Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Democrats Debate Tonight

I won't be watching, and will be wrapping the blog up for today due to baseball coverage:

"Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders confident at lectern" by Amy Chozick and Jason Horowitz New York Times  October 10, 2015

NEW YORK — Hillary Rodham was a proud Barry Goldwater supporter and an active member of the Young Republicans, but by the time Rodham graduated from college, she was a Democrat....

Clinton does not possess the retail political skills of her former president husband, Bill Clinton, nor can she easily rouse a crowd with a lyrical speech like President Obama. But on the debate stage, she displays an unusual talent and focus, and appears at ease and comfortably herself.

The first Democratic primary debate Tuesday on CNN will provide Clinton with an opportunity to present her policies to voters, policies that have been largely overshadowed in the news media by developments over her use of private e-mail at the State Department and by the rise of her insurgent opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

I didn't know Sanders was laying IEDs to ambush U.S. troops.

From his earliest days as a campaigner, Sanders has shown a compelling, confident debating style, revealing his accomplishments and command of policy, as well as a sense of conviction and outrage that audiences have responded to.

Perhaps more than any late-night appearances or social media gambit, the debate will provide Clinton with the largest platform yet to make a similar connection with voters and show off her own genuine passion for policy.

“It’s who she is at her core,” said Patti Solis Doyle, who was an aide to Clinton from 1991 to 2008 and managed her last presidential campaign....

Over the years, Clinton has also demonstrated a deftness that has thrown off her male political opponents, who are careful to avoid bullying the only woman onstage, but her biggest victories have come in those fleeting and poignant moments when she allows herself to be vulnerable....

As much as Sanders has inhabited the role of antiestablishment insurgent in shaking up the 2016 Democratic presidential field, his reputation in Vermont is anything but.

And there it is again. I suppose the e$tabli$ment would view him that way.

Now, as his legion of newly minted fans and those Democrats who fear a Sanders nomination await his performance in Tuesday’s debate, the question is how his stump speeches will translate to the controlled environment of a CNN set in which he will face deft, accomplished debaters, led by Clinton.

The answer is probably just fine. A review of Sanders’s campaign debates — from his early days as a no-shot radical — shows that his economic inequality message has remained strikingly unchanged.

It reveals his ability to speak in sound bites and use humor to make his arguments more digestible. And it shows that he has an unstilted conversational style, packed with matter-of-fact questions asked and then answered.


What is with the finger-pointing?

I wonder what TPPs that have for her.

"What happens in Las Vegas will resonate for Democrats" by Annie Linskey Globe Staff  October 13, 2015

LAS VEGAS — This city is supposed to be a place to escape, where people come and actually have the belief, as the tourism slogan touts, what happens here stays here. It’s a land of excess and make believe, down to the replicas of Paris, New York, Venice, and even a pyramid-shaped hotel.

But for the five Democratic presidential candidates who meet on the stage at the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel Tuesday night for their first presidential debate, the stakes are very real. And what happens in the Vegas on this highly anticipated occasion will be known instantly across the country, with national resonance.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the front-runner in national polls, must come across as likable. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont needs to convince America the country is ready for an unabashed democratic socialist.

And former governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland will have to make some kind of lasting impression, something he’s so far failed to do in his bid to break free of the lower tier of candidates. Two of those candidates will also be on stage: former senator James Webb of Virginia and former governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. 

Jim who?


This two-hour Democratic debate, sponsored by CNN and Facebook, will be the first time that many voters tune in to the contest and serves as a kickoff of sorts for the Democratic primary race.

The Democratic presidential candidates aren’t intent on bloodying one another with nearly the same fervor as the GOP counterparts. And Democrats don’t have to contend with the civil war that has thrown the House Republican conference into chaos in recent weeks. 

See: Mistah Speaker..... 

Had nothing to do with Benghazi, either.

All that cheerfulness might not be so good for ratings. Democrats want to focus on issues and have strong incentives to play nice. They also lack anyone with the showmanship of GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who has attracted record audiences to two Republican debates.

(Trump’s presence was felt here Monday in the form of a pro-union demonstration by workers at his nonunion Trump International Hotel Las Vegas. Among those stopping by to lend moral support was none other than Clinton, who told the workers she agreed with their right to organize, to have safe working conditions, and to earn a living wage — and “That means saying no to Donald Trump.”)

