Josh Marshall: "Remember: Michael Cohen Is a Very Rich Dude" (TPM)
As I've described before, I was very surprised to learn this at first. I thought he was just Trump's bully lawyer who yells at people on TV. But Cohen has extensive business interests across real estate, taxis and at least in the past casino boats and business interests in Ukraine.
Paul Krugman: "Trump's Negative Protection Racket (Wonkish)" (NY Times Blog)
What economic thinking went into the Trump tariffs announced last week? None at all. In fact, the economists ("economists"?) who currently have his ear seem to regard their job as being to confirm the wisdom of whatever he decides to do. Peter Navarro: "My function, really, as an economist is to try to provide the underlying analytics that confirm his intuition. And his intuition is always right in these matters." Translation: Navarro sees his role as that of a propagandist, not a source of independent advice.
Jeff Moehlis: Henry Rollins On the SOhO Soapbox (Nooshawk)
Henry Rollins: What distresses me the most is what I see coming up for the United States. In no specific order: DACA people and their future in this country. What the EPA is doing that will potentially toxify the country. What SCOTUS could potentially do to matters concerning LGBT matters, reproductive health rights and other matters. America's now dangerously uninformed, bellicose and isolationist foreign policy. What should be done? Educate the electorate with the same interest given to funding the military, hang in there for another generation and hope for the best.
Hadley Freeman: There's one hero of Entebbe who deserves his own film. I remember him well (The Guardian)
Michel Cojot-Goldberg acted as go-between for the hijackers and passengers, and his actions saved almost all the hostages.
Strange tales of the vanished Oscars (BBC)
What happens to the statuette after the Academy Awards? Most sit comfortably at the winner's home - often in the toilet. But not all, writes Christian Blauvelt.
Neil Sinyard: "Tom Jones: Tomorrow Do Thy Worst" (Criterion)
Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call today his own;
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
Garrison Keillor: Press firmly and I'll go away
The beauty of Facebook, to my way of thinking, is the ability to unfriend people and make them disappear from your life. I wish we had a button on the steering wheel of our car that would do that. The people in the red car waiting to enter the parking lot at the concert Sunday who didn't understand the basic principle of Taking Turns: one click and they go back where they came from.
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Michelle in AZ
We are all only temporarily able bodied.
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
Marc's Guide to Curing Cancer
So far so good on beating cancer for now. I'm doing fine. At the end of the month I'll be 16 months into an 8 month mean lifespan. And yesterday I went on a 7 mile hike and managed to keep up with the hiking group I was with. So, doing something right.
Still waiting for future test results and should see things headed in the right direction. I can say that it's not likely that anything dire happens in the short term so that means that I should have time to make several more attempts at this. So even if it doesn't work the first time there are a lot of variations to try. So if there's bad news it will help me pick the next radiation target.
I have written a "how to" guide for oncologists to perform the treatment that I got. I'm convinced that I'm definitely onto something and whether it works for me or not isn't the definitive test. I know if other people tried this that it would work for some of them, and if they improve it that it will work for a lot of them.
The guide is quite detailed and any doctor reading this can understand the procedure at every level. I also go into detail as to how it works, how I figured it out, and variations and improvements that could be tried to enhance it. I also introduce new ways to look at the problem. There is a lot of room for improvement and I think that doctors reading it will see what I'm talking about and want to build on it. And it's written so that if you're not a doctor you can still follow it. It also has a personal story revealing that I'm the class clown of cancer support group. I give great interviews and I look pretty hot in a lab coat.
So, feel free to read this and see what I'm talking about. But if any of you want to help then pass this around to both doctors and cancer patients. I need some media coverage. I'm looking for as many eyeballs as possible to read these ideas. Even if this isn't the solution, it's definitely on the right track. After all, I did hike 7 miles yesterday. And this hiking group wasn't moving slow. So if this isn't working then, why am I still here?
I also see curing cancer as more of an engineering problem that a medical problem. So if you are good at solving problems and most of what you know about medicine was watching the Dr. House MD TV show, then you're at the level I was at when I started. So anyone can jump in and be part of the solution.
Here is a link to my guide: Oncologists Guide to Curing Cancer using Abscopal Effect
from that Mad Cat, JD
TRUMPS PROXY WAR.
PUTIN PLAYS HARDBALL!
VLADIMIR BLOWS IT.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Nearly an inch of rain - and more later in the week.
U2 frontman Bono has apologised after claims emerged Sunday that workers at his ONE charity were subjected to a culture of abuse and bullying.
The Irish singer, 57, said he was "deeply sorry" and "furious" about the allegations, which appeared in The Mail on Sunday newspaper, and pledged to meet victims to apologise in person.
The British tabloid detailed a string of incidents, including claims from a married woman who said she was demoted after refusing to have sex with a Tanzanian member of parliament.
"We are all deeply sorry. I hate bullying, can't stand it," Bono said in a statement. "The poorest people in the poorest places being bullied by their circumstance is the reason we set up ONE.
