Friday, March 9, 2018

Every Woman Has Her Day

Today's World lead from the Globe:

"Global protests and pressure mark International Women’s Day" by Elisabetta Povoledo New York Times   March 08, 2018

ROME — In the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up, International Women’s Day was observed Thursday with a sense of urgency and determination.

For many women, there was a keen awareness that there had been a major shift in the firmament when it came to gender parity, the treatment of women in the workplace, and sexual dynamics.

But others — scratching out lives in developing countries in Africa, toiling away at jobs with little pay in Latin America, or scrambling to raise children without help in the Middle East — most probably had little time left over to reflect on the one day of the year designated to celebrate the social, economic, and political achievements of women.

Those are the ones I'm concerned about.

Nonetheless, New York City officials said the ‘‘Fearless Girl’’ statue that has been a tourist attraction at the New York Stock Exchange since it was installed to mark International Women’s Day a year ago will stay put for now while city officials figure out where to move it. A steady stream of tourists posed for pictures with it Thursday.

That was put there by a bank!

Are you tired of being used yet?

Of course, everyone has their enemies:

Women’s Day found little support from Iran’s leaders. The country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sent out a series of Twitter messages praising Islam for keeping women ‘‘modest’’ and in their ‘‘defined roles’’ such as educators and mothers. He also lashed out at the West for, in his view, leading its own women astray.

‘‘By promoting modest dress . . . Islam has blocked the path which would lead women to such a deviant lifestyle,’’ Khamenei said. He did not mention the fact that women have been at the forefront of reformist activism in Iran, including rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.

I will say this, it does seem like liberation has been equated with the right to drink and wear makeup (who is generally behind those interests, btw?).

In Kabul, hundreds of women marched to remind their leaders that much work needed to be done to give Afghan women a voice, ensure their education and protect them from often brutal violence and an oppressive patriarchal system.

I wonder how the expanded campaign of airstrikes is helping out.

In the Philippine capital, women took to the streets and denounced President Rodrigo Duterte as among the worst violators of women’s rights in Asia.

Hundreds of activists sang and danced in a boisterous rally in Plaza Miranda, in central Manila, while handing red and white roses to the mothers, sisters, and widows of those suspected of drug offenses who have been slain under Duterte’s brutal crackdown.

In India, where the gang rape of women and sexual assaults on young girls have brought anguish and soul searching, students, teachers, and workers in the sex industry marched toward Parliament, demanding action against domestic violence, sexual attacks, and discrimination in jobs and wages.

More than 500 women’s rights leaders gathered in Seoul, vowing to keep up a #MeToo campaign that has gained steam in South Korea. Political leaders raced to join them to voice their support before elections scheduled for June to select mayors and provincial governors.

Just keep calm, will you?

Meanwhile, in Italy:

"A Vatican magazine has denounced how nuns are often treated like indentured servants by cardinals and bishops, for whom they cook and clean for next to no pay. The March edition of ‘‘Women Church World,’’ a monthly magazine of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, hit newsstands Thursday. Its expose on the treatment of religious sisters confirmed that the magazine is increasingly becoming the imprint of the Catholic Church’s #MeToo movement. Recent issues have explored the symbolic power of women’s bodies and ‘‘rape as torture.’’

There were also demonstrations in Spain, Poland, and France (how do you ladies feel about the new consent law, anyway?).


Try telling that to the Latino women in this state:

"Invisible in any language: Mass. Latinos face intense inequality" by Katie Johnston, Globe Staff March 09, 2018

They have driven the state’s population growth for decades, helping form the backbone of a booming economy.

But Latinos in Massachusetts, a rich mix of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Brazilians, and more, fare worse than Latinos in any other state by several measures.

SeeMaking America great again, one ruined family at a time

RelatedDedham man told police to ‘go ahead and check’ his SUV. They found heroin inside

The median income for Latino households statewide is just $39,742 a year, while white households bring in $82,029 — the largest gap in the country, US Census data show. Only a quarter of Latino heads of household own their own homes in the state, compared to 69 percent of whites — the largest divide nationwide.

They are better off than you think!

Black households in Massachusetts, by comparison, have a median income of $46,381, and 34 percent own homes.

That's because they stick together

Language barriers and immigration status play a major role in the inequity — here and across the country — making it difficult for Latinos to progress beyond low-wage jobs or speak up about unfair treatment.

But there are added challenges in Massachusetts: a high cost of living and a majority of jobs that require college education, along with long waiting lists for English classes and a 15-year-old law — effectively overturned a few months ago — that eliminated bilingual education from most public schools. There are also relatively few Latino leaders and nonprofits, leading to low levels of civic engagement.

Hate to say it, but it comes with being a sanctuary state. 

Related‘‘This is a population that we believe we can move to self-sufficiency, with the right focus,’’ USDA administrator Brandon Lipps said in a conference call with reporters Thursday. The move, while preliminary, is likely to please many Republicans — and rankle food-stamp defenders and antihunger advocates. For years, conservatives in Congress and at influential think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation have argued stricter work requirements would save taxpayers money while putting low-income people on a path to independence." ‘‘It’s evident that there are able-bodied adults without dependents who are on the food stamp program, who we believe it is in their best interests, and their families’ best interests, to move into an independent lifestyle,’’ Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters several weeks before the budget came out. ‘‘During the last downturn, it became a lifestyle for some people. We don’t want it to become permanent.’’ 

