My meanderings about politics, space exploration, cars, cats, tech things and whatever else strikes my fancy. To the current occupant of the White House, we will not be taken into war on anyone's leash.
Who would have thought that drinking chlorine bleach would be harmful to you? Lol AVB
Date: October 18, 2014 12:01 AM – Hoax: Drinking Household Bleach Will Make You Immune to the Deadly Ebola Virus
Drinking BLEACH WILL NOT make you immune to the Ebola virus or kill the deadly virus in your body. There is a post on social networking websites that is claiming that people can become immune to Ebola virus or the virus can be killed in infected persons, if they ingest household bleach or inject it into their bodies. The post, which is a deadly hoax, is spreading on the internet like wildfire; and I hope no one has followed the deadly instruction in it.
This is exactly why we need to get a large voter turnout for these midterms. The latest polls show that less than 26% are even aware that there is an election coming up on November 4th. Our democracy only works when our Citizens use the ballot box. AVB
October 18 2014
(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday denied a request to block a Texas law requiring voters in the state to show certain forms of identification before they cast a ballot.
The move comes after a U.S. appeals court on Tuesday granted a request by the state to stay a lower court decision that struck down the law, meaning the measure will be in effect for the November elections.
The decision, published early on Saturday morning, was unsigned and did not provide a supporting legal argument. Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan from the court’s liberal wing, penned a six-page dissent.
“The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters,” Ginsburg wrote.
Last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos overturned the law, arguing it discriminated against Hispanics and African-Americans and impinged on their right to vote. Ramos said the law would effectively disenfranchise some 600,000 voters, a figure the state disputes.
On Tuesday, the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request filed by the state asking for that ruling to be put on hold pending appeal.
The trial stemmed from a battle over stringent voter ID measures signed into law by Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry in 2011. The law, which supporters say will prevent voter fraud, requires voters to present photo identification such as a driver’s license, passport or military ID card.
It is one of a series enacted in mostly Republican-governed states requiring voters to show certain forms of identification before being allowed to vote.
Saturday’s ruling is a blow to the strategy of President Barack Obama’s administration of challenging such laws, which it says discriminate by race.
The administration wants to counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2013 that overturned parts of the Voting Rights Act. That ruling freed several states, mostly in the South, from strict federal oversight.
Opponents of the ID laws argue they are designed to reduce the turnout of certain groups of voters who are less likely to have such identification.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Mark Potter, Larry King)
I am fascinated who would be the consumer for this jacket. Either paranoid or voyeur, it will be interesting to see. AVB
blogger-avatarbyMariella Moon | @mariella_moon | October 17 2014
If Google Glass and lifelogging cameras aren’t enough to make you feel safe, then maybe what you really need is a surveillance blazer. See, nothing can get past the camera-dotted jacket above — not when it can capture 360 videos of your environment and instantly upload it to the internet with the click of a button. Its Korean creator, Shinseungback Kimyonghun, believes all the cameras (controlled by an onboard Raspberry Pi) give off an “I can record you” warning, which can deter people from messing with you. It doesn’t seem like he has plans to sell it en masse, though, so you might have to make your own if you desperately want one. Make sure to watch the video after the break, if that’s the case, for more clues on how to get it done.
He is the most normal president. I have experienced in my life time. I love that he shares how he feels about things personally. When he said that Trayvon Martin could have been his son and his general candor and truthfulness. AVB
By MARY BRUCE
(@marykbruce) Oct 17, 2014, 12:52 PM
Presidents, they’re just like us.
Obama Admits His Credit Card Got Rejected
Speaking at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, President Obama today admitted that his credit card was recently rejected.
“I went to a restaurant up in New York during the UN General Assembly and my credit card was rejected. It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough, so they thought there was some fraud going on,” he explained, as he signed as executive order to tighten security on debit and credit cards that transmit federal benefits. “Fortunately, Michelle had hers.
“I was trying to explain to the waitress, ‘No, I really think that I’ve been paying my bills,'” he joked.
Maybe there really is a velvet mafia in Hollywood. So proud of him and I know he’s going to be doing an incredible job. Looking forward to it. AVB
By Margaret Lyons10/15/14 at 5:11 PM
America’s hostingest person Neil Patrick Harris will host the Oscars in February, Variety reports. Harris has hosted the Tonys a bunch of times and the Emmys twice, plus he’s won four Emmys for his Tony hosting — so this isn’t exactly coming out of nowhere. If there’s any justice in this sad universe, his Oscar gig will include a glorious musical number in line with his “bigger, better” opening song for the 2013 Tonys, which is among the best awards-show numbers ever
As the poles are switching to becoming more favorable for the Democrats this kind of news will only reinforce that movement. Democrats may have a chance not to lose the sentence. The article says that we are races of prosperity in the world. That’s some pretty amazing language to describe the u s economy. Look around you there are cranes everywhere the dollar is stronger and people are starting to feel better all the things. AVB
Reuters By Jason Lange
October 16 2014
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to a 14-year low last week and industrial output rose sharply in September, positive signals that helped ease fears over the economic outlook.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 23,000 to 264,000, the lowest level since 2000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
A separate report from the Federal Reserve showed production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities advanced a larger-than-expected 1.0 percent last month, the biggest gain since November 2012.
