B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

Trump Promotes Arming Teachers

Scaring The Nation With Their Guns and Ammunition
Scaring The Nation With Their Guns and Ammunition

President Idiot’s latest suggestion is the suggestion of someone who gets most of his information from television or movies. Most veterans I’ve heard discuss this seem to universally think it a horrid abomination of an idea. Trained professionals hit the target 30% of the time or less (different folks have posited different numbers), but a high school teacher is going to protect kids from a massacre in a crowded school hallway? Laughable, except real people will die. And the teacher shortage is about to become acute – I’d guess many teachers would find alternative jobs before having to become soldiers in their own classrooms.

President Trump on Thursday intensified his calls for arming highly trained teachers as part of an effort to fortify schools against shooting massacres like the one that occurred in Parkland, Fla., last week, even as he denounced active shooter drills that try to prepare students to survive a rampage.

“I want certain highly adept people, people who understand weaponry, guns” to have a permit to carry concealed firearms in schools, Mr. Trump said during his second White House meeting in two days to discuss how to respond to the shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Teachers who were qualified to handle a weapon — Mr. Trump estimated between 10 percent and 40 percent — would receive “a little bit of a bonus,” he said, adding that he would devote federal money to training them.

(click here to continue reading Trump Promotes Arming Teachers, but Rejects Active Shooter Drills – The New York Times.)

Tweet
Tweet!

A few Tweets on this topic I read yesterday from various folks…

So, yeah…

She s Not A Girl Who Misses Much
She’s Not A Girl Who Misses Much

Making schools a free-fire zone is ridiculous. Donald Trump doesn’t want guns in his own hotels/golf courses, but he wants Mrs. Hettenhausen to strap on a .45 before she starts her English class? And when is she training? Before 3rd period?

 

Donald Trump spoke in favor of gun rights at the National Rifle Association convention today, but security and staff at several of his prized hotels and golf courses told ABC News that guests are not allowed to carry guns there.

Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s posh Florida club, doesn’t allow guns, a hotel staff member told ABC News.

Trump National Doral, in Miami, Florida, doesn’t allow guns either, a security official told ABC News. The resort would “much rather not” have guns on the property, said a security official with the hotel, who noted that guns are “not to be carried on our property.”

“We’ve had guests that have brought them before,” he said, but those guns “had to remain in their safe the whole time in the room.”

A security worker at Trump National in Jupiter, Florida, said “no” when asked if guns were allowed on premises by citizens who are licensed to carry them. 

Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach County, Florida, also doesn’t allow citizens with concealed-carry licenses to bring their guns on the property, a golf-shop worker told ABC News.

 

 

(click here to continue reading Donald Trump Is Against ‘Gun-Free Zones’ But Guns Aren’t Allowed on Many of His Properties, Staff Says – ABC News.)

PMURT KCUF
!!!PMURT KCUF

The original Trump plan was to have two armed, well trained and well paid security guards from Blackwater né Academi on either side of each and every child. They would escort the kid from home to class, then form a perimeter around the child. Taxpayer money will funnel directly into Eric Prince’s Seychelles Island bank accounts, and Trump would get a percentage.

Written by Seth Anderson

February 22nd, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Posted in crime,politics

Tagged with , ,

Has the NRA Finally Met Its Match

No Weapons
No Weapons…

Katha Pollitt of The Nation notes how media punditry has twisted itself into support for murder of innocents…

for the pro-gun crowd, it doesn’t seem to matter how many people die (over 35,000) or are injured (over 81,000) per year; or that you are vastly more likely to kill yourself or others if you have a gun in the house; or that, on average, one to two women are shot and killed each day by a past or present partner. Each atrocity is just another reason for more guns. Rush Limbaugh called just the other day for guns to be allowed in classrooms, while Education Secretary Betsy “Grizzly Bear” DeVos argued that arming teachers is an “option.” Because kids are never shot by accident when a gun falls out of a purse or pocket, and not one of the 3.6 million teachers in the land would ever use a gun to threaten a student.

The commentariat hasn’t always been much help, either. In the mainstream media, playing the pundit who takes weird and contorted “contrarian” positions is good for your career. A few years ago, libertarian writer Megan McArdle wrote a piece in The Daily Beast claiming that nothing much could be done about guns, so kids should be taught to rush the shooter: “If we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.” Let the kids handle it! McArdle, by the way, just got a column in The Washington Post.

In The New York Times, meanwhile, David Brooks worried, post-Parkland, that gun-control advocates don’t show enough “respect” to red-staters, while Ross Douthat tied himself in knots explaining why guns should be permitted but abortion banned. Douthat also defended the paranoid right-wing fantasy that guns let us resist the state “when it imposes illegitimately” (good luck with that!) and proposed to reduce gun violence by delaying the age at which citizens can buy AR-15s to 30 (for semiautomatic pistols, he suggests waiting until 25). It’s as though 64-year-old Stephen Paddock never killed 58 people in Las Vegas (and injured another 851) less than five months ago. It’s as though the vast majority of killings with guns, including mass murders, were not committed by grown-up men. Well, at least they’re not having abortions.

