Josh Marshall: On Trump and Russia, It's Probably A Lot Worse Than We Thought (TPM)
I see no plausible explanation for this latest revelation other than President Trump wanting to discuss things with President Putin that he does not want any other American citizen to hear. I know that sounds ominous and even hyperbolic. But what is the alternative explanation - when all the other relevant evidence is considered? I can't see any.
Jeffrey Young: 32 Million More Would Be Uninsured Under The Latest Senate Health Care Bill (Huffington Post)
And insurance premiums would double over the next decade.
Kevin Drum: Republican Game-Playing Is Responsible for Three-Quarters of 2018 Obamacare Rate Increases (Mother Jones)
It looks like health insurance rates will go up a lot next year, but not because medical inflation is high or because insurers aren't making money under Obamacare. Mostly it's because insurers are nervous about whether they're going to lose the CSR subsidies that are part of Obamacare. President Trump has deliberately chosen to keep this dangling, so insurers have to raise their rate requests in case he decides to stop paying it.
Josh Marshall: Fantasies of Control (TPM)
I was discussing with a friend this morning that much of the drama and chaos of the first months of the Trump administration is explained by a simple fact: President Trump thinks running the US government is essentially like running his private family business in which people work for him (it's a very personalized operation) and people have to do what he says. That's not how the US government works at all. It's not even how the executive branch runs.
Hillary Kelly: Why Do We Still Root for Arya Stark? (Slate)
The first time we saw Arya Stark, she was a tomboy begging to fight in the Winterfell courtyard, disgusted by her sister's princess fantasies. Back then, she was a sulky, rambunctious little thing whose greatest delight was the gift of a pint-sized sword to call her own. When we first see Arya in the cold open of the Game of Thrones season-seven premiere, she has just slit Walder Frey's throat, baked a few of his sons into a pie, and poisoned every man in House Frey in one fell swoop. Talk about a teen gone wild.
Tom Danehy: Death has been way too busy in Tom's world lately (Tucson Weekly)
Death is that humorless clown that shows up at your party uninvited and is always-ALWAYS-the last one to leave.
Paul Cocozza: "Forget George Eliot: now it's male authors disguising their sex to sell more books" (The Guardian)
The writer behind the much-hyped debut novel Final Girls is in fact called Todd Ritter - but he's far from the first man to write under an ambiguous name.
Lucy Mangan is all for platonic friendships: "Men and women can be left alone together" (Stylist)
People reacted with derision - loud and long - when American vice president Mike Pence said he refused to have dinner alone with any woman other than his wife. Now it turns out that far from being an aberration, he has company. A recent survey by The New York Times discovered that the majority of Americans were cautious about having dinner or a drink with a member of the opposite sex on his/her own.
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
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David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
Janet shared the link below. Love the thought of this bigot plastering rainbows on everything he owns. Let the fun begin:
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
WASHINGTON WITHOUT JOHN.
THE LAST STRAW!
LOVE IN THE HOT AFTERNOON.
UNMITIGATED EVIL MEETS UNMITIGATED GOOD.
A MAN OF EXTRAORDINARY EVIL!
BUT THIS TIME, IT WAS DIFFERENT.
DIE FOTHER MUCKERS!
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and seasonal.
White House Supports FCC Roll Back Of Rules
The White House offered its support Tuesday to the proposal of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai (R-Comcast) to do away with Obama-era net neutrality protections.
"We support the FCC chair's efforts to review and consider rolling back these rules and believe that the best way to get fair rules for everyone is for Congress to take action and create regulatory and economic certainty," deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday.
The comments from Huckabee Sanders come one day after the public comment period on the order to roll back net neutrality rules ended. The "Restoring Internet Order" plan, proposed by Donald Trump (R-Crooked) appointee Ajit Pai, received nearly 10 million comments in total including 4.7 million in the last 30 days.
A recent poll conducted Freedman Consulting found Americans overwhelmingly support current net neutrality protections. The poll found 77 percent of Americans-including 73 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Democrats, and 76 percent of independents-want to keep net neutrality protections. More than eight in 10-81 percent- of people said ISPs should not be able to block websites, throttle or slow connections, or offer paid prioritization.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Criss Angel is a driven man - in both senses of the word.
Right now, he's talking as he's being driven to the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas where for the past year he's performed his latest sell-out show "Mindfreak Live!" The new immersive spectacle - based on the wildly successful touring version, which played to sold-out houses across the country - replaced the critically acclaimed "Criss Angel Believe," and its star also serves as writer, director, illusion designer and executive producer. "I'm a workaholic and driven to keep raising the bar," he says happily.
