June 25, 2017

Posted by orrinj at 8:02 PM


Russian official linked to South Florida biker club spent millions on Trump condos (LILY DOBROVOLSKAYA AND NICHOLAS NEHAMAS, 6/25/17, Miami Herald)

[T]he tale of Igor Zorin offers a 21st-century twist with all the weirdness modern Miami has to offer: Russian cash, a motorcycle club named after Russia's powerful special forces and a condo tower branded by Donald Trump.

Zorin is a Russian government official who has spent nearly $8 million on waterfront South Florida homes, hardly financially prudent given his bureaucrat's salary of $75,000 per year. He runs a state-owned broadcasting company that, among other duties, operates sound systems for the annual military parade that sends columns of soldiers and tanks rumbling through Moscow's Red Square.

Zorin has other Miami connections, too: His local business associate, Svyatoslav Mangushev, a Russian intelligence officer turned Miami real-estate investor, helped found a biker club called Spetsnaz M.C. Spetsnaz is a group of motorcycle-loving South Florida expatriates who named themselves after the Russian equivalent of Delta Force or Seal Team Six.

Spetsnaz members once asked for official recognition from Russia's biggest biker gang, the Night Wolves, an infamous group that has strong ties to Russia's security services. The Night Wolves played a role in the Ukrainian uprising, once had their flag flown in outer space by Russian cosmonauts and are under U.S. sanctions.

Posted by orrinj at 7:59 PM


Trump's Deflections and Denials on Russia Frustrate Even His Allies (MAGGIE HABERMAN, JUNE 25, 2017, NY Times)

In the span of 72 hours, President Trump described the email hacking that roiled the 2016 campaign as a Democratic "hoax" and as clear aggression by Russia that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, failed to address.

Other times, Mr. Trump has said the hacking might have been done by China.

Or, as he claimed during the first general election debate, the hacking could have been the work of a lone wolf weighing 400 pounds, sitting on his bed at home.

Then there was the time Mr. Trump blamed "some guy in his home in New Jersey."

Or, as Mr. Trump has also suggested, there might not even have been hacking at all...

Posted by orrinj at 7:35 PM


Want states to have health reform flexibility? The ACA already does that (Jason Levitis and Stuart M Butler, June 21, 2017, Brookings)

As Congress struggles to balance the goals of flexibility and adequate health coverage, it's worth noting that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) already includes a measure that does exactly that. Section 1332 of the ACA allows for "state innovation waivers" that provide broad flexibility for states to redesign their health insurance markets while ensuring that health coverage is not jeopardized.

Section 1332 was the bipartisan brainchild of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and former Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT). The measure allows states to waive or modify many of the central coverage provisions of the ACA, redirecting the current federal subsidies flowing to the state toward implementing the state's own plan. To protect individuals, a waiver may be approved only if it won't leave more people uninsured or make coverage less affordable or comprehensive.  A waiver also cannot increase federal deficits.

Section 1332 has received praise from both ends of the ideological spectrum. Last year, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle wrote in the Washington Post that the waivers "can achieve what both sides earnestly wish for: providing more Americans with access to more affordable, flexible, patient-centered health care." The Trump administration has also been strongly supportive, encouraging states to apply and providing a detailed checklist to help states develop applications.

Posted by orrinj at 11:48 AM


The Missing Ingredient in BCRA: Humility (Mike Lee, 6/25/17, Medium)

No, the Senate healthcare bill released yesterday does not repeal Obamacare. It doesn't even significantly reform American healthcare.

It cuts taxes. It bails out insurance companies. It props up Obamacare through the next election. It lays out plans to slow Medicaid spending beginning in 2025, but that probably won't happen. And it leaves in place the ham-fisted federal regulations that have driven up family health insurance premiums by 140 percent since Obamacare was implemented.

