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Trump's Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Was Part of World Patent Marketing, a Miami-Based Invention Scam Company
Today President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and announced that his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, would become acting attorney general. Whitaker is a former U.S. attorney in Iowa, but he was also involved in a Miami-based invention-marketing company the Federal Trade Commission shut down last year after calling it a scam...

World Patent Marketing collected millions of dollars by promising starry-eyed inventors it would turn their inventions into best sellers. Company reps claimed invention ideas were reviewed by an illustrious board that included big names such as Whitaker, Republican Congressman Brian Mast, and time-travel scientist Ronald Mallett.
corruption  usa  politics  trump-presidency  crime 
5 weeks ago by iamfantastikate
Schoolbooks and Slavery in 1864: Lessons in the North and South
When you visit Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, two of the first objects you’ll see are books: The First Dixie Reader, used in the South, and The Gospel of Slavery: A Primer of Freedom, used in the North. Both were likely used in schools to teach children to read; both were published in 1864, during the American Civil War; and both discuss slavery. However, the lessons on slavery in each book are completely different. According to curator Lily Wong, the books help “set the stage” for the exhibition, which explores “both the stunning advances [in rights and freedoms for African Americans] and equally stunning reversals that unfold in the 50 years after the end of slavery.”
history  education  children  usa  politics  racism  books 
5 weeks ago by iamfantastikate
Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100
Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century.

A rise of seven degrees Fahrenheit, or about four degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater without costly coastal defenses. Extreme heat waves would routinely smother large parts of the globe.

But the administration did not offer this dire forecast, premised on the idea that the world will fail to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed...

“The amazing thing they’re saying is human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society. And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it,” said Michael MacCracken, who served as a senior scientist at the U.S. Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002.
trump-presidency  politics  environment  future-dystopia  corruption 
6 weeks ago by iamfantastikate
Rep. Matt Shea takes credit, criticism for document titled 'Biblical Basis for War'
Under one heading, “Rules of War,” it makes a chilling prescription for enemies who flout “biblical law.” It states, “If they do not yield – kill all males”...

He also delves into the philosophy known as “just war theory,” which has been endorsed by many mainstream Christians.

But critics of Shea – who embraces far-right conspiracy theories, associates with a fundamentalist religious group in northern Stevens County and champions a push for a 51st state called Liberty – saw something sinister in the document.
racism  religion  religion-christianity  creepy  usa-washington  usa  politics 
6 weeks ago by iamfantastikate
Large Majorities Dislike Political Correctness
According to the report, 25 percent of Americans are traditional or devoted conservatives, and their views are far outside the American mainstream. Some 8 percent of Americans are progressive activists, and their views are even less typical. By contrast, the two-thirds of Americans who don’t belong to either extreme constitute an “exhausted majority.” Their members “share a sense of fatigue with our polarized national conversation, a willingness to be flexible in their political viewpoints, and a lack of voice in the national conversation.”

Most members of the “exhausted majority,” and then some, dislike political correctness. Among the general population, a full 80 percent believe that “political correctness is a problem in our country.” Even young people are uncomfortable with it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24. On this particular issue, the woke are in a clear minority across all ages.

Youth isn’t a good proxy for support of political correctness—and it turns out race isn’t, either.

Whites are ever so slightly less likely than average to believe that political correctness is a problem in the country: 79 percent of them share this sentiment. Instead, it is Asians (82 percent), Hispanics (87percent), and American Indians (88 percent) who are most likely to oppose political correctness.
politics  usa  language 
8 weeks ago by iamfantastikate
WaPo Picks a Side in Maryland Race—the Side That’s Offering Billions to Amazon
The Post has a penchant for attacking Democrats who don’t toe the corporate line. They have gone out of their way to try to discredit Sanders on numerous occasions (FAIR.org, 10/1/15, 3/8/16, 5/11/16, 11/17/16, etc.), running 16 negative stories on Sanders in one 16-hour period during the 2016 primaries. The paper (7/11/18) described Mark Elrich, a progressive who is running for Montgomery County executive, as a “leftist” whose “anti-business and anti-development” attitudes should be “cause for concern” to voters—though it said that Elrich’s assurance that “he would embrace a decision by Amazon to locate its second corporate headquarters in the county” was “welcome.” Like Jealous, Elrich has since assured Bezos that he will not attempt to block the Amazon HQ should it land in Montgomery County.

As it does with Sanders and Elrich, the Post’s coverage of Jealous combines skepticism towards his electoral chances and dismissal of his supposedly radical policies. Disparaging the political and practical viability of such people-friendly policies as universal healthcare and a livable minimum wage is in the obvious interests of the billionaire class—and, by extension, billionaire-owned news outlets like the Post.
usa-maryland  corruption  media  politics  usa 
8 weeks ago by iamfantastikate
'NAFTA' Replacement Extends Canada's Copyright Term to Life +70 years
One key change for Canada is that the country’s current copyright term will be extended by 20 years. At the moment copyrighted works are protected for the term of the author’s life, plus 50 years. This will be extended to life plus 70 years, at a minimum.
copyright  canada  usa  politics 
10 weeks ago by iamfantastikate
Scientists Warn the UN of Capitalism's Imminent Demise
The new paper, ‘The Race of Our Lives Revisited,’ provides a bruising indictment of contemporary capitalism’s complicity in the ecological crisis. Grantham’s verdict is that “capitalism and mainstream economics simply cannot deal with these problems,” namely, the systematic depletion of planetary ecosystems and environmental resources:

“The replacement cost of the copper, phosphate, oil, and soil—and so on—that we use is not even considered. If it were, it’s likely that the last 10 or 20 years (for the developed world, anyway) has seen no true profit at all, no increase in income, but the reverse,” he wrote.
environment  politics  future-dystopia  economy 
september 2018 by iamfantastikate
Kansans drank contaminated water for years and weren’t told
It didn’t test private wells less than a mile away. Nor did it notify residents that their drinking wells could be contaminated with dry cleaning chemicals, known as perchloroethylene, so they could test the water themselves.

“We didn’t find out for 7 years,” said Joe Hufman, whose well was contaminated by a Haysville dry cleaner. “Haysville knew it. KDHE knew it. Kwik Shop knew it.”

It had happened at least once before, at a dry cleaning site near Central and Tyler in Wichita, where the state waited more than four years between discovering contamination nearby and notifying residents of more than 200 homes.

Some fear it could happen again at 22 contaminated sites where the state has not checked for people on well water — or that it could happen at a yet unknown site of contamination.

Kansans aren’t required to use city water if they already have a well, and some Wichita neighborhoods still rely on private well water.

