Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Oh Colorado

Willie Sugarcapps

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


The Memphis Dawls

Monday, August 29, 2016

Every Time The Sun Comes Up

Sharon Van Etten

The Hellish Nightmare From Hell

And the ever brave Tom Tomorrow reports on it so you don't have to.

R.I.P. Gene Wilder

You may have left us at 83, but you will always be Young Frankenstein (“that’s Frahn-kahn-SHTEEN”)

Conservatives are old fashioned

From the pen of Nick Anderson

Big Internet screws the little guy, again

The major internet providers have made a huge success out of their monopolies of service in major population areas. And in those areas where there may be more than one provider, the prices are the same and the only difference is between service that is shitty or worse. In many of the unprovided areas, municipalities have put together local networks that manage to be faster, with better service and available to country folk. Big Internet hates that because it might give people ideas.
The Vick family built the plant only after the nearby city of Wilson agreed early last year to bring its municipal broadband service to the 7,000-acre farm. Since the plant opened in October, the farm’s production and sales to Europe have jumped.

But now, after a legal battle between state and federal officials over broadband, the farm and hundreds of other customers in the eastern region of the state may get unplugged.

“We’re very worried because there is no way we could run this equipment on the internet service we used to have, and we can’t imagine the loss we’ll have to the business,” said Charlotte Vick, head of sales for the farm.

Vick Family Farms got caught between the Federal Communications Commission and North Carolina state legislators over the spread of municipal broadband networks, which are city-run internet providers that have increased competition in the broadband market by serving residents where commercial networks have been unwilling to go.

This month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld restrictive laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that will halt the growth of such networks. While the decision directly affects only those two states, it has cast a shadow over dozens of city-run broadband projects started nationwide in recent years to help solve the digital divide.

In siding with the states, the court hobbled the boldest effort by federal officials to support municipal broadband networks. While the court agreed that municipal networks were valuable, it disagreed with the F.C.C.’s legal arguments to pre-empt state laws.

Now, cities like Wilson fear they have little protection from laws like those in about 20 states that curb municipal broadband efforts and favor traditional cable and telecom firms. City officials say cable and telecom companies that have lobbied for state restrictions will be encouraged to fight for even more draconian laws, potentially squashing competition that could lead to lower prices and better speeds to access the web.
God Bless those non-activist judges keeping th peasants from spoiling the profits of those nice internet "service" providers.

Aren't they sweet?

After jacking up the price of Epi-Pen, which for some reason is still under patent 100+ years after epinephrine was discovered and 40 years after the injector mechanism was developed by the US government, the magnanimous folks at the foreign based Mylan Pharmaceutical Borgata have announced they will release a generic form of the device for only $300. For the record that is still $200 more than the price before Mylan's Bresch got greedy.
Mylan NV (MYL.O) said it would launch the first generic version of its allergy auto-injector EpiPen for $300, half the price of the branded product, the drugmaker's second step in less than a week to counter the backlash over the product's steep price.

The company reduced the out-of-pocket costs of EpiPen for some patients on Thursday, but kept the list price at about $600, a move that U.S. lawmakers and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said was not enough. EpiPen cost about $100 in 2008.

Mylan said on Monday it expected to launch the generic product "in several weeks," an unusual move considering the branded bestseller is still patent protected and major rival treatments have failed to get regulatory clearances.

Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal said Myl‎an may appear to be moving in the right direction, but its latest move raised as many questions as solutions, including why the price is still astronomically high and whether its action is a preemptive strike against a competing generic.

Mylan has defended EpiPen's high price, saying it had spent hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the product since acquiring it in 2007.

It has said it recoups less than half the list price as pharmacy benefit managers, which often require discounted prices or rebates from drugmakers, are involved, along with insurers and others.

"Our decision to launch a generic alternative to EpiPen is an extraordinary commercial response," Chief Executive Heather Bresch said Monday. "We determined that bypassing the brand system in this case and offering an additional alternative was the best option."

However, consumer watchdog group Public Citizen said Mylan's latest move was another "convoluted mechanism to avoid plain talk, admit to price gouging and just cut the price of EpiPen."

"The weirdness of a generic drug company offering a generic version of its own branded but off-patent product is a signal that something is wrong," President Robert Weissman said.
If Mylan can't admit their greed they need to simply roll back prices.

A correct diagnosis

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Written by Charlie Chaplin

Petula Clark sings "This Is My Song"

They take their religion seriously

So when Catholics find fault with your presidential pitch (and your feud with their leader) you are cruising for a bruising come election time.
Much has been made of Donald Trump’s problems with a few voting groups — female voters, blacks and Hispanics, and young voters, in particular. And, to be sure, they are all problems.

But relatively speaking, his biggest problem actually appears to be with a different group: Catholics.

Yes, the man who once feuded with the pope (how soon we forget that actually happened) is cratering among Catholics.

Back in 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney lost the Catholic vote by just 2 points, 50 percent to 48 percent. And the GOP has actually won the Catholic vote as recently as 2004 and in 5 of the last 10 presidential elections.

But Trump trails among Catholics by a huge margin. A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute released this week shows him down 23 points, 55-32.

Trump’s deficits among non-whites and young voters, by contrast, are similar to where Romney and Republicans have been in recent years. The Post-ABC poll, in fact, showed Hillary Clinton failing to match Obama’s margin among non-whites — though not in a statistically meaningful way — while her margin among young voters ages 18-to-29 was three points better.

These are groups, in other words, that Republicans don’t expect to do well with. And they still don’t.

But Catholics have long been a swing vote in presidential elections, and right now they’re swinging hard for Clinton.

It’s also hard to overstate just how significant Trump’s poor performance among Catholics is. That’s because they comprise about one-quarter of voters in the United States (25 percent in 2012 exit polls) and are about as big a voting bloc as non-whites (28 percent) and independents (29 percent).
Hail Mary Full Of Grace, Please Keep Trump In Last Place. As for the Trumpoons, Father, please forgive them because they know not what they do.

The Modern Miracles of Medicine

From the pen of Brian McFadden

click pic to big

Using whatever resources are available

Pending the Republican Congress getting off it aggregate ass and providing funding to combat Zika, the FDA has called for testing of all blood donations for the presence of the virus.
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday took steps to safeguard the nation’s blood supply from the Zika virus, calling for all blood banks to screen donations for the infection even in states where the virus is not circulating.

The recommendations are an acknowledgment that sexual transmission may facilitate the spread of Zika even in areas where mosquitoes carrying the virus are not present. Officials also want to prepare for the possibility that clusters of local infection will continue to pop up in parts of the United States for years to come.

“There could be multiple outbreaks of Zika happening outside the known current ones in South Florida, but because we are not actively looking they could be happening silently,” said Dr. Peter J. Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, who applauded the F.D.A.’s move.

Without federal funds, it is generally not possible for local health departments to conduct active surveillance for Zika virus in the blood or urine of patients with fever or rash, he added.

“In some ways the inaction from Congress has forced the F.D.A. to adopt this position,” Dr. Hotez added. “They have no other choice.”

The agency urged blood centers to use one of two experimental tests intended to detect active infections, called nucleic acid tests, before releasing donated blood for use in transfusions. As an alternative, banks may decontaminate plasma and platelets with so-called pathogen reduction technology.

