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Topics - ksen


Just days before he resigns from Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Monday that House and Senate lawmakers should receive a $2,500 per month housing allowance -- something he explained would help ease housing costs for members who can't afford two mortgages or rents.

Wants to slash housing funding for poor people that can't afford even one mortgage or rent.

Wants to raise housing funding for millionaires allegedly having trouble affording two mortgages or rents.

May I present: your modern-day conservative.

"Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed," Texas-based donor Doug Deason said, calling his donations a "Dallas piggy bank."

"You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There's no reason you can't get this done. Get it done and we'll open it back up," he said.

the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.

Martin Shkreli is known for a number of things. Jacking up the cost of a life-saving drug for AIDS patients by 5,000 percent. Grinning his way through a House hearing as he pleaded the Fifth. Spending millions to buy the only copy of a Wu-Tang album and then being in no hurry to listen to it. Badgering a journalist on Twitter until his account was suspended.

But today, jury selection begins in federal court as 34-year-old Shkreli goes on trial for something else entirely: securities fraud charges. Prosecutors say he was swindling investors in his hedge fund well before he became "the most hated man in America."

Federal agents arrested Shkreli in December 2015, and the SEC charged him with committing "a series of frauds" between October 2009 and March 2014[.

Rip off patients that need your drug in order to survive? You get a little public shaming.

Rip off some Wall Street investors with losses that wouldn't come close to effecting their lifestyles? You get arrested and put on trial and will probably spend time in jail.

Working as intended.

"For too many years our country has tolerated delays at the airport, long wait times on the tarmac, and a slowing of commerce and travel that costs billion and billions of dollars," Trump said.

"Today we're proposing to take American air travel into the future, finally. We will launch this air travel revolution by modernizing the outdated system of air traffic control. It's about time."

Trump's proposal would transfer the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) air traffic control operations to an independent outside agency over three years "at no charge," removing 30,000 FAA employees from the federal payroll. The FAA would still maintain safety oversight, however.


Looks like it was just a disgruntled employee that shot and killed 5 people this morning.  Nothing to see here.

We should probably start dating these in the title so that we can tell them apart.
Politics and Current Events / My Family’s Slave
Anyone else been following this?

My Family's Slave

I've been seeing a lot about this story and reactions to it over the past few days.

I guess 18 or so states have calls in for a Constutional Convention.

They just lost Nevada and Maryland though.

I don't know why they think once a convention is called it can be limited in scope.  Didn't the last time we had one of these we went from the Articles of Confederation to the US Constitution?
Politics and Current Events / Huma Abedin
Is really cute.

Now that that's out of the way I can understand there was gray area with Hillary's email setup.

However, what is the gray area in Abedin's situation?

Huma Abedin Apparently Forwarded Classified Emails to Anthony Weiner So He Could Print them for Hillary

FBI director says he feels 'mildly nauseous' about possibility he affected election, but has no regrets

"Somehow, her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information,'' Comey said, adding later, "His then-spouse Huma Abedin appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him to print out for her so she could deliver them to the secretary of state."

It's my understanding that Weiner did not have any type of clearance during this time.

Comey also says:

"Really the central problem we had with the whole email investigation was proving people . . . had some sense they were doing something unlawful. That was our burden, and we were unable to meet it,'' he said.

Is ignorance of the law now a valid excuse?
Arts and Entertainment / Persona 5
Started playing this a couple of days ago.

I'm about 6 hours in and there hasn't been a lot of gameplay yet.  I think I'm still in the part where basic things are being opened up and explained like how to craft stuff.

But even with so little gameplay this far in the story is really good and I'm having fun with it.

It took my son-in-law about 120 hours to beat it. :ohmy:
Politics and Current Events / Trump Library
I heard about Obama's $500 million presidential library plans for Chicago on my way in to work today.

Then it hit me that in 4 to 8 years (god, please don't let it be 8!) Trump will begin working on his own presidential library.

What do you think will be in there?

I'm thinking lots of Dr. Seuss and Dilbert collections.
Obama's $400,000 Wall Street speaking fee will undermine everything he believes in

To fight the rising tide of populism, mainstream leaders need to raise their ethical game.

Former President Barack Obama's decision to accept a $400,000 fee to speak at a health care conference organized by the bond firm Cantor Fitzgerald is easily understood. That's so much cash, for so little work, that it would be extraordinarily difficult for anyone to turn it down. And the precedent established by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to say nothing of former Federal Reserve Chairs Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan and a slew of other high-ranking former officials, is that there is nothing wrong with taking the money.