You going to return the Clinton Foundation grants?

For Clinton, a focus on policy gives her airtime in her comfort zone and gets the discussion away from her use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state and voter concerns about her trustworthiness....


“… In addition to selling America’s most sensitive secrets and accepting the payoffs via “donations” to the Clinton foundation, it has now been discovered that Hillary ran a second outsourced state department that usurped America’s own state department and did not represent the American people in any way whatsoever.

After checking up on where this originated from it ended up being Infowars, which occasionally mixes a gold nugget in with the chaff. I have edited the chaff out of this. The real scandal surrounding Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s private email system may be that she was running, in concert with a private consulting firm tied closely to George Soros, an outsourced and parallel State Department answerable only to her and not Obama, the Congress, or (most importantly) the American people.

The media has tried to separate two dubious operations of Mrs. Clinton while she was at the State Department. 

The “wiping” of Mrs. Clinton’s email systems’ hard drives appear to be part of a classic case of an intelligence operation destroying data after being exposed.

The Clinton outsourcing of U.S. foreign policy not only involves Teneo but also the Clinton Foundation, for which Mrs. Clinton solicited donations from foreign sources while she served as Secretary of State in a classic example of racketeering" -- source

That will never come out in debate.

In recent weeks Clinton has unveiled positions that are largely in sync with the Democratic base in a number of areas including the environment, trade, and regulating Wall Street. These predebate rollouts blunt some of the lines of attack that her competitors have been using on the campaign trail.

That leaves Sanders, Clinton’s closest rival, stuck arguing a more nuanced position: He got there first on many of the policies motivating Democrats.

Or, as Sanders put it on NBC’s “Meet the Press’’ Sunday: “People will have to contrast my consistency and my willingness to stand up to Wall Street and corporations, big corporations, with the secretary.”

Another reason that the debate is likely to be civil: Aside from Clinton, everyone on the stage will still be trying to introduce himself to the American public. They will unlikely risk turning off those voters by going too negative too fast.

Sanders is protected from low-blow jabs in part because nobody has figured out yet how to take him on without angering his legions of idealistic supporters who are generating by far the most grass-roots energy in the contest.

Good thing they don't actually turn up to vote.

O’Malley’s super PAC tried going after Sanders’ mixed record on gun control. One of Clinton’s super PACs circulated statements he’s made in the past praising late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. Both attempts backfired, and allowed Sanders to raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from his vast network by painting himself as the victim of the Washington moneyed interests he’s campaigning against....

Sanders can easily get defensive. He also tends to point his fingers at opponents while showing flashes of anger.

That is how Hillary gets him to lose.

O’Malley, who has been leading a push for more Democratic debates, has taken to Instagram to post photos of his preparations. They include one image of the candidate planking while reading his iPad....

The former mayor of Baltimore who brought tough-love policing to the city?

The stage Tuesday will include one wild card. Though he gets little attention, Chafee has made some of the most pointed attacks on Clinton, including a statement that Clinton should be disqualified from running for president because of her vote to send troops to Iraq.

I like Linc.

And then there is Webb. He’s so far been nearly invisible on the campaign trail — even failing to arrive at a fund-raiser in Iowa....


Is Biden about to pull a Baldwin?

"Presidential candidates just don’t do bipartisan" by Jim O’Sullivan Globe Staff  October 13, 2015

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Republicans, Democrats, and independents gathered under one roof Monday, drawn by the promise of bipartisan answers to national problems from presidential candidates at a “problem solver” convention.

And there was plenty of talk about shared priorities: creating jobs, mending infrastructure, ameliorating the opioid epidemic — even skepticism about the official unemployment rate.

But, this being a presidential campaign, amid a season of unpredictable party primaries no less, the daylong event witnessed red-meat rhetoric aplenty....

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie swiped at Obama as “this weakling in the White House.”

How quickly we forget, Chris?

Former US senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, welcomed the current darling of the Republican right, presidential candidate Donald Trump.


Ever look into his elections?

More than 1,000 people crowded into the Radisson Hotel, drawn by the uncommon sight of candidates of such disparate political stripes at once — and by the opportunity to vent their frustrations to both parties.

During an on-stage focus group sandwiched between speeches, one woman bemoaned the actions of both parties in Washington, complaining that they reap taxpayer-funded salaries and accomplish what she said amounted to little.