Despite his punishing schedule - he performs nightly, Wednesday through Sunday, with eight to 10 shows per week - and the need to psych himself up for the demanding evening ahead, Angel is relaxed as he reminisces about the first time he walked up and down the Hollywood Walk of Fame as a young, relatively unknown magician. He'll be receiving a star of his own July 20.
"I'll never forget seeing Houdini's star, and thinking, 'Wow, I wonder if I'll ever get one?' It was like this unattainable dream back then, and now it's coming true," he says.
The group that owns the theme park Ark Encounters have sold the park to their nonprofit affiliates for 10 dollars to avoid paying taxes, according to a report Monday by the Lexington Herald-Leader
Ark Encounter LLC sold the park's land on June 28 to its nonprofit affiliate, Crosswater Canyon, for ten dollars, just a day before the city sent a letter rejecting the organization's request to be exempted from a new safety tax because of its religious affiliation.
By selling the land to its nonprofit counterpart, the group has claimed that the park is a non-profit establishment and not subject to the new safety tax passed by city officials. The safety tax, if implemented by the city, would collect 50 cents of every entry ticket sold on $40 adult tickets and $28 children's tickets.
Ark Encounter has, up to this point, identified themselves legally as a for-profit business in order to receive a number of tax incentives from the city. When city officials voted to impose the 50-cent safety tax, the theme-park argued that the property should be exempt because they run a non-profit ministry.
The amusement park is owned by the infamous creationist, Ken Ham, who owns both Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum. Ham's organization sold the land one day before Williamstown city attorney, Jeffrey Shipp, sent a letter to the organization rejecting its request to be exempted from a new safety tax.
'Made in America Week'
Donald Trump's (R-Corrupt) Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida has asked permission to hire 70 foreign workers this fall, attesting - in the middle of the White House's "Made in America Week" - that it cannot find qualified Americans to serve as cooks, waiters and housekeepers.
Those requests were made to the Department of Labor in recent days and posted online Thursday. The for-profit club, where Trump spent numerous weekends this spring, asked permission to hire 15 housekeepers and 35 waiters.
In addition, Trump's golf club in nearby Jupiter, Fla. asked permission to hire six foreign workers as cooks. The applications to the Department of Labor are a first step in the process of applying for H-2B visas, which would allow the clubs to bring in foreigners for temporary work between October and next May.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration said it would expand the number of H-2B visas available nationwide this year by 15,000, using power granted by Congress to go beyond the statutory cap of 66,000 per year. This category of visas are given to foreign workers filling temporary jobs outside the agriculture industry, in fields like construction, fishing and tourism.
Now, the Labor Department - which reports to Trump - must make decisions that will affect two for-profit business that the president still owns.
DOJ Expected To Drop Emissions Penalty
The U.S. Justice Department is expected to announce this week it is dropping a requirement that Harley-Davidson Inc spend $3 million to reduce air pollution as part of a settlement the Obama administration announced in August, sources briefed on the matter said.
Last year, the Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker agreed to pay a $12 million civil fine and stop selling illegal after-market devices that cause its vehicles to emit too much pollution as part of a federal court consent decree. It also agreed to spend about $3 million and enter into an agreement with the American Lung Association of the Northeast to retrofit or replace wood-burning appliances with cleaner stoves.
The consent decree has not been finalized by a federal court. Last month, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions barred legal settlements in federal investigations that include donating funds to community organizations or other third-party groups, rather than paying those directly harmed by the wrongdoing or involved in the cases.
The expected reversal marks the first time the Trump administration has rejected part of an Obama administration Justice Department vehicle emissions settlement. It comes as some members of Congress and conservative legal groups have said the funds in the Harley-Davidson settlement and other cases should go to taxpayers and not an outside group.
The Justice Department plans to refile the proposed consent decree without the $3 million mitigation project. The revised decree will need to be approved by a federal judge in Washington.
On Tuesday June 20 Mohammed bin Nayef, a powerful figure in Saudi Arabia's security apparatus for the past two decades and the next in line to the throne, was summoned to meet King Salman bin Abdulaziz on the fourth floor of the royal palace in Mecca.
There, according to a source close to MbN, as he is known, the king ordered him to step aside in favour of the king's favourite son, Mohammed bin Salman. The reason: an addiction to painkilling drugs was clouding MbN's judgment.
The king came to meet MbN and they were alone in the room. He told him: 'I want you to step down, you didn't listen to the advice to get treatment for your addiction which dangerously affects your decisions'," said the source close to MbN.
The new details about the extraordinary meeting between the king and MbN that touched off the de facto palace coup help to explain the events that are reshaping the leadership of the world's biggest oil exporting nation.
Sources with knowledge of the situation said however that the king was determined to elevate his son to be heir to the throne and used MbN's drug problem as a pretext to push him aside.