Enough with the craziness, and enough with the clever pundits and the quiet politicians and the defeatist citizenry, too. There’s no reason why anyone—of any age—needs to own an AR-15. In fact, maybe I shouldn’t say this, because we progressives seem to be all about winning the MAGA-hat-wearing white working class, but I don’t believe you have a right to own a gun, period

(click here to continue reading Has the NRA Finally Met Its Match? | The Nation.)

Until The Money Runs Out
Until The Money Runs Out…

The pay scale for right-wing bloviators must be off the charts, or else these people have no soul. I guess both options are possible. I mean, what other explanation is there for Ms. McArdle’s suggestion that instead of regulating purchase of guns, a better solution is for young children to sacrifice their bodies so that the shooter’s gun over-heats and their classmates can collectively take the shooter down by sitting on him or something. Unconscionable. 

 

I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once. Would it work? Would people do it? I have no idea; all I can say is that both these things would be more effective than banning rifles with pistol grips.

 

 

(click here to continue reading There’s Little We Can Do to Prevent Another Massacre.)

Congress doesn’t allow guns in Congress, Trump doesn’t allow guns in his rallies or at Mar-a-Lago. Wonder why?

Written by Seth Anderson

February 22nd, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

The Big Loophole That Helped Russia Exploit Facebook: Doctored Photos

No Alien is Illegal
No Alien is Illegal

Not this photo, but a similar photo…

A decade ago, at a pro-immigration march on the steps of the Capitol building in Little Rock, Ark., community organizer Randi Romo saw a woman carrying a sign that read “no human being is illegal.” She took a photograph and sent it to an activist group, which uploaded it to photo-sharing site Flickr.

Last August, the same image—digitally altered so the sign read “give me more free shit”—appeared on a Facebook page, Secured Borders, which called for the deportation of undocumented immigrants. The image was liked or shared hundreds of times, according to cached versions of the page.

This use of doctored images was a crucial and deceptively simple technique used by Russian propagandists to spread fabricated information during the 2016 election, one that exposes a loophole in tech company defenses. Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have traps to detect misinformation, but struggle—then and now—to identify falsehoods posted directly on their platforms, in particular through pictures.

Facebook disclosed last fall that Secured Borders was one of 290 Facebook and Instagram pages created and run by Russia-backed accounts that sought to amplify divisive social issues, including immigration. Last week’s indictment secured by special counsel Robert Mueller cited the Secured Borders page as an example of how Russians invented fake personas in an effort to “sow discord in the U.S. political system.”

The campaigns conducted by some of those accounts, according to a Wall Street Journal review, often relied on images that were doctored or taken out of context.

(click here to continue reading The Big Loophole That Helped Russia Exploit Facebook: Doctored Photos – WSJ.)

There is an advantage to having actual humans involved – not every decision tree can be outsourced to computer algorithms. I know tech companies like to reduce their costs by eliminating staff, but there are consequences.

Written by Seth Anderson

February 22nd, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Posted in Advertising,politics

Tagged with ,

Mueller, Manafort and Federal Savings Bank

Entrance to The Federal Savings Bank
Entrance to The Federal Savings Bank

Follow up on the local FSB bank in Fulton Market we wrote about a few months ago…

Federal investigators are probing whether former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort promised a Chicago banker a job in the Trump White House in return for $16 million in home loans, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

Manafort received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City, Virginia and the Hamptons.

The banker, Stephen Calk, president of the Federal Savings Bank, was announced as a member of candidate Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers in August 2016.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is now investigating whether there was a quid pro quo agreement between Manafort and Calk. Manafort left the Trump campaign in August 2016 after the millions he had earned working for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine drew media scrutiny. Calk did not receive a job in President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

The sources say the three loans were questioned by other officials at the bank, and one source said that at least one of the bank employees who felt pressured into approving the deals is cooperating with investigators.

(click here to continue reading Mueller asking if Manafort promised banker White House job in return for loans – NBC News.)

The Federal Savings Bank
The Federal Savings Bank

Bloomberg adds:

 

The Federal Savings Bank, where Calk is founder, chairman and chief executive officer, also got a “seven-figure” investment from a firm run by one of Trump’s closest friends, Howard Lorber, according to court testimony not previously reported.

Lorber is CEO of the Vector Group, parent company of the New York real estate powerhouse, Douglas Elliman Real Estate LLC. Last year, Trump described Lorber, who is also chairman of Douglas Elliman, as one of his two best friends. In 1996, Trump and Lorber were together in Moscow exploring business opportunities, accompanied by Bennett LeBow, the Vector Group’s founder and chairman.