But the recommendations are likely to pose a significant challenge for some blood banks and for the third-party labs that perform much of the blood screening nationwide, some experts said.

Eleven states must put the new safeguards into place within four weeks. They include Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Louisiana, New York and Texas, which have many residents who travel to Zika-affected countries or are near an area that already has locally acquired mosquito-borne cases.

Other states have 12 weeks to carry out the recommendations.
Trying to stop the virus without a vaccine will be difficult because it spreads so easily with multiple separate vectors. The mosquitos range may be limited but try getting people to stop having sex.

A god of convenience

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Emily Barker

Trumps Minority Outreach

From the pen of Drew Sheneman

From the pen of Horsey

Just one of many stories

Immigration laws as currently constituted have created a situation that divides families in unnecessarily cruel fashion.
“I understand that I’m unauthorized and I know I did something wrong that went against U.S. law, but I’m not a criminal,” she said. “I haven’t committed any serious offenses such as robbery, murder or prostitution.”

Sanchez entered the United States illegally in 2000. Before that, she had attempted to illegally come through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, but agents turned her away.

She met Paulsen in Vista shortly after arriving. He noticed her at the bus stop in front of the body shop where he worked as a mechanic. Paulsen didn’t know a word of Spanish at the time, and the two used an acquaintance as an interpreter. The couple married just one month after they met, in a civil ceremony in Vista.

Sanchez was filing paperwork for legalization in 2006 when she was summoned out of the country, to an appointment with immigration authorities at the U.S. Consulate in Cuidad Juarez. Authorities told her she would be prohibited from returning home to Vista for 10 years, despite the fact that Paulsen, 51, is a U.S. citizen and a Marine veteran.

Immigration law at the time stipulated that applicants seeking legal status must return to their country of origin. But once an applicant who had been living in the United States without permission left the country, they were automatically barred from re-entering for at least three years, sometimes for up to a decade.

“My whole world came crashing down.… You can’t believe that in one minute they’re destroying your life, your family,” Sanchez said in Spanish from her home in Tijuana. She told her husband they should divorce.

“I tell people, ‘I’ve got to go see my wife, she lives in another country.’ It’s hard,” Paulsen said. “I’d like to one day come home and say, ‘Honey, what’s for dinner?’ I want to do that one day.”

Typically, a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident can petition for his spouse to receive a green card or permanent residence. Children over age 21 can petition on a parent’s behalf, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Sanchez, banned from the U.S. for 10 years, is eligible to apply for re-entry.
Her period of banishment is almost over, but Emma Sanchez is just one of many families that that are torn apart by laws that make no provision for families.

GOP fears Donald Has Screwed The Pooch

And the Republican Party is the pooch. Their greatest fears are in sections of the West where ugly conservatism has held sway for numerous election cycles up to now.
Republicans in Western states fear that Donald J. Trump could imperil their party for years to come in the country’s fastest-growing region as he repels a generation of Hispanics, Asians and younger voters who have been altering the electoral map.

Mr. Trump, with his insult-laden, culturally insensitive style of campaigning, is providing fuel for the demographic trends that are already reshaping the political composition of this once-heavily Republican territory. And now many Republicans are contemplating the possibility that states like Colorado or Nevada could soon become the next California: once competitive but now unwinnable in presidential contests.

In few places are the party’s woes over their nominee more immediate than here in Arizona, a state that has voted for the Democratic presidential candidate only once in the last 68 years.

Recent polls show Hillary Clinton is close to tying Mr. Trump here. And her campaign has responded by teaming up with local Democrats on a statewide get-out-the-vote operation, which has grown to 160 staff members across 20 offices.

While flipping Arizona has been a Democratic fantasy for years — and one that Clinton supporters acknowledge remains quite difficult — their efforts to register and recruit voters are part of a longer-term plan to capitalize on the Republican Party’s vulnerabilities with younger and minority voters.

Nonwhites are growing as a share of the electorate faster in the West than they are elsewhere. For the first time, minorities in 2012 accounted for at least 30 percent of the eligible voting population in Arizona, Nevada and Alaska — all states where Republicans currently hold top statewide offices. Colorado, where Mrs. Clinton’s campaign is so confident of a victory now that it has has no plans to buy advertising time through Election Day, is also approaching 30 percent.

The demographics were already daunting. But many Republicans now say Mr. Trump is only accelerating the flight of minority voters to the Democratic Party, like dry underbrush feeds an Arizona wildfire.
Some GOPers are saying things will be OK if you keep your distance from Trump. But the Great Orange Fungus is like a nuclear bomb, he can kill your election chances far from the immediate blast area.

A name can be important

Friday, August 26, 2016

Observe the Sabbath

Granville Automatic sings "Never On A Sunday" from Sun Studios, no doubt on one of the other days of the week/

The Professional

From the pen of Rob Rogers

Someone in France has some sense

From the New York Times:
France’s highest administrative court on Friday suspended a town’s ban on so-called burkinis, the full-body swimwear used by some Muslim women that has become the focus of intense debates over women’s rights, assimilation and secularism.

The Council of State, the top court in the French administrative justice system, ruled that the ban on bathing at the beach in the outfit, enacted by the town of Villeneuve-Loubet on Aug. 5, violated civil liberties, including freedom of movement and religious freedom.

At least 20 other municipalities, most of which are on the French Riviera, have imposed similar bans. Although the decision on Friday does not apply directly to them, it amounts to a warning that their prohibitions are likely to be similarly struck down if challenged in court. The largest such community is the city of Nice.
Lots of people wear inappropriate clothing at the beach and if Muslim women want to blame their outfits on their particular imaginary sky demon, so be it. So far the reaction to it has been the harmful part.

The sometime fatal flaw

That was embraced by corporations around the world because it was cheaper. And despite proven hazard to their customers, they were reluctant to give it up. I am referring to the Takata airbag inflator that has been recalled by just about every mass market carmaker, it was that ubiquitous.
In the late 1990s, General Motors got an unexpected and enticing offer. A little-known Japanese supplier, Takata, had designed a much cheaper automotive airbag.

G.M. turned to its airbag supplier — the Swedish-American company Autoliv — and asked it to match the cheaper design or risk losing the automaker’s business, according to Linda Rink, who was a senior scientist at Autoliv assigned to the G.M. account at the time.

But when Autoliv’s scientists studied the Takata airbag, they found that it relied on a dangerously volatile compound in its inflater, a critical part that causes the airbag to expand.

“We just said, ‘No, we can’t do it. We’re not going to use it,’” said Robert Taylor, Autoliv’s head chemist until 2010.

Today, that compound is at the heart of the largest automotive safety recall in history. At least 14 people have been killed and more than 100 have been injured by faulty inflaters made by Takata. More than 100 million of its airbags have been installed in cars in the United States by General Motors and 16 other automakers.

Details of G.M.’s decision-making process almost 20 years ago, which has not been reported previously, suggest that a quest for savings of just a few dollars per airbag compromised a critical safety device, resulting in passenger deaths. The findings also indicate that automakers played a far more active role in the prelude to the crisis: Rather than being the victims of Takata’s missteps, automakers pressed their suppliers to put cost before all else.