Like corporate welfare, aid to Israel, the funding of lavish political lifestyles of incumbents, etc, etc. The elitist, ruling cla$$ arrogance is astounding.

They are “drawing a line in the sand.” 

Hope you get used to eating pet food.

Puerto Ricans, the largest group of Latinos in the state, struggle more than most, with fewer of them working or in school than among other Latino sub-populations. 

And they are actual citizens thanks to the Spanish-American War.

How is that storm recovery going anyway?

Then there’s Boston’s history of discrimination against black people, which dominates discussions about race.

Brookline, too.

“There’s that feeling of, you’re African-American or you’re white, but there’s no in-between,” said a Boston Police Department officer of Puerto Rican heritage who asked not to be identified. “We’re almost like the folks that nobody pays attention to.”

As a number of Latinos put it: They feel invisible here.....

Globe will make sure you've been seen.


At least it isn't California.

Also see:

Suffolk University makes interim president permanent

Will the next UMass Boston leader be another white male insider?

Has to work his way up:

"Florida boy tells parents about sexual relationship with middle school teacher" by Kristine Phillips The Washington Post  March 02, 2018

A former middle school teacher from Florida was arrested after authorities say she engaged in a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student for several months.

During the course of the relationship, Stephanie Ferri, 26, sent nude photos to the teen and brought him marijuana and pipes to smoke it, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said. The student, an eighth-grader at a middle school in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., just outside of Daytona, told detectives that Ferri used to bring him to her house late at night, when her husband was at work, and drive the teen back home after they’d had sex.

Detectives believe the relationship started in November 2017. The teen said that Ferri warned him not to tell anyone, and that his grades suffered after the relationship began.

Detectives found out about the alleged relationship on Tuesday, after the boy told his parents about it, the sheriff’s office said. According to a charging affidavit, one of the boy’s parents had received a call from a male teacher asking if he could mentor the teen. The parent thought that the call was strange and jokingly asked the teen if the teacher was going to molest him.

‘‘Anyone could molest you,’’ the teen said, as he began crying.

According to the affidavit, the parent immediately suspected Ferri, saying that the boy visited her classroom every day. The teen then told his parents that he had been sneaking out around 11 p.m., when Ferri would drive him to her house to have sex. The affidavit said the two had sex multiple times, including once in her car while parked in her driveway and twice inside a barn at the teen’s house.

Authorities also said Ferri used Snapchat to send the teen nude photos of herself.

Ferri was arrested Wednesday and is being held on a $25,000 bond.....


Should have transferred to a charter school:

"Michael Feinberg, a founder of KIPP schools, fired after misconduct claims" New York Times  February 23, 2018

NEW YORK — KIPP, one of the country’s largest and most successful charter school chains, dismissed its cofounder on Thursday after an investigation found credible a claim that he had sexually abused a student some two decades ago, according to a letter sent to the school community.

The cofounder, Michael Feinberg, was accused last spring of sexually abusing a minor female student in Houston in the late 1990s, according to someone with close knowledge of the case. An outside investigation found her claim credible after interviewing the student and her mother, who both gave the same sequence of events.

Feinberg has denied the accusation, the letter said.

Investigators also uncovered evidence that Feinberg had sexually harassed two KIPP employees. One case, in 2004, led to a financial settlement, the letter said; the other could not be corroborated because the woman involved would not cooperate, but the letter found it to be credible.

The chain has several schools in Massachusetts, including elementary, middle, and high schools in Lynn and elementary and middle schools in Mattapan. According to its website, KIPP serves 1,880 students in Eastern Massachusetts.

Feinberg was told of his dismissal at a meeting on Thursday in Houston. His lawyer, Christopher L. Tritico, said Feinberg had never been told of the precise allegations and had not been given a chance to defend himself.


So they are behind the cream-skimming charter schools, too, huh? 

What agenda are they not behind?


Dorchester charter school faces probation amid state probes into financial mismanagement

St. Paul’s ‘badly handled’ departure of teacher accused of having relationship with a student

Meet the famous author at center of trauma-program controversy

City worker withdraws sexual harassment complaint against Felix G. Arroyo

Bones found on Pacific island in 1940 probably belonged to Earhart, study finds The mystery of what happened to her and her navigator has captivated the public for decades.


Danish inventor denies killing journalist on submarine

Going down.

"A New England Center for Investigative Reporting investigation published in The Boston Globe in May that showed that at least 14 men and women committed suicide in the Bristol County House of Correction between 2006 and 2016. Two more men died by suicide last year....."

The next candidates?

Grand jury indicts Missouri governor who admitted affair

More Republicans questioning if Greitens should stay

Steve Wynn is again accused of sexual misconduct, by a massage therapist

The Top Dog:

"Trump moves ahead with tariffs in defiance of allies" by Peter Baker New York Times   March 09, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Trump defied opposition from his own party and protests from overseas Thursday as he signed orders imposing stiff sweeping new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. But he sought to soften the impact on allies with a more flexible plan than originally envisioned.

