Saturday, March 30, 2013

George Sanders, Arizona Man, Gets Probation In Mercy Killing

By BRIAN SKOLOFF 03/30/13 04:12 AM ET EDT AP

PHOENIX -- There was no doubt 86-year-old George Sanders killed his ailing wife. Yet everyone in the small Arizona courtroom – the prosecutor, the judge and even the couple's family members – agreed it was a time for compassion, not punishment.

"My grandfather lived to love my grandmother, to serve and to make her feel as happy as he could every moment of their life," Sanders' grandson, Grant, told the judge, describing the couple's life together as "a beautiful love story."

"I truly believe that the pain had become too much for my grandmother to bear," he said, while Sanders looked on during the sentencing hearing Friday and occasionally wiped his eyes with a tissue as relatives pleaded tearfully for mercy.

Sanders was arrested last fall after he says his wife, Virginia, 81, begged him to kill her. He was initially charged with first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a deal with prosecutors. Still, he faced a sentence of up to 12 years.

His wife, whose family called her Ginger, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969, and was forced into a wheelchair soon after. She and Sanders, a World War II veteran, moved from Washington state in the 1970s for Arizona's warm, dry climate.

George Sanders became her sole caregiver. He cooked for her, cleaned the house, did laundry, put on her makeup and would take her to the beauty salon where he'd hold her hands up so she could get her nails done.

Eventually, though, his own health deteriorated. He had a pacemaker put in, and Virginia was diagnosed with gangrene on her foot. She was set to be admitted to a hospital, then likely a nursing home where she would spend the remainder of her life.

"It was just the last straw," Sanders told a detective during his interrogation shortly after the shooting at the couple's home in a retirement community outside Phoenix. "She didn't want to go to that hospital ... start cutting her toes off."

He said his wife begged him to kill her. "I said, `I can't do it honey,'" he told the detective. "She says, `Yes you can.'"

Sanders then got his revolver and wrapped a towel around it so the bullet wouldn't go into the kitchen. "She says, `Is this going to hurt?' and I said, `You won't feel a thing,'" he said.

"She was saying, `Do it. Do it. Do it.' And I just let it go," Sanders added.

In court Friday, as Sanders awaited his fate, his son told the judge the family never wanted him to be prosecuted.

"I want the court to know that I loved my mother dearly," Steve Sanders said. "But I would also like the court to know that I equally love my father."

Breaking down at times in tears, he explained how his parent's spent 62 years together, and his father took care of his mother day in and day out.

"I fully believe that the doctor's visits, the appointments, the medical phone calls and the awaiting hospital bed led to the decision that my parents made together," he said. "I do not fault my father.

"A lot of people have hero figures in their life, LeBron James ... some world class figures ... but I have to tell you my lifelong hero is my dad," he told the judge, sobbing.

George Sanders, wearing khakis and a white sport coat, spoke for only a minute about his deep love for his wife.

"Your honor, I met Ginger when she was 15 years old and I've loved her since she was 15 years old. I loved her when she was 81 years old," he said, trembling.

"It was a blessing, and I was happy to take care of her,"

Sanders continued. "I am sorry for all the grief and pain and sorrow I've caused people."

Prosecutor Blaine Gadow also asked the judge not to sentence Sanders to prison, instead recommending probation.
  "The family very much loved their mother," Gadow said, noting the "very unique, difficult circumstances of this case."

"I don't know where our society is going to go with cases like this, judge," he added. "At this point in time, what Mr. Sanders did was a crime." However, he said, "No one in the courtroom has forgotten the victim in this case."

As family members took their seats and Sanders stood trembling at the podium in the courtroom, Judge John Ditsworth spoke softly, staring at the defendant from just a few feet away then sentenced him to two years of unsupervised probation.

Ditsworth said his decision "tempers justice with mercy."

"It is very clear that he will never forget that his actions ended the life of his wife," Ditsworth said.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tennessee Woman May Have Blown Her Chance At Getting A Better Deal On A Cadillac

Meet Crystal Frantzen.

The 28-year-old Tennessean was arrested and charged with prostitution after law enforcement received calls yesterday around noon about a woman performing oral sex on a man in the parking lot of a busy BP gas station.

After the Cadillac they were traveling in was pulled over about a mile from the service station, Frantzen told Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office deputies that she performed the sex act on the man in the car, Gary Tipton, "in exchange for a better deal" on the vehicle she intended to buy from the 58-year-old.

According to a sheriff’s spokesperson, neither Tipton--who does not appear to be affiliated with an authorized Cadillac dealership--nor Frantzen indicated what the 90's model Cadillac's asking price was or what discount Frantzen would be receiving for pleasuring the seller.

Tipton, pictured in the mug shot at left, was charged with patronizing a prostitute and drug possession after cops found pills without a prescription in his pocket. He bonded out of the county jail this morning after posting $2000 bond. Pictured above, Frantzen was arraigned today and released after posting $1000 bond

Mark Zuckerberg to enter politics with political campaign group

Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, is preparing to enter American politics.

Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, is preparing to enter American politics.
Facebook's founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg Photo: Getty Images

The 28-year-old billionaire is forming a political campaign group that is expected to focus initially on liberalising the US immigration and visa system.
Mr Zuckerberg, who has previously donated $100 million (£65 million) of his $13 billion fortune to the state school system in his native New Jersey, is said to be ready to use another $20 million on the new venture.
Work on the group will reunite him with Joe Green, his room-mate at Harvard University, who also went on to be a successful technology entrepreneur.
The pair are courting other financial backers.
Technology firms such as Mr Zuckerberg's social networking giant have complained that America's strict migration controls prevent them from recruiting talented foreigners and overseas graduates.
Earlier this month he and 99 other chief executives wrote a letter to President Barack Obama and leaders in Congress, urging them to ensure that plans currently being drawn up address this problem.
"Many high-skilled immigrants who want to stay in America are forced to leave because they are unable to obtain permanent visas," they wrote. "Some do not bother to come in the first place".

Mr Zuckerberg is also poised to further upset Left-wing admirers whom he shocked earlier this year by hosting a fundraiser in his California home for Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey.

His new campaign group is to be fronted by Jon Lerner and Rob Jesmer, political consultants from the Right wing of the Republican party, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Mr Lerner once produced an advertisement dismissing American liberals as "latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading" freaks.

