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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Southwestern PA
Home country: USA
Current location: Washington, DC
Member since: Mon Nov 10, 2003, 07:36 PM
Number of posts: 43,662

About Me

If an H-1b has an American accent, they are probably not an H-1b. It's race, not citizenship. Americans are more diverse than you think. Millions of US citizens don't look the way you might expect. This fact is very important and will help us win elections.

Journal Archives

These 10 small cities are the snobbiest in America


If you have a bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945 in your home’s wine cellar, you might reside in one of the cities atop this list.

Movoto.com, a real estate research and brokerage site, recently ranked more than 300 U.S. cities as what they considered the smallest but “snobbiest” locales, based on 2010 U.S. Census Data.

Did your small city (45,000 to 65,000 residents) make the Movoto cut?

According to Movoto, what counts is having the highest median household income, the highest median home values, the largest percentage of the population with a college degree, and having a good deal of art galleries, private schools and performing arts locales. And oh, the fewest “fast food” restaurants.

Perhaps not surprisingly, five of the top 10 are in California. Palo Alto, founded in 1894 by Leland Stanford of Stanford University — and now home to companies like Skype and Tesla TSLA+0.81% — tops the list of 309 cities with the highest median home price ($1 million), the fourth-highest median income and the fourth-highest percentage of residents with a college degree (over 80%). The city scored 61st on the list of fewest fast-food restaurants.

Stanford University, of course, is one of the most prestigious private universities in the country, with undergraduate tuition of $42,690 a year and an endowment of more than $17 billion.

I can personally verify that the snobs in Bethesda and Rockville are welcome to kiss my middle class ass. Expensive gas, gated communities, pretentious luxury shops, insane rent, rude people driving German cars, latino hired help, worst traffic in America, week long power outages, etc. I only go there for the Apple store or some good Chinese food. I pity the fools who have to work there. You'd think those rich folks might want to upgrade their city's infrastructure, but nope. You don't want the riff raff coming in on public transit.

40 years of presidents: Who fought unemployment and won?


If a president’s performance were based solely on the unemployment rate while he was in office, who should have left the White House with his head held high? A new state-by-state analysis of unemployment over the last 40 years aims to find out.

Rightly or wrongly, each modern American president is judged on the number of jobs won or lost during his period in office. Unemployment peaked at around 23% in 1933 when Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced the New Deal to get Americans back to work by reforming the U.S. government and funding large-scale public works. That, of course, was at a time of a significant Democratic majority in both the Senate and Congress. President Barack Obama hasn’t had the luxury of a majority in both houses.

Beginning with Jimmy Carter’s presidency in 1978, and ending with Barack Obama’s current term, real estate website Motovo created over 400 maps outlining the seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate of each state as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The methods used by the BLS have increased in accuracy throughout the years, but the maps give an indication of the impact of each president’s term on jobs.

But should you rate a president based on the unemployment figures? “It’s a very difficult question to answer,” says Mark Hamrick, Washington bureau chief with personal finance site Bankrate.com. “In that case, you’re essentially saying the president holds significant stewardship of the U.S. economy alone.” He has one piece of advice for those would-be presidential candidates considering a run in 2016: “It’s better when you don’t have an economic crisis,” Hamrick says. (The jobless rate will fall to between 5.2% and 5.6% just in time for the next presidential election, according to the economic projections of the Federal Reserve.)

The unemployment rate was bumpy during Ronald Reagan’s eight years (1981 to 1989), going from 7.5%, rising to 10.8% in his second year, but finishing at 5.4% when he left office. However, it rose during George H.W. Bush’s four years. The average unemployment rate decreased during the eight-year presidency of Bill Clinton (1993 to 2001), hitting a low of 4% in 2000. He signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in December 1993, getting rid of tariffs and other trade barriers among the U.S., Canada and Mexico. While some critics said the agreement led to job losses, others say it made North America more competitive and helped increase wealth and jobs. After he left office, that all changed.

There's an animation at the link that shows state by state unemployment over the years.

Federal marijuana bill would legalize some cannabis strains


A bill being introduced Monday in the U.S. House of Representatives could be Cox's ticket home. The three-page bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act -- the federal law that criminalizes marijuana -- to exempt plants with an extremely low percentage of THC, the chemical that makes users high.

