Sunday, December 17, 2017

How Trump’s skepticism of U.S. intelligence on Russia left an election threat unchecked - Washington Post

How Trump’s skepticism of U.S. intelligence on Russia left an election threat unchecked - Washington Post

How Trump’s skepticism of U.S. intelligence on Russia left an election threat unchecked - Washington Post

How Trump’s skepticism of U.S. intelligence on Russia left an election threat unchecked - Washington Post

Trump’s Lies vs. Obama’s - The New York Times

Trump’s Lies vs. Obama’s - The New York Times

Trump Administration Reportedly Instructs CDC On Its Own Version Of 7 Dirty Words : NPR

Trump Administration Reportedly Instructs CDC On Its Own Version Of 7 Dirty Words : NPR:



The seven words that were to be stricken from official documents being drafted for the 2019 fiscal year budget, according to the Post, are:

diversity, entitlement, evidence-based, fetus,  science-based, transgender,  vulnerable

GOP Tax Bill: How The Final Version Would Affect You : NPR

GOP Tax Bill: How The Final Version Would Affect You : NPR

Cemeteries Turn To Swamps As Alaska's Permafrost Melts : NPR

Cemeteries Turn To Swamps As Alaska's Permafrost Melts : NPR:



In Alaska, most Native American villages in the western part of the state are built on permafrost — a thick layer of frozen soil. But as the climate changes, that permafrost is starting to thaw. Kong's cemetery is melting and becoming a swampy lake. People are watching the graves of their loved ones sink out of sight.

Washington Did A Lot This Week And America's Schools Will Feel It : NPR Ed : NPR

Washington Did A Lot This Week And America's Schools Will Feel It : NPR Ed : NPR:



For many taxpayers, especially in blue states, their state and local taxes would cost them more — perhaps much more — under this proposal. The potential effect isn't abstract. Bloomberg reported the story of one New Jersey community that, just this week, voted against a property tax hike to help its overcrowded schools — in part because of these potential changes.

2017 Winners :: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards - Conservation through Competition

2017 Winners :: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards - Conservation through Competition

Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards Are Back : The Two-Way : NPR

Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards Are Back : The Two-Way : NPR

Friday, December 15, 2017

Five years after the massacre that proved that America is depraved and insane | Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Five years after the massacre that proved that America is depraved and insane | Badtux the Snarky Penguin

How conservative media sites like Fox News and Breitbart reacted to Roy Moore's stunning loss - The Washington Post

How conservative media sites like Fox News and Breitbart reacted to Roy Moore's stunning loss - The Washington Post





If things don't go their way: then blame it on someone else.  Typical.

Net neutrality is gone. Feel the freedom coursing through your veins. - The Washington Post

Net neutrality is gone. Feel the freedom coursing through your veins. - The Washington Post

Senate Republicans try to placate Rubio after he threatens to oppose tax bill over child credit - The Washington Post

Senate Republicans try to placate Rubio after he threatens to oppose tax bill over child credit - The Washington Post

Trump judicial nominee fumbles basic questions about the law - The Washington Post

Trump judicial nominee fumbles basic questions about the law - The Washington Post:


Trump tapped Petersen in September to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, one of the most important federal trial courts in the nation. Until now, his nomination has drawn little attention, and Trump’s other nominees to the court in Washington have breezed through the confirmation process with bipartisan support.

When video of the interrogation made its way online, several high profile law professors tweeted their surprise.

“Don’t want to beat up on the guy but the questions he was being asked could be answered by a second year law student,” wrote Aderson Francois, a professor at Georgetown Law. “Even if you know zero about evidence the one doctrine every law student knows is Daubert because it’s a very famous case about standard to admit expert testimony.”


Makes you wonder who's in charge of the nominee list; and what their criteria is. 

