Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tax-Aide needs volunteers


Help your neighbors get the (tax) credit they deserve! AARP Foundation is looking for compassionate and friendly individuals to join our volunteer team this upcoming tax season!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Dozens of Alabama pastors sign letter denouncing Roy Moore

By Max Greenwood - 11/18/17 02:28 PM EST

Dozens of progressive Alabama pastors have signed onto a letter calling GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore unfit for office, accusing him of preaching "extremist values" and lumping him in with politicians who have "cynically used Christianity for their own goals."

In the letter, posted online Friday, the pastors say that their opposition to Moore began long before recent allegations of sexual misconduct against him emerged, blasting his positions on LGBT rights, immigration and religious liberty.

"Christianity affirms God's love for the neighbor and care for the most vulnerable in society: the widow, the foreigner, and the orphan," the letter reads. "But he has denigrated people from other countries and other faiths."

Christianity thrives in religious freedom from government interference, and a government impartial toward people of all faith traditions," it adds. "But instead he has sought to entangle government with religion."

More than half of the 59 progressive Christian ministers who signed onto the letter come from mainline Protestant denominations, Alabama news outlet noted.

The letter also takes aim at Moore for the sexual misconduct allegations against him, saying his actions serve to "reopen the wounds of anyone who has been abused by leaders who should have been committed to compassion, to justice, and to healing God's world."

"We repudiate the actions of religious and political leaders like Roy Moore who have sought to silence, to cover up, and to be complicit in the sexual abuse," the letter states.


Flooding in Greece kills at least 19

Global warming is causing an increase in floods around the globe. The fossil fuel companies that pay for denialism are mass murderers.

3 more found dead after Greek flash flood, raising total to 19
Bodies of 2 of the victims found at sea south of Mandra

The Associated Press Posted: Nov 18, 2017 8:56 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 18, 2017 10:25 AM ET

Greek authorities say three more people have been found dead from a flash flood that hit a district west of Athens, raising the overall death toll to 19.


Greece: Search continues for 6 still missing in flash floods

By The Associated Press
ATHENS, Greece — Nov 17, 2017, 11:36 AM ET

Wednesday's flash floods, which came after an overnight storm, turned roads into raging torrents of mud that flung cars against buildings, inundated homes and businesses and submerged part of a major highway.

Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed, and residents struggled with brooms and hoses to clear their properties of tons of mud, water and debris. Cranes were called in to remove smashed cars from atop walls and porches.

The flooding is one of the worst disasters to have hit the Athens area in decades. Several of those who died drowned trapped in flooded homes and stores, while others were motorists carried away by the floodwater. Two were men whose bodies were recovered by the coast guard after having been swept out to sea.


Friday, November 17, 2017


Decrease in sunshine, increase in rickets

Age and gut bacteria contribute to MS disease progression, according to Rutgers

Asthma attacks reduced in tree-lined urban neighborhoods

Dog ownership linked to lower mortality

Asthma attacks reduced in tree-lined urban neighborhoods

Study shows all daily activity can prolong life

Environmental factors may trigger lupus onset and progression

When vegetables are closer in price to chips, people eat healthier, Drexel study finds

School exacerbates feelings of being 'different' in pupils with autism spectrum conditions

Report suggests association between coffee and up to 70 percent reduced risk of liver disease

Discovery of a promising medication for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Climate change impacts already locked in -- but the worst can still be avoided

Trump economic adviser surprised when CEOs indicate they won't invest tax savings

by Heather Long
Nov. 15, 2017

President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, looked out from the stage at a sea of CEOs and top executives in the audience Tuesday for The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council meeting. As Cohn sat comfortably on stage, a Journal editor asked the crowd to raise their hands if their company plans to invest more if the tax reform bill passes.

Very few hands went up.


The president and his senior team have kept arguing the tax plan would unleash business investment in the United States - new factories, more equipment and more jobs. But, perhaps as the informal poll suggested, there are reasons to be doubtful that a great business investment boom would materialize.

First, American businesses are already enjoying record profits. If they wanted to invest, they have plenty of money on hand already to do it, says Howard Silverblatt, a senior analyst at S & P Dow Jones Indices, where he tracks all the financial decisions of S & P 500 companies.

Second, executives themselves have indicated they probably won't use extra profits to invest. A Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey this summer asked over 300 executives at major U.S. corporations what they would do after a "tax holiday" that would allow them to bring back money held overseas at a low tax rate. The No. 1 response? Pay down debt. The second most popular response was stock buybacks, where companies purchase some of their own shares to drive up the price. The third was mergers. Actual investments in new factories and more research were low down the list of plans for how to spend extra money.

The results of the Bank of America poll show a very similar pattern of corporate behavior to what actually happened after the 2004 tax repatriation holiday when U.S. companies spent the majority of their money coming back home from overseas on stock buybacks. It was a payday for Wall Street investors that generated little benefit to the middle class and wider economy.



Chicago man in prison for 29 years freed after Cook County prosecutors drop charges

Sixth woman accuses Roy Moore of sexual misconduct

Morgues shut doors as ultra-violent Mexican state is overwhelmed by bodies

Trump’s Wall May Threaten Thousands of Plant and Animal Species on the U.S.–Mexico Border

Greece flash floods leave at least 15 dead
In devastation locals said was unprecedented in scale, an overnight deluge triggered flash floods in the industrial towns of Nea Peramos and Mandra in the foothills of a mountain just west of Athens.
[Such events in other countries are rarely reported in the U.S. press. Eg., this is from the Canadian news. ]

'Dossier' author Christopher Steele: Trump's hotel and land deals with Russians need to be examined
[Ever since Trump cracked down on Cuba, I have been wondering if the refused to let him build there.]

Trump to allow imports of African elephant trophies

More Voters Think Trump Is Dumb, Weak And Unfit For Office Than Ever Before

Drug-Shooting 'Bazooka' Seized In Mexico As Smugglers Aim Skyward

She took on Colombia's soda industry, then she was silenced.

Family warns others after woman dies following liposuction procedure

Dr. Jeff Masters · November 17, 2017

October 2017 was Earth's fourth warmest October since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Friday. NOAA rated the five warmest Octobers since 1880 as being 2015, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2003 (tied with 2017.) NASA rated October 2017 as the planet’s second warmest October on record, with the only warmer October coming in 2015. Minor differences can occur between the NASA and NOAA rankings because of their different techniques for analyzing data-sparse regions such as the Arctic.