After a week of furious lobbying and a burst of last-minute internal debates and confusion, Trump agreed to exempt, for now, Canada and Mexico, and held out the possibility of later excluding allies such as Australia.

But foreign leaders warned of a trade war that could escalate to other industries and be aimed at US goods.

“The actions we are taking today are not a matter of choice; they are a matter of necessity for our security,” Trump said in a ceremony at the White House where he officially authorized the tariffs, which will go into effect in 15 days.

Flanked by a handful of steel and aluminum workers, some wearing coveralls and holding hard hats, Trump presented his move as a way to rebuild vital industries decimated by foreign competition.

“Our factories were left to rot and to rust all over the place; thriving communities turned into ghost towns,” he said. “The workers who poured their souls into building this great nation were betrayed. But that betrayal is now over.”

The orders represented Trump’s most expansive use of federal power to rewrite the rules of global trade since he took office and upended the prevailing consensus on free markets that has largely governed Washington under administrations of both parties for decades.

Which is what led to his election.

Business groups have warned that the impact could be felt across the supply chain as consumers face higher prices for automobiles, appliances and other consumer goods. But Trump’s aides dismissed such predictions as “fake news” and said most Americans will hardly notice any impact.

Oh, they will be. The excuse has been provided and it will also punish Trump for doing this.

The United States is the largest steel importer in the world and the order could hit South Korea, China, Japan, Germany, Turkey and Brazil the hardest.

Trump said his tariff orders were tailored to give him the authority to raise or lower levies on a country-by-country basis and add or take countries off the list as he deems appropriate.

The potential for an exemption is likely to trigger a tsunami of lobbying and cajoling as foreign governments pressure the White House for a carve-out. The United States imports steel from Japan, Germany, Brazil, South Korea, and other nations.

Why did alleged Russian interference come to mind?

Trump tied the exclusions of Canada and Mexico to renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which remains bogged down in inconclusive talks, but Trump indicated that the tariffs would go into effect on Canada and Mexico “if we don’t make the deal on NAFTA and if we terminate NAFTA because they are unable to make a deal that’s fair.”

During a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day, Trump singled out Australia as an example of another country that could be excluded, citing the trade surplus that the United States maintains with Australia, which imports more from the United States than it exports to the country.

Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, said Thursday that a plan to impose broad tariffs that hit allies was “dangerous” and could undermine national security.

“If you put tariffs against your allies,” Draghi said at a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany, “one wonders who the enemies are.” 

I would expect a globalist banker to react that way.

The president’s comments came after a frenzied and uncertain morning in which administration officials tried to resolve debates and complications that threatened to hold up an order he has been trumpeting for a week.

More than 100 Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday imploring him to drop plans for sweeping tariffs. Their letter came a day after Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, announced his resignation after his failure to forestall the president from pursuing tariffs.

He was leaving anyway, but don't let that spoil the narrative.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who represents a Midwestern industrial state that was key to Trump’s Electoral College victory in 2016, said a broad tariff plan would be self-destructive.....

The Globe agrees with him.


RelatedDow closes down more than 400 points as Trump’s steel tariff sends tremors through markets

"Stocks finished with modest gains Thursday after President Trump formally ordered tariffs on steel and aluminum imports with terms that were less harsh than investors had feared. Stocks rallied following reports that Canada and Mexico will be exempted indefinitely from the tariffs and that other countries will be invited to negotiate for exemptions. ‘‘The president’s tone was far more pragmatic,’’ said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial....."

"President Trump looks to past with eye on the future" by Evan Horowitz Globe Staff  March 09, 2018

With his own party in revolt — and trading partners around the world threatening retaliation — President Trump signed an order introducing new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. And in a last-minute twist, he granted temporary exemptions for Canada and Mexico, a move that had been ruled out earlier this week.

The announcement capped a frenetic week since Trump first revealed his plans, including the resignation of a key economic adviser. And it launches the United States into relatively uncharted policy territory.

Tariffs fell out of favor 80 years ago and have been used sparingly ever since. The average tariff at the turn of the 20th century was 27.5 percent, but it has since fallen to a relatively trivial 1.5 percent.

Why reach for such an outdated tool? To some degree, it’s about politics. Promising to fight for US manufacturers — with every available weapon — has some appeal for the older, working-class voters who have long been central to his political success. And doing so now, before next Tuesday’s hotly contested House primary in steel-heavy Pennsylvania, could help swing the race to the Republican.

But it’s also true that Trump has a unique perspective on the past, seeing glory and statemanship where others see something more timebound. Hence his backward-looking campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” not to mention his attachment to declining industries such as coal.

Why does that have to be "backward-looking?" What is he saying?

This much is true: In the era when America built its industrial and manufacturing base, it really did have high tariffs. And so it makes a certain nostalgic sense to think that if we want to rebuild, we should bring those tariffs back.

