Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sinful Wishing Well

Caitlin Rose

I'll second that!

From the pen of Jim Morin

Financial rescue for Puerto Rico?

Or is it a hidden bailout for the hedge funds who recklessly poured $Billions into the island when they had a favorable tax treatment? One thing is certain, the people of Puerto Rico are going to be squeezed to within an inch of their lives by the upcoming austerity that will be imposed on them.
The Senate passed the bill on a bipartisan 68-30 vote, three weeks after the House overwhelmingly backed the measure. The vote came two days before the island is supposed to make a $2bn payment to creditors. Obama is expected to move quickly and sign the legislation.

Puerto Rico is in a decade-long recession and has $70bn in debt. Thousands have fled the territory for the US mainland. Businesses on the island have closed, schools have struggled with limited electricity, and hospitals have asked for cash payment in advance for some medication.

The legislation would create a control board to oversee the US territory’s finances and supervise some debt restructuring. It would not provide any direct financial aid to the territory, but leaders warned that a bailout could eventually become necessary if Congress doesn’t take this step.

“If we don’t act before the island misses a critical debt payment deadline this Friday, matters will only get worse for Puerto Rico and for taxpayers,” warned Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has warned the US territory would face multiple lawsuits if the bill is not approved, especially following Friday’s anticipated default on $1bn in general obligation bonds. The legislation would temporarily block creditor lawsuits from being filed until February 2017.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday in a bid to persuade some reluctant Democrats concerned that the board would be too powerful. Democrats have also opposed a provision that would allow the island’s government to lower the minimum wage for some younger workers.

Lew urged senators to vote for the bill even though it isn’t perfect, saying that if the island defaults, the government may be forced to shut public transit, close a hospital, or send police officers home.
In the old days of honest financial dealings, lenders would accept the risk they took and take whatever could be salvaged. Nowadays, the Big Swinging Dicks on Wall St expect their "victims" to make them whole regardless of the circumstances. Congress will never suggest, much less require, that the BSD take a haircut on their investments.

They don't know where they're going, but they're going

That's an old phrase from WW II repeated by troops shipping out to combat. They couldn't be told where for security reasons but they went because the military gave them no choice. For somewhat different reasons, the same may be said of Trumpoons. And their support of Brexit is the latest example of a demographic driven by multiple emotions and few if any conscious reasons.
Many of his supporters at a rally in a college gymnasium in Ohio shared Trump’s support for Brexit, seeing the vote as a step towards Great Britain being liberated from Europe.

Cathy Brown, a Trump voter who drove seven hours from outside Richmond, Virginia, though British voters “made a good choice to become free”. She celebrated the fact that the vote “means that people can make their own choices they can decide on a lot of things that were decided for them”. In her opinion, British voters will now “have say” on issues like “trade and open borders”.

Brown also dismissed concerns about the impact the deal will have on the US because now “we’ll be able to work out a deal that’s better to put us to work and get our people going” with the UK.

Her view was echoed by a voter named Paul, who declined to give his last name, from Carrolton, Ohio. Paul, a middle-aged mustached man wearing a Make America Great Again hat and a brightly colored T-shirt featuring Trump wielding an assault rifle behind a background of explosions and American flags, agreed that the vote was “good thing for Britain”. In his opinion, the referendum result means “they can be free, they don’t have to rely on anybody else to make their decisions. They can make their own.”

While an increasing number of decisions and regulations governing the UK emanated from Brussels, and parliamentary sovereignty was called into question in the aftermath of the 1990 Factortame decision by the European Court of Justice over a conflict between British law and EU law, Westminster still remained the fount of British government. Further, many civil liberties protections in the UK stem from the European Convention on Human Rights and legislation passed by Parliament – not the EU.

Another Trump supporter, Chris Shamey, from Dayton, Ohio, took a slightly different take on the vote. “Well, I think it’s because their government was corrupt and the people just got fed up,” he told the Guardian. When pressed for an example of government corruption, he took a long pensive pause and responded: “Good question, I can’t think of any right now.”
Having bought into his domestic nonsense, his supporters are going along with his Brexit nonsense but they don't know why. It sounds good and pushes all the right buttons in their angry and confused souls but in the end they are just saying "We don't know where we're going, but we're going".

A lesson some never learn

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Some might say too early

But back in 1958 The Poni-Tails thought they were "Born Too Late"

A 'can't miss' event

From the pen of Tom Toles

Couldn't even steal without stealing

One other scam run by some real frauds with Donald Trump's name on it was the Trump Institute. It was not only a scam but it was run by a couple on the run and used plagiarized materials to boot.
As with Trump University, the Trump Institute promised falsely that its teachers would be handpicked by Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump did little, interviews show, besides appear in an infomercial — one that promised customers access to his vast accumulated knowledge. “I put all of my concepts that have worked so well for me, new and old, into our seminar,” he said in the 2005 video, adding, “I’m teaching what I’ve learned.”

Reality fell far short. In fact, the institute was run by a couple who had run afoul of regulators in dozens of states and been dogged by accusations of deceptive business practices and fraud for decades. Similar complaints soon emerged about the Trump Institute.

Yet there was an even more fundamental deceit to the business, unreported until now: Extensive portions of the materials that students received after forking over their seminar fees, supposedly containing Mr. Trump’s special wisdom, had been plagiarized from an obscure real estate manual published a decade earlier.

Together, the exaggerated claims about his own role, the checkered pasts of the people with whom he went into business and the theft of intellectual property at the venture’s heart all illustrate the fiction underpinning so many of Mr. Trump’s licensing businesses: Putting his name on products and services — and collecting fees — was often where his actual involvement began and ended.

“That Trump Institute, what criminals they are,” said Carol Minto of West Haven, Conn., a retired court reporter who attended one seminar in 2009 and agreed to spend $1,997.94 to attend another before having second thoughts. She wound up requiring the help of two states’ attorneys general in getting a refund. “They wanted to steal my money,” she said.

The institute was another example of the Trump brand’s being accused of luring vulnerable customers with false promises of profit and success. Others, besides Trump University, include multilevel marketing ventures that sold vitamins and telecommunications services, and a vanity publisher that faced hundreds of consumer complaints.
A fake, a liar and a gold plated whore is there no end to the many sides of Doanld Trump?

Maybe he should buy a water park

Donald Trump has repeated his fascination with waterboarding, once again promising to bring it back bigger and better than ever! Along with other forms of totally illegal torture.
Donald Trump offered renewed support on Tuesday for the use of torture while repeatedly comparing a proposed free trade agreement to rape.

Trump, who has often praised the use of waterboarding and has spoken positively about alleged war crimes committed by American troops, said at a campaign rally, “We have to fight fire with fire”, after referencing the penchant for beheadings by Isis.

The presumptive Republican nominee claimed that while the terrorist group committed a range of atrocities including beheadings and drowning prisoners, the US was afraid to even use waterboarding. In Trump’s opinion, this left Isis believing that the US was weak and stupid and it needs to “fight so viciously and violently” to combat the threat.

Trump also renewed his praise of waterboarding, which was banned by the Bush administration in 2006 as both potentially illegal and ineffective. “What do you think about waterboarding?” Trump asked the crowd. They cheered as he gave his answer: “I like it a lot. I don’t think it’s tough enough.”