Posted by orrinj at 11:35 AM


Posted by orrinj at 11:11 AM


Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Changes in the Medicaid Eligibility of Pregnant Women (Janet Currie, and Jonathan Gruber, December 1996, Journal of Political Economy )

A key question for health care reform in the United States is whether expanded health insurance eligibility will lead to improvements in health outcomes. We address this question in the context of the dramatic changes in Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women that took place between 1979 and 1992. We build a detailed simulation model of each state's Medicaid policy during this era and use this model to estimate (1) the effect of changes in the rules on the fraction of women eligible for Medicaid coverage in the event of pregnancy and (2) the effect of Medicaid eligibility changes on birth outcomes in aggregate Vital Statistics data. We have three main findings. First, the changes did dramatically increase the Medicaid eligibility of pregnant women, but did so at quite differential rates across the states. Second, the changes lowered the incidence of infant mortality and low birth weight; we estimate that the 30-percentage-point increase in eligibility among 15-44-year-old women was associated with a decrease in infant mortality of 8.5 percent. 

Paying for pregnancy and birth seems like something the two parties could agree on.
Posted by orrinj at 10:55 AM


Posted by orrinj at 10:49 AM


Bernie Sanders and his wife are being investigated by the FBI -- now they're lawyering up (Chris Enloe, 6/25/17, The Blaze)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and his wife, Jane, have hired top-notch defense attorneys amid an FBI investigation probing Jane for potentially committing fraud.

It was reported last month that the FBI is actively investigating Jane for potentially committing fraud during the time that she served as the president of Burlington College between 2004 and 2011.

Even folks on the Left and Right who hate capitalism gotta make a buck...

Posted by orrinj at 10:47 AM


Breaking with tradition, Trump White House forgoes Ramadan dinner (Jennifer Hansler, 6/24/17, AP)

For the first time in nearly two decades, the White House did not host an iftar dinner to commemorate Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Posted by orrinj at 10:44 AM


Koch chief says health care bill insufficiently conservative (Steve People, 6/25/17, AP)

Tim Phillips, who leads Americans For Prosperity, the Koch network's political arm, called the Senate's plans for Medicaid "a slight nip and tuck" of President Barack Obama's health care law, a modest change he described as "immoral."

Posted by orrinj at 8:19 AM



PHYSICISTS HAVE WONDERED for decades whether infinitely dense points known as singularities can ever exist outside black holes, which would expose the mysteries of quantum gravity for all to see. Singularities--snags in the otherwise smooth fabric of space and time where Albert Einstein's classical gravity theory breaks down and the unknown quantum theory of gravity is needed--seem to always come cloaked in darkness, hiding from view behind the event horizons of black holes. The British physicist and mathematician Sir Roger Penrose conjectured in 1969 that visible or "naked" singularities are actually forbidden from forming in nature, in a kind of cosmic censorship. But why should quantum gravity censor itself?

Now, new theoretical calculations provide a possible explanation for why naked singularities do not exist--in a particular model universe, at least.

Posted by orrinj at 8:16 AM


Israel strikes Syrian army after stray fire lands in Golan (Deutsche-Welle, 6/25/17)

An Israeli aircraft carried out strikes in Syria after 10 projectiles landed in the occupied Golan Heights on Saturday, the Israeli military said.

Posted by orrinj at 7:56 AM


Domestic Terrorism: Home Is Where The Hate Is (David Neiwert, June 25, 2017, National Memo)

"Anyone who cannot name our enemy is not fit to lead this country," Trump said at one campaign speech in Ohio. During another, in Philadelphia, he drove home the attack: "We now have an administration and a former secretary of state who refuse to say 'radical Islamic terrorism.' "

It was a strange place to make his point. The only Islamist terror attack in Pennsylvania over the past 15 years was committed by Edward Archer, a mentally ill man who shot and injured a police officer in early 2016, later telling investigators that he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Far-right episodes of violent extremism were far more common.

Just two years before Trump's Pennsylvania speech, anti-government radical Eric Matthew Frein ambushed two police officers in the township of Blooming Grove, killing one and wounding another, then led law enforcement authorities on a 48-day manhunt in the woods. (He was sentenced to death in April.)

