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Why Net Neutrality Matters

Wired Science - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 15:52
How Trump's decision on net neutrality impacts everyone
Categories: Bio

Apple’s new Chicago River retail store will look like a massive MacBook Air from the sky

9to5Mac - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 15:50

We’ve been watching the progress of the new Chicago River Apple Store for several months now, and today DNAInfo has shared current shots of the construction progress. As the site reports, the latest Foster+Partners project looks like a giant MacBook Air landed next to the Chicago River…


Categories: Misc

Arrests outside Mitch McConnell's office: he won't meet with the Americans his bill might kill

Daily Kos - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 15:45

We've got more pictures from this morning's protests in front of Sen. Mitch McConnell's office. Mitch spent last night meeting with lobbyists in his effort to fine-tune a bill that does pretty much every evil thing you might expect it to do, from gutting patient protections and phasing out Medicaid to tax breaks for companies that want to give their wealthy healthcare executives bigger bonuses.

  U.S. Capitol Police remove protesters from in front of the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) inside the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, on June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Members of a group with disabilities were protesting the proposed GOP health care plan that was unveiled today.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Categories: Politics

Lunchtime Photo

Kevin Drum - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 15:30

A field of California poppies at sunset, as the flowers start to close up for the night. You are getting sleepy, sleepy….

Categories: Politics

Sen. Warren Warns 'American Women Are Here To Fight Back' On 'Mean Healthcare Bill'

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 15:30

Senator Elizabeth Warren went down to the Senate floor this afternoon to (once again) explain to Republican men why defunding Planned Parenthood is deathcare, not healthcare.

She also warned that American women aren't going to sit still for this misogynistic tax cut bill wrapped in the pretense of a healthcare reform bill.

You bet we aren't. We're the mothers of children who need healthcare even after they're grown up as well as the ones who are young. And as one of those mothers, I am here to tell you that I will do whatever I can with whatever power I have to: a) stop this from ever becoming law; and b) to make sure the horrible people who think this is a good idea are removed from office as soon as possible.

Because yes, "American women are here to fight back."

Count me in.

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Categories: Politics

Here's the simplest takedown of the Republican scheme to take away health care from millions

Daily Kos - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 15:22

How bad is this Republican wealthcare bill? It is nothing short of vicious. This is a longer thread, but if you are one of the 130 million Americans with a pre-existing condition, if you’ve ever been pregnant or plan to have a family, if you or a loved one survives on Medicaid, or if you are age 46 or older, this is an absolute must-read. Senator Bob Casey breaks down this AHCA wealthcare bill, starting by noting the essential health benefits requirement of the Affordable Care Act would be revoked.

Categories: Politics

Chrome and Firefox Headless Modes May Spur New Adware & Clickfraud Tactics

Slashdot - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 15:20
From a report: During the past month, both Google and Mozilla developers have added support in their respective browsers for "headless mode," a mechanism that allows browsers to run silently in the OS background and with no visible GUI. [...] While this feature sounds very useful for developers and very uninteresting for day-to-day users, it is excellent news for malware authors, and especially for the ones dabbling with adware. In the future, adware or clickfraud bots could boot-up Chrome or Firefox in headless mode (no visible GUI), load pages, and click on ads without the user's knowledge. The adware won't need to include or download any extra tools and could use locally installed software to perform most of its malicious actions. In the past, there have been quite a few adware families that used headless browsers to perform clickfraud. Martijn Grooten, an editor at Virus Bulletin, also pointed Bleeping Computer to a report where miscreants had abused PhantomJS, a headless browser, to post forum spam. The addition of headless mode in Chrome and Firefox will most likely provide adware devs with a new method of performing surreptitious ad clicks.

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Categories: Misc

Five Ways the Senate Health Care Bill Raises the Cost of Insurance

Kevin Drum - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 15:17

The Senate health care bill takes an axe to Medicaid, but it also does a ton of damage to private insurance purchased on the exchanges. It does this in five ways:1

  • Tax subsidies are reduced right out of the gate by changing the benchmark used from “second-lowest cost silver plan” to “applicable median cost benchmark plan.” The “applicable” median plan has an actuarial value of 58 percent, compared to a minimum of 70 percent for a silver plan. This makes it much cheaper, and thus makes the benchmark subsidies lower.
  • Subsidies stop entirely at an income of about $42,000, compared to $48,000 currently.
  • The age band is increased from 3:1 to 5:1, which will increase premiums for older workers.
  • Obamacare’s essential health benefits are eliminated, which allows insurers to offer crappier insurance.
  • CSR subsidies are eliminated, which will substantially increase deductibles and copays for poor people.

The end result of all this is that subsidies will go down, coverage will get worse, and deductibles and copays will get higher. Older people will also see an increase in their premiums.

How much does all this add up to? Quite a bit, I’m sure, but we’ll have to wait for the CBO score to put a solid number on it.