If passed, it would be the first time that federal law allows any medical marijuana use.

"No one should face a choice of having their child suffer or moving to Colorado and splitting up their family," said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, the bill's sponsor. "We live in America, and if there's something that would make my child better, and they can't get it because of the government, that's not right."

The bill will land in a Congress that may be open to change. Across the country, highly sympathetic patients and a nonintoxicating product have proved a popular mix. This year alone, 11 states have passed legislation loosening regulation of cannabis strains with high cannabidiol and/or minimal THC content.

Let's see if Congress bungles this. Glad that Colorado is leading the way on this one.

5 Bizarre Ways the Brain Links Sex With Shame


How shameful is your sex life? More or less than you're comfortable with? What about your fantasy life? As is patently obvious, I have severe sexual dysfunctions that amuse me to no end, so recently I thought to wrap up some of you, my readers, in my own depravity by way of a sex survey and see if there's anything we can learn about sex, fantasy, and shame together in a friendly yet uncomfortable way. Does everyone feel the same way about their sexuality and sexual past? Surely not, but there must be some interesting similarities men and women share among their fantasies and reactions to them. If not, this'll be a way short article, and maybe all the ensuing paragraphs are just rants I wrote about the shoddy state of modern snack foods. When is someone going to invent a beer-filled Hot Pocket, for God's sake?

Toward the end of 2012, a curious article was published online, in various media outlets, about how sexual arousal suppresses disgust. Just hearing the words "arousal" and "disgust" was more than enough to get my attention, and the article was pretty fascinating, and also, if we're being honest with ourselves, oddly obvious. You will do things and say things in the heat of the moment that you probably are not cool with when you're riding on a city bus, or attending Mass.

The gist of the article was that, statistically speaking, there is a correlation between arousal and your willingness to do things you would otherwise deem gross. Sexually gross. Regular gross was statistically irrelevant, but sexually gross was a big deal. This no doubt explains why Gene Simmons has a sex life at all.

So what does that mean, anyway? In the test, it meant women who were sexually aroused were more willing to put their hands in a bucket of used condoms than women who were not aroused, and, speaking as a currently not-aroused man, that's pretty gross and disturbingly creative. Good job, scientists! But obviously, for the purposes of my article, I couldn't very well carry a bucket of used jimmy hats around to see if any of you wanted a feel. Instead, I wrote a little survey, and about 90 people replied, which is a pretty decent number, I suppose. The survey asked your opinion on a number of different sexual fantasies ranging from what I felt was pretty commonplace to what was pretty insane. (Fact: Almost none of you are into bestiality. Or at least very few of you admitted it. The ASPCA thanks you.) And then I asked you about shame. Have you ever had a sexual experience you were ashamed of? What was it, and why? Let's learn some stuff together.

This is a very interesting article connecting the psychology of arousal and shame for the exact same thing. Nature wants us to be turned on by gross things. Otherwise, humans would end up like pandas who are too fat and lazy to make baby pandas on their own without help.

Just because someone tries to shame you, is no reason to be ashamed. Many of the shamers are trying to repress their own guilt. Just look at the family values conservatives who get caught in compromising situations.

These are the sex, drug, and gambling capitals of America


Cities won’t be adding these credits to their tourism brochures

It probably won’t come as a surprise that Las Vegas is the gambling capital of the U.S., but new research suggests more unassuming cities do some brisk trade in vices, too.

Among infamous Class A drugs, Des Moines, Iowa, was the vice capital for cocaine and Columbus, Ohio, had the dubious honor for heroin, according to an analysis by DrugAbuse.com of words mentioned in more than 450,000 tweets that were “geo-tagged” in cities with a population of at least 200,000. DrugAbuse.com is a site that provides resources and treatment on drug addiction. “People often hear in the news that a particular city has become a capital for certain activities, and more often than not, it’s something that can be viewed as a vice,” says Sam Deford, spokesman for DrugAbuse.com.

Denver, which legalized marijuana for recreational use in January, had the most tweets per capita for that drug, while Buffalo, N.Y., had the most for MDMA — or ecstasy — a drug that was popular at dance parties in the 1990s. Pittsburgh was the vice capital for alcohol, Albuquerque, N.M., was named the vice capital for crystal meth, and New Orleans was the vice capital for both prescription drugs and sex. “It’s an accurate reflection of people who tweet and are willing to talk about these things,” says Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center in Santa Monica, Calif.

