Interesting Bits

01/10/2018 6:12

Seems Like a Good Idea

A new civil rights act has come into force in Switzerland that prevents residents who have been on welfare in the past three years from becoming citizens unless they pay back the money they received to the state.

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01/10/2018 6:05

Coming Out As A Republican To My Democrat Family Went Worse Than Coming Out Gay

For the first time in my progressive life, standing up for the values that I most strongly espouse—truth, morality, self-reliance, boundaries, tolerance, and a healthy dose of Jewish skepticism—was damaging my reputation and character. When I publicly opposed my dad’s support of the Iran deal, I was admonished. I had few friends with whom I could have a civil political conversation: one stopped all communication with me for two weeks because Trump won the presidency.

If Republicans are bad, Trump is nothing less than Satan embodied. Post-election family gatherings devolved into group Trump-bashing, which intensified as more rumors of my dubious views wafted across town. I did not even bother going to gay pride because it was fused with a Resist march. If you do not want to impeach our president, you have no place in gay life.

Yes, I was in despair, but I was also outraged at not being understood for views that felt so plainly obvious to me logically and experientially. These were not pie-in-the-sky views I was advocating in order to provoke. The Affordable Care Act has made medical treatment of my bipolar disorder more expensive than ever. Under the nuclear agreement, Iran flagrantly continues to enrich uranium and fund terrorist activities.

As a small business owner, I am regularly assaulted with financially crushing, nonsensical red tape and bureaucracy, much implemented as lip service to environmental protection. With few exceptions, every one of my good friends feels more economically hopeless after the “recovery” than before, and abject homelessness on the streets of my beloved city has swelled to egregious levels.

Then Harvey Weinstein provided me the impetus I lacked: the media outlets that had enabled and covered up his indiscretions for years were the same major public voices for the Democratic Party, the self-proclaimed party of worker’s and women’s rights. The game was up; two and two could no longer be five. I reached my threshold where no amount of hypothetical Republican bigotry or greed could approach the magnitude of hypocrisy, corruption, or criminality I saw rotting the Democrats to the core. I jumped ship.

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01/09/2018 12:07

Polar Bears Are Doing Just Fine

Polar bear experts who falsely predicted that roughly 17,300 polar bears would be dead by now (given sea ice conditions since 2007) have realized their failure has not only kicked their own credibility to the curb, it has taken with it the reputations of their climate change colleagues. This has left many folks unhappy about the toppling of this important global warming icon but ironically, consensus polar bear experts and climate scientists (and their supporters) were the ones who set up the polar bear as a proxy for AGW in the first place.

So now, how much faith are we to put in the predictions of climate armageddon by 2100?  Enough to shut down the fossil fuel industry? 

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01/09/2018 7:40

Working-class families are winning big under Trump

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its newest jobs report on Friday, and the data clearly show, under the pro-business policies implemented by the Trump administration, low-income and working-class families are enjoying significant economic gains not experienced in nearly 20 years.

Democrats and liberal pundits have argued the recent economic improvements are only helping a relatively small, mostly wealthy segment of the country, but nothing could be further from the truth. According to BLS, the national unemployment rate for December was 4.1 percent, a 0.6 percentage point drop from December 2016. That’s an impressive figure, especially since the unemployment rate stayed flat at 4.9 percent from January 2016 through October 2016, the final month before Trump’s election victory. But what’s especially remarkable is the extent to which working-class Americans are profiting under Trump and Republican leadership in Congress.

The quality of the jobs available has also improved. The average number of Americans 16 years or older working part-time for economic reasons, about 4.91 million in December 2017, is about 600,000 jobs less than December 2016 and the lowest figure for the month of December in a decade. That means more Americans who have been forced to work part-time are finding higher-paying, full-time employment.

Data for the third quarter of 2016, the most recent available, show weekly full-time wages improved compared to 2016, with workers without college degrees enjoying some of the most significant increases.

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01/09/2018 7:13

This Doesn't Seem "Woke" To Me

Rose McGowan and Asia Argento accused Harvey Weinstein of rape, which acted as a catalyst for the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements — but they, like Marchesa gowns, were conspicuously absent from the 2018 Golden Globes.

The women, along with several of Weinstein’s other accusers, claim that they weren’t invited to the event.

“I can only speak for myself but not only I wasn’t invited to the #GoldenGlobes: nobody asked my opinion about #TIMESUP or to sign the letter,” Argento, 42, tweeted Monday morning. “I support @TIMESUPNOW even though I was excluded from it. Guess I am not POWERFUL or HOLLYWOOD enough. Proud to work behind the scenes.”