“They’ve made the American people angry enough that here we are, in New Hampshire, and we’re not going to take it anymore,” she said.

And then we go back to taking it.

In some corners, the No Labels organization has been derided as a haven for electorally failed opportunists.

It's “a mainstream, moderate, ‘Kumbaya’ organization,” but still....

One of the day’s largest rounds of applause went to a woman who, during a forum with well-known television actors lending their wattage to the cause, pleaded with the press not to focus their coverage unduly on the current Republican front-runner.

“Please don’t make today about Donald Trump,” she said. “Please.”

The crowd gave her a sustained standing ovation. During his give-and-take with the crowd, Trump received more pushback than he generally does in front of the enthusiastic supporters who attend his rallies.

Audience members questioned his plan for the federal debt and his policies toward women.

For his part, Trump said that once the primary field thins, he would become a “much less divisive” candidate.

With Joe Lieberman supporting him!


Speaking of other side:

Steven Tyler tells Donald Trump to stop using ‘Dream On’

That's serious business.

"In N.H., a new push to engage religious voters" by Akilah Johnson Globe Staff  October 12, 2015

PEMBROKE, N.H. — This gathering was a chance for religious voters to hear directly from Republican White House hopefuls, it was also a call to action, to fire up an oft-overlooked constituency in a pivotal early-voting state.

Evangelical Christians, who play an outsized role in the Republican Party nationally, are turning up their voices in New Hampshire — one of the least religious states in the country.

The party and some presidential candidates have started paying attention....

God help us all.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; Carly Fiorina; Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia; and Candy Carson, wife of Dr. Ben Carson, spoke at the Cornerstone event, where the speeches were heavy on scripture, faith, and the transformative power of prayer.

Graham’s military strategy for defeating the self-styled Islamic State, for example, he said, was part “kill and capture” and part “having people of faith reach out to people over there.”

That's the "Christian" thing to do.

The audience was among the 22 percent of New Hampshire Republican voters who described themselves as “born-again” or “evangelical Christians,” making the state one of the least religious in the country, according to a 2012 exit survey by Pew Research Center. A poll by Gallup a year later ranked New Hampshire as the country’s second least religious state, just behind Vermont.

Iowa, by contrast, ranked near the middle in the Gallup poll as the 21st most religious state, which helps explain why religious conservatives are a heavily courted demographic in the state whose caucuses kick off the presidential nominating process. Mississippi is the most religious state.

In New Hampshire, the closest social conservatives have come to having an impact on the primary was 1996, when commentator Pat Buchanan won by less than 1 percentage point, according to Andrew Smith of the University of New Hampshire. Smith added that Buchanan also won because he was considered a “protest vote” over then-US Senator Bob Dole.

Buchanan was robbed of New Hampshire in 1992, and if he were running today I'd vote for him. He isn't perfect, far from it, but he knows the score. Called Congre$$ AIPAC-occupied territory, and he's right.

“At this point, it’s really counterculture to be religious,” said Judy Quirk of Bedford, who had turned the Cornerstone event into a date night of sorts with her husband. “All of my friends’ kids who went to college are atheists.”

Still, overtly religious presidential contenders tend not to do well here. For example, former senator Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic from Pennsylvania who frequently invokes the Bible, earned about 9 percent of the vote during the 2012 New Hampshire Republican primary....

“Elections are about math — but” nationally, the numbers tell a story....


SeeCould Marco Rubio be Ronald Reagan’s heir?

In a word, yes.

Tax credits would replace current health law under Jeb Bush plan

What has he been smoking lately?

"Ben Carson ignores aides’ advice — and sees jump in polls" by Trip Gabriel New York Times  October 13, 2015

NEW YORK — Ben Carson since Carson remarked on Sept. 20 that he did not think a Muslim should be president, then refused to retract the statement amid a furious blowback, his campaign has watched grass-roots support grow and donations pour in.

His advisers have backtracked, deciding, in the words of one, to “let Carson be Carson.”

A retired neurosurgeon seeking the Republican nomination, Carson has seemed lately to be a candidate unbound. He has uttered a string of remarks on policy and national events, some divisive and some seemingly uninformed, that have led commentators on the right as well as on the left to question his fitness for the presidency.

