Mar 27 2017

March Madness: 2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Regional Finals (Round of 8)- Day 2

7:00 ESPN Oregon-UConn

UConn, Have you been reading? Sorry Ducks.

9:00 ESPN South Carolina-FSU

No pick, just cannon fodder.

Mar 27 2017

Special Prosecutor? Sure.

I don’t necessarily buy into the notion that ‘Russian Influence’ was a desicive factor in the 2016 election, for one thing the demographics that spelled Democratic defeat were Women, African-Americans, and Latinos (check the changes from the Obama victories). This is not particularly surprising if you recognize 2016 was a “Change” election and one candidate represented that and the other… not so much.

Nor is there any evidence whatever for ‘Russian Hacking’ in the sense of actually tampering with the ballots. I’m not saying it’s not possible because it has certainly been demonstrated in theory, simply that the logistics make it unlikely. If by ‘Hacking’ you mean exposing the actual factual and poorly protected email of the Democratic National Committee it has the advantage of being decidedly possible though at this point is not proven. Do I feel sorry for the DNC? No more than I do for Sony when it’s hack exposed that they had a written company policy to pay female Actors less than male Actors for the same work.

And if they sought to release them in a way that was beneficial to their interests, what do you expect? The United States has been interfering in other countries’ elections since at least the 1890s (Spanish-American War? Phillipines? Cuba? Bueller?). We sent an Army to Russia after the Revolution to crush the Reds and restore the Romanovs. Who’s the exceptionally special snowflake now?

The modern “Red Scare McCarthyism” does frighten me a little, not the least because Russia is one of very few countries that could contemplate a Nuclear First Strike should they feel sufficiently existentially threatened. If you’ve forgotten how that works I suggest you watch Dr. Strangelove again.

More disturbing and proximate is the willingness of the Institutional Democratic Party to blame all their ills on outside influences and racism, and abject denial that 30 years of explicitly Neo Liberal Policy Failure have anything to to do with their current electoral woes. They seem content to push more Identity Politics for the 99% while delivering Economic gain only for the top .01%. Explain to me why I should vote for them again?

There is a fruitful area of inquiry into the Trump relationship with Russia and that’s Public Corruption and Perjury. There is little doubt that Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States, and other Trump Administration officials perjured themselves in their confirmation hearings. They should be impeached and go to jail. For the Donald himself there’s that little matter of the emoluments clause which is a straight up violation of Article II, not even buried in some obscure Amendment or treaty (also law of the land by the way).

Devin Nunes is making it very hard for Republicans to claim they can run an impartial investigation on Russia
By Amber Phillips, Washington Post
March 27 at 2:01 PM

We still don’t know who gave Nunes the surveillance information or its significance to the committee’s broader investigation into Russia’s meddling. Nunes publicly said if the president’s name did show up in surveillance, it had nothing to do with Russia. He also told CNN that the president didn’t even know Nunes was at the White House Tuesday.

But here’s what anyone trying to follow the twists and turns of this Trump-Russia-wiretapping story is left with: A top Republican congressman and Trump ally was at the White House the day before he released information that appeared to somewhat defend the president on his defenseless wiretapping claims.

What’s more, the congressman released this secret information to the president — whose circle is under investigation by the FBI for alleged ties to Russia — before sharing it with his own committee members.

From there, it’s not a stretch for a reasonable person to consider whether Nunes, who served on Trump’s transition team, wants to protect the president. And from there, it’s not a stretch to question the impartiality of the investigation Nunes is leading in the House on Russia meddling in the U.S. election.

And that, say ethics and national security experts, is where the real damage in Nunes’s White House trip lies.

On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he didn’t think Nunes had created a perception problem with all this: “You can’t ask someone to do a review of the situation and then create an interference because they’re reviewing the situation,” he said, referring to the fact Nunes probably had help from a White House official to review the classified documents in a secret room.

But Congress, by its nature, was already at risk of appearing motivated by partisanship as it looked into these very critical questions. At the very least, Nunes just opened up the door for people to believe the worst about Congress: that its members put politics above all else.

There’s no immediate sign that Republican leaders would be on board with any of those investigative alternatives. They’re already looking into something their president would rather they leave alone — Russia. Neither House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) nor Nunes immediately responded to a request for comment about the latest Nunes revelations.

Ryan has repeatedly said that Congress’s own intelligence committees are perfectly up to the job of impartially investigating Russia, wherever it leads.

But Nunes is making it that much harder for Republicans to argue that.