The delays stem from a 1995 state law that places more emphasis on protecting the dry cleaning industry than protecting public health.
usa  usa-kansas  health  environment  politics  corruption 
september 2018 by iamfantastikate
Penn Jillette, In Conversation
But if there aren’t meaningful jobs, is there any reason for libertarianism? I have been very seduced lately by the basic universal human income. But would we be able to find work that would fulfill us if we were on a basic universal income? Really, though, my libertarianism has come down to trying to get into the thought process on any question of Is there a way to solve this with more freedom instead of less? Sometimes the answer’s no. But I think libertarianism is a good thing to have in the conversation. If you told me right now that the United States is going to go to a fully libertarian government I think I’d be against it. But do I want that idea to be discussed? Yes.
politics  celebrity  usa  trump-presidency  interview  economy 
august 2018 by iamfantastikate
Pride and prejudice? The Americans who fly the Confederate flag
“The Confederate flag played a big, big part in our history,” Ira says. “… Why are these minorities pushing to do away with this flag? Look at what’s happening to our statues!” he says...

In his attic, McCluney downplays slavery ownership – saying “elite” planters, not soldiers, owned most slaves. “Most (southerners) did not have a dog in the hunt,” he says.

He is right, but only to a point. Most of the soldiers were young – a fifth were under 18 – and few owned any of the 4 million slaves in the US. But many of their households owned at least one, or they aspired to ascend to slave ownership. The 1860 census shows 49% of families in Mississippi – one in two – owned at least one slave. Mississippi had 436,631, the most in the nation and 55% of the state’s population...

Thomasa Massey, 49, jumps out of her car at Pearl Park in a majority-white Jackson suburb wearing a T-shirt with Confederate butterflies she designed with “Pride, Not Prejudice” underneath...

Davis, 47, also believes the institution might have died out due to “modernization … if they were able to compromise another 20 years. That’s what state’s rights were about: protecting slavery,” he says. “… There would not have been a war over tariffs...”

Stuart blames detractors. “It’s not us that’s racial; it’s them that’s racial. Most of ’em don’t know what it means,” she says. “It’s a symbol of our state; it’s who we are...”

“If we can’t get white people to stand together, it’s going to be another civil war,” [Barnes] adds.
history  mississippi  usa  politics  racism  equality 
august 2018 by iamfantastikate
Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change
Hansen’s most recent paper, published last year, announced that Earth is now as warm as it was before the last ice age, 115,000 years ago, when the seas were more than six meters higher than they are today. He and his team have concluded that the only way to avoid dangerous levels of warming is to bend the emissions arc below the x-axis. We must, in other words, find our way to “negative emissions,” extracting more carbon dioxide from the air than we contribute to it. If emissions, by miracle, do rapidly decline, most of the necessary carbon absorption could be handled by replanting forests and improving agricultural practices. If not, “massive technological CO₂ extraction,” using some combination of technologies as yet unperfected or uninvented, will be required. Hansen estimates that this will incur costs of $89 trillion to $535 trillion this century, and may even be impossible at the necessary scale. He is not optimistic.
science  history  usa  politics  health  environment  future-dystopia 
august 2018 by iamfantastikate
Motherhood in the Age of Fear
I was beginning to understand that it didn’t matter if what I’d done was dangerous; it only mattered if other parents felt it was dangerous. When it comes to kids’ safety, feelings are facts.
opinion  children  parenting  women  crime  usa  politics 
july 2018 by iamfantastikate
GOP candidate calls woman 'young and naive' for asking about fossil fuel industry donations
"You've said that climate change is a result of people's body heat, and are refusing to take action on the issue," Strauss said. "Does this have anything to do with the $200,000 that you have taken from the fossil fuel industry?"

Wagner laughs off the question initially, calling Rose naive — prompting applause and laughter from the crowd. "Are we here to elect a governor or elect a scientist?" Wagner asked.
politics  usa  pennsylvania  corruption  elections  environment 
july 2018 by iamfantastikate
Israel adopts controversial Jewish 'nation state' law
The bill strips Arabic of its designation as an official language alongside Hebrew, downgrading it to a "special status" that enables its continued use within Israeli institutions. There are 1.8 million Arabs in Israel, about 20% of the 9 million population...

Clauses that were dropped in last-minute political wrangling – and after objections by Israel's president and attorney general – would have enshrined in law the establishment of Jewish-only communities, and instructed courts to rule according to Jewish ritual law when there were no relevant legal precedents.

Instead, a more vaguely worded version was approved, which says: "The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment."
religion  judaism  israel  racism  equality  politics 
july 2018 by iamfantastikate
Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States
In a letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in April and obtained recently by Motherboard, Election Systems and Software acknowledged that it had "provided pcAnywhere remote connection software … to a small number of customers between 2000 and 2006," which was installed on the election-management system ES&S sold them...

ES&S is the top voting machine maker in the country, a position it held in the years 2000-2006 when it was installing pcAnywhere on its systems. The company's machines were used statewide in a number of states, and at least 60 percent of ballots cast in the US in 2006 were tabulated on ES&S election-management systems...

Software like pcAnywhere is used by system administrators to access and control systems from a remote location to conduct maintenance or upgrade or alter software. But election-management systems and voting machines are supposed to be air-gapped for security reasons—that is, disconnected from the internet and from any other systems that are connected to the internet. ES&S customers who had pcAnywhere installed also had modems on their election-management systems so ES&S technicians could dial into the systems and use the software to troubleshoot, thereby creating a potential port of entry for hackers as well.
politics  security  usa  elections 
july 2018 by iamfantastikate
Russian Influence Campaign Sought To Exploit Americans' Trust In Local News
These accounts apparently never spread misinformation. In fact, they posted real local news, serving as sleeper accounts building trust and readership for some future, unforeseen effort.

"They set them up for a reason. And if at any given moment, they wanted to operationalize this network of what seemed to be local American news handles, they can significantly influence the narrative on a breaking news story," Schafer told NPR. "But now instead of just showing up online and flooding it with news sites, they have these accounts with two years of credible history."
media  russia  usa  politics  propaganda  internet  twitter 
july 2018 by iamfantastikate
DIY Guns: A Landmark Ruling Opens the Door for Homemade Firearms
Two months ago, the Department of Justice quietly offered Wilson a settlement to end a lawsuit he and a group of co-plaintiffs have pursued since 2015 against the United States government. Wilson and his team of lawyers focused their legal argument on a free speech claim: They pointed out that by forbidding Wilson from posting his 3-D-printable data, the State Department was not only violating his right to bear arms but his right to freely share information. By blurring the line between a gun and a digital file, Wilson had also successfully blurred the lines between the Second Amendment and the First.

"If code is speech, the constitutional contradictions are evident," Wilson explained to WIRED when he first launched the lawsuit in 2015. "So what if this code is a gun?” The Department of Justice's surprising settlement, confirmed in court documents earlier this month, essentially surrenders to that argument...