 

Bennett LeBow in 1998Photographer: Chuck Robinson/AP Images LeBow is a longtime player in both the cigarette and real estate industries in Russia and Ukraine. Among his former business partners is Vadim Z. Rabinovich, a Ukrainian politician who was elected to parliament in 2014 as part of the pro-Russia party that employed Manafort before he signed onto Trump’s campaign.

 

The Vector Group made a “seven-figure” investment in Calk’s bank, according to a 2015 deposition by Calk; Lorber in a 2015 deposition put the figure at $2 million, though he wasn’t sure if the investment was made by Vector or Douglas Elliman. Neither of the men said when the investment was made.

Calk was little known in political circles, even in Chicago. He built a mortgage business in Kansas with his brother John by focusing on military veterans. He moved the bank’s headquarters to Chicago in 2014 after being promised millions in grants and tax credits from the city.

According to a 2016 article in the trade publication, National Mortgage News, about 90 percent of the bank’s lending at the time was directed toward single-family home purchases, most through the Veterans Administration.

 

 

(click here to continue reading Behind Manafort’s Loans, a Chopper Pilot Who Flew Into Trump’s Orbit – Bloomberg.)

Written by Seth Anderson

February 22nd, 2018 at 10:47 am

Amazon’s Changes to Whole Foods Mean Fewer Local Products

Whole Foods Amazon and The Pope
Whole Foods, Amazon and The Pope. 

Daniela Galarza reports on one very disappointing change that Amazon has made to Whole Foods, the pending removal of local products from Whole Foods shelves:

For years, Whole Foods employed staffers called foragers who went out into their neighborhoods in search of local artisans at farmers markets or state fairs. There, they found home-made jams and mustards and dressings that they’d buy in bulk.

For mom and pop preservers and picklers, selling their wares at Whole Foods was a boon, and over the past decade, thousands of small brands — many of which still put each label on each jar or package by hand — have come to depend on Whole Foods for the bulk of their business. As part of each store’s local sourcing program, the maker was responsible for stocking their items on Whole Foods’ shelves and could pick a few weekends to set up a table and offer customers a sample. Makers said they were far more likely to sell their items when they were present in the store, answering questions about a product and forging a personal connection while making that sale.

“Whole Foods was always an advocate for the small business. They always wanted to support local artisans,” says Erika Kerekes, founder and owner of Not Ketchup condiments. Not Ketchup was sold at Whole Foods locations in Southern California, near where Kerekes lives, for several years, up until six months ago. (Now it’s sold via its website and on Amazon.)

In September 2017, one month after the acquisition and Mackey’s initial statement, Whole Foods quietly announced it would be discontinuing parts of its local sourcing program. “Instead of allowing brands to frequently pitch their products to individual stores or regions,” the Wall Street Journal reported, “Whole Foods executives in its Austin, Texas, headquarters will choose a higher percentage of the inventory.

According to the Journal, this year, Whole Foods started charging local makers to offer samples in store. They’re also requiring makers who sell over a certain threshold to pay a percentage fee to the store. “To suddenly not to be able to sell at Whole Foods, or to have to go through the same vetting process as the bigger names,” Kerekes says, “is a challenge, to say the least.” More often than not, small purveyors don’t have the marketing budget to fly out to Whole Foods’ headquarters in Austin, Texas, to present their product for a tasting.

“One of the things they want,” Kerekes says about presenting at the corporate level, “is for you to have a marketing plan for at least the next 12 months. They want to know how much money you’re putting into marketing, merchandising, trade shows, online and television advertising… they want to know how often your item is going to be on sale. But unless they have an investor behind them, small, local brands in their early stages of development just don’t always have this mapped out.”

(click here to continue reading Amazon’s Changes to Whole Foods Mean Empty Shelves, Fewer Local Products – Eater.)

From my perspective, as a long time Whole Foods customer (since 1982, actually), I’m very discouraged by this change. Whole Foods is lumbering towards simply being another corporate grocery chain without much character. Why not retain a little local flavor? Stock mustard by Local Food Folks, carry tomatoes from Mighty Vine, don’t become Kroger (Mariano’s) or Albertsons (Jewel-Osco), don’t morph into yet another giant warehouse of packaged, processed food made by behemoth corporations, the kind of generic store that is exactly the same no matter where you go. Rick Bayless saw the trend lines, and sold his Frontera Foods to ConAgra, but there should be room for small food businesses to flourish. 

And what about local spirits and beers? Texas doesn’t allow whiskey or other spirits to be sold in grocery stores, but Illinois does. Will Koval and the myriad of other regional craft distillers currently stocked in Illinois stores lose their distribution because Whole Foods corporate can’t be bothered?