However Joe Lockhart, a former press secretary for Bill Clinton and PR chief for Facebook, will also be involved in the campaign group, it was reported.

Senators from both parties are thrashing out details of a bill to overhaul the US immigration system, which Mr Obama named as his top priority after being sworn in for a second White House term.
The plan is expected to include a "pathway" to US citizenship for at least some of the 11 million illegal immigrants estimated to be living in the country.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Moms Serve Up Solid Food Too Early in Life

Many mothers in the U.S. start infants on solid foods -- including peanut butter, meat, and french fries -- earlier than experts recommend, and half of them did so with their doctor's support, according to a CDC study.
In the longitudinal Infant Feeding Practices Study II, 40.4% of U.S. mothers interviewed from 2005 to 2007 said they introduced solid foods to infants before they were 4 months old, according to Heather Clayton, PhD, MPH, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues.
That represents an increase of about 29% from earlier studies, they reported online in Pediatrics.
More than half of the mothers (55%) cited a doctor's advice as one of the reasons for introducing solids before 4 months.
"With multiple sources of information on infant feeding and care from healthcare providers, family, friends, and media, specific information on the timing of solid food introduction may be conflicting and not necessarily sensitive to the needs of mothers," the authors said.
Among mothers who introduced solid foods earlier than 4 months, the mean age of the children at introduction was 11.8 weeks, and 9.1% of early introducers gave solids to infants younger than 4 weeks, they added.
The authors noted that if they factored in the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) 2012 feeding recommendation to avoid giving solid foods until 6 months, 92.9% of their analytic sample would have been "early introducers."
Solid foods included dairy (other than milk) such as yogurt, soy foods (other than soy milk) such as tofu, infant cereals and starches, fruits and vegetables, french fries, meat and chicken, fish, peanut butter or nuts, and sweets.
Introducing solids early may increase the risk of some chronic diseases, the authors noted, including diabetes, obesity, eczema, and celiac disease.
The feeding practices study used monthly 7-day food-frequency questionnaires throughout infancy to pinpoint infant age when solid food was introduced, and to classify whether the child was breastfed only, given only formula, or both at the time of solid-food incorporation.
Besides doctor's advice, other reasons cited for starting solid foods before 4 months included:
  • "My baby was old enough" (88.9%)
  • "My baby seemed hungry a lot of the time" (71.4%)
  • "My baby wanted the food I ate" (66.8%)
  • "I wanted to feed my baby something in addition to breast milk or formula" (64.8%)
  • "It would help my baby sleep longer at night." (46.4%)
Among early introducers, 52.7% exclusively formula-fed their infants; 50.2% mixed formula with breastfeeding, and 24.3% only breastfed.
Younger, unmarried, less educated, and Women Infants and Children (WIC) recipients were more likely to introduce solids, the authors said. Women who had delivered more than one child comprised 70.9% of early introducers. Only 29.1% of early introducers were first-time mothers.
The AAP recommends babies be exclusively breastfed for their first 6 months and that breastfeeding be maintained throughout the first year.
Healthcare providers might be as equally confused about infant feeding guidelines as mothers, the authors wrote, saying some clinicians "may rely on their own infant feeding experience rather than evidence-based guidelines when counseling women."
The authors cited 40% of U.S. obstetricians from an earlier study who rated their infant-feeding training as "inadequate." Pediatricians and pediatric residents also have reported similar sentiments.
"Given the dearth of evidence for reason for solid food introduction by milk feeding type, it is not well understood why mothers of formula-fed infants were more likely than mothers of breastfed infants to cite a healthcare professional's advice as a reason for introducing solid foods earlier than recommended by the AAP," the authors said.
How mothers perceive their doctor's advice may indicate differences in clinician training, opinion, or counseling strategy, specific to formula-fed infants, the study said.
"It is possible that clinicians recommend earlier solid food introduction for formula-fed infants simply because they think that the solid food recommendation is specifically for breastfed infants, because much of the attention on infant feeding is focused on the goal of exclusive breastfeeding," the authors wrote.
New mothers self-reported their feeding preference when they discharged from the hospital.
The authors said theirs was the largest prospective study on U.S. babies and their feeding habits, but the study had limitations, most notably that the sample was not nationally representative, skewing to predominantly mothers who were white, middle income, and English speakers.
They noted that mothers in lower socioeconomic households were more likely to introduce solids earlier, the authors wrote. For 72% of Latina mothers in New York City receiving WIC benefits, baby crying was associated with a sign of hunger.
"It is reasonable to think that our sample may underestimate the prevalence of early solid food introduction," they said.
Asked whether there’s room for a presidential candidate with his seemingly unorthodox political views, Kentucky senator Rand Paul was unequivocal in his response. Calling the country’s left-right political spectrum “confusing,” Paul argued that the GOP needs a candidate capable of appealing “across the left-right paradigm.”
Paul rejected host Chris Wallace’s contention that his budget plan, which balances the budget twice as fast as the proposal offered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, is “out of the mainstream.” “I think the legislature is about 10 years behind the public,” Paul shot back. “I would argue the Senate is not up to date with what the people really want.” 
The Kentucky senator eked out a victory in the straw poll of potential 2016 candidates at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, garnering 25 percent of the vote. Another Tea Party star, Florida’s Marco Rubio, came in second with 23 percent, followed by former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum with eight percent and New Jersey governor Chris Christie with seven percent.

Tube of Deadly Virus Disappears

This is a fairly terrifying start to the week. A tube containing a deadly virus has disappeared from a research facility in Galveston, Texas, but officials insisted there was no threat to the public. The University of Texas Medical Branch said on Saturday that they suspected the virus, known as the Guanarito virus, had been destroyed by accident, and the lab’s cleaning crew is currently under investigation. The virus, native to Venezuelan rats, is transmitted only through contact with the rats, and it is not believed to be able to survive in rats’ U.S.-based siblings.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

NYPD officers testify stop-and-frisk policy driven by quota system and race

Officer secretly recorded conversation with his supervisor in which he is apparently told to target 'male blacks 14 to 21'
nypd stop frisk
Demonstrators hold signs during a silent march in New York to end the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program last summer. Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP
The New York police department's controversial stop-and-frisk program is being driven by a high-pressure quota system imposed upon lower-ranking officers by their supervisors, two NYPD officers testified in court this week.