And Trump could probably strengthen his case if he were focused on protecting burgeoning industries (such as clean energy, where he has introduced limited tariffs, or robotics). Nurturing young and fragile industries is considered one of the few, occasionally effective uses of tariffs.

That starts today.

But steel and aluminum aren’t infant industries; they’re commodity producers with limited growth potential and an employee base that shrinks every time robots get better at doing human jobs. Protecting them from global competition is more a way of holding on to the past than investing in the future.

He just let the cat out of the bag regarding the future being prepared by the globalists he fronts for.

Even if you take the broader framing — and think of these tariffs as pushing back against China, rather than protecting steel — the same problem crops up. Because while China really has been a great disruptive force over the last few decades, those days are largely over.

Not militarily, or so we have been told.

Between 2000 and 2007, imports from China killed off around 1 million US manufacturing jobs, with devastating consequences for the mostly male, generally less-educated workers who were disproportionately affected.

That happened because of policies pushed by the analyst here!

But even the recently released “Economic Report of the President” — written by some of Trump’s top economic advisers — finds that this “China shock” was sharpest just after 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization and gained freer access to US markets. The situation looks different now, with American manufacturing jobs having rebounded and the overall trade deficit with China having largely stabilized.

Also see: "U.S. household debt jumped in the fourth quarter, underscoring the forces behind recent strength in consumer spending....." 

Is that the $ign of a healthy economy?

This is not to say that China is now a fair dealer when it comes to international trade. Its government still places strict limits on foreign business activity, and provides ample subsidies for many state-owned companies.

But even with the proposed steel and aluminum tariffs, there is a question of how much blame really falls on Chinese over-production.

There is little argument that Chinese dumping has indeed created a glut of global steel, holding down prices. But that can’t be the whole story, because most US steel imports don’t come from China. They come from Canada, South Korea, and Brazil, whose steel industries continue to thrive, despite the troubles from China — suggesting there may be some deeper issue with the US steel industry.

Like workers getting paid too much with too many benefits.

Put it all together then and tariffs seem like an outdated tool designed to protect a declining industry from yesterday’s threat — not exactly a ringing endorsement.

But promising to resume fighting — and somehow win — long-last cultural and economic wars is part of Trump’s appeal. And even if he can’t win, sometimes what matters is just his willingness to stand alone and fight for people who have been made to feel expendable.


An admission of reality in my Globe!


That is why they are looking to get rid of him:

"Trump’s GOP critics eye a potential primary challenge" by Astead W. Herndon Globe Staff  March 09, 2018

WASHINGTON — Shoots of rebellion have become visible even before the 2018 snows have melted.

Speaking of snow:

Heaviest snow in decades slams Europe

This Vermont town got 3 feet of snow

Dozens of towns adopt climate change bid

Norton seniors left in the cold and dark

Could we transform dirty snowpiles into sidewalks and bike lanes?

That is thinking big and acting fast.

Some dedicated anti-Trump Republicans have even discussed the idea of a “spoiler” candidate, who could batter the president before he faced the Democratic nominee, even if he or she did not have a reasonable chance of unseating the president.

Why don't you just switch parties?

Trump’s resounding victory in New Hampshire in 2016 firmly established him as the front-runner on his way to a nomination that has completely upended Republican politics.

The state, which prides itself on being a wise adjudicator of all things presidential, has often been more resistent to conservative firebrands than other early deep-red primary states such as South Carolina. Trump broke the mold in his historic run to the White House.

Now, Trump is fending off scandal after scandal in the Oval Office, including multiple accusations of sexually aggressive behavior by the president and new accusations from a porn star that she was paid to keep silent about an affair she had with Trump.

Back to that bulloney again?

But it’s the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign had contacts with Russian officials that still holds the potential to ruin his presidency.

They are sure hoping with fingers crossed, even as he is going to sit down and talk with the Korean.


"President Trump agreed on Thursday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s invitation to meet for negotiations over its nuclear program, an audacious diplomatic overture that would bring together two strong-willed, idiosyncratic leaders who have traded insults along with threats of war. The White House confirmed Trump had accepted the invitation, and Chung Eui-yong, a South Korean official who conveyed it, told reporters Trump would meet with Kim within two months. For Trump, a meeting with Kim, a leader he has threatened with “fire and fury” and derided as “Little Rocket Man,” is a breathtaking gamble. No sitting US president has ever met a North Korean leader,  Chung’s announcement came at the end of another day of high drama at the White House, in which the president defied his own party by announcing sweeping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and sought to ignore a mushrooming scandal over a pornographic film actress who claims to have had an affair with him......"

Just wondering why the New York Times is dragging that up in the article. It seems so untoward and out of place and totally out of context. 

Yeah, hold the cheers.

RelatedSpecial counsel Robert Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case

Keeps the smokescreen and narrative alive is all.

Manafort pleads not guilty to tax and fraud charges in Virginia court  In a separate development Thursday, another former Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, met with the House Intelligence Committee for a second time as part of the panel’s Russia investigation.

It's NOT separate, otherwise it wouldn't be in the article at all. They can't even tell the truth about that!