The Finance 202: Rubio’s last stand highlights tax bill’s corporate skew - The Washington Post

The Finance 202: Rubio’s last stand highlights tax bill’s corporate skew - The Washington Post:



What he says:

The former New York City mayor continues: "Corporations are sitting on a record amount of cash reserves: nearly $2.3 trillion. That figure has been climbing steadily since the recession ended in 2009, and it's now double what it was in 2001. The reason CEOs aren't investing more of their liquid assets has little to do with the tax rate. CEOs aren't waiting on a tax cut to 'jump-start the economy'�-- a favorite phrase of politicians who have never run a company -- or to hand out raises. It's pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth, as Republicans have promised. Had Congress actually listened to executives, or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that."


But they just aren't listening. 

How The House Tax Overhaul Bill Could Hurt Affordable Housing : NPR

How The House Tax Overhaul Bill Could Hurt Affordable Housing : NPR:



With lawmakers in the House and Senate announcing that they've reached a deal, affordable housing advocates are anxiously waiting to see which version of the bill wins out with regard to housing. They say the House bill has a poison pill in it.

"The effect would be devastating," says Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "It would mean a loss of around 800,000 affordable rental homes over the next 10 years."

Sometimes It Takes A 'Village' To Help Seniors Stay In Their Homes : NPR

Sometimes It Takes A 'Village' To Help Seniors Stay In Their Homes : NPR



Wonderful idea. 

The USDA Rolled Back Protections For Small Farmers. Now The Farmers Are Suing : The Salt : NPR

The USDA Rolled Back Protections For Small Farmers. Now The Farmers Are Suing : The Salt : NPR:



Many of the farmers affected by the rollback supported Donald Trump for president, believing his promise to look after their interests. Now, the disillusionment is setting in.

West Virginia poultry farmer Mike Weaver is one of them; he says the feeling now among small farmers and ranchers is, "Where's the support that you promised us? We voted for you because you were going to make things right, and it's not happening."


That's what happens when you take the word of a shillster.  You get taken for a ride. 

Tug Of War Over Tips Looms As Trump Administration Proposes Rule Change : The Salt : NPR

Tug Of War Over Tips Looms As Trump Administration Proposes Rule Change : The Salt : NPR



IMHO: get rid of tips.  Pay staff a decent wage [all staff], set prices as necessary to meet that wage scale, and announce the 'No tip' program to the public.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hullabaloo

Hullabaloo

A Constitutional Crisis Is on the Way

A Constitutional Crisis Is on the Way



If he did, would there be enough sane people in Congress willing to take action? Or would they just roll over and accept it?

Teachers And Educators Weigh In On Net Neutrality : NPR Ed : NPR

Teachers And Educators Weigh In On Net Neutrality : NPR Ed : NPR

Net Neutrality Rules: FCC Votes : The Two-Way : NPR

Net Neutrality Rules: FCC Votes : The Two-Way : NPR



The fox in the hen house is opening the door for all the other predators to come in.

After Outcry, Crowdfunding Site Patreon Backs Off Plan To Raise Fees : The Two-Way : NPR

After Outcry, Crowdfunding Site Patreon Backs Off Plan To Raise Fees : The Two-Way : NPR

The end of American prison visits: jails end face-to-face contact – and families suffer | US news | The Guardian

The end of American prison visits: jails end face-to-face contact – and families suffer | US news | The Guardian:



The prison phone system is a $1.2bn-a-year industry, dominated by big players like Securus. Securus has stated that it serves over 1.2 million prisoners across North America, and the company employs at least 736 people, according to its Bloomberg listing.

Private companies point to their services as a potential new source of revenue for overburdened counties, with the facility receiving commissions per call. Although neither Securus nor the Jefferson Parish sheriff’s office would provide a breakdown of where the $12.99 per 20 minutes goes, Coulette says that “typically they receive only a 10 to 20% commission on the call”.


Another new cash machine for private industry, another new blow against human rights. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Alaska is warming so fast, quality-control algorithms are kicking the data - The Washington Post

Alaska is warming so fast, quality-control algorithms are kicking the data - The Washington Post:



Last week, scientists were pulling together the latest data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s monthly report on the climate when they noticed something strange: One of their key climate monitoring stations had fallen off the map. All of the data for Barrow, Alaska — the northernmost city in the United States — was missing.