"So to discover last November that there were serious and multiple allegations of bullying in our office in Johannesburg left me and the ONE board reeling and furious."
In His Image
More than a year into his presidency, Donald Trump (R-Crooked) is making the nation's courts look a lot more like him: white, male and straight.
To date, Trump has nominated 87 people to be judges with lifetime tenure on U.S. district courts, circuit courts or the Supreme Court. Eighty of them are white, or nearly 92 percent. One is black, one is Latino and five are Asian or Pacific American. He hasn't nominated any Native American judges.
The president also keeps nominating men. Sixty-seven of his court picks are male, compared to 20 who are female.
Trump hasn't nominated any openly LGBTQ people to the federal courts.
It's even more apparent how homogenous Trump's picks are when compared to his recent predecessors. A Congressional Research Service analysis looked at the first 26 district and circuit court nominees from the last four presidents: Bill Clinton's were 73 percent white, George W. Bush's were 81 percent white, Barack Obama's were 46 percent white, and Trump's were 96 percent white.
Still In Effect
5,000 Percent Drug Price Hike
Martin "Pharma Bro" Shkreli was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison and a $75,000 fine after he was found guilty of defrauding his investors last year.
Shkreli, however, is best known for an affront to the American public: hiking up the price of the lifesaving drug Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent in September 2015.
In a Brooklyn courtroom during his sentence hearing, Shkreli shed tears and appeared to show remorse for his past. But two and a half years after the out-of-pocket cost of Daraprim skyrocketed, the price hasn't budged, although the company has tried to make it less expensive for hospitals.
Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager and entrepreneur, earned his unflattering nickname by raising the cost of the drug from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill. After a Bloomberg reporter suggested it cost around $1 to make, Shkreli acknowledged the drug cost "very little money" to make.
While relatively few people need to use Daraprim, there remains no generic alternative to the drug for low-income patients.
5,000 Percent Drug Price Hike
Scientology Poised to Launch
The Church of Scientology is getting its own TV network.
The controversial group, headed by David Miscavige, is poised to launch a channel on DirectTV and platforms Apple TV and Roku on Monday, March 12.
Evidence of the network is already on Apple's app store, where "Scientology TV" is available for download from The Church of Scientology International. Running the app reveals a placeholder announcement that content will officially launch at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. P.T. There's also a newly launched Twitter account, with first updates coming early Sunday morning, pointing to a website that doesn't yet appear to be up and running. Request for comment from the Church of Scientology was not immediately returned, but a DirecTV spokesperson confirmed the Monday launch. A promo video indicates the network will occupy the satellite service's channel 320 (currently infomercials.)
Rumblings about a Scientology network seemed to gain heat in early 2017, with several rumors about the impending launch running on the website of longtime Scientology chronicler Tony Ortega. A Sunday post about the looming launch made mention of a Miami billboard plugging the network.
The likelihood of some Scientology outlet seemed like an inevitability in 2016 when the church announced the launch of its own studio with Scientology Media Productions. A network was initially said to be launching on Spectrum, but the cable company denied such plans.
Dirty Dozen Democrats
Perhaps it's not so surprising that the Democratic establishment hasn't learned the lessons of its failure. In an economy hollowed out by the Great Recession, legacy Democrats lurch, occasionally, in a populist direction before retreating to where they are most comfortable: doing favors for the rich in exchange for campaign donations.
This week, it became clear again Democrats have not truly internalized 2016. Democrats in the Senate joined the Republican majority to vote in favour of gutting key banking regulations passed in the wake of the 2008 crash, leaving dissenters like Elizabeth Warren to howl into the wind.
Beyond the immorality of the votes, they represented poor politics - a concession to the banking lobby in exchange for further distance from the beating heart of the party.
"I hope that our bipartisan work can rub off on the rest of Congress so we can break through the partisan gridlock that has plagued Washington for too long," said Jon Tester, one of the moderate Democrats who worked on the legislation.
Tester was one of 12 Democrats to help drive what will soon amount to the biggest legislative change to banking industry oversight since Democrats under Barack Obama enacted the Dodd-Frank Act, the historic 2010 law that introduced many new rules on lenders. Congress is now poised to shrink the number of big banks that are subject to scrutiny designed to assess their ability to withstand financial shocks.
Citing Coal Execs And Crank Bloggers
Top officials at the Department of the Interior cited former coal executives and crank bloggers to challenge the overwhelming evidence of the threat posed by man-made climate change, according to department emails released through a Freedom of Information Act request by former Interior scientist Joel Clement.
On Sept. 26, Indur Goklany, a science and technology policy analyst at the Interior Department, cited a study briefing from a group called CO2Science, highlighting a selective finding that some plankton communities may benefit from increased levels of carbon dioxide, which causes the oceans to acidify.