Related: Ripping Apart Ben Carson's Campaign

And yet none of this has deterred elements of the Republican base, Carson is edging up behind Trump in many polls, with Carly Fiorina, a third outsider candidate, close behind.

The three candidates’ collective lack of governing experience is not seen as a disqualification but rather a chief asset among supporters, particularly as Republicans in the House descend into chaos and many in the party view President Obama as an abject failure.

In recent days, Carson seemed to blame the inaction of victims of the massacre at an Oregon community college for their own fate; sounded confused in an interview on public radio on whether there was any difference between the budget deficit and the national debt; and linked the Holocaust to Nazi gun control, later calling an objection by the Anti-Defamation League “total foolishness.” 

I hate to say it, but he is correct on that last one. The most murderous regimes in history -- Hitler's, Stalin's, and Mao's -- all disarmed the people they ruled.

Say what you want about guns, but they do limit the amount of oppression a government can impose on people. That's why government wants to take them away.

“I respect Dr. Carson for his accomplishments in life, but he’s not prepared to be president of the United States,” said Fergus Cullen, a former chairman of the Republican Party of New Hampshire. “I don’t take his policy comments seriously.”

Nor do I.

Carson’s remarks two weeks ago about a Muslim president came in answer to a question on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about whether a president’s faith should matter. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” he said.

His campaign team cringed at the statement and advised him to retract it, said Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager and a top outside adviser.

They feared the comment “could be a game changer for him, and not in a good way,” Williams said. But Carson refused, explaining to follow-up interviewers, who noted that the Constitution forbids religious tests for public office, that he meant a Muslim who followed Sharia law should not be president.

He could follow it privately; they just couldn't impose it on the nation, and given the Judeo-Christian character of this nation, never will. 

I hate to tell you this, folks, but I really could care less about the persons race, gender, or religion. It's the policies.

“He came alive” following the uproar over the Islam question, Williams said, and a poll for USA Today showed that three out of four Republicans agreed with him. “He has not backed down from that moment,” Williams said....


Also seeCarson proves daft, disturbing — and darling of the GOP

Who is funding all this $hit anyway?


I saw about 5 mins of Anderson Cooper's post-debate wrap-up early this morning, that's all.

"Clinton, Sanders clash over capitalism, gun control in debate" by Annie Linskey Globe Staff  October 14, 2015

LAS VEGAS — The five Democrats vying for the presidential nomination sparred in their first debate Tuesday over how to control guns, crack down on Wall Street, and cope with the spread of Middle East violence, while steering clear of the personal attacks that have been a hallmark of the Republican exchanges.

The first thing I'm noticing is the "updated" version different than my print with the same tired old retreads of conventional narrative.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton held the spotlight for much of the debate. She appeared confident and assured even as she defended shifts in her position on issues including immigration, same-sex marriage, and trade deals.

“Like most human beings I do absorb new information,” Clinton said. “I do look at what is happening in the world.”

Okay, my print says something about Anderson Cooper asking if anyone isn't a capitalist, with Clinton quoted as saying "It's critical not to blame the entire system for the current excesses. What we have do do every so often is save capitalism from itself." 

That means she is a $tatu$ quo candidate and a captive of Wall Street and who knows who else (check the e-mail server).

As for absorbing information and looking at what is happening in the world, that is how I got here.

Clinton described herself as a “progressive who wants to get things done,” while strongly challenging Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on his mixed record on gun control. Sanders and former governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland competed to be the most liberal candidates of the night, and both tried to paint Clinton as softer than themselves on Wall Street regulation.

In one of the more surprising moments of the debate, Sanders came to Clinton’s defense over her use, while secretary of state, of a private e-mail server. The e-mail controversy has dogged her campaign and led to sinking poll numbers.

Clinton, who has apologized for the decision, said during the debate that her setup “wasn’t the best choice” but said she wanted to focus on issues.

Sanders went further: “The American people are sick and tired about hearing about her damn e-mails,” he said, asking the debate moderator Anderson Cooper of CNN to focus on middle class issues.

“Enough of the e-mails,” Sanders said.

Then Sander's really isn't serious.

Related: Clinton’s e-mail server was vulnerable to hackers

And he isn't concerned?

Clinton smiled broadly and shook Sanders’ hand. The exchange received some of the biggest applause of the night from the debate audience at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel, and the Sanders campaign immediately sent out a fund-raising e-mail with a video clip of the moment.

