Monday Morning Reads – Feb 12

Happy Monday, everyone! Last weekend was dominated by the American media drooling over North Korea. Weird.

News by the Numbers

  • 21 cheerleaders – In 2006, North Korea sent 21 cheerleaders to prison camps after they spoke about life in South Korea. But you need to get past the AJC drooling over North Korea before you read it. Here is a guide to North Korea atrocities.
  • 2 medals – Team USA has two medals, one gold, and one silver. You can check that link for an updated count.
  • 37,734 “noncriminal” arrests – Arrests of illegal immigrants skyrocketed under President Trump. Rather than prioritizing high-level targets, all illegal immigrants are at risk of deportation. Also, I look forward to the inevitable argument over “noncriminal” in the comments section.
  • 6,000 jobs – The PSC unanimously agreed to continue construction on Plant Vogtle despite it being, well, a giant money pit. It came with a crevet: Congress extend the nuclear tax credit. They extended it. Now 6,000 jobs at Plant Vogtle are protected and ratepayers are still screwed.
  • $111 million per year – Clayton County school superintendent Morcease Beasley has a problem with HB 821, a bill that would, among other things, eliminate the sales tax on jet fuel (LOOKING AT YOU DELTA.) He argues it would take away from education funding. Chris Riley argues otherwise.
  • 66 deaths – This year’s flu severity is tied with the Swine flu. That’s not good. Of those 66 deaths in Georgia, two were children.

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Noway2016
Noway2016

Watched Homeland last night. I love Claire Danes’ portrayal of a manic depressive. Will be an interesting season. As an aside, leading up to the show is something called “My Cartoon President.” Obviously making fun of Trump and funny as hell! I almost busted a gut! The Libs are nothing if not creative! These ones actually have a sense of humor! Good to see!

Will Durant
Will Durant

If finding it distasteful to have a full-blown megalomaniac as President earns me the label of a “Lib” from you then I gladly accept. Though I choose to consider myself a libertarian with a small L.

Andrew C. Pope
Noway2016
Noway2016

Cabinet Secretaries are authorized to fly First Class. Always have been. “Nothingburger” story. Matter of fact, most SES personnel are, too. Next….

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

He’s not a Cabinet secretary. Federal ethics rules require government employees to “exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business … and therefore, should consider the least expensive class of travel that meets their needs.” If you read the article, you would have seen that Pruitt’s two predecessors flew coach when traveling abroad. I also don’t think any of them used taxpayer funds for first class flights to spend their weekends at home. (According to the article, Pruitt has – on at least four occasions – spent between $2,000 and… Read more »

bethebalance
bethebalance

I don’t know the logistics of the job well enough to have an opinion on whether good planning can reduce airfare costs, but when it comes to travelling back home, that’s just the cost of having the job, and should be his personal costs negotiated into salary. It’s a long commute, but a commute nonetheless. I imagine Congress-people would get more leeway on that because they’d be traveling back to their districts as well as home…

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

This is the Federal government. You don’t negotiate salary and you don’t negotiate perks. The pay and benefits are determined by Congress. Using taxpayer funds for personal travel is a violation of the ethics laws. Unreasonably excessive travel spending is also a violation of the ethics rules. Contrary to what Noway says, this isn’t “well within the regs” and its well outside the normal pattern of behavior of Pruitt’s predecessors at EPA. For a guy that’s so obsessed with draining the swamp, Noway sure is content to let folks suckle off the government teat with first-class flights, luxury hotels, and… Read more »

Noway2016
Noway2016

Too good? Yes, they are. Gov’t officials of a certain rank are allowed to fly first class. And that level falls well short of Cabinet secretaries or Agency directors, like Pruitt. Hell, as an agent, I was authorized Business Class if my flight was over 8 hours. And my rank was nothing approaching Pruitt’s level. Again, well within the regs.

Noway2016
Noway2016

I harken back, yes harken, when our US ambassador to Egypt and ol’ Noway were in first class, seats 1A and 1B…

John Vestal
John Vestal

Happy Darwin Day to all my fellow primates!

Will Durant
Will Durant

Alfred Russel Wallace should get some love too. Without his independent efforts primarily in the Malay Archipelago I’m not sure Darwin would have ever published On the Origin of the Species. Keep in mind that Darwin didn’t get around to publishing his seminal work until nearly 30 years after he sailed on The Beagle, only prompted by Wallace’s discoveries. A quintessential example of the pith-helmeted 19th century British explorer, Wallace was co-credited by Darwin with the formation of the Theory of Evolution.

xdog
xdog

Some odd things happening with your auto-correct this morning, Will. I looked up crevet, which I guess was subbed for caveat, and found it’s ‘a crucible or melting pot; a cruset’ and next found cruset to be ‘obsolete: a goldsmith’s crucible’. So there’s a weird tie-in with alchemy and hellish fires and GP turning uranium into gold.

Benevolus
Benevolus

Re: Clayton County schools.
Chris Riley says: “Clayton County is “federally prohibited from spending the local sales tax collected on jet fuel after 1987 on anything other than airports.”
But if that sales tax money is removed, won’t Clayton have to come up with money from elsewhere to replace it? So wouldn’t the schools likely suffer anyway?