“General Motors told us they were going to buy Takata’s inflaters unless we could make a cheaper one,” Ms. Rink said. Her team was told that the Takata inflaters were as much as 30 percent cheaper per module, she added, a potential savings of several dollars per airbag. “That set off a big panic on how to compete.”
But have no fear ammonium nitrate lovers, Takata has a new and improved version of the same inflator that it says is safe and won't kill you when it goes off. Now, don't you feel better?

A moon colony would make many sad admirals

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Playing the Royal Opera

ABBA sings "Dancing Queen" to the King of Sweden on the eve of his marriage, those many years ago.

Why Big Pharma must die

From the pen of Jim Morin

Letting his mouth run wild worked in the primaries

But then he only had to appeal to a portion of the lunatic fringe to get what he wanted. Now that The Great Orange Fungus is the Republican candidate for president, he is discovering that a runaway mouth is a definite handicap. As much as he hates it, Donald Trump is now letting other people tell him what to do.
After months of flailing attempts, Donald J. Trump has begun to recast his political message in more structured terms and wrestle with his temptation to go off script, as his campaign seeks to revive his fading candidacy and turn the focus this fall to Hillary Clinton’s honesty and integrity.

Working off a script from his reshuffled team of advisers, Mr. Trump is also drastically tempering his language about the signature issue of his campaign: immigration. After winning the Republican nomination on a promise to deport all 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally, he indicated on Wednesday night that he was considering allowing some to stay if they had lived in the United States for many years, lacked criminal records and paid back taxes.

“We are going to come out with a decision very soon,” he said on Fox News, signaling flexibility on an issue that sharply divides undecided voters. He is expected to deliver a speech on immigration next week in Phoenix.

Mr. Trump is also spending far less time attacking his fellow Republicans and picking fights with people other than Mrs. Clinton, instead hammering away at her State Department tenure and her family’s charitable foundation. And he is aligning his stump speeches with his television advertising, vowing to crack down on violent crime and improve border security.

Aware of his unpopularity with white moderate voters, especially women who have been turned off by his racially charged words, he is trying to show interest in the lives of African-Americans and Hispanics, too, even as he uses language that offends those groups.

Many Republicans, weary of repeated promises of a reborn Mr. Trump, remain skeptical that he can stick to his message over the next 11 weeks, and some say it is too late to persuade most voters to see him anew.
Poor Donald, even if he can keep his mouth on a short leash, he will find that all those burnt bridges are difficult if not impossible to rebuild in the time left.

There are some vile people out there

And if they are not yet Trump supporters, then his campaign needs to get busy because these are his kind of people. The kind that would go beyond stealing lawn signs and put bleach in a cars gas tank and worse. And if you have to ask, yes they are from Texas.
Matt Steadman and his wife are proud Hillary Clinton supporters. They’ve put up yard sign after yard sign after yard sign (three) and each one disappeared almost as fast as they appeared. That didn’t surprise Steadman, who said it was, “no big deal.”

Then, things changed. It began with sign stuck under their door that said “Hillary for Prison 2016.” Then, their SUV was vandalized with bleach in the gas tank. The car can’t be repaired.

“Smelled the inside of my gas tank and there was bleach,” said Steadman. “I’ve never heard about bleach and gas tanks and cars.”

Then things got even worse, much worse. The Steadman’s adorable 2-year-old Shepard mix named Abby got sick.

“She started tremoring and she started shaking, I called Beth around 4 and said ‘I think somethings wrong with Abby.’ ”

Abby had ingested a neurotoxin and there was nothing the veterinarian could do.

Abby didn’t make it.
Stealing lawn signs is a grand Texas political tradition. Putting bleach in the gass tank is very creative, but poisoning a dog requires one sick fuck to do it. Pity the police in Richardson don't have the balls to investigate. Maybe it's a case for Internal Affairs?

If only he were white

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Something new from Norah

"Carry On" from Norah Jones

Only seems that big because of the price

From the pen of Matt Davies

People help people in times of crisis

And during Louisiana's current flood crisis, a great many people have stepped up to help their friends and neighbors and any one in need. All of this Christ-like behavior must have rubbed the Republicans the wrong way because now they are calling for regulating all these good people.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

And that’s exactly what the affectionately-dubbed Cajun Navy did during the terrible flooding in Louisiana that has killed six and displaced thousands. They have used their own boats and skiffs to patrol neighborhoods and try to help others, taking them where they need to go.

But a Republican lawmaker has now called for regulating those helpers, including mandating training, certificates and a permit fee.

“At the end of the day, there are going to be two things that are going to be the hurdle when you approach it from the state’s standpoint,” Sen. Jonathan Perry said in a local radio interview. “Liability is going to be number one for them. They don’t want the liability of someone going out to rescue someone and then not being able to find them (the rescuers) and, secondly, there’s a cost.”

Cajun Navy member Dustin Clouatre told USA Today that they’re against regulation, and it “doesn’t make sense.”

“How can you regulate people helping people?” Clouatre wondered.
Good question Mr Clouatre. But never forget that Republicans are really good at finding what is good in life and eliminating it.

Nice work if you can get it

Anybody who needs to keep an EpiPen knows what a life saver it can be. And now they are learning how expensive they can be despite the lack of any improvement in the product. As small consolation, EpiPen users are only one of 20 Mylan drugs that have taken a huge jump in price.
The executive of the pharmaceutical company that hiked the prices of two dozen drugs, including EpiPen, received a 671% pay increase over the past nine years.

Heather Bresch, chief executive officer of Mylan, came under public scrutiny this week after reports that since acquiring rights to EpiPen in 2007, the company had implemented a series of gradual price increases inflating the price of the drug from $56.64 to $317.82, a 461% increase in cost . During that same time, Bresch went from being Mylan’s chief operating officer to president to chief executive and saw her pay rise $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, a whopping 671% increase.

When Mylan first acquired Merck KGaA in 2007, Bresch oversaw the integration of its 400 products. Among those products was EpiPen, which is used to quickly deliver a proper dose of epinephrine to those suffering from anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is when an allergic reaction causes one’s airways to swell and close. In a 2015 interview with Fortune, Bresch described EpiPen as “my baby”. Under her management, EpiPen went from bringing in $200m a year in sales to becoming Mylan’s first billion dollar product.

Following the outcry over the increase in EpiPen’s prices, Bresch, who is the daughter of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, could be called on to justify Mylan’s pricing before the US Congress. Her father does not sit on the Senate judiciary committee, who would most likely hear her testimony.

Mylan has hiked prices of other products as well, according to a June report by a Wells Fargo senior analyst David Maris.

“Mylan has raised the prices more than 20% on 24 products, and more than 100% on seven products,” he wrote.

Among the products whose prices were hiked over the past six months were:

Ursodiol, a drug used to treat gallstones, saw its price increase by 542%
Dicyclomine, a drug used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, saw its price increase by 400%
Tolterodine, a drug used to treat overactive bladders, saw its price increase by 56%

The Guardian has reached out to Mylan to confirm these hikes.

In his report, Maris noted that the price hikes could draw “greater regulatory scrutiny and headline risk”.