The data offered evidence the economy remained on solid ground, with the labor market gaining steam. Investors in recent days have come to the view that slowing growth overseas will weigh on the U.S. economy and force the Fed to delay a hike in interest rates, with weak retail sales data on Wednesday helping to fuel a global sell-off in stock markets.
The jobless claims report, however, reinforced expectations that slack in the labor market was being reduced and, combined with comments from a top Fed official, put a brake on the selling on Wall Street.
“Have we achieved full employment? Not yet. Are we getting closer? Absolutely,” said Stephen Stanley, an economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed up marginally, while the blue chip Dow Jones industrials slipped a bit further. Yields on U.S. government bonds moved higher.
Some of last week’s drop in claims may have been related to the Columbus Day holiday, economists at RBS told clients.
The government, however, said there were no unusual factors in the report, and a four-week moving average of claims, which irons out weekly volatility, also fell to its lowest since 2000.
OASIS OF PROSPERITY?
A Reuters poll published on Thursday showed economists still clinging to the view that the Fed would raise benchmark borrowing costs from near zero in the second quarter of next year despite mounting signs of weakness overseas.
The poll, however, was largely completed before the latest stock market sell-off, which has been accompanied by a big shift in investor expectations for the path of U.S. monetary policy. Interest rate futures now point to a rate hike in October 2015.
St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said in a television interview with Bloomberg that the U.S. central bank might want to keep its bond-buying stimulus program running for longer than anticipated to combat the risk of a drop in already low inflation, comments that eased investors’ nerves.
But with the U.S. economy motoring ahead, many analysts said they expected Bullard’s advice to fall by the wayside.
Economists still expect third-quarter growth to come in at around a 3 percent annual rate, a view buttressed by the pickup in industrial output.
The Fed pinned part of the gain on unusual weather that boosted air-conditioning use but there was also a broad-based increase in factory output, which grew a solid 0.5 percent.
A third report from the Fed’s Philadelphia branch showed slowing growth in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region.
(Reporting by Jason Lange and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Paul Simao and James Dalgleish)
I think it’s time for the good senator who start using Cruz control on the things he says. AVB
By MICHAEL GRACZYK
October 16 2014
HOUSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz told congregants of his home church Thursday that the city of Houston abused power by subpoenaing sermons and other documents from pastors who publicly opposed a local ordinance banning discrimination against gay and transgender residents.
Cruz, standing among more than a dozen clergy at First Baptist Church in Houston, described the subpoenas as an “abuse of government power” and another illustration of the “indefensible assault by the government on religious liberties.”
“Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit,” said the Texas Republican, a tea party-backed conservative who is considering a presidential run.
In May, the City Council passed the equal rights ordinance, which consolidates city bans on discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion and other categories and increases protections for gay and transgender residents. Supporters, including Mayor Annise Parker, said the measure is about offering protections at the local level against all forms of discrimination in housing, employment and services provided by private businesses such as hotels and restaurants.
Religious institutions are exempt, but city attorneys subpoenaed five pastors, seeking all speeches, presentations or sermons related to the petition, the mayor, homosexuality or gender identity.
Christian activists sued after city officials ruled they didn’t collect enough signatures on petitions to put a referendum on the ballot to repeal the ordinance.
Parker, who is gay, and the city attorney, David Feldman, said the subpoenas were designed to gather evidence in the lawsuit, may have been poorly written by an outside firm working for the city and that she and Feldman were not aware of them and had not read them before they were served.
Feldman said the city would revise the wording and narrow the scope when it responds to a motion to quash them.
The controversy has touched a nerve among religious conservatives around the country, already anxious about the rapid spread of gay rights and what it might mean for faith groups that object. Religious groups have been mobilizing their pastors to protest the Houston subpoenas. The Family Research Council, a conservative political advocacy group, issued an action alert to its network, and the NRB, the national trade association for Christian broadcasters, called the request for sermons an “inquisition.
Even religious leaders who support civil rights protections for gays have protested the subpoenas as a violation of religious freedom. The Rev. Welton Gaddy, head of the liberal Interfaith Alliance, sent a letter to Parker and Feldman calling the request “profoundly disturbing” and an action that “fails to capture the intent of the United States Constitution.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is surrounded …
City Secretary Anna Russell initially counted enough signatures to put the repeal referendum on the ballot, but Feldman examined the petition pages to see if the signatures met city charter requirements, focusing on whether signature gatherers were Houston residents and whether they signed the petition. More than half of the 5,199 pages of the petition were disqualified.
Jared Woodfill, who is leading the repeal effort, said he believes the city’s use of subpoenas for pastors’ sermons and notes is unprecedented. He accused Parker of pursuing a personal agenda and using taxpayer dollars and the power of the government to harass churches.