"Russian trolls used Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to inflame U.S. political debate over energy policy and climate change, a finding that underscores how the Russian campaign of social media manipulation went beyond the 2016 president election, congressional investigators reported on Thursday. Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, in a statement that accompanied the release of the report Thursday morning, said, ‘‘The American people deserve to know if what they see on social media is the creation of a foreign power seeking to undermine our domestic energy policy.’’ This tracks previous reports about how the Russian disinformation campaign worked to inflame other sensitive political issues - and worked both sides - on racial and religious matters, immigration policy and gay marriage. One post from the Facebook account ‘‘Blacktivist’’ - an IRA-tied account that had sought to stoke racial tensions online - included an apparent image of law enforcement battling protesters at the Dakota Pipeline. ‘‘We’re about to celebrate thanksgiving and tell schoolchildren we made peace w Native Americans while DAPL protesters are being tear gassed,’’ the post read. It was shared 497 times on Facebook, according to the committee....."

That's all? 

The article is so laughable it's not even funny. There is no concern about Israeli or Zionist influence; however, if nothing else, the article at least lets you know the "left" are either dupes or agents of Russia!

The Intel Community Lie About Russian Meddling

Senate Intelligence Committee leaders say House GOP leaked a senator’s texts

It's regarding the Steele dossier and the Globe knows when to shut up.

The latest national poll from McLaughlin & Associates, a conservative D.C. polling firm, said Trump had a 93 percent job approval rating among ultraconservative Republicans, who often dominate the GOP primary voter pool.

John McLaughlin, who runs McLaughlin & Associates, called talk of a primary challenger just “noise.”

Globe is good at making that.

“Jeff Flake has about as much of a chance of beating Donald Trump in New Hampshire as I do,” McLaughlin said. “The differences that the Flakes and John Kasiches of the world have with Trump are just not where Republican primary voters are these days. The voters agree with the president.”

Since the 1950s, only six presidents have faced significant primary challenges in their bids for reelection, the most recent being populist Pat Buchanan’s run against Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

H.W. stole New Hampshire from him, btw.

Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy ran an insurgent campaign against Democratic President Carter in 1980. Although Kennedy’s bid failed, it seriously weakened Carter and contributed to Ronald Reagan’s sweeping victory. 

Yeah, Ted took a lot of flack for that.

Fergus Cullen, the former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee who has refused to support Trump, said he would be “on board with anyone” who ran against Trump in the primary.

Cullen backed the idea of a “sleeper candidate” who could push Trump to the edge, even with the knowledge that this candidate would be unlikely to snatch the nomination from the real estate mogul and former reality TV star. Others described such a scenario as a “suicide mission.”

Like a (gulp) terrorist.

Evan Siegfried, a Republican strategist in New York, said he also could see someone running a token campaign just to enrage Trump.

One surprising name that has shown up in 2020 speculation: Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana. Pence has become a force on the fund-raising circuit and has criss-crossed the country for Republican candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.

Pence has also largely remained out of the Russia investigation fray, in part because he joined the Trump campaign much later than others.

When asked, Pence has repeatedly swatted down any suggestion that he would run against Trump in 2020. But in a rare moment of levity, Trump jokingly alluded to the possibility of a Pence 2020 campaign during a speech at last weekend’s Gridiron Dinner for political insiders in Washington, which Pence also attended.

I didn't see any print on that at all.

Trump said Pence “starts out each morning asking everyone, ‘Has he been impeached yet?’ I don’t like that.”

He's even got a sense of humor.


They are also mentioning Romney, but that would be only two years into his upcoming Senate term from Utah. Is that what they are voting for come 2018?


Elizabeth Warren takes aim at businesses that promise not to poach each other’s workers

She has problems from what I hear.

Deval Patrick mulling 2020 presidential run

After the mess he made of this state?

"Trump meets with video game execs and critics" by Tony Romm Washington Post  March 09, 2018

WASHINGTON —Republican lawmakers and conservative media critics pressed President Donald Trump on Thursday to explore new restrictions on the video-game industry, arguing that violent games may have contributed to mass shootings like the attack in Parkland, Fla., last month.

In a private meeting at the White House, also attended by several video game executives, some participants urged Trump to consider new regulations that would make it harder for children to purchase those games. Others asked the president to expand his inquiry to focus on violent movies and TV shows too.

It's an old debate but does have a point regarding all the gratuitous violence and sex spewing forth from Hollywood. #MeToo is why there is so much senseless nudity! Pervert producers and directors wanna look!

Trump’s roundtable on Thursday marked his latest listening session on gun violence in the aftermath of last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School, which left 17 students dead. In recent weeks, Trump has suggested a number of ideas to address gun deaths — even arming teachers at schools — while lawmakers have explored their own solutions.


Florida High School False Flag Shooting: Important Video

Bipartisan gun bills pile up in Senate with no plans to act

Fla. governor urged to block plan to arm teachers

Trump on drugs?

Might want to test him.

In doing so, the president has expressed deep unease with violent video games, at one point saying they were ‘‘shaping young people’s thoughts.’’ 

Like brainwashing?

‘‘We have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it,’’ he said.

