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Topics - Testy Calibrate

Politics and Current Events / r>g Piketty was right
More bracing still are the data's implications for debates on inequality. Karl Marx once reasoned that as capitalists piled up wealth, their investments would suffer diminishing returns and the pay-off from them would drop towards zero, eventually provoking destructive fights between industrial countries. That seems not to be true; returns on housing and equities remain high even though the stock of assets as a share of GDP has doubled since 1970. Gravity-defying returns might reflect new and productive uses for capital: firms deploying machines instead of people, for instance, or well-capitalised companies with relatively small numbers of employees taking over growing swathes of the economy. High returns on equity capital may therefore be linked to a more tenuous status for workers and to a drop in the share of GDP which is paid out as labour income.

Similarly, long-run returns provide support for the grand theory of inequality set out in 2013 by Thomas Piketty, a French economist, who suggested (based in part on his own data-gathering) that the rate of return on capital was typically higher than the growth rate of the economy. As a consequence, the stock of wealth should grow over time relative to GDP. And because wealth is less evenly distributed than income, this growth should push the economy towards ever higher levels of inequality. Mr Piketty summed up this contention in the pithy expression "r > g".

In fact, that may understate the case, according to the newly gathered figures. In most times and places, "r", which the authors calculate as the average return across all assets, both safe and risky, is well above "g" or GDP growth. Since 1870, they reckon, the average real return on wealth has been about 6% a year whereas real GDP growth has been roughly 3% a year on average. Only during the first and second world wars did rates of return drop much below growth rates. And in recent decades, the "great compression" in incomes and wealth that followed the world wars has come undone, as asset returns persistently outstrip the growth of the economy.

In such ways does the painstaking collection of data fundamentally reshape understanding of the way economies work. It is a shame that data-gathering does not carry higher status within the profession. It would raise the status of economics itself.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded several Obama-era directives that discouraged enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that had legalized the substance.

In a memo sent to U.S. attorneys Thursday, Sessions noted that federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana, and he undid four previous Obama administration memos that advised against bringing weed prosecutions in states where it was legal to use for recreational or medical purposes. Sessions said prosecutors should use their own discretion -- taking into consideration the department's limited resources, the seriousness of the crime, and the deterrent effect that they could impose -- in weighing whether charges were appropriate.

"It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission," Sessions said in a statement. "Therefore, today's memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country."

The move, first reported by the Associated Press, potentially paves the way for the federal government to crack down on the burgeoning pot industry -- though the precise impact remains to be seen. It also might spark something of a federalist crisis, and it drew some resistance even from members of Sessions's own party.

Computers and Technology / Brave browser
My son told me to use it and I just downloaded it and am posting from it. It loads noticeably faster than chrome. So far, that's the only thing I can say about it. It has a built in ad block which gets around the Android restriction.
OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash. - Officials with the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island said one of their aircraft was involved in the obscene skywritings spotted in Okanogan County.

Photos sent to KREM 2 by multiple sources show skydrawings of what some people are saying is male genitalia. Some sources have even tweeted pictures of what they saw.

A mother who lives in Okanogan who took pictures of the drawings reached out to KREM 2 to complain about the images, saying she was upset she might have to explain to her young children what the drawings were.

In a statement to KREM 2 News navy officials said, "The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable."
KREM 2 spoke to the Federal Aviation Administration to get some information about who may have made the drawings. FAA officials said unless the act poses a safety risk, there is nothing they can do about. The official said they "cannot police morality."
My mom is pretty old and has a lot of trouble now with computers. Thing is, she used them intensively throughout her professional career, beginning, admittedly, with IBM punch cards to run her programs, but she was still using computers intensively after y2k so it's not like she didn't encounter that sort of complexity.

I wonder how it will be different
Science / Flowers for Algernon
Human Mini-Brains Growing Inside Rat Bodies Are Starting to Integrate
"We are entering totally new ground here."