. . .

Obama should take seriously the message it sends to those young people if he decides to make a career out of buckraking. He knows that Hillary Clinton isn't popular with the youth cohort the way he is. And he knows that populists on both the left and the right want to make a sweeping ideological critique of all center-left politics, not just a narrow personal one of Clinton. Does Obama want them to win that battle and carry the day with the message that mainstream politics is just a moneymaking hustle?

Of course, it's just one speech. Nothing is irrevocable about one speech. But money doesn't get any easier to turn down with time, any more than rebuking friends and colleagues gets easier. To make his post-presidency a success, Obama should give this money to some good cause and then swear off these gigs entirely.

Even though it Matt Yglesias and Vox I think he makes a pretty good point about how cashing in big after your political career, especially if you said you were fighting inequality, just looks unseemly.

And the Obamas don't need it.  They have a great pension and have already made a lot  of money on book deals and will probably continue to make money on book deals.  So why take big corporate money for speeches?
You Are Richer than John D. Rockefeller

This Atlantic story reveals how Americans lived 100 years ago.  (HT Warren Smith)  By the standards of a middle-class American today, that lifestyle was poor, inconvenient, dreary, and dangerous.  (Only a few years later - in 1924 - the 16-year-old son of a sitting U.S. president would die of an infected blister that the boy got on his toe while playing tennis on the White House grounds.)

So here's a question that I've asked in one form or another on earlier occasions, but that is so probing that I ask it again: What is the minimum amount of money that you would demand in exchange for your going back to live even as John D. Rockefeller lived in 1916?  21.7 million 2016 dollars (which are about one million 1916 dollars)?  Would that do it?  What about a billion 2016 - or 1916 - dollars?  Would this sizable sum of dollars be enough to enable you to purchase a quantity of high-quality 1916 goods and services that would at least make you indifferent between living in 1916 America and living (on your current income) in 2016 America?

Think about it.  Hard.  Carefully.

Take that, libtards!

*drops mic*

In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly clear:  America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations, and fates.

In one of these countries live members of what Temin calls the "FTE sector" (named for finance, technology, and electronics, the industries which largely support its growth). These are the 20 percent of Americans who enjoy college educations, have good jobs, and sleep soundly knowing that they have not only enough money to meet life's challenges, but also social networks to bolster their success. They grow up with parents who read books to them, tutors to help with homework, and plenty of stimulating things to do and places to go. They travel in planes and drive new cars. The citizens of this country see economic growth all around them and exciting possibilities for the future. They make plans, influence policies, and count themselves as lucky to be Americans.

The FTE citizens rarely visit the country where the other 80 percent of Americans live: the low-wage sector. Here, the world of possibility is shrinking, often dramatically. People are burdened with debt and anxious about their insecure jobs if they have a job at all. Many of them are getting sicker and dying younger than they used to. They get around by crumbling public transport and cars they have trouble paying for. Family life is uncertain here; people often don't partner for the long-term even when they have children. If they go to college, they finance it by going heavily into debt. They are not thinking about the future; they are focused on surviving the present. The world in which they reside is very different from the one they were taught to believe in. While members of the first country act, these people are acted upon.

so depressing . . .
UnitedHealth 1Q profit soars as ACA business shrinks

UnitedHealth's first-quarter profit soared 35 percent as the nation's biggest health insurer slashed participation in Affordable Care Act exchanges but grew just about every other part of its business.

The insurer also hiked its 2017 earnings forecast on Tuesday, and company shares started climbing shortly after it detailed results.

I mean isn't that normally the argument put forward by free marketeers?  Companies will pass on savings to their customers through efficiencies and such?

Or is it only more costs get passed on to consumers while the company keeps whatever savings they get?
A far-left politician is shaking up France's presidential race

Long stuck in fifth position, and all but completely dismissed as a contender, Melénchon was polling just around 12 percent back in early March. Then, last week, he suddenly popped way up in the polls: He's now jostling with conservative candidate Francois Fillon (who has been mired in scandal for weeks) for third place, with 19 percent of the vote.

With Emmanuel Macron, the centrist former banker, and the far-right populist Marine Le Pen both polling only a bit higher, at 22.5 and 23 percent respectively, some election watchers are now wondering if Melénchon might be poised for a stunning upset.

Unlikely as it sounds, it's certainly possible. In a post-Brexit, post-Trump era where populism is upending politics across the West, all bets are off.

Melénchon's surge is partly explained by French millennials and the French disgruntled with globalization: They like his outsider talk and his eloquent takedowns of his opponents during the two televised presidential debates.