Turning physical guns into digital files, instead of vice-versa, is a new trick for Defense Distributed. While Wilson's organization first gained notoriety for its invention of the first 3-D printable gun, what it called the Liberator, it has since largely moved past 3-D printing. Most of the company's operations are now focused on its core business: making and selling a consumer-grade computer-controlled milling machine known as the Ghost Gunner, designed to allow its owner to carve gun parts out of far more durable aluminum. In the largest room of Defense Distributed's headquarters, half a dozen millennial staffers with beards and close-cropped hair—all resembling Cody Wilson, in other words—are busy building those mills in an assembly line, each machine capable of skirting all federal gun control to churn out untraceable metal glocks and semiautomatic rifles en masse.
weapons  usa  politics  future-dystopia 
july 2018 by iamfantastikate
Mexico Faces Its Own Surge of Refugees Entering the Country
By taking on thousands of refugees, however, Mexico is relieving the burden on the overloaded U.S. courts. Mexico also detains large numbers of undocumented Central Americans who are not applying for refugee status here, and deports them back to their home countries. In fiscal year 2017, Mexico deported more than 94,000 Central Americans – even more than the 74,000 deported from the United States in the same time, according to figures from the Migration Policy Institute cited by the newspaper Reforma.

Violence by gangs such as the Mara Salvatrucha drives many of the refugees from their homes in Central America's Northern Triangle of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. But there has also been a wave of political turmoil, with bloody crackdowns on protesters in Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela over the past year. The top source countries of refugees arriving in Mexico are now Honduras, followed by Venezuela and then El Salvador, according to the UNHCR.
mexico  immigration  politics  el-salvador  honduras  venezuela  nicaragua 
july 2018 by iamfantastikate
Some of the pictures of border kids that haunt me most are from 2014. Here's why
Do you think it’s outrageous when an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department argues that kids as little as 3-years-old are capable of defending themselves in American immigration courts. I know I do. But that happened — with few people paying attention — in 2016, when the attorney general was Loretta Lynch and Obama was POTUS.

Then there was the Associated Press scoop that went viral last week about migrant kids as young as 14 who say they were beaten while handcuffed, locked up in solitary confinement, and left naked in concrete cells at a juvenile detention center in Virginia — which happened in 2015 and 2016, long before Donald J. Trump became our 45th and current president.
opinion  immigration  racism  obama-presidency  politics  usa 
july 2018 by iamfantastikate
How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s On Tonight
Once enabled, Samba TV can track nearly everything that appears on the TV on a second-by-second basis, essentially reading pixels to identify network shows and ads, as well as programs on Netflix and HBO and even video games played on the TV. Samba TV has even offered advertisers the ability to base their targeting on whether people watch conservative or liberal media outlets and which party’s presidential debate they watched...

The Times is among the websites that allow advertisers to use data from Samba to track if people who see their ads visit their websites, but a Times spokeswoman, Eileen Murphy, said that the company did that “simply as a matter of convenience for our clients” and that it was not an endorsement of Samba TV’s technology.
lol  surveillance  advertising  usa  money  politics  media 
july 2018 by iamfantastikate
The Economist’s Premature Obituary for the Sanders Movement
The Economist article underscores an important current in today’s political climate: the reluctance of corporate media to seriously discuss left-leaning policies that provide alternatives to the racist and corrupt policies of the Trump administration, on the one hand, and the pro-corporate, half-compromise policies that the Democratic Party pushed over the past generation, which contributed to Trump’s victory in 2016...

What the Economist and the rest of corporate media miss is that the Democratic Party establishment continues to engage in ongoing suppression of progressive candidates. Democratic House whip Steny Hoyer was caught on tape trying to strong-arm a progressive candidate out of running (Intercept, 4/26/18), while Joe Crowley was accused by Ocasio-Cortez of Election Day dirty tricks. Major Democratic interest groups, such as the pro-choice EMILY’s List, declined to endorse female candidates like Ocasio-Cortez in favor of Crowley, while national Democratic politicians like Kirsten Gillibrand endorsed incumbent New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his progressive female challenger Cynthia Nixon.
media  politics  usa  corruption  democrats 
june 2018 by iamfantastikate
Who’s Really Crossing the U.S. Border, and Why They’re Coming
Back in 2000, Mexican nationals made up 98 percent of the total migrants and Central Americans (referring to Honduran, Guatemalan, and Salvadoran migrants) only one percent. Today, Central Americans make up closer to 50 percent...

For Central American residents, control of these gangs over their neighborhood likely means a weekly or monthly extortion payment simply for the right to operate a business or live in their territory. The price for failing to provide this money is death. All it takes is a neighbor or nearby shopkeeper to be gunned down for failing to pay the adequate fees, and it becomes clear that the only options are pay or flee. Parents may also send their children to the United States or take them north as the gangs try to recruit them into their activities: Boys of eleven years old (or younger) may be recruited as lookouts and teenage girls may be eyed for becoming the members’ “girlfriends.” Older women who date or at one point dated a gang member can become trapped and unable to escape the violence, with partner-violence a driving migratory factor for many women...

A 2017 Doctors Without Borders report noted that 68 percent of the migrants that it provided services to in shelters across Mexico had been the victim of a crime during the journey. Women and children are also at particular risk, with nearly one-third of the women reporting that they were sexually assaulted during their trip through Mexico...

Previously, many migrants would seek to reach the United States by hiking through the desert undetected. But in recent years, families have begun crossing the border and waiting for a Border Patrol agent, or showing up at ports of entry, to ask for asylum. Before the Trump administration’s recent immigration crackdown, these families would be then taken to a family detention center, where they would have to pass a “credible fear” interview to be released—that is, prove that they have a real fear of returning to their home countries. At least 77 percent of the families pass this hurdle and are released with an ankle monitor or after paying a bond. They can then begin their cases in immigration courts.

The Trump administration is looking to shake up this system. Under the current policy and the June 20th executive order, the administration is pushing to detain families together for months, if not years, while their cases are processed. However, this flies in the face of the Flores settlement, a 1997 consent decree that courts have found to require that children not be detained for more than 20 days. The administration is now seeking to modify the settlement, a gambit that seems unlikely to succeed given the deciding judge’s previous rulings on the matter against the Obama administration.
abuse  el-salvador  guatemala  honduras  mexico  immigration  politics  usa  trump-presidency 
june 2018 by iamfantastikate
In Britain, Austerity Is Changing Everything
Whatever the operative thinking, austerity’s manifestations are palpable and omnipresent. It has refashioned British society, making it less like the rest of Western Europe, with its generous social safety nets and egalitarian ethos, and more like the United States, where millions lack health care and job loss can set off a precipitous plunge in fortunes...

To a degree, a spirit of voluntarism materialized. At public libraries, volunteers now outnumber paid staff. In struggling communities, residents have formed food banks while distributing hand-me-down school uniforms. But to many in Britain, this is akin to setting your house on fire and then reveling in the community spirit as neighbors come running to help extinguish the blaze...

Nationally, spending on police forces has dropped 17 percent since 2010, while the number of police officers has dropped 14 percent, according to an analysis by the Institute for Government. Spending on road maintenance has shrunk more than one-fourth, while support for libraries has fallen nearly a third.