Stem cell technology has advanced so much that scientists can grow miniature versions of human brains -- called organoids, or mini-brains if you want to be cute about it -- in the lab, but medical ethicists are concerned about recent developments in this field involving the growth of these tiny brains in other animals. Those concerns are bound to become more serious after the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience starting November 11 in Washington, D.C., where two teams of scientists plan to present previously unpublished research on the unexpected interaction between human mini-brains and their rat and mouse hosts.

In the new papers, according to STAT, scientists will report that the organoids survived for extended periods of time -- two months in one case -- and even connected to lab animals' circulatory and nervous systems, transferring blood and nerve signals between the host animal and the implanted human cells. This is an unprecedented advancement for mini-brain research.

"We are entering totally new ground here," Christof Koch, president of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, told STAT. "The science is advancing so rapidly, the ethics can't keep up."
DMT receptors in mini-brain organoids.

That mini-brains can even be grown in the lab is a huge advancement in the first place, as they have many of the same characteristics as living human brains that are in the early stages of development. Though they're not "alive" in the same sense that you and I are, they grow and are organized into different layers like our brains are. They even react in similar ways to stimuli like psychedelic drugs. Organoids are poised to revolutionize research on the human brain since scientists can perform tests on them that would be unethical to attempt on living humans.

Scientists have debated whether these brains are "conscious," but the fact that they could be successfully implanted in lab animals raises a whole new set of ethical concerns for the researchers who work with them. One of the major concerns in the mini-brain scenario is that these organoids could grow to more advanced levels within lab animals, making the debate about mini-brain consciousness much more urgent.

Putting human brain structures into non-human animals creates a thorny ethical area that raises people's fears about medical research going too far into unfamiliar territory -- and too quickly. It's likely to be a recurring theme in this field, too. In January, Salk Institute researchers developed human-pig chimeras, creating the possibility that pigs with human brain cells might also develop human consciousness.

STAT also reports that a third lab, in addition to the two presenting at the Society for Neuroscience meeting, has successfully connected human brain organoids to blood vessels. This attempt veered into such challenging ethical territory, though, that the lab reportedly paused its efforts.
Politics and Current Events / bus - sub
Starting today, you can now take a driverless bus down the Las Vegas strip
    Navy ARMA's driverless bus will begin shuttling passengers along a half-mile route in downtown Las Vegas.
    The bus has driven Las Vegas's streets before -- but this time, it will navigate along a route filled with other traffic.

The future is headed to Las Vegas in the form of a driverless, electric bus that will begin shuttling passengers along a half-mile downtown route beginning Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. The autonomous buses are the brainchild of French autonomous vehicle company Navya ARMA, which is teaming up with AAA  and Keolis, the company that owns and operates the shuttle, to gauge passenger enthusiasm for the product.

It isn't the first time the driverless shuttle has hit Las Vegas's streets. Back in January, the bus took a ten-day test drive along an empty route that had been cordoned off from the rest of traffic. Now, the bus will intermix with regular traffic, communicating with a series of wireless sensors installed into traffic signals along its journey.

Self-driving bus crashes two hours after launch in Las Vegas

The bus was touted as the United States' first self-driving shuttle project for the public before it hit a semi-truck.

 A driverless shuttle bus crashed less than two hours after it was launched in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

The city's officials had been hosting an unveiling ceremony for the bus, described as the US' first self-driving shuttle pilot project geared towards the public, before it crashed with a semi-truck.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the human driver of the other vehicle was at fault, there were no injuries, and the incident caused minor damage.

The oval-shaped shuttle -- sponsored by AAA, the Review-Journal added -- can transport up to 12 passengers at a time. It has an attendant and a computer monitor, and uses GPS and electric curb sensors instead of brakes or a steering wheel.

The crash follows the US House passing the Self Drive Act in September, which if passed by the Senate would exempt car manufacturers from various federal and state regulations, allowing for the eventual deployment of up to 100,000 test vehicles a year.

