Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday's Wool

Sheared Down Post

Teamster in Top Chef trial could get jail time for posting on Facebook during trial

Chef Andy Husbands admits it: He was a bit of a crybaby on ‘Chopped’

This weekend, bus shuttles replace rail service on five lines

In Cambridge, a new bike lane and a plea for (gulp) patience on the roads

Cambridge city councilor to leave politics

Baker picks for pot advisory board include anti-pot police chief

Related: "You’ve got one month of summer left. Make the most of it at beer gardens, food festivals, free concerts, and oh yes, a fermentation festival....."

Ah, yes, that's the good life.

Dick Albert, former Channel 5 weatherman, dies

Union Oyster House will be closed for weekend

"Role of siding investigated in fire at 87-story skyscraper in Dubai" by Aya Batrawy Associated Press  August 04, 2017

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A major fire forced residents to evacuate one of the world’s tallest residential skyscrapers.

And it is still standing?

Investigators concluded that the tower’s cladding, made of aluminum panels with combustible plastic cores, helped accelerate the flames during a fire in the same building in 2015.

It didn't fall then, either, and this is also reminiscent of the devastating June tower fire in London that killed at least 80 people.

Friday’s fire broke out in an upscale waterfront district of Dubai that is heavily populated by expatriates from around the world.

It forced residents to flee in the middle of the night and sent chunks of debris plummeting below, but no major injuries were reported. A few people were treated for smoke inhalation, according to Dubai’s Gulf News website.

Nearly the entire length of the building on one side became engulfed in flames at one point during the blaze as residents looked on from below, many in tears. The firefighters battled the blaze for more than two hours.

Okay, that's like what happened to the South Tower only worse, and this fire burned longer than that one?

That's problem because neither before nor since has a steel skyscraper collapsed into its own footprint due to fire, and yet it happened 3 times on a certain infamous September morning.

Dubai’s Civil Defense said about 3:30 a.m. that firefighters had brought the blaze under control and said cooling operations were underway. Authorities shared video of the building from the outside later on Friday, showing the entire length of the tower charred on one side.

By midday Friday, a few police cars could be seen in the area, but the main streets around it were open to traffic and had been wiped clean of debris, some of which had fallen on cars parked below.

Weren't a lot of plane parts to be found on the streets below, either, but they did find terrorist passports that made it out of the fireball.

The skyscraper, however, remained closed to residents.

The Torch Tower previously caught fire in February 2015; there were also no casualties reported in that blaze. Both times, fire alarms alerted residents and building staff knocked on doors to ensure evacuation.....


Yeah, ‘‘you never think it’s going to happen to you.’’

Also see: Washington Post Pushing War on Iran

"A federal appeals court on Friday overturned the first-degree murder conviction of a former Blackwater security contractor, ordering a new trial for the man prosecutors say fired the first shots in the 2007 deaths of 14 Iraqi civilians at a crowded traffic circle in Baghdad. A three-judge US Court of Appeals panel ruled that a lower court erred by not allowing Nicholas Slatten to be tried separately from his co-defendants in 2014. The 33-year-old contractor from Sparta, Tenn., is serving a life sentence for his role in the killings, which strained international relations and drew scrutiny of the role of US contractors. The court also ordered new sentences for the three other contractors, Paul Slough, 37, of Keller, Texas; Evan Liberty, 34, of Rochester, N.H.; and Dustin Heard, 35, of Maryville, Tenn."

The contractors draw nearly no scrutiny now, and when you work for the Empire there is no accountability for war crimes, and if there is, they will f*** it up and get you off.


VW executive pleads guilty in emissions scandal

The guy is in leg irons and shackles for lying when no one died, and yet GM is off the hook for covering up the ignition switch issue that led to more than one-hundred dead.

Australia says ISIS directed plot to take down plane

Singapore bans Chinese-American scholar as foreign agent 

I Can't ImAgine who the foreign agent works for.

Now on to Africa:

"At least two people were killed in an apparent car bomb blast in Somalia’s capital Friday evening, police said. In a separate development....."

It's a shadow war that you rarely read about.

"Rwanda votes, with only one likely winner" by Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura New York Times   August 04, 2017

NAIROBI — Rwandans went to the polls on Friday in an election that was widely expected to extend the long rule of President Paul Kagame, who has guided the country with a steady hand after a genocide two decades ago.

Kagame appears to be hugely popular at home and has been widely praised abroad for bringing stability to his traumatized country after a 1994 genocide left hundreds of thousands dead. But there is no viable opposition in Rwanda, and dissenting views are frequently silenced.

Victory would allow Kagame to remain in power until 2024 and, under recent changes to the constitution, would give him the option of running for two more five-year terms after that, although he has suggested that he would not do so.

The New York Times doesn't look to happy about it; I guess that's why the web version stripped the 99% vote count for Kagame from my print piece.

Kagame, sometimes described by his admirers as the African version of Lee Kuan Yew, the architect of modern Singapore, received more than 90 percent of the vote in Rwanda’s past two elections, and he had virtually unanimous support in the referendum two years ago that allowed him to run a third time.