The national court system has eliminated nearly a third of its staff. Spending on prisons has plunged more than a fifth, with violent assaults on prison guards more than doubling. The number of elderly people receiving government-furnished care that enables them to remain in their homes has fallen by roughly a quarter.
politics  uk  poverty  equality  money 
may 2018 by iamfantastikate
Democrats release Facebook ads linked to Russian troll factory
A random walk through some of the 3,000-plus files provided by the committee shows that the vast majority got a tiny, tiny number of “impressions” — which simply means they appeared in someone’s news feed. And most got an equally minuscule number of clicks, and in some cases none at all. Did simply viewing these ads cause anyone to change their mind about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, or about issues like immigration or Black Lives Matter?

Experts in this type of disinformation and propaganda warfare, which has been going on since before the internet and social media were invented, say pushing people in a specific direction often isn’t the point. As Facebook noted in an internal security report released last year, much of the activity involving fake social-media accounts spreading misinformation didn’t seem to have any specific goal, but instead appeared to be designed simply to sow confusion.
democrats  politics  facebook  internet  u.s.-elections  usa  russia  trump-presidency 
may 2018 by iamfantastikate
Out of 26 Major Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Zero Opposed
None of the top 100 newspapers questioned the US’s legal or moral right to bomb Syria, and all accepted US government claims to be neutral arbiters of “international law.” Many editorials handwrung about a “lack of strategy” or absence of congressional approval, but none so much that they opposed the bombing. Strategy and legal sanction are add-on features—nice but, by all accounts, not essential.

The total lack of editorial board dissent is consistent with major papers’ tradition of uniform acceptance of US military action. The most influential paper in the country, the New York Times, has not opposed a single US war—from the Persian Gulf to Bosnia, to Kosovo to Iraq to Libya to the forever war on ISIS—in the past 30 years.
media  politics  trump-presidency  war 
may 2018 by iamfantastikate
Only One Bank Was Indicted For Mortgage Fraud Tied To The 2008 Collapse — And It Was Innocent
You might think the Manhattan district attorney had his choice of banks to prosecute for these obvious and far-reaching crimes, but in the end only one bank has been indicted on felony fraud charges related to the 2008 collapse: Abacus.
money  economy  u.s.a.  politics  corruption 
september 2017 by iamfantastikate
The Sickness of American Healthcare
Here’s who the media failed to cover: the 177 million Americans who get their insurance through job-based coverage. They are Clinton voters, Sanders voters, Johnson voters, Stein voters and, yes, Trump voters. Media generally overlook the crushing impact the ACA has had on their health insurance. To the extent people with employer-provided insurance are interviewed on healthcare, they are often wrapped in the wrong frame—that their concerns about the ACA are irrational, because the ACA didn’t impact people who were already covered.
health  politics  u.s.a. 
september 2017 by iamfantastikate
As prices rise, mortgage lenders are making it easier to buy a house
After the housing crisis, Fannie Mae established a debt-to-income cap of 45 percent, except for those who put at least 20 percent down and could show they had enough savings to pay their mortgage for 12 months if they lost their job. Exceptions were also made if a borrower received income from someone who lived in the house, but was not on the loan.

Last month, Fannie did away with those special requirements, raising its cap to 50 percent....

With the exploding cost of higher education causing some students to borrow more than $100,000, several changes are directly targeting young homebuyers typically burdened with hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in monthly student-loan payments.

Among Fannie Mae’s changes:

• If a borrower has some student loans or other nonmortgage debt paid by parents or others, those payments will no longer count toward their debt-to-income ratio.

• Once a borrower becomes a homeowner, Fannie will allow them to qualify for a cheaper cash-out refinance if they use it to pay off their high-interest student loans.

• If a student-loan borrower is enrolled in an income-based repayment plan, the lower monthly payment can be used when calculating a debt-to-income ratio. Before, lenders often had to use 1 percent of the outstanding student-loan balance as the monthly payment.
money  economy  housing  signs-of-recession  u.s.a.  politics 
september 2017 by iamfantastikate
House flippers triggered the US housing market crash, not poor subprime borrowers
Come 2007, investors accounted for 43% of the total mortgage balance for the top credit-score quartile. For the middle two quartiles, speculators were responsible for around 35% in 2007.

This set up a dangerous dynamic. The mortgages these prime borrowers were able to secure were much bigger than those taken out by poor homebuyers. Worse, speculators have less incentive to hold onto their extra homes than those who only own one home. So when the housing market started tumbling and the economy soon followed...
poverty  economy  money  housing  politics  u.s.a. 
september 2017 by iamfantastikate
Missouri state rep says person who vandalized Confederate statue should be 'hung from a tall tree'
State Rep. Warren Love (R) shared an article to Facebook, titled "Vandal throws paint on Confederate statue," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The article addressed the recent vandalism of a Confederate monument in Springfield National Cemetery.

"This is totally against the law," Love wrote in the post. "I hope they are found & hung from a tall tree with a long rope."
republicans  wtf  politics  u.s.a.  missouri  abuse  racism 
august 2017 by iamfantastikate
Charlottesville White Nationalists Planned for Violence, Chats Show
While much of the discussion centered on flags, chants, and other forms of speech, the leaked exchanges also included advice on weapon construction. “You want something designed for longitudinal stress,” wrote one poster. “[Three] whacks and that thing is breaking.” Other topics included body armor and shield design. Users also shared memes alluding to using vehicles against opponents.
crime  u.s.a.  politics  virginia  weapons 
august 2017 by iamfantastikate
PhoenixNewTimes on Twitter
We've been covering Joe Arpaio for more than 20 years. Here's a couple of things you should know about him...
arizona  crime  abuse  politics  u.s.a.  trump-presidency  twitter 
august 2017 by iamfantastikate
Baltimore man among 3 more charged in Charlottesville, Va., white supremacist rally
The man, identified as Richard Wilson Preston, was charged by Charlottesville, Va., police with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. Charlottesville Police said in a news release that Preston fired a gun in the 100 block of West Market Street.

Court records list his address in the 5800 block of Cedonia Ave. in the Northeast Baltimore neighborhood of Cedmont. Numerous news reports refer to Preston as imperial wizard of Maryland’s Ku Klux Klan chapter.
racism  crime  abuse  politics  u.s.a.  virginia  weapons 
august 2017 by iamfantastikate
ICE Left 50 Immigrant Women And Kids Stranded At A Bus Station Before Hurricane Harvey Struck
Federal immigration authorities left about 50 immigrant women and children, most of them asylum-seekers from Central America, stranded at a downtown San Antonio bus station after service was canceled Friday due to Hurricane Harvey.
wtf  politics  texas  racism  u.s.a. 
august 2017 by iamfantastikate
America’s neo-Nazis don’t look to Germany for inspiration. They look to Russia.
It doesn’t take much to gather white nationalists’ affections for modern Moscow — a regime whose model they want to bring to bear in the United States. For David Duke, who has seen his books sold in the Russian Duma, Moscow remains the “key to white survival.” For Richard Spencer, a founding member of the alt-right’s rogues’ gallery — and someone married to the translator of Alexander Dugin, Russia’s illiberal polemicist extraordinaire — the Kremlin stands as the “most powerful white power in the world.” For Matthew Heimbach, who has said he would like to see the United States fracture on ethnic lines, Vladimir Putin has transformed into the “leader of the free world.”
opinion  russia  u.s.a.  politics  racism 
august 2017 by iamfantastikate
The Ex-Sheriff Trump Wants to Pardon Ignored 400 Sex Crime Cases
The AP reported in 2011 that Arpaio's department failed to properly investigate over 400 sex crime cases, including attacks on children, from 2005 to 2007, when the department had a $2.7 million contract to run police services for the city of El Mirage.