The nearly always empty shelves is another problem, an inventory issue that can be fixed, at least theoretically. Removal of small food brands is a corporate decision made by Amazon, and quite disheartening.

Whole Foods Empty Shelves
Whole Foods Empty Produce Shelves

No bread for you at Whole Foods
No bread for you! at Whole Foods

Slightly more detail from the Washington Post’s Abha Bhattarai:

Whole Foods Markets is placing new limits on how products are sold in its stores and asking suppliers to help pay for the changes, riling some mom-and-pop vendors that have long depended on the grocer for visibility and shelf space.

The changes, outlined in an email recently sent to the company’s suppliers, are intended to save on costs and centralize operations.

Previously, Whole Foods allowed suppliers such as Gray to oversee their own merchandise or hire local firms to do so. But under the new rules, Whole Foods is requiring suppliers to work exclusively with Daymon, a Stamford, Conn.-based retail strategy firm, and its subsidiary, SAS Retail Services, to schedule in-store tastings, check inventory on shelves and create displays on their behalf.

Suppliers that sell more than $300,000 of goods annually to Whole Foods will be required to discount their products by 3 percent (for groceries) or 5 percent (for health and beauty products) to fund the new program. Local suppliers will also have to pay $110 for each four-hour product demonstration by Daymon, while national suppliers will have to pay $165. (Vendors can also continue to host demonstrations themselves, as long as they pay a scheduling fee of between $10 and $30.) Daymon did not respond to requests for comment.

(click here to continue reading Whole Foods places new limits on suppliers, upsetting some small vendors – The Washington Post.)

Written by Seth Anderson

February 1st, 2018 at 10:03 am

Posted in Business,Food and Drink

Tagged with ,

Time Grows On the Cement Self Portrait was uploaded to Flickr

Photo collage of two images

embiggen by clicking
http://ift.tt/2FCtPRi

I took Time Grows On the Cement Self Portrait on March 06, 2016 at 09:27AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on January 14, 2018 at 11:38AM

Written by eggplant

January 14th, 2018 at 11:42 am

Primary Documents Are Key

My Buttom Works!
My Buttom Works!

As a keen amateur historian, I feel strongly that if one is interested in a topic, one should seek out the primary documents as frequently as possible. Sure, you might also need expert opinion to help decipher and interpret what you read, but a key part of understanding a subject is familiarity with as much source material as you can find.

Of Ghosts and Grit
Of Ghosts and Grit

This seems an obvious point, but I’m constantly surprised at how infrequently people take that extra step. For instance, if you were a Christian, why wouldn’t you spend part of every weekend reading the words of Christ for yourself, instead of listening to a preacher tell you an interpretation. You might discover that Christ isn’t too enthusiastic about people who accumulate wealth, or that he was pretty adamant that helping poor and sick people was key. Fake Christians like Paul Ryan, Jeff Sessions, Rick Perry profess their religion in the public square, but yet seem to do the opposite of the teachings of their primary source material.

Anyway, I’m not religious, but I do follow American politics rather closely. And since this blog is nothing but a catalog of my fickle obsessions, I want to have spot where I can refer to a few primary documents of the Trump (mis)administration.

No Puppet! No Puppet!
No Puppet! No Puppet!

Such as the infamous Steele Dossier:

 

A dossier making explosive — but unverified — allegations that the Russian government has been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” President-elect Donald Trump for years and gained compromising information about him has been circulating among elected officials, intelligence agents, and journalists for weeks.

 

The dossier, which is a collection of memos written over a period of months, includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians. BuzzFeed News reporters in the US and Europe have been investigating various alleged facts in the dossier but have not verified or falsified them. CNN reported Tuesday that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President Obama and Trump.

 

Now BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.

 

 

(click here to continue reading These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia.)

and the testimony of Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS in front of the Senate’s Judiciary Testimony: 

 

The political battle over the FBI and its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election intensified Tuesday with the release of an interview with the head of the firm behind a dossier of allegations against then-candidate Donald Trump.

 

The transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn R. Simpson’s interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee was released by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the panel’s senior Democrat, over the objections of Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

 

Feinstein’s action comes alongside an effort by Republicans to discredit the dossier as a politically motivated document that the FBI has relied too heavily upon in its investigation. Feinstein sought to push back against that perception and to bolster the FBI’s credibility.

 

“The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation,” she said.

[Read the full transcript of Glenn Simpson’s Senate testimony] [PDF]

In urging the committee to release the full transcript of his interview, Simpson has argued that Republicans are trying to obscure what happened in 2016.