Under the Act, states would still decide whether or not to permit self-driving cars on their roads. However, the federal government could permit a car manufacturer to bypass certain federal safety rules, as well as some state regulations.
General Discussion / lost at sea for 5 months

Ms. Appel, who said she had lived in Hawaii for 10 years, began planning the trip two and a half years ago out of a desire to further explore the South Pacific. But after their engine flooded, the plan went awry. Ms. Appel and Ms. Fuiaba at first believed they could get to their destination using only the boat's sails. But two months into a journey that ordinarily takes half that long, they began to issue daily distress calls using a high-frequency radio.

For 98 days, no one answered.

"It was very depressing and very hopeless," Ms. Appel said. Their boat had been too far out of range to communicate with anyone either on land or at sea. "There is true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night."
In this photograph released by the Navy, Zeus, one of the women's pet dogs, was helped aboard the Ashland on Wednesday. Credit MCS3 Jonathan Clay/United States Navy

In an interview with The Associated Press, Ms. Appel's mother, Joyce Appel, said she had called the Coast Guard after being unable to reach her daughter a week and a half into the trip. By that point, Ms. Appel's mobile phone had fallen overboard.

A Coast Guard search-and-rescue mission turned up empty, but Ms. Appel's mother still believed her daughter would return. "I had hope all along, she is very resourceful and she's curious and as things break, she tries to repair them," she told The Associated Press. "She doesn't sit and wait for the repairman to get there, so I knew the same thing would be true of the boat."

The Ashland, a ready-response vessel that operates out of Sasebo, Japan, was alerted to the location of Ms. Appel and Ms. Fuiaba's boat by a Taiwanese fishing vessel on Oct. 24, according to the Navy. The next morning, nearly half a year of anguished uncertainty came to an end.

"They saved our lives," Ms. Appel said in the Navy statement. She described the feeling of seeing a ship on the horizon as "pure relief."

Ms. Appel and Ms. Fuiaba are currently aboard the Ashland, where they will remain until its next port of call. Their boat, deemed unseaworthy, was left behind.
you'd think it would be considered seaworthy after all that
Politics and Current Events / A centrist future
Swiped from ratskep

It's weird how sometimes what used to appear corny suddenly appears disturbing. It's well done though imo.

But it might not matter:
Arts and Entertainment / Hey nineteen
Walter Becker, guitarist, bassist and co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band Steely Dan, died Sunday at the age of 67.

"I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band," Fagen promises of Becker's legacy

Becker's official site announced the death; no cause of death or other details were provided.

"Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967," Donald Fagen wrote in a tribute to Becker. "He was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter. He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny."

Becker missed Steely Dan's Classic East and West concerts in July as he recovered from an unspecified ailment. "Walter's recovering from a procedure and hopefully he'll be fine very soon," Fagen told Billboard at the time. Becker's doctor advised the guitarist not to leave his Maui home for the performances.
Bob: "I can can I I everything else."

Alice: "Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to."

To you and I, that passage looks like nonsense. But what if I told you this nonsense was the discussion of what might be the most sophisticated negotiation software on the planet? Negotiation software that had learned, and evolved, to get the best deal possible with more speed and efficiency-and perhaps, hidden nuance-than you or I ever could? Because it is.

This conversation occurred between two AI agents developed inside Facebook. At first, they were speaking to each other in plain old English. But then researchers realized they'd made a mistake in programming.

"There was no reward to sticking to English language," says Dhruv Batra, visiting research scientist from Georgia Tech at Facebook AI Research (FAIR). As these two agents competed to get the best deal-a very effective bit of AI vs. AI dogfighting researchers have dubbed a "generative adversarial network"-neither was offered any sort of incentive for speaking as a normal person would. So they began to diverge, eventually rearranging legible words into seemingly nonsensical sentences.

"Agents will drift off understandable language and invent codewords for themselves," says Batra, speaking to a now-predictable phenomenon that's been observed again, and again, and again. "Like if I say 'the' five times, you interpret that to mean I want five copies of this item. This isn't so different from the way communities of humans create shorthands."