Global ocean temperatures last month were the fourth warmest on record for any October, according to NOAA, and global land temperatures were the eleventh warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the warmest for any October in the 39-year record, according to the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS).


Third-warmest year on record thus far

Each of the first ten months of 2017 have ranked among the top four warmest such months on record, giving 2017 the third highest January–October temperature in the 138-year record: 1.33°C (2.39°F) above the 20th-century average. This is behind the record year of 2016 by 0.18°C (0.33°F). This near-record warmth in 2017 is especially remarkable given the lack of an El Niño event this year. Global temperatures tend to be warmer during El Niño years, when the ocean releases more heat to the atmosphere. Given the lack of an El Niño event in 2017, it is very unlikely that we will surpass 2016 as the warmest year on record. However, 2017 is almost certain to be the planet's warmest year on record that lacks any influence from El Niño, and will be the second or third warmest year in recorded history. Earth's four warmest years of the last century-plus are likely to be 2016, 2017, 2015, and 2014.


Arctic sea ice extent during October 2017 was the fifth lowest in the 38-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Sea ice surrounding Antarctica reached its yearly maximum extent on October 12, and had the second lowest maximum extent on record, behind 1986.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Vegetarian Diets Can Reduce Heart Disease Risk by Almost 50 Percent Compared to Eating Meat

Fossil fuel burning set to hit record high in 2017, scientists warn

Trump nominee for federal judge has never tried a case
Donald Trump's nominee for a lifetime appointment on the federal bench is a 36 year old who has practiced law for three years and has never tried a case.

Kenneth Starr heaps praise on Bill Clinton

The top 1% now own 50.1% of the world's wealth, up from 45.5% in 2001.

Kratom has 'deadly risks,' FDA warns

Grad Students Would Be Hit By Massive Tax Hike Under House GOP Plan

Increased Hours Online Correlate With An Uptick In Teen Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

Volunteers Save Beached Whales On Indonesian Shore

Ex-congregants reveal years of ungodly abuse

Investigators face big hurdles in church child abuse cases

Thirty countries use 'armies of opinion shapers' to manipulate democracy

Turkish marriage law a blow to women's rights, say activists

‘Catastrophic’ Iraq law could legalise marriage for children as young as nine

Roy Moore challenged Alabama law that protects rape victims, documents reveal

One Group That Thinks Grown Men “Courting” Teen Girls Is Natural? Fundamentalist Home-Schoolers.

Blood pressure guidelines lowered for some people

Harlan Krumholz
Nov. 14, 2017

You may not have had high blood pressure Sunday, but you may have it today. Even if your blood pressure hasn't changed a smidge. What's up?

The rules shifted Monday. It used to be that we encouraged people to adopt healthy behavior to keep their blood pressure down but didn't label someone as having hypertension until systolic blood pressure (the top number) exceeded 140 millimeters of mercury and/or the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) exceeded 90 mm Hg. Lots of people watch those numbers closely.

Now the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have updated blood pressure guidelines that move the goal post for many people.

If you have heart disease, chronic kidney disease or diabetes, then your target now for systolic blood pressure has moved down to 130 and for diastolic blood pressure to 80. Same goes if your 10-year risk of having a heart attack or stroke is greater than 10 percent (determined by a calculator found here).

The focus on people who have a high likelihood of heart disease and stroke is an effort to maximize the health gains from risk reduction.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Thousands of scientists issue bleak ‘second notice’ to humanity

By Sarah Kaplan November 1, 2017

In late 1992, 1,700 scientists from around the world issued a dire “warning to humanity.” They said humans had pushed Earth's ecosystems to their breaking point and were well on the way to ruining the planet. The letter listed environmental impacts like they were biblical plagues — stratospheric ozone depletion, air and water pollution, the collapse of fisheries and loss of soil productivity, deforestation, species loss and catastrophic global climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels.


To mark the letter's 25th anniversary, researchers have issued a bracing follow-up. In a communique published Monday in the journal BioScience, more than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries assess the world's latest responses to various environmental threats. Once again, they find us sorely wanting.

“Humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse,” they write.

This letter, spearheaded by Oregon State University ecologist William Ripple, serves as a “second notice,” the authors say: “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory.”

Global climate change sits atop the new letter's list of planetary threats. Global average temperatures have risen by more than half a degree Celsius since 1992, and annual carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 62 percent.

But it's far from the only problem people face. Access to fresh water has declined, as has the amount of forestland and the number of wild-caught fish (a marker of the health of global fisheries). The number of ocean dead zones has increased. The human population grew by a whopping 2 billion, while the populations of all other mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by nearly 30 percent.

The lone bright spot exists way up in the stratosphere, where the hole in the planet's protective ozone layer has shrunk to its smallest size since 1988. Scientists credit that progress to the phasing out of chlorofluorocarbons — chemicals once used in refrigerators, air conditioners and aerosol cans that trigger reactions in the atmosphere to break down ozone.

“The rapid global decline in ozone depleting substances shows that we can make positive change when we act decisively,” the letter says.


Locals Were Troubled by Roy Moore’s Interactions with Teen Girls at the Gadsden Mall

By Charles Bethea
Nov. 13, 2017

Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate and former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was born in Gadsden, a small city flanked by Interstate 59 and the Coosa River, an hour northeast of Birmingham. Gadsden is hilly, woodsy, blue-collar, and religious. “LEGAL OR NOT, SIN IS SIN,” a sign in front of a church announced yesterday.


Gadsden is the seat of Etowah County, which is a conservative place; Donald Trump received three times as many votes in the county as Hillary Clinton did. (Statewide, he received twice as many.) But I didn’t, in all my driving, see a single yard sign for Moore, the home-town son. Even the parking lot of the one mall in town had more bumper stickers for Luther Strange (four), Moore’s opponent in the Republican primary, than for Moore himself (one).


On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that, when Moore was a thirty-two-year-old assistant district attorney in Etowah County, he brought Leigh Corfman, who was fourteen years old at the time, to his home and sexually molested her. Three additional women told the Post that Moore had pursued them when they were in their teens and he was in his early thirties. (On Monday, another woman, Beverly Young Nelson, said that Moore assaulted her when she was sixteen years old.