I particularly like how they try to compare the rise of Melenchon with the rise of Trump.  I mean let's just nevermind that Trump's success was fueled mostly by xenophobia and racism while Melenchon's seems to be based on a more Sandersesque recognition of the current class war.

The writer shows his bias with:

Fears that the presidential election could come down to an unexpected run-off between the staunchly anti-EU Le Pen and the just-as-staunchly anti-EU Melénchon -- instead of between Le Pen and the centrist former banker Macron -- have caused markets to react negatively, with the euro already falling against the dollar and the yen in response.

Economists and business leaders, too, are reacting with alarm. "With the growing threat of euroskeptic parties destabilizing the eurozone's unity weighing heavily on sentiment, the euro may be in store for further punishment," Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst with FXTM, a foreign exchange brokerage firm, told ABC News last week.

Pro-EU is the "centrist" position.  Is it?  Or is it just the position accepted by the same people that brought us militant privatization, doubled-down austerity and the 2008 financial crisis?

We can't spook the upper-class with all this talk about actually doing something for the people being squeezed to death in our current system.  Why, that's reactionary!

Good luck in the elections Melenchon and god-speed.
I did some quick math to try and figure out about how much it should cost, all else being equal, to put in place medicare for all.

Currently the medicare population is about 17.25% of the US population (55 million out of 318.9 million).  Current total medicare taxes are 2.9% split evenly between employee and employer so 1.45% each.

Given that the total US population is 5.88 times the size of the medicare population then it should follow that medicare taxes should have to rise 4.7 times to cover the 80% or so of the remaining non-medicare population (5.88*80%).  Multiplying the current medicare tax rate of 2.9% by 4.7 times results in a new medicare tax rate of 13.63%.  This new rate would, theoretically, also by split 50/50 between the employee and the employer which would be 6.825% each.

Assume an employee that earns $14/hr.  Over a two-week, 80 hour, payroll period that employee grosses $1,120.  Medicare currently takes $16.24 each pay period for a combined employee/employer medicare cost of $32.48 per pay period.  Under the new rate that same employee would have medicare taxes of $76.44 take out of her paycheck.  An increase of $60.20 a pay period.  The new total combined employee/employer medicare taxes would be $152.88, which is $120.40 more than the old medicare cost.

Using my company as an example our lowest cost health insurance plan covering just the employee costs $290.70 per pay period.  Currently that $290.70 cost is split between the employee and the employer.  Under the medicare for all costs explained above that would result in a combined net savings of $170.30 per pay period or $4,427.80 annually per employee.

And that only takes into account employees that take the employee only insurance option.  Employees that take employee+ insurance options would save even more under the above medicare for all tax scheme.  Using my company again the cheapest family plan is $828.48 a pay period.  Replacing that with medicare for all would result in a combined net savings of $675.60 per pay period or $17,565.60 annually.

I know the math and assumptions above are extremely simplistic but I think it should be within the reasonable ball park.  In fact I think I may be overestimating how much medicare taxes would have to go up since the current rate is designed to cover the part of the population that is the most expensive to cover and utilizes the greatest share of our healthcare resources.

Anyone see any problem with my maths or assumptions?

So in my mind anyone that says medicare for all would be too expensive or it would kill business or just plain too hard is full of shit and either hasn't actually tried running some numbers or don't really care that the numbers would lead to a cheaper system because their objections are pure ideology.
Arts and Entertainment / Neir: Automata
Game is amazing.  OST is amazing.

My personal GOTY so far and it's only the beginning of April.

Q1 2017 was remarkably strong with releases like Horizon Zero Dawn, Nioh, Neir and Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

I hope the rest of the year is able to keep up.
In a thread over at FreeRepublic about a white guy that got beat up after offering to pay the tab at a chicken takeout place for the two guys ahead of him when they came up a couple of bucks short I'm reading non-racist gems like:

To: EinNYC

fried chicken
Didn't need to watch, I could have guessed.

The very carefully edited video gives no clues about the victim. But I'll bet my guess there is going to be a good one too. Ferals don't beat people for offering to cover their meal. They beat them for not being ferals.

8 posted on ‎3‎/‎15‎/‎2017‎ ‎11‎:‎35‎:‎48‎ ‎AM by Dr.Deth
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To: EinNYC

Just a guess but it seems like a bleeding-heart white Brooklynite got his comeuppance and learned the true nature of these inner-city animals. I'm sure he'll try to pin this on Trump somehow for inciting unrest in the ghetto.