His comments came just hours after a terrorist attack on the Istanbul airport that caused dozens of deaths. Prior to taking the stage, Trump’s campaign issued a measured statement on the attack: “Our prayers are with the families of those killed and injured in Istanbul. The whole world is stunned and horrified.” At his Ohio rally, he said: “There is something going on that’s really, really bad.”
Torture and rape were what his minions wanted to hear and he didn't disappoint. His desire to disgrace the nation and violate our laws is understandable if you examine his character. What is depressing is how many people imagine they are in some cheap Bruce Willis/Mel Gibson movie and they will get to see all the "bad guys' blown up after their horrendous torture. And if Donny had a water park he could have one of those pools filled with piranha below his office so he could fire people the fun way.

If you own a car without a recall

By all means Keep It! In the latest series if large corporate errors, Toyota is officially recalling 3.4 Million cars for emissions problems and killer airbags.
The automaker announced Wednesday that it was recalling 2.87 million cars over a possible fault in emissions control units, according to Reuters. Toyota previously announced late Tuesday that 1.43 million cars needed repairs involving air bag inflators. Those recalls, in addition to some hybrid Prius models requiring repairs for defects, took the total to 3.37 million.

The largest auto recall in history goes to Ford, which also claims the most spots in the list of top 10 auto recalls. Ford recalled 21 million vehicles in 1980 due to an issue with parking gear, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Ford also recalled 4.1 million vehicles over seat belts in 1972, 7.9 million over ignition switch fires in 1996 and 15 million over a decade between 1999 and 2009 due to cruise-control issues, according to Quartz. That brings their total major recalls to about 48 million cars.

Besides the airbag and emission issues, Toyota has had two major recalls since 2010. Its worst was a highly publicized issue over sudden acceleration due to faulty gas pedals in 2010, which was linked to 12 deaths. It eventually resulted in 9 million cars being recalled and a $1.2 billion fine from the federal government.

Toyota also had to recall 7.4 million vehicles in 2012 due to faulty power windows.

Other automakers who made the top 10 recalls are Volkswagen — for recalling 8.5 million vehicles due to emissions cheating earlier in 2016 — and General Motors, for three recalls in the 1970s and 80s that totaled 16.2 million vehicles.
They have been making cars for over 100 years. You might think they could get it right by now.

The Sad Truth of Our Time

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Welsh lass singing about a Tasmanian Beach

Mary Hopkin singing "Temma Harbour"

No Nose Is Good Nose?

From the pen of Rebecca Hendin

That Creepy Guy Trey Gowdy Screws The Pooch

After two years of fruitless flailing everywhere they could with an expenditure of $7 Million, the Republican members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued and 800 page report that admits they found nothing in their latest attempt to dig up some dirt on Hilary Clinton.
Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.

The 800-page report, however, included some new details about the night of the attacks, and the context in which it occurred, and it delivered a broad rebuke of government agencies like the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department — and the officials who led them — for failing to grasp the acute security risks in Benghazi, and especially for maintaining outposts in there that they could not protect.
The report was good enough to not point out that Sec. Clinton had asked for increased funding for embassy security and the GOP in their wisdom not only turned down the request but cut more funding from the security budget. Just another example of Republican failure to provide any kind of security beyond their own jobs.

Republicans side with the mosquitos

The two mosquito species that currently carry the Zika virus that is. Nobody is going to do the research for free and as yet there is not a big enough market for Big Pharma to bother so that leaves the US government to finance the research. The bill to provide some funding despite it being an inadequate amount has died in the Senate. The cause of its demise was a pack of "poison pill" amendments inserted without debate by the Republican Senators.
A bill that would have allocated $1.1 billion in funding to combat Zika lost a procedural vote in the Senate on Tuesday amid partisan bickering.

The legislation failed to reach the 60 votes needed, with Democrats and Republicans voting largely along party lines, 52-48.

Democrats said they were forced to block the bill because Republicans had cut them out of bipartisan negotiations last week and inserted a number of “poison pill” measures, including cuts to Obamacare and Ebola research and a ban on funding for nongovernmental entities such as Planned Parenthood.

Democrats also complained that the bill would ease environmental regulations for pesticides and strip a ban on the Confederate flag flying at cemeteries, passed by the House of Representatives.

“This bill was designed to fail,” said Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

“The saddest thing is this was really cynical what (Republicans) did,” said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who voted against the bill. “They purposely put things in the bill that they knew would kill it so they could pretend they were doing something about Zika.”

The White House also had threatened a veto.

Blunt’s Democratic opponent in November’s elections, Jason Kander, already is attacking the senator over the bill’s failure.

“Senator Blunt has taken four months to put together a bill that not only fails to fully fund the Zika response, but also plays political games with a health emergency,” Kander said in a statement “Agreeing to include a provision that would block contraceptive funding, a critical tool in combating a sexually transmitted virus like Zika, shows that Senator Blunt is more interested in appeasing his party than addressing this pressing emergency. This is exactly why we need a new generation of leadership in Congress.”

More than 819 cases of Zika have been reported in the continental United States by people who contracted the disease while traveling abroad.
It's only a few hundred people, how bad can it get? As for those two mosquito species, one of them only started carrying the virus when it reached the US. How many more mosquito species will be able to carry it as it spreads?

Samantha Who

The Incredible Ms. Bee explains Brexit with the help of a pair of Scots Who will be easily recognized.

Texit-cans been around forever

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wine Women & Song

You have probably heard more of their songs than you have seen them sing. Matraca Berg, Gretchen Peters and Suzy Bogguss are prolific songwriters who have played the Opry but never caught the brass ring. "To Say Goodbye"

Normal a la Trump

What will we consider normal if Donald Trump is elected President? Tom Tomorrow has the straight skinny on what that will be.

New day old script

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Perdue now wants happy chickens

The conditions that chickens are raised in has been a point of contention between the industry and a great many other people for years now. Based on demonstration projects underway, the industry leader Perdue may soon be making life more pleasant for your future meals.
Sunlight floods the floor at one end of the chicken house here at Ash-O-Ley Acres, and spry little Cornish game hens flap their wings and chase one another.

At the other end of the barn, where the windows are covered as part of a compare-and-contrast demonstration, the flock is largely somnolent and slow to move.

“This is my second flock with the sunlight,” said Karen Speake, whose family has raised chickens on this farm for Perdue Foods, the nation’s fourth-largest poultry producer, for almost four decades. “They’re much happier birds, I can tell you, more active, more playful.”

Over the next several years, all of Perdue’s chickens — 676 million last year — will bask in sunlight, part of an ambitious overhaul of the company’s animal welfare practices, which it will announce on Monday. The commitment will hold Perdue to standards similar to those in Europe, which the American poultry industry has long dismissed as antiquated, inefficient and costly.

In addition to installing windows, the company plans to give its chickens more space in barns. It may tinker with breeding to decrease the speed at which birds grow or to reduce their breast size, steps that could decrease the number and severity of leg injuries, an issue that has brought unwanted attention to the company.

Also, Perdue will put its chickens to sleep before slaughter, a step taken several years ago by Bell & Evans, a smaller poultry company.

The industry has long argued that such standards would raise costs to producers that would eventually be passed on to consumers. But Perdue, which had $6 billion in sales last year and increased production more than 9 percent, is betting such concerns are overblown based on its experience so far.

The move may also have a sweeping impact on the industry, forcing competitors to adopt similar practices. When Perdue announced that it intended to use no antibiotics, many of its competitors followed suit at the demand of their big customers.

