Monday, December 14, 2015

George W. Bush Running for 3rd Term (and other news)

President George W. Bush (played by Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live) announced he's entering the 2016 presidential race — and assesses the current crop of lame GOP candidates.

In real news...(a collection of tid-bits)

In a recent post by Paul Krugman, he writes: "Somehow there seems to be a pattern in this chart from the editor of PolitiFact, but I can’t quite put my finger on it." I'm guessing the pattern he refers to shows that most Republicans lie more than most Democrats. But what I found to be the most odd about PolitiFact's chart was 1) It shows Hillary Clinton essentially tied with Bernie Sanders for truth-telling, and 2) It shows both Obama and Bill Clinton to be more truthful than either Hillary or Bernie. IMHO, maybe PolitiFact's "fact-checkers" should also be fact-checked.)

I really miss the "news" on TV. While "monitoring" the 3 major cable TV stations (Fox, CNN and MSNBC, who spend most of their time on either ISIS or Donald Trump), I'm usually browsing the internet and reading newsletters that I subscribe to. So far, this is what I read today (maybe I'll add some updates in the comments section later, like I usually do).

The Nation reports Bernie Sanders has just as much support as Donald Trump, and would even beat Trump in a general election. But With 234 total network minutes for Trump compared to just 10 minutes for Bernie Sanders, the media’s obsession with Donald Trump has real consequences for our Democracy. Desperate for ratings, the cable news networks have decided to broadcast nearly-continuous coverage of Donald Trump’s campaign at the expense of giving real issues the coverage they deserve. Republican Jeb Bush received only 56 of network news coverage, but far outpacing Bernie Sanders — even though Bush is currently wallowing in fifth place in the polls among Republicans. The Washington Post reports that TV still isn’t feeling the Bern. The Democratic race for president continues to look very different on social media than it is on television. Whereas the Republican race is dominated by Trump across all forms of media, Hillary Clinton dominates the number of mentions of television, while Bernie Sanders receives more attention on Twitter. This bolsters the Vermont senator’s complaint, which he voiced in his stump speech this weekend, that the corporate media is ignoring him. (It's either Trump or ISIS.)

Democracy for America's endorsement vote ends at 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, December 15 (Tomorrow). Sign their poll here.

Naomi Klein (regarding the Paris climate talks) said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where countries are being negotiated to accept the terms of their own annihilation." But even if everyone plays by the rules, the standards and goals set out by the Paris agreement may not be enough to prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change. New science suggests that forces already set in motion — the melting of glaciers, the release of carbon dioxide from thawing permafrost — could unleash considerable impacts that this new deal is unable to prevent.

Jared Bernstein, former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, writes: "It's easier to find a denier of global warming than of rising inequality." Technology and globalization, he argues, are drivers of inequality, but they're not the only factors. Other suspects include: trade imbalances that drain domestic manufacturing jobs; a boom and bust economy that, since 1979, has only seen full employment 30 percent of the time; the decline in union power; weak labor and employment laws and increased misclassification; the "financialization" of the economy; and regressive taxes.

GOP Sen. Ted Cruz unveiled a new H-1B reform bill that would make hiring guest workers more expensive for employers. That's a bit of a flip-flop for the Texas senator who once supported the H-1B program. "With this bill, Cruz joins program critics who say the H-1B visa is being used displace U.S. workers." Cruz's bill sets a minimum wage of $110,000 for H-1B workers, who currently can be paid well less than half that amount in some U.S. regions under prevailing wage rules. This base salary will adjust annually for inflation.

GOP Sen. Bob Corker failed to properly disclose millions of dollars in income from real estate, hedge funds and other investments since entering the Senate in 2007, according to new financial reports filed by the Tennessee Republican. Corker had failed to properly disclose at least $2 million in income from investments in three hedge funds. He also didn’t properly report millions of dollars in income from commercial real-estate investments. And he didn’t disclose millions of dollars in other assets and income from other financial transactions.

A Tennessee woman has been charged with attempted murder after she unsuccessfully tried to give herself an abortion with a clothes hanger.

The Supreme Court has agreed to review state laws that make it a crime to refuse to take a blood alcohol test if the officer does not have a warrant. The court took cases from North Dakota and Minnesota to consider whether laws that criminalize the refusal to take a test are constitutional. Those are among 13 — including Virginia — in the country with such a requirement. The challengers say such laws violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and do not fit within the Supreme Court’s requirements about what police may do without a warrant.”