The claims were made as part of a landmark class action lawsuit that began Monday. The suit seeks to prove that the nation's largest police department has demonstrated a widespread and systemic pattern of unconstitutional stops that disproportionately target minorities.

Lawyers for the city have dismissed allegations of quotas and scrutinized the credibility of the suit's plaintiffs, including their allegations of racial bias on the part of the department.

"The quota allegations are a sideshow," city attorney Heidi Grossman said in opening statements Monday. "Crime drives where police officers go," she added. "Not race."

The trial represents a historic challenge to the legacies of NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly and mayor Michael Bloomberg, who have both vocally supported stop-and-frisk.

The NYPD has stopped approximately 5 million people over the last decade. According to department data, the vast of majority of those stopped are African American or Latino, many of them young men. In recent years nearly nine out of 10 of those stopped by police have walked away from the stops without a summons or arrest.

Darius Charney, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in opening statements that the trial is about more than numbers. "It's about people," he said. The NYPD has "laid siege to black and Latino communities" through "arbitrary, unnecessary and unconstitutional harassment", Charney added.

Supporters of stop-and-frisk, including Bloomberg and Kelly, maintain that it is an essential tool that save lives and removes guns from the streets. Without stop-and-frisk, New York City would descend into violence not seen in decades, they argue. Young men of color – the group most frequently cited as victims of the program – would bear the brunt of violent crime, they say.

Both the mayor and the commissioner – as well as the city itself and several named and unnamed officers – are the defendants in the suit.

By law, the NYPD is permitted to stop a person if it has a reasonable suspicion to believe the person is about to commit a crime, is in the process of committing a crime, or has just finished committing a crime. An officer can frisk a person – patting them outside the clothing – if they have reason to believe the person is an armed threat. An officer can search someone – reach inside clothing – if they have encountered an object they have reason to believe is a weapon.

These conditions regularly go unmet, stop-and-frisk critics argue. They say the program has produced a sense of second-class citizenship in minority communities in which individuals – particularly young men – are routinely subjected to illegal and degrading stops.

'We were handcuffing kids for no reason'

The trial began Monday with two packed courtrooms; one where the actual proceedings are taking place and one for the overflow of spectators, activists and politicians. The first four witness were each African American men who described stops they had experienced. City attorneys worked to expose inconsistencies between the witnesses testimonies and depositions, prove bias against the police department and discredit their claims of racial profiling.

By mid-week lawyers for the plaintiffs shifted focus from the experience of street stops to the internal NYPD incentive structure that allegedly motivates them.

Officer Adhyl Polanco began his testimony Tuesday by saying "there's a difference between" the department's policies on paper and "what goes on out there", on the city's streets.

Polanco testified that in 2009, officers in his Bronx precinct were expected to issue 20 summons and make one arrest per month. If they did not they would risk denied vacation, being separated from longtime partners, undesirable assignments and other consequences.

Polcano claimed it was not uncommon for patrol officers who were not making quotas to be forced to "drive the sergeant" or "drive the supervisor", which meant driving around with a senior officer who would find individuals for the patrol officer to arrest or issue a summons to, at times for infractions the junior officer did not observe.

"We were handcuffing kids for no reason," Polanco said. Claiming he was increasingly disturbed by what he was witnessing in his precinct, Polcanco began secretly recording his roll call meetings.
In one recording played for the court, a man Polanco claimed was a NYPD captain told officers: "the summons is a money–generating machine for the city."

Bronx police officer Pedro Serrano also secretly recorded comments made by supervisors at the same Bronx precinct. His recordings were also played for the court this week.

On a track played Thursday, Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack was heard telling Serrano he needed to stop "the right people, the right time, the right location". When asked what he believed McCormack meant Serrano told the court: "he meant blacks and Hispanics."

Later in the tape McCormack says: "I have no problem telling you this … male blacks. And I told you at roll call, and I have no problem [to] tell you this, male blacks 14 to 21."

Serrano claims his attempts to raise concerns about stop and frisk and the existence of quotas have been met with retaliation, including fellow officers vandalizing his locker with stickers of rats.

He choked up on the witness stand Thursday, as he described his reason for joining the suit.

"As a Hispanic living in the Bronx, I have been stopped many times," Serrano said. "I just want to do the right thing."

The Bullpen Bloomberg Built: Candidates Debate Its Future

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, center, works from his cubicle surrounded by those of his staff and advisers.
It is the ultimate symbol of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s management style, borrowed from Wall Street, plunked incongruously into the middle of City Hall and studied by everyone from M.B.A. students to visiting heads of state.

Known, simply, as the Bullpen, it is a warren of about 50 humble cubicles, packed together without privacy in mind, that puts the city’s chief executive within arm’s reach, and a shout’s distance, of his top lieutenants.
The mayor swears by it. Now his would-be successors want to rip it out. 

During a forum for mayoral candidates on Thursday night, an unexpectedly bipartisan hostility emerged toward the intimate seating arrangement, which Mr. Bloomberg trumpets as a paragon of communication and cooperation. 

The objections were philosophical and practical, serious and playful, betraying much about the men and women who wish to occupy the mayor’s office — or cubicle, as the case may be.  

William C. Thompson, a Democrat who as comptroller occupied a large private office, complained that it was impossible for anyone to truly concentrate with so much noise and so few walls. 

“It’s a trading desk, let’s be honest,” he said, in a dig at Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire who spent years on Wall Street. “It’s hard to be able to focus and do work in that kind of environment,” Mr. Thompson said.
A particular worry: amid the cacophony, “it’s hard to read,” Mr. Thompson added. 

Joseph J. Lhota, a Republican who worked in the City Hall pre-bullpen, under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, groused that the hyper-accessible layout sent the wrong message to subordinates about who is boss. The cheek-by-jowl desks, he posited, reflected a flawed Bloombergian theory that commissioners are mini-chief executives. “I have a much more centralized approach,” he said. “I believe the mayor is the executive officer.”
He concluded, “I would go back to the old way and go back to the offices.” 

Bill de Blasio, a Democratic candidate who is the public advocate and a perennial Bloomberg detractor, said he saw the configuration as an unenviable symptom of the current mayor’s insularity. 

“In the bullpen,” Mr. de Blasio said, “the mayor is surrounded by the voices of his inner circle. But he’s been unable to hear the voices of the people.” 

He added: “In a funny way, I think it made him more isolated.” 