It's hard to get away from the ma$$ media.

Video game executives who were scheduled to attend the meeting Thursday included Robert Altman, the CEO of ZeniMax, the parent company for games such as Fallout; Strauss Zelnick, the chief executive of Take Two Interactive, which is known for Grand Theft Auto, and Michael Gallagher, the leader of the Entertainment Software Association, a Washington-focused lobbying organization for the industry.

Each organization did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Those who did join Trump said he appeared open-minded, seeking solutions from everyone, including executives from the video-game industry.

It was ‘‘respectful but contentious,’’ said Melissa Henson, program director for the Parents Television Council, a group that is critical of violence in video games.

Henson said that she and her peers argued that a ‘‘steady diet of media violence is having a corrosive effect on our culture,’’ while video game executives were ‘‘every bit as firm in their conviction there is no relation.’’

And at times, calls for greater oversight and regulation came strong.

‘‘I think he’s deeply disturbed by some of the things you see in these video games that are so darn violent, viciously violent, and clearly inappropriate for children, and I think he’s bothered by that,’’ said Brent Bozell, the president of the Media Research Council, who joined the meeting.

Bozell said he also communicated to Trump a need for ‘‘much tougher regulation’’ of the video-game industry, stressing that violent games ‘‘needed to be given the same kind of thought as tobacco and liquor.’’

For now, the White House already has hinted at broader scrutiny still to come. A day before the meeting, a spokeswoman for Trump said the sit-down with video-game executives and their critics is ‘‘the first of many with industry leaders to discuss this important issue.’’

Privately, lobbyists for tech giants and movie studios expressed early unease that they might soon be dragged up to the White House, too.

Like a kid being sent to see his father for punishment.

Along with Bozell and Hartzler, Trump also included lawmakers like Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Martha Roby. Their offices did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.

But one Democrat who was not in attendance, however, derided Trump’s efforts, arguing it overshadowed the real issue in their minds: seeking new restrictions on gun sales.

‘‘Focusing entirely on video games distracts from the substantive debate we should be having about how to take guns out of the hands of dangerous people,’’ said Senator Richard Blumenthal in a statement.

Conservatives sharply disagreed.

‘‘I would ask them respectfully for once to stop playing politics. If you care about this issue, you will look at Jonesboro, Arkansas; Columbine; Newtown, Connecticut,’’ said Bozell. ‘‘In so many other places where you had mass shootings by children, and every instance I just gave, that child who was the shooter was watching violent video games.’’


Related: The Stunning Hypocrisy of Yesterday’s Video Game Meeting in the White House 

He has a good point.

Also see:

"Birmingham school Superintendent Lisa Herring said public school was closed Thursday to give authorities time and space for a thorough security sweep. Metal detectors and other security measures had failed to keep the students from handling the gun in the classroom. Security was being increased at all city schools. Just last week, as police and school officials investigated a reported threat at Huffman Middle School, a gun was found outside an entrance door, believed to have been left there as students prepared to be scanned and have backpacks checked....."

Starting to look like a drill, and here is where we are headed.

Medford school principal put on leave after ammunition magazine was apparently discarded 

(Blog editor shakes head)

Kentucky teachers rally over retirement cuts, warn of strike

It worked in West Virginia.

‘Concealed Carry’ fashion show postponed, gun groups say

DA clears Lynn officer who fatally shot uncooperative, unarmed robbery suspect

Homeowner gets life sentence for shooting unarmed black man

Now if he were a cop.....

Man who bought gun for planned church attack pleads guilty

Looks like another FBI mind f*** to me. Same as this.

"Skeptical of LED lights, marijuana growers decry lighting efficiency rule" by Dan Adams Globe Staff  March 08, 2018

On its face, the idea hardly seems objectionable: With the state obliged to reduce greenhouse gases by 2020, regulators should act now to address the large amounts of electricity consumed by major indoor pot-growing operations where energy-hungry high-pressure sodium lamps can burn 24 hours a day.

But a new regulation set by the Cannabis Control Commission to do just that — by limiting the amount of electricity that can be used for lighting to an average of 36 watts per square foot of cultivation space — has the industry howling in protest as it prepares for the debut of recreational sales this summer.

To stay under that cap, growers say, they would have to use LED lights that, while cooler and far more efficient, are five to 10 times more expensive than traditional bulbs. Worse, they said, most of those LED fixtures emit less intense light across fewer frequencies, which in turn causes each plant to yield less marijuana and, in some cases, buds that are not as dense or potent.

“If the commission’s trying to ensure that Massachusetts is known as a state with poor-quality product and high prices, this is a great way to do it,” said Kris Krane, president of 4Front Ventures, a cannabis consulting and investment firm that also plans to open its own dispensary in Worcester this year. “I’d love it if we could get to a place where it’s feasible to grow high-quality product and keep prices down at 36 watts, but I’ve talked to experts around the country and the LED technology is just not there.”

The rule was first proposed by Governor Charlie Baker’s environmental agency. Officials there have suggested that a proliferation of cannabis facilities using high-pressure sodium lamps — the warm-looking bulbs found in older street lights — could make it harder for Massachusetts to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals it’s obligated to reach by 2020.