In other areas, though, the two clashed.

Sanders, standing on a stage just feet from one of the most lavish of Las Vegas casinos, said he does not consider himself to be part of the “casino capitalism” that he believes has caused yawning disparities between the rich and the poor. He suggested America has a lot to learn from countries like Denmark and Sweden.

And NOW we start getting into some verbatim print!

Cooper asked if any others on the stage didn’t consider themselves to be capitalists.

Clinton took up the challenge and defended the country’s economic system.

She said it’s critical not to blame the entire system for the current excesses. “What we have to do every so often is save capitalism from itself,” she said.

There it is!

The pair also clashed on guns. When asked if Sanders has done enough on gun control, Clinton gave a one-word answer: No.

Clinton noted that Sanders voted repeatedly against the Brady Bill, which required background checks, and that he voted for a measure to protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits in cases of shootings.

Sanders defended his positions, noting that he represents a rural state with a long hunting tradition.

“Bernie Sanders has a D-minus voting record from the NRA,’’ he said, adding that despite coming from Vermont, a pro-hunting state that he said has virtually no gun control laws, he has supported an assault weapons ban.

O’Malley was immediately confronted with his record as a onetime mayor of Baltimore. The zero-tolerance arrest policies that he pushed have been blamed for the erosion of trust between the police and the community that led to riots there in the spring.

His best moment came when he challenged Clinton on her Wall Street reform proposal that doesn’t include reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act that separated commercial banking from riskier activities undertaken by investment banks.

Glass-Steagall was repealed in 1999 during the administration of President Bill Clinton.

O’Malley said the country is “still just as vulnerable” as it was during the Wall Street credit crisis.

“We need to reinstate Glass-Steagall and that’s a huge difference on this stage among us as candidates,” O’Malley said.

Clinton showed an occasion flash of humor. During a commercial break it took Clinton longer to return to the stage from the bathroom, a fact she attributed to her gender. “It takes me longer,” she said.

I didn't need to know that.

When asked late in the debate what would distinguish a Clinton presidency from the current administration, she answered simply: She’s a woman.

Former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee pointed out that he hasn’t had a single scandal in his lengthy time in public service, a not-so veiled swipe at Clinton, who has found herself mired in controversies.

That was part of my turn-in paragraph., and I like Linc.

But Chafee and former Virginia senator Jim Webb had far less airtime than the other candidates, which even drew a complaint from Webb: “Unless somebody mentions my name I can’t get into the discussion.”

Though not on the stage, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump injected himself into the conversation, via live tweeting during the debate.


"Twitter is laying off up to 336 employees, signaling CEO Jack Dorsey’s resolve to slash costs as the company struggles to make money. The cutbacks, announced Tuesday, could equate to about 8 percent of Twitter’s workforce of 4,100 people.

The move comes two weeks after Twitter brought back Dorsey, a cofounder, as chief executive in hopes he could resolve problems that have slowed user growth and compounded an uninterrupted cycle of financial losses.

Cutting costs can boost profits, but at Twitter it has also raised uncertainty about the future, the company’s pursuit of faster growth, and its ability to attract a bigger audience.

Do you tweet?

The layoffs may be a sign of desperation, said an Edison Investment Research analyst, Richard Windsor. ‘‘It is important to run a tight ship, but simply cutting jobs is often the action of a company that does not know what else to do,’’ he said.

And there are so many of them in the AmeriKan economy.

Dorsey told that a more streamlined company will result in more products rolling out more quickly. ‘‘We feel strongly that engineering will move much faster with a smaller and nimbler team,’’ Dorsey wrote in a letter.

Twitter’s workforce has nearly doubled over the past two years, hindering efforts to turn a profit for the first time in its nine-year history. Since Dorsey and his partners started the service, Twitter has lost nearly $2 billion.

Who$e propping up Twitter?

When talk of layoffs surfaced late last week, investors fretted that Dorsey might be reacting to a disappointing quarter. Twitter eased those worries Tuesday by disclosing that revenue will hit or slightly exceed its previous target of $545 million to $560 million. Official results are due Oct. 27.

Oh, good.

Twitter’s expenses through the first half of the year climbed 44 percent to $1.2 billion. Revenue totaled $938 million. Retrenching will cost Twitter $10 million to $20 million, mostly to pay for employee severance packages."