On Sunday, Argento tweeted to McGowan, “No one should forget that you were the first one who broke the silence. Anyone who tries to diminish your work is a troll and an enemy of the movement. You gave me the courage to speak out. I am on your side until I die.”

McGowan, 44, replied, “And not one of those fancy people wearing black to honor our rapes would have lifted a finger had it not been so. I have no time for Hollywood fakery, but you I love, @AsiaArgento.”

Rosanna Arquette, who accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, tweeted to a follower, “No we weren’t invited. Annabella [Sciorra], Daryl [Hannah], Mira [Sorvino] … none of us were.”

Arquette’s sister, Oscar winner Patricia Arquettereplied, “That’s not cool-All of you should have been included.I wasn’t asked either but who cares! It’s great they are doing it & we will too!

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01/09/2018 7:03

More Bad News for the NFL

 The NFL had a disastrous weekend when it came to ratings. Numbers have been down all season and it was more of the same for the wild-card games. The biggest surprise was that the best game (Panthers-Falcons) had the biggest decrease year over year. Yes, markets were a big factor, but that was a competitive and entertaining game. Here's the breakdown:

Titans-Chiefs (14.7) was down 11 percent versus last year's Raiders-Texans game.

Falcons-Rams (14.9) was down 10 percent versus last year's Lions-Seahawks game.

Bills-Jaguars (17.2) was down 10 percent versus last year's Dolphins-Steelers game.

Panthers-Saints (20.4) was down 21 percent versus last year's Giants-Packers 

(Gosh, wonder what could have happened to account for this.)

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01/09/2018 6:15

On the economy, Trump has been crazy like a fox

One thing we don’t have to worry about is the economic sanity of President Trump.

In fact, it’s safe to say that the current president, for all his temperamental flaws and petty insecurities, makes his tightly wound predecessor, Barack Obama, look like a raving madman when it comes to showing sense on economic growth. Armchair psychiatrists are having a field day diagnosing the president’s mental state from afar, especially after his increasingly bizarre tweeting, but the market says otherwise.

Consider: The United States had one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world — so high that companies (and jobs) were fleeing to places like Ireland. That’s why it was perfectly sane to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent as Trump just did, and presto: Corporations are announcing plans to hire more workers, and the economy, which was expected to slow after seven years of weak growth, is heating up. The markets are predicting that growth with their surge.

Likewise, regulations have been strangling businesses for years while making it difficult for banks to lend to consumers and small business. Trump went out and hired perfectly sane regulators who basically pulled the federal government’s boot off the neck of the business community.

It was described to me as a de facto tax cut by one business owner that gives him leeway to hire more people. A major win for the working class.

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01/08/2018 11:49

May Be Revenge for Thanksgiving

A brood of aggressive wild turkeys have interfered with mail carriers' abilities to deliver mail to homes in a portion of the city.

The Rocky River branch of the United States Postal Service notified the city that the turkeys were creating unsafe conditions for the carriers delivering mail to homes on Edgewood Drive, Valley View Drive, High Parkway, Schlather Lane, East Shoreland Avenue and Winfield Avenue, Rocky River Mayor Pam Bobst said.

About 25 to 30 homes haven't been able to get their mail delivered, she said, and the problem has been lingering for about three weeks.

Mail carriers are attempting to deliver the mail, but they have nothing to steer the turkeys away. Residents have had to pick their mail up at the post office.

The city can't eradicate the turkeys under the city's ordinance, Bobst said, so a letter was sent out this week to residents asking them to stop putting out any kind of bird food.

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01/08/2018 11:44

Seattle's Sugar Tax Hikes Soda Prices 75 Percent

Where will all the new revenue go? Seattle officials expect a $15 million boost in the first year. Since this was sold as a health initiative, $2 million of that will expand a city program that gives fruit and vegetable vouchers to low-income families. Of course, only $400,000 will go to actual vouchers; the other $1.6 million stays with the government for “administrative costs.”

Philadelphia, which enacted a similar tax last year, overestimated the expected revenue. Sales of carbonated soft drinks fell 55 percent inside the city, while sales rose 38 percent in the towns that surround it. It achieved neither the financial goals nor the health goals.

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01/08/2018 7:15

Americans Are Voting With Their Feet

Its findings show that between 2011 and 2017, 10 states saw a net influx of people from other states in one or more of those years, while 9 suffered losses. The rest of the states saw no net change in any of those years. South Carolina, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina were net winners in most of those years. New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Michigan were consistent losers.

What do these states have in common? Gainers consistently show up in lists of states with low taxes, less regulation, and a more business friendly economic climate. Losers are consistently high-tax, high regulation, union-friendly states.