Inside the Georgian corridors of City Hall, the two-century-old grande dame of municipal government, the arrival of the bullpen was greeted, in the fall of 2001, with equal measures of horror and admiration. 

It was heralded as government at its most transparent, a place where public accountability was no mere concept but an inescapable, moment-by-moment reality: Mr. Bloomberg could see and hear everyone, and vice versa. 

But it was a startling break with tradition — Mr. Bloomberg commandeered the stately former chamber of the Board of Estimate, on the second floor, installing a sea of desks without walls or dividers. He plopped down his own cubicle in the center of the room, just as he had at his private company, Bloomberg LP.  He retained the giant, ornate room that had been the office for previous mayors, but used it only for ceremonial events; it has become a de facto museum of Bloomberg memorabilia. 

On Friday, speaking in an interview hours after the mayoral forum, Mr. Bloomberg reacted with dismay and disdain to those who had challenged his beloved bullpen. 

“If you lock yourself in your office, I don’t think you can be a good executive,” the mayor said, adding that it “makes absolutely no sense to me.” 

“I couldn’t feel more strongly about it,” he added.   

He said he worried about the health of any company, nonprofit organization or government run by a chief executive who did not use the bullpen model, warning the candidates that by erecting walls they risked stamping out innovation. 

“You know, there’s going to be a gatekeeper that is going to be the one that is really running government or the company rather than you, because the gatekeeper is going to decide which ideas get to you,” Mr. Bloomberg said. 

He reveled in how widely his format has been copied: Larry Page, the chief executive of Google, and Stanley A. McChrystal, the former United States Army general, have examined it.  “A lot of the military is now doing it,” Mr. Bloomberg noted. 

Of course, the bullpen has a few devotees in the mayor’s race, though their depth of enthusiasm varied considerably. 

The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, a longtime ally of Mr. Bloomberg who now inhabits a cavernous office on the other side of City Hall, seemed to embrace the format as a cost-saving measure, if not a state of mind. 

“I’m not going to spend any money to redo the office,” she said, somewhat lovelessly. Ms. Quinn, a Democratic candidate, joked — sort of — that the arrangement would take a toll on her staff, given her volubility. She mischievously offered pity to whoever sat next to her. 

John A. Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of the Gristedes supermarket chain who is modeling his Republican candidacy on Mr. Bloomberg’s, embraced the bullpen without reservation. 

He said he had experimented with a similar (though, admittedly, shabbier) setup at his office on the Far West Side of Manhattan, and loved the ability to “have your eye on everyone.” 

“If it works for Mike Bloomberg,” he said, “it will probably work for me, too.” 

Even those who favor the concept acknowledged they would inevitably need to put their own twist on it, and not necessarily by choice. 

Mr. Bloomberg is famous for stocking the kitchenette that overlooks the bullpen with mountains of snacks and soft drinks (diet only), paying for it himself. 

John C. Liu, another Democratic candidate who is now the comptroller and a fan of the bullpen, sheepishly volunteered that he would be unable to keep up the practice. “The only thing I can pledge,” he said, “is that every so often I will bring bagels in.”

Friday, March 22, 2013

Woman's breast implant falls out of chest


A woman who spent $6,055 on breast implants told of her agony when the implant fell out of her chest.

Lauren Yardley, 25, had her breasts boosted from an A cup to a DD.

But two months after the operation, she noticed her right breast was bigger than her left, and it felt hard and uncomfortable.Doctors found her body had rejected the implant and performed the surgery again.

Yet two months later, the tissue around the implant tightened – pushing the pad out of Yardley’s body through the stitches underneath her breast.

The nurse was told doctors could not reinsert the implant because her body needed time to heal – effectively leaving her with one small and one big breast for six months.

Yardley, from Coventry, was forced to use chicken fillets in her bra to even out the size until surgeons eventually reinserted the implant into her breast.

And she has now warned other women to be wary of possible side effects of the surgery, saying: “I couldn’t believe it when the implant started coming out of my breast. The doctors at the hospital said they had never seen anything like it — they couldn’t believe I was not in septic shock."

Yardley suffered from capsular contracture, an unavoidable complication of breast implant surgery, which affects most patients to some degree and it is likely further surgery will be needed.

The body creates a capsule of fibrous scar issue about the breast implant as part of the healing process. This is a natural reaction that occurs when any foreign object is surgically implanted into the body. The scar tissue over time will begin to shrink at a rate and extent which varies from person to person.

In some cases, like for Yardley, the capsule can tighten and squeeze the implant, making the breast feel hard or even eject itself from the body.

Read more:

Apple owns biggest private solar power system in US

  • Apple solar array.jpg
    Apple has built the nations largest end user-owned, onsite solar array to supply power to its Maiden, N.C., data center. (Apple)
  • Apple fuel cell array.jpg
    Apple's 10-MW fuel cell installation using directed biogas is the largest non-utility fuel cell installation operating anywhere in the country, the company claims. (Apple)
  • Apple green power Maiden data cente.jpg
    Apple's data center in Maiden, N.C., has earned the coveted LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, the company said. (Apple)
  • apple website clean energy.jpg
    A screenshot of Apple's website, where the company announced it had dramatically ramped up the use of renewable energy. ( / Apple)
Forget red apples. These Apples are green.

The iPhone maker announced on Friday that fully 75 percent of its corporate facilities and data centers are powered by energy from renewable sources, including solar, wind, hydro and geothermal power. That’s because Apple has built the nation’s largest privately owned solar array for its Maiden, N.C., data center.

“In 2012, we completed construction on the nation’s largest end user–owned, onsite solar photovoltaic array on land surrounding the data center,” the company disclosed on Friday, announcing plans to shoot for 100 percent renewable power sources. The 100-acre, 20-megawatt facility can produce 42 million kWh of renewable energy each year, Apple said.
“And we’re currently building a second 20-MW solar photovoltaic facility on nearby land that should be operational in late 2013.”

Apple also operates a 10-MW fuel cell installation at Maiden, which uses biogas to create 83 million kWh of energy -- it’s the largest such facility not operated by a power company in the country, the company claimed.

Greenpeace International senior IT analyst Gary Cook applauded the company for how far it has come, while also noting the challenges still ahead.

“Apple’s announcement shows that it has made real progress in its commitment to lead the way to a clean energy future,” Cook said.