This past weekend, I spoke or messaged with more than a dozen people—including a major political figure in the state—who told me that they had heard, over the years, that Moore had been banned from the mall because he repeatedly badgered teen-age girls. Some say that they heard this at the time, others in the years since. These people include five members of the local legal community, two cops who worked in the town, several people who hung out at the mall in the early eighties, and a number of former mall employees.


Teresa Jones, a deputy district attorney for Etowah County in the early eighties, told CNN last week that “it was common knowledge that Roy dated high-school girls.” Jones told me that she couldn’t confirm the alleged mall banning, but said, “It’s a rumor I’ve heard for years.”


Gadsden locals say Moore's predatory behavior at mall, restaurants not a secret

By Anna Claire Vollers
Nov. 13, 2017


Moore and other Republican leaders have questioned why it took so long for his accusers, now in their 50s, to come forward publicly.

And yet people who lived in Etowah County during that time have said Moore's flirting with and dating much younger women and girls was no secret.

"These stories have been going around this town for 30 years," said Blake Usry, who grew up in the area and lives in Gadsden. "Nobody could believe they hadn't come out yet."

Usry, a traveling nurse, said he knew several of the girls that Moore tried to flirt with.

"It's not a big secret in this town about Roy Moore," he said. "That's why it's sort of frustrating to watch" the public disbelieve the women who have come forward, he said.


Five other current and former Etowah County residents also spoke to with similar accounts.

"Him liking and dating young girls was never a secret in Gadsden when we were all in high school," said Sheryl Porter. "In our neighborhoods up by Noccalula Falls we heard it all the time. Even people at the courthouse know it was a well-known secret.

"It's just sad how these girls (who accused Moore) are getting hammered and called liars, especially Leigh (Corfman)."

On Monday, Beverly Young Nelson became the fifth accuser to come forward against Moore. During a press conference, she said she was a 16-year-old waitress at the Old Hickory House restaurant in Gadsden when Moore sexually assaulted her in his car. He was in his early 30s at the time, she said, and the district attorney of Etowah County.



Controversial drug-fuelled, sex party holiday for super-rich moved to private island

Trump picks former pharma exec, ex-Bush official to lead HHS department

UK says Rohingya crisis 'looks like ethnic cleansing'

Accounts of rape, burning children and murder
How a Rohingya massacre unfolded at Tula Toli

Rohingya refugees need your help

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Why this father hugged the man who helped kill his son

Where do kids learn to undervalue women? From their parents.
Even progressive spouses don’t divide burdens equitably. The children notice.

Democrats now control all branches of state government along the West Coast

IRS chief departs, blasting Congress for budget cuts threatening tax agency

Air pollution can worsen osteoporosis: study

Roy Moore's former colleague says it was "common knowledge" he dated teens

Tesla Approaches Terminal Decline

Nov. 10, 2017
Andreas Hopf


Here we are, seven months later, and Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) financial performance deteriorates at an alarming rate. Bearish macro scenarios, always just around the corner since 2011, refuse to play out


And then, as long as 1) wealthy consumers in western nations but also China are eager to seek indulgence by way of green-washing and, 2) are in search of a Steve Jobs replacement persona onto which they can project their hopes for a gleaming future and, 3) are disillusioned with the establishment and its leaders, the company will likely succeed to raise cash again. Some say it might already be too big to fail.

The Tesla narrative is based on an illusion, a contradictio in adjecto - the promise that humankind can shop and consume itself into a sustainable future. However, even a million Teslas on the world’s roads will not impact the environment for better or worse. It is a systemic issue. The Financial Times agrees. Sustainability and promoting the purchase of raw-material consuming heavyweight products are mutually exclusive.


Friday, November 10, 2017


Billionaire ex-Facebook president Sean Parker unloads on Mark Zuckerberg and admits he helped build a monster

The White House and congressional Republicans have sought to portray their tax plan as primarily a middle class tax cut. But lately, some of them have been admitting that big money political donors and wealthy CEOs, two groups that overlap heavily, are the ones who care about it the most.


China Spreads Propaganda to U.S. on Facebook, a Platform It Bans at Home

Warm, supportive relationships boost memory in aging brains: Study

State Department senior ranks being depleted at 'dizzying speed': Ambassador

Ryan breaks record for shutting down floor debate
The House speaker has kept a tight grip on amendments despite promising a ‘more open, more inclusive’ process.

The One County In America That Voted In A Landslide For Both Trump And Obama

15 nations with the highest gun ownership

House Republican: my donors told me to pass the tax bill “or don’t ever call me again”

Rising ocean temperatures are making it riskier to eat raw oysters

La Niña Declared; Cooldown Nipping the Warmest Autumn on Record in Northeast U.S.

Billionaire ex-Facebook president Sean Parker unloads on Mark Zuckerberg and admits he helped build a monster

Wednesday, November 08, 2017


Target of Racist Graffiti Wrote it, Air Force Academy Says

Election Winners Promise Climate Action in Coast-to-Coast Pushback on Trump

Climate Change Is Happening in the U.S. Now, Federal Report Says — in Charts

US politician who mocked Women’s March defeated by woman he inspired to run

The seven megatrends that could beat global warming: 'There is reason for hope'

Greenhouse gas concentrations surge to new record

Nov. 1, 2017

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged at a record-breaking speed in 2016 to the highest level in 800 000 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization's Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The abrupt changes in the atmosphere witnessed in the past 70 years are without precedent.

Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El Niño event. Concentrations of CO2 are now 145% of pre-industrial (before 1750) levels, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

Rapidly increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have the potential to initiate unprecedented changes in climate systems, leading to “severe ecological and economic disruptions,” said the report.


Population growth, intensified agricultural practices, increases in land use and deforestation, industrialization and associated energy use from fossil fuel sources have all contributed to increases in concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the industrial era, beginning in 1750.

Since 1990, there has been a 40% increase in total radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate - by all long-lived greenhouse gases, and a 2.5% increase from 2015 to 2016 alone, according to figures from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration quoted in the bulletin.


“CO2 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years and in the oceans for even longer. The laws of physics mean that we face a much hotter, more extreme climate in the future. There is currently no magic wand to remove this CO2 from the atmosphere,”said Mr Taalas.

The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now.