[Screenshot: courtesy Facebook]
Indeed. Humans have developed unique dialects for everything from trading pork bellies on the floor of the Mercantile Exchange to hunting down terrorists as Seal Team Six-simply because humans sometimes perform better by not abiding to normal language conventions.

So should we let our software do the same thing? Should we allow AI to evolve its dialects for specific tasks that involve speaking to other AIs? To essentially gossip out of our earshot? Maybe; it offers us the possibility of a more interoperable world, a more perfect place where iPhones talk to refrigerators that talk to your car without a second thought.

The tradeoff is that we, as humanity, would have no clue what those machines were actually saying to one another.
We Teach Bots To Talk, But We'll Never Learn Their Language

Facebook ultimately opted to require its negotiation bots to speak in plain old English. "Our interest was having bots who could talk to people," says Mike Lewis, research scientist at FAIR. Facebook isn't alone in that perspective. When I inquired to Microsoft about computer-to-computer languages, a spokesperson clarified that Microsoft was more interested in human-to-computer speech. Meanwhile, Google, Amazon, and Apple are all also focusing incredible energies on developing conversational personalities for human consumption. They're the next wave of user interface, like the mouse and keyboard for the AI era.

The other issue, as Facebook admits, is that it has no way of truly understanding any divergent computer language. "It's important to remember, there aren't bilingual speakers of AI and human languages," says Batra. We already don't generally understand how complex AIs think because we can't really see inside their thought process. Adding AI-to-AI conversations to this scenario would only make that problem worse.

But at the same time, it feels shortsighted, doesn't it? If we can build software that can speak to other software more efficiently, shouldn't we use that? Couldn't there be some benefit?

[Source Images: Nikiteev_Konstantin/iStock, Zozulinskyi/iStock]
Because, again, we absolutely can lead machines to develop their own languages. Facebook has three published papers proving it. "It's definitely possible, it's possible that [language] can be compressed, not just to save characters, but compressed to a form that it could express a sophisticated thought," says Batra. Machines can converse with any baseline building blocks they're offered. That might start with human vocabulary, as with Facebook's negotiation bots. Or it could start with numbers, or binary codes. But as machines develop meanings, these symbols become "tokens"-they're imbued with rich meanings. As Dauphin points out, machines might not think as you or I do, but tokens allow them to exchange incredibly complex thoughts through the simplest of symbols. The way I think about it is with algebra: If A + B = C, the "A" could encapsulate almost anything. But to a computer, what "A" can mean is so much bigger than what that "A" can mean to a person, because computers have no outright limit on processing power.

"It's perfectly possible for a special token to mean a very complicated thought," says Batra. "The reason why humans have this idea of decomposition, breaking ideas into simpler concepts, it's because we have a limit to cognition." Computers don't need to simplify concepts. They have the raw horsepower to process them.
Why We Should Let Bots Gossip

But how could any of this technology actually benefit the world, beyond these theoretical discussions? Would our servers be able to operate more efficiently with bots speaking to one another in shorthand? Could microsecond processes, like algorithmic trading, see some reasonable increase? Chatting with Facebook, and various experts, I couldn't get a firm answer.

However, as paradoxical as this might sound, we might see big gains in such software better understanding our intent. While two computers speaking their own language might be more opaque, an algorithm predisposed to learn new languages might chew through strange new data we feed it more effectively. For example, one researcher recently tried to teach a neural net to create new colors and name them. It was terrible at it, generating names like Sudden Pine and Clear Paste (that clear paste, by the way, was labeled on a light green). But then they made a simple change to the data they were feeding the machine to train it. They made everything lowercase-because lowercase and uppercase letters were confusing it. Suddenly, the color-creating AI was working, well, pretty well! And for whatever reason, it preferred, and performed better, with RGB values as opposed to other numerical color codes.

Why did these simple data changes matter? Basically, the researcher did a better job at speaking the computer's language. As one coder put it to me, "Getting the data into a format that makes sense for machine learning is a huge undertaking right now and is more art than science. English is a very convoluted and complicated language and not at all amicable for machine learning."