Seven of the states that gained population, for example, rank in the top 10 on business friendliness, according to CEO Magazine. Of the nine states that lost population, five are the least business-friendly.

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01/08/2018 7:02

The post-Weinstein Golden Globes was an exercise in hypocrisy

And the award for ultimate hypocrisy goes to . . . the Hollywood class of 2018.

...Meanwhile, not one presenting or accepting actress mentioned Rose McGowan, who kickstarted this entire movement and who says she was raped by Harvey Weinstein. Sitting together up front were Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek, who both went public with the abuse and torment Weinstein visited upon them; in the New York Times, Hayek wrote that Weinstein threatened to have her killed.

These women are heroes. Not one of their colleagues called them out, thanked them, or acknowledged their bravery.

...Towards the end of the night, supporting actress winner Allison Janney — who won for playing Tonya Harding’s mother in “I, Tonya” — thanked the actual Harding, an invited guest, for “sharing her story . . . a story about truth and the perception of truth in the media.”

Harding, of course, was a real-life perpetrator of female-on-female crime, having her Olympic rival Nancy Kerrigan kneecapped — and though the movie exonerates her, Harding has admitted to at least having knowledge of a plot. Kerrigan later said the FBI told her they believed Harding was the mastermind and showed her transcripts detailing a plot to have her killed.

“That was one of the options,” Kerrigan said. “To kill me over a sporting event. That’s crazy.”

But in Hollywood’s version, Tonya’s a feminist hero. What a metaphor.

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01/08/2018 6:46

A Major Advance

Keith Sherrill’s ears perked up when he overheard a conversation about importing saffron from Afghanistan.

The Alabama brewer, founder of Haint Blue Brewing in Mobile, had done multiple tours of Afghanistan during his 15-year career in the army. So while sitting in a business class at Stanford University in 2016, a nearby discussion about the country’s cash crop caught his attention.

Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, grows well in Afghanistan. Sherrill’s classmates, fellow U.S. veterans, reasoned that connecting Afghan saffron growers to the world market would incentivize them to grow the spice instead of poppy, which is used to make heroin.

Poppy profits often benefit warlords and terrorist groups. The global spice trade, however, could empower Afghan farmers and improve rural economic development.

Sherrill, who performed civilian medical evacuation missions in Afghanistan, had received a close perspective on the Afghan people, and he still wanted help them. He jotted the name of his classmates’ budding company—Rumi Spice—in his notebook.

“Can I put saffron in beer?” he wondered.

Two years later, Haint Blue is brewing a unique saffron saison beer. And the brewery is buying its spice supply from none other than Rumi Spice.

“Saffron actually earns famers more than poppy, so we’re giving them real options,” Sherrill says. “This is what I like to think of as the good of capitalism.”

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01/06/2018 6:07

Rich People Are Fleeing Connecticut

Lawmakers like Connecticut’s Democratic Gov. Dannel  Malloy should pay attention to the latest batch of IRS data, which show tax payers – particularly wealthy ones – are leaving Connecticut for states like Florida, where there is no income tax, and New York City, where taxes are high but at least you can order Chinese food at 4 am.

Indeed, as the Hartford Courant points out in an editorial, the latest data reveal that Connecticut is in the middle of a taxpayer exodus.

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01/06/2018 12:09

Cowboys Are Cratering Even in Dallas

As expected, the Cowboys' season finale clocked in with the team’s lowest Sunday television rating of the season in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

The Cowboys' 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles earned a 23.6 rating, which represents 625,046 homes in the area. That bettered only the season low, which came on Thanksgiving when the Cowboys' loss to the Los Angeles Chargers earned a relatively microscopic 18.6. That represented 492,621 homes. By the way, ratings, which gauge homes tuned in, are usually lower on Thanksgiving because folks tend to gather in one home. Still, the 18.6 is stunning. The 2016 Thanksgiving game, for example, scored a 30.0 against Washington.

It was all downhill from there in this 9-7 season. For 16 games the Cowboys averaged a 27.9 rating (738,942 homes). That was down 12 percent from 2016’s season average of 31.7.

The Cowboys, of course, were 13-3 last year. That might account for some of the ratings decline, and then there was the national anthem backlash.

However, in 2015, when the Cowboys finished 4-12, the average rating was still more stellar 29.5.

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01/06/2018 8:22

Real News Never Comes Via the MSM

Regulations at Lowest County Since Records Began Being Kept in the Mid-1970s. Economy advances while administrative state recedes; lefty commentators hardest hit.