  1. Doctor Wearing Google Glass Live Streams Surgery

    It isn’t possible to set the price of a Kindle book as $0.00. If you want your book to be free, you have to set the price as $0.99. Once it goes on sale, you register a complaint with Amazon, saying you’ve seen the book sold elsewhere for free. After a week or two they reduce the price of your book to $0.00.

  2. 2015 will go down as the year drones became ubiquitous. But before you drop big bucks on a drone (and promptly crash it), let me suggest learning to fly one properly on a cheaper model. The Syma X5SC Explorers 2 quad copter can work well as a trainer, with swappable rotors and other parts that you are likely to break in a crack up. Keep crashing it unto you feel your flying skills are good enough for the $1000 units. Alternatively, you can get the Lily Tracking drone ($819). Slip the provided tracker into a pocket, and it follows you, shooting HD video for 20 minutes until its batteries drain (it auto lands before they hit empty). Shock proof, water-resistant, see the accompanying videos are pretty astounding (Note LILY won’t be shipping until August 2016) .

  3. The Rise of the Second-String Psychopaths

  4. The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino — a five-diamond luxury hotel and casino resort on the Las Vegas Strip — is owned by Sheldon Adelson, the 15th richest person in America in 2015. The Venetian is where Tuesday night's GOP debate is being held. Reports indicate that Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been growing closer to Adelson, and is likely to get his support in the near future. Republican front-runner Donald Trump has criticized Rubio for wooing Adelson, calling the Florida senator a “perfect little puppet.” Sheldon Adelson might be buy our local paper in Las Vegas.

    Huffington Post: Las Vegas Review-Journal staffers have a simple question for their new owner: Who are you?

    Mother Jones: Did a Republican Megadonor Just Secretly Buy Nevada's Biggest Newspaper?

  5. Quote of the Day: A Republican whose voting for Bernie Sanders says, "What's with the climate change denial? Even if it turns out it is some grand conspiracy for whatever reason, what's wrong with having more energy efficient products, and cleaner air, and cleaner water?”

  6. Many Americans are still uncomfortable having end of life discussions with their doctor. Kaiser found that only 17% of Americans have had an end of life discussion with their physician. Starting in 2016 Medicare will provide $86 for an initial half hour in-office consultation and $75 for an additional 30 minutes. If necessary, it will also pay for additional discussions. With these Medicare changes, the hope is that more doctors and patients will have these discussions. End of life discussions are important to ensure your end of life wishes are fulfilled. Here are a few tips to consider:

    Create a living will and ensure it remains up to date.
    Name a health care proxy.
    Assign a health care power of attorney

    We'd like to hear about your end-of-life experiences with family members. Write to Trudy at:

  7. Lucky Lucky Girl

  8. Volkswagen began developing the software that let it cheat on 11 million U.S. emissions tests as early as 2005.

    The Transportation Department fined Fiat Chrysler $70 million for not reporting vehicle crashes and deaths for over a decade.

  9. While in Congress, Hillary Clinton sponsored 713 pieces of legislation.{%22sponsorship%22%3A%22sponsored%22}

    While in Congress, Bernie Sanders sponsored 6,194 pieces of legislation.{%22search%22%3A[%22Sanders%22]}

  10. Republicans against workers -- and Democrats going along.

    The "joint employer standard", which the National Labor Relations Board introduced earlier this year, says fast food brands and other franchise-based companies can be deemed joint employers alongside the franchisees that run their restaurants and stores. This could force companies like McDonald's to bargain with workers when labor laws are broken or when workers try to unionize. But GOP lawmakers have introduced legislation to block the new standard, and with both parties now wrangling over the spending bill, given the pressure to strike a deal to fund the government, it's possible Democrats would reluctantly go along with it.

  11. Thomas Baekdal:

    In US and Europe, we are currently experiencing an increase in people fearing for their own safety, causing virtual security apps to prosper (like this one), and the reason can only be attributed to the media's almost 'reality show'-like focus on all the bad things that happens. But if you look at the crime data for people being assaulted in the US, you will find that you are 23% safer walking the streets of the US today than 10 years ago. And it's not just for assault. You are 28% less likely to be raped. Your car is 41% less likely to be stolen, and you are 9% less likely to be robbed in your home. We are creating irrational fear through the media. A level of fear that simply wouldn't exist if the media instead focused on covering crime based on the overall trends. The world we live in today is much safer than anything we have ever had. But the media insist that everything is going to shit. And our politicians are trying to win votes based on those same fears.

    PR people often use the non-fact-checking British press to plant positive stories about their clients, which then become the basis for fact-checking (based on ‘published reports’) in the U.S.”

    Where our media is headed.

    In December 2014, Vox re-published 88 old stories on their website. They got 500,000 readers.