[Source Images: Nikiteev_Konstantin/iStock, Zozulinskyi/iStock]
In other words, machines allowed to speak and generate machine languages could somewhat ironically allow us to communicate with (and even control) machines better, simply because they'd be predisposed to have a better understanding of the words we speak.

As one insider at a major AI technology company told me: No, his company wasn't actively interested in AIs that generated their own custom languages. But if it were, the greatest advantage he imagined was that it could conceivably allow software, apps, and services to learn to speak to each other without human intervention.

Right now, companies like Apple have to build APIs-basically a software bridge-involving all sorts of standards that other companies need to comply with in order for their products to communicate. However, APIs can take years to develop, and their standards are heavily debated across the industry in decade-long arguments. But software, allowed to freely learn how to communicate with other software, could generate its own shorthands for us. That means our "smart devices" could learn to interoperate, no API required.

Given that our connected age has been a bit of a disappointment, given that the internet of things is mostly a joke, given that it's no easier to get a document from your Android phone onto your LG TV than it was 10 years ago, maybe there is something to the idea of letting the AIs of our world just talk it out on our behalf. Because our corporations can't seem to decide on anything. But these adversarial networks? They get things done.

If the self is socially constructed as many sociologists think it is, a product of language even, is real AI far away? Evolutionary algorithms are some scary ass shit sometimes.

Politics and Current Events / The Kush Thread
I heard his statement on the radio today and it's time for his own thread. It'll fill. Don't worry.
I'm totally conflicted here. If he wins on appeal because it turns out the CIA was just pulling a Venezuela trick on behalf of the global corporations it works for then he becomes a cult of personality and moves toward authoritarianism to deal with the CIA factions which sucks. If it turns out that he is actually guilty or if nothing comes of his appeal, then Brazil goes back to the bad old days. Anyway, here's the story:
Ex-Brazil President Lula sentenced to nearly 10 years for corruption

Brad Brooks

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a top contender to win next year's presidential election, was convicted on corruption charges on Wednesday and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison.

The ruling marked a stunning fall for Lula, who will remain free on appeal, and a serious blow to his chances of a political comeback.

Lula was Brazil's first working-class president and remains a popular figure among voters after he left office six years ago with an 83-percent approval rating. The former union leader won global admiration for transformative social policies that helped reduce stinging inequality in Latin America's biggest country.

The verdict represented the highest-profile conviction yet in the sweeping corruption investigation that for over three years has rattled Brazil, revealing a sprawling system of graft at top levels of business and government and throwing the country's political system into disarray.

Judge Sergio Moro found Lula guilty of accepting 3.7 million reais ($1.2 million) worth of bribes from engineering firm OAS SA, the amount prosecutors said the company spent refurbishing a beach apartment for Lula in return for his help winning contracts with state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro (PETR4.SA).

Federal prosecutors have accused Lula, who first took the presidency in 2003, of masterminding a long-running corruption scheme that was uncovered in a probe into kickbacks around Petrobras.

Lula's legal team has previously said they would appeal any guilty ruling. They have continuously blasted the trial as a partisan witchhunt, accusing Moro of being biased and out to get Lula for political reasons.

Moro has denied the accusations.

Lula's lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, the head of the Workers Party, lashed out at the ruling, saying Lula was convicted to prevent him from running for the presidency next year. She said the party would protest the decision and was confident the ruling would be overturned on appeal.

The Brazilian real BRBY extended gains following Moro's decision and reached its strongest in two months. The benchmark Bovespa stock index .BVSP rose to a session high. Investors fear that another Lula presidency would mean a return to more state-directed and less business friendly economic policies.

"Power Vacuum on Left"
Lula would be barred from office if his guilty verdict is upheld by an appeals court, which is expected to take at least eight months to rule.

If he cannot run, political analysts say Brazil's left would be thrown into disarray, forced to rebuild and somehow find a leader who can emerge from the immense shadow that Lula has cast on Brazilian politics for three decades.