Kay Doyle, one of the cannabis agency’s five commissioners, said that the lighting standard was just a starting point and that a committee of state environmental experts would work with the marijuana industry on possible adjustments.

Still, she said, the commission was “striving to be a leader” in tackling the environmental challenges posed by the marijuana industry.


But she also acknowledged that the cannabis commission, facing a tight March 15 deadline to promulgate its final regulations. 

It's “not realistic to think they can get something up and running by July.”

Environmental advocates praised the commission, saying the rule sends a message that it’s time for the fast-moving marijuana industry to slow down and take a hard look at its electricity consumption, which is driven both by lighting and HVAC systems that control the temperature and humidity of grow spaces. High-pressure sodium lights used to grow cannabis can burn 50 to 70 watts per square foot or more, experts said, and run 12 to 24 hours a day, depending on the stage of plant growth.

Let me take a hit first.


What about growing the stuff outdoors? 

“We have an opportunity here to help the state and the nascent cannabis cultivation industry figure out the best ways to be efficient,” said Sam Milton, principal of Climate Resources Group, a consultancy that works with cannabis firms. Besides, he noted, “every watt saved is money in their pockets.”

Milton said he was hopeful the lighting standard would encourage more outdoor and greenhouse operations, where sunlight reduces the need for artificial lights.


But Mark Cusack, a state representative from Braintree who cochairs the Legislature’s joint committee on marijuana policy, said he was pondering a legislative fix that would undo the rule, arguing that the Legislature never envisioned the agency proscribing certain lighting equipment and that the commission failed to consider the rule’s potential impact.

“We have a healthy illicit market where people are growing without LED lights,” Cusack said. A lighting standard that reduces supply and increases prices in the state-regulated industry, he continued, will push growers and consumers to stay underground, depriving the state of tax revenue.

That's what they care about. The tax loot!

Marijuana farmers questioned why cannabis cultivation operations, and not computer data centers and other power-intensive facilities, are being singled out.

“I don’t hear anybody complaining about the exorbitant energy use of a server rack, and the thousands of server rooms all over Massachusetts,” said Peter Bernard, president of the Massachusetts Growers Advocacy Council. “This is just a move by prohibitionists to cripple the industry.”

They never run out of road blocks.

High energy usage and other negative environmental impacts have long been uncomfortable truths for the pot industry. In Denver, data recently obtained by Colorado Public Radio showed that 4 percent of the city’s total electricity usage is devoted to cannabis growing. In California, where the weather allows for more outdoor growing, environmental advocates are increasingly worried about marijuana operators clear-cutting swaths of forest and the runoff from those farms.

Yeah, forget the timber, ranching, and agricultural industries!

Krane and others conceded the industry could do better but.....

Pot smokers always so conciliatory!


Also see:

Plan to ease pressure on levees raises environmental worries

The Harvard Sailing Center is ‘partially sinking’ into the Charles River

Panel awaits engineer’s report on whether Cape Cod seafood shack will fall into ocean

Figuring out what land will be underwater in 20 years could be lucrative

They should call it ¢limate ¢hange!

"With deep blue waters, white sand beaches, and rich marine life, the tiny island nation of the Seychelles is announcing a pioneering marine conservation plan as part of a debt swap deal with creditors. In an agreement described as the first of its kind, the Indian Ocean nation popular with tourists is designating nearly a third of its waters as protected areas, aiming to ensure the longevity of its unique biodiversity. The deal with the country’s creditors was brokered by US-based The Nature Conservancy and involved a $1 million grant by the foundation of actor Leonardo DiCaprio. At the height of its debt crisis in the late 2000s, the Seychelles was one of the world’s most debt-ridden countries. The deal allows for a certain amount of money to be repaid into a trust fund to support conservation-related projects....."

Soon the whole world will be owned by bankers!

"Retailers who flout the ordinance designed to encourage shoppers to use environmentally friendly alternatives such as reusable bags, or pay a 5-cent fee for a compostable plastic bag would be issued a warning. If another violation occurs within a year of the warning, a $50 fine would be levied, followed by $100 fines for subsequent offenses. Carl Spector, commissioner of the Environment Department, said the city is looking at assigning enforcement duties to the Inspectional Services Department, which has inspectors who visit businesses to make sure they comply with other rules....."

Here is one that didn't:

"Abiomed to pay $3.1 million to settle kickback allegations" by Jonathan Saltzman Globe Staff  March 08, 2018

A Danvers medical device company has agreed to pay $3.1 million to the federal government to settle allegations that sales representatives violated an anti-kickback statute to get doctors and nurses to use the firm’s heart pumps on Medicare patients.

The alleged kickbacks by Abiomed Inc. consisted of lavish meals, with plenty of alcohol, at some of the country’s swankiest restaurants, including Menton in Boston, Spago in Beverly Hills, Nobu in Los Angeles, and Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan, according to federal prosecutors.

It was all part of a 2012 to 2015 effort by Abiomed to get doctors and hospital staff to use its Impella heart pumps — and it allegedly violated a federal anti-kickback statute.