“It will change the way we do business in so many ways,” Mr. Perdue said.
If it makes a better chicken then I am all for it.

Thou shalt not steal.

Despite a career in religion and politics that tread the line between honesty and theft, it took Mike Huckabee until this year to discover the cost of being caught.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee took the lyrics “so many times it happens too fast; You trade your passion for glory” a little too literally when he played the “Eye of the Tiger” as Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was released from jail.

Huckabee blasted the song by the band Survivor after Davis spent some time in the clink for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after last year’s Supreme Court ruling. Rude Music, who owns the rights to the Survivor song, sued Huckabee for unauthorized use of the song and copyright infringement.

The campaign argued that the event was a “religious assembly” and thus not bound by requirements to pay since it is “non-commercial.” The problem with that, however, is that Huckabee’s campaign claimed the event as part of his campaign and expenses show that the rally was paid for on behalf of the campaign.

The former Fox News commentator ultimately agreed to a confidential settlement, but campaign finance disclosure forms released last week from the Federal Election Commission show that he paid $12,500 to Rude Music, Inc. in May 2016. The disbursement is listed as “legal settlement” for “copyright infringement.”

This was one of two payments Huckabee’s campaign has made so far. The first $12,500 payment was listed as an “itemized disbursement,” however. The other half is listed as “debts and obligations.”

Huckabee admitted defeat and settled with the music company out of court. His campaign funds were low, however, so the campaign petitioned the FEC to allow him to start a special legal defense fund to handle the cost of litigating the case as well as the money he ultimately owed. The FEC issued a draft opinion last week encouraging Huckabee to pay the money himself.

Despite dropping out of the campaign on February 1, Huckabee seems to still be struggling to pay off debts to his campaign.
Mike could try getting some honest work to payoff the debts he has, but that wouldn't really suit him. And as we learned last week, Ted Nugent doesn't need a bass man.

John Oliver sums up the warning that Brexit is for the US

The Enemy Within

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bensonhurst harmonies

The DiGiallonardo Sisters show off their Harmonious Chops with "Soft Place To Land"

Karma is not always a bitch

From the pen of Jim Morin

Imagine you are a greedy, bigoted pussbag

Now imagine you say things that please a skypilot with a very easy to please imaginary sky demon, a veritable roundheels savior. Chances are good that skypilot will save your soul through the imaginary intercession of his ISD when you say you believe and are born again into the cult of the ISD. Now you can go forth continuing to be a greedy, bigoted pussbag safe in the knowledge that the cult will let you be born again as often as you want. Such is the position that Donald Trump finds himself in.
That is the suggestion of James C. Dobson, one of America’s leading evangelicals, who said Mr. Trump had recently come “to accept a relationship with Christ” and was now “a baby Christian.”

Dr. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and one of the country’s most prominent social conservatives, gave his account at a meeting Mr. Trump had in New York on Tuesday with hundreds of Christian conservatives.

In an interview recorded at the event by a Pennsylvania pastor, the Rev. Michael Anthony, Dr. Dobson said he knew the person who had led Mr. Trump to Christ, though he did not name him.

“I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long,” Dr. Dobson said. “I believe he really made a commitment, but he’s a baby Christian.”

Mr. Anthony posted the interview to his blog on Friday. Dr. Dobson could not be reached on Saturday, and Hope Hicks, the Trump campaign spokeswoman, did not respond Saturday to a request for details.

Mr. Trump stumbled at times last year when speaking about faith. At one point he said that he had never asked for God’s forgiveness. And after repeating on the campaign trail that the Bible was his favorite book, ahead of his own “Art of the Deal,” Mr. Trump declined to name a favorite verse. “The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics,” he told Bloomberg Television.

Mr. Trump, a Presbyterian, questioned the faith of Hillary Clinton, a Methodist, at a meeting with a smaller group of evangelical leaders on Tuesday, saying, “We don’t know anything about Hillary in terms of religion.”

During the New York meeting, Mr. Trump made no mention of being born again. It is a possibility certain to cause chortles in some corners, but it could also open doors in others for the thrice-married presumptive Republican nominee for president.

For evangelicals, “accepting Christ” is at the heart of becoming a genuine Christian, and refers to acknowledging sin and declaring the need for Jesus Christ as savior.

“The expectation evangelicals have is of a radical change, a 180-degree turn from the life of sin to following Christ,” said Kedron Bardwell, a political science professor at Simpson College in Iowa, who is the son of an evangelical pastor.

With new believers, this is often done in prayer with another Christian, which may have been what Dr. Dobson was referring to when he said that he knew the person who had “led him to Christ.”

Mr. Trump won a majority of evangelical voters in the Republican primaries, though some prominent conservative Christian leaders kept their distance. Dr. Dobson endorsed Senator Ted Cruz.

Since Mr. Trump clinched the nomination in May, some of those leaders have rallied to him, including Ralph Reed.
It helps that the Cult of the ISD embraces the same hate that Trump does and he is supported by most of the leading money changers of that cult. This is probably just a recognition of one of their own.

Today's Sunday Lesson

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Oz invaded Nashville back in the 60's

When Diana Trask from Melbourne showed up in Nashville. Her rendition of "I Fall To Pieces" charted in 1970 at #37.

To operate ear plugs, pull trigger

Fom the pen of Steve Benson

Private equity can make money

But they do so largely by running the entities they buy very poorly because why spend money that can go to profit. And with the invasion of private equity into owning but not really providing public services, the quest for profits can have disastrous consequences.
Today, people interact with private equity when they dial 911, pay their mortgage, play a round of golf or turn on the kitchen tap for a glass of water.

Private equity put a unique stamp on these businesses. Unlike other for-profit companies, which often have years of experience making a product or offering a service, private equity is primarily skilled in making money. And in many of these businesses, The Times found, private equity firms applied a sophisticated moneymaking playbook: a mix of cost cuts, price increases, lobbying and litigation.

In emergency care and firefighting, this approach creates a fundamental tension: the push to turn a profit while caring for people in their most vulnerable moments.

For governments and their citizens, the effects have often been dire. Under private equity ownership, some ambulance response times worsened, heart monitors failed and companies slid into bankruptcy, according to a Times examination of thousands of pages of internal documents and government records, as well as interviews with dozens of former employees. In at least two cases, lawsuits contend, poor service led to patient deaths.

Private equity gained new power and responsibility as a direct result of the 2008 crisis. As cities and towns nationwide struggled to pay for basics like public infrastructure and ambulance services, private equity stepped in. At the same time, as banks scaled back their mortgage operations after the crisis, private equity firms — which face lighter regulation than banks, and none of their rainy-day capital requirements — moved in there as well.

The power shift has happened with relatively little scrutiny, even as federal authorities have tightened rules for banks. Unlike banks, which take deposits and borrow from the government, private equity firms invest money from wealthy individuals and pension funds desperate for returns at a time of historically low interest rates.
Years of directing the flow of income upwards left the private equity field with the money governments need to operate their services. The only problem is that to make a profit, the services must become more expensive or grossly underfunded, because PE does not make small profits.

Nobody really knows what to do, yet

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in no hurry to effect to separation. For her, getting it done right is more important than getting it done fast. Others may seek to advance their own schedule.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought on Saturday to temper pressure from Paris, Brussels and her own government to force Britain into negotiating a quick divorce from the EU, despite warnings that hesitation will let populism take hold.

