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Member since: Mon Sep 1, 2014, 04:43 AM
Number of posts: 11,866

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National Geographic: As the Taliban rise again, Afghanistan's past threatens its present


"The freedoms Afghans have gained since 2001 are in jeopardy as extremists surge across the nation, spurred by U.S. exit."

More at the link, it is worth the read.

From January: These 10 Billionaires Went All-In Trying to Get Donald Trump Reelected

"Meet the top individual financiers of the “Coup Caucus.”
"On the Republican side, IPS’s Chuck Collins and Omar Ocampo have compiled a list of 63 billionaires, with estimated combined assets of almost $244 billion, who helped bankroll this post-election fiasco by giving generous personal contributions to Trump Victory—the joint fundraising venture set up between the Trump 2020 campaign and the Republican National Committee after the 2018 midterms to secure the reelection of Trump and his congressional loyalists. This group represents just a fraction of America’s estimated 788 billionaires, but its steadfast support has been enough to put—and keep—many a reality-denying scoundrel in office."
"Here’s a guide to the Top 10 billionaire Trump Victory donors, plus a few bonus bagmen, based on IPS’s research and data from the Federal Election Commission campaign finance database. All donations below are for the 2020 election cycle, and with a few minor exceptions, all went to Republicans. Figures are rounded and include contributions in the name of the billionaire’s current spouse."

"The Top 10 Billionaire Trump Victory Donors
Kelcy Lee Warren
Net worth (est.): $2.9 billion
Source of wealth: Gas pipelines; Chair and CEO of Energy Transfer Partners
Giving to Trump Victory (2020 cycle): $2.3 million
Overall federal giving (2020 cycle): $17 million
Fun fact: When he’s not busy bickering with activists over projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline, Warren enjoys writing melancholy country ballads.

Isaac Perlmutter
Net worth (est.): $5.8 billion
Source of wealth: retired CEO of Marvel Entertainment
Trump Victory: $1.9 million
Overall: $26 million
Fun fact: In August 2018, ProPublica revealed that Perlmutter and two fellow members of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club were given leave to dictate doings at the Veterans Affairs department, where they “hovered over public servants without any transparency, accountability or oversight.” The three men spoke daily with VA officials “reviewing all manner of policy and personnel decisions.” And VA “officials travelled to Mar-a-Lago at taxpayer expense to hear their views. ‘Everyone has to go down and kiss the ring’ a former administration official said.”

Kenny Troutt
Est. net worth: $1.5 billion
Source of fortune: telecom; founded Excel Communications
Trump Victory: $1.9 million
Overall: $5 million
Fun fact: Troutt owns a 2,400-acre Kentucky thoroughbred farm whose notable pedigree includes 2010 Derby winner Super Saver, 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, 2016 Belmont Stakes winner Creator, and Justify, the horse that took the 2018 Triple Crown. Alas, Troutt backed the wrong horse in 2020.

Robert Duggan
Net worth (est.): $2.6 billion
Source of fortune: biotech and investing; former CEO of Pharmacyclics
Trump Victory: $1.6 million
Overall: $4.3 million
Fun fact: Duggan is a devoted Scientologist, and one of the Church of Scientology’s top donors, if not its biggest, with total contributions exceeding $360 million. “I’m not looking for bragging rights,” he told the Tampa Bay Times in 2019. “I read something from [Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard] every day and I apply it all throughout my life.”

Steve Wynn
Net worth (est.): $3 billion
Source of fortune: casinos; developed the Mirage, the Golden Nugget, and the Bellagio, among others
Trump Victory: $1.5 million
Overall: $15 million
Fun fact: Wynn resigned as a Republican National Committee finance chair in January 2018 after a Wall Street Journal report revealed allegations of sexual harassment against him.

Phillip Gene Ruffin
Net worth (est.): $2.3 billion
Source of fortune: casinos; owns Treasure Island and Circus Circus
Trump Victory: $1.4 million
Overall: $2.7 million
Fun fact: Ruffin, co-owner of the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, had Trump as best man at his third wedding. In October 2016, Ruffin told Fox News’ Lou Dobbs that Trump’s handshake is “better than any contract.”

Diane Hendricks
Net worth (est.): $8 billion
Source of fortune: roofing materials; she and her late husband cofounded ABC Supply
Trump Victory: $1.2 million
Overall: $10 million
Fun fact: Hendricks—Wisconsin’s wealthiest woman, and said to be America’s wealthiest “self-made” woman—was also among the top donors to Scott Walker, the state’s anti-union Republican governor. She also reportedly gave Walker $500,000 to fend off a 2012 recall attempt. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel later reported that Hendricks paid zero in state taxes from 2012 to 2014.