Only two opposition candidates — Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party and the independent Philippe Mpayimana, a former journalist —are running this time, but neither is seen as a significant threat; a third challenger, Diane Rwigara, who had been considered Kagame’s strongest opponent, was disqualified in July.

The likely reelection of Kagame has raised concerns that Africa’s “forever presidents” club will gain a new member, and that other leaders in the region will feel reassured that they, too, can cling to power. 

Then Kagame must be one of the good guys (in the context of my pos pre$$), and it's a gamble at best.

In the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, President Joseph Kabila is delaying constitutionally mandated elections so that he can prolong his 16-year tenure. 

Isn't there a crisis in the Congo?

In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni is still in charge more than 30 years after he came to power promising to replace his predecessor’s brutal dictatorship with democracy. 

Uganda is a close U.S. ally and supplies the bulk of military troops to the U.N. tool known as the African Union, and thus their homophobic government gets a pass.

Supporters of Kagame say his extended mandate cannot be compared to that of other rulers in the region, given the great trauma of his country’s recent history: a state-organized attempt to exterminate one of the two main ethnic groups when Hutus slaughtered Tutsis in 1994.

Still, the election in Rwanda stands in stark contrast with what is happening in nearby Kenya, where citizens are set to vote next week after vibrant campaigning by candidates. 

You would have to check my Somalia links above for that. An official was tortured and killed in the run-up.

In Rwanda, a history of political repression and attacks on dissidents “stifles political debate and makes those who might speak out think twice before taking the risk,” Amnesty International wrote recently in a report. 

Oh, he's on AI's list, huh?

That doesn't mean he's an angel, either.

David Himbara, who was Kagame’s economic adviser until 2010, when the two men had a falling out, has accused authorities of manipulating statistics to make Rwanda appear wealthier and more advanced than it really is

We have a Labor Department for that.

Rwanda has one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, its GDP expanding by 8 percent annually, according to the World Bank. But it is still very poor: More than half of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. “He says he has built an economic lion, when Rwanda is a midget in the region,” Himbara said. 

Wealth inequality is everywhere.

Although Kagame has sought to compare himself with strong leaders in Asia who transformed their economies, “in Rwanda’s case, you have the suppression of human rights that is not delivering economic development,” Himbara asserted. “That trade-off is not working.” 

The African Kim Jong-un?

Despite the criticism, Rwanda has made spectacular strides under Kagame, who is known to be cerebral and introverted, since he led rebel forces into Kigali, the capital, in 1994 to oust the Hutu-led government after a three-month rampage in which more than 800,000 Tutsis were massacred.

Twenty-three years later, the country is a darling of international donors, praised for its advances in health care and education, as well as for improving the rights of women, who make up a majority of the Cabinet and parliament.

As long as Kagame continues to take orders he'll be fine.



Orders from who, you say?

"Banks and other stocks climbed Friday after the government reported more gains in hiring last month, the latest signal that the economy is continuing to hum along. The modest gains wrapped up another quiet week for the stock market. The Department of Labor said U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs last month. Investors sold government bonds and bet that interest rates are going to rise, which lets banks make more money on loans. Technology companies also rose. Weight Watchers soared after reporting a strong quarter while Viacom, the media company that owns Comedy Central and MTV, sank. Despite the gains Friday and the Dow's long winning streak, most stocks have hardly moved over the last two weeks....."

"Jobless rate raises question: How much better can it get?" by Christopher Rugaber Associated Press   August 04, 2017

(Blog editor sighs and shakes head because he is so sick of the corporate $will)

WASHINGTON — A drop in the unemployment rate to a 16-year low raises a tantalizing question about the job market: How much better can it get?

Earlier this year, economists worried that the low unemployment rate meant businesses would struggle to find workers and that would in turn drag down the pace of hiring. Those fears were heightened by a tiny job gain in March and modest hiring in May.

Yet Friday’s jobs report suggests such concerns are premature. Economists were particularly encouraged by the fact that more Americans are coming off the sidelines and finding jobs. For the first few years after the recession, many unemployed people stopped looking for work.

Some were discouraged by the lack of available jobs. Others returned to school or stayed home to take care of family. The government doesn’t count those out of work as unemployed unless they are actively searching for jobs.

That trend began to reverse last year and has continued into 2017. To many economists, that means robust hiring could continue for many more months, or even years.

Or it could dump when the stock bubble bursts.

‘‘There are more people willing to work than the unemployment rate would have you believe,’’ said Nick Bunker, a senior policy analyst at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a liberal think tank.

What makes him think I believed the rate at all?

The pace of hiring so far this year, while solid, is pretty much the same as it was last year under President Barack Obama.

Meaning it's the same old, same old, sluggish $h** economy -- complete with Labor Department lies!

The steady hiring is adding up. In July, the proportion of Americans aged 25 through 54 who had a job or were looking for one rose to 81.8 percent, up a half-percentage point from a year earlier and the highest since December 2010.