Atmospheric methane reached a new high of about 1 853 parts per billion (ppb) in 2016 and is now 257% of the pre-industrial level.


Nitrous oxide (N2O) is emitted into the atmosphere from both natural (about 60%) and anthropogenic sources (approximately 40%), including oceans, soil, biomass burning, fertilizer use, and various industrial processes.

Its atmospheric concentration in 2016 was 328.9 parts per billion. This is 122% of pre-industrial levels. It also plays an important role in the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer which protects us from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. It accounts for about 6% of radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases.


This year to be among three hottest on record: 'extraordinary weather' - U.N.

Nov. 6, 2017

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - This year will be among the three hottest on record in a new sign of man-made climate change that is aggravating “extraordinary weather” such as hurricanes, droughts and floods, the United Nations said on Monday.


“2017 is set to be in top three hottest years,” the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said, projecting average surface temperatures would be slightly less sweltering than a record 2016 and roughly level with 2015, the previous warmest.

And 2017 would be the hottest on record without a natural El Nino event that releases heat from the Pacific Ocean about once every five years, it said. El Nino boosted global temperatures in both 2015 and 2016.

“We have witnessed extraordinary weather,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement of 2017, pointing to severe hurricanes in the Atlantic and Caribbean, temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius (122°F) in Pakistan, Iran and Oman, monsoon floods in Asia and drought in East Africa.

“Many of these events – and detailed scientific studies will determine exactly how many – bear the tell-tale sign of climate change caused by increased greenhouse gas concentrations from human activities,” he said.


While it said there was no clear evidence whether climate change made hurricanes more frequent, when storms do take place warmer temperatures aggravate downpours, and higher sea levels can worsen storm surges, it said.

Among other extremes, monsoon floods killed 1,200 people in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, the WMO said. Severe wildfires, stoked by heat and drought, killed 64 people in Portugal, at least 41 in California and 11 in Chile.

A few places had record cold against the overall warming trend, such as -25.4C (-13.7°F) in Bariloche, Argentina, in July.
The warming air in the Arctic is causing a weakening of the winds around the Arctic, causing more frequent episodes of southward intrusion of Arctic air into Canada & the U.S. I would guess the same thing is happening in the southern hemisphere, involving the Antarctic, which would affect Bariloche.

Western Wildfires Undermining Progress on Air Pollution

Nov. 7, 2017

Smoke pollution is leading to serious public health impacts as large wildfires across the American West become more frequent and destructive. These fires are undermining progress made during recent decades in reducing pollution from tailpipes, power plants, and other industrial sources. The increasing frequency and area burned by large fires is linked to human-caused climate change as well as other environmental changes.

Climate Central analyzed air quality trends from 2000 through 2016 in two large California air basins that are heavily affected by smoke pollution. The analysis focused on particulate matter (PM2.5), a dangerous air pollutant. We found that while the air is getting cleaner overall in recent years, it’s getting dirtier during the fire season — a season that research has shown is growing longer in the western United States.


Wildfires are a source of an especially problematic type of air pollutant known as PM2.5 (“particulate matter” less than 2.5 microns in diameter), which can become lodged in lungs and cause or exacerbate a wide array of health problems such as asthma and heart disease. Emerging evidence suggests PM2.5 could also be linked to premature births. Other PM2.5 sources include a wide variety of industrial and agricultural activities.


Wildfire seasons are projected to become worse due to climate change, expanding in length and increasing the number of large fires and acreage that burns each year. When compared with the 1970s, the average annual Western U.S. wildfire season is now 105 days longer, has three times as many large fires (larger than 1000 acres), and burns more than six times as many acres.

According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, warming temperatures and drier conditions are major factors resulting in the increase in wildfires; both temperatures and reduced moisture are linked to human-caused climate change and affect the dryness and flammability of landscapes, measured by scientists as fuel aridity.6 High levels of fuel aridity can provide large areas conducive for the spread of wildfire once ignited.


Ecosystem changes and natural climatic variation can also have large influences on wildfire seasons. Even without human-caused climate change, wildfires would have increased in many regions due to other human activities and natural factors. In particular, although wildfires are a natural process in Western ecosystems, their roles in keeping forests in healthy condition have not been well understood, and so they are often extinguished as quickly as possible. As a result of strenuous efforts to suppress wildfire and other land-management practices such as livestock grazing, logging, and land-type conversion,8,9 many forests have experienced fire deficits, becoming overgrown and littered with flammable material such as leaf litter and saplings. Wildfires that break out during fire deficits can be unnaturally large and severe.10-12 In addition, the introduction of non-native species, especially invasive grasses, can have significant impacts on grassland wildfires as these plants can provide fuel for fires.


Wildfire smoke can travel and affect communities hundreds of miles away from its source. The North Bay Fires affected air quality in the Central Valley and satellite images show it traveled more than 500 miles over the Pacific, reaching as far south as Mexico.19 In 2015, smoke from wildfires in central Canada resulted in multiple days of exceedances of EPA standards in Maryland.20 In 2002, wildfire smoke from fires in Quebec impacted populations all along the East Coast of the United States, and a nearly 50 percent increase in hospital admissions for respiratory diagnoses for the elderly was associated with the smoke plume and concurrent PM2.5 in counties in states between New York and Washington, DC.21


Election results reinforce GOP urgency to confirm judges

Note: There are so many vacancies available for Trump to fill because of the massive blocking of President Obama's appointees by republicans.

By Joan Biskupic, CNN Legal Analyst and Supreme Court Biographer
Updated 8:50 PM ET, Wed November 8, 2017

Tuesday's elections favoring Democrats could give conservative forces more urgency in an area President Donald Trump is already moving on aggressively: reshaping the federal courts.

Trump and his advisers are moving at break-neck speed compared with past presidents. Republicans pushed four conservative US appeals court judges through the Senate last week, and with a total of eight appeals court appointees, Trump has won far more Senate confirmations than his three immediate predecessors did at this point in their presidencies. A hearing on six nominees is scheduled for next week.

The Republican majority, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has been crucial to Trump's effort to move swiftly on the lifetime judicial appointments and please his right-wing base. Judges exert control over myriad social and business issues, from abortion rights to class action litigation.

Public attention naturally focuses on Supreme Court appointments, yet with the nine justices hearing less than 1% of the petitions that reach their door, the regional courts of appeals constitute a powerful last stop for the nation's litigants.