Two months before that, police discovered that Eric Charles Smith, who ran a white supremacist church out of his home in the borough of Baldwin, had built a stockpile of some 20 homemade bombs.

In 2011, Eli Franklin Myers, an anti-government survivalist, shot two police officers, killing one, before being shot dead by state troopers in the small town of Webster. And in 2009, white supremacist Richard Poplawski opened fire on Pittsburgh police officers who had responded to a domestic dispute at his mother's home, killing three and leaving two injured before surrendering. Poplawski, who was active on far-right websites, said he feared the police represented a plot by Obama to take away Americans' guns.

This contrast, between Trump's rhetoric and the reality of domestic terrorism, extends far beyond Pennsylvania. A database of nine years of domestic terrorism incidents compiled by The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has produced a very different picture of the threat than that advanced by the current White House.

From January 2008 to the end of 2016, we identified 63 cases of Islamist domestic terrorism, meaning incidents motivated by a theocratic political ideology espoused by such groups as the Islamic State. The vast majority of these (76 percent) were foiled plots, meaning no attack took place.

During the same period, we found that right-wing extremists were behind nearly twice as many incidents: 115. Just over a third of these incidents (35 percent) were foiled plots. The majority were acts of terrorist violence that involved deaths, injuries or damaged property.

Posted by orrinj at 7:39 AM


D.C. Memorial for 6 Nazi Spies Raises Questions (John Woodrow Cox, 6/24/17, The Washington Post)

A team of power company workers were trudging through a seldom-visited thicket in Southwest Washington when they spotted something odd in a ditch.

Protruding from the grass was a rectangular slab of granite.

They looked closer, and an inscription on the surface came into focus. What they saw astonished them.

It was a memorial. In honor of Nazi spies. On U.S. government property.

"In memory of agents of the German Abwehr," the engraving began, "executed August 8, 1942."

Below that were six names and below those was another cryptic line: "Donated by the N.S.W.P.P."

News of the unsettling discovery soon reached Jim Rosenstock, who worked in resource management for the National Park Service and also happened to be a local history buff. He was curious, but also skeptical. How could someone have planted such an item there? And why? And -- above all -- who?

Rosenstock needed to see it for himself so he, too, made the hike into Blue Plains, a woody area known best for a wastewater treatment plant and an abundance of mosquitoes. And that's when he saw the stone.

"I kind of started doing a little bit of my own research," Rosenstock recalled of that day in 2006 when he began to help unravel an only-in-Washington mystery, complete with World War II espionage, nationwide panic, a mass electrocution, J. Edgar Hoover chicanery, white supremacists, classic federal bureaucracy and a U.S. Supreme Court case that played a significant role in America's modern war on terror.

Posted by orrinj at 7:32 AM


High School Students Saving for College (Tim Grant, 6/25/17, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

High school students who grew up during the 2007-09 recession whose parents rode out the financial struggle are showing a greater tendency to save for college, avoid debt, and embrace attending two-year community colleges and vocational schools, according to the latest survey by the College Savings Foundation.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors across the country surveyed by the Washington-based foundation in its eighth annual "How Youth Plan to Fund College" survey are targeting schools that will lead them to careers while keeping costs in check. They also appear to be relying less on loans and scholarships as opposed to their savings and expectations for working through college.

Posted by orrinj at 7:29 AM


Internet From Space Gets Closer to Reality (Brian Fung, 6/25/17, The Washington Post)

For many, it's been a years-long pipe dream: Ultra-fast, lag-free Internet that comes to your PC or smartphone via satellite instead of a wire into your home. Facebook, Google and even SpaceX have all explored the idea, partly in hopes of selling broadband access to a growing market with enormous potential -- the developing world.