“Apple still has major roadblocks to meeting its 100 percent clean energy commitment in North Carolina, where renewable energy policies are under siege and electric utility Duke Energy is intent on blocking wind and solar energy from entering the grid,” he added.

Apple said its goal was not just for North Carolina but for facilities across the country and around the world.

“We won’t stop working until we achieve 100 percent throughout Apple,” the company said.

Read more:

Former Titans cheerleader arrested for sexual battery

A former NFL cheerleader is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy in his Tennessee home.

Elizabeth Leigh Garner, 42, who cheered for the Tennessee Titans in 2005, '06 and '08, allegedly followed the boy to a bathroom and attempted to perform oral sex on him before the child escaped, according to a Murfreesboro Police report obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

The report states that Garner told police "she was drunk that evening and that she got the boy confused with a man that was also at the residence."

Garner, an employee at Dalts American Grill in Nashville, was arrested March 14 and is out on $30,000 bond. She is charged with aggravated sexual battery and solicitation of a minor for rape of a child.
TSA agents 'humiliated' wounded Marine with aggressive inspection: report

** FILE ** Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer pats down a traveler as he works his way through security at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Bloomington, Minn. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer pats down a traveler ... more >
Transportation Security Administration inspectors forced a wounded Marine who lost both of his legs in an IED blast and who was in a wheelchair to remove his prosthetic legs at one point, and at another point to stand painfully on his legs while his wheelchair was examined, according to a complaint a congressman has registered with the TSA.

Rep. Duncan Hunter said in his letter Monday that the Marine, who is still on active duty and showed TSA agents his military identification, was still forced to undergo that scrutiny.

“A TSA office asked the Marine to stand and walk to an alternate area, despite the fact that he physically could not stand or walk on his own. With numerous TSA officers sitting and unwilling to assist, an officer then made him remove his legs, then put them back on, only to advance to a secondary screening location where he was asked again to stand, with extraordinary difficult, while his wheelchair was examined for explosives,” Mr. Hunter said.

He also said TSA officers initially directed the Marine to the wrong line, then made him move lines but made no effort to help him. The incident occurred at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport last week, as a group of Marines was returning to San Diego.

Mr. Hunter included two photos of the inspection in his letter that appear to show a TSA agent patting down the Marine’s arm and examining the prosthetic leg.

The congressman asked TSA to detail its procedures to inspecting wounded U.S. troops at airports, and to consider whether agents should show “situational awareness.”

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Suicide Ideation, Attempts Higher in Children With Autism

Last Updated: March 21, 2013.



Children with autism have much higher rates of suicide ideation and suicide attempts than typical children, according to a study published in the January issue of Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

THURSDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Children with autism have much higher rates of suicide ideation and suicide attempts than typical children, according to a study published in the January issue of Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Susan Dickerson Mayes, Ph.D., from the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, and colleagues determined the risk factors for and the frequency of suicide ideation and attempts in 791 children with autism (aged 1 to 16 years), 35 depressed children without autism, and 186 typical children.

The researchers found that suicide ideation or attempts were rated as sometimes to very often a problem by 14 percent of mothers of children with autism, a rate 28 times greater than reported for typical children (0.5 percent) but lower than the rate reported for depressed children (43 percent).

 Four demographic variables: age 10 or older, Black or Hispanic, lower socioeconomic status, and male sex were significant risk factors of suicide ideation or attempts among children with autism. Suicide ideation or attempts were experienced by 71 percent of children who had all four demographic risk factors. Depression, behavior problems, and being teased were the comorbid psychological problems most highly predictive of suicide ideation or attempts, with nearly half of children with these problems reporting suicide ideation or attempts.

"All children with autism should be screened for suicide ideation or attempts because ideation and attempts in autism are significantly higher than the norm and are present across the spectrum," write the authors.

Instead of Closing, Gitmo to Receive Major Upgrades

Pentagon Set for Major Modernization Project for Prison

by Jason Ditz, March 21, 2013
It was supposed to be closed by now, indeed President Obama promised to have it closed four years ago. but with Guantanamo Bay still there, and still full of detainees who the administration now seems comfortable keeping forever without charges or a trial, it is facing a “overhaul.”

Pentagon officials say that a plan being pushed would spend $150 million upgrading the facility, creating a new hospital which is going to be helpful, since so many of the detainees are already in failing health and are seemingly going to stay there until they die of old age.

Though the White House insists they remain “committed” to closing Gitmo they’ve made no effort to actually do so in years, and have even closed the State Department office that was supposed to find places to send the detainees.

Spending $150 million modernizing the facility and
getting it ready for decades of future service is just icing on the cake, with the costly and grossly illegal detention center “literally falling apart,” and the plan to close it having figuratively done so long ago.