Trump's legal team has taken advantage of the GOP Senate majority while also trying to outpace any major disruption for the executive branch, whether it be a sudden Supreme Court vacancy or more charges arising from Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Mueller is exploring possible Trump campaign links to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

For any administration, a Supreme Court opening or major legislative effort -- such as President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in his first term -- can divert attention from key lower court posts. A high court resignation is not a far-fetched prospect these days. Three of the justices are over 75, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, has signaled that he is mulling the possibility of stepping down soon.

Trump already named one new justice, Neil Gorsuch. That opportunity arose because Senate Republicans blocked Obama from filling a vacancy created by the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia.


Obama and Clinton both filled one Supreme Court seat in the first year of their first terms; Bush had to wait until his second term for an opening.



Which States Are Givers and Which Are Takers?

Illinois Couple Allegedly Let 6-Year-Old Boy ‘Starve to Death’ as Punishment

Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies
The film executive hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists.

Cancer risks from alcohol

Sheep can recognise human faces

Florida State University suspends all Greek life after pledge dies

The seven Republican super-donors who keep money in tax havens

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Economic Inequality: It’s Far Worse Than You Think

By Nicholas Fitz on March 31, 2015

In a candid conversation with Frank Rich last fall, Chris Rock said, "Oh, people don’t even know. If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets." The findings of three studies, published over the last several years in Perspectives on Psychological Science, suggest that Rock is right. We have no idea how unequal our society has become.


The average American believes that the richest fifth own 59% of the wealth and that the bottom 40% own 9%. The reality is strikingly different. The top 20% of US households own more than 84% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% combine for a paltry 0.3%. The Walton family, for example, has more wealth than 42% of American families combined.

We don’t want to live like this. In our ideal distribution, the top quintile owns 32% and the bottom two quintiles own 25%. As the journalist Chrystia Freeland put it, “Americans actually live in Russia, although they think they live in Sweden. And they would like to live on a kibbutz.” Norton and Ariely found a surprising level of consensus: everyone — even Republicans and the wealthy—wants a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo.


In a study published last year, Norton and Sorapop Kiatpongsan used a similar approach to assess perceptions of income inequality. They asked about 55,000 people from 40 countries to estimate how much corporate CEOs and unskilled workers earned. Then they asked people how much CEOs and workers should earn. The median American estimated that the CEO-to-worker pay-ratio was 30-to-1, and that ideally, it’d be 7-to-1. The reality? 354-to-1. Fifty years ago, it was 20-to-1. Again, the patterns were the same for all subgroups, regardless of age, education, political affiliation, or opinion on inequality and pay. “In sum,” the researchers concluded, “respondents underestimate actual pay gaps, and their ideal pay gaps are even further from reality than those underestimates.”


The researchers found Americans overestimate the amount of upward social mobility that exists in society. They asked some 3,000 people to guess the chance that someone born to a family in the poorest 20% ends up as an adult in the richer quintiles. Sure enough, people think that moving up is significantly more likely than it is in reality. Interestingly, poorer and politically conservative participants thought that there is more mobility than richer and liberal participants.


We may not want to believe it, but the United States is now the most unequal of all Western nations. To make matters worse, America has considerably less social mobility than Canada and Europe.


By overemphasizing individual mobility, we ignore important social determinants of success like family inheritance, social connections, and structural discrimination.



Resistance to Change

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

Brazile says she found no evidence that Democratic primaries were rigged for Clinton

As the winds around Antarctica intensify with rising global temperatures, they're driving changes in the ocean that could speed up the flow of the massive Totten Glacier, which carries ice from East Antarctica into the ocean, adding to sea level rise, a new study says.

Trump commerce secretary's business links with Putin family laid out in leaked files

Our renter's republic is broken: one in five tenants can't pay the rent
[High housing costs hurt more than low-income people, it hurts businesses and people that depend on their labor. Eg., restaurants have a hard time finding enough employees because potential employees can't afford to live close enough to the business to afford the commute.
A few days ago, I saw a sign on a restaurant that said they were closed on Wednesdays because they couldn't find enough employees. Other restaurants in this area of high housing costs have the same problem. ]

George HW Bush calls Trump a 'blowhard' in book The Last Republicans
George HW Bush told Updegrove he voted for Hillary Clinton, the Times reported.

Donald Trump accused of obstructing satellite research into climate change

Government Scientist Blocked from Talking About Climate and Wildfires
Critics are accusing the Trump administration of stifling the dissemination of taxpayer-funded science


Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort gains visas for 70 foreign workers

Trump’s Most Damning Legacy

Howard Dean: Clinton-DNC agreement was 'standard operating procedure'

Psychology study finds Trump stands out as a ‘low analytic’ thinker

The DNC’s emails weren’t only hacked, they were edited: report
Russian hackers have tampered with emails before and a new report reveals they did with at least one Clinton email

Interactive Timeline: Everything We Know About Russia and President Trump

Republican House Members Think a $450K Salary is Middle Class

One Bitcoin Transaction Now Uses as Much Energy as Your House in a Week

Trump commerce secretary's business links with Putin family laid out in leaked files

Trump's approval rating hits historic low, Washington Post-ABC poll says

Unpaid Laborers Are Slipping Tags Into Zara Clothes

Friday, November 03, 2017


Female lawmakers come forward with experiences of sexual harassment by peers in Congress

Las Vegas shooter had been losing money for two years and 'was going in the wrong direction,' sheriff says

Another 60-plus Sears, Kmart stores set to close in January 2018

Survival of Sears and Kmart Is in Doubt, Owner Warns

How a Libertarian Used Ayn Rand's Crazy Philosophy to Drive Sears Into the Ground

How Sears CEO Lampert cashes in as stores cash out

Awaiting Trump's coal comeback, miners reject retraining

How your clothes are poisoning our oceans and food supply

Muscular Men Make The Worst Boyfriends, According To Science
[They're enjoyable to look at. Not being a man, I don't base my relationships on that. ]
The researchers found that the more muscular the man, the more likely he is to harbor traditional sexist beliefs, such as women belong in the kitchen and men are meant to be the head of the household.
More than having traditional beliefs about gender roles, the study also concluded that muscular men are more likely to harbor hostility toward women.
All of the men with more muscles relayed attitudes that saw women more as property that they owned rather than people that they interact with.
The study was careful to state, however, that not all gym rats are sexist.