Eurosceptics in other member states applauded Britons' decision to leave the European Union in a referendum that sent shockwaves around the world, with far-right demands for a similar vote in Slovakia underlining the risk of a domino effect.

With the referendum decision finally made on Thursday and Prime Minister David Cameron having announced his resignation, European politicians and institutions felt free to shower demands on Britain over its future outside the world's largest trading bloc.

The European Central Bank said Britain's financial industry, which employs 2.2 million people, would lose the right to serve clients in the EU unless the country signed up to its single market - anathema to "leave" campaigners who are set to lead the next government in London.

Almost alone in continental Europe, Merkel tried to slow the rush to get Britain out of the EU door. Europe's most powerful leader made clear she would not press Cameron after he indicated Britain would not seek formal exit negotiations until October at least.

"Quite honestly, it should not take ages, that is true, but I would not fight now for a short time frame," Merkel told a news conference.

"The negotiations must take place in a businesslike, good climate," she said. "Britain will remain a close partner, with which we are linked economically."

Britain's decision to leave the EU is the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity. But Merkel appeared more conciliatory than others within her coalition government and elsewhere in Europe.
Britain's financial strength and its own currency should cushion the financial impact that will come from severing the close financial ties members of the EU enjoy.
Villeroy delivered a warning over the City of London financial center which handles trillions of euros of business even though it lies outside the ECB's jurisdiction.

That was at risk, including the "passport" arrangement under Europe's single market rules which allow London banks to do business with clients in the euro zone, even though Britain never joined the common currency.

"If tomorrow Britain is not part of the single market, the City cannot keep this European passport, and clearing houses cannot be located in London either," he told France Inter radio. The only way around this was for Britain to follow Norway, which lies outside the EU but has joined the single market.

This means signing up to the rules, including the free movement of workers - likely to be opposed in Britain where the "leave" camp promised to control immigration from the EU.
Much will be written about what will happen next but until the necessary agreements are finalized, everybody is just talking.

As long as all the fucks have been given

Bill Maher suggests President Obama finish with a Grand Apology Tour.

Because there were no good guys with refrigerators

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hot Stuff from the 80's

The Bangles performing "Walk Like An Egyptian"

And the ingredients are cheap

From the pen of Walt Handelsman

Famous for being short sighted

American drivers are once more dumping their high mileage vehicles for oversized overpriced gas guzzlers that, in their eyes, shows off the size of their balls in a way they never could otherwise.
The single most effective action that most Americans can take to help reduce the dangerous emissions that cause climate change? Buy a more fuel-efficient car.

But consumers are heading in the opposite direction. They have rekindled their love of bigger cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, favoring them over small cars, hybrids and electric vehicles, which are considered crucial to helping slow global warming.

So far this year, nearly 75 percent of the people who have traded in a hybrid or electric car to a dealer have replaced it with an all-gas car, an 18 percent jump from 2015, according to, a car shopping and research site.

In 2008, President Obama set a goal of a million electric cars on the road by 2015 in the United States, but the total is now around 442,000, including plug-in hybrids. This year, electric and hybrid sales have dropped to 2.4 percent of new-car purchases.

Falling gas prices have made big, heavy cars fashionable again, said Michael Sivak, the director of sustainable worldwide transportation at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. In fact, demand for trucks, S.U.V.s and vans has rebounded to historic levels after they dropped sharply in 2008, when gas was $4 a gallon.

“People have very short memories about the price of gasoline,” Dr. Sivak said.

That spells trouble for the environment. So-called light-duty vehicles, including S.U.V.s and pickups as well as cars, account for 16.2 percent of all greenhouse emissions produced in the United States, Dr. Sivak’s research shows, making them the biggest source of emissions that individuals control.

Reducing tailpipe emissions “is perhaps the most important thing Americans can do,” said Andrew Jones, a co-director of Climate Interactive, a think tank. “We’re doing the opposite.”
Of course we are doing the opposite. We may say that climate change is important to us but we are Americans, climate change takes a back seat to showing off our manhood. And if the price of gasoline goes up again, we will blame whoever is in the White House and switch back what we are dumping now.

Brits force Borowitz to be a journalist

Or to put it another way, reality has caught up with the satire Andy Borowitz is famous for. Under a headline of "British Lose Right to Claim That Americans Are Dumber" Borowitz declared
Luxuriating in the superiority of their intellect over Americans’ has long been a favorite pastime in Britain, surpassing in popularity such games as cricket, darts, and snooker.

But, according to Alistair Dorrinson, a pub owner in North London, British voters have done irreparable damage to the “most enjoyable sport this nation has ever known: namely, treating Americans like idiots.”

“When our countrymen cast their votes yesterday, they didn’t realize they were destroying the most precious leisure activity this nation has ever known,” he said. “Wankers.”
O how right he was. Not only has the Prime Minister said he would step down because of the vote, but the other major party the Liberals have shown themselves to be a bunch of gormless twits with their lackluster support for staying in the EU. Indeed it was only the Fascist/Racist IKIP party that showed any determination with the result that Boris Johnson (Britain's answer to Trump) is now a rising politcal star.
“Dare to dream that the dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom,” Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, one of the primary forces behind the push for a referendum on leaving the European Union, told cheering supporters just after 4 a.m.

Withdrawing from the European Union is a lengthy process that Mr. Cameron will largely leave to his successor. It will mean pulling out from the world’s largest trading zone, with 508 million residents, including the 65 million people of Britain, and a commitment to the free movement of labor, capital, goods and services. It has profound implications for Britain’s legal system, which incorporates a large body of regulations that cover everything from product safety to digital privacy, and for Britain’s economy.

One reason the City, London’s financial district, shuddered on Friday is that it is a hub for trading in euro-denominated securities, activity that may now shift to rivals like Frankfurt and Paris.

It was also not clear that the United Kingdom could survive withdrawal from the European Union intact. There was immediate pressure for another referendum on independence from Britain for Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to stay with Europe.

“I think an independence referendum is now highly likely,” said Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who said it would be “democratically unacceptable” for Scotland to be pushed out of the European Union when a majority of Scots want to stay in.

Keith Vaz, a Labour legislator, said: “This is a crushing decision; this is a terrible day for Britain and a terrible day for Europe. In 1,000 years, I would never have believed that the British people would vote for this.”
And so Britain goes from an economic union capable of dealing with the US and China as an equal to a piddly little country ripe for exploitation and economic colonization. A hearty Well Done to all the numbies who voted to leave.

Difficult but necessary

Thursday, June 23, 2016

All My Rain

Pieta Brown from her 2014 album Paradise Outlaw

You can hardly see their lips move

From the pen of Jim Morin

R.I.P. David Thatcher

The last but one survivor of the crews that flew with Jimmy Doolittle in his famous raid on Japan. Only slightly injured in the crash landing of his plane, he was instrumental in the survival of his more seriously injured crewmates who all survived. Richard Cole, Doolittle's co-pilot is the last one left.

We shall not see his like again.

NY Daily News Page 1

Public masturbation

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I think Hoyt would like this

Shelby Lynne does a fine solo performance of Hoyt Axton's "Never Been To Spain"

Present company...