“Mylan’s business model is not today, nor has it ever been, premised on price hikes,” Nina Devlin, Mylan’s spokeswoman, said in June. She described Maris’ analysis was “flawed” and focused on a small selection of its 1,400 plus products.
Having daddy in the Senate will certainly make any inquiry less onerous than ordinary civilians would expect. And while there may be no improvement to the product, there is a most definite improvement to Ms Bresch's compensation as she has increased it $16 Million.

Cause and effect

Which effect do you want?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hard to find anything better

Gershwin music arranged by Nelson Riddle for Ella Fitzgerald to sing "The Man I Love"

Let's see the Olympics Trump this!

15 years and $70 Billion later

Another US soldier dies because the generals don't have the brains to end the conflict in Shitholeistan and the politicians don't have the balls.
A United States soldier was killed by a bomb near the southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah and another was wounded, officials said on Tuesday, days after more than 100 American soldiers arrived there to help plan the strategic city’s defense against a fierce Taliban assault.

The United States military has increasingly found itself drawn back to regular combat situations this year as the Afghan forces have struggled against Taliban offensives.

The increased American presence around Lashkar Gah in particular, more than two years after British soldiers closed their last base in the city, highlights a scramble to prevent the fall of a major population center. For weeks before the Americans’ arrival, top Afghan generals were being sent from Kabul to hold the line as district after district came under attack, with the Taliban surrounding the city.

In a statement on Tuesday, the United States military said the service member had died of “wounds sustained during operations near Lashkar Gah,” the capital of Helmand Province, when a patrol encountered an improvised explosive device.
People may blame this on the Military Industrial Complex but they make minimal profit from this. Their money comes from boy toys like the F-35 Flying Brick, the latest nuclear carrier and unneeded C-130's M1A1's and other worthless projects that continue war or peace.

John asks Donald to do the right thing

He forgot about the essential bodily fluids

In Donny's own words

How you get to Trump

Monday, August 22, 2016

She has a way with a song

Rickie Lee Jones sings "Walk Away Rene" and adds back as much as some might think is lost.

Some things only happen at Election Time

And our intrepid correspondent Tom Tomorrow has collected some prime examples of the best of these phenomena.

Yes he does

From the pen of Paul Noth

R.I.P. Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidore Thielemans

Known as 'Toots' you made the harmonica into a soulful jazz instrument with a sound recognized around the world.

Let Reince do it

Because the Great Orange Fungus is far too busy looking fabulous and talking trash at his rallies to bother with any of the political stuff that goes with getting elected.
Donald J. Trump is leaning heavily on Republican Party organizations to provide crucial campaign functions like getting out the vote, digital outreach and fund-raising, at a time when some leading Republicans have called for party officials to cut off Mr. Trump and focus instead on maintaining control of Congress.

Despite an influx of campaign cash from small donors in July, Mr. Trump’s operation still largely resembles the bare-bones outfit that he rode to victory during the primary season, more concert tour than presidential campaign, according to interviews and documents filed with the Federal Election Commission through Saturday night. And some Republicans believe he is effectively out of time to invest in the kind of large-scale infrastructure that the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, will bring to the polls in November.

Mr. Trump spends little on polling and made his first advertising purchase of the general election campaign only last week. His rapidly growing digital fund-raising and voter-targeting operation is a partnership with the Republican National Committee, relying significantly on lists built and maintained in recent years by the party.

In July, when Mrs. Clinton spent almost $3 million to field a staff of 700 people at her Brooklyn headquarters and in swing states around the country, according to Federal Election Commission payroll data, Mr. Trump spent more money on renting arenas for his speeches than he did on payroll. A senior Trump campaign official, who asked for anonymity because he was not permitted to discuss staffing publicly, said Mr. Trump’s campaign had fewer than 200 total staff members at the end of July, about evenly divided between field offices and New York.

Although he has opened offices in Ohio and Florida in recent weeks, Mr. Trump’s field efforts rely primarily on roughly 500 Republican National Committee organizers scattered across 11 swing states.

The arrangement is a kind of throwback to the pre-Citizens United era, when party organizations — not independent “super PACs” and political nonprofits — assumed many of the financial and organizational burdens of national campaigns.

But it also highlights the bind in which Republican leaders find themselves as Mr. Trump’s struggles threaten to undermine the party’s Senate and House candidates in November: As dependent as Mr. Trump is on their organization, the party is now deeply dependent on Mr. Trump’s surging base of small donors to finance it.
A truly parasitic relationship between the two and it couldn't happen to a more deserving class of vermin.

Your bank doesn't want to see you

But your money is welcome through their doors any time. With the continuing growth of the Internet and what it can do for you, banks are hoping you will stay home to do your banking so they can close those expensive branches and dump all those costly little people they keep there.
The case for reining in sprawling branch networks as a way to cut costs looks compelling.

The traditional branch costs roughly $2-4 million to set up and $200,000-400,000 per year to operate, according to Ed O'Brien, an analyst at Mercator Advisory Group. For big banks with thousands of branches – many of them clustered in pricey urban centers – it can get expensive.

For instance, an eight block stretch near Manhattan's Penn Station houses 14 bank branches - Astoria Bank, Apple Bank, Capital One, Citibank, HSBC, PNC, TD Bank, Sterling National Bank, Wells Fargo, two Bank of America branches, and three Chase branches.

Yet bank executives argue that, in a competitive market, they need to be footsteps away from the best customers.

Executives at JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), the country's largest bank, say each branch earns about $1 million in annual profit, but takes a decade to reach its full potential.

Chase bankers regularly scrutinize data on branch foot traffic and what customers do while inside to determine whether a location should remain open, shut down or shrink.

The bank has shut 265 locations since 2013, roughly 5 percent of its network, but executives insist that branches remain essential for JPMorgan's relationships with customers. They are the best way to sell clients many products and services ranging from mortgages to investment advice, according to Gordon Smith, JPMorgan's head of consumer and community banking.

"Often I will be asked why don't we just accelerate closings. Why don't we close 400 or 500 branches?" Smith said at the 2016 investor day. "The answer is that customers won't go there."

Banks do keep trying to steer customers to digital tools.

They have reduced the number of tellers and moved them to the back. Their ATMs can perform more sophisticated tasks and banks have developed nifty mobile apps for routine banking needs. They are even experimenting with digital loan underwriting.

Yet customers still expect contact with bank staff and JPMorgan recently had to hire more tellers after customer complaints.

JPMorgan and Wells Fargo data show most customers visit branches several times every quarter, though younger clients tend to visit less often.

It may be too early to tell what happens in the long run when a big bank shutters many branches.

Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), which has closed a quarter of its branches since 2009, could eventually serve as a test case.
BAC may be a good case for what happens as it has long been averse to smaller customers as well as staff. If they could reasonably get rid of all the people and just deal with the money they would be very happy.

Oliver on the Charter School Scam

Education is not pizza, my friend.