 

 

(click here to continue reading Feud over Trump dossier intensifies with release of interview transcript – The Washington Post.)

and just for fun:

The Post is making public today a sizable portion of the raw reporting used in the development of “Trump Revealed,” a best-selling biography of the Republican presidential nominee published August 23 by Scribner. Drawn from the work of more than two dozen Post journalists, the archive contains 407 documents, comprising thousands of pages of interview transcripts, court filings, financial reports, immigration records and other material. Interviews conducted off the record were removed, as was other material The Post did not have the right to publish. The archive is searchable and navigable in a number of ways. It is meant as a resource for other journalists and a trove to explore for our many readers fascinated by original documents.

 

(click here to continue reading Trump’s financial records, depositions and interview transcripts: The documents behind ‘Trump Revealed’ – Washington Post.)

There are other documents of interest that I might add to this page later…

Written by Seth Anderson

January 10th, 2018 at 9:35 am

Posted in politics,religion

Tagged with ,

These corporations are helping elect Roy Moore, an alleged pedophile, to the U.S. Senate

Double Rainbow Over Boeing
Double Rainbow Over Boeing

I was curious which corporations were giving money to the RNC, which in turn is helping Roy Moore in his quest to usher in the pedophilia-supporting era into the GOP. There have undoubtedly been other sexual criminals and ne’er-do-wells elected to the US Congress over the years, but I’d be hard pressed to find another example of one who seems to be making his (alleged) infraction part of his campaign platform. Since it took me some time to track down this information, I’m posting it here.

A ThinkProgress review of contributions to the Republican National Committee so far in this 2017 to 2018 campaign cycle, at least 15 companies have donated $15,000 or more each from their corporate political action committees (PACs) to the party, and are thus contributing to the pro-Moore efforts. The totals include donations through the end of September. According to Federal Election Commission data from the subscription online Political MoneyLine, these include:

(click here to continue reading These corporations are helping elect an alleged child sex abuser to the U.S. Senate – ThinkProgress.)

I was unable to find information on the websites of these corporations if pedophilia was part of company policy or listed in their Code of Conduct, perhaps only in the boardroom, will this be discussed.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 9th, 2017 at 11:05 am

Posted in Business,politics

Tagged with , ,

Plan for 51-story at 110 N Wacker Drive tower hits obstacle

General Growth - Chicago River
General Growth – Chicago River

I’ve walked past 110 N Wacker Drive, aka the General Growth Properties building, f/k/a the Morton Salt Building hundreds or even thousands of times, and I can’t say I was ever flabbergasted by its beauty.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

A planned 51-story tower on Wacker Drive has run into an unexpected obstacle that could halt the high-profile office development: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The federal agency has informed the developers, Chicago’s Riverside Investment & Development and Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp., that the project will have an “adverse effect,” since the plan requires demolishing an architecturally significant building along the Chicago River.

The five-story building on the site at 110 N. Wacker Drive, currently the headquarters of mall landlord GGP, is not landmarked but is eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places, according to a public notice by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Because of that, the agency’s Chicago District will solicit public input through Dec. 14 about the planned demolition before determining the development’s fate.

The highly unusual snag comes just before the developers were expected to raze the building and begin replacing it with the 800-foot-tall skyscraper. The developers want to begin construction as soon as January, the public notice said. Plans call for more than 1.3 million square feet of office space, which is expected to command some of the highest office rents in Chicago.

The developers already received city approval for the project designed by Goettsch Partners. But they still need approval from the Army Corps because the project would include building a stormwater outfall structure, which is essentially a hole cut in the seawall to allow rainwater to flow from the tower’s roof into the river.

“The 110 North Wacker building project was the subject of an eight month public process leading to the granting of full zoning approval from the city of Chicago,” the developers said in an emailed statement. “To date, we have worked with the City Planning Department, Alderman (Brendan) Reilly and others to maximize the open public space, and architectural benefits for the city. We have been working through the permitting process with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other statutory authorities and look forward to working collaboratively to deliver this exciting new building in the heart of Chicago.”

(click here to continue reading Plan for 51-story Wacker Drive tower hits obstacle – Chicago Tribune.)

General Growth - Blues
General Growth – Blues

I’d hazard a guess that demolition will occur early next year…

During a review of the project, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in August determined the building’s architecture makes it eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, creating an “adverse effect” if it were to be demolished, according to the public notice.

The building, designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, is an example of Mid-Century Modern architecture, according to the documents. The $4 million building opened in 1958 as the headquarters of Morton Salt Co. The building has long turned heads because of its low-slung size, dwarfed by a row of modern Wacker Drive towers.

I was also amused by this:

Curbed Chicago first reported the “adverse effect” federal review.