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Maybe Donny can send him for some Yuge Macs

The state of New Jersey
is facing a large financial problem, above and beyond the governor's legal bills. It faces huge transportation expenses with a matching shortfall of funds to pay for it. So the talk of Trenton is to raise the gasoline tax which in New Jersey is as famously low as North Carolina tobacco taxes.
A new proposal from leading Democrats is forcing a showdown with Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has resisted calls to increase prices at the pump even as the state’s transportation trust fund is set to run out of money at the end of the month. Under the proposal, the tax could rise by about 23 cents a gallon, bringing it closer to what neighboring states collect.

The fate of New Jersey’s dwindling transportation funding has been entangled in recent years with Mr. Christie’s political ambitions. Even as the state’s bridges and roads are falling apart and New Jersey Transit is struggling with a series of financial problems, he has avoided tackling the issue.

But state lawmakers now face a confluence of factors that could make an increase possible: a pressing deadline, gas prices hovering near $2 a gallon and growing contempt in New Jersey for Mr. Christie, whose office recently denied a report that the governor had become a McDonald’s-fetching “manservant” for Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

“We are very much in crisis if this thing shuts down,” Stephen M. Sweeney, a Democrat and the State Senate president, said, referring to the transportation trust fund.

The transportation funding proposal announced in New Jersey this month included a sweetener meant to attract Republican votes: the repeal of the state’s estate tax, which kicks in at a lower amount than in many other states.

Even with that concession, Mr. Christie, who has about a year and a half left in office, said he opposed the proposal. He described part of the plan that would increase transportation aid to counties and municipalities as a “payoff” by Democrats to local officials. But despite his characteristically blunt rhetoric, the governor appeared open to negotiation.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done,” Mr. Christie told reporters last week. “There is a lot of show-me that has to be done. But as you know, at the end of any session, miracles happen.”

Several Republican lawmakers have already expressed support for the proposal. Democrats, who control both the Senate and the Assembly, hope to pull together enough votes to override a potential Christie veto.
The legislature will pass the increase, hopefully with enough votes to override the Jersey Whale's veto. Or maybe, in return for letting him build the Trump Trenton hotel, Donny will send JW out for a Yuge McDonald's order so the bill can become law without him.

Corporations aren't tribes

Samantha Bee on the next screwing Indians can expect.

When your expenses reduce your taxable income

It works in business, why not use it in politics?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Crescent City

Lucinda Williams


From the pen of Tom Toles

That drone in the sky

May soon be the sound of a commercial drone flying over your house on the way to completion of its assigned task. They won't be carrying your latest Amazon order, unless you live with in sight of the pilot, but ahy time during the day you may see one.
The rules also would effectively lift the lid on flights by other potential operators who have held off using the technology — ranchers who want to count cattle, research scientists, and companies that inspect infrastructure like bridges, oil platforms and smokestacks, to name a few.

Under the new rules, operators would register their drones online, pass an aviation knowledge exam for drone pilots at an FAA-approved testing center and then they're good to go. That's a big change since operators currently have to have a manned aircraft pilot's license.

Operators also would have to follow many of the rules that apply to model aircraft hobbyists like keeping drones within sight at all times and not flying over people or higher than 400 feet.

Other important limitations also remain in place. Drone flights will be permitted only during the day and at twilight. Drone industry officials have long complained that restricting drone flights to daytime precluded a great many uses like some search and rescue operations, agricultural operations best done after dark and roof inspections of commercial building roofs that use heat sensors.

Operators could still seek waivers to restrictions like nighttime flights, flights beyond sight of the operator and flights over people.

The rules permit commercial transport of goods by drones for the first time, but the other restrictions on flights beyond sight of the operator and over people still apply.

That precludes delivery drones flying across cities and suburbs clasping small packages as envisioned by Amazon. Amazon and Google are working on drone delivery systems for goods purchased online. Google officials have said they expect deliveries to begin sometime in 2017.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the agency is researching how drone deliveries might safely be accomplished, but he declined to set a timetable for such rules.

What's missing from the rules is an enforcement mechanism, said Sarah Kreps, a Cornell University professor. "It is hard to see how the (FAA) actually can ensure that these rules are followed," she said.
Lack of enforcement is a serious problem because there will always be someone pushing for an edge and damn the rules. I strongly recommend joining a skeet club, it is great practice for a moving target.

Another week, another NRA clip

From Samantha Bee

Language changes

Monday, June 20, 2016

If you can't hold on to him

At least get a good song out of his wandering like Ruthie Collins with "Ramblin' Man"

Time for the Talk

The one we all get to hear after multiple people are murdered by someone who should never have had a military grade weapon. Tom Tomorrow does the honors.

Got a mortal lock on it

From the pen of Paul Fell

A little sense from the Courts

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decision to uphold the Connecticut ban on the sale and possession of certain types of firearms.
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a Connecticut law banning many semiautomatic rifles. The law, enacted in 2013 in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., made it a crime to sell or possess the firearms, which critics call assault weapons.

The decision not to hear the case, not long after the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., does not set a Supreme Court precedent. But it is part of a trend in which the justices have given at least tacit approval to broad gun-control laws in states and localities that choose to enact them.

The case, Shew v. Malloy, No. 15-1030, was brought by four individuals, a business and two advocacy groups. They said the ban was irrational, ineffective and unconstitutional.

“Connecticut dubs a semiautomatic firearm” with one of several common features “an ‘assault weapon,’ but that is nothing more than an argument advanced by a political slogan in the guise of a definition,” they told the Supreme Court in their petition seeking review.

Last October, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, upheld the ban almost entirely. It acknowledged that the affected weapons were in common use and assumed their possession was protected by the Second Amendment. But the appeals court ruled that the Connecticut law passed constitutional muster.

The law was “specifically targeted to prevent mass shootings like that in Newtown, in which the shooter used a semiautomatic assault weapon,” Judge José A. Cabranes wrote for the court.

“Plaintiffs complain that mass shootings are ‘particularly rare events’ and thus, even if successful, the legislation will have a ‘minimal impact’ on most violent crime.

“That may be so,” Judge Cabranes continued. “But gun‐control legislation ‘need not strike at all evils at the same time’ to be constitutional.”
It is good to see a court acknowledge the fact that some weapons pose a greater threat to public safety and may be subject to reasonable controls without denying anyone the right to own a gun, if for no other reason than the police should be allowed an edge over the evildoers.

About that Brexit thing

John Oliver explains Brexit as well as any news program has done.

Dead giveaway

Sunday, June 19, 2016

If one great blues singer is enough for you

Then 3 of them might be too much for you. Marcia Ball, Irma Thomas and Tracy Nelson sing "Sing It" from their album of the same name.

Everybody has an idea

From the pen of Brian McFadden

click pic to big

Inconsequential people

Fifty years ago the US Air Force dropped 4 nuclear weapons upon the southern Spanish coast by accident.In an effort to clean it up as fast and as quietly as possible, they rounded up every available warm body on their Spanish bases and bussed then to the site the clean up the mess.
It was one of the biggest nuclear accidents in history, and the United States wanted it cleaned up quickly and quietly. But if the men getting onto buses were told anything about the Air Force’s plan for them to clean up spilled radioactive material, it was usually, “Don’t worry.”

“There was no talk about radiation or plutonium or anything else,” said Frank B. Thompson, a then 22-year-old trombone player who spent days searching contaminated fields without protective equipment or even a change of clothes. “They told us it was safe, and we were dumb enough, I guess, to believe them.”