The inclusion of the word sermon “in a very long legal document which I know nothing about and would never have read and I’m vilified coast to coast,” Parker said. “It’s a normal day at the office for me.”
AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll contributed to this report.
I am sure that the critics of President Obama’s foreign policy in the region will find fault with this. But using the Kurds and the ground troops along with the coalition air strikes seem to be working and working well. AVB
October 16 2014
The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) has suffered setbacks and has begun retreating from parts of the Syrian border town of Kobani, according to a local official, who said Kurdish forces were advancing against the militant group.
Idris Nassan told the BBC that ISIS had previously controlled almost half the town but currently occupies “less than 20%.”
The retreat comes after the U.S. stepped up the intensity of air strikes in the region, with al-Jazeera quoting U.S. officials as saying Western coalition forces had launched about 40 air strikes in the past two days. “We know we’ve killed several hundred of them,” said Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, while admitting that the strategically important Syrian-Turkish border town could still fall to the radical Islamist group.
Air strikes have also been launched in parts of neighboring Iraq, where ISIS is rapidly making inroads into the Anbar province, and is reportedly advancing on a town just 25 miles from the capital Baghdad.
“That’s probably ISIS’s key victory here,” Matthew Gray, a senior lecturer at the Australian National University’s Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, tells TIME. Gray is of the opinion that although Kobani’s location on the border with Turkey — and thus with NATO and the Western world — makes it important to defend, Anbar’s proximity to Baghdad and the economic advantages it represents make it far more significant strategically. “If I were ISIS, I’d probably be happy to let Kobani go as long as I have Anbar,” he says.
Despite the recent achievements of Operation Inherent Resolve, as U.S. President Barack Obama has now termed the battle against ISIS, Gray says there’s a limit to how much air strikes — even with helicopters as opposed to fixed-wing aircraft — can achieve without ground troops.
Even so, the current retreat is “significant,” says Gray, “especially if they’ve lost several hundred.”
“It doesn’t neutralize the other observation that to completely destroy or thoroughly degrade ISIS will require substantial action from troops on the ground,” he adds.
I propose a constitutional amendment that will force Florida and Texas to always be in our union. They’re just too funny to let go of. So now we have a new term fangate. AVB
You will need to watch the clip, it’s unbelievable
NBC 6’s Steve Litz has the details from the second gubernatorial debate where Governor Rick Scott initally declined to participate over a fan.
Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 • Updated at 11:33 PM EDT
The ferocious race for Florida governor took a surreal turn when a small electric fan threatened to derail Wednesday night’s debate, leaving the stage empty and panelists confused for a few long minutes at its start.
Gov. Rick Scott debated former governor and current Democratic challenger Charlie Crist on Wednesday night at Broward College, but not before minutes of awkward dispute over the fan.
When the debate’s scheduled start time arrived, Crist was introduced and took his position behind one of the podiums. Then, when Scott was supposed to come on stage, the moderator announced that he was refusing to participate in the debate over a small fan below Crist’s podium.
Crist typically uses an electronic fan at public appearances to avoid sweating. Scott said Crist’s use of a fan violated the rules of the debate against using an electronic device. Crist was left alone on stage for about five minutes to start the debate.
Crist called Scott’s position ridiculous before Scott eventually came onto the stage.
When both candidates began the actual debate, both took opposing sides on almost every issue, including gay marriage. Scott said that he supports traditional marriage but that ultimately it is a question for the courts to decide.
Crist said he supports same-sex marriage, but Scott pointed out that Crist had before told reporters his opposition to same-sex marriage was a matter of political expedience, because he was then a Republican.
When the candidates were asked if justice was served when neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder for fatally shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin last year, Crist used the opportunity to suggest amending the stand your ground law, which allows use of deadly force if people are in fear for their lives.
“Everyone believes in that American premise, and it is the right thing to do to defend yourself and your property,” Crist said. “But when it gets to the point where you have a statute on the books that allows the instigator … to end up killing another human being after they started the incident, there is something fundamentally wrong with that law.”
Scott said Martin’s death was tragic, but the law should remain as is.
“I believe in the right to defend yourself. I can’t imagine losing a child like that but I have talked to sheriffs and police chiefs,” Scott said. “I stand with them that we need to have the existing law in place.”
While the issues may have been discussed during the debate, the discussion afterwa was all about the fan. Miami Herald political reporter Marc Caputo tweeted, “Republican/Rick Scott loyalists are telling me the moment he didn’t go onstage over fangate was the moment he lost the election.”
The election is shaping up to be one of the closest gubernatorial races in the country. Polls have tightened in recent weeks, showing a statistical tie between the two candidates.
Democrats want to gain control of the governor’s office ahead of the 2016 election as Hillary Clinton prepares for a likely run. Florida will once again be a key swing state, and controlling the governor’s office could be a key gain for Democrats.