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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,635

Journal Archives

Why is Trump so scared of a primary challenger?

“Crooked Hillary,” Donald Trump tweeted in November 2017, “bought the DNC & then stole the Democratic Primary from Crazy Bernie!” The unusually tight relationship during the 2016 primary between the Democratic National Committee and its presidential front-runner, the president suggested, might be worthy of a Justice Department investigation.

If that were true, then the FBI should have a new case on its hands: the unprecedented collusion between the Republican National Committee and Trump himself.

Clinton, in August 2015, signed a secretive and controversial joint fundraising agreement with the DNC that gave her the vast bulk of money raised and eventually placed some of the party machinery under her financial control. Trump, on the other hand, hasn’t just influenced and benefited from the RNC; he’s inhaled it like a cheeseburger.

In December, nearly two years before the 2020 election, the Republican Party and the president’s re-election campaign literally merged into a single unit, called Trump Victory, which RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel clucked would be “the biggest, most efficient and unified campaign operation in American history.” In January, the party passed a resolution giving the president its “undivided support.”


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quits Facebook, calls social media a 'public health risk'

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose mastery of social media has helped drive the national conversation and shed light on the inner workings of congressional power, has given up on the most popular social network in the world.

In an interview Sunday with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” the New York Democrat said she stopped using her Facebook account and was scaling back on all social media, which she described as a “public health risk” because it can lead to “increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, escapism.”

Ocasio-Cortez, 29, who burst onto the national stage after defeating a high-ranking incumbent, said her departure from Facebook was a “big deal” because the platform had been crucial to her campaign. She still has accounts on the site, she said, and according to the company’s ad library, her official Facebook account has dozens of active advertisements sponsored by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress. Among the ads are calls to support her signature Green New Deal, and fundraising pleas to support progressive legislation and to counteract a super PAC aligned against her.

“The congresswoman’s words speak for themselves,” said Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez.


Burger King's Impossible Whopper tastes even better than the real thing

The Gateway Arch, that soaring stainless-steel rainbow hard by the Mississippi River, stands as a 630-foot monument to an idea that was controversial even in 19th-century America: that this Midwestern city would serve as a starting point to a new life out West, where people could escape the problems of their past.

If all goes according to Burger King’s master plan, St. Louis could again serve as a gateway to a new life, this one with less beef in the American diet, which in turn could help reduce the many environmental impacts that raising cattle has on our vulnerable planet. The fast-food chain is testing its Impossible Whopper in the greater metro area here, and if the meatless hamburger proves a success in St. Louis, Burger King will roll out the sandwich to all of its 7,200 locations nationwide.

Such an expansion would make mock-meat hamburgers available in almost every corner of the country, far more available than they are now at smaller chains such as Red Robin, White Castle and Carl’s Jr. Burger King could give millions of Americans who crave a hamburger the option of purchasing one that, unlike the crumbly vegetarian patties of the past, reportedly looks and tastes much more like beef.

So is the Impossible Whopper any good? Answering this question was my mission in St. Louis, a city (perhaps) selected as a test market precisely because it’s not located on the East or West coasts, where a large segment of the population is already attuned to the environmental and animal welfare issues animating meat alternatives like the Impossible Burger. That was Adam Kreger’s theory, at least. He’s a student at the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, where he’s studying animal rights. He was, like me, waiting on an Impossible Whopper.


Nancy Pelosi unleashed on Trump in a '60 Minutes' interview, and the president isn't happy

President Trump lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday night and again on Monday morning on Twitter following a CBS “60 Minutes” interview during which she recounted standing up to him and reiterated her opinion that he is unfit for office and knows it.

“There’s nobody in the country who knows better that he should not be president of the United States than Donald Trump,” Pelosi told CBS’s Lesley Stahl in a roughly 14-minute segment that aired Sunday. In the wide-ranging interview, Pelosi touted Democrats’ achievements in their first 100 days in control of the House of Representatives while also discussing last December’s heated Oval Office showdown over funding for Trump’s border wall, her now-famous State of the Union clap and the power she holds in her current position.

Pelosi’s comments did not appear to go over well with Trump.

“Such a ‘puff piece’ on Nancy Pelosi by @60minutes, yet her leadership has passed no meaningful Legislation,” he tweeted, accusing Democrats of only investigating “crimes that they instigated & committed.” It is unclear exactly what “crimes” Trump was referring to, but in the past he has suggested Hillary Clinton and Democrats be investigated for colluding with Russia.


Bibi Andersson, Swedish actress and muse of Ingmar Bergman, dies at 83

Source: Washington Post

Bibi Andersson, a Swedish actress whose portrayals of chaste schoolgirls, beguiling young women and tortured wives made her a muse and frequent collaborator of filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, most notably in “The Seventh Seal,” “Wild Strawberries” and “Persona,” died April 14 in Stockholm. She was 83.

Her death was confirmed by Jan Goransson, head of media at the Swedish Film Institute, who said she had been receiving medical treatment since suffering a stroke in 2009. Additional details were not immediately available.