But now, a former Googler and friend of Elon Musk has beaten them all to the punch, becoming the first to receive permission to actually build a next-generation satellite Internet service that targets U.S. customers. If it takes off, the project could benefit Americans nationwide by providing broadband anywhere in the United States, particularly in rural areas where it can be difficult to provide fast Internet connections using traditional ground-based cables.

Posted by orrinj at 7:15 AM


A Jewish American who immigrated to Israel asks why refugees can't (JP O' MALLEY June 25, 2017, Times of Israel)

When Mya Guarnieri Jaradat arrived in Israel 10 years ago from the United States, she was supposed to have come on a one-year trip to complete her master's thesis. Like so many others, she prolonged her stay. But what made her expatriation in the Jewish state unique were the motivations behind it.

There were two issues that caused her to prolong her initial educational and cultural sojourn: a love of Hebrew and commitment to learning it fluently, and the desire to work with the state's marginalized communities in south Tel Aviv.

Jaradat began her work primarily with migrant workers from southeast Asian countries such as Thailand or the Philippines, as well as African asylum seekers from countries including Eritrea and South Sudan. Her initial observation was that there was massive poverty among these communities. But Jaradat also began to witness how most of the people she spoke with also had few legal, civic or labor rights.

What started off as volunteer work soon transitioned into journalism, which led Jaradat on the path to eventually becoming an Israeli citizen.

"As soon as I took on Israeli citizenship, I felt a strong sense of responsibility for what the Jewish state was doing in my name," says Jaradat.

Jaradat has continued working as a journalist, covering Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in a wide host of publications around the globe, including The Nation, The New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, the far-left Israeli blog +972, and Al Jazeera.

The outspoken Jewish-American reporter claims that Israel's policy on migrant workers and asylum seekers is shaped by what she calls a paradoxical double-sided contradiction "to maintain a particular demographic balance necessary for the state to be both 'Jewish and democratic.'"

Posted by orrinj at 7:04 AM


On Health-Care Reform, George W. Bush Was Misunderestimated (Christopher Pope, 6/16/17, National Review)

The recent slowdown in the growth of health-care spending has been most noticeable in Medicare costs and premiums for employer-based plans -- not coincidentally, the two parts of the system least altered by the ACA. Nor is it any coincidence that the growth of costs began its decline in 2003, when MMA overhauled Medicare and revolutionized the structure of employer-provided plans.

President Bush was vilified by conservatives for the immediate expense of the Part D drug benefit included in the MMA, but this ended up costing 50 percent less than the CBO initially estimated it would. In fact, a recent analysis found that, by providing incentives for beneficiaries to switch to cheaper generic drugs where appropriate, Part D has accounted for 60 percent of the total slowdown in Medicare costs since 2011. And Part D aside, the MMA has been remarkably successful in achieving its primary aim: a broader structural transformation of Medicare. [...]

[T]he availability of privately managed Medicare Advantage plans offers a genuine alternative to politically micromanaged care delivery, and such plans have begun to revolutionize the Medicare program. Medicare Advantage delivers the same package of benefits with a higher quality of care for an average of $1,200 less per beneficiary than the government could directly. Plans can then use these savings to attract enrollees by filling in cost-sharing gaps and providing supplemental dental, vision, or hearing coverage that is not part of the standard benefit.

Options for Medicare beneficiaries to choose privately managed HMO coverage were established in the early 1980s and expanded to PPOs and fee-for-service plans by the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. Unfortunately, the BBA drove payments below the costs of delivering the standard Medicare benefit package in many areas, and so enrollment declined by 23 percent in the years following its enactment. By solving that problem, the MMA caused enrollment to soar from 5.3 million in 2003 to 17.6 million in 2016 -- a trend that continued despite payments' being trimmed back by the ACA.

Almost a third of Medicare beneficiaries -- and a majority of those without Medicaid or employer-funded supplemental coverage -- now choose to receive comprehensive coverage from private plans. By mitigating the dysfunctions that Medicare imposes on the health-care-delivery system, MA's growth has even been shown to reduce hospital costs for commercially insured younger populations that aren't covered by Medicare.