"Lula's absence opens a gaping hole in the political scene, it creates an enormous power vacuum on the left," said Claudio Couto, a political scientist at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a top university. "We have now entered a situation of extreme political tension, even beyond the chaos we have been living for the last year."

Couto said he expected Lula's guilty verdict to be upheld by the appeals court. That would leave the 2018 presidential race wide open and raise chances of a victory by a political outsider, given most known contenders are also ensnared in Brazil's corruption investigations.
Boom to Bust

Lula's two-terms were marked by a commodity boom that momentarily made Brazil one of the world's fastest-growing economies. His ambitious foreign policies, aligning Brazil with other big developing nations, raised the country's profile on the global stage.

With Lula's swagger setting the tone, Brazil sought to shrug off northern economic and political hegemony and engage in global problems, like Middle East peace and the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama once labeled him the most popular politician on earth.

But upon leaving office and managing to get his hand-selected successor Dilma Rousseff elected, Brazil's economy soured, with the nation just now beginning to emerge from its worst recession on record.

Rousseff was impeached last year for breaking budgetary rules. She and her backers say her ouster was actually a 'coup' orchestrated by her vice president and now President Michel Temer, who himself faces corruption charges.

During his trial, Lula gave five hours of fiery and defiant defense, proclaiming his innocence and saying that it was politics and not the pilfering of public funds that put him on trial.

"But what is happening is not getting me down, just motivating me to go out and talk more," Lula said in his testimony. "I will keep fighting."

($1 = 3.22 reais)
Marijuana Shortage Prompts Emergency In Nevada; Tax Officials Weigh Changes

Sales of recreational marijuana have blown past expectations in Nevada, threatening to leave some dispensaries with empty shelves. After Gov. Brian Sandoval endorsed a statement of emergency in the first week of legal sales, regulators are looking to bolster the supply chain.

The Nevada Tax Commission is meeting Thursday to determine whether the state has enough wholesale marijuana distributors; it could also adopt emergency regulations.

"Right now, only companies that are also licensed to distribute liquor in Nevada are able to bring marijuana to dispensaries," Nevada Public Radio's Casey Morell reports for NPR's Newscast unit. "The dispensaries say that's why they're running out of the drug."

Nevada opened the retail pot market on July 1. The state has 47 licensed stores, and in the first weekend of sales, "well over 40,000 retail transactions" were carried out, tax officials say. Some retailers said they racked up twice as many sales as they had estimated -- and they also reported a dire need for new deliveries to restock their shelves.

At least seven wholesale liquor dealers have applied to become marijuana distributors -- but the tax department has said that as of July 5, "no wholesale liquor dealer has met the application requirements to receive a marijuana distributor license."

The situation has left some stores "running on fumes," Nevada Dispensary Association President Andrew Jolley told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

Nevada tax officials expect pot sales to generate $100 million in revenue over the next two years. In the agency's statement of emergency, the Taxation Department's executive director, Deonne Contine, said changes are needed both to prevent marijuana customers from reverting to the black market and to support the new businesses that have sprung up around legal recreational sales, opening shops and hiring workers.

"Unless the issue with distributor licensing is resolved quickly, the inability to deliver product to the retail stores will result in many of these employees losing their jobs and will cause this nascent industry to grind to a halt," Contine wrote, in a statement that was endorsed by Sandoval.
Politics and Current Events / Supreme court
On top of approving trumps travel ban (at least til the case is heard next fall) plus this:
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that taxpayer-funded grants for playgrounds available to nonprofits under a state program could not be denied to a school run by a church.

"The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand," Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, "If this separation means anything, it means that the government cannot, or at the very least need not, tax its citizens and turn that money over to houses of worship. The Court today blinds itself to the outcome this history requires and leads us instead to a place where separation of church and state is a constitutional slogan, not a constitutional commitment."