While addiction counselors say people tweet codes like “tar” for heroin, people may view it as fairly normal or socially acceptable to tweet about these things in cities that have reputations for vice, Liccardo Pacula says. Nevada has always been known as Sin City and New Orleans as The Big Easy, she says, “so it’s not surprising that these cities have lots of people tweeting on stuff viewed as not that extraordinary any more, such as drug use or sex. “I’m not sure people in any city would find it appropriate to chat about human trafficking, unless they are identifying it as a problem,” she adds.

Chicago, Boston and New York have some of the highest heroin-related hospital admissions in the country, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, while Washington has one of the highest rates of cocaine.

Some cities can be more “heterogeneous” for drugs, Liccardo Pacula says. The northeast has had a big problem with heroin, particularly Vermont, while rural areas proved fertile ground for the manufacture of crystal meth. “Chicago was known for crack cocaine and heroin,” she adds. “Drug barons in Chicago were not about to let a [competing] drug like meth get into that market.”

Things that make you go hmm... I wonder if ABQ was the meth capital before Breaking bad. And where are those Iowans getting their coke? Of course Pittsburgh goes for the lamest vice ever. DUI is a serious problem there as there's not much public transit.

HHS: Consumers saved $9 billion on coverage thanks to Obamacare


One of the more compelling claims made was HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell’s contention that consumers have saved $9 billion on health-insurance premiums since 2011 because of the Affordable Care Act, with $3.8 billion in savings up front on premiums last year. That’s partly due to a requirement that insurance companies spend at least 80% of premium dollars on patient care and quality improvements.

That requirement was the center of the other bit of news HHS officials had. The agency said 6.8 million consumers nationwide will receive a total of $332.2 million in refunds due to over-billing by insurers whose expenditures on health care did not rise above the 80% level. The total amounts to roughly $80 on average.

HHS also released a list of the insurance companies and how much they will have to pay in excessive premium charges, due to the so-called 80-20 rule. At first glance, it appears the bigger players will pay out more, with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina setting the apparent record, giving back $6.5 million in all to individual and small group plans. UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s UNH-0.12% apparently will shell out $5.5 million for small-group and large-group plans in Oklahoma.

One surprising stat is that the state where the largest chunk of refunds will be made isn’t New York or California. It’s Florida, by far. Insurers in the Sunshine State are giving back $41.7 million, more than double that of second-place Maryland’s $17.3 million.

Finally, the department is pointing to a study released late Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine that says the percentage of adults that were uninsured declined by roughly a fifth when Obamacare enrollment closed at the end of March. The percentage of uninsured ages 18-64 dropped to 16.3% from 21% in September 2013, just before implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The medical journal estimates that corresponds to roughly 10.3 million adults gaining coverage either through purchasing Obamacare plans or being added to Medicaid rolls, although that number could range anywhere from 7.3 million to 17.2 million adults.

Awesome sauce

7 Sexy Things Guys Do Without Realizing It (Safe for work, porn for women)

And a related article:


1. Be kind, especially to strangers. Whether that's tipping the delivery guy extra when it's raining, pulling over to help someone with car trouble or holding the door open for someone with their hands full. As one user wrote, "Catching you doing something that shows your character... sexiest thing ever."

2. Laugh out loud. Because who isn't attracted to someone who finds joy and humor in the world? For one Redditor, "Genuine, uncontrollable laughter makes me want to kiss them."

3. Roll up their shirtsleeves. Redditors love forearms, which are "the equivalent of boobs for women" and "swoon-worthy."

4. Go gooey-eyed. The way someone looks at you can be very telling. One Redditor loves "When [your partner's] eyes get all sparkly when they first see you" -- who wouldn't?

5. Speak passionately. Commenters on the thread were in agreement that the topic is less important than the way they talk about or argue for it. One user wrote: "When my [significant other] talks excitedly about anything he cares about, even if it isn't really one of my interests, it is insanely attractive to me."

6. Hold a conversation. Being able to make "intelligent conversation" is a seriously underrated point of attraction. (For anyone who needs help, there's an app for that.)