The MMA also initiated a revolution in employer-based coverage, by extending the tax deductibility of health insurance to out-of-pocket spending from the Health Savings Accounts of those enrolled in high-deductible plans. This provision helped correct a long-standing bias in the tax code, which had caused third-party (i.e. insurer) management of health-care spending to displace direct consumer control. It was projected to cost only $6 billion in lost federal revenue from 2004 to 2013, but it has had a huge impact.

The proportion of employees enrolled in plans with deductibles above $1,000 increased from 10 percent in 2006 to 51 percent in 2016, while the share receiving payments into private accounts to help cover out-of-pocket expenses increased from 4 percent to 29 percent over the same period. A recent NBER analysis credited the diffusion of high-deductible plans as the primary factor in slowing the growth of health-care spending.

W was transformational.  The UR and Donald are caretakers--of varying competence.

June 24, 2017

Posted by orrinj at 6:46 PM


Posted by orrinj at 6:37 PM


The New Senate Republican Bill Will Transform American Health Care (Avik Roy, 6/24/17, Forbes)

The Senate bill includes and refines the best part of the House bill: its reforms of Medicaid, the dysfunctional government-run health care program for the poor whose enrollees have no better health outcomes than the uninsured.

Because the Senate bill's tax credits are robustly means-tested and available to those below the poverty line, the bill is able to repeal Obamacare's Medicaid expansion while offering higher-quality coverage to individuals who signed up for Medicaid under the expansion.

The reason that Medicaid's health outcomes are so poor is because the outdated 1965 Medicaid law places a laundry list of constraints on states' ability to manage their Medicaid programs. As a result, the main tool states have to keep Medicaid costs under control is to pay doctors and hospitals less and less each year for the same care. Hence, many doctors don't take Medicaid, and Medicaid enrollees struggle to gain access to care.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 addresses these problems in several ways.

First, the bill repeals Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, and replaces it with tax credits so that low-income Americans can buy the coverage of their choice at an affordable price.

Second, the bill gives states a new set of tools to make their Medicaid programs. For example, under Obamacare, states are only allowed to check if someone is eligible for Medicaid once a year, even if that enrollee has moved to a different state, or becomes no longer eligible, or is no longer alive. Jonathan Ingram of the Foundation for Government Accountability, in a recent report, recommended allowing states to redetermine eligibility more frequently and thereby culling their rolls of ineligible individuals.

Third, the bill puts the legacy Medicaid program on a long-term per-capita cap tied to medical inflation through 2025, and conventional inflation (CPI-U) thereafter. This change is important, because Medicaid per-enrollee spending is growing at a slightly slower rate than Medical inflation; hence, making the program sustainable requires the use of CPI-U. The fiscal sustainability of Medicaid is essential to making sure that those who depend on the program can know it will be there for them in the future.

Posted by orrinj at 9:59 AM


Milford man completes journey from forced labor to U.S. citizenship (Andy Hershberger  , 6/23/17, WMUR)

Andrew Flynn was one of dozens of people who became U.S. citizens after a ceremony Friday in Concord, but the Milford man's path to citizenship started on a very dark road.

About 17 years ago, Flynn and three other men came to New Hampshire from Jamaica to work for a tree service company, but they ended up being forced to work and live in horrible conditions. [...]

Flynn is now married with a 2-year-old daughter, a house and a good job installing satellite dishes. He said the past is past, and he's focused on building a future in a country that he loves.

"The freedom, the people. It's a great nation. It's a great country," he said. "What can I say? Everything is good about it."

Posted by orrinj at 7:42 AM


Trump is struggling to stay calm on Russia, one morning call at a time (Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker, June 23, 2017, Washington Post)

Inside and outside the White House, advisers and friends are also engaging in quiet, informal conversations about when it makes sense for embattled Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to step aside -- and who his replacement should be. Some of Priebus's most senior colleagues speak ill of his leadership abilities, with one tagging him "the most imperiled person here," although others insist Priebus is in solid standing with the president.