I also agree that this should investigated as thoroughly as Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! or a consensual blowjob.

Mar 27 2017

Pondering the Pundits

“Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: How to Build on Obamacare

Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” So declared Donald Trump three weeks before wimping out on his promise to repeal Obamacare. Up next: “Nobody knew that tax reform could be so complicated.” Then, perhaps: “Nobody knew that international trade policy could be so complicated.” And so on.

Actually, though, health care isn’t all that complicated. Basically, you need to induce people who don’t currently need medical treatment to pay the bills for those who do, with the promise that the favor will be returned if necessary.

Unfortunately, Republicans have spent eight years angrily denying that simple proposition. And that refusal to think seriously about how health care works is the fundamental reason Mr. Trump and his allies in Congress now look like such losers.

But put politics aside for a minute, and ask, what could be done to make health care work better going forward?

Charles M. Blow: The King of Crash and Burn

In the movie “Iron Man 2” (yes, superhero films are my guilty pleasure, so just bear with me) the villain, a rogue Russian scientist, informs the hero, Iron Man, of his theory on how easily he could be brought down:

“If you could make God bleed, people will cease to believe in Him. There will be blood in the water, and the sharks will come. All I have to do is sit here and watch, as the world will consume you.”

The point is clear: Invincibility is an illusion constructed by false assurances. Puncture the fantasy, expose the mortal, and the dispirited faithful will destroy the false deity.

Last week, the House Freedom Caucus made the fabricated God of Chaos bleed.

Trump was a weak president further weakened. He was already unpopular on a historic scale. He was already being proven to be a complete liar and hypocrite. He was already being exposed as a blustery failure.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 27 2017

The Breakfast Club (Fools On The Hill)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Martin Luther King Jr.’s son meets James Earl Ray in prison for assassinating his father; Comedian Milton Berle dies; the FDA approves Viagra; Quentin Tarantino is born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

You can lead a man to Congress, but you can’t make him think.

Milton Berle

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 26 2017

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert – The WERD: Screw Unto Others

The WERD: Screw Unto Others

Mar 26 2017

March Madness: 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Regional Finals (Round of 8)- Day 2

2:20 CBS Florida-South Carolina

Ugh, who cares? Gonzaga!

5:05 CBS Kentucky-North Carolina

Yeah, Kentucky must go.

Mar 26 2017

March Madness: 2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Regional Finals (Round of 8)- Day 1

12:00 ESPN Notre Dame-Stanford

Sibling rivalry. Muffet must go.

7:30 ESPN Baylor-Mississippi State

Both Dangerous. Mississippi State is an unknown quantity. Baylor has already lost to UConn.

Mar 26 2017

The Breakfast Club (Banjo Band)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for March 26th

Israel and Egypt sign a peace treaty; Bodies of Heaven’s Gate cult members are found in Calif.; The first U.S. team to win hockey’s Stanley Cup; ‘Funny Girl’ opens on Broadway; Singer Diana Ross born.

 

Breakfast Tune Rock And Roll Banjo Band

 

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

 
Trump-Russia inquiry endangered after lawmaker’s ‘peculiar midnight run’
Julian Borger, The Guardian

The House intelligence committee investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged links with Moscow looks in danger of unravelling as a result of the unexplained behaviour of its chairman, Devin Nunes, a former Trump adviser.

Such behaviour reportedly includes an unexplained disappearance from an Uber ride with a staffer on Tuesday night, described by his Democratic counterpart as a “peculiar midnight run”.

The investigation subsequently appeared to stall, with Nunes calling off a critical hearing scheduled for Tuesday 28 March, at a time when his Democratic counterpart on the committee, Adam Schiff, said he had seen more than circumstantial evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia. …

 
Arab airlines using Trump’s bans for marketing
Al Jazeera News

Arab airlines are using witty marketing and satire to respond to the recent US and UK ban on carry-on electronic goods on inbound flights from Arab countries.

The decision, introduced on Tuesday, bars passengers on flights originating in eight Arab countries from carrying any electronic device larger than a mobile phone.

Laptops, e-readers, cameras, tablets, printers, electronic games and portable DVD players are affected by the ban – which applies to direct flights to the United States – but they may still be stowed in the hold in checked baggage.

The indefinite US ban targets 10 airports and nine airlines, including Turkish Airlines and the major Gulf carriers: Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, as well as the Jordanian state airline, Royal Jordanian.

Some of the companies have been quick to respond, with lighthearted humour, using the ban as a marketing opportunity.