They are still losing money!

Related: Twitter is Elite Talk 

That is why it is failing. 

Back to the "debate":

“All are very scripted and rehearsed, two (at least) should not be on the stage,” Trump tweeted at one point.

That's political campaigns for you.

In his opening remarks, Sanders appealed to the middle class, returning to his familiar campaign theme that the top 1 percent is thriving while everyday Americans are working longer hours for lower wages.

O’Malley cited his executive experience, pointing to his push to raise the minimum wage, promote gay marriage, and advance gun safety legislation.

Webb stressed his ‘‘record of working across the political aisle’’ in his opening statement, and highlighted his national security credentials.

Clinton entered the presidential race in April the same way she did eight years ago: with a mantle of inevitability. That mantle, though, frayed over the summer amid questions about why she used the private e-mail server when she was secretary of state.

At first, Clinton made light of the e-mail controversy, joking at an Iowa dinner that she liked to use the social media app Snapchat because the messages automatically disappear. When asked if she wiped information from her private server, she responded: “With a cloth?”

But as her poll numbers slid — at one point putting her in second place in both Iowa and New Hampshire — she changed course and apologized for her decision to use the server. The State Department is under a court order to release new batches of the e-mails she deemed public on a monthly schedule, guaranteeing a drumbeat of coverage.

Meanwhile, Sanders gained traction over the summer with a simple and consistent message of combating income inequality and special interests. The self-identified democratic socialist has seen tens of thousands of supporters flock to rallies in Boston, Phoenix, Denver, and other locales under the banner “Feeling the Bern.”

His rumpled and blunt style contrasts with Clinton’s polished look and carefully calibrated words. Conventional wisdom suggests that Sanders doesn’t come across “presidential” enough to attract voters, but this year has been different. The base of the most loyal voters in both parties has prized authenticity over polish.

And Sanders is collecting money to fund a campaign beyond the first few primary states. Federal campaign reports showed that Sanders nearly matched Clinton’s money juggernaut in the most recent quarter. Clinton raised $28 million from July through September, and Sanders brought in $26 million during the same period.

I'm then told about Sanders' hurdles with blacks and Latinos. Must be his religion.

One person carefully watching the Sanders surge is Vice President Joe Biden, who has signaled that he might enter the race.

Though he’s not a declared candidate, pollsters have been adding him into their surveys, and he has remained consistently in third place.

Biden, who is mourning the death of his eldest son, has pushed back his decision several times but is soon coming up on hard deadlines to qualify for the ballots in early primary states.

A Draft Biden effort placed TV ads on CNN, a reminder that the Democratic field hasn’t been set and he could still shake up the race. 

I'm then told that things have begun to break Clinton's way, and "Clinton's campaign has had some success trying to soften her image in recent weeks with appearances on "Saturday Night Live" (where she sang) and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" (where she danced)."


RelatedDonald Trump to host ‘Saturday Night Live’

I suppose it is to "soften his image," and maybe you would like to get fat on this: 

"Jeb Bush goes after anti-obesity video game that conservatives love to hate; Legislation would strip firm of $2m grant from NIH" by Rebecca Robbins STAT  October 13, 2015

The Obama administration is so interested in the potential societal benefits of gaming that the White House has assigned advisers to study its power to promote public health and improve education.

I wonder what is the real reason.


"He is the inadvertent, accidental godfather of DraftKings, FanDuel, and all the other Wild West gambling services that have partnered with professional leagues and teams, carpet-bombed media outlets with millions of ad dollars, and convinced a new generation of fans that the only way to watch sports is to assemble your own make-believe team and then root for your players to succeed so that you will make money. It’s all about you. The games, the teams, the standings, and the champions don’t really matter to the fantasy gamblers. 

Last week, it was learned that an employee of DraftKings made $350,000 with FanDuel on a $25 bet in a competition that included almost 23,000 entrants. Suddenly there is scrutiny. “This was so ripe for corruption,’’ said Dan Okrent. “This scandal didn’t surprise me at all. My guess is there’s a much bigger scandal underneath this. In the race to make a buck, nobody stopped to think about the possibilities.” The possibilities are infinite, but after decades of phony posturing about the evils of sports betting, big league teams and commissioners from all four major sports have temporarily found a way to get a piece of the action. All in the name of “fantasy.’’ Fantasy it is. But the walls are closing in, and things will have to change. Insider trading is only the beginning of this mess.... 