Mine just broke.

“We expect today’s settlement with Abiomed to serve as a warning to medical device manufacturers who try to improperly influence the treatment decisions of physicians,” according to the settlement agreement signed by the company and prosecutors in the office of US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling.....

The pot people would be shaking in their boots if they weren't stoned.


Martin Shkreli’s long, strange tale could end with a decade in prison

He won't be able to take anything with him, either.

Florida eye doctor gets 17 years for Medicare fraud The prominent Florida eye doctor Dr. Salomon Melgen, once accused of bribing Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, stole $73 million from Medicare by persuading elderly patients to undergo excruciating tests and treatments they didn’t need for diseases they didn’t have.

Steward Health Care to move top executives to Dallas

Cigna bets on getting bigger as rising costs vex health business

After health-insurance controversy, most public workers to avoid large premium increases

Under pressure, Akamai adds two board members

WeWork expands again, leasing space for 1,700 desks in the Back Bay

"Wayfair fails to deliver progress on profit, sending stock tumbling" by Janelle Nanos Globe Staff  February 23, 2018

Wayfair’s tagline is “a zillion things home.” But investors would prefer a few million in profit.

The Boston-based furniture and housewares retailer on Thursday posted a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss, sending its shares down 23 percent, the biggest one-day decline since the company went public in 2014.

The sell-off was part of a familiar pattern: With each successive quarter’s earnings report, investors have increasingly shown concern about Wayfair’s outsize spending on operations and advertising without demonstrating an obvious path to profitability.

A study from professors at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Emory University recently estimated that Wayfair’s stock price was overvalued by as much as 84 percent, in part due to the company’s high acquisition costs to bring in new shoppers. The academics’ number-crunching suggested that Wayfair loses $10 on every sale.

How do they stay in business? Volume!

Daniel McCarthy, one of study’s authors and a marketing professor at Emory University, said the problem is that Wayfair is spending an inordinate amount of money to acquire repeat customers, while the nature of the furniture business isn’t built on repeat sales. After all, how many times a decade you need to buy a lamp or a couch?

“It’s not a fault of the company, it’s a fault of the category,” McCarthy said. “You just can’t say you’re going to be the Amazon of furniture. You need a way to make the model work.”

Wayfair fell $21.74 to $73.95 on Thursday. Despite the tumble, the stock is up 84 percent in the past year.

Which is the same as its overvaluation.

The company chose to focus on the positive in its report, with its chief executive, Niraj Shah, citing the company’s “incredible growth” in 2017, with net revenue rising 40 percent to $4.7 billion. Shah said the company’s decision to spend nearly $550 million last year on advertising has resulted in “significant market share,” and that an emphasis on technology has allowed them to redefine “what is possible in the home category.”

The company has recently rolled out augmented reality tools to help customers envision how products will fit in their homes, and an Uber-like service that lets them track deliveries.

“Technology, combined with continuous testing and innovation, allows us to constantly enhance the shopping experience while quickly scaling our operations,” Shah said.

Wayfair has also made major investments in infrastructure and operations, and has expanded to the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada. All told, the company reported it has 11 million customers, a 33 percent growth over last year.

All the spending comes at a cost. The company saw a net loss of $72.8 million in the fourth quarter, up from a loss of $44 million during the same period in 2016. Excluding some items, the per-share loss was 58 cents, compared with the average analyst estimate of 53 cents.

Meanwhile, competition is getting stiffer. Walmart announced this week that it was launching a new home decorating experience on its website, with curated collections that borrow from home magazines and focus on trends. The company has nearly doubled its assortment of home goods in the last year, including a line of Scandinavian furniture for kids and more mid-century modern pieces.

Investors are also worried that Amazon will get into the home decor business.

Peter Cohan, a management professor at Babson College, said that competition isn’t going away, as more companies look to compete in the housewares space. “The uniqueness of their business is becoming less of an advantage,” he said.

There are other economic factors to consider, Cohan added. Wealthy homeowners who see their tax rates rise may feel like they have less disposable income for big-ticket items like furniture, and rising interest rates and the possibility of a recession could stall the housing market.

Told they just got a massive tax cut!

But Sucharita Kodali, a retail analyst at Forrester, said hand-wringing responses to the earnings report were overwrought. Wayfair is an e-commerce brand, she said, and “these are companies that are trying to take a page from the Amazon playbook. It’s always supposed to be about higher than industry growth and profit is a total crapshoot. These are not businesses you’re investing in because they’re throwing off a ton of cash.”

She said that Wayfair’s marketing expenses could easily be pulled back if needed, and it’s still out way ahead in serving an industry that is notoriously frustrating for customers. “Furniture and home, the number of errors in the category is just unbelievable,” Kodali said, while Wayfair takes “a very Amazon approach to quality control and getting products to customers.”

“A lot of this is coming down to how well you execute,” she said. “I think customers are generally pretty satisfied with Wayfair.”

What babble!


At least they have catchy commercial jingles in their ads.

VC firms offering advice, not just money, to help women founders

This one is for you, ladies.