No, Barrow hadn’t literally been vanquished by the pounding waves of the Arctic Sea (although it does sit precipitously close). The missing station was just the result of rapid, man-made climate change, with a runaway effect on the Arctic.

The temperature in Barrow had been warming so fast this year, the data was automatically flagged as unreal and removed from the climate database. 

White House Insists Trump Tweet Wasn't Sexist. Female Senators Disagree : NPR

White House Insists Trump Tweet Wasn't Sexist. Female Senators Disagree : NPR

The epistemological crisis that is destroying America | Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The epistemological crisis that is destroying America | Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The 2017 Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog

The 2017 Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog:


“Hey, what should we call our artisanal marshmallows that have been crafted with cane sugar and cage-free egg whites? How about FLOATERS? Nothing says Christmas like a big, hot, chocolatey floater! Does that work for everyone? Why is Ned laughing?”

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The rightwing takeover of the US court system will transform America | Paul Butler | US news | The Guardian

The rightwing takeover of the US court system will transform America | Paul Butler | US news | The Guardian:

 Donald Trump has nominated an unprecedented number of judges to federal courts since his appointment. These are making steady progress through the Senate confirmation process and yet they have escaped the sort of scrutiny that Trump normally attracts. This is unfortunate, because the impact of Trump’s court picks will be profound, and will help reshape American society for years to come.

Of the nearly 60 judges he has nominated, only one is black, one is Hispanic and three are women. The rest are white men. All of these people are conservatives who will be interpreting and helping (re)write the law for decades.

'No shame': how the Trump administration granted big oil's wishlist | Business | The Guardian

'No shame': how the Trump administration granted big oil's wishlist | Business | The Guardian

Macron Awards U.S. Climate Scientists Grants To 'Make Our Planet Great Again' : The Two-Way : NPR

Macron Awards U.S. Climate Scientists Grants To 'Make Our Planet Great Again' : The Two-Way : NPR:



French President Emmanuel Macron, in a not-so-subtle jab at President Trump, has awarded long-term research grants to 18 climate scientists — 13 of them U.S.-based researchers — to relocate to France and pursue their work with the blessing of a government that doesn't cast doubt on the threat of climate change.

The announcement Monday makes good on a pledge Macron made earlier this year after the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate accord to offer France as a "second homeland" to climate researchers in order to "make our planet great again."

Macron's appeal produced 1,822 applicants, nearly two-thirds from the United States. Candidates had to have a proven track record on climate research and propose a project that would take three to five years to complete. That period roughly matches Trump current term in office.

White House Pushes New Truck Safety Regulation While Loosening Obama-Era Rules : NPR

White House Pushes New Truck Safety Regulation While Loosening Obama-Era Rules : NPR:



 "I find the current climate troubling," says John Lannen, executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition, who says the Trump administration is undermining safety at a time when serious truck-related crashes, injuries and fatalities are all on the rise.

"All the numbers are trending the wrong way," Lannen says. "We're over 4,000 deaths a year now in truck crashes. It's been going up steadily and we need to do something now."

DOT Suspends Proposed Rule That Would Force Airlines To Show Baggage Fee At Booking : NPR

DOT Suspends Proposed Rule That Would Force Airlines To Show Baggage Fee At Booking : NPR:



The U.S. Department of Transportation released a statement last week announcing it would withdraw a proposed rule that would force airlines to disclose baggage and other fees at the time of ticket purchase. The decision to rescind the yet-to-be-enforced regulation from the Obama administration received heated responses from members of Congress and airline consumer rights organizations.

Will Congress Keep Children's Health Insurance Program Afloat? : Shots - Health News : NPR

Will Congress Keep Children's Health Insurance Program Afloat? : Shots - Health News : NPR:



 In contrast, her young children — 2-year-old Nonnie and his big sister Rose — are covered right now through the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, a federal-state program that was created two decades ago to ensure that kids whose parents don't have a lot of money, yet make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, can still get health care.

Right now, that coverage for the children doesn't cost the family anything.

But Pennsylvania's CHIP program is forecast to run out of money in February.

Though nine million kids across the U.S. get their health insurance through CHIP, Congress let the program expire on September 30.