How can you add 2+2 without the first 2

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mother and daughter singing together

Irene Kelley, in red and her daughter Justyna sing "Rattlesnake Rattler"

The Future of Denial (Not The River)

From the pen of Brian McFadden

click pic to big

The Party of the Damned

That would be the Republicans who find themselves in the position of having to stay with Donald Trump if they don't want to lose everything, even as he drags them down to the eventual loss of everything.
The argument pits pundits such as Michael Gerson and David Books, against tacticians close to congressional leaders who have one priority: keeping the Senate and House in Republican hands after November.
The Republicans close to congressional leaders argue their party can’t afford to completely cut ties to Trump if it wants to avoid a disaster this fall.

“The bandwagonning [against Trump] that a lot of Democrats are trying to goad Republicans into is one way of ensuring that very good [Republican] candidates have an even harder time getting across the finish line in November,” said one Senate Republican strategist. “A lot of Republican commentators and analysts fall in the same category.

“They want to make the argument we have to stand up against this guy on principle. The problem with that is if you do so, you end up taking out really good Republicans,” the source added.

Republicans have to defend 24 Senate seats this year while Democrats only need to protect 10. Democrats will capture the upper chamber if they pick up four seats and keep the White House.

Gerson, a senior aide to President George W. Bush and columnist for The Washington Post, and Brooks, a conservative columnist for The New York Times, have loudly called on Republicans to distance themselves from Trump.

Gerson warned on Monday that “Trump may cost the GOP a generation of voters.”

He urged party leaders such as Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) to consider that at some schools with large minority populations, chanting Trump is viewed as a racial taunt.

Earlier in the year, Gerson wrote that if Priebus endorsed Trump’s nomination, “it would turn the sins of Trump in to the sins of the GOP” and squander the party’s legacy in a “squalid and hopeless political effort.”

Brooks warned earlier this month that Republicans who refuse to disavow Trump “are being sucked down a nihilistic whirlpool.”

“If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame,” he wrote.
So the GOP finds itself in a position where it can not change horses in mid stream even though the horse they are on won't make it to the other side. This is fun!

That was then

Back in the good old days when she worked for someone else, Kellyanne Conway blasted The Great Orange Fungus for not releasing his tax returns. Now that she works for The GOF she has had a "come to Jeebus" moment.
Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Sunday morning that she does not want the Republican presidential nominee to release his tax returns until an audit by the Internal Revenue Service is completed, abandoning a position that she took five months ago, when she didn't work for the campaign and urged Trump to "be transparent" and release the filings.

"I've learned since being on the inside that this audit is a serious matter and that he has said that when the audit is complete, he will release his tax returns," Conway said during an interview on ABC's "This Week" that aired Sunday morning. "I also know as a pollster that what concerns people most about quote 'taxes' is their own tax liability, and so we appreciate people being able to see Hillary Clinton's plan and Donald Trump's plan and figure out who will really get the middle-class tax relief."

According to Trump's attorneys, his tax returns filed since 2009 are under audit but those from 2002 to 2008 are no longer under audit. Conway said Sunday in an interview on CNN that she does not want Trump to release those returns, either.
It is easy to understand that a minion would conform her ideas to those of her boss. It is offensive for her to pretend there is any other reason for her change of heart.

Don't Like Putin? Don't Make Long Range Plans

Many people have an image of Lucretia Borgia as an Arch-Poisoner but one look at modern day Russia and Vladimir Putin emerges as the new King of the Hill in that field.
Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, has made no secret of his ambition to restore his country to what he sees as its rightful place among the world’s leading nations. He has invested considerable money and energy into building an image of a strong and morally superior Russia, in sharp contrast with what he portrays as weak, decadent and disorderly Western democracies.

Muckraking journalists, rights advocates, opposition politicians, government whistle-blowers and other Russians who threaten that image are treated harshly — imprisoned on trumped-up charges, smeared in the news media and, with increasing frequency, killed.

Political murders, particularly those accomplished with poisons, are nothing new in Russia, going back five centuries. Nor are they particularly subtle. While typically not traceable to any individuals and plausibly denied by government officials, poisonings leave little doubt of the state’s involvement — which may be precisely the point.

“Outside of popular culture, there are no highly skilled hit men for hire,” Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University and an authority on the Russian security services, said in an interview. “If it’s a skilled job, that means it’s a state asset.”

Other countries, notably Israel and the United States, pursue targeted killings, but in a strict counterterrorism context. No other major power employs murder as systematically and ruthlessly as Russia does against those seen as betraying its interests abroad. Killings outside Russia were even given legal sanction by the nation’s Parliament in 2006.

Applied most notoriously in the case of Alexander V. Litvinenko, a Putin opponent who died of polonium-210 poisoning in London in 2006, murders and deaths under mysterious circumstances are now seen as such a menace that Kremlin critics now often flee the country and keep their whereabouts secret.

Russia has never acknowledged using the authority under the 2006 law and has specifically denied any government ties to high-profile cases, including the Litvinenko murder.
Putin is old school and remembers the old ways. And if they help him to remain in power, they are good enough for him.

A Few Words From God Today

Saturday, August 20, 2016

They performed as Kennedy Rose

And "Love Like This" was an early single for singer/songwriters Pam Rose and Mary Ann Kennedy.

The Trump Effect

From the pen of Jim Morin

Another private equity plan to suck the Treasury dry

This one involves elder care and a Medicare program to keep seniors out of nursing homes.
But this is no linoleum-floored community center reeking of bleach. Instead, it’s one of eight vanguard centers owned by InnovAge, a company based in Denver with ambitious plans. With the support of private equity money, InnovAge aims to aggressively expand a little-known Medicare program that will pay to keep older and disabled Americans out of nursing homes.

Until recently, only nonprofits were allowed to run programs like these. But a year ago, the government flipped the switch, opening the program to for-profit companies as well, ending one of the last remaining holdouts to commercialism in health care. The hope is that the profit motive will expand the services faster.

Hanging over all the promise, though, is the question of whether for-profit companies are well-suited to this line of work, long the province of nonprofit do-gooders. Critics point out that the business of caring for poor and frail people is marred with abuse. Already, new ideas for lowering the cost of the program have started circulating. In Silicon Valley, for example, some eager entrepreneurs are pushing plans that call for a higher reliance on video calls instead of in-face doctor visits.

The business appeal is simple: A baby boom-propelled surge in government health care spending is coming. Medicare enrollment is expected to grow by 30 million people in the next two decades, and many of those people are potential future clients. Adding to the allure are hefty profit margins for programs like these — as high as 15 percent, compared with an average of 2 percent among nursing homes — and geographic monopolies that are all but guaranteed by state Medicaid agencies to ensure the solvency of providers.

The goal of the program, known as PACE, or the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, is to help frail, older Americans live longer and more happily in their own homes, by providing comprehensive medical care and intensive social support. It also promises to save Medicare and Medicaid millions of dollars by keeping those people out of nursing homes.

Several private equity firms, venture capitalists and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have jumped into the niche. F-Prime Capital Partners, a former Fidelity Biosciences group, provided seed funding for a PACE-related start-up, as have well-regarded angel investors like Amir Dan Rubin, the former Stanford Health Care president, and Michael Zubkoff, a Dartmouth health care economist.

And no company has moved with more tenacity than InnovAge. Last year, the company overcame protests from watchdog groups to convert from a nonprofit organization to a for-profit business in Colorado. And in May, InnovAge received $196 million in backing — the largest investment in a PACE business since the rule change was made — from Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a private equity firm with $10 billion in assets under management.