Would it be so difficult to provide a link? Like, for instance, https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/12/6/16742274/general-growth-demolition-historical-review

Written by Seth Anderson

December 8th, 2017 at 9:28 am

Trump and the Twenty-fifth Amendmendment

 $10 Million for Information Leading to the Impeachment and removal from office of Donald J. Trump

As Donald Trump and his enablers in the Republican party have muddled through the first months of his presidency, more and more journalists and public figures have discussed the option of removal of Trump from office. Impeachment would be one option, but the Republican party doesn’t seem to have the political backbone to begin this. The other option is a triggering of the 25th Amendment of the Constitution.

Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair reported recently:

Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment—the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, “What’s that?” According to a source, Bannon has told people he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making it the full term.

(click here to continue reading “I Hate Everyone in the White House!”: Trump Seethes as Advisers Fear the President Is “Unraveling” | Vanity Fair.) 

 Dump Googly Eyes Trump

and then followed up with:

 

Bannon’s sense of urgency is being fueled by his belief that Trump’s hold on power is slipping. The collapse of Obamacare repeal, and the dimming chances that tax reform will pass soon—many Trump allies are deeply pessimistic about its prospects—have created the political climate for establishment Republicans to turn on Trump. Two weeks ago, according to a source, Bannon did a spitball analysis of the Cabinet to see which members would remain loyal to Trump in the event the 25th Amendment were invoked, thereby triggering a vote to remove the president from office. Bannon recently told people he’s not sure if Trump would survive such a vote.

 

 Trump - Mother of All Liars

(click here to continue reading “You Can’t Go Any Lower”: Inside the West Wing, Trump Is Apoplectic as Allies Fear Impeachment | Vanity Fair.)

Here is the complete text of the 25th Amendment:

Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office

(click here to continue reading Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution – Wikipedia.)

Trump: Eventually We Will Get Something Done

Whether or not there are enough Cabinet members who might vote to trigger President Pence taking office is an interesting consideration, but bear in mind, for this coup to be successful, per the language of the amendment, two-thirds vote of both Houses is required. If the GOP cannot even handle the Russian investigation without attempting to thwart it, why are they going to vote to remove Trump? Maybe if the Democrats sweep both Houses of Congress in 2018, the equation will change, maybe, but until then, Trump suddenly resigning to spend more time with his Tweets is the country’s best hope.

Written by Seth Anderson

November 4th, 2017 at 9:33 am

Posted in government,politics

Tagged with , ,

Talking Points Memo and Intelligent Tracking Prevention

Prevent Cross-Site Tracking

I’ve been fascinated by the discussion about Apple’s new anti-3rd party cookie moves, especially in Mac OS X High Sierra and in iOS 11. The digital advertising companies are freaking out of course, but I don’t have much sympathy for their position.

 

The biggest advertising organizations say Apple will “sabotage” the current economic model of the internet with plans to integrate cookie-blocking technology into the new version of Safari.

 

Six trade groups—the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the 4A’s and two others—say they’re “deeply concerned” with Apple’s plans to release a version of the internet browser that overrides and replaces user cookie preferences with a set of Apple-controlled standards. The feature, which is called “Intelligent Tracking Prevention,” limits how advertisers and websites can track users across the internet by putting in place a 24-hour limit on ad retargeting.

 

 

(click here to continue reading Every Major Advertising Group Is Blasting Apple for Blocking Cookies in the Safari Browser – Adweek.)

Apple Coffee Thermos

Apple answered:

Apple responded to that criticism this afternoon by fully explaining what they are doing for the consumer and standing up for themselves.

“Apple believes that people have a right to privacy – Safari was the first browser to block third party cookies by default and Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a more advanced method for protecting user privacy,” Apple said in a statement provided to The Loop.

“Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission and is used for ad re-targeting, which is how ads follow people around the Internet. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private. The feature does not block ads or interfere with legitimate tracking on the sites that people actually click on and visit. Cookies for sites that you interact with function as designed, and ads placed by web publishers will appear normally,” the company said.

 

(click here to continue reading Apple responds to ad group’s criticism of Safari cookie blocking.)

Apple Logos

Josh Marshall, the publisher of the long-time political blog, Talking Points Memo, has some thoughts about Intelligent Tracking Prevention, and thinks, in general, it will be good for sites like his. 

Here’s where it gets especially interesting to any publisher. We rely on tracking in as much as tracking is now pervasive on the ads running on basically every website, including TPM. But really tracking has been a disaster for publishers, especially premium publishers.

Here’s why.

I’ll use TPM as an example. But it’s only for the purposes of illustration. The same applies to countless other publications, particularly quality publications as opposed to content farms. TPM has an affluent, highly educated, generally progressive audience. They also tend to be political influencers. Our readers also have a strong brand affinity with TPM. Our core audience visits day after day. All of those attributes make our audience very desirable for many advertisers. So great, even though we’re small, advertisers want access to that kind of audience. So we can command good rates.