Op-Ed Contributor

Obama’s Nixonian Precedent

Matt Dorfman
ON March 17, 1969, President Richard M. Nixon began a secret bombing campaign in Cambodia, sending B-52 bombers over the border from South Vietnam. This episode, largely buried in history, resurfaced recently in an unexpected place: the Obama administration’s “white paper” justifying targeted killings of Americans suspected of involvement in terrorism.
President Obama is reportedly considering moving control of the drone program from the Central Intelligence Agency to the Defense Department, as questions about the program’s legality continue to be asked. But this shift would do nothing to confer legitimacy to the drone strikes. The legitimacy problem comes from the secrecy itself — not which entity secretly does the killing. Secrecy has been used to hide presidential overreach — as the Cambodia example shows.
On Page 4 of the unclassified 16-page “white paper,” Justice Department lawyers tried to refute the argument that international law does not support extending armed conflict outside a battlefield. They cited as historical authority a speech given May 28, 1970, by John R. Stevenson, then the top lawyer for the State Department, following the United States’ invasion of Cambodia.
Since 1965, “the territory of Cambodia has been used by North Vietnam as a base of military operations,” he told the New York City Bar Association. “It long ago reached a level that would have justified us in taking appropriate measures of self-defense on the territory of Cambodia. However, except for scattered instances of returning fire across the border, we refrained until April from taking such action in Cambodia.”
In fact, Nixon had begun his secret bombing of Cambodia more than a year earlier. (It is not clear whether Mr. Stevenson knew this.) So the Obama administration’s lawyers have cited a statement that was patently false.
To be sure, the administration may have additional arguments in support of its use of drones in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and other countries. To secure the confirmation of John O. Brennan as the C.I.A. director, it recently showed members of the Congressional intelligence committees some of the highly classified legal memos that were the basis for the white paper. But Mr. Obama has asked us to trust him, and Cambodia offers us no reason to do so.
A more limited, secret bombing campaign in Cambodia had begun in 1965 during Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration, but Nixon escalated it to carpet-bombing. The aim was to disrupt Communist bases and supply routes. The New York Times reported on it two months after it began, but the White House denied it, and the trail went cold. When the bombing began, Nixon even kept it a secret from his secretary of state, William P. Rogers. Worried about leaks, Nixon told Henry A. Kissinger, his national security adviser: “State is to be notified only after the point of no return.”
The bombing campaign, called Operation Breakfast, was carried out through out-and-out deception. Sixty B-52 bombers were prepared for a bombing run over targets in Vietnam. After the usual pre-mission briefing, pilots and navigators of 48 planes were then pulled aside and informed that they would receive new coordinates from a radar installation in Vietnam. Their planes would be diverted to Cambodia. But the destination was kept secret even from some crew members. The historian Marilyn B. Young found an “elaborate system of double reporting,” such that “even the secret records of B-52 bombing targets were falsified so that nowhere was it recorded that the raids had ever taken place.”
So the sort of “scattered instances of returning fire across the border” cited by Mr. Stevenson were actually regular bombing runs by B-52’s. Over 14 months, nearly 4,000 flights dropped 103,921 tons of explosives, followed by more extensive bombing farther into Cambodia. Mr. Kissinger later claimed that he had been assured that there were no civilians in the area, which was not the case. Meanwhile, the North Vietnamese response was to move farther into Cambodia. The bombers followed.
Eventually, select members of Congress were notified, and an effort by Representative John Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat, to add the bombing to the Watergate articles of impeachment failed. Critics have argued that the ultimate result of Nixon’s strategy was to destabilize the government of Prince Norodom Sihanouk and enable the Khmer Rouge’s ascent to power in 1975, and the subsequent genocide.
The Cambodia bombing, far from providing a valuable precedent for today’s counterterrorism campaign, illustrates the trouble with secrecy: It doesn’t work. If Nixon had gone to Congress or announced the plan publicly, the historian Jeffrey P. Kimball has written, “there would have been an uproar.” But disclosure was ultimately forced upon him when he decided to send ground troops into Cambodia. A new wave of giant antiwar protests erupted, and Nixon’s ability to take further aggressive action became infeasible.
Barack Obama is, of course, no Richard Nixon — we expect better of him. And we deserve the transparency he promised us, not a new version of secret warfare.
Mary L. Dudziak, a professor of law and director of the Project on War and Security in Law, Culture and Society at Emory University, is the author of “War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences.”

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Paul: Liberty Must be GOP's 'Backbone'

At CPAC, Rand appeals to the "Facebook generation."

2:58 PM, Mar 14, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN

Before Rand Paul even arrived at the Gaylord National Harbor convention center in Maryland for his Thursday afternoon CPAC address, the stage was set for his raucous reception. Outside the convention hall, a team of eager young volunteers began passing out t-shirts, stickers, and posters emblazoned with the catchiest political slogan since “Yes We Can.” 
Rand Paul by Gage Skidmore
“Stand With Rand,” the logo’s white letters read against a red background. Accompanying the words is a black and white silhouette of Paul, the Kentucky Republican’s arms crossed in defiance of drones, profligate federal spending, and would-be violators of civil liberties.

Sarah Harvard, a 19-year-old Paul supporter and American University student, said they’d run out of T-shirts more than an hour before Paul’s speech. They were still distributing plenty of posters, but convention-goers must leave them outside the hall, per CPAC’s rules. At the doors, large piles of red, white and black signs piled up.

Nevertheless, more than a few posters made their way in for the speech. By the time Paul approached the dais (with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blasting through the speakers) the entire crowd was on their feet, nearly half of them waving “Stand with Rand.”

“Who here stands with Rand?” a beaming Paul began. The crowd went nuts. Paul immediately addressed his “stand,” a 13-plus-hour filibuster over the Obama administration’s drone policy. “Now I was told I only get 10 measly minutes. But just in case I brought 14 hours of information,” he said, holding up two thick binders. 

“I also came with a message,” Paul said. “A message for the president. A message that is loud and clear. A message that doesn’t mince words.”
 “Don’t drone me bro!” shouted a fan, momentarily throwing off the senator before he continued into a 17-minute liberty-soaked speech that focused heavily on the need for the country, and the Republican party, to commit to protecting civil liberties.

“The message for the president is, no one person gets to decide the law,” Paul said. “No one person gets to decide your guilt or innocence. My question to the president was about more than just killing Americans on American soil. My question was about whether presidential power has limits.” 

And away he went. Paul touched on the need for military restraint abroad, citing Dwight Eisenhower. “‘How far can you go without destroying from within what you’re trying to defend without?’” Paul said. “If we destroy our enemy and lose what defines our freedom in the process, have we really won?” 

Paul, who is widely believed to be considering a presidential run in 2016, had advice for his own party. “The path forward for the Republican party is rooted in respect for the Constitution and respect for the individual,” Paul said. “You can’t protect the Second Amendment if you don’t protect the Fourth Amendment. If we are not secure in our homes, if we are not secure in our persons and our papers, can we really believe that the right to bear arms will be secure? We need to jealously guard all our liberties.”

He implored the GOP to adopt his (and his father’s) brand of libertarian politics or face losing what he called the “Facebook generation.” That includes, Paul said, both ending bailouts for big banks and some form of drug legalization.

“The Facebook generation can detect falseness and hypocrisy a mile away. I know. I have kids,” Paul said. “They are the core, though, of the “leave me alone” coalition. They doubt Social Security will be there for them. They worry about jobs and money and rent and student loans. They want leaders that won’t feed them a line of crap or sell them short. Ask the Facebook generation whether we should put a kid in jail for the non-violent crime of drug use, and you’ll hear a resounding ‘no.’ Ask the Facebook generation if they want to bail out too-big-to-fail banks with their tax dollars, and you’ll hear a ‘hell no.’”

Taking a shot at the Republican party’s old guard, including an oblique reference to his main intraparty antagonist John McCain, Paul said, “The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered. I don’t think we need to name many names, do we?” That line got a lot of knowing laughs.

Paul concluded his manifesto for the GOP with a final appeal for “liberty.”