1That’s how many I’ve discovered so far, anyway. There are probably other little gems hidden inside the bill that I haven’t caught. I’ll add them to the list when I hear about them.

UPDATE: My original post used the wrong excerpt of the bill to illustrate the elimination of essential benefits. It’s actually part of something called a “1332 waiver,” which allows states to apply for an exemption to some of Obamacare’s requirements. Among other things, this exemption can include essential benefits.

Categories: Politics

Midday open thread: Roadkill, retractions and remains

Daily Kos - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 15:01
Cartoon by Ruben Bolling - Because healthcare works best when it's free market

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday fired its highly regarded chief foreign affairs correspondent after evidence emerged of his involvement in prospective commercial deals — including one involving arms sales to foreign governments — with an international businessman who was one of his key sources.

The reporter, Jay Solomon, was offered a 10 percent stake in a fledgling company, Denx LLC, by Farhad Azima, an Iranian-born aviation magnate who has ferried weapons for the CIA. It was not clear whether Solomon ever received money or formally accepted a stake in the company.

  • It may be practical, but it still just sounds gross:

A bill recently signed into law in Oregon allows drivers who crash into deer and elk on the road to harvest the animals’ meat for food.

It’s not as rare as you might think.

About 20 other states also let people take meat from animals killed by vehicles. And advocates say roadkill can be high-quality, grass-fed grub.

  • This has to rate high in the history of retractions:

A wooden big toe that enabled a priest's daughter to walk around 3,000 years ago has been found to be even more complex than researchers believed. It is thought to be one of the oldest prosthetic devices ever found. [...]

The surprisingly lifelike toe was made to look natural by a skilled artisan who wanted to maintain aesthetic as well as mobility during the Early Iron Age. It was designed to be worn with sandals, the popular footwear at the time. The prosthetic, which replaced an amputated right toe, was still attached to the woman's skeleton when it was found.

Fire crews have returned to a Hudson fire station nearly two weeks after they were forced out by possibly thousands of bats. [...]

Crews reported seeing the animals near the station for years, and as time went on, spotted more of them more often.

Eventually, firefighters said the bats were everywhere: in the sleeping quarters, the weight room — even the bathroom.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, you didn’t have to wait for the Gop health care tax bill text to know how bad it was. Greg Dworkin told you! The FBI once “fired” Sebastian Gorka for his anti- Muslim scamming. The argument for treating Trump-Russia as a campaign finance violation story.

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Categories: Politics

The nation's first 'clean coal' power plant ... won't burn coal

Daily Kos - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:58

Though Donald Trump throws the term around with abandon, the number of “clean coal” power plants in America today is exactly zero. These entirely theoretical plants, in which carbon dioxide is captured and either piped underground or used for some other industrial process, have a long history, including the FutureGen project launched by George W. Bush in 2003. Originally estimated at $1.65 billion, FutureGen was supposed to test, not just carbon capture, but a whole suite of technologies designed to make burning coal less environmentally harmful and more efficient. The project dragged on for more than a dozen years, but despite the government offering to kick in $1 billion, costs eventually climbed out of sight and the plant never broke ground.

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, the Kemper County Energy Facility was a good deal less ambitious. Though it was budgeted at $2.4 billion when it began construction in 2010, Kemper avoided much of the gee-whiz technology slated for the failed FutureGen and instead made the idea of capturing and storing CO2 its primary party trick.

Now, with the project running three years behind schedule and costs having ballooned to over $7.3 billion, the nation’s first “clean coal power plant” appears to be adding another very special feature.

After years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns, Mississippi regulators on Wednesday called on Southern to work up a deal that would have the Kemper plant fueled only by gas. …

Settling for gas only at Southern’s Kemper plant threatens to undermine the business rationale for the kind of clean-coal technology the Trump administration has hailed as a way to save jobs at mines. 

What Kemper has demonstrated isn’t “clean coal,” but the folly of pouring money into technology designed to keep an industry in business when there are already better alternatives.

Categories: Politics

The supposed Senate GOP 'no' votes already caving

Daily Kos - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:56

As our own Joan McCarter predicted earlier, several GOP senators would soon come out against the Senate bill and they would be “lying.” Right on cue:


Sen. Rand Paul told reporters on Capitol Hill that the Senate bill just didn’t go far enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in America who’s more against Obamacare than myself,” he said. “I just didn’t run on Obamacare-lite.”

But Paul stressed that the version released Thursday morning was just a “draft” and that GOP senators at their morning meeting all said they were “open to changes.” So sure, it’s quite possible that every Republican who says they’re a “no” gets to add some amendment that they can tout as a “win” (and maybe get a behind-closed-doors commitment from McConnell on something else). And then there’s Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, who just wants someone to hold his hand.