Economists focus on that age group because it filters out the impact of retirements by the huge baby boomer generation and excludes younger workers who are more likely to be in school.....

You know, if you $crew around with the numbers enough you can make them say anything you want. It's the old saying, the figures lie and the liars figure.


But you kids don't know that, so let's pile some insulting elitism upon the deception:

"We used to have hobbies, now they’re hustles" by Natasha Mascarenhas Globe Correspondent  August 04, 2017

Sometimes the 9-to-5 gig just doesn’t do the job.

For those millennials where neither a traditional job or part-time work in the gig economy is enough, turning their hobbies into a second vocation offers a taste of being their own boss without worrying about going broke.

Matt Cruz isn’t looking to join the legion of independent contractors trying to make a living off of part-time work and odd jobs through digital services such as Uber. And good thing, too, as recent research suggests most gig workers aren’t making much.

Yeah, with AI and driverless cars around the corner. 

I feel so bad for the kids these days, having grown up in a shithole of lies and now being bombarded with them in their early adulthood.

Still, being your own boss has its allure: 61 percent of millennials feel they get more job security working on their own than for someone else, according to a recent study by America’s Small Business Development Center and The Center for Generational Kinetics.

Not everyone can afford to do that. Need a Kick$tart or Crowdfund to get you some venture capital!

Though precise data is scarce, a subset are hobbyists who find side work gives them personal satisfaction the day job cannot.

That's a fancy way of saying they are troweling bull$h**!!!!

Cruz’s dioramas grew out of a childhood fascination with reading blueprints and building things. He has created mini forests and Hobbit houses, and finds the exacting work teaches him problem solving skills.

HubSpot helps employees like Cruz by allowing them to use the company’s web-building software for their own pet projects, so long as it’s on their own time. This prompted Cruz to revive another side project of his: beard balm.

Some industry specialists say this longing to create something of their own may help explain why so many millennials want to be entrepreneurs.

“It’s very characteristic of millennials to want jobs that feel meaningful,” said Carrie Lane, a professor of American studies at California State University Fullerton who follows employment trends.

So what is she saying, the rest of us dolts do not?

Lane said millennials did not grow up in the bygone era when a career meant a lifetime of steady work at a single company, and so don’t fear the uncertainty in today’s job market as older generations might.

That is so disgustingly elitist you really don't know where to begin. 

Yes, the kids have been so conditioned to corporate fa$ci$m and ma$$ive transfers of wealth upward that they don't care about a company being faithful for all your hard work or anything else. They are going to take the $lave wages and the $hit jobs -- if any other than Amazon -- and love it. 

“Traditional jobs are so insecure today, so what was supposed to be secure is changing,” she said. “Many of the younger people I interviewed saw doing a whole bunch of things separately as security. They have to be this Jack and Jill of all trades.”

Yeah, you a free agent and master of none. Who wants job security? You'll love worrying where your next paycheck is coming from living at your parents.

Btw, what degree did you get? Is that the field you'll be working, and was the $addle of student debt worth it?

I hope you kids have learned that this economy serves only wealth.

Of course, the millennials in this article are from the correct cla$$.

Nick Loper who runs a website that offers information on side jobs, said being your own boss, however modestly, is good experience.

“It makes you a better employee as a whole, if you try to put on this CEO act in your free time,” Loper said.

Brian Pu Ruiz has managed to turn his passion for photography into a paying side gig. The 22-year-old posts cityscapes and landscapes of Boston on his Instagram account, and has received sponsorships from brands such as Coach and Daniel Wellington.

“It’s a passion thing, but once brands started to pay me for posts or for collaborations, my creativity did slow down a little,” Pu Ruiz said. “It took time to figure out how I can balance making a profit and keeping true to my creativity that got me the attention of these brands.”

But Loper warned millennials not to over-romanticize their early success making hobbies pay.

“Maybe it’s the, ‘I’m young, I’m hungry’ hustle mentality, where I want to take control of my own destiny, versus the, ‘I have an SUV, a mortgage, and three kids, I’m really tired’ view,” Loper said. “We’re trading security for flexibility, while on the one hand is very exciting, but on the other has its own set of challenges.”

That's not the impression I got from reading this up until this point. WTF?


That's where they left it?!!


‘Top Chef’ host was ‘petrified’ during encounter with Teamsters

Why did those Mass. Pike lane closures end so early?

"Dealerships have been known to price vehicles far above book value and charge interest rates approaching or at the state’s interest rate limit of 21 percent, according to the state....."

That's USURY! 

"Perhaps the most despised bank fee among consumers is the overdraft fee, an ugly $30 (or so) insult to your wallet. Many consumers have been hit with it at one time or another, usually when it’s the absolute last thing they need. The depth of consumer disgust for such a high fee is, alas, equally matched by the abiding love banks, thrifts, and credit unions have for the billions of dollars in annual revenue they provide......"

That's just plain STEALING..... alas!

Tech firms drive stock indexes to new highs

Prosecution, defense rest in ‘Top Chef’ case