“Our party is encumbered by an inconsistent approach to freedom,” he said. “The new GOP will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and the personal sense. If we’re going to have a Republican party, liberty needs to be the backbone of the GOP. We must have a message that is broad. Our vision must be broad, and that vision must be based on freedom.”

Unwanted Electronic Gear Rising in Toxic Piles

Mark Makela for The New York Times
Discarded televisions and computers in Philadelphia. More Photos »

Last year, two inspectors from California’s hazardous waste agency were visiting an electronics recycling company near Fresno for a routine review of paperwork when they came across a warehouse the size of a football field, packed with tens of thousands of old computer monitors and televisions.
ON THE TRAIL Members of an environmental group worked with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to place tracking devices in cathode ray tubes bound for American recycling companies.   
The crumbling cardboard boxes, stacked in teetering rows, 9 feet high and 14 feet deep, were so sprawling that the inspectors needed cellphones to keep track of each other. The layer of broken glass on the floor and the lead-laden dust in the air was so thick that the inspectors soon left over safety concerns. Weeks later, the owner of the recycling company disappeared, abandoning the waste, and leaving behind a toxic hazard and a costly cleanup for the state and the warehouse’s owner.
As recently as a few years ago, broken monitors and televisions like those piled in the warehouse were being recycled profitably. The big, glassy funnels inside these machines — known as cathode ray tubes, or CRTs — were melted down and turned into new ones.
But flat-screen technology has made those monitors and televisions obsolete, decimating the demand for the recycled tube glass used in them and creating what industry experts call a “glass tsunami” as stockpiles of the useless material accumulate across the country.
The predicament has highlighted how small changes in the marketplace can suddenly transform a product into a liability and demonstrates the difficulties that federal and state environmental regulators face in keeping up with these rapid shifts.
“Lots of smaller recyclers are in over their heads, and the risk that they might abandon their stockpiles is very real,” said Jason Linnell of the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse, an organization that represents state environmental regulators, electronics manufacturers and recyclers. In February, the group sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking for immediate help dealing with the rapidly growing stockpiles of the glass, much of which contains lead.
With so few buyers of the leaded glass from the old monitors and televisions, recyclers have collected payments from states and electronics companies to get rid of the old machines. A small number of recyclers have developed new technology for cleaning the lead from the tube glass, but the bulk of this waste is being stored, sent to landfills or smelters, or disposed of in other ways that experts say are environmentally destructive.
In 2004, recyclers were paid more than $200 a ton to provide glass from these monitors for use in new cathode ray tubes. The same companies now have to pay more than $200 a ton to get anyone to take the glass off their hands.
So instead of recycling the waste, many recyclers have been storing millions of the monitors in warehouses, according to industry officials and experts. The practice is sometimes illegal since there are federal limits on how long a company can house the tubes, which are environmentally dangerous. Each one can include up to eight pounds of lead.
The scrap metal industry estimates that the amount of electronic waste has more than doubled in the past five years.
A little over a decade ago, there were at least 12 plants in the United States and 13 more worldwide that were taking these old televisions and monitors and using the cathode ray tube glass to produce new tubes. But now, there are only two plants in India doing this work.
In 2009, after television broadcasters turned off their analog signals nationwide in favor of digital, millions of people threw away their old televisions and replaced them with sleeker flat-screen models. Since then, thousands of pounds of old televisions and other electronic waste have been surreptitiously unloaded at landfills in Nevada and Ohio and on roadsides in California and Maine.
Most experts say that the larger solution to the growing electronic waste problem is for technology companies to design products that last longer, use fewer toxic components and are more easily recycled. Much of the industry, however, seems to be heading in the opposite direction.
Cathode ray tubes have been largely replaced by flat panels that use fluorescent lights with highly toxic mercury in them, said Jim Puckett, director of Basel Action Network, an environmental advocacy group. Used panel screens from LCD televisions and monitors, for example, do not have much recycling value, so many recyclers are sending them to landfills.
State and federal environmental policies have also become victims of their own success. Over the past decade, environmental regulators have promoted “take-back” programs to persuade people to hand in the more than 200 million old televisions and broken computer monitors that Americans are thought to have stored away in closets, garages and basements.
The same programs have courted businesses to divert their electronic waste away from landfills to avoid the hazardous chemicals in this toxic trash from leaching into groundwater. More than 290,000 tons of the high-tech castoffs are now directed away from landfills and toward recyclers each year.
“The problem now is that the collection of this waste has never been higher, but demand for the glass that comes from it has never been lower,” said Neil Peters-Michaud, the chief executive of Cascade Asset Management, a recycling company.
Roughly 660 million pounds of the glass is being stored in warehouses across the country, and it will cost $85 million to $360 million to responsibly recycle it, according to a report released in December by TransparentPlanet, an organization focused on electronic waste research.
The stockpiling problem is especially worrisome to electronics companies and to state and federal officials since they might have to pick up part of the tab if the stockpiles were abandoned and declared federal Superfund sites.
At least 22 states have laws that make electronics manufacturers like Sony, Toshiba and Apple financially responsible for recycling their old products. But lack of oversight of these programs has led to rampant fraud. In one tactic, quietly known in the industry as “paper transactions,” recyclers buy paperwork to indicate that they collected a certain amount of electronic waste that they never actually collected.
The Obama administration, more than any of its predecessors, has strengthened oversight of electronic waste. In 2012, the General Services Administration enacted rules discouraging all agencies and federal contractors from disposing of it in landfills. The federal government, which is among the world’s largest producer of electronic waste, disposes more than 10,000 computers a week on average.
Federal agencies are failing to sufficiently track their electronic waste, and large amounts of it are still being disposed of through public or online auctions, according to a Government Accountability Office report last year. In these auctions, the waste is often sold to a first layer of contractors who promise to handle it appropriately, only to have the most toxic portion subsequently sold to subcontractors who move it around as they wish.
Some of this waste is dumped illegally in developing countries, the G.A.O. found. Congress is considering legislation to ban certain types of unprocessed and nonworking electronics and electronic waste from being exported to developing countries from the United States.
Recyclers say there is still money to be made on processing the old monitors and televisions if companies charge a price that more genuinely reflects the expense of disposing of the glass properly. But practices like “greenwashing,” whereby companies pretend to engage in environmentally responsible disposal practices, hinder such progress.
“They’re skimming off the computers, cellphones and printers that can be recycled profitably because they have more precious metals,” said Karrie Gibson, the chief executive of Vintage Tech Recyclers. “Then they stockpile the CRTs, or dump it in landfills or abroad.”
The sheer quantity of the glass accumulating at some recycling plants has contributed to environmental and workplace safety problems. In Yuma, Ariz., for example, Dlubak Glass, one of the country’s largest recyclers of glass from televisions and monitors, found itself overwhelmed.
When state regulators visited the site in 2009, they found a mountain of the lead-rich glass, several stories tall. Dust from the shimmering mound of recycled glass had contaminated the surrounding soil, including a nearby orchard, with lead at 75 times the federal limit, according to state documents.
“We have it entirely under control now,” said Herb Schall, a Dlubak plant manager.
In September, California passed an emergency measure allowing companies to send monitors and televisions to hazardous landfills for the next two years.
Charlotte Fadipe, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, said her office’s investigation of the abandoned warehouse near Fresno is continuing, and investigators are still trying to locate Charles Li, the owner of the company, TRI Products.
Over the past four years, TRI has been paid more than $1 million by the state to recycle electronic waste from local schools, hospitals and federal agencies, including the F.B.I., the I.R.S. and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to state and company documents.
After a reporter found him to be running another electronic waste disposal company, Mr. Li did not respond. But when he was contacted online by another recycler and asked whether he was still looking to buy electronic waste, he immediately replied yes, with one caveat.
“Right now, we can take PC, server, telephone, printer and household e-waste,” he wrote. “I cannot take your CRT/TV as e-waste because we don’t have equipment to recycle the tubes.”