Categories: Politics

Watch Out! Trump Runs Over Putting Green With Golf Cart

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:41
Watch Out! Trump Runs Over Putting Green With Golf Cart

I think Tom Ley at Deadspin put it best:

Because seriously, here's the original video of the oof driving right over the green, a violation of every golf club rule:

Of course, he's driving "like he owns the place" because he does. Those making this video say so. "Look at that. Driving right on the green. You can do that when you own the course."

They let you do that, don't they Donald? Just like grabbing pu**y. I'm sure the minimum wage grounds keepers appreciate you pooping all over their work.

Why don't they let you just hit the ball from the cart, like it's polo?

Categories: Politics

The Day Before House Intelligence Demanded an Answer From Trump, He Admits He Didn't Record James Comey

Little Green Footballs - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:40

Make no mistake, folks. Today our so-called president Donald Trump admitted openly on Twitter that he was trying to intimidate former FBI director James Comey out of testifying, when he sent the following tweet last month:

ReplyReply w/ Quote

Because today, one day before the deadline the House Intelligence panel had set on getting an answer from the yammering yam on whether he secretly recorded his conversations with Comey, Trump got on Twitter and admitted he did not record the conversations.

Of course, he tries to absolve himself of any blame by claiming he was only referring to other people's recordings.

ReplyReply w/ Quote ReplyReply w/ Quote

Once again he's subverting his own legal case, because this is just more evidence of his attempt to obstruct the investigation into his dealings with Russia.

Also see:
Trump Says He Doesn't Have Tapes of Conversations With Comey - Bloomberg

Categories: Politics

Tesla Is Talking To the Music Labels About Creating Its Own Streaming Service

Slashdot - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:40
An anonymous reader shares a Recode report: Music industry sources say the carmaker has had talks with all of the major labels about licensing a proprietary music service that would come bundled with its cars, which already come equipped with a high-tech dashboard and internet connectivity. Label sources aren't clear about the full scope of Tesla's ambitions, but believe it is interested in offering multiple tiers of service, starting with a Pandora-like web radio offering. The bigger question: Why doesn't Tesla simply integrate existing services, like Spotify or Apple Music, into all of its cars from the start -- especially since Tesla already does a deal with Spotify for Teslas sold outside the U.S.? "We believe it's important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose," a Tesla spokesperson said. "Our goal is to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers."

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Categories: Misc

NY governor pardons 9/11 recovery worker facing deportation after 30 years in U.S.

Daily Kos - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:37

A 9/11 recovery worker facing imminent deportation for a nonviolent conviction from over 25 years ago has received a pardon from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, an important step that advocates hope will help keep him in the country after 30 years here.

Despite the fact that Carlos Humberto Cardona suffers from respiratory issues due to his recovery work and has not been in trouble since his 1990 drug conviction, the Trump administration has decided this 9/11 worker is a threat and should be torn from his U.S. citizen wife and teen daughter. Cardona was “detained because of a rash, ultra-conservative” immigration policy, Cuomo tweeted in issuing the drug pardon:

Cuomo, a Democrat, said that if Carlos Cardona is deported he might not be able to receive adequate health treatments for ailments he suffers after working in the Sept. 11, 2001, recovery effort.

“In the more than 30 years since Carlos Cardona has lived in this country, he has built a family and given back to his community, including in the aftermath of 9/11 when he assisted with ground zero recovery efforts at the expense of his own health,” Cuomo said. “It is my hope this action will not only reunite Mr. Cardona with his wife and daughter but also send a message about the values of fairness and equality that New York was founded upon.”

"Mr. Cardona is deserving of our thanks—not the cold shoulder," Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) wrote in his letter calling on DHS Sec. John Kelly and acting ICE Director Thomas Homan to halt Cardona’s deportation. “Deporting Mr. Cardona would send a chilling message not just to the immigrants who call our country home,” wrote Rep. Crowley, “but to all who would help when their country calls on them. This is not what the United States represents.”

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) told Univision that when Cardona went to ground zero to help, “ICE wasn’t there, immigration wasn’t there to ask for papers and ask, ‘Are you legal or illegal? You can’t help us in rescuing our fellow human beings.’ We need to keep mobilizing, we keep have to showing up when there’s a protest.”

Categories: Politics

Sling TV brings Cloud DVR support to iOS with latest update

9to5Mac - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:28

Sling TV has released an update to its iOS app today that brings its Cloud DVR feature to iPhone and iPad.


Categories: Misc

CNN: Trump Asked Intel Chiefs to Publicly Exonerate His Campaign

Kevin Drum - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:20

From CNN:

Two of the nation’s top intelligence officials told Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and Senate investigators, in separate meetings last week, that President Donald Trump suggested they say publicly there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians, according to multiple sources.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers described their interactions with the President about the Russia investigation as odd and uncomfortable, but said they did not believe the President gave them orders to interfere, according to multiple sources familiar with their accounts.