Hillary Clinton's Work On Children's Rights Reveals Her Path To Public Service

Trump administration releases report finding ‘no convincing alternative explanation’ for climate change

By Chris Mooney, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis November 3, 2017
Jason Samenow contributed to this report.

The Trump administration released a dire scientific report Friday detailing the growing threats of climate change. The report stands in stark contrast to the administration’s efforts to downplay humans’ role in global warming, withdraw from an international climate accord and reverse Obama-era policies aimed at curbing U.S. greenhouse-gas output.

The White House did not seek to prevent the release of the government’s National Climate Assessment, which is mandated by law, despite the fact that its findings sharply contradict the administration’s policies. The report affirms that climate change is driven almost entirely by human action, warns of potential sea-level rise as high as eight feet by the year 2100, and enumerates climate-related damage across the United States that is already occurring as a result of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming since 1900.

“It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” the document reports. “For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”


The Trump administration released a dire scientific report Friday detailing the growing threats of climate change. The report stands in stark contrast to the administration’s efforts to downplay humans’ role in global warming, withdraw from an international climate accord and reverse Obama-era policies aimed at curbing U.S. greenhouse-gas output.

The White House did not seek to prevent the release of the government’s National Climate Assessment, which is mandated by law, despite the fact that its findings sharply contradict the administration’s policies. The report affirms that climate change is driven almost entirely by human action, warns of potential sea-level rise as high as eight feet by the year 2100, and enumerates climate-related damage across the United States that is already occurring as a result of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming since 1900.

“It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” the document reports. “For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”


The government is required to produce the national assessment every four years. This time, the report is split into two documents, one that lays out the fundamental science of climate change and the other that shows how the United States is being affected on a regional basis. Combined, the two documents total over 2,000 pages.

The first document, called the Climate Science Special Report, is now a finalized report, having been peer-reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences and vetted by experts across government agencies. It was formally unveiled Friday.

“I think this report is basically the most comprehensive climate science report in the world right now,” said Robert Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers who is an expert on sea-level rise and served as one of the report’s lead authors.


It affirms that the United States is already experiencing more extreme heat and rainfall events and more large wildfires in the West, that more than 25 coastal U.S. cities are already experiencing more flooding, and that seas could rise by between 1 and 4 feet by the year 2100, and perhaps even more than that if Antarctica proves to be unstable, as is feared. The report says that a rise of over eight feet is “physically possible” with high levels of greenhouse-gas emissions but that there’s no way right now to predict how likely it is to happen.

When it comes to rapidly escalating levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the report states, “there is no climate analog for this century at any time in at least the last 50 million years.”

Most striking, perhaps, the report warns of the unpredictable — changes that scientists cannot foresee that could involve tipping points or fast changes in the climate system. These could switch the climate into “new states that are very different from those experienced in the recent past.”


A federal scientist involved in writing the report who asked not to be identified, because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said that political appointees made no effort to change the scientific findings after being briefed on them.
[So they are not totally unpatriotic.]


Meanwhile, the administration also released, in draft form, the longer Volume 2 of the National Climate Assessment, which looks at regional impacts across the United States. This document is not final but is now available for public comment and will now begin a peer review process, with final publication expected in late 2018.

Already, however, it is possible to discern some of what it will conclude. For instance, a peer-reviewed EPA technical document released to inform the assessment finds that the monetary costs of climate change in the United States could be dramatic.

That document, dubbed the Climate Change Impacts and Risk Analysis, finds that in a high-end warming scenario, high temperatures could lead to the loss per year of “almost 1.9 billion labor hours across the national workforce” by 2090. That would mean $160 billion annually in lost income to workers.

With high levels of warming, coastal property damage in 2090 could total $120 billion annually, and deaths from temperature extremes could reach 9,300 per year, or in monetized terms, $140 billion annually in damage. Additional tens of billions annually could occur in the form of damage to roads, rail lines and electrical infrastructure, the report finds.

This could all be lessened considerably, the report notes, if warming is held to lower levels.

Some conservatives introduce measure demanding Mueller’s resignation

Why don't these conservatives want the truth to be shown? Why aren't they outraged by evidence of Russians trying to affect our elections?


Three House Republicans on Friday moved to pressure special counsel Robert Mueller to resign over what they contend are “obvious conflicts of interest,” the latest instance of rising GOP resistance to his Russia probe.

Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), introduced a measure that, while nonbinding, would put the House on record describing Mueller, a former FBI director, as unfit to lead the probe because of his relationship with James Comey, his successor at the bureau.


Mueller is investigating whether any Americans aided Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election as well as whether figures in the Trump administration may have obstructed justice in part by moving to oust Comey in May, when the FBI’s Russia investigation was picking up steam. Mueller was appointed by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein after an uproar following President Donald Trump’s decision to fire Comey.


Most Republicans, including those in GOP leadership, are not on board with dismissing Mueller.


Other conservatives, like Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), have already called for Mueller’s departure.

DeSantis, too, has ramped up his efforts to hinder Mueller’s investigation. He recently pushed an amendment, which failed to gain traction, that would have curtailed Mueller’s probe within six months and limited its scope.

And in a Thursday interview with Breitbart Radio, DeSantis blamed Rosenstein for a “clumsy” decision to appoint Mueller without putting strict limits on his scope.


Thursday, November 02, 2017


The stock market is up because corporations are doing so well, but we are told they need a tax cut to help them.
In the first quarter of this year, corporate profits reached an all-time high.

Russian hacking went far beyond US election, digital hitlist reveals

Battle for the mother land: indigenous people of Colombia fighting for their lands

Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggested Thursday that expanding the use of fossil fuels could help prevent sexual assault.
[The inmates are running the asylum. ]

Left criticizes permanent corporate cut, temporary family credit

GOP tax bill would eliminate medical expense deductions

Trump appoints those whose only qualification is that they support him

No news that Trump cares only about himself, not about the welfare of our country.

The other huge scandal Mueller brought to light this week
By Dana Milbank Opinion writer November 1, 2017

Robert Mueller brought to light a huge scandal this week, and it has nothing to do with Russia.

He has introduced the world to Sam Clovis.

Clovis, we now know, was the Trump campaign official who oversaw George Papadopoulos and encouraged his efforts to meet with Russian officials. But what’s more interesting than what Clovis is is what Clovis isn’t.