According to the report, many of the victims were children of undocumented immigrants. "Officials discovered at least 32 reported child molestations—with victims as young as 2 years old—where the sheriff's office failed to follow through, even though suspects were known in all but six cases," AP revealed.
abuse  children  arizona  u.s.a.  trump-presidency  crime  politics 
august 2017 by iamfantastikate
5 Numbers That Say a Lot About the Election
The share of the voting-eligible population that cast ballots — “voting eligible” means all adults who were legally entitled to cast a ballot, regardless of whether they registered — was the third best since 1972, slightly below the 60.7 percent turnout in the 2004 presidential race and slightly better than the 58.6 percent turnout in 2012. (Mr. Obama’s 2008 victory holds the crown for largest recent turnout.) Among the four in 10 who did not vote, a Pew Research Center survey suggested that about 25 percent believed their ballot would not change anything, and 15 percent believed the election outcome was in little doubt.
u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  statistics  elections 
march 2017 by iamfantastikate
Steve King: Blacks and Hispanics 'will be fighting each other' before overtaking whites in population
In the interview on Iowa radio, King reiterated comments he made Monday to Chris Cuomo on CNN's "New Day," saying, "This isn't about race."

He said his comments were instead about "our stock, our country, our culture, our civilization," and that "we need to have enough babies to replace ourselves."

But King argued that others, such as Ramos, were "celebrating" the success of a plan to make whites a majority-minority.

"Their effort here is to be celebrating because the United States is moving towards becoming, the whites becoming a minority, a majority-minority within the country according to what their plan is," he said.
racism  u.s.a.  politics  iowa 
march 2017 by iamfantastikate
Winner in Trump’s Decision to Fire Bharara Might Be Murdoch
Trump oversaw the firing of Preet Bharara, the U.S attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan, whose office is in the middle of a high-profile federal investigation of Fox News. The probe, according to sources, is looking at a number of potential crimes, including whether Fox News executives broke laws by allegedly obtaining journalists’ phone records or committed mail and wire fraud by hiding financial settlements paid to women who accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment.
corruption  politics  u.s.a.  trump-presidency  media 
march 2017 by iamfantastikate
Sweden to reintroduce conscription amid rising Baltic tensions
A resurgent Russia and tensions over Ukraine have prompted politicians to consider bolstering military capability while addressing the shortfall of people willing to pursue a career as a professional soldier.

The lack of military preparedness has been exposed in recent years, such as when Russian warplanes carrying out a mock bombing run on Sweden in 2013 caught air defences off guard....

With its reintroduction of the draft, Sweden will for the first time join Norway to become only the second country in Europe where military service is compulsory for women and as well as men.

“It’s very important to emphasise that military service is for girls and guys,” Hultqvist said. “It is important for the military to have a gender equal profile,” he added.
sweden  politics  war  russia  equality  europe  military 
march 2017 by iamfantastikate
Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media
Robert Mercer very rarely speaks in public and never to journalists, so to gauge his beliefs you have to look at where he channels his money: a series of yachts, all called Sea Owl; a $2.9m model train set; climate change denial (he funds a climate change denial thinktank, the Heartland Institute); and what is maybe the ultimate rich man’s plaything – the disruption of the mainstream media. In this he is helped by his close associate Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign manager and now chief strategist. The money he gives to the Media Research Center, with its mission of correcting “liberal bias” is just one of his media plays. There are other bigger, and even more deliberate strategies, and shining brightly, the star at the centre of the Mercer media galaxy, is Breitbart.

It was $10m of Mercer’s money that enabled Bannon to fund Breitbart – a rightwing news site, set up with the express intention of being a Huffington Post for the right....

But there was another reason why I recognised Robert Mercer’s name: because of his connection to Cambridge Analytica, a small data analytics company. He is reported to have a $10m stake in the company, which was spun out of a bigger British company called SCL Group. It specialises in “election management strategies” and “messaging and information operations”, refined over 25 years in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. In military circles this is known as “psyops” – psychological operations. (Mass propaganda that works by acting on people’s emotions.)
media  politics  war  programming  science  internet 
february 2017 by iamfantastikate
Hidden Racism
Melfi shields white viewers from the uncomfortableness of seeing the totality of the horror their counterparts inflicted on the black women who worked at NASA, and he does so at the expense of the agency of those women, portraying them as being in desperate need for a white man’s validation.

The truth is that they lived freely in the fact that their lives were just as valid as anyone else’s.

What actually happened — documented in the book from which the film is adapted, Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race, written by Margot Lee Shetterly, a black woman — is Katherine Johnson refused to use NASA’s colored restrooms. She defiantly used the white bathroom, even though doing so was illegal.
media  film  history  u.s.a.  politics  equality 
february 2017 by iamfantastikate
Same-sex marriage laws linked to fewer youth suicide attempts
State legalization of same-sex marriage appears to be linked to a decrease in adolescent suicide, based on a new analysis published today in JAMA Pediatrics. The results give more context to the potential effects of social policy on mental health.

The researchers found that suicide attempts by high school students decreased by 7 percent in states after they passed laws to legalize same-sex marriage, before the Supreme Court legalized it nationwide in 2015. Among LGB high school students, the decrease was especially concentrated, with suicide attempts falling by 14 percent.

But in states that did not legalize same-sex marriage, there was no change.
health  politics  u.s.a.  lgbt  suicide  teens  statistics  science 
february 2017 by iamfantastikate
How Space Weather Can Influence Elections on Earth
"Everything was going fine, but then suddenly, there were an additional 4,000 votes cast. Because it was a local election, which are normally very small, people were surprised and asked, 'how did this happen?'"

The culprit was not voter fraud or hacked machines. It was a single event upset (SEU), a term describing the fallout of an ionizing particle bouncing off a vulnerable node in the machine's register, causing it to flip a bit, and log the additional votes. The Sun may not have been the direct source of the particle—cosmic rays from outside the solar system are also in the mix—but solar-influenced space weather certainly contributes to these SEUs.

These anomalies in electronic voting machines are extremely difficult to detect, as the offending particles are small and subtle, and normally don't leave any damage or recognizable fingerprints of having tipped the scales one way or the other. The only reason Schaerbeek officials caught the error was due to the improbable number of ballots cast. But for all we know, the Sun and its radiation buddies in the wider universe may have tampered in other elections and gotten away with it.
elections  belgium  wtf  science  environment  politics 
february 2017 by iamfantastikate
Gone rogue
All, or most, of these accounts are fake. They’re phony. They’re liberal wish fulfillment. They’re telling you what you want to hear. There’s evidence that they’re fake. It’s fiction, like a social-media West Wing repackaged for the resistance, confirming your biases and giving you the (phony) gossipy thrill of insider knowledge....

