Paul Krugman: Varieties of Voodoo (NY Times Column)
Bernie Sanders needs to get real about his economic program
Paul Krugman: Wonkery has a Well-Known Liberal Bias (NY Times Blog)
But what if the political left starts behaving like the political right, making support for implausible claims a litmus test of loyalty, declaring that anyone raising hard questions is ipso facto corrupt? That would become very uncomfortable, to say the least.
Matthew Yglesias: "Top Democratic economists don't think much of Bernienomics. He doesn't care."(Vox)
Four former top economists in Democratic administrations signed a letter taking Bernie Sanders's campaign to task for touting a document by University of Massachusetts economist Gerald Friedman that purports to show that Sanders's policies would boost the American growth rate to more than 5 percent.
Robert Evans: 4 Political Myths Destroyed By The 2016 Election (Cracked)
So let's grab a few of those ridiculous myths by their underwear and wedgie that shit out of existence.
Peter Bradshaw: Chronic review - a cool, calm look at death and the naked human body (The Guardian)
Tim Roth gives possibly the performance of his career in this transgressive and candid film, playing a home care nurse who confronts our mortality head on.
Le Petit Chef (YouTube)
The world's smallest chef turns your plate into a projected grill. Bon appétit!
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
David Bruce's Smashwords Page
David Bruce's Blog
David Bruce's Lulu Storefront
David Bruce's Apple iBookstore
David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
David E Suggests
London vs Paris
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
DON'T BREATH THE GLASS!
INSANITY NOW! INSANITY FOREVER!
FEEL THE BERN!
WINGNUT PLAYING NOOKIE?
HOW "MEN OF GOD" EXECUTE WOMEN.
EXXON'S 'SHELL' GAME!
A 'BROWN SHIRT' MEET UP.
R.I.P. HARPER LEE.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and seasonal.
Watching tearfully from a courtroom audience, pop star Kesha lost a bid Friday to be freed from her contract with a top record producer she says drugged, sexually abused and psychologically tormented her.
But the ruling doesn't end the platinum-selling singer's clash with hitmaker Dr. Luke, who denies her claims and says she's smearing him to try to shirk her contract. Friday's decision wasn't the final word on their court fight in New York, to say nothing of related lawsuits in California and Tennessee.
The dispute is a strikingly personal fight in an industry with a long history of strife between artists and those who work with them.
"I cannot work with this monster," Kesha said in a sworn statement in August that accused Dr. Luke of raping her a decade ago after giving her a pill that knocked her out, browbeating her to lose weight to the point where she didn't eat solid food for eight days, and holding her career hostage because she spoke up.
But Dr. Luke and his attorneys say the singer and her camp are trying to pressure him into letting her out of her contract.
43 Years In Solitary Confinement
A former Black Panther activist who spent a record 43 years in solitary confinement was freed from a US prison Friday after decades of legal battles to prove his innocence.
Albert Woodfox is the last of the "Angola Three" activists to taste freedom in a case which provoked outrage among rights groups.
A federal judge had ordered Woodfox's unconditional release in June in a strongly-worded ruling that barred any further trial on charges of murdering prison guard Brent Miller.
Woodfox twice managed to overturn his conviction for the crime, but Louisiana's attorney general had been determined to pursue a third trial and managed to bar Woodfox's release on appeal.
The case of the Angola Three has brought attention to the psychological toll of solitary confinement, which typically means being locked in a tiny cell for 23 hours a day.
Official To Retire
A senior Texas health official who co-authored a report that criticized the state's funding cuts to Planned Parenthood for reducing access to reproductive healthcare will retire from his post next month, a Texas commission said on Friday.
Rick Allgeyer, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's director of research, faced criticism from the state's Republican leaders over the report published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine this month. The report said state funding cuts to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates had an adverse effect on family planning for lower-income people.
In 2011, the Texas state legislature cut Planned Parenthood out of one family-planning program and revamped the way another program hands out funds, placing it and other private clinics at the bottom of the list.
Top Texas political leaders have said after cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood that the state has been able to rebuild its safety net.
Independent health experts dispute the claim, saying Texas still has a long way to go before it can provide the level of service it did when Planned Parenthood was an integral part of its family planning efforts.
Suing Planned Parenthood
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's (R-Sock Puppet) administration is asking a judge to penalize a Louisville Planned Parenthood facility for performing abortions without a license.
Bevin, a staunchly anti-
abortion choice Republican, ordered abortions halted at the downtown facility after learning last month that it was performing the procedures. Bevin was outraged over the news, saying the facility has shown "brazen disregard" for the law.
Planned Parenthood says it got approval to begin performing abortions before former Gov. Steve Beshear's administration left office in December.
The state's Cabinet for Health and Family Services sued Thursday in Jefferson County Circuit Court, seeking nearly $700,000 in fines against Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which is based in Indianapolis.