For those who had not heard of Clovis before (which is pretty much everybody), he has been nominated to be the chief scientist at the Agriculture Department, a position that by law must go to “distinguished scientists,” even though he is, well, not a scientist. He is a talk-radio host, economics professor (though not actually an economist, either) and, most importantly, a Trump campaign adviser.

President Trump promised to “hire the best people.” And, as scientists go, Clovis is an excellent talk-show host. Among his scientific breakthroughs: being “extremely skeptical” of climate change, calling homosexuality “a choice,” suggesting gay rights would lead to legalized pedophilia, pushing the Obama birther allegation, and calling Eric Holder a “racist bigot” and Tom Perez a “racist Latino.”


Trump may want “extreme vetting” of immigrants, but he’s rather more lenient with his appointees. On Wednesday, he named Robin Bernstein to be ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Bernstein speaks only “basic Spanish” (it’s so hard to find Americans who speak Spanish), but she does have this — membership at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.

A group called American Oversight had the foresight to make records requests for résumés of those hired by the Trump administration, and the group searched for those who worked on the Trump campaign. Among the “best” Trump hires American Oversight found:

●Sid Bowdidge, assistant to the secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Before working for the Trump campaign, Bowdidge, from 2013 to 2015, was manager of the Meineke Car Care branch in Seabrook, N.H. He previously was service and branch manager for tire shops.


●Victoria Barton, congressional relations for Regions II, V and VI, Department of Housing and Urban Development. Prior to working for the Trump campaign, Barton was an office manager and, between 2013 and 2015, a “bartender/bar manager.”


●Christopher Hagan, a confidential assistant at the Agriculture Department. Before working on the Trump campaign, he was, between 2009 and 2015, a “cabana attendant” at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y.


●Nick Brusky, also a confidential assistant at the USDA. The Trump campaign worker previously drove a truck. He was a trustee in Butler Township, Ohio, at the same time, and, as Politico noted, his résumé lists coursework but no degree.

●David Matthews, yet another confidential assistant at the Agriculture Department, developed scented candles while also serving as a “legal receptionist” before joining the Trump campaign.

Some of the other “best” people Trump has hired are well known. Lynne Patton, HUD regional administrator, previously arranged Trump golf tournaments and arranged Eric Trump’s wedding, among other things. Callista Gingrich, just confirmed as ambassador to the Vatican, prepared for this by writing children’s books, singing in a church choir — and being married to Trump ally Newt Gingrich.


Others now in high office are less known: an office page, the author of an anti-Clinton book, a Christian-school librarian, a couple of real estate brokers and a landscaper. Many don’t appear to meet the educational qualifications for their positions.


Climate change 'will create world's biggest refugee crisis'

Matthew Taylor
Thursday 2 November 2017

Tens of millions of people will be forced from their homes by climate change in the next decade, creating the biggest refugee crisis the world has ever seen, according to a new report.

Senior US military and security experts have told the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) study that the number of climate refugees will dwarf those that have fled the Syrian conflict, bringing huge challenges to Europe.

“If Europe thinks they have a problem with migration today … wait 20 years,” said retired US military corps brigadier general Stephen Cheney. “See what happens when climate change drives people out of Africa – the Sahel [sub-Saharan area] especially – and we’re talking now not just one or two million, but 10 or 20 [million]. They are not going to south Africa, they are going across the Mediterranean.”


The report argues that climate change played a part in the build up to the Syrian war, with successive droughts causing 1.5 million people to migrate to the country’s cities between 2006 and 2011. Many of these people then had no reliable access to food, water or jobs.

“Climate change is the the unpredictable ingredient that, when added to existing social, economic and political tensions, has the potential to ignite violence and conflict with disastrous consequences,” said EJF executive director, Steve Trent.


Although the report highlights to growing impact of climate change on people in the Middle East and Africa, it says changing weather patterns – like the hurricanes that devastated parts of the US this year – prove richer nations are not immune from climate change.

But Trent said that although climate change undoubtedly posed an “existential threat to our world” it was not to late to take decisive action.

“By taking strong ambitious steps now to phase out greenhouse gas emissions and building an international legal mechanism to protect climate refugees we will protect the poorest and most vulnerable in our global society, build resilience, reap massive economic benefits and build a safe and secure future for our planet. Climate change will not wait. Neither can we. For climate refugees, tomorrow is too late.”

Five crucial points on tax reform

I suggest reading the whole article at the link below.

By Jay Bookman
November 2, 2017

1.) The GOP plan is predicated on the claim that American corporations are so overtaxed that they can no longer turn a sufficient profit or compete internationally, and that investors lack the incentive to invest. That’s the justification for dropping the current top corporate tax rate of 35 percent all the way down to 20 percent, with little effective effort to close loopholes.

That claim is pure, self-serving myth. Here’s the reality:

The reality is that since the turn of the millenium, corporate AFTER-TAX profits have quadrupled from already historic highs. To put it mildly, that does not suggest a corporate sector strangled by overtaxation.


2.) By their own admission, the Republican tax plan will increase the national debt by $1.5 trillion in the next decade. Nonpartisan analysts such as the Tax Policy Center put the number at more like $2.5 trillion. Those increases are over and above the substantial debt increases that are already baked into the nation’s financial cake, increases that Republicans have previously depicted as posing a serious, even existential threat to the American economy.


3.) The debt increase would be substantially worse if not for the $1.4 trillion that the GOP plan cuts over the next decade from Medicare and Medicaid, just as the baby-boom generation moves into its retirement years.


“Taxpayer groups in the bottom 95 percent of the income distribution would see modest tax cuts, averaging 1.2 percent of after-tax income or less,” predicts the Tax Policy Center. “The benefit would be largest for taxpayers in the top 1 percent (those making more than $730,000), who would see their after-tax income increase 8.5 percent.”

By 2027, the TPC estimates, the top 1 percent would be collecting 79.7 percent of the benefits of the tax cuts.


5.) This major tax reform is being handled in much the same fashion as the GOP’s attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. It has been written in secret, without the participation, input or knowledge of Democrats or even of most Republicans. There have been no hearings, no transparency, no outside input.