I blocked these rogue government accounts as soon as they started proliferating on Twitter, and it was the best social-media decision I’ve made in 2017. They’re a distraction from reality — bad fiction to make you feel good. If we want to change the world, we have to support truth and transparency, and that means prioritizing good journalism over ineffectual fan fiction.
politics  u.s.a.  trump-presidency  media  internet 
february 2017 by iamfantastikate
Millennials are moving less than earlier generations did at same age
In 2016, only 20% of Millennial 25- to 35-year-olds reported having lived at a different address one year earlier. One-year migration rates were much higher for older generations when they were the same age....

Labor market opportunities may be a factor. Millennials were hit hard by the Great Recession in terms of job-holding and wages. For many young adults who moved in the past year, job opportunities were a prime motivation for moving, and the modest jobs recovery may not be providing the impetus Millennials need.

When they do move, Millennials’ motivations for moving are significantly different from those of earlier generations of young movers. One incentive for moving is to buy a home, but Census Bureau migration data suggest Millennial movers are doing so at significantly lower rates than earlier generations. In 2016, homeownership among younger households was at its lowest level in at least 40 years. On the one hand, the different family demographics of Millennials – such as not having children – may undercut their desire to own a home. But financial considerations may play a role as well. Compared with Gen X young adults around 2000, lending standards are much tighter, making it more difficult for Millennial 25- to 35-year-olds to get a mortgage. Related to this, student debt may be deterring young adults from home ownership.
statistics  u.s.a.  politics  money  economy  equality 
february 2017 by iamfantastikate
The Trump effect on travel to the United States
Overall average interest in flying to the US declined 17% from the three weeks before Trump’s inauguration to two weeks afterward, Hopper said, based on weekly averages of an analysis of billions of global flight searches. Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning residents of seven Muslim-majority countries a week after he was inaugurated.

Last year during the same period, interest in flying to the US fell 1.8%, suggesting that the recent downturn is much more than just a seasonal fluctuation....

The US city slated to miss out most is San Francisco, whose airport saw a 33% decline in international interest, Hopper said. Seven other US airports saw a 20% or more decline in search interest over the three week period....

On the other hand, there was a huge increase in interest in travel to the US from Russia. Flight searches from Russia to the US rose 88%, Hopper said.
u.s.a.  u.s.-elections  trump-presidency  politics  russia  california  statistics  travel 
february 2017 by iamfantastikate
You have to be Christian to truly be American? Many people in the U.S. say so.
Thirty-two percent of Americans said one should be Christian to really be American, compared to just 13 percent of Australians, 15 percent of Canadians and 15 percent of Europeans who felt the same way about belonging in their homelands....

Republicans, who are themselves more likely to be Christian, said at a higher rate that one need be Christian to be American: 43 percent compared to 29 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of independents....

This opinion is apparently becoming much less popular with the younger generation of Americans, who are less likely to affiliate with a religion than generations before them. Among adults over 50, 44 percent told Pew that being Christian was key to being American; among those younger than 35, 18 percent said so.
u.s.a.  christianity  religion  politics  statistics 
february 2017 by iamfantastikate
Obama averaged fewest executive orders since Cleveland
Obama issued 277 executive orders during his eight years in office, or 35 per year. That’s slightly fewer than the 36 per year that George W. Bush issued and the lowest average since Grover Cleveland, who issued 32 per year during his eight nonconsecutive years in office.
statistics  politics  u.s.a. 
january 2017 by iamfantastikate
Four more journalists get felony charges after covering inauguration unrest
Four more journalists have been charged with felonies after being arrested while covering the unrest around Donald Trump’s inauguration, meaning that at least six media workers are facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.
media  crime  politics  dc  u.s.a.  u.s.-elections  trump-presidency 
january 2017 by iamfantastikate
New research charts surging income inequality in United States
The average pre-tax income of adults in the bottom 50 percent income share in the U.S. has stagnated since 1980.

The bottom 50 percent’s share of income share has collapsed from about 20 percent in 1980 to 12 percent in 2014.

Between the early 1980s and 2014, the average pre-tax income of the top 1 percent of adults rose from $420,000 to about $1.3 million, and their income share increased from about 12 percent.

In 1980, the top 1 percent adults earned on average 27 times more than bottom 50 percent adults, while they earn 81 times more today.
 
The share of women falls sharply as one moves up the income ladder, with only 11 percent in the top 1 percent today.

There has been close to zero growth for working-age adults in the bottom 50 percent of the distribution since 1980.

In the bottom half of the distribution range, only income for the elderly is rising, while income has fallen for those under the age of 65.
equality  money  u.s.a.  politics 
january 2017 by iamfantastikate
Why in the post-truth age, the bullshitters are winning
This is what people mean when they refer to our political moment as a “post truth” age. It is not quite the same as lies, though lying may well be involved. “Post-truth” is closer to bullshit. It’s the “Hall of Mirrors” strategy perfected in Putin's Russia, where an explosion of fake news and cultured online trolling bolsters the regime not simply by pumping out pro-Kremlin propaganda, but by making it impossible for citizens to entirely trust anything they read or hear. This leaves them vulnerable to latching on to the ideas that simply feel as if they ought to be true, with no regard for objective fact, which has been devalued, along with the very concept of expertise and learning, across the world.
politics 
january 2017 by iamfantastikate
The crisis of disabled millennials: 'It feels hopeless'
Phipps says the thought that this is what her life will always be like – never being able to have a career and earn money, or afford a decent place to live – is impacting on her mental health.

“My mum talks to me about her pension and I can’t imagine that. Or having my own home,” she says. “It feels hopeless. I can’t see how it’s getting better.”
uk  health  politics  money  equality  disability 
january 2017 by iamfantastikate
Maiden America
The idea of sexual purity was a relatively late addition to Christian doctrine. Not even priests needed to be celibate until the twelfth century—and that change, according to Medieval historian R. I. Moore, had more to do with blocking church officials from transferring church wealth to their families than it did with forging any sort of resemblance between the lives of priests and how Jesus lived.

In the foundational years of Christianity, the sexual purity of women was of no great concern. An unmarried girl’s sexual activity was seen, according to historian of early Christianity Peter Brown, as “simply a bad omen for her future conduct.” A sexually active teen might grow up to be a wife who took lovers, not that that was such a bad thing either. The goal of marriage was not a sacred union of souls, but reproduction—needed to replenish the constantly keeling-over population at a time when the average lifespan was twenty-five years.