Some in the White House fret over what they view as the president's fits of rage, and Trump's longtime friends say his mood has been more sour than at any point since they have known him.

They privately worry about his health, noting that he appears to have gained weight in recent months and that the darkness around his eyes reveals his stress.  

Posted by orrinj at 7:23 AM


Obama Did What He Had to Do : His cautious response to Russian interference protected our democracy. (William Saletan, 6/23/17, Slate)

There's plenty to second-guess in Obama's management of this episode. But the idea that he failed because Trump won is wrong. Obama's job wasn't to prevent the election of a particular person, even one as awful as Trump. Obama's job was to preserve the country. That meant protecting the integrity of our elections and public faith in them, which he did, to the extent possible after Russia had already hacked into the Democratic National Committee and spread misinformation. The next task--exposing the full extent of Russia's interference, punishing it, and deterring future attacks--is up to Trump. If he fails, the responsibility to hold him accountable falls to Congress. And if Congress fails, the job of electing a new, more patriotic legislature falls to voters.

According to the U.S. intelligence community's Jan. 6 assessment, Vladimir Putin's long-term goal in directing the interference campaign was to "undermine public faith in the US democratic process." Obama responded accordingly. "We set out from a first-order principle that required us to defend the integrity of the vote," Obama's former chief of staff, Denis McDonough, told the Post. Russia's hacks and leaks were bad, but corruption of voter rolls and election tallies would be far worse. So the Obama administration focused on alerting state officials, fortifying cyberdefenses, and privately threatening Russia with retaliation.

Why didn't Obama raise public alarms about Russian infiltration? Because that might have backfired. "Trump was predicting that the election would be rigged," says the Post. "Obama officials feared providing fuel to such claims, playing into Russia's efforts to discredit the outcome." According to the paper, Obama and his team "worried that any action they took would be perceived as political interference in an already volatile campaign." Rather than speak up when the CIA first warned him about Putin's moves, Obama waited for "a high-confidence assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies on Russia's role and intent." He asked congressional Republicans to join him in cautioning citizens and state election officials. You can argue that this was politically naïve. But Obama wasn't playing politics. He was trying to unite the country.

There's the problem with secrecy in a nutshell : the idea that only certain citizens should see information. Open source it all and let the market sort it out.

Posted by orrinj at 6:49 AM


"I am Richard II; know ye not that?" or, when Shakespeare was actually politically controversial (Susan Rella, 6/20/17, Melville House Press)

Now let me tell you about another play. It involves a king so bogged down by the personal and political conflicts of his staff of toadies that his ability to govern is utterly compromised. False narratives are spun on all sides until even the king doesn't know what's true. There are accusations of money laundering, of treason, of murder. While feigning innocence, the king stokes conflict by proposing a duel between the fighting factions, WWE-style -- as we come to learn that he was the mastermind behind all these misdeeds. But no one will call him on his actions; a king's power is absolute.

At the last minute, he cancels the pay-per-view smackdown, claiming to put country before politics; instead, he banishes those we now know were merely acting under his orders. But rather than quell the PR catastrophe, this act breaks it wide open. Come to find out, the king has not only depleted the royal coffers but he's--get this--personally profiting off government business. Matters, as always, come to a head, and the king is given a choice: give up your crown peacefully, or have it wrested from you. Problem solved? Hardly. Past grudges are never forgotten, and in the confusion of transitioning power, the deposed king is murdered -- by someone who thought he was operating under the new king's orders. The cycle restarts. [...]

[W]hat makes Richard II so damning, and so much stronger a political firestarter than Julius Caesar (or any of Will's other histories) is how wretchedly incompetent Richard is. He becomes the agent of his own demise, and every choice he makes shows a complete inability to govern. We feel sympathetic toward him only because he is utterly pathetic.