Easily recognizable by her short blonde hair, button nose, slim figure and wide smile, Ms. Andersson appeared in more than 100 film and television productions through the years, often playing luminous characters whose warm demeanor masked past traumas or intense self-doubt.

Although she starred in Hollywood movies such as “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” in the 1970s, working with American directors such as John Huston (“The Kremlin Letter”) and Robert Altman (“Quintet”), she never attained the spectacular success she found in Sweden, where Goransson called her “one of the greatest stars we ever had.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/bibi-andersson-swedish-actress-and-muse-of-ingmar-bergman-dies-at-83/2019/04/14/9b8979b2-5edd-11e9-9ff2-abc984dc9eec_story.html

The curious math of college graduation rates

Colleges and universities that award bachelor’s degrees are widely known as four-year institutions. The term stems from the long-standing expectation that the average student can earn a baccalaureate within that amount of time.

But for a variety of reasons, many students take far longer -- something that’s reflected in the way the U.S. Department of Education calculates graduation rates (GR).

The federal government primarily reports six-graduation rates. It calculates “the total number of completers within 150-percent of normal time divided by the GR adjusted cohort.”

Put simply, it takes the total number of full-time, first-time students who enroll at a school in the fall and calculates how many of them earn a degree within six years. By definition, the rate isn’t normal.


Putting American flags on police cars sparks backlash in Laguna Beach

A decision to affix an American flag graphic to the side of freshly painted Laguna Beach police cars is dividing residents, who are alternately praising the image as patriotic or panning it as too aggressive.

After hearing the criticism and acknowledging that the image they approved didn’t quite match the final results, officials agreed to reconsider their February decision to paint the Laguna Beach Police Department’s fleet of 11 squad cars. The City Council will take up the issue again at its Tuesday meeting.

“People are screaming that the American flag on a police car is somehow or another ... hurting people’s feelings who might be immigrants or visitors,” said Councilman Peter Blake. “People are actually ridiculous enough to bring up comments about our cop cars having American flags on them.”

Artist Carrie Woodburn went to the podium at the March 19 council meeting and said it was “shocking to see the boldness of the design” when the newly painted Ford Explorers rolled out.


After second recall, Toyota Prius electrical system is still overheating

Jordan Felo had just finished hiking in the local mountains outside Portland, Ore., several weeks ago and was headed home in his 2010 Toyota Prius when it suddenly lost power and slowed to a crawl.

Felo had taken the Prius to a Toyota dealer a few weeks earlier for a 2018 safety recall. New software was installed to fix an overheating problem in the electrical power system. Yet when Felo hit the accelerator pedal, a key electronic component called an inverter overheated and fried itself.

“I was lucky nobody was behind me because I would have been rear-ended,” recalled Felo, a salesman at an REI retail store. The car was towed to the dealer, which gave Felo the bad news: It would cost $3,000 to replace the shoe-box sized unit.

Felo’s experience and others like it are raising questions about the adequacy of Toyota’s attempts over the last five years to stop overheating in the Prius electrical system, and why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t taken stronger regulatory action.


This does not sound good.

Venezuela's Maduro orders militia expansion as Guaido tours blackout-ravaged state

Source: Reuters

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday ordered an expansion of civilian militia by nearly one million members as opposition leader Juan Guaido toured western Zulia state, which has been hard hit by electricity blackouts.

Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly who in January invoked Venezuela's constitution to assume an interim presidency, has called on the military to abandon Maduro amid a hyperinflationary economic collapse made worse by several nationwide blackouts in the past month.

Guaido has been recognized as Venezuela's rightful leader by the United States and most Western countries, who agree with his argument that Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

The civilian militia, created in 2008 by the late former president and Maduro mentor Hugo Chavez, reports directly to the presidency and is intended to complement the armed forces.

Read more: https://news.yahoo.com/venezuelas-maduro-orders-militia-expansion-guaido-tours-blackout-000122567.html

Arming civilian militias (in addition to importing Russian troops) indicates Maduro is expecting big trouble in the immediate future.

Julian Assange isn't a journalist or a Daniel Ellsberg. He's just a 'cypherpunk.'

They say that guests are like fish; after three days they become a bit whiffy. By this measure, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange smelled like an overladen fishing vessel adrift in the searing sun.

Upon his arrest Thursday by British authorities, ending his nearly seven-year asylum in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, revelations emerged that he was less than an ideal guest. He reportedly was rude and aggressive toward his hosts and demonstrated little interest in hygiene. In his grossest display of disaffection, he apishly smeared his feces on the embassy walls, according to Ecuador’s interior minister.

Assange’s behavior makes one wonder about his mental health. Maybe he lost his mind while being confined for so long. On the other hand, he seemed quite cognizant as he left the embassy, offering peace signs and a thumbs-up to bystanders.

If Assange is, indeed, of right mind, then we can only conclude that he’s a solid jerk. Certainly, his non-fans — including many in the U.S. media — long have viewed him as a sociopathic interloper operating under the protection of free speech. More on that anon.

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