“For years we were pariahs, and no one wanted anything to do with us,” said Julie Reiskin, executive director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, a nonprofit group that advocates for people with disabilities, many of whom are eligible for PACE.

“Now that there’s money involved,” Ms. Reiskin said, “everyone is all interested.”

Even the program’s supporters acknowledge that the movement needs fresh momentum. But they worry that commercial operators will tarnish their image in the same way many for-profits eroded trust in hospice care and nursing homes.
Already one year in and some are calling for reduced services because expenses cut into profits, and if there are no profits why bother caring for a bunch of geezers. It is sad to see for profits allowed into the program, no good has ever come from commercialization of healthcare. But you can bet on this opening upthe way for a lot of fraud.

It's not the assets, it's the debt

Who and how much Donald Trump owes for the privilege of calling himself a Yuge Billionaire is the key tohow big a liar he is and who will have influence over him. You can be sure it won't be the rubes who show up at his rallies.
On the campaign trail, Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has sold himself as a businessman who has made billions of dollars and is beholden to no one.

But an investigation by The New York Times into the financial maze of Mr. Trump’s real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt — twice the amount that can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House. The Times’s inquiry also found that Mr. Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign.

For example, an office building on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, of which Mr. Trump is part owner, carries a $950 million loan. Among the lenders: the Bank of China, one of the largest banks in a country that Mr. Trump has railed against as an economic foe of the United States, and Goldman Sachs, a financial institution he has said controls Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, after it paid her $675,000 in speaking fees.

Real estate projects often involve complex ownership and mortgage structures. And given Mr. Trump’s long real estate career in the United States and abroad, as well as his claim that his personal wealth exceeds $10 billion, it is safe to say that no previous major party presidential nominee has had finances nearly as complicated.

As president, Mr. Trump would have substantial sway over monetary and tax policy, as well as the power to make appointments that would directly affect his own financial empire. He would also wield influence over legislative issues that could have a significant impact on his net worth, and would have official dealings with countries in which he has business interests.

Yet The Times’s examination underscored how much of Mr. Trump’s business remains shrouded in mystery. He has declined to disclose his tax returns or allow an independent valuation of his assets.

Beyond finding that companies owned by Mr. Trump had debts of at least $650 million, The Times discovered that a substantial portion of his wealth is tied up in three passive partnerships that owe an additional $2 billion to a string of lenders, including those that hold the loan on the Avenue of the Americas building. If those loans were to go into default, Mr. Trump might not be held personally liable, but the value of his investments would sink.

Mr. Trump has said that if he were elected president, his children would be likely to run his company. Many presidents, to avoid any appearance of a conflict, have placed their holdings in blind trusts, which typically involves selling the original asset, and replacing it with different assets unknown to the seller.

Mr. Trump’s children seem unlikely to pursue that option.
It is probably safe to say that Donald Trump has very little free cash, and what he does have needs to keep moving to make him appear rich. And don't hou just love the idea that his kids will run his "empire" while he is in office. Absolutely no way they will ever talk business at any time.

A word from Stephen King

Friday, August 19, 2016

According to legend,

It was an occasion of Anne-Marit (piano) playing "Wading In Deeper" that inspired the formation of Katzenjammer by four multi talented music students.

Sarcasm didn't work this time

From the pen of Kevin Siers

About that Miami vacation

Mosquitos love Florida and now mosquitos spread Zika virus. As a result, The Center For Disease Control has issued a travel advisory for portions of Miami Beach as well as Miami.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott confirmed Friday that the Zika virus is being spread locally by mosquitoes in Miami Beach, a development that marks an expansion of the outbreak in South Florida.

"We believe we have a new area where local transmissions are occurring in Miami Beach,” Scott said at a noon press conference. The suspect zone covers about 1.5 square miles between 8th and 28th streets, and between the beach and the intracoastal waterway -- a stretch that encompasses the city's central tourist area.

Health officials said at least five people have been infected with Zika there, including two who live in Miami Beach. One person from Texas, one from New York and another from Taiwan each have returned home but were infected while traveling in Miami Beach.

The news marks a second front in Miami's fight against local transmission of the virus. Previously, officials had pinpointed local infections in a one-square-mile area north of downtown Miami known as Wynwood. That prompted federal health authorities to urge pregnant women not to visit the area, the first time they ever had warned against travel to a part of the continental United States because of the outbreak of an infectious disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promptly expanded its travel advisory Friday afternoon, saying pregnant women should avoid the designated area of Miami Beach, as well as Wynwood, due to the ongoing Zika transmissions. The agency said that pregnant women and their sexual partners who live in the area or have to travel there should take extra precautions to guard against mosquito bites, including wearing repellent.
Research is being done on a vaccine and other controls for the disease but more needs to be done. One thing we can be sure of, after government financed research finds a vaccine/cure Big Pharma will slap a patent on it and price it according to how big they need their profits to be.

Is Trump the Rock that will sink the GOP?

Many of us are certainly fervently praying for that to be true. And many Republicans are hoping it will never happen. But their dilemma revolves around their inability to do anything about The Great Orange Fungus that won't do the same thing.
Donald J. Trump’s struggling candidacy has now become a direct threat to Republican control of Congress, significantly increasing the likelihood that Democrats will take control of the Senate and cut substantially into the House Republican majority next year.

Mr. Trump’s string of inflammatory statements in the weeks since his nominating convention last month has sent him tumbling in nearly every state with a contested Senate race, raising Republican fears that their own demoralized voters will not show up to vote, independents will abandon the entire Republican ticket and energized Democrats will flock to the polls.

While Republicans anticipate that their down-ballot candidates will be able to outpace Mr. Trump’s share of the vote, national and local party officials and strategists are increasingly concerned that he is in danger of being so soundly defeated that even their best-prepared candidates will not be able to withstand the backlash to the top of the ticket.

“People are getting pretty nervous about our candidates because he’s in a death spiral here and nobody knows where the bottom is at,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is close to many of his colleagues facing re-election.

Mr. Trump’s move this week to overhaul his campaign by hiring the head of a conservative website known for its incendiary writings on race and ethnic identity only heightened Republican concerns about Mr. Trump’s impact on moderate voters. If he devotes the rest of his campaign to a platform of hard-edge nationalism, strategists said, it could further turn off the suburban centrists Senate Republicans need in their column.

While there is still time for the dynamics of the campaign to shift, what worries Republicans most acutely is Mr. Trump’s eroding position in three states that alone could determine control of the Senate: Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and North Carolina. Hillary Clinton has staked out a clear advantage in each state in public polling, and private surveys by pro-Republican groups mirror the trend, according to multiple officials tracking the campaigns.
Can those poor GOP candidates put any distance between them and their Doom? Will it make any difference? With Trump already bleeding support from his base the situation is unique enough that no one can predict where the voters will end up.

Now he wants us to believe his apology?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Originally on her 2004 album

Jess Kline and her band also do "Soda Water" on her new live album.

Since Donald says he is winning so bigly

I have taken the liberty of suggesting a theme song for his Inaugural Balls.

Thank you Spike!