Tracking has shifted that equation dramatically. (And again, TPM is just here as illustration. This is an industry-wide phenomenon.) Let’s say we take the whole core TPM audience, this set number of people. They have these attributes I mentioned above. Tracking now allows the ad tech industry to follow those people around the web and advertise to them where they choose. So an advertiser can identify “TPM Readers” and then advertise to them at other sites that aren’t TPM. Or they can find a group that has the attributes that I describe above and track them around the web regardless of which site they’re on. You don’t have any reason to care about that. But we care about it a lot because it basically takes from us any market power we have. Tracking means almost all publishers are being disintermediated in this way. This is one big reason the platforms and the data vendors are scarfing up all the new revenue.

So in many ways, disruptions in tracking are good for publishers. Actually basically in all ways it’s good. In this way, we have a vaguely common interest with Apple since we see our business future as tied to paid services, memberships, etc. Apple does too. In practice, the little players have the least ability and resources to protect themselves during periods of market chaos. But in theory at least, if Apple’s self-interest led it to disrupt the cookie architecture and wreak havoc in Google’s business model, that would likely be good for publishers.

(click here to continue reading What’s Apple Up To? – Talking Points Memo.)

A visit to TPM.com this morning brought up sixteen 3rd-party cookies as reported by Ghostery. Cookies from Amazon, Google, Facebook, as well as sites I’d never heard of, like Adsnative, Krux Digital, RevContent and others. /shrug…

Written by Seth Anderson

October 22nd, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Posted in Advertising,Apple,Business

Tagged with ,

Fades To A Memory was uploaded to Flickr

Chicago Sun-Times logo being removed, as seen from Kinzie St Bridge.

I debated whether to crop the upper right corner’s burst of sun, but decided to leave it in. Maybe I’ll crop it later…

embiggen by clicking
http://ift.tt/2gUDS9w

I took Fades To A Memory on October 20, 2017 at 04:43AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on October 20, 2017 at 02:43PM

Written by eggplant

October 20th, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Dennis Hastert accuser’s lawsuit invokes Monica Lewinsky, Anita Hill

No Secrets To Conceal
No Secrets To Conceal…

Denny Hastert is a monster.

Why do sex crimes have a statute of limitations anyway? Murder doesn’t. What does it say as a society that we deem certain crimes not worth investigating if they didn’t happen last week? Granted, most victims physically survive sexual assault, but the emotional and mental scars can last a lifetime. 

A suburban Chicago man who sued former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert over a decades-old sexual assault allegation said he was “intimidated into silence” by the former politician’s power and how others involved in 1990-era political sex scandals were treated.

Attorneys for the man who filed the complaint allege in a recent legal motion that his apprehension was heightened by the public’s treatment of Anita Hill and Monica Lewinsky after their stories became public.

“When coupled with the string of political sex scandals that broke in the 1990s, most notably Justice Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill and President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Hastert’s power and prior threats became daunting,” plaintiff attorney Kristi Browne wrote in a motion filed last week. “With the Clinton scandal in particular, it became apparent that making such accusations has the effect of defining one’s life, creating a shadow from which there is no escape.”

Browne said her client feared he, too, would be placed in a position of “having to defend himself.”

 
She wrote, “That neither of the aforementioned cases ever resulted in justice for the victim made the very idea of confronting Hastert futile.”

Hastert has never faced sex-related charges. Federal prosecutors said the statute of limitations for criminal charges on those allegations had long expired.

(click here to continue reading Dennis Hastert accuser’s lawsuit invokes Monica Lewinsky, Anita Hill – Chicago Tribune.)

 Sex and Violins

Denny Hastert shouldn’t be allowed to evade his criminal acts because he (allegedly) perpetrated them on a 4th grader.

The second suit, filed in May, alleges Hastert sodomized the accuser when he was in the fourth-grade in a bathroom stall in Yorkville in the early 1970s. He did not see his attacker’s face, but the accuser said he learned it was Hastert weeks later when the then-high school civics teacher threatened the boy if he reported the alleged rape.

The accuser said he reported the incident about a decade later, but Kendall County authorities protected Hastert, then a rising political powerhouse, rather than investigate his claim. He is seeking more than $50,000 from Hastert and Yorkville Community Unit School District 115.

 
“Hastert’s position as one of the most powerful men in America, coupled with his prior threats against plaintiff, further intimidated plaintiff into silence,” Browne recently wrote. “Finally, after Hastert retired from politics, and after evidence of his abuse of other boys came to light, (plaintiff) no longer feared reprisal.”

In a perfect world, Harvey Weinstein and Denny Hastert would share a jail cell for 20 years

Written by Seth Anderson

October 17th, 2017 at 9:05 am

Posted in crime,politics

Tagged with , ,

Donald Trump is a Moron, Part the 487th

Trump At Night

 

CNN’s conventional wisdom guru, Chris Cillizza asserts yet another questionable premise: namely that anyone believed Trump was smart.