For a woman to take a vow of abstinence, then, was considered radical. St. Cecilia was a buzzkill at her own engagement party, wearing sackcloth and ashes. When Thecla left her fiancé to don men’s clothing and preach alongside Paul the Apostle, the rejected suitor complained that this denigration of marriage was “bizarre and disruptive to the human race.” It was certainly disruptive to families. Early women of the church had to fight their fathers to take their vows, and they fended off prospective suitors by making themselves repulsive: shaving their heads, scarring their faces, cutting out their own eyes.
history  u.s.a.  sex  sexism  religion  politics  christianity  gender 
january 2017 by iamfantastikate
Point of View: North Carolina no longer a democracy
In the just released [Electoral Integrity Project] report, North Carolina’s overall electoral integrity score of 58/100 for the 2016 election places us alongside authoritarian states and pseudo-democracies like Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. If it were a nation state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table – a deeply flawed, partly-free, democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world.

Indeed Carolina does so poorly on the measures of legal framework and voter registration, that on those indicators we rank alongside Iran and Venezuela. When it comes to the integrity of the voting district boundaries no country has ever received as low a score as the 7/100 North Carolina received. North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.
u.s.-elections  politics  u.s.a.  north-carolina 
december 2016 by iamfantastikate
Worries about access fuel women’s rush to get contraception
Immediately after the election, Google searches for IUD spiked and Twitter saw phrases like “get an IUD” jump in popularity.
health  equality  gender  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  trump-presidency 
december 2016 by iamfantastikate
Trump Win Leaves Questions About Latino, African American Vote
The numbers suggested Clinton was not able to inspire African Americans in the way Obama did. Whereas Obama garnered 95 percent of the black vote, exit polls show only 88 percent of African Americans cast their vote for Clinton.

Most surprisingly, official exit polls show Trump won 29 percent of the Latino vote; Romney had won 27 percent in 2012. For researchers, this may be confounding. Data from pre-election polls gathered by other polling first show Trump's share of the Latino vote closer to 18 percent.
u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  statistics  democrats  republicans 
november 2016 by iamfantastikate
Voter turnout at 20-year low in 2016
Voter turnout this year dipped to nearly its lowest point in two decades.

While election officials are still tabulating ballots, the 126 million votes already counted means about 55% of voting age citizens cast ballots this year.
That measure of turnout is the lowest in a presidential election since 1996, when 53.5% of voting-age citizens turned out.
u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  trump-presidency 
november 2016 by iamfantastikate
Islamic State celebrates Donald Trump election victory
Extremists celebrated President–elect Donald Trump’s stunning victory at the polls Wednesday, hoping his triumph will “lead to civil war,“ according to a jihadist monitoring group.

"Rejoice with support from Allah, and find glad tidings in the imminent demise of America at the hands of Trump,” said the al-Minbar Jihadi Media network, which is affiliated with the Islamic State, according to the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group.
religion  islam  islamic-state  trump-presidency  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics 
november 2016 by iamfantastikate
Trump Campaigned Against Lobbyists. Now They’re on His Transition Team.
President-elect Donald J. Trump, who campaigned against the corrupt power of special interests, is filling his transition team with some of the very sort of people who he has complained have too much clout in Washington: corporate consultants and lobbyists.
politics  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  trump-presidency 
november 2016 by iamfantastikate
DNC Staffer Screams At Donna Brazile For Helping Elect Donald Trump
"You and your friends will die of old age and I’m going to die from climate change."
politics  democrats  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  trump-presidency 
november 2016 by iamfantastikate
The fight to punish US police killings: ‘We missed an opportunity to stop him'
Johnson told the documentary makers that as complaints from the public about his violence piled up, Rankin said they merely proved he was doing his job properly. He also became obsessed with a particular premise for a police officer opening fire on a suspect. He would return to this hypothetical constantly in conversations with colleagues, she said.

“Don’t you think you’d be justified in shooting somebody if they put their hand on their waistband?” he would ask.
u.s.-elections  police  weapons  politics 
november 2016 by iamfantastikate
The Most Important WikiLeaks Revelation Isn’t About Hillary Clinton
This was October 6. The election was November 4. And yet Froman, an executive at Citigroup, which would ultimately become the recipient of the largest bailout from the federal government during the financial crisis, had mapped out virtually the entire Obama cabinet, a month before votes were counted. And according to the Froman/Podesta emails, lists were floating around even before that.
politics  u.s.a.  corruption 
october 2016 by iamfantastikate
Exposing the great 'poverty reduction' lie
Some economists go further and advocate for an IPL of $5 or even $10 - the upper boundary suggested by the World Bank. At this standard, we see that some 5.1 billion people - nearly 80 percent of the world's population - are living in poverty today. And the number is rising.
equality  poverty  money  economy  politics 
october 2016 by iamfantastikate
The ‘Welfare Queen’ Is a Lie
Over time, politicians have contrived modern equivalents of the welfare queen, with policy implications of their own. Newt Gingrich infamously lamented a food-stamp recipient who used her benefits to fly to Hawaii at taxpayers’ expense. As anyone who has actually enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would know, benefits are tightly restricted to food products off of the shelf and can’t even be used to buy other necessities, such as diapers, much less a plane ticket.
poverty  equality  u.s.a.  politics  racism  sexism  money 
september 2016 by iamfantastikate
Younger generations of voters could dominate 2016 election
As of July, an estimated 126 million Millennial and Gen X adults were eligible to vote (56% of eligible voters), compared with only 98 million Boomers and other adults from prior generations, or 44% of the voting-eligible population.
statistics  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  aging 
august 2016 by iamfantastikate
Are Doctors Refusing to See Obamacare Patients or are Insurance Companies Just Playing Hard to Get?
Blue Shield removed me as a provider for patients who were already in my practice, without telling me and without telling my patients in advance… because they had too many doctors??

Still a bit confused (nothing like this had ever happened to us before) we asked Blue Shield to please put me back in their ACA network so I could resume treating my ACA patients.  And Blue Shield said: “why?” 

I’m not kidding. We asked Blue Shield of California to restore me to their network of ACA providers and they asked, “why?” as in “why would I want to see these patients?”
health  money  corruption  u.s.a.  politics  california 
august 2016 by iamfantastikate
Indiana parade float depicts Obama in toilet and words 'Lying African'
An entry in Sheridan's Independence Day Parade included what some are calling a racist depiction of President Obama in a toilet and the words "Lying African"....

Don Christy, 73, Sheridan, told The Indianapolis Star he drove the golf cart in the parade. He said he didn't fill out an entry form. He said he lined up with other floats at the high school parking lot and was waved along when the parade started.

"I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a Republican," Christy said. "I'm a patriot."

Christy said he is tired of political correctness and was just trying to be funny. The display was not intended to be racist, he said. Christy agreed that others have a right to be offended, just as he has the right to express his views.

"I apologize to anyone I offended, which would be a total liberal. I have my right to say things," Christy said. "Isn't that what the Fourth of July's about? Freedom."
racism  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  wtf  republicans  politics 
july 2016 by iamfantastikate
Ex-Speaker Hastert enters prison — now Inmate No. 47991-424
When sentenced in April in Chicago, Hastert was branded "a serial child molester" by U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin — and Burdge also spoke. Turning to Hastert in court, she described how she was among the first to broach his abuse of kids, telling him, "I hope I have been your worst nightmare."