Bill Maher complains that his taxes are too high

Bill Maher complains that his taxes are too high
First we had top Democrat consultant Donna Brazile scratching her head and wondering why her health insurance premiums were going up. Now we have painfully unfunny HBO comedian Bill Maher discovering the unfairness of confiscatory taxation, courtesy of NewsBusters:

The whole exchange began with the high-octane stupidity of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow whining that House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget “is a document that says the big problems in America right now are that rich people do not have enough money… They need relief from confiscatory tax rates.”

Because all money is the rightful property of the State, you see. Anything the geniuses in Washington decide to let you keep – rather than seizing and giving to their favorite constituents, or “investing” in debacles like Solyndra – is an “expense.” So is the United States military, the one government program Maddow wants to cut to the bone.

We’ll get back to that business of government “investment” in a moment, but first, savor the irony of hyper-liberal Bill Maher deciding he’s not quite ready to follow Maddow down this particular fork in the Road to Serfdom:
Pointing at Virginia’s former Republican Congressman Tom Davis, Maher said, “You know what? Rich people – I’m sure you’d agree with this – actually do pay the freight in this country.”
“I just saw these statistics,” he continued, “I mean, something like 70 percent. And here in California, I just want to say liberals – you could actually lose me. It’s outrageous what we’re paying – over 50 percent. I’m willing to pay my share, but yeah, it’s ridiculous.”
Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters graciously stepped in to help Maher out by appending the actual California tax burden for millionaires, which could actually exceed 60 percent if federal income, state income, payroll, local, and property taxes are added together. And that doesn’t even include the many hidden taxes rich people pony up, just like the rest of us, particularly the taxes liberals love to pretend that evil businesses “pay,” instead of passing them along to customers.

But Maher has the broad outlines of the situation right: a small group of people fork over a dramatically higher percentage of their income, carrying a share of the tax burden wildly disproportionate to their share of earned income… and it’s still not good enough for the shrieking Jacobins of the Rachel Maddow Left, who reserve the right to constantly re-define “fairness” as “whatever the ruling left-wing Party thinks it needs.”

I hate to shatter Maddow’s fragile information bubble, but Barack Obama also thinks certain rich people don’t have nearly enough money, and he wants to take it away from others to line their pockets. Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner notes that Obama and his devout followers seem awfully keen on their own version of “trickle-down economics:”
Democrats love attacking the GOP for practicing “trickle-down economics,” but their latest congressional budget makes Republicans look like pikers. The spending priorities and “investments” Senate Democrats propose to help the middle class mostly involve handing money to big corporations.
“The Senate Budget takes the position that trickle-down economics has failed as an economic policy,” the document’s introduction reads, “and that true national prosperity comes from the middle out, not the top down.” By “trickle-down economics,” the Democrats are referring to tax cuts and deregulation — what a conservative might call “leaving people and businesses alone.”
But in the next paragraph, the Democratic budget celebrates “the policies President Barack Obama and Congress put in place in response to the Great Recession.” Those policies are Obama’s implementation of the Wall Street bailout, the government-funded rescue of Chrysler and General Motors, and a stimulus bill that threw money at the likes of General Electric and Bechtel, on the theory that the money would trickle down to American workers.
In their new budget, Senate Democrats don’t merely applaud this sort of trickle-down Obamanomics — they propose more of it.
The liberal caricature of supply-side economics attacks the notion of allowing the people who earn money to keep it, and re-invest it. Obamanomics is far more accurately described as “trickle-down,” but it’s okay because our wise ruling class seizes the money by force and redistributes it, instead of allowing the people who earned that money to keep it?

What a sick and twisted ideology! Besides the immorality of using force to confiscate wealth, and the death spiral of allowing greedy politicians to endlessly re-calibrate what everyone else’s “fair share” works out to, it’s insanely inefficient. Value is boiled away from that money as it pushes through the hot pipes of bureaucracy. The information value of investment success and failure is erased by blind ideology.

 Our government “investment” gurus are very noticeably less concerned about their fiduciary duty to the “clients” who provide their money than any private capital firm. It’s not as if we can sue Washington for fraud, or take our investment capital elsewhere, is it?

The big problem in America right now is that the government has too much money, spends even more than it has, and exercises vast regulatory and unfunded-mandate powers beyond even the titanic amounts it spends. Maher is correct, but very late to the party, in noting that people who must surrender over half of their income to government at every level are less than half free. Add the true burden of hidden taxes and regulatory cost to the amount directly confiscated in taxes, and I wonder if certain citizens of certain states are still even one-quarter free. Is that supposed to be irrelevant, as long as the people in question can still afford gilded cages to dwell in? And when will those who carry less of this absurdly unfair burden realize they’re paying a lot more than they think they are?