Mr. Thompson, 72, now has cancer in his liver, a lung and a kidney. He pays $2,200 a month for treatment that would be free at a Veterans Affairs hospital if the Air Force recognized him as a victim of radiation. But for 50 years, the Air Force has maintained that there was no harmful radiation at the crash site. It says the danger of contamination was minimal and strict safety measures ensured that all of the 1,600 troops who cleaned it up were protected.

Interviews with dozens of men like Mr. Thompson and details from never before published declassified documents tell a different story. Radiation near the bombs was so high it sent the military’s monitoring equipment off the scales. Troops spent months shoveling toxic dust, wearing little more protection than cotton fatigues. And when tests taken during the cleanup suggested men had alarmingly high plutonium contamination, the Air Force threw out the results, calling them “clearly unrealistic.”

In the decades since, the Air Force has purposefully kept radiation test results out of the men’s medical files and resisted calls to retest them, even when the calls came from one of the Air Force’s own studies.

Many men say they are suffering with the crippling effects of plutonium poisoning. Of 40 veterans who helped with the cleanup who The New York Times identified, 21 had cancer. Nine had died from it. It is impossible to connect individual cancers to a single exposure to radiation. And no formal mortality study has ever been done to determine whether there is an elevated incidence of disease. The only evidence the men have to rely on are anecdotes of friends they watched wither away.
Air Force personnel obeying orders and covering up their service's embarrassment with their lives. And with villainous zeal denying the troops and the locals any real follow up to help deal with the poison from the sky. I remember Palomares and at the time all the attention was focused on the one bomb that fell in the water. Everybody worried that it might go off or the Russkies might snatch it. Nobody considered that it might just be a distraction from the dangerously sloppy clean up efforts on land.

Boeing will have to overcharge Pentagon

According to the Secretary of the Navy, if sales of the F/A-18E/F to all our foreign friends are not approved, Boeing will just have to charge us extra for the ones we want to buy for ourselves. It seems that somewhere along the way, the US government has signed a guarantee of profit for the manufacturer.
The U.S. could see the cost of new Boeing Co (BA.N) F/A-18E/F Super Hornets rise unless the government approves foreign sales of the jets soon, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said on Sunday.

Mabus, in Germany for a NATO exercise in the Baltic Sea, told Reuters he was frustrated by delays in approving the sale of the Boeing jets to a close U.S. ally, warning that this could affect the cost of jets the U.S. Navy still wants to buy.

U.S. Navy and other defense officials have said they support the sale of 28 Boeing F/A-18E/F jets to Kuwait for an estimated cost of $3 billion, but this has stalled for nearly a year pending final White House approval.

Mabus said the delays could have an impact on the Navy's budget plans, since the foreign order was needed to augment U.S. Navy purchases and keep the production line running efficiently.

The U.S. Congress is expected to approve funding for as many as 16 Boeing F/A-18 jets as part of the Navy's budget request for fiscal 2017, which begins Oct. 1, but that would give Boeing less than the two jets a month it says needs for economical production. The Kuwaiti order would have filled this gap.

"I'm frustrated. A lot of people are frustrated," Mabus said. "The process is too long, too onerous in terms of getting weapons systems to our friends and to our allies."

Mabus said Boeing could likely continue F/A-18 production for some time without the foreign sales, but dropping below optimal production rates could affect future pricing.

The Navy had requested funding for two F/A-18 jets in its fiscal 2017 budget request and 14 more as part of its "unfunded priorities list". It also said it expected to buy a larger number of Super Hornets in fiscal 2018 to bridge a gap in its fleet until the newer and more advanced Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet enters service in coming years.

Mabus welcomed possible moves by Congress to add jets to the fiscal 2017 budget, but said those orders alone would not keep production at the Boeing facility running at optimal rates.

"The line wouldn’t be operating as well as it should, and the price probably would go up for us because there aren't as many planes coming through," he said.

Boeing welcomed the secretary's remarks.
Of course Boeing was thrilled by the Secretary's remarks. He was telling everyone that defense spending is a seller's market. As if Boeing had any market without the US taxpayer. Still we had better buy as many F/A-18's as we can because the next in line is the F-35 Flying Brick which is unbelieveably overpriced and the product is still unable to perform any of the myriad missionsall the services wanted if for. The fact that we have to coerce our allies into buying The Flying Brick should be a signal, loud and clear, that it is time to dump it and rethink how we do that whole flying thing.

Check your sources

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Daddy was a bluesman

And Cassie Taylor plays bass, sings and writes her kind of music like "New Orleans"

Slow to react

From the pen of Jim Morin

Living off the charity

Most people think that it's the poor who live off charity and some even think they are living pretty high off the hog too. An investigation by the LA Times has discovered that it is not always so. Sometimes it's just people with a poor sense of morality.
Seventeen years ago, former USC and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Pat Haden joined the board of an old, little-known charitable foundation that helps needy young people get an education.

The George Henry Mayr Foundation, established in 1949, has no office of its own, no full-time staff and no website. Its founder and namesake wanted it to be a thrifty operation that gave as much scholarship money as possible to California educational institutions.

Under Haden's leadership as board chairman, however, the $25-million foundation became a lucrative source of income for him and two of his family members -- even as its scholarship spending plunged to a three-decade low and the size of its endowment stagnated, a Times investigation has found.

Haden, his daughter and sister-in-law together collected about $2.4 million from the foundation for part-time roles involving as little as one hour of work per week, according to the foundation’s federal tax returns for 1999 to 2014, the most recent year available.

Half of that, about $1.2 million, went to Haden. His annual board fees have been as high as $84,000; the foundation paid him $72,725 in 2014.

During Haden’s tenure on the board, donations directed to USC, where he has been athletic director for nearly six years, far outpaced the amounts given to any other school, a Times analysis of the tax records shows.

Haden, 63, was a paid advisor to the foundation in 1998 and became board chairman the following year. His father-in-law, Benjamin F. Grier, was a board member from 1984 until his death in 1999. Catherine Grier Olson, Haden’s sister-in-law, became a member a year later, in 2000.

Since then, Olson, 59, has received more than $750,000 for her director duties.

Natalie O’Connor, Haden’s 37-year-old daughter, has held part-time positions at the foundation and received about $470,000 in payments since 2005, according to tax records. She has been variously identified on its tax returns as a director, secretary and administrative worker.

Under terms of the foundation’s trust, the three board members can pay themselves “reasonable compensation” with the approval of Wells Fargo Bank, the trustee, which received about $166,000 in 2014 to manage the finances.

Payments to board members and O’Connor totaled $244,000 in 2014. That same year, the Mayr Foundation gave $645,000 in scholarships, down from $1.1 million in 2008.
Nice work if you can get it.

He raised the bar on lowering the bar

Bill Maher examines the shit we never accepted until Donald Trump came along.

Questions for a Saturday

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter

Laura Cantrell from her 2000 album Not The Tremblin' Kind

Cause and effect

From the pen of Jim Morin

Senator Collins to the rescue

Just who her proposal might rescue is not immediately obvious but given her track record, it will probably be the Republican Senators who will need to vote for a gun control proposal but don't dare vote for an effective one.
With Congressional leaders once again at a stalemate over how to respond to a mass shooting, the Senate’s most moderate Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, is developing a compromise measure that would prevent some terrorism suspects from purchasing weapons, while sidestepping partisan flash-points that have doomed similar legislation in the past and threaten to do so again next week.