Her brother, Stephen Reinboldt, died of AIDS in 1995. She said Wednesday that Hastert's imprisonment brings her some closure.

"This whole ordeal is sad," Burdge said. "But when you abuse children, you need to suffer the consequences — no matter who you are."

Hastert was never charged with child abuse because the statutes of limitation blocked prosecutors from filing charges dating back to when Hastert coached at Yorkville High School, from 1965 to 1981. Instead, Hastert was charged with violating banking laws for trying to pay $3.5 million in hush money to one victim referred to in court papers only as "Individual A."
abuse  crime  u.s.a.  politics  republicans  creepy 
june 2016 by iamfantastikate
Interview With a Woman Who Recently Had an Abortion at 32 Weeks
I can’t help but think about other people who have been through late-term abortions. I know that it’s not common, but it does happen. It makes me feel angry that we can’t just have an honest conversation about it—that we can’t talk about it scientifically or practically. It all has to be talked about in these couched terms that are ultimately religious and it just makes me crazy.

Another thing I want to say is that yes, I had this very particular, horrible situation—but if I had had an abortion at 20 weeks just because I didn’t feel ready, that should be okay, too. Like it or not, all of our rights are intertwined. Maybe there’s some woman who has had four abortions and maybe that feels really wrong to you. But my rights are wrapped up with hers, so I have to fight like fuck for her to have as many as she wants—not just for her sake, but for mine, too.
abortion  health  amazing-women  amazing-men  politics  u.s.a. 
june 2016 by iamfantastikate
Donald Trump speaks to shrunken Atlanta crowd as poll numbers drop
The suspicion of protesters reached a point at which Trump supporters were informing on each other for not being “real” supporters. One woman pointed security toward a couple sitting quietly in their seats. “Them,” she mouthed.

The couple seemed baffled and denied to a security agent that they were anything but genuine Trump admirers. He waved them toward the exit and said, “Let’s go.”

Afterward the informer, who declined to give her name, grinned as onlookers congratulated her. “I heard one of them say ‘Never Trump’,” she said. “And one held up three fingers, like this.”

She held up her hand in a Boy Scout salute.
funny  republicans  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  wtf 
june 2016 by iamfantastikate
Silicon Valley imported cheap labor
The companies that arranged his questionable visa instead sent Lesnik to a menial job in Silicon Valley. He earned the equivalent of $5 an hour to expand the plant for one of the world’s most sophisticated companies, Tesla Motors....

Yet neither the contractors involved nor Tesla itself have accepted legal responsibility for the hiring practices, long hours and low pay. While most of the imported workers interviewed for this story said they are happy with their paychecks, their American counterparts earn as much as $52 an hour for similar work.
money  california  u.s.a.  politics  equality 
may 2016 by iamfantastikate
Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’
Louisiana officials have been coping with some of the fastest rates of land loss in the world — an area the size of Delaware has disappeared from south Louisiana since the 1930s. A master plan that is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars envisions a giant wall of levees and flood walls along the coast.

But some places, like the island, would be left on the outside. For those communities, wholesale relocation may be an effective tool, if a far more difficult and costly one.

“That’s one of the things we need to learn from the creation of this model, which is how to do it economically,” said Pat Forbes, the executive director of the state’s Office of Community Development, the agency in charge of administering the federal climate grant.

A vast majority of the $1 billion disaster-resilience grant program is spent on projects to improve infrastructure, like stronger roads, bridges, dams, levees and drainage systems, to withstand rising seas and stronger storms.

But experts see places like Isle de Jean Charles as lost causes.
environment  u.s.a.  louisiana  futurology  politics 
may 2016 by iamfantastikate
How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk
[Jack Keane] and Clinton continued to talk, even after Obama was elected and she became secretary of state. More often than not, they found themselves in sync. Keane, like Clinton, favored more robust intervention in Syria than Obama did. In April 2015, the week before she announced her candidacy, Clinton asked him for a briefing on military options for dealing with the fighters of the Islamic State. Bringing along three young female analysts from the Institute for the Study of War, Keane gave her a 2-hour-20-minute presentation. Among other steps, he advocated imposing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria that would neutralize the air power of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, with a goal of forcing him into a political settlement with opposition groups. Six months later, Clinton publicly adopted this position, further distancing herself from Obama.
war  politics  u.s.a. 
may 2016 by iamfantastikate
Australia blocks sale of Ireland-sized chunk of land to private Chinese company
The Australian government on Friday blocked once and for all a bid that would have seen a chunk of its land the size of Ireland — or more than 1 percent of the country's total landmass — sold to a private Chinese company.

The company at first seems like an extremely unlikely contender to become not only Australia's, but the world's, biggest private landowner. It's called Dakang, and it was once a struggling pig-breeding firm until it was bought in 2013 by Pengxin Group, a Shanghai-based company mostly involved in real estate.
australia  china  funny  politics 
may 2016 by iamfantastikate
Voters find wrong party affiliation on Oregon registry
Voter registration errors aren’t just occurring in states like Arizona and New York. Some Oregonians claim their party affiliation recently changed on the state’s digital registry, and they don’t know why.

Elections Director Jim Williams says 120-150 voters are calling the Secretary of State’s office every day to complain about errors in party affiliations.
u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  oregon 
may 2016 by iamfantastikate
Exclusive: Half of Americans think presidential nominating system 'rigged'
More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is "rigged" and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics  corruption  statistics 
april 2016 by iamfantastikate
Firms that paid for Clinton speeches have US gov't interests
Most companies and groups that paid Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak between 2013 and 2015 have lobbied federal agencies in recent years, and more than one-third are government contractors, an Associated Press review has found. Their interests are sprawling and would follow Clinton to the White House should she win election this fall.

The AP's review of federal records, regulatory filings and correspondence showed that almost all the 82 corporations, trade associations and other groups that paid for or sponsored Clinton's speeches have actively sought to sway the government — lobbying, bidding for contracts, commenting on federal policy and in some cases contacting State Department officials or Clinton herself during her tenure as secretary of state.

Presidents are not generally bound by many of the ethics and conflict-of-interest regulations that apply to non-elected executive branch officials, although they are subject to laws covering related conduct, such as bribery and illegal gratuities. Clinton's 94 paid appearances over two years on the speech circuit leave her open to scrutiny over decisions she would make in the White House or influence that may affect the interests of her speech sponsors.
corruption  money  u.s.-elections  u.s.a.  politics 
april 2016 by iamfantastikate
UC Davis spent thousands to scrub pepper-spray references from Internet
UC Davis contracted with consultants for at least $175,000 to scrub the Internet of negative online postings following the November 2011 pepper-spraying of students and to improve the reputations of both the university and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, newly released documents show.

The payments were made as the university was trying to boost its image online and were among several contracts issued following the pepper-spray incident.

Some payments were made in hopes of improving the results computer users obtained when searching for information about the university or Katehi, results that one consultant labeled “venomous rhetoric about UC Davis and the chancellor.”
police  education  california  politics  u.s.a. 
april 2016 by iamfantastikate
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