And another one:


1. Having a perfectly subtle scent of cologne/aftershave that doesn’t overpower but leaves you with that “boy smell” that you just want to get high off of the rest of the day. (God forbid they let you borrow some article of clothing, in which case you might get some sort of lung infection from vigorously inhaling the fibers through your nose.)

2. Lingering on a hug for just a moment too long.

3. Looking you directly in the eyes when they talk to you, with perhaps the occasional glance down to your lips while you’re talking to them.

4. Licking their lips gently when they’re in the middle of a sentence, and allowing themselves to take that pause in the sentence and let everyone linger on their words.

5. Being really charming and kind with servers/bartenders while at restaurants, and being at once deferential to their knowledge and sure about what he likes. (This includes ordering for the both of you if you’ve already told him what you want.)

6. Leaving nice tips. (But giving you way more than just the tip, HEY-0.) (I’m sorry, Grandma.) (Please don’t be reading this.)

So ladies of DU, what makes you sparkly-eyed?

This is the sneakiest thing stores do to trick consumers


Thanks to a combination of slick pricing, frequent couponing and confusing discounting, retailers routinely trick consumers into thinking they got a great deal on an item — when in fact they paid way more than they should have.

Many of the stores that offer the most frequent coupons and discounts also tailor the asking prices of items so that even coupons and sales don’t mean real savings. For example, as of July 11, frequent discounter J.C. Penney JCP +0.11% advertises that the “original price” of its Ninja NJ600 Blender is $145.00 and that it’s now on sale for $99.00. Meanwhile, at Target TGT +0.12% , Bed Bath & Beyond BBBY +2.19% and Best Buy BBY -1.97% , that blender is listed at and selling for $99.99 and at Amazon AMZN +0.64% it’s listed at $109.99 and selling for $96.35. “Shoppers are usually attracted to the magnitude of the sale — 30% off always looks better than 15% off — but retailers can fairly easily increase the list price of an item to make the discount appear deeper,” says Matthew Ong, a retail analyst with NerdWallet.com .

“Original prices, as well as sale prices, are set individually by each retailer’s merchant team based on their customer base, sales events, promotional calendar, etc, therefore prices will vary retailer to retailer,” A J.C. Penney spokeswoman told MarketWatch.

So why are stores employing these tricky pricing tactics? These discounts and coupons drive store traffic, but the stores can’t afford to always sell their items at a true discount, explains Greg Smith, the chief creative officer at The VIA Agency, which counts a number of large consumer brands among its clients. So instead, they sometimes manipulate the prices of the items so they can offer a “discount” but not lose too much money by doing so. “The places that do this the most, coupon [and offer deals] the most,” says Smith.

Of course, there are still deals to be had at these places: Plenty of times, the original price is legitimate or the coupon or promotion will actually offer a true discount. And sometimes convenience trumps all. When you’re already in a store and need an item immediately, it may be worth it to you to pay a little more. Furthermore, there are some indications that consumers like couponing and price changes: When former J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson decided to cut back on coupons and promotions , among other pricing moves, sales tanked .

For some items, I would quickly check a price comparison site like pricegrabber before buying. There are even apps that scan barcodes from your phone.

Man doing manly things to sell women's soap?

I'm not sure how this commercial encourages women to buy their body wash? Men are dirty?

2,000 days of Obama: How have stocks done?


LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- It’s been almost 2,000 days since President Barack Obama entered the Oval Office. We here at MarketWatch thought it would be fitting to measure this milestone against the stock market’s performance.

Obama was sworn in amid extreme financial turmoil in January 2009, roughly six weeks before the stock markets hit bottom in the wake of the Great Recession. Pretty much the only direction for stocks to go was up.

How far up, though? More important, how do gains under Obama compare with gains under other presidents who made it to 2,000 days?

Answer: He’s in the top half of the eight presidents since the Great Depression whose time in office lasted that long. That can always change, of course. And there’s considerable debate over whether he -- or any other president for that matter -- can influence the stock market or whether they’re just along for the ride.

“I wouldn’t be looking to give the administration a lot of credit for the stock market’s [performance],” said Sam Stovall, managing director of U.S. Equity Strategy at S&P Capital IQ. He notes, however, that stocks generally do better under Democrats than Republicans, particularly when stocks start out low.

I mainly want Reagan worshippers' heads to explode with jealousy.

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