And the queen, if rumor is true, knew that this perception was the real threat to her rue, far more damaging than portrayals of a murdered monarch's violence. Her archivist, William Lambarde, claimed that Elizabeth, while lamenting that the play was performed forty times in "open streets and houses" during her rule, went on to declare bitterly, "I am Richard II, know ye not that?"

But how did Elizabeth punish the bringers of this message? Did she ban the play? Fine the troupe? Arrest the playwright? Denounce all involved and call for their excoriation? No. She never commented publicly on the play or rebuked the Bard or his troupe for writing and staging it. 

Posted by orrinj at 6:42 AM


Study indicates robot could produce book advertisements, says veteran publisher Leslie Norins, on Analizir.com (Dr. Leslie Norins, 20 Jun, 2017, PRNewswire)

[Dr. Leslie Norins], a four-decade publisher of medical newsletters, planned to advertise a medical mystery novel he was publishing.  He decided to examine 100 book ads from the New York Times Book Review, hoping to find the "best one", so he could draw inspiration from its features.

To his surprise, he found there was no single ad that stood out.  In fact, his detailed analysis showed all 100 book ads contained the same two components:  an image of the book's cover, which included the title and author, and some laudatory review quotes centripetally arranged around it.   There was no other significant ingredient.

The only variables in the ads were the letters, font and point size of the textual items, and the color palette used.

Dr. Norins commented, "This situation is ripe for a robot, as a template for inserting each common feature could be created in advance. The ad technician would only need to load the image of the book cover, and type in the reviewer quotes.  Then select from a short list of options the font and point size of type, the color palette, and the layout."

Posted by orrinj at 6:34 AM


Prior to Snowden, NSA Had No Clue How Many Were Approved to Download Top Secret Info (Natalie Johnson, June 24, 2017, Daily Beacon)

The National Security Agency did not know how many officials were authorized to download and transfer top secret data from its servers prior to the high-profile leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden, according to a recently declassified government report.

June 23, 2017

Posted by orrinj at 6:57 PM


Opposite Day (Joshua M Brown, 6/23/17, The Reformed Broker)

Unless the bulk of these millennials are on the verge of buying their first home (doubtful), they should have no more than a few months' salary in cash and very little fixed income exposure.

But they think they're being prudent by going the other way around. Kids, listen up - a lot of you are going to live to 100. Start investing as though you'd like to have some money left once you get there.

Posted by orrinj at 6:50 PM


In 'incredible feat,' Canadian sniper kills IS fighter from 2 miles away (TIMES OF ISRAEL, June 23, 2017)

A Canadian special forces sniper killed an Islamic State fighter in Iraq from 2.1 miles away, in what was feted as a new world military record for a confirmed kill from that distance, Canadian media reported on Thursday.

Posted by orrinj at 6:45 PM


Home prices are sky high, but mortgages are still cheap (Kathryn Vasel, June 23, 2017, CNN Money)

The median existing home price climbed to $252,800 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors, exceeding the peak hit in June 2016 of $247,600.

At this point, home prices have been rising every month for more than five years. [...]

Cities across the U.S. are facing major housing shortages, which means buyers have to compete for homes with bidding wars and offers well above asking price.

"Prices are moving up and properties are moving quickly," said Danielle Hale, NAR's managing director of housing research.

Builders aren't building enough houses to keep up with demand and current homeowners are hesitant to list their properties because they're worried they won't be able to buy a new home.

"We have tremendous demand for housing, but there is nothing available to buy, said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com.

We're going to need an awful lot of immigrants to build all the homes we need.

Posted by orrinj at 6:43 PM


Carrier Employees Brace for Layoffs as Trump's Deal to Save Jobs Loses Its Shine (Scott Cohn, June 23, 2017, CNBC)

More than 600 employees at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis are bracing for layoffs beginning next month, despite being told by President Trump that nearly all the jobs at the plant had been saved. The deal, announced with great fanfare before Trump took office, was billed not only as a heroic move to keep jobs from going to Mexico but also as a seismic shift in the economic development landscape.

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