law catches up.

Looks like they are making a second attack

A denial of service attack this morning on DYN shut down a number of websites including Twitter, Spotify and Reddit.
Service of some major internet sites was disrupted for several hours on Friday morning as internet infrastructure provider Dyn said it was hit by a cyber attack that disrupted traffic mainly on the U.S. East Coast.

Social network Twitter (TWTR.N), music-streamer Spotify, discussion site Reddit and The Verge news site were among the companies whose services were reported to be down on Friday morning. Inc's (AMZN.O) web services division, one of the world's biggest cloud computing companies, also disclosed an outage that lasted several hours on Friday morning. Amazon could not immediately be reached for comment.

It was unclear who was responsible for the Dyn attack, which the company said disrupted operations for about two hours.
Twitter is down again around 12:30 Eastern time.

Scott Brown finds an acorn

And doesn't know what it is.

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