...An infinitely better reported, yet ultimately even more unintentionally amusing effort came in Monday's New York Times, which contained plenty of now-hold-on-there sentences like "The evidence is weak that regulation actually reduces economic activity or that deregulation stimulates it," and "There is little historical evidence tying regulation levels to growth," and "Regulatory proponents say, in fact, that those rules can have positive economic effects in the long run, saving companies from violations that could cost them both financially and reputationally."

Why is that funny? Because much of the rest of the article is composed of quotes and data from actual business humans about why they're investing so much more money during the Trump presidency. Stuff like, "That [regulatory] burden has slowed down economic growth, it's slowed down investment in infrastructure [in the past]. And what we've seen over the last year is a big deregulatory environment." The preponderance of feel-good evidence is such that the Times headlined the piece "The Trump Effect," and began it with these two almost startlingly upbeat paragraphs:

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01/06/2018 8:02

Trump Is Right Yet Again on Immigration

NYT: Mr. Trump said then that, in addition to the wall, he wanted to limit family-based migration, which critics call “chain migration,” that allows relatives to sponsor family members to come to the United States. And he wants to do away with the diversity visa lottery, a State Department program that admits immigrants from countries that do not send many people to the United States.

(I hope the president remains tough on this issue.  I can't see any other GOP candidate in 2016 making this demand on Democrats and it's  more proof we elected the right man in 2016, and also shows why the elites and the media hate Trump and want to bring him down.)

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01/06/2018 7:57

Reporters Keep Lying

A line from a New York Times story today:   Among the items on Mr. Trump’s immigration wish-list: money to hire 10,000 additional immigration officers, tougher laws for those seeking asylum, and denial of federal grants to so-called “sanctuary cities.”

So-called? Cities and the state of California have passed bills declaring they are "sanctuary cities and a sanctuary state. There is nothing "so-called" about it.

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01/05/2018 8:09

The Wolff Book Proves It: Our Journalists Stink

Consider this "bombshell" from the book. Bannon thinks Don Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer was "treasonous," and that "the chance that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father's office on the twenty-fifth floor is zero." It's a fascinating comment, because it indicates that Bannon so miscalculated his power and political acumen that he thought he could knock down the central pillar of his prestige — Trump's friendship — and survive with his career intact. But it has no factual or evidentiary weight. Bannon wasn't at the meeting and didn't even join the campaign until August 2016. So he's just another guy with an opinion — and a guy whose opinions tend to be overblown and melodramatic at that.

 Now listen to how Chuck Todd reported it on MSNBC in a tone I can only describe as one of prissy self-righteousness: "Welcome to a five alarm dumpster fire for the White House or shall we call it Bannon’s rebellion? The Russia investigation has been blown open in dramatic fashion. Not by the ‘fake news media,’ not by the ‘deep state Justice Department,’ but by Steve Bannon!" Stephanie Ruhle and political reporter Mark Murray also opined that Bannon's remarks gave the Russia investigation "legitimacy."

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01/05/2018 11:12

Could Produce Some Interesting Items

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said his panel now has the access to documents and witnesses it needs from the FBI and Justice Department to pursue its inquiry into the role the notorious “Trump dossier” funded in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign played in sparking the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The California Republican said the panel could move ahead shortly after a closed-door meeting between GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray Wednesday evening broke a stalemate over the committee’s access to records surrounding the FBI’s handling of the suspect dossier, which claimed there were significant ties between the Kremlin and then-candidate Donald Trump and his aides.

The new agreement means the House panel will get “access to all the documents and witnesses we have requested,” Mr. Nunes said in statement, setting up a series of potentially high-drama hearings in the new year. Fox News said the deal requires the Justice Department to turn over many of the requested materials as early as Friday.

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01/05/2018 7:41

It Was a Tough Competition

A lot of things happened in 2017 — including a lot of being offended. It was hard to narrow it down, but here — in no particular order — are the eleven most politically correct moments of 2017: 1. It was declared “cultural appropriation” for a white woman to wear hoop earrings.

A resident assistant at Pitzer College sent out a campus-wide email declaring that it was unacceptable for white girls to wear hoop earrings — because wearing them was culturally offensive to “the black and brown bodies who typically wear hooped earrings.” This did not stop me from continuing to wear hoop earrings. Why? Well, for one thing, I understand that humanity has been around for so long that there’s really no such thing as an original idea anymore, anyway. Everything goes back to someone else’s idea — including hoop earrings, which were initially worn by people in ancient cultures. For another thing, I recognize that bombarding an entire campus with your feelings on jewelry is completely bananas, and a hoop earring is literally just a piece of metal twisted into a circle. No one owns circles, kids — certainly not you.

(Read the other 10)

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