Emotional states discovered in fish

Child abuse documentary Hollywood 'didn't want you to see' goes viral

Russia organized 2 sides of a Texas protest and encouraged 'both sides to battle in the streets'

Book World to close leaving void for many small Wisconsin communities
“The national shift in the retail marketplace towards e-commerce has triggered the loss of vital mall anchor stores and a downward spiral in customer counts at Book World stores, reducing sales to a level that will no longer sustain the business,” he wrote.

US moves to end ban on new uranium mining near Grand Canyon

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed the repeal of a banking rule that would have allowed consumers to join together to sue their bank or credit card company to resolve financial disputes.

The company Trump keeps reveals him

A large group of U.S. states accused key players in the generic drug industry of a broad price-fixing conspiracy, moving on Tuesday to widen an earlier lawsuit to add many more drugmakers and medicines in an action that sent some company shares tumbling.

Justices on the high court don’t have to follow the same code of conduct as they do in lower courts. That needs to change.

Why the GOP believes in a decades-old tax myth

By Kai Ryssdal and Shaheen Ainpour
Nov. 1, 2017

Republican tax policy focuses on one central idea: If you cut taxes, the economy will grow. Now the man who helped write that doctrine says it's a myth. Bruce Bartlett, author of "The Truth Matters," was an economic policy adviser for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. And during the 1980s, he championed the idea that tax cuts would equal growth in the economy. In a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, Bartlett debunks the myth that, as he puts it, he helped create. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talks with Bartlett about the GOP tax myth and why it's lasted so long.

Kai Ryssdal: Do me a favor and remind us what the Republican tax myth is.

Bruce Bartlett: The biggest Republican tax myth is that we had vast prosperity in the 1980s that dwarfed the growth in any other time period and that was totally and exclusively the result of the 1981 tax cut. And this is just total mythology. Real economic growth in the 1980s was less than it was in the 1970s or the 1990s.

Ryssdal: And yet, now here we are, a generation or more later, and tax cuts are still, you write, the go-to solution for Republicans.

Bartlett: That's right. They believe in one-size-fits-all economics or "cookie cutter" economics, if you'd rather. There's one policy and one policy only to deal with any economic problem that ever comes up. And that is tax cuts for the rich.

Ryssdal: The theory being, of course, that if we cut taxes on the rich and if we cut taxes on companies, that money will get out into the rest of the economy. Workers will get that $4,000 wage that the White House talks about and everything's going to be rosy.

Bartlett: Of course, this is just complete nonsense. I think in their heart of hearts they believe that only the wealthy really help the economy, and they believe that the wealthy just carry the rest of us on their backs, that we're all worthless, and only the Charles Kochs and Robert Mercers of the world really add economic value to the economy, and, of course, this is just utterly ridiculous.


Ryssdal: What about this idea that you hear from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin quite a bit and also Gary Cohn that these tax cuts are going to pay for themselves with economic growth?

Bartlett: No tax cut in history has ever done that. We just had a recent example in the state of Kansas where Arthur Laffer promised that the huge tax cut that the Republicans enacted would pay for itself. And of course it did not. Revenues hemorrhaged and the first reaction that Republicans had, they said, "we must cut spending for education, for the poor, for roads for many many other programs that that are popular with voters. And eventually they did finally have to reverse themselves. I think that pretty much the same thing is going to happen at the federal level.

Ryssdal: Myths become myths because they endure for a very long time. Why do you think this Republican tax myth has lasted so long?

Bartlett: I think part of it is simple ignorance. People don't know history. But, a part of it is that they believe what they want to believe. They want to believe that taxes are too high. I mean, Donald Trump constantly says we're the highest taxed nation on Earth, which is just a rank lie. I don't think he's confused. He's been told by his own staff on many occasions that that is absolutely not true. But he keeps saying it because unfortunately there are a lot of people in his party who simply want to believe that, and they don't care whether it's true or not.

Georgia attorney general quits defense in server wiping case

Nov. 1, 2017

The Georgia attorney general’s office will no longer represent the state’s top elections official in an elections integrity lawsuit filed three days before a crucial computer server was quietly wiped clean.

The lawsuit aims to force Georgia to retire its antiquated and heavily questioned touchscreen election technology, which does not provide an auditable paper trail.

The server in question was a statewide staging location for key election-related data. It made headlines in June after a security expert disclosed a gaping security hole that wasn’t fixed for six months after he first reported it to election authorities. Personal data was exposed for Georgia’s 6.7 million voters, as were passwords used by county officials to access files.


The assistant state attorney general handling the case, Cristina Correia, notified the court and participating attorneys Wednesday that her office was withdrawing from the case, according to an email obtained by The Associated Press. Spokeswoman Katelyn McCreary offered no explanation and said she couldn’t comment “on pending matters.”

Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the main defendant, is running for governor in 2018 and his campaign said in a statement emailed to the AP that the attorney general’s office has a conflict of interest and cannot represent either Kemp’s office or the state elections board. Campaign spokesman Ryan Mahoney said in a text message that the conflict stems from “too many co defendants with potential differences in strategy, approach, etc.”

The secretary of state’s office had said in an earlier statement that the law firm of former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes would represent Kemp and other state election officials. It made no mention of a conflict of interest.


The server’s data was destroyed July 7 by technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which runs the state’s election system, Correia informed attorneys in the case in an Oct. 18 email. Twelve days earlier, she had informed the same group of attorneys that the data on the server was wiped on March 17, the same day it was returned to the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University by the FBI after a probe into the security incident. No one at the state attorney general’s office has explained Correia’s source for the apparently erroneous information on timing. The AP obtained both emails.


KSU email records obtained by the AP last week in an open records request say the server data was destroyed July 7.

The erased hard drives are central to the lawsuit because they could have revealed whether Georgia’s most recent elections were compromised by hackers. Russian interference in U.S. politics, including attempts to penetrate voting systems, has been an acute national preoccupation since last year.

It’s not clear who ordered the server’s data irretrievably erased.

Kemp has denied ordering the data destruction or knowing about it in advance. His office’s general counsel issued a two-page report Monday claiming Kennesaw State officials followed “standard IT practices” in wiping the server that “were not undertaken to delete evidence.” It said it first learned of the wiping of the main election server on Oct. 24, when the AP first asked about it.

In a public statement on the server wiping two days later, Kemp’s office decried the KSU’s wiping of the server as reckless, inexcusable and inept.