9 posted on ‎3‎/‎15‎/‎2017‎ ‎11‎:‎36‎:‎10‎ ‎AM by NohSpinZone (First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers)
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To: Bon mots

16 posted on ‎3‎/‎15‎/‎2017‎ ‎11‎:‎45‎:‎47‎ ‎AM by Governor Dinwiddie
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To: Avalon Memories

This is what happens when crooked politicians purposely breed feral humans to create disruption in society, and to create voters who won't hold crooked politicians accountable.

31 posted on ‎3‎/‎15‎/‎2017‎ ‎12‎:‎18‎:‎47‎ ‎PM by Moonman62 (Make America Great Again!)
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To: lee martell

Screw PC. Abraham Lincoln made a disastrous mistake. He thought he was being humane. Not all cultures are equal and many are incapable within their own people. Liberalism socially re-engineers so called minorities and cultures to the point of where our country stands at this point along with the rest of western civilization.

32 posted on ‎3‎/‎15‎/‎2017‎ ‎12‎:‎18‎:‎49‎ ‎PM by shanover (...To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.-S.Adams)
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I'm gueeing this^ one means Lincoln was wrong to free the slaves?

But not all is racism . . . looks like FReeper Carlucci made a black friend.

To: EinNYC

While it's NOWHERE near the same circumstance, I had a great experience yesterday at the Houston rodeo carnival. While I was wearing my MAGA hat, we were enjoying watching people try to throw 2 out of 3 footballs through an impossibly small target that would even challenge most pros.

One very large black male kept getting really close to winning in several attempts, so I walked over to him, and gave him the coupons I had for buy one get one free games, telling him that he had a good arm and that if he should want to try again, the coupons would give him more chances to win. It felt only slightly risky. He had a group of friends with him, but it was also very crowded.

He took a look at me and then said "thank you sir" and offered me a handshake, which I gladly accepted.

33 posted on ‎3‎/‎15‎/‎2017‎ ‎12‎:‎21‎:‎21‎ ‎PM by Carlucci
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I'm glad the slight risk Carlucci took approaching a black man worked out . . . this time.

Magneto is a Jewish Holocaust survivor. But Marvel might be making him allies with Hydra, an organization with Nazi roots.

In the eyes of its most fervent fans, Marvel has assassinated Magneto, arguably the most beloved villain the comic book company has ever created. And they did it with just one cover.

This past week, Marvel revealed variant covers to its upcoming crossover event "Secret Empire," an event in which Steve Rogers's allegiance to the Hydra criminal organization will be revealed. Magneto appears on one of those covers, suggesting he's been in clandestine cahoots with Rogers and Hydra. And being that Hydra is an organization with comic book roots in Nazi Germany, the cover links Magneto, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, to Nazis by way of Hydra.

Welp, didn't see that coming.

Fans are upset.

Huh, you don't say?
Politics and Current Events / A Day without Women
I don't know why conservative men are so upset by this.  I mean isn't every day a day without women for them?

Politics and Current Events / 1980 strikes again
Every fucking time when something goes to shit you'll invariably see a graph and it started to go to shit in 1980.


It's no secret I thought Hillary ran a bad campaign but this does surprise me.

Hillary Clinton's campaign ran TV ads that had less to do with policy than any other presidential candidate in the past four presidential races, according to a new study published on Monday by the Wesleyan Media Project.

Clinton's team spent a whopping $1 billion on the election in all -- about twice what Donald Trump's campaign spent. Clinton spent $72 million on television ads in the final weeks alone.

But only 25 percent of advertising supporting her campaign went after Trump on policy grounds, the researchers found. By comparison, every other presidential candidate going back to at least 2000 devoted more than 40 percent of his or her advertising to policy-based attacks. None spent nearly as much time going after an opponent's personality as Clinton's ads did.

In stark contrast to any prior presidential cycle for which we have Kantar Media/CMAG data, the Clinton campaign overwhelmingly chose to focus on Trump's personality and fitness for office (in a sense, doubling down on the news media's focus), leaving very little room for discussion in advertising of the reasons why Clinton herself was the better choice.

Trump, on the other hand, provided explicit policy-based contrasts, highlighting his strengths and Clinton's weaknesses, a strategy that research suggests voters find helpful in decision-making. These strategic differences may have meant that Clinton was more prone to voter backlash and did nothing to overcome the media's lack of focus on Clinton's policy knowledge, especially for residents of Michigan and Wisconsin, in particular, who were receiving policy-based (and specifically economically-focused) messaging from Trump.