Fantasy has emerged as the unchecked, runaway monster of sports, with billions of dollars changing hands, an endless loop of skull-imploding commercials, blatant hypocrisy in the partnering teams/leagues, an inevitable insider trading scandal, and impending congressional investigations and government regulation. “I feel like J. Robert Oppenheimer, having invented the atomic bomb,’’’ Okrent said last weekend. “I meant it for peaceful purposes.’’

It all started when...."

Just updating the stats for you

There was no mention if it this weekend, btw.

The NIH is also intrigued: Before giving Archimage the $2 million grant for “Mommio,’’ which teaches parents to encourage their toddlers to eat greens with phrases like “try a small bite,” the agency awarded the company $9 million for two antiobesity video games for kids.

NIH, along with all other alphabet agencies, exist to funnel tax loot into the hands of well-connected concerns and intere$ts.

One of the games, “Escape from Diab,’’ features a virtual world where players race from an evil despot who controls his hefty subjects with lard chips, cake pudding, and fried ice cream.

All that is red meat for conservatives.

This diet sucks.


Political attacks on Archimage Inc.’s games started in the mid-2000s, when the company got its first NIH grant, for “Escape from Diab.’’ It reached a crescendo this fall after the conservative Washington Free Beacon published an article spotlighting federal spending on that game. The protest went viral.

“The government just handed these people $10 million dollars of our . . . money,” bemoaned Amy Jo Clark, a writer for the website Chicks on the Right.

Never mind the trillions going to Wall Street, Israel, war profiteers.

A post published on the Fox News Facebook page generated thousands of likes and shares. And one of the network’s anchors, Bret Baier, questioned the wisdom of using video games to teach weight control in an era of widespread concern that kids are spending too much time sitting in front of screens.

The barrage left Richard Buday, the president of the small Texas company that is developing the game, bewildered. Archimage’s grants represent just a tiny sliver of the NIH’s spending on obesity prevention....

The obesity is being caused by the garbage corporate food and all the additives; at the same time, 25% of the population is either starving or hungry.

Which raises the question: Why do so many conservatives dislike Archimage so much?

Though grants like those awarded to Archimage are relatively small potatoes, they make perfect targets for Americans concerned about government spending and for politicians trying to appeal to those voters, said Pete Sepp, president of the right-leaning advocacy organization National Taxpayers Union.

A million here, a million there, suddenly we are talking real money.

“The average citizen is not likely to know whether $10 billion is enough or too much or too little to spend on an aircraft carrier,” Sepp said, “but they can certainly more directly understand if an expenditure is being made on their behalf for . . . a game that they might otherwise purchase in a store and play themselves.”

Or a battleship, right?

The video games, especially “Mommio,’’ also feed into the conservative anger over what Sarah Palin has called a “nanny state run amok.” Conservatives have used the “parental rights” mantra to fight mandatory childhood vaccinations, soda taxes, and new nutritional rules for school lunches.

Amid the controversy, business buzzes as usual in the Archimage office on a tree-lined street in Houston. Buday and his five employees focus on developing “serious” games.

Not like, you know, others.

Designed with input from nutritionists and psychologists, the games often take on quirky themes. Learning about healthy eating becomes a medieval quest; education about treatment options for prostate cancer takes the form of a spin-the-wheel game.

Psychologist Tom Baranowski, who has collaborated with Archimage on its antiobesity games, sees promise in the technology. In a small 2011 study, he found that children who played “Escape from Diab’’ and a companion game for 12 weeks ate about two-thirds of a serving more fruit and vegetables per day than a control group.

Not like he $erved himself or anything.

The children, however, saw no improvement in exercise habits or body composition.

When it comes to preventing obesity, “there’s no substitute for physical activity,” said pediatrician Victor Strasburger, who studies the effects of media on children and adolescents.

“Escape from Diab’’ may never make it to market; it’s already outdated. But “Mommio’’ is moving ahead. A clinical trial in parents will begin early next year.... 

So how many more millions are going to be eaten up and crapped away?


I'm told “parents are capable of knowing what is best for their children,” except they are not.

Related: Wednesday Food 

Thanks for helping with the problem, Globe.


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