CO2Science is the shortened nickname for the Arizona-based Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, an oil-funded think tank run by former Peabody Energy executive Craig Idso. Rebekah and Robert Mercer, the hedge fund billionaires who bankrolled candidate Donald Trump's presidential campaign and funded the right-wing news site Breitbart, donated $125,000 to the organization last year.
On Aug. 14, Goklany - whose degrees are in electrical engineering, according to his website - sent an email to Doug Domenech, the assistant secretary for insular areas at Interior, which handles U.S. island territories like Guam. In the email, Goklany rejected data in a New York Times story detailing the threat Guam faces from climate change, claiming it "doesn't show any acceleration in sea level rise due to man-made global warming or whatever."
He then linked to a "very good article" from "Watts Up With That," a blog run by former television meteorologist Anthony Watts that promotes doubt over the existence and causes of climate change. The article - a diatribe republished from another climate change denier website and written by Kip Hansen, a blogger whose primary concern appears to be challenging New York Times stories about climate change - suggests, without evidence, that massive coral reef bleaching is a natural phenomenon, and states that the existence of mountains on Guam makes sea level rise unconcerning.
The board of scientists advising the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not met in six months, in part due to a paperwork error.
The 45 members of the group - who last met in August 2017 - evaluate the science the EPA uses to craft policy, per the US Congress - but they have not even had conference calls or any votes on matters since the last meeting since there were not enough of them to reach a quorum.
Michael Honeycutt, who heads the board for the EPA, blamed the delay on human resources bureaucracy in the federal government. He said the official start date for several of the members was 18 February but their paperwork had not been processed.
"They have had to onboard a larger number this time than they have in the past, but the HR people have just been working furiously because there is a lot of paperwork you have to fill out about all your stock holdings, just to make sure they can tell you 'Yes, you can participate in this, but you can't participate in that,'" he told E&E News.
Mr Pruitt may also be waiting for September 2018, when several the standard three-year contracts signed by scientists under the previous administration will expire, opening the door for him to fill the void with more industry-aligned experts.
Federal officials are advising a New Jersey city to help it create a ferry service and rebuild a pier that are next to a beachfront resort co-owned by senior White House adviser and Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, The Associated Press reported.
It's the latest in a number of troubling conflict-of-interest issues highlighting Kushner's dual role as a White House official and a private businessman.
The ferry project, which would help bring New Yorkers practically to the doorstep of the resort, could boost the value of the 269 condos, which are currently selling for up to $1.9 million each, a former local official told AP, which discovered the connection between the ferry proposal and the Kushner property.
The Federal Transit Administration had already given the Jersey Shore city of Long Branch $3.34 million in 2008 to redevelop a fishing pier. But now local leaders are talking with the federal officials about gaining more funds to create the ferry service, and the FTA appears to support the plan, according to the AP.
Kushner resigned as CEO of his family's real estate company, Kushner Companies, but retains major investments in a number of properties. According to his latest financial disclosure in December, he still owns part of the Jersey Shore resort.
Weekend Box Office
"Black Panther" took the No. 1 spot at the North American box office with $41.1 million according to studio estimates Sunday, leaving another newcomer in its wake. The Marvel and Disney phenomenon crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide this weekend and became the 7th highest grossing domestic release with $562 million. Not accounting for inflation, it's now passed "The Dark Knight."
With a marketplace still dominated by "Black Panther," Disney faced some stiff competition from its own studio in launching Ava DuVernay's adaption of "A Wrinkle in Time," which opened in second place with $33.3 million from 3,980 locations. The PG-rated film, which cost around $103 million to produce and stars Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, received mixed reviews from critics (it's currently at a "rotten" 44 percent on RottenTomatoes) and audiences who gave it a B CinemaScore.
The new horror film "The Strangers: Prey At Night," with Christina Hendricks, took third place with $10.5 million. The Jennifer Lawrence thriller "Red Sparrow" landed in fourth in its second weekend with $8.2 million and the comedy "Game Night" placed fifth with $7.9 million in weekend three.
Hardly any of the new releases, which also included the thriller "The Hurricane Heist" (8th place, $3.2 million) and the dark action comedy "Gringo," (11th place, $2.6 million) were well-reviewed going into the weekend, save for the limited release independents like "Thoroughbreds," which made $1.2 million from 549 locations, and Armando Iannucci's "The Death of Stalin," which opened in four theaters to $181,000.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1."Black Panther," $41.1 million ($100 million international).
2."A Wrinkle in Time," $33.3 million ($6.3 million international).
3."The Strangers: Prey At Night," $10.5 million ($140,000 international).
4."Red Sparrow," $8.2 million ($15.7 million international).
5."Game Night," $7.9 million ($5.4 million international).
6."Peter Rabbit," $6.8 million ($4.8 million international).
7."Death Wish," $6.6 million ($3 million international).
8."The Hurricane Heist," $3.2 million ($1.9 million international).
9."Annihilation," $3.2 million.
10."Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," $2.8 million.