'Go Back To Africa'
The campaign for mayoral election of St. Petersburg, Florida, took an ugly turn when candidate Paul Congemi attacked members of the Uhuru movement and their representative, Jesse Nevel, during a debate Tuesday, telling them to "go back to Africa."
This outburst came during a mayoral debate after assertions were made that Congemi was a "non-factor" in the election, which is scheduled for Nov. 7. The primary election is Aug. 29.
"My advice to you, if you don't like it here in America, planes leave every hour from Tampa airport. Go back to Africa. Go back to Africa. Go back!" Congemi said.
Meanwhile, in January, Congemi was charged with felony abuse after his 87-year-old mother was admitted in an intensive care for bed sores. At that time, Congemi refused to talk about it but insisted the charge of neglecting his mother would not stop him from running for mayor, a report said.
However, the incident in January was not the first time Congemi was in trouble with the law. During his 2009 race, he berated police officers responding to a complaint that he was swearing at customers at a KFC store. Congemi warned the cops not to touch him or else he would fire them when he become the mayor. Later, at a political forum, Congemi clarified that firing the officers wouldn 't have been an abuse of power, but an act of "justice."
Notorious Jewel Thief
A notorious jewel thief with an illicit career spanning six decades has been caught stealing again, but she wasn't after sparkly gems this time, police near Atlanta say.
Doris Payne, 86, was arrested at a Walmart store around 5 p.m. Monday and charged with shoplifting $86.22 worth of merchandise, according to a report from Chamblee police. The charge is a misdemeanor.
Payne was the subject of a 2013 documentary film, "The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne," that detailed her feats. In an interview with The Associated Press last year, she casually acknowledged, "I was a thief." She's well-known in fine-jewelry circles, and authorities say she has pocketed expensive jewels from stores around the world.
Her attorney, Drew Findling, noted that this case is different.
"This is a sharp contrast to all the cases in the past. We're not talking about high-end jewelry," he said. "We're talking about what an 86-year-old woman needs to survive on a day-to-day basis, food supplies and medical supplies."
Brand To Survive
The RadioShack brand will live on after a family office already owed $23 million by the bankrupt U.S. electronics chain agreed to assume ownership of it, as no other buyers submitted better bids this week, people familiar with the matter said.
An affiliate of Kensington Capital Holdings, a family office based in the suburbs of Boston, will acquire RadioShack's intellectual property after it submitted a $15 million bid, the people said on Wednesday.
Kensington had made a $23 million loan to RadioShack after it exited its first bankruptcy two years ago, and had secured a deal with U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Corp to co-brand 1,400 stores.
The deadline for other bidders to make offers was Tuesday, but no better proposals were received, the people said.
Kensington plans to license the 96-year-old brand back to General Wireless, the bankrupt company that does business as RadioShack, the people said. That company is currently working out its bankruptcy plan in court.
Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, who overcame a troubled childhood to top the charts with an angry but melodic brand of metal, was found dead Thursday in an apparent suicide. He was 41.
Just hours before his death, Linkin Park had released a video for its latest single, "Talking To Myself," whose lyrics took on a new meaning.
The song appears to take the vantage point of Bennington's wife, Talinda Ann Bentley, as she begs him to control his substance abuse.
Bennington -- who had six children from two marriages -- had wrestled with alcohol and drugs since he was a pre-teenager and he coped with his parents' divorce.
Born and raised in Arizona, Bennington said that a family friend abused him starting at the age of seven.
He turned his rage into music with a growling metal voice. Linkin Park became one of the leading forces in the wave of so-called nu metal which incorporated pop structures and hip-hop, with Mike Shinoda often rapping in between Bennington's vocals.
Bennington's start with Linkin Park sounded like the lore of an earlier era. After unsuccessfully trying to make his mark musically in his native Phoenix, a talent scout heard his voice and arranged an audition in Los Angeles with Linkin Park.
The band quickly found a chemistry with Bennington despite his very different background from Shinoda, a trained classical pianist with a degree in graphic design.
The band, which had floundered before Bennington's hiring, sealed a record deal with leading label Warner and its debut, "Hybrid Theory," became the top-selling album in the United States in 2001.
Linkin Park has won two Grammys -- including in a rap category for the collaboration "Numb/Encore" with Jay-Z.
Bennington in 2013 briefly joined as the frontman of leading grunge act Stone Temple Pilots, filling in for Scott Weiland who died of an overdose shortly afterward.
Bennington had spoken of being moved by the death in May of another grunge great, Chris Cornell, the singer of Soundgarden.
Linkin Park was scheduled to start a tour next week which would include a performance at New York's Citi Field baseball stadium alongside other major acts from the band's generation including Blink-182 and the Wu-Tang Clan.