Heartless bastards.  Pass the tax bill that gives back to their donors? Yup.  Pass CHIP to help working class people keep their children healthy? Nope, can't be bothered. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Rising Health Care Costs: Causes, by Year

Rising Health Care Costs: Causes, by Year:



In 2015, U.S. health care costs were $3.2 trillion. That makes health care one of the country's largest industries, equaling to 17.8 percent of gross domestic product. In comparison, health care cost $27.2 billion in 1960, just 5 percent of GDP. That translates to an annual health care cost of $9,990 per person in 2015 versus just $146 per person in 1960. Health care costs have risen faster than the annual income.


Health care consumed 4 percent of earnings in 1960 compared to 6 percent in 2013.


But it's all the fault of Obamacare. Except it's not. But by golly saying that does keep a certain party's base riled up and voting to cut their own throats, so let's keep saying it. 

Republican ex-governor calls for Al Franken to stay in Senate

Republican ex-governor calls for Al Franken to stay in Senate

Ryan says Republicans to target welfare, Medicare, Medicaid spending in 2018 - The Washington Post

Ryan says Republicans to target welfare, Medicare, Medicaid spending in 2018 - The Washington Post:



House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said Wednesday that congressional Republicans will aim next year to reduce spending on both federal health care and anti-poverty programs, citing the need to reduce America's deficit.

“We're going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Ryan said during an appearance on Ross Kaminsky's talk radio show. "... Frankly, it's the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements — because that's really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.”

Ryan eyes push for 'entitlement reform' in 2018 | TheHill

Ryan eyes push for 'entitlement reform' in 2018 | TheHill:



House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday said House Republicans will aim to cut spending on Medicare, Medicaid and welfare programs next year as a way to trim the federal deficit.

“We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Ryan said during an interview on Ross Kaminsky's talk radio show.

12/11/2017 Cartoon by Dennis Draughon

12/11/2017 Cartoon by Dennis Draughon

Mad Whitey_Person of the Year: 12/11/2017 Cartoon by Eric Semelroth

Mad Whitey_Person of the Year: 12/11/2017 Cartoon by Eric Semelroth

Mexican Artist Invites Women To Share Their Stories Of Sexual Harassment : Goats and Soda : NPR

Mexican Artist Invites Women To Share Their Stories Of Sexual Harassment : Goats and Soda : NPR:



Pink rectangles of paper, pinned to rows of clotheslines, festoon a gallery wall at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Each slip bears a note, handwritten by a museum visitor, that answers a question about sexual harassment and violence.

The Myth Of Trump's Economic Populism, As Proven By The Tax Bill : NPR

The Myth Of Trump's Economic Populism, As Proven By The Tax Bill : NPR:



One of the biggest disappointments for conservatives who believed that Trump could have offered a new, more reform-minded populist economics was the failure of the expanded, child-care tax credit offered by Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Marco Rubio. It was an actual populist idea, geared to the working class, because it was refundable against payroll taxes. But not only did the Republican leadership oppose it, they made sure it failed by requiring it to get 60 votes, unlike other amendments.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hullabaloo

Hullabaloo:



A conservative politician at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida suggested that the president’s controversial decision to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem may usher in the biblical end times.

Competition actually *increases* healthcare costs | Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Competition actually *increases* healthcare costs | Badtux the Snarky Penguin:



What happened? Competition happened. Two competitors entered the market, releasing two competing products, Basaglar and Toujeo. So, what happened? Why did prices go up rather than down the way the free market maniacs are always claiming competition will do in healthcare?!

Well: The maker of Lantus has a fixed amount of profit they want to make from Lantus. If volume goes down — which happened with competition — then they raise the price to make that amount of profit. And the competitors have similar price desires, so try to compete based on something other than price –Toujeo is more concentrated than Lantus (more doses per milliliter). Or if they’re wanting to compete on price, they price 10% below the market leader, because that’s what maximizes their profit (see: Basaglar). Every time Lantus raises their price to meet their profit goals, the other two raise their prices in lockstep to maximize their *own* profits.

So competition nearly doubled the price of my cat’s insulin within three years.