In the wake of Trump’s absolutely stunning 2016 victory, the conventional wisdom — in political circles — was that Trump was a strategic genius, always seeing five moves ahead. He was playing three-dimensional chess while the media was still trying to figure out which way pawns could move. The reason no one thought Trump could win was because “we” didn’t see the whole board the way he did. No one else saw it that way. Trump was a genius. An unconventional genius but a genius nonetheless.

Every after-action report of the 2016 campaign has put the lie to that idea. Trump and his team didn’t think they were going to win. Many of them thought they were going to be blown out. The idea that Trump was executing some sort of master plan and always knew he was going to shock the world just isn’t borne out.

(click here to continue reading Donald Trump is playing 0-dimensional chess – CNNPolitics.)

I’ll admit to avoiding the talking heads on cable news shows as much as possible, but I’m curious about this. Are there really intelligent, well-read people1 who sincerely believed Trump was a genius? Really? These people should be fired immediately. Trump has been a stain on America for decades, he wasn’t an unknown quantity in 2016, could anyone with a straight face claim Trump was brilliant? Even after the Birther nonsense? The Central Park 5?  Trump never hid his ignorance, his willful blustering lies and misreading of history. Maybe the chattering class that surrounds Chris Cillizza thinks Trump was a genius, if so, they are even more removed from the mainstream than I suspected.

WTFJHT

or as Congresman Ted Lieu tweeted:

Footnotes:
  1. who don’t work for Breitbart or Fox or any of their satellite offices []

Written by Seth Anderson

October 9th, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

Angry GOP donors threaten to close their wallets, go home

Spare Change
Got Any Spare Change? 

The GOP donor class is about to take their balls home, and allow not the GOP play with them any more. Hmmm.

From reliably Republican-leaning POLITICO, but still…

Republicans are confronting a growing revolt from their top donors, who are cutting off the party in protest over its inability to get anything done.

The backlash is threatening to deprive Republicans of resources just as they’re gearing up for the 2018 midterms. Party officials are so alarmed that North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, who oversees fundraising for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told his colleagues at a recent conference meeting that donations had fallen off a cliff after the Obamacare flop. The committee’s haul plummeted to just $2 million in July and August, less than half of what it raised in June.

“When you’re in a business and you tell your stakeholders you’re going to build a building or something, you have to follow through,” said Houston-based energy executive Dan Eberhart. “I can’t borrow money to build a building and then not follow through, which is what these guys are doing.” He said he’s spoken to four Republican senators over the past month to express his displeasure, mostly over the party’s failure to repeal Obamacare.

Behind the scenes, the GOP has begun to try to smooth things over with its most important givers. On Monday, Trump met with the party’s most prominent donor, Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has privately expressed frustration that the president hasn’t moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And in the wake of an establishment-backed candidate’s loss in Alabama, a top McConnell political lieutenant, Steven Law, held a series of frank discussions with key benefactors.

Some of the donors are giving lawmakers an earful. Bruce Rastetter, an Iowa agribusiness mogul who has funded a long list of Republican elected officials, said he had informed his state’s two GOP senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, that he would not donate to Republican senators “unless they pass new legislation or get new leadership.”

One seasoned GOP fundraiser forwarded along a curt email from a sought-after donor. “The GOP leaders should know, no movement on remaining agenda: tax reform, infrastructure, deregulation, etc. means no funding from supporters like me,” it read. “No meetings, calls, contributions until we see progress.”

The resentment over the state of the party has infiltrated Republican fundraising capitals like Dallas.

“I think major donors are tired of writing checks to a do-nothing Congress,” said Roy Bailey, an influential, Dallas-based GOP bundler.

To others, though, the disappointment over having so little to show for their investments is profound.

Michael Salzhauer, a New York real estate investor, said he had begun informing lawmakers that he’s done giving until they address health care and taxes.

(click here to continue reading Angry GOP donors close their wallets – POLITICO.)

As a political outsider who follows politics like some people follow sports, I do agree the ROI on political donation is horrible, especially recently. You donate millions, and what do you get? Paul Ryan’s undying love, but unless you are the NRA, you can’t be happy with the Do Nothing Congress. And just because someone is wealthy, does not mean they are automatically smart – I bet many of the GOP donor class are reading Breitbart and watching Fox News just as much as the Orange Dotard. Hence they want to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, or repeal the ACA, Medicaid, and Medicare or whatever it is that conservatives really want to accomplish, other than destroying the country.

But the GOP donor class isn’t going to donate to the other party, and come election time, I’d hazard a guess the checks will start flowing again…

Written by Seth Anderson

October 5th, 2017 at 10:23 am

Posted in Business,politics

Tagged with ,