The lawsuit said the facility began performing abortions Dec. 3, and performed 23 before Bevin halted them Jan. 28. Lawyers for the cabinet wrote in the suit that some materials submitted with Planned Parenthood's application were a "complete sham" and the cabinet's former inspector general, Maryellen Mynear, was a "sympathetic advocate willing to ignore law."
Demands Money Back
Bill Cosby's legal and public-relations strategy took a sharp turn this week with word that he has sued the accuser in a criminal sexual-assault case against him for talking to police.
Cosby wants accuser Andrea Constand to return the money he paid her to settle her 2005 civil lawsuit because she sat for an interview last year with police who reopened the case. Cosby said that violates the confidentiality agreement she signed to not talk about the case.
Criminal defense lawyer David Walker, who is not involved in the case, has followed Cosby's fall from grace and said the TV star's strategy "makes him look like a bully."
"(He's thinking), 'I paid her to be quiet, and now she's not being quiet, so now I'm going to sue her, now I'm going to harass her,'" Walker said. "I can't see anything positive that comes from it."
The suit said Constand had no legal duty to cooperate with Pennsylvania authorities because she lives in Canada. The interviews she and her mother gave to investigators last year were therefore "voluntary" and violated the settlement terms, the suit said.
Donor Stops Sponsoring Events
A major backer of Harvard Law School has stopped sponsoring student events after its donation helped pay for a discussion supporting an independent Palestine.
In 2012, the international law firm Milbank promised Harvard $1 million over five years to pay for scholarly conferences organized by law students. But after the money was used to support an event hosted by the student group Justice for Palestine, the law firm asked Harvard Law School to use the money for other purposes.
Calls to Milbank's New York headquarters weren't returned this week. In a statement, Harvard said Milbank was never involved in deciding which events to fund and that the school will now pay for student events with other resources.
Harvard says Milbank wanted to "avoid creating any misimpressions that the firm endorses the viewpoints expressed by any particular student organization or journal," according to the statement, provided by law school spokesman Robb London.
In October, students in Justice for Palestine hosted a talk examining what they say is a movement to suppress advocates of an independent Palestine. Harvard had previously awarded the group $2,000 to hold events throughout the semester using the Milbank donation. The group says it spent about $500 for pizza at the fall discussion.
Doubles Down On H8
Philippine boxing great Manny Pacquiao doubled down Friday over gay slurs that have tarnished his reputation and cost him millions in endorsements, insisting God was on his side.
The eight-division world champion smiled and joked through a training session in his hometown of General Santos, then told reporters he had no intention of bowing to his critics.
"What I am saying is right. I mean I am just stating the truth, what the Bible says," said Pacquiao, 37.
Pacquiao, who converted from Catholicism to an evangelical Protestant faith late in his boxing career, ignited a global controversy this week when he described homosexuals as worse than animals.
It is, by far, the most heavily used herbicide in the country and-guess what?-the Food and Drug Administration has absolutely no idea how much of it actually ends up on the food you eat.
We're talking about the weed-killer glyphosate, more widely known by Monsanto's trade name for it, Roundup. Even as use of the herbicide has skyrocketed over the past 20 years, the FDA has never bothered to test for chemical residues of it on foods headed to market.
This week, the agency announced that it will finally start conducting such tests in the coming year. According to Civil Eats, which broke the news, "FDA officials dubbed the issue 'sensitive' and declined to provide details of the plan." Agency spokeswoman Lauren Sucher told the website the FDA "is now considering assignments for Fiscal Year 2016 to measure glyphosate in soybeans, corn, milk, and eggs, among other potential foods."
The bland bureaucratic-speak is likely no accident. It's more or less designed to obscure the fact that the FDA seriously-royally-screwed up on this one. After all, an agency chiefly responsible for ensuring the safety of our food supply to utterly fail to test for exposure to the single most widely used chemical pesticide is something like your local board of health inspecting restaurants but never setting foot into the kitchen. While it has long been billed as a safer alternative to a previous generation of agrochemicals, glyphosate has been attracting a lot more scrutiny as of late, particularly after the cancer-research arm of the World Health Organization declared the chemical a probable human carcinogen last year.
Bill Clears Senate
Kentucky's state Senate approved a bill Thursday that creates different marriage license forms for gay and straight couples, with one Republican senator saying any form that does not include the words "bride" and "groom" is disrespectful to traditional families.
The primary purpose of the legislation was to remove the names of county clerks from marriage licenses, a response to the controversy surrounding Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
But the Republican controlled Senate amended the bill as a way to show their support for traditional marriage. Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear changed the marriage license form last summer once same-sex marriages became legal, removing "bride" and "groom" and replacing it with "first party" and "second party."
Two Republicans voted against the bill_Julie Raque Adams of Louisville and Wil Schroder of Wilder- citing their wish to have one form. But others, including Democratic Sen. Gerald Neal of Louisville, said creating two marriage licenses is taking the state "down a path that has already been paved in this commonwealth that has a tendency to reinforce bigotry."
"Separate has never been equal," he said.
'Duck Dynasty' Delusion
Ted Cruz thinks "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson would make an excellent United Nations ambassador.