This goes further than what Trump asked James Comey to do. He wanted Comey to publicly acknowledge that Trump himself wasn’t under investigation, which was at least true. But he apparently asked the intelligence chiefs to say that his campaign didn’t collude with the Russians, which is precisely what’s under investigation. That’s like asking the district attorney to publicly exonerate a murder suspect while police are still collecting evidence.

This may not have been an order to interfere with an ongoing investigation, but it was sure as hell inappropriate, as both Coats and Rogers obviously knew.

Categories: Politics

Meghan McCain Paints Massive Medicaid Cuts As 'A Phase Down'

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:16

Meghan McCain, co-host of Fox News' Outnumbered, compared the massive Medicaid cuts proposed by Senate Republicans in their health care bill as only a "phase down" of benefits to mollify the supposed moderate Republicans.

During the opening of Fox News' outnumbered, co-host Sandra Smith laid out the bullet points Republicans want to use to promote the Senate health care bill.

Notice the bill doesn't cover pre-existing conditions only the access to coverage. If you can't afford coverage well that's too bad. The Senate plan only promises that states will be more flexible on Medicaid, but with massive cuts built in that's a lie.

The other guests were flabbergasted that Sen. Schumer so quickly attacked the new bill without reading it "in its entirety."

Marie Harf, the former advisor to SOS John Kerry outlined what a travesty this new bill is.

She said, "We had hundreds of hours of committee hearings about Obamacare. We are not going to have any committee hearings about this, they're only going to be at most 20 hours of debate on the Senate floor for something that touches one-sixth of our economy."

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Categories: Politics

Sen. Warren calls Senate Republican cuts to Medicaid 'blood money—people will die'

Daily Kos - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:12

Donald Trump wanted a Senate healthcare repeal bill that wasn't "mean," like the House version, and had "heart."

Sorry, Don, the Senate version of Trumpcare sucks for everyone other than America's richest—all your best buds who are now running the country and have no idea what it's like to want for food or shelter or lifesaving healthcare treatment.

From the Senate floor Thursday, Elizabeth Warren excoriated the bill, saying that Republicans had treated Medicaid like a "piggy bank" they could rob at the expense of “American lives.”

Far from being kinder and gentler than the House version of the bill, Warren said, the Senate version would still "slash hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid, leaving states with no choice, no choice but to cut services that kids with disabilities desperately need."

"These cuts are blood money. People will die. Let's be very clear—Senate Republicans are paying for tax cuts for the wealthy with American lives.”

It’s no coincidence that some of the Americans who would be hit hardest by this heartless piece of legislation staged a raw and gutsy protest outside of Mitch McConnell’s office Thursday.

Watch Warren rip into the GOP bill below.

Categories: Politics

New Study Suggests Police Stop Minorities at Moderately Higher Rates Than Whites

Kevin Drum - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:03

The Stanford Policing Project is a massive effort to collect data on police stops nationwide. It’s basically an attempt to find out whether police unfairly stop and search blacks and Hispanics at greater rates than whites, and they’ve now released the data they have so far.

What they find is that police stop Hispanics at about the same rate as whites, but stop blacks at a somewhat higher rate. Once stopped, both groups are ticketed, searched, and arrested at significantly higher rates than whites. But is this because of racial discrimination? The Stanford researchers used two different tests to find out.

First up is what’s called an “outcome test.” If, say, police search blacks at twice the rate of whites, but also find contraband at twice the rate, it suggests there’s no bias in who they choose to search. They’re using a roughly equal standard of suspicion for both. Here are the results of that test. Note that the dashed black line represents white searches, while the dashed red line is my eyeball guess at the difference for blacks and Hispanics:

Although police search blacks more often than they search whites, they find contraband at about the same rate. They appear to be using similar criteria for both. However, they find contraband at a lower rate in searches of Hispanic drivers. This suggests they’re using a tougher standard of suspicion against Hispanics.

But that’s not all. There’s also something called a “threshold test.” This is a more direct measure of the standard police use to search drivers they stop. Here are the results:

When this more sensitive test of outcomes is applied, it shows that the threshold for a search is lower for both blacks and Hispanics. Very roughly speaking, it appears that police need about a third less suspicion to search black and Hispanic drivers compared to white drivers.

I’m not sure how this compares to previous studies. My initial sense is that it’s less than I would have guessed. Overall, police do stop and search black and Hispanic drivers at unfairly high rates, but not at enormously higher rates—although it’s obvious that in certain communities the stop rate of minority drivers is far, far higher and the standard of suspicion is far, far lower than it is for white drivers:

 We’ll certainly find out more about this in the future, since the Stanford researchers have placed their massive database online and made it available to anyone who wants to dive more deeply into the data. They also continue to collect information from police departments around the country.

Categories: Politics