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Re: Porter et al. Does domestic violence and the country’s security just not matter? It doesn’t for John Kelly. It was only few women, and not his Mom, sister, daughter or niece. And the possibility of blackmail involving national security is a risk worth taking if that what it takes to subvert norms and enact tax cuts for the rich. Like others, I thought some of Trump’s low character had rubbed off on Kelly, and hoped that Kelly understood his mistake when he didn’t apologize, and was saving face and would not make the same mistake again. I was wrong.… Read more »

chamblee54
chamblee54

18 people were killed by police in the United States last week. In two of these incidents, a law enforcement officer was killed. https://chamblee54.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/killed-by-police-february-10/

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Have you ever seen film of a military parade presided over by the ruler of Russia, China or North Korea and thought to yourself, damn, now there’s a country to be respected for honoring military service? Such parades are the province of insecure leaders attempting to intimidate their citizens, bully the world, and inflate their own egos. But hey, it will MAGA just like military parades back in the day when Eisenhower was President!

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. The party’s slogans.

bethebalance
bethebalance

Well, you could modify the slogans a bit to reflect priorities:
Military strength over diplomacy; Security over liberty; Loyalty over free press and differences of opinion.

Noway2016
Noway2016

Would you eliminate the Blue Angels? It’s a flying parade and display of military might.

Benevolus
Benevolus

Shouldn’t you be asking your Fearless Leader why it’s not good enough for him?

bethebalance
bethebalance

I see plenty of differences between one large national parade and smaller local displays, where local shows have increased accessibility to attend, lower costs, less burden on the military, more local base involvement, etc. Perhaps a different way to frame it is: Why is a parade better for Trump than what he sees with his current access to military personnel and equipment already? The difference is all just about public attention, but for who? There are certainly other easier, cheaper, more accessible, and less burdensome ways to recognize pride in the military. There is undoubtedly an element of ego involved.

Ellynn
Ellynn

I have yet to go to a ‘Blue Angle Demonstration Squadron’ exhibition where it is a) a military only event, and b) did not have a display with a large navy and marine recruiting both.

My Rand loving sibling wishes they would cancel the how Blue Angle program since it is a $35 million cost and the things make too much noise flying over mom’s house every two years when they are at the EEA.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

Military parades are like “luxury” pick-up trucks. They serve no purpose and the only folks who want them are desperately trying to compensate for something.

#Presidentsmallhands

chamblee54
chamblee54

Yes, Noway2016, the Blue Angels should be eliminated.
The Blue Angels are a major user of fuel. Does anyone remember the concept of using oil resources more efficiently?

Noway2016
Noway2016

God! Of course you do! Sorry, I forgot who I was asking.

Noway2016
Noway2016

Using it (fuel) efficiently like running Al Gorged’s private jet?

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

Trump’s FY19 budget is out… Over the next 10 years, Trump wants: $300+ billion cut to Medicaid $213 billion cut to SNAP (SNAP’s budget would be cut by 25% in the first year alone) $21 billion cut to TANF $72 billion cut to disability programs Completely eliminates social services block grant $178 billion in cuts to transportation $47 billion in cuts to Section 8 housing Like I said back in December. The $1.5 trillion the Republicans added to the deficit with their tax bill is going to be paid for by the poorest Americans. They’re literally taking away people’s food,… Read more »

Noway2016
Noway2016

If your figures are correct and I doubt they are, could those cuts be considered “entitlement reform?”

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

It’s nonsense talk for fools and Rupublicans…. Remember, when Trump said he’d eliminate the national debt in eight years?

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

It’s nonsense talk for fools and Rupublicans…. Remember, when Trump said he’d eliminate the national debt in eight years?

Ellynn
Ellynn

As mentioned before, I show families on SNAP how to shop and cook better. This new SNAP box includes things like Shelf stable milk? Who drinks shelved milk? Canned fruit and veggies? Most kids I deal with like fresh bananas (most are not from America), seasonal local grown berries and citrus from SNAP accredited farmer’s markets. Many grow their own veggies (like collards) I have a family that doesn’t need canned green beans or carrots, they have them in their gardens. This is crazy. We are going to create a whole government employed or contracted agency to create millions of… Read more »

Benevolus
Benevolus

Jeff Sessions, Attorney General:
“The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.”
What!?! And it wasn’t even in the script. He ad-libbed the Anglo-Saxon part.

Ellynn
Ellynn

Shire Reeves, royally appointed peace makers of a shire. AKA the King’s man, and enforcers of posse comitatus, pre-dates the Norman invasion. So in a round about limited point of history he is not wrong. HOWEVER: current day reference to the ‘Anglo tradition’ of Sheriffs is seen by ‘some’ as a coded meaning to the domestic terrorist group Posse Comitatus, who believe the only legitimate form of government is a county level and the highest authority a county sheriff. They are Alt-right Christian identity survivalist who use lawsuits as their weapon of choice. Not the best wording on Sessions part.

Benevolus
Benevolus

But why would you ad-lib insert that into the script- unless you couldn’t grasp the concept of “heritage” without the descriptor of ‘Anglo-American’ being attached to it? And where would you get such an association? From a place where it was important to distinguish this particular heritage from… other heritages.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

Meh. Not worth getting outraged over. Personally, it’s nice to see at least one person in this Administration show some respect for law enforcement officers.

Benevolus
Benevolus

I will counter by saying I can’t get too excited about the first class travel thing. It’s not really that much money in the big scheme. If we want to hire “the best and the brightest” the government will need to offer some minimal lever of perks. I don’t want future Secretary of State Scott Holcombe to be dinged for taking the occasional Business class flight. Any corporate executive at that level would probably have their own friggin’ corporate jet.