Two justices, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, refused to sign on to a footnote explicitly stating that the court's approval applied only to playground funding and should not be read as applying to parochial schools in general.

Goddammit. Revolution calling.

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. - Federal and state authorities are investigating the possibility that there's a "dirty bomb" on a ship at a local terminal, reports CBS Charleston, S.C. station WCSC-TV.

Coast Guard officials say the FBI is on-scene.

The terminal was evacuated.

A dirty bomb is composed of conventional explosives and radioactive material.

According to emergency officials, no radiation has been found.

A Coast Guard statement says authorities were made aware at 8 p.m. of a potential threat in a container aboard the vessel Maersk Memphis.

    #Update A 1 NM safety zone has been established around the vessel while law enforcement authorities investigate the threat.
    -- USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) June 15, 2017

"The Maersk Memphis is currently moored at Charleston's Wando terminal, which has been evacuated while bomb detection units from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies investigate the threat," the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard says a unified command has been established to oversee the coordinated response.

Authorities were seen taping off a ship. | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

The Charleston County Sheriff's Office, Hazmat and EMS crews were also on scene.

Workers say they were told to leave the terminal at around 9 p.m.

Boaters say they were also escorted off the water due to the situation.
Politics and Current Events / Sessions
I love Senator Wyden.
Arts and Entertainment / twitter
2 things.
1) how many times do you have to say I don't like this tweet before stupid shit like it stops showing up in the feed?

and 2)
This media may contain sensitive material. Your media settings are configured to warn you when media may be sensitive.
was hiding this image:


how do you all find this entertaining?
There will be a right wing nutjob March on the 4th with "private security".

Then you get truly dumbass reporting like this:
And, if you live in Portland, the giveaway line is this one:
I went to high school outside Portland, and I encountered more overt white supremacy there than anywhere else
PDX is a large island of sanity in a shallow sea of ignorant hate. Outside Portland is not like inside Portland.

But Jesus how did wapo allow the rest of this article which uses a history lesson as evidence?
Buried among the revenue-generating ideas in President Donald Trump's new budget proposal is a plan to sell off publicly owned transmission assets, including those operated by the Bonneville Power Administration.

For public power companies - and really all utilities in the Northwest - the proposal will ring alarm bells and resurrect a debate about the control of assets that were built with federal dollars but paid for by local ratepayers.

Bonneville operates three-quarters of the region's high-voltage transmission system, which it uses to market power from 31 hydroelectric dams in the Columbia River Basin and wheel power around the Pacific Northwest and down to California.  The system spans 300,000 square miles, and includes more than 15,000 miles of lines and 299 substations that deliver electricity to some 12 million people. The agency provides transmission service to regional utilities, commercial customers and independent power producers, and it provides a slew of other services.

The Trump budget summary contemplates raising $4.9 billion for the U.S. Treasury by selling the BPA's transmission assets from 2018 to 2027. An estimated $1.8 billion is expected in 2019.

Bonneville, like other federal power marketing agencies, is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. The BPA's budget proposal does not include any detailed discussion of the proposal, but simply a line tacked on to its normal budget narrative: "The Budget includes a proposal to authorize the Federal government to sell the transmission assets of Bonneville."

Another reference said, "BPA is considering approaches, in addition to or in lieu of the use of its U.S. Treasury borrowing authority, to sustain funding for its infrastructure investment requirements, including a divestiture of Bonneville's transmission assets."

The BPA referred questions to the Department of Energy, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The agency did send out a news release about its overall budget proposal, but that included no mention of the asset sales.

"This budget delivers on the promise to reprioritize spending in order to carry out DOE's core functions efficiently and effectively while also being fiscally responsible and respectful to the American taxpayer," Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in the news release.

The notion of divesting BPA assets isn't new. It is a favorite proposal of conservative think tanks and lawmakers, and has surfaced periodically during the past three decades. But the region's congressional delegation has always managed to beat it back.