Sheldon Adelson
Net worth (est.): ~$36 billion
Source of fortune: casinos; founded Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Trump Victory: $1.2 million
Overall: $220 million
Fun fact: Although Sheldon died this past week, he and his wife, Miriam, were not merely Donald Trump’s top donors, they led the pack in all federal giving during the 2020 cycle. Sheldon’s heirs certainly won’t starve. Some time back, Bloomberg reported that the Adelsons deployed a series of complex trusts to transfer at least $7.9 billion to them, thereby avoiding $2.8 billion in federal gift and estate taxes.

Daniel Andrew Beal
Net worth (est.): $7.5 billion
Source of fortune: banking; founded Beal Bank
Trump Victory: $1.2 million
Overall: $1.6 million
Fun fact: Beal, a numbers whiz, is known in math circles for sponsoring a prize related to a formula called the Beal Conjecture. If you can prove or disprove it, he will give you $1 million. (Trump did not solve the conjecture, of course, but he managed to get lots of Beal’s cash anyway.)"

John Prine- How Lucky

NYC Just Shut Down a Tesla Taxi Fleet in Favor of Gas Guzzlers

"NYC Just Shut Down a Tesla Taxi Fleet in Favor of Gas Guzzlers
Dan Robitzski in Advanced TransportOn June 23, 2021
Tesla and the electric scooter company Revel planned to launch a fleet of taxis in New York City, but regulators shot the plan down.

Grounded Fleet
New York City regulators stepped in to quash a planned fleet of Tesla taxis in the city, and the logic behind the decision is baffling.

Tesla had partnered with the electric scooter startup Revel to launch a fleet of 50 Tesla Model Y taxis in the Big Apple, according to the New York Post. But the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) blocked the companies from buying the necessary licenses for the vehicles on Tuesday — ruling that Tesla and Revel would need to buy the licenses for gas-burning vehicles instead.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk summed it up pretty well on Twitter, where he posted “??”

Rushed Vote
According to the NY Post’s reporting, the commission voted five to one that in order for the fleet of Revel-branded Teslas to hit the streets, the companies would need to purchase and license 50 internal combustion engine vehicles and then transfer those licenses to the electric Model Ys.

“It’s not just Elon Musk who is baffled by the TLC’s actions yesterday,” Revel CEO Frank Reig told the NY Post after the announcement. “Rushing to vote on a rule change that keeps EVs off the street and threatens jobs — with no analysis, on an election day, two months ahead of a scheduled review — raises a lot of questions.”

Congestion Control
TLC Commissioner Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk said that it’s nothing personal against Revel or Tesla, or even against electric cars in general. Rather, the decision was based on preventing even more traffic in the city, something that companies like Uber and Lyft tend to make worse. However, it’s not clear why the two types of cars would still be treated any differently.

“It is not sustainable to allow an unlimited number of new vehicles to the road in a city that is all too familiar with the choke of traffic congestion,” Heredia Jarmoszuk said before voting at the Tuesday meeting, according to the NY Post. “What we will not allow is the opportunity for another corporation — venture capitalists or otherwise — to flood our streets with additional cars.”

It is 95 at 10:30am in Beaverton. Peak temp is supposed to be113 at around 5pm..

Fireworks go on sale here in (drought stricken) Oregon tomorrow through July 6th. What could

possibly go wrong ?

Transcript: Senator Susan Collins on "Face the Nation," June 13, 2021

The intro:
"JOHN DICKERSON: Now for a discussion about matters back here at home. A bipartisan group of senators announced a new infrastructure package last week that would cost $1.2 trillion over eight years. One member of the group is Senator Susan Collins, who joins us from Bangor, Maine. Good morning, Senator."


I caught a few minutes of Collins on Face The Nation this am talking about the repuke version of the infrastructure bill this am. That's all I could take. I really despise the republican party to it's core. They are a pack of blood sucking scumbags.

An excerpt or two.
"SEN. COLLINS: There won't be a debt- a gas tax increase, and we won't be undoing the 2017 tax reform bill. Let me talk about three of the pay-fors. One is the implementation of an infrastructure financing authority that's very similar to the state revolving funds that we used for sewer and water projects. And it's a bipartisan proposal that was first put