Some whines need to be kept corked

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Sometimes private ownership sucks

Actually more like all the time if you are talking about something that is part of the commonwealth. We usually don't think of prisons as part of the commonwealth but as part of our system of justice and public safety, they are necessary. That is why it is good to see the Department of Justice saying it will end the use of private prisons.
The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote.

In an interview, Yates said there are 13 privately run privately run facilities in the Bureau of Prisons system, and they will not close overnight. Yates said the Justice Department would not terminate existing contracts but instead review those that come up for renewal. She said all the contracts would come up for renewal over the next five years.

The Justice Department’s inspector general last week released a critical report concluding that privately operated facilities incurred more safety and security incidents than those run by the federal Bureau of Prisons. The private facilities, for example, had higher rates of assaults — both by inmates on other inmates and by inmates on staff — and had eight times as many contraband cellphones confiscated each year on average, according to the report.
So they will run to the end of their contracts which will give their friends in Congress time to work on reversing this decision. And does anybody really believe they will get any better as the end of contract approaches?

R.I.P. Arthur Hiller

Your biggest commercial success was your worst piece of shit. Fortunately your other movies were worth watching.

“I liked Trump until he opened his mouth”

Donald Trump is losing his white male support. Not all white men, there are plenty of hardcore racist, bigot and all around assholes to insure that Donald Trump will get some votes in every state. But the reality is those who are not true believers are losing their faith.
Donald J. Trump’s support among white men, the linchpin of his presidential campaign, is showing surprising signs of weakness that could foreclose his only remaining path to victory in November.

If not reversed, the trend could materialize into one of the most unanticipated developments of the 2016 presidential campaign: That Hillary Clinton, the first woman at the head of a major party ticket and a divisive figure unpopular with many men, ends up narrowing the gender gap that has been a constant of American presidential elections for decades.

Surveys of voters nationwide and in battleground states conducted over the last two weeks showed that Mr. Trump was even with or below where Mitt Romney, the Republican Party nominee four years ago, was with white men when he won that demographic by an overwhelming 27 percentage points.

For Mr. Trump, who has staked much of his legitimacy as a candidate on his strength in the polls, the numbers are a dose of cold, dangerous math. If he does not perform any better than Mr. Romney did with white men, he will almost certainly be unable to rally the millions of disaffected white voters he says will propel him to the White House.

All along, one of the central questions of the election has been whether there are enough white men who will turn out to vote to lift Mr. Trump to victory. And there may be enough, demographers and pollsters said. But for now it appears that after a ceaseless stream of provocations, insults and reckless remarks, Mr. Trump has damaged himself significantly with the one demographic that stands as a bulwark to a Clinton presidency.

“If you set out to design a strategy to produce the lowest popular vote possible in the new American electorate of 2016, you would be hard-pressed to do a better job than Donald Trump has,” said Whit Ayres, a pollster who has advised Republican presidential and Senate candidates for more than 25 years. “This is an electoral disaster waiting to happen.”

There are still nearly three months before Election Day, ample time to shift the dynamics of the race. But the question that Republicans inside and outside the Trump campaign are asking is whether or not the damage Mr. Trump has caused himself over the last few weeks is irreparable.

Interviews with voters found that Mr. Trump’s increasingly outlandish behavior was rubbing many in his key voting bloc the wrong way. “I liked Trump until he opened his mouth,” said Phil Kinney, a retired middle school administrator and a Republican from Bethlehem, Pa. The recent string of attacks Mr. Trump has unleashed, particularly his criticism of the family of a Muslim soldier killed in Iraq, left Mr. Kinney disappointed. Faced with the choice of voting for Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Kinney said he may just stay home.
"Until he opened his mouth", that's a killer quote. Day by day, Trump is finding new ways to peel off layers of his white male support until he reaches that hard core who would worship a fresh turd in the hot sun. But how many of them are there?

Where was Donny?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Something Tamed Something Wild

Mary Chapin Carpenter

True love

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Chris Christie, the Deep Discount Governor

If you are a rapacious corporation or businessman who doesn't want to pay your fair share of taxes, have I got a Governor for you. Already notorious for his pennies on the dollar settlement of the Exxon-Mobil pollution penalty, we find that The Outlaw Jersey Whale learned how to do a deal from Trump and his busted casinos.
By the time Chris Christie became governor of New Jersey, the state’s auditors and lawyers had been battling for several years to collect long-overdue taxes owed by the casinos founded by his friend Donald J. Trump.

The total, with interest, had grown to almost $30 million. The state had doggedly pursued the matter through two of the casinos’ bankruptcy cases and even accused the company led by Mr. Trump of filing false reports with state casino regulators about the amount of taxes it had paid.

But the year after Governor Christie, a Republican, took office, the tone of the litigation shifted. The state entertained settlement offers. And in December 2011, after six years in court, the state agreed to accept just $5 million, roughly 17 cents on the dollar of what auditors said the casinos owed.

Tax authorities sometimes settle for lesser amounts to avoid the costs and risks of further litigation, legal experts said, but the steep discount granted to the Trump casinos and the relationship between the two men raise inevitable questions about special treatment.

Continue reading the main story
“You can’t tell whether there’s something problematic, but it’s pretty striking that this one was written down so much,” said David Skeel, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School who specializes in bankruptcy law and reviewed the case at the request of The New York Times.

The refusal by Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, to release his personal income tax returns has become a growing issue in the campaign. He has also boasted of his success in lowering his tax burden as a businessman, declaring last year in an interview on Fox News that only “a stupid person, a really stupid person, is paying a lot of taxes.”
His quickly cozy relationship with Donald Trump, thanks to his sister, the judge, had no influence on this whatsoever.
The Times discovered the agreement during a review of the thousands of documents filed in the bankruptcies of Mr. Trump’s casinos. The taxes went unpaid from 2002 through 2006, during which time Mr. Trump was leading the company as chairman and, until 2005, as its chief executive. He reaped millions of dollars in fees and bonuses from the company, even as it underperformed competitors, lost money every year and saw its stock collapse.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Christie met in 2002, when Mr. Christie was the United States attorney for New Jersey. Mr. Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry, then a federal judge in the state, had mentioned to Mr. Christie that her famous brother would like to meet him. They struck up a friendship. Mr. Christie was invited to Mr. Trump’s third wedding in 2005, and Mr. Trump was a prominent guest at Mr. Christie’s inauguration in 2010. They have double dated with their wives.

Their bond has occasionally included financial largess from Mr. Trump. His foundation made large donations to the Drumthwacket Foundation, which finances maintenance and improvements to New Jersey’s historic governor’s residence, after Mr. Christie became its honorary chairman. Mr. Trump also made large contributions to the Republican Governors Association when Mr. Christie was its chairman.

After attacking Mr. Christie during the recent Republican primary contest, Mr. Trump seriously considered choosing him as his running mate before picking Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana. But Mr. Christie has remained a vocal supporter and was given a prominent speaking role at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and Mr. Trump has given his friend the task of heading his transition committee.

“Donald and I, along with Melania and Mary Pat, have been friends for over a decade,” Mr. Christie said when he endorsed Mr. Trump in February. “He has been a good and loyal friend.”
A few bucks here, a few bucks there and it's all, 'what tax bill'?