"Imagine for a second, Phil Robertson ambassador to the United Nations," Ted Cruz said Friday morning during a campaign rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where the reality star made an appearance.
"You know what? There is a reason why he terrifies the mainstream media. He says things you're not supposed to say. He actually remembers who we are as Americans," Cruz said of Robertson. "He speaks it with a joy. Not with anger, not with hatred - with a joy."
Twitter reaction on the Cruz/Robertson partnership seems polarized.
Harper Lee died peacefully Thursday, publisher HarperCollins said in a statement Friday. It did not give any other details about how she died.
"The world knows Harper Lee was a brilliant writer but what many don't know is that she was an extraordinary woman of great joyfulness, humility and kindness. She lived her life the way she wanted to - in private - surrounded by books and the people who loved her," Michael Morrison, head of HarperCollins U.S. general books group, said in the statement.
For most of her life, Lee divided her time between New York City, where she wrote the novel in the 1950s, and her hometown of Monroeville, which inspired the book's fictional Maycomb.
"To Kill a Mockingbird," published in 1960, is the story of a girl nicknamed Scout growing up in a Depression-era Southern town. A black man has been wrongly accused of raping a white woman, and Scout's father, the resolute lawyer Atticus Finch, defends him despite threats and the scorn of many.
The book quickly became a best-seller, won the Pulitzer Prize and was made into a memorable movie in 1962, with Gregory Peck winning an Oscar for his portrayal of Atticus. As the civil rights movement grew, the novel inspired a generation of young lawyers, was assigned in high schools all over the country and was a popular choice for citywide, or nationwide, reading programs.
Born in Monroeville, Alabama, Nelle Harper Lee was known to family and friends as Nelle (pronounced Nell) - the name of a relative, Ellen, spelled backward. Like Atticus Finch, her father was a lawyer and state legislator. One of her childhood friends was Truman Capote, who lived with relatives next door to the Lees for several years. (A book about Lee in 2006 and two films about Capote brought fresh attention to their friendship, including her contributions to Capote's "In Cold Blood," the classic "nonfiction novel" about the murder of a Kansas farm family.
Capote became the model for Scout's creative, impish and loving friend Dill. In the novel, Dill is described as "a pocket Merlin, whose head teemed with eccentric plans, strange longings, and quaint fancies."
Lee's friendship with Capote was evident later when she traveled frequently with him to Kansas, beginning in 1959, to help him do research for what became his own best-seller, "In Cold Blood." He dedicated the book to her and his longtime companion, Jack Dunphy, but never acknowledged how vital a role she played in its creation.
Lee, who attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery as a freshman, transferred the next year to the University of Alabama, where she wrote and became editor of the campus literary magazine. After studying to be a lawyer like her father and older sister, Lee left the university before graduating, heading to New York to become a writer, as Capote already had done.
Lee worked as an airlines reservation clerk in New York City during the early 1950s, writing on the side. Finally, with a Christmas loan from friends, she quit to write full time, and the first draft of "To Kill a Mockingbird" reached its publisher, J.B. Lippincott, in 1957.
Italian author Umberto Eco, who intrigued, puzzled and delighted readers worldwide with his best-selling historical novel "The Name of the Rose," has died.
Spokeswoman Lori Glazer of Eco's American publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, told The Associated Press that Eco died Friday at age 84. She could not immediately confirm the cause of death or where he died.
Author of a wide range of books, Eco was fascinated with the obscure and the mundane, and his books were both engaging narratives and philosophical and intellectual exercises. The bearded, heavy-set scholar, critic and novelist took on the esoteric theory of semiotics, the study of signs and symbols in language; on popular culture icons like James Bond; and on the technical languages of the Internet.
"The Name of the Rose" transformed him from an academic to international celebrity, especially after the medieval thriller set in a monastery was made into a film starring Sean Connery in 1986. "The Name of the Rose" sold millions of copies, a feat for a narrative filled with partially translated Latin quotes and puzzling musings on the nature of symbols. But Eco talked about his inspiration with characteristic irony: "I began writing ... prodded by a seminal idea: I felt like poisoning a monk."
Eco was born Jan. 5, 1932 in Alessandria, a town east of Turin; he said the reserved culture there was a source for his "world vision: a skepticism and an aversion to rhetoric." He received a university degree in philosophy from the University of Turin in 1954, beginning his fascination with the Middle Ages and the aesthetics of text. He later defined semiotics as "a philosophy of language."
Eco remained involved with academia, becoming the first professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna in 1971. He also lectured at institutions worldwide and was a fellow at elite colleges like Oxford University and Columbia University. Twenty-three institutions had awarded him honorary degrees by 2000.
But Eco was also able to bridge the gap between popular and intellectual culture, publishing his musings in daily newspapers and Italy's leading weekly magazine L'Espresso.
Eco started in journalism in the 1950s, working for the Italian state-owned television RAI. From the 1960s onwards, he wrote columns for several Italian dailies. He also wrote children's books, including "The Bomb and the General" ("La Bomba e il Generale").