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, has already scheduled votes for Monday on four proposals – two sponsored by Republicans and two by Democrats – but all four are expected to fail in a nearly identical replay of votes last December after the attack in San Bernardino, Calif.

“That’s what I am trying to avoid,” Ms. Collins said in a brief interview riding the subway from the Capitol back to her office on Thursday evening. “I don’t want Groundhog Day here. I don’t want us to go through the same thing we went through last year with no result.”

With lawmakers feeling extreme pressure to take some action in the aftermath of last weekend’s shooting massacre in Orlando, Fla., the proposal by Ms. Collins is a long-shot, but it seems to stand at least some chance of forging an agreement that has generally eluded lawmakers for decades amid a debate over how to balance gun rights and public safety.

The legislation being drafted by Ms. Collins would bar the sale of guns to terrorism suspects who appear on either the government’s no-fly list or the so-called “selectee” list, in which individuals are subjected to additional security screening before being allowed to board an airplane. Those lists are far more narrow than the federal terrorist screening database, which is the focus of a proposal sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, one of the four measures to be voted on Monday.
Good old "moderate" Susan Collins is hoping to get up a sufficiently watered down bill that her GOP colleagues who need to can vote for. It should also be sufficiently useless that the Democrats would reject it. And, as always, she is prepared to vote against her own bill if Mitch need it. Ain't she grand!

First we make too many lawyers...

Was not something said by Dick the butcher in a Shakespeare play. It is something the legal educational industry did and now it finds it has created too many lawyers for too little work and has to scale back.
Nationally, the proportion of recent graduates who find work as a lawyer is down 10 percentage points since its peak of the last decade, according to the most recent data. And though the upper end of the profession finally shows some signs of recovering, the middle and lower ranks remain depressed, especially in slower-growth regions like the Rust Belt.

As of this April, fewer than 70 percent of Valparaiso law school graduates from the previous spring were employed and fewer than half were in jobs that required a law license. Only three out of 131 graduates worked in large firms, which tend to pay more generous salaries.

“People are not being helped by going to these schools,” Kyle McEntee, executive director of the advocacy group Law School Transparency, said of Valparaiso and other low-tier law schools. “The debt is really high, bar passage rates are horrendous, employment is horrendous.”

Even as employment prospects have dimmed, however, law school student debt has ballooned, rising from about $95,000 among borrowers at the average school in 2010 to about $112,000 in 2014, according to Mr. McEntee’s group.

Such is the atavistic rage among those who went to law school seeking the upper-middle-class status and security often enjoyed by earlier generations, only to find themselves on a financial treadmill and convinced their schools misled them, that there is now a whole genre of online writing devoted specifically to channeling it: “scamblogging.”

Belatedly, many schools are starting to respond to this brutal reality, or at least the collapse in applications it has set off. In February, Valparaiso announced it was offering buyouts to tenured professors. As of May, 14 of 36 full-time faculty members had either accepted the package or retired. The law school plans to reduce its student body by roughly one-third over the next few years, from about 450 today.

To the faculty at Valparaiso and the roughly 20 percent of the 200 or so American Bar Association-accredited law schools that have cut back aggressively in recent years, these moves can feel shockingly harsh.

“Maybe I was naïve, but I didn’t think it would be as stark,” said Rosalie Levinson, a longtime constitutional law professor at Valparaiso who recently headed a committee on restructuring the school. “The number of tenured faculty that would be leaving — not gradually but immediately — just personally, that was difficult.”

But from the perspective of the students caught up in the explosion of unrepayable law school debt, the shake-up at the school, and others like it, look rather pedestrian.
The easily recognized "feast or famine" cycle of the Free Hand of the Market applies as easily to lawyers as to anyone else. And so law schools will be reduced until once again there are too few lawyers (is that possible) for the market and the cycle will run again.

A pair of Trump ads

One from Americans Against Insecure Billionaires with Tiny Hands PAC

And one from Mike Diva with a decidedly Japanese turn

One man's preferences

Thursday, June 16, 2016

500 Miles

Rosanne Cash sings a song from her father's list of bucket songs.

Republican gun control filibuster

From the pen of Drew Sheneman

Can't let go of something good

He ran for President and showed not only that he wasn't qualified in any way but along the way showed he wasn't interested in working his day job in the Senate. But now Little Marco has changed his mind and wants his cushy no work job to continue for 6 more years.
Marco Rubio said yesterday that he is rethinking his decision not to seek another term in the Senate and that he may jump into the race before next Friday’s filing deadline in Florida.

“I enjoy my service here a lot,” the senator earnestly told reporters at the Capitol.

For anyone who has watched Rubio over the past five-and-a-half years, that statement – and the straight face with which he said it – is farcical.

The 45-year-old has heretofore made no secret of his distaste for the world’s greatest deliberative body. His friends have said he “hates” the job. Rubio himself was unapologetic about missing more votes than any other senator during his failed presidential campaign, often complaining about how “frustrating” it is to serve as a member of Congress.

Rubio is congenitally impatient, an unhelpful personality trait in a chamber that was designed to move slowly. James Madison’s idea when he drafted the Constitution was that the Senate would “cool” House legislation, just as a saucer cools hot tea.

A series of comments suggesting that he’d given up on the Senate would dog Rubio if he chose to run.
He will be beaten severly about the head with those comments if he really decides to run. It might be fun to see his ass whupped a second time in a year.

Begging trips

Billionaire Donald Trump is so in need of cash that his itinerary is based on fund raising in friendly states instead of hitting the trail in so-called battleground states.
Donald J. Trump’s campaign schedule is being driven by his fund-raising needs, prompting him to appear in heavily Republican states like Georgia and Texas and diverting his attention from battlegrounds where Hillary Clinton is spending her time.

Mr. Trump’s aides, scrambling to raise money to compete against Mrs. Clinton’s cash juggernaut and extensive donor network, have scheduled fund-raisers in places like Georgia, North Carolina and Texas this week. The private events for donors were often scheduled first, followed by his campaign rallies, according to two people involved in Mr. Trump’s fund-raising who insisted on anonymity.

Even some of Mr. Trump’s appearances in battleground states have been tied to fund-raisers: A New Hampshire rally on Monday night was planned in conjunction with a fund-raiser in Boston, but both events were canceled after the deadly shooting in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.

Mr. Trump has informed people raising money for his campaign that he is not interested in traveling to states for donor events unless there is a rally scheduled as well, according to the people involved. Those rallies have often garnered Mr. Trump national cable news coverage, the type of news media attention that fueled his primary campaign.

But the result for now has been that Mr. Trump is campaigning in states where he has far less risk of being defeated by Mrs. Clinton than states that are likely to be competitive, like Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, Rust Belt states with large numbers of the white working-class voters who have been most receptive to Mr. Trump’s message.

“A travel schedule driven by fund-raising needs that takes you away from battleground states is one that’s full of missed opportunities,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist and former Mitt Romney adviser.

With Mr. Trump in the South, Mrs. Clinton has been spending her week in Ohio and Virginia, two of the most crucial states for winning the presidency. She was also in Pennsylvania, another state where Mr. Trump’s brand of populism could be effective, but where he has spent little time since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee.