The United Arab Emirates flagship carrier, Emirates Airline, posted a video on social media with the slogan “let us entertain you”.

 
Ohio nightclub shooting leaves one dead, 14 wounded; shooter at large
Caleb Hughes, Reuters

Gunfire erupted inside a packed nightclub in Cincinnati, Ohio, early Sunday morning, killing at least one person and injuring 14, and police said they were still looking for the shooter.

The motive was unclear, but Cincinnati Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate said on Twitter that “there are no indications this incident is terrorism related.”

The shooting took place around 1 a.m. when hundreds of people were inside the Cameo Nightlife club, which the Cincinnati Police Department said has had “multiple problems” in the past.

“At this point it’s unclear exactly what instigated the shooting,” Captain Kimberly Williams said at a televised briefing. “Just a lot of chaos when the shots went off.”

The shooting comes less than a year after a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. …

 
Transgender protections hang in the balance with healthcare’s future cloudy
Molly Redden, The Guardian

In the spring of 2016, Elijah Fischer called his insurance company to ask if his plan would cover a double mastectomy. A 27-year old Floridian and trans man, Elijah had mostly completed his gender transition, except he still had feminine breasts.

“I look down, and it’s not me,” Elijah recalled feeling. He felt foreign to himself. With summer approaching, he dreaded another season of avoiding the beach and kayaking with his wife, Brianna.

So it was a relief when his insurer, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, approved the surgery right away.

“Oh wow,” the couple said to each other, Brianna recalled. “That was easy. That was fantastic.”

In reality, it was just the start of a battle with Anthem that would stretch for more than nine months. The company backtracked, and revealed that Elijah’s policy specifically excluded “services and supplies related to sex transformation”. There were fraught phone calls and fine print before finally, Elijah contacted the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about filing a discrimination claim.

His case, he felt, was clear-cut. There is a federal law that bans insurers from discriminating against someone on the basis of gender. In practice, the government has said, this means an insurance company cannot cover a therapy or a procedure in one situation but refuse when the patient is trans. For example, since Eljiah’s Anthem plan covers mastectomies for women in many cases, the carrier ought to cover the same surgery for Elijah. …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to think about over coffee prozac

Idaho woman says she crashed because she saw a sasquatch

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — A northern Idaho woman told police she crashed into a deer because she was distracted by a sasquatch in her rearview mirror.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/2n2zshf ) that the 50-year-old Tensed woman was driving south on U.S. Highway 95 on Wednesday when she struck a deer near Potlatch.

The woman told Benewah County Sheriff’s officials that she saw a sasquatch chasing a deer on the side of the road while driving. She says she checked one of her mirrors to get a second look at the beast and when she looked up, the deer ran in front of her.

Sheriff’s officials marked the incident as a vehicle versus deer collision but did not report any evidence of Bigfoot.

Mar 26 2017

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Pondering the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

On Sunday mornings we present a preview of the guests on the morning talk shows so you can choose which ones to watch or some do something more worth your time on a Sunday morning.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); House Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC); EPA administrator Scott Pruitt; and former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone.

The roundtable guests are: Republican strategist Alex Castellanos; ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman; and ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.

Face the Nation: Host John Dickerson’s guests are: Former Secretary of State George Shultz; Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR); Rep Trey Gowdy (R-SC); and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

His panel guests are: Juliet Eilperin, the Washington Post; The National Journal’s Ron Brownstein; Slate’s Jamelle Bouie; and The Federalist’s Ben Domenech.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on this week’s “MTP” are: Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA); CBO Director Mike Mulvaney; Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA); Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT); and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA).

The panel guests are: Eliana Johnson, Poltico; JoyAnn Reid, MSNBC host; Tom Brokaw, NBC special correspondent; and Hugh Hewitt, conservative talk show host.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: Gov. John Kasich (R-OH); ans Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

His panel guests are: Democratic strategist Bakari Sellers; former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA); Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI); and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY).

Mar 25 2017

Formula One 2017: Melbourne

What? March Madness not enough for you? I’m still here being as obnoxious as possible and part of that is Formula One.

Truthfully there are just too many changes for me to report at the moment, with any luck at all I’ll have caught up before Le Tour though I’m not making any promises.

As it is I’ve recreated my timing and scoring account (don’t even ask how counter intuitive it was) so I can give you the commentary you’ve no doubt grown sick of (nothing ever happens, really). After I’ve had a chance to review I may update, but more likely I’ll save it for the next race.

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