Rep. Greg Walden, Oregon's only Republican member of Congress, did not respond to a request for comment. But his office issued a general statement on the budget proposal, saying it "demonstrates President Trump's commitment to balancing the budget and responsibly prioritizing taxpayer dollars."

"The initiatives modernizing our energy infrastructure and promoting our nation's energy abundance would undoubtedly make positive impacts on our constituents' lives. The president's proposals show the difficult choices facing the country as we work to reduce the deficit, protect our security, and grow jobs."

Sen. Ron Wyden on Tuesday blasted the budget summary in general, calling it "Madoff Math" and "a cynical assault on the the fundamental idea that Americans should be there for one another when it counts."

The Oregon Democrat also noted the proposal to sell Bonneville assets, saying it would increase costs for tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the state.

"I successfully fought Republicans' efforts more than a decade ago to privatize Bonneville Power, and I will fight this misguided attempt," Wyden said in a news release. "Public power customers in the Pacific Northwest have paid for the system and their investment should not be put up for sale.

"I'm putting this budget where it belongs - in the trash can."

The Public Power Council, which represents many of the BPA's public utility customers, said it was opposed to the proposal for several reasons, including the loss of regional control and value; the risk of increased costs to consumers; the potential for remote areas of the system to be neglected, harming rural communities; and, impacts to reliability.

 "We'll want the details, but the effect appears to be a transfer of value from the people of the Northwest to the U.S. Treasury," said Scott Corwin, the council's executive director. "Electricity consumers in the West have paid to construct and maintain a system that would be sold off to fund the federal government."

The council said utilities in the region were already working toward the modernization of the grid and those efforts are best handled in the region.
The Trump administration is proposing privatizing transmission assets owned by the Bonneville Power Administration, an idea that has popped up periodically since the Reagan administration but gone nowhere.

The proposal to sell off BPA's transmissions assets -- about three-quarters of the high-voltage grid in the Northwest -- is included among "major savings and reforms" offered up the administration in its fiscal year 2018 budget released on Tuesday.

The administration says unloading BPA's grid would save about $4.9 billion over the course of a decade.

The proposal also includes selling off other assets of the Power Marketing Administration for a total savings of $5.5 billion.

"Ownership of transmission assets is best carried out by the private sector where there are appropriate market and regulatory incentives," the administration says in its justification for the proposal. "The budget proposal to eliminate or reduce the PMA's role in electricity transmission and increase the private sector's role would encourage a more efficient allocation of economic resources and mitigate risk to taxpayers."

President Ronald Reagan proposed privatizing the BPA during his second term. President Bill Clinton made a similar bid in the mid-'90s. And in 2005, President George W. Bush proposed forcing BPA to sell its power at market rates, widely seen as a step toward privatization.

None of the proposals found sufficient support in Congress, and President Donald Trump's came in for immediate criticism.

Oregon's senior senator, Democrat Ron Wyden, sharply attacked the proposal, which he said would increase costs for "homes and businesses."

"I successfully fought Republicans' efforts more than a decade ago to privatize Bonneville Power, and I will fight this misguided attempt," Wyden said in a news release. "Public power customers in the Pacific Northwest have paid for the system and their investment should not be put up for sale."

The Public Power Council, which represents about 100 consumer-owned utilities in the region, put out a statement opposing the proposal and listing four major concerns: "(1) loss of regional control and value; (2) risk of increased costs to consumers; (3) potential for remote areas of the system to be neglected, harming rural communities; and, (4) impacts to reliability of what is currently a complex and integrated system."

This is really scary in some fundamental institutional ways. The kind of privatization being pushed through this administration, Energy, Education, Health care, represents the largest non military tax/revenue streams there are. He is intentionally dismantling the vestiges of the public state. Bannon wasn't kidding apparently. This represents a level of fucked that is barely comprehensible if this agenda succeeds even partially. We are talking about not just aristocracy/corporatocracy, but honest to god fascism.
One of the really odd geniuses of the 20th century. His personal journals where he recorded every idea for theory that ever occurred to him. It's kind of incredible. It's worth scanning.