Mr. Madden noted that Mr. Trump was uniquely able to generate national television coverage and newspaper headlines wherever he happened to be. “But he needs to flip states like Colorado, Ohio, Virginia and Florida in order to win,” he added. “I’d rather be driving national coverage from those locales than not.”
Donny is still trying to drive that free media time wherever he goes, but that is thinning out and more likely to be negative coverage these days, except for Fux Nooz. Having pissed off the Party Poobahs and a lot of big money donors, Donny may be running hand to mouth until November.

Keeping track of your weed

Keeping track of your compliance with government regulations involves knowing where your product is from raw materials to final sales of the finished product. And for those in the marijuana business, a major corporation has just released a software app that will follow your weed from seed to final bud.
As state after state has legalized marijuana in one way or another, big names in corporate America have stayed away entirely. Marijuana, after all, is still illegal, according to the federal government.

But Microsoft is breaking the corporate taboo on pot this week by announcing a partnership to begin offering software that tracks marijuana plants from “seed to sale,” as the pot industry puts it.

The software — a new product in Microsoft’s cloud computing business — is meant to help states that have legalized the medical or recreational use of marijuana keep tabs on sales and commerce, ensuring that they remain in the daylight of legality.

But until now, even that boring part of the pot world was too controversial for mainstream companies. It is apparent now, though, that the legalization train is not slowing down: This fall, at least five states, including the biggest of them all — California — will vote on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

So far, only a handful of smaller banks are willing to offer accounts to companies that grow or sell marijuana, and Microsoft will not be touching that part of the business. But the company’s entry into the government compliance side of the business suggests the beginning of a legitimate infrastructure for an industry that has been growing fast and attracting lots of attention, both good and bad.

“We do think there will be significant growth,” said Kimberly Nelson, the executive director of state and local government solutions at Microsoft. “As the industry is regulated, there will be more transactions, and we believe there will be more sophisticated requirements and tools down the road.”

Microsoft’s baby step into the business came through an announcement on Thursday that it was teaming up with a Los Angeles start-up, Kind, that built the software the tech giant will begin marketing. Kind — one of many small companies trying to take the marijuana business mainstream — offers a range of products, including A.T.M.-style kiosks that facilitate marijuana sales, working through some of the state-chartered banks that are comfortable with such customers.

Microsoft will not be getting anywhere near these kiosks or the actual plants. Rather, it will be working with Kind’s “government solutions” division, offering software only to state and local governments that are trying to build compliance systems.
If weed is going to be big business, it needs big business tools and who provides big business tools better than a big business like The Borg.

Donald is their man, all the way

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It has been a while

But The Stray Birds have put together a new album and "Sabrina" is a first look at one of the songs on it.

How it works

From the pen of Darrin Bell

NRA & Trump to discuss reducing availability of guns

Certainly the public wants to hear that kind of talk so soon after the Orlando massacre. And coming from the Republican presidential nominee who will meet with the blood soaked NRA leadership surely should boost the Great Orange Plague after a bad week.
Donald J. Trump seemed to modulate his position on Second Amendment protections on Wednesday, saying in a Twitter message that he would be meeting with the National Rifle Association to discuss preventing individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.

“I will be meeting with the N.R.A., who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no-fly list, to buy guns,” Mr. Trump wrote Wednesday morning. The N.R.A. said it would be happy to meet with Mr. Trump in a Twitter post of its own.

His message, which came after 49 people were shot and killed on Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., seemed to echo a measure that congressional Democrats were planning to take up this week that would seek to prevent individuals on the government’s terror watchlist from purchasing guns.

In a speech on Monday in New Hampshire, Mr. Trump addressed the Orlando massacre in more fiery terms, dismaying some of his own supporters as he called for an expansion of his proposal to bar Muslim immigrants. Mr. Trump advocated barring immigrants from any nation with “a proven history of terrorism,” and said that Muslim-Americans could be held accountable for domestic acts of terrorism if they failed to turn in their neighbors.

While campaigning, Mr. Trump also frequently talks of how more guns — not less — could have helped prevent mass shootings like the one in San Bernardino, Calif., last December that killed 14 people and wounded 22. Mr. Trump contends that if people had guns to shoot back, the killers might not have tried the attack or would have injured fewer people. The killings were carried out by a couple who were inspired by terrorists abroad.

During a Republican debate in January, when asked about the San Bernardino attack, Mr. Trump explicitly said then that he did not believe there were any circumstances in which the nation should limit the sale of guns, of any kind.

Mr. Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
No doubt a good many soothing words will come from this meeting, but both parties are well versed in the art of saying nothing to no one. Trump will return to his previous position when it is politically expedient and the NRA leadership's words have no real connection to what they do.

About that leaving Afghanistan thing

We were talking about it but it appears we really don't want to do it. Now that we managed to talk some of our NATO allies into continuing their support of our 13 15 year old failure, we just might stay on to see haow much longer we can fail to succeed.
The United States told allies on Wednesday it was reexamining plans to cut its troop numbers in Afghanistan next year, Britain said, as other NATO forces committed to stay on to help fight a resurgent Taliban.

President Barack Obama has planned to slash the number of U.S. troops from about 9,800 to 5,500 before he leaves office in 2017, despite calls from former commanders and envoys to halt the drawdown.

"Everyone has an interest that our effort there is sustained," Britain's Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told reporters.

"That's why as (U.S. Defense Secretary) Ash Carter told us, the troop numbers are being looked at again ... This is the wrong time to walk away from Afghanistan."

Carter declined to confirm that however, telling a news conference it was not formally a topic of discussion at a NATO ministers' meeting on Wednesday. But he said Obama remained willing to review security in Afghanistan and its impact on force levels.

"The president has indicated consistently ... he is willing to look at the U.S. force presence on the basis of circumstances in Afghanistan and he is expected to do that at the end of the year. He has expressed a willingness to do that but that was not a topic of discussion at today's meeting, per se," Carter said.

European allies are worried about a collapse of security in Afghanistan because of the increased numbers of refugees they fear it would bring as the continent is struggling to deal with uncontrolled migrant flows.

The United States told allies on Wednesday it was reexamining plans to cut its troop numbers in Afghanistan next year, Britain said, as other NATO forces committed to stay on to help fight a resurgent Taliban.

President Barack Obama has planned to slash the number of U.S. troops from about 9,800 to 5,500 before he leaves office in 2017, despite calls from former commanders and envoys to halt the drawdown.

"Everyone has an interest that our effort there is sustained," Britain's Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told reporters.

"That's why as (U.S. Defense Secretary) Ash Carter told us, the troop numbers are being looked at again ... This is the wrong time to walk away from Afghanistan."

Carter declined to confirm that however, telling a news conference it was not formally a topic of discussion at a NATO ministers' meeting on Wednesday. But he said Obama remained willing to review security in Afghanistan and its impact on force levels.

"The president has indicated consistently ... he is willing to look at the U.S. force presence on the basis of circumstances in Afghanistan and he is expected to do that at the end of the year. He has expressed a willingness to do that but that was not a topic of discussion at today's meeting, per se," Carter said.

European allies are worried about a collapse of security in Afghanistan because of the increased numbers of refugees they fear it would bring as the continent is struggling to deal with uncontrolled migrant flows.
I know that senior military officers want you to believe they have a yard of cock and a bushel of balls and they clank when they walk but all that clanking must be keeping them from hearing the word FAILURE that so aptly describes just about all they have done in Shitholeistan. And probably all that they will do. But the Big Fool says to push on.

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