Trump's handler pushed into the background

After all the recent publicity surrounding Putin's hand picked handler for Donald Trump, the campaign has added some new staff ad reduced to public exposure of Paul Manafort. One of then, Stephen Bannon, was the head of Dead Breitbart News, a failed RW propaganda outfit that could not even commission a poll showing Trump ahead of Clinton.
Donald J. Trump has shaken up his presidential campaign for the second time in two months, hiring a top executive from the conservative website Breitbart News and promoting a senior adviser in an effort to right his faltering campaign.

Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Dead Breitbart News LLC, will become the Republican campaign’s chief executive, and Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser and pollster for Mr. Trump and his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, will become the campaign manager.

Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, will retain his title. But the staffing change, hammered out on Sunday and set to be formally announced Wednesday morning, was seen by some as a demotion for Mr. Manafort.

The news, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was confirmed early Wednesday by Ms. Conway in a brief interview, but she rejected the idea that the changes amounted to a shake-up and said that Mr. Manafort was not being diminished.

“It’s an expansion at a busy time in the final stretch of the campaign,” she said, adding that Mr. Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, would remain in their roles.

“We met as the ‘core four’ today,” Ms. Conway added, referring to herself, Mr. Bannon, Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates.

People briefed on the move said that it reflected Mr. Trump’s realization that his campaign was at a crisis point. But it indicates that the candidate — who has chafed at making the types of changes his current aides have asked for, even though he had acknowledged they would need to occur — has decided to embrace his aggressive style for the duration of the race.

Both Ms. Conway and Mr. Bannon, whose news organization has been very favorable to Mr. Trump since he entered the primaries, are close with Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the father-and-daughter conservative donors who have become allies of the candidate and are funding a “super PAC” that is working against Hillary Clinton.
So the big money behind Putin's Puppy is trying to put a leash on him. I can't see any of those teleprompter speeches firing up the crowds. They are only happy when He is shooting straight into His feet.

After the shuffle, Trump's handler is still there.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The new album is out in Feb

Until then here is the title cut from Beth Hart's latest, "Fire On The Floor"

Trump demands purity of thought

If you wish to immigrate into a Trumpian United States you had better be able to pass his proposed test to guarantee that you think the proper thoughts.
An ideological purity test to screen out immigrants with sympathies toward radical Islam has been proposed by Donald Trump in a sharp escalation of what he claimed is a religious war with the west.

In a speech intended to refine his policies for combating Islamic State, the Republican presidential candidate insisted that such measures were necessary to stop its spread.

“We cannot let this evil continue,” Trump told a rally of supporters in Ohio. “Nor can we let the hateful ideology of radical Islam ... be allowed to spread within our own countries.”

The foreign policy address was billed by campaign officials as a return to a more presidential style from a candidate who has been buffeted in recent days by collapsing poll numbers.

But instead of softening his previously blunt language calling for an outright ban on Muslim immigration, Trump used the speech to emphasise what he claimed was a epoch-defining ideological struggle.

“Today we begin a conversation about how to make America safe again,” said the candidate as he compared the threat from radical Islamic terrorism to that of “Nazism” and communism and claimed it was a responsible for an attack outside the Middle East “war zone” every 84 hours this summer.
This idea from a man who daily pews ideas completely at odds with all that America is supposed to stand for will probably thrill his base and hopefully appall the rest of the voting public.

When Trump fails his immigration test

From the pen of Mike Lukovich

Because he is so good at handling women

The New York Times reports that the failing Trump campaign has taken on Roger Ailes to advise their moron running for president.
Roger Ailes, the former Fox News chairman ousted last month over charges of sexual harassment, is advising Donald J. Trump as he begins to prepare for the all-important presidential debates this fall.

Mr. Ailes is aiding Mr. Trump’s team as it turns its attention to the first debate with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University on Long Island, according to four people briefed on the move, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Two of them said that Mr. Ailes’s role could extend beyond the debates, which Mr. Trump’s advisers see as crucial to vaulting him back into strong contention for the presidency after a series of self-inflicted wounds that have eroded his standing in public opinion polls.

For Mr. Ailes, being connected with Mr. Trump’s campaign could be a form of redemption after he was pushed out of the powerful network that he helped build. And for Mr. Trump, having Mr. Ailes taking a hand in his preparations for the debates adds immeasurably to the messaging and media expertise in his corner — and could raise alarms within Mrs. Clinton’s camp about just how aggressive Mr. Trump plans to be in those encounters.

It was not clear when Mr. Ailes began helping the campaign. He resigned his post at Fox News on July 21 amid an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by former female employees that occurred after a lawsuit by the former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

It was also not immediately known whether Mr. Ailes, who received $40 million in an exit agreement with Fox News, will be paid for his work on the campaign, or how much time he will be devoting to it. Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is also not being paid.
I wonder if Ailes, like Manafort, knows better than to expect payment from Trump. But like Manafort, Mr Ailes has another source of income.

What we lose when Larry is gone

Maybe Larry Wilmore was too understated but he always hit what he aimed for.

Teach a woman to fish...

Monday, August 15, 2016

From down Bottom Alabama way

Willie Sugarcapps, a collective of Will Kimbrough, Anthony Crawford & Savana Lee of Sugarcane Jane, Grayson Capps, and Corky Hughes, in one of their premier efforts perform "Heartbreak Road"

Trump play the Orpheum

And just as in the heyday of Vaudeville, Tom Tomorrow shows us that not every act was good enough to make the jump.

So cute, playing with her dolls.

From the pen of Tim Eagen

A lot of money

And a lot of connections to Putin. Investigators in the Ukraine have uncovered ledgers that show Donald Trump's current campaign manager has deep financial connection to Vladimir Putin prior to managing Trump's campaign.
Mr. Manafort’s presence remains elsewhere here in the capital, where government investigators examining secret records have found his name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort’s main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Mr. Yanukovych’s inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles, including a palatial presidential residence with a private zoo, golf course and tennis court. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.

Mr. Manafort’s involvement with moneyed interests in Russia and Ukraine had previously come to light. But as American relationships there become a rising issue in the presidential campaign — from Mr. Trump’s favorable statements about Mr. Putin and his annexation of Crimea to the suspected Russian hacking of Democrats’ emails — an examination of Mr. Manafort’s activities offers new details of how he mixed politics and business out of public view and benefited from powerful interests now under scrutiny by the new government in Kiev.

Anti-corruption officials there say the payments earmarked for Mr. Manafort, previously unreported, are a focus of their investigation, though they have yet to determine if he actually received the cash. While Mr. Manafort is not a target in the separate inquiry of offshore activities, prosecutors say he must have realized the implications of his financial dealings.

“He understood what was happening in Ukraine,” said Vitaliy Kasko, a former senior official with the general prosecutor’s office in Kiev. “It would have to be clear to any reasonable person that the Yanukovych clan, when it came to power, was engaged in corruption.”
So Manafort hangs out with the Putiniastas in the Ukraine long enough to learn from the FSB how to handle a dumb agent. And then he works his way into the Trump campaign where he becomes the manager of the Dumbest of the Dumb. It certainly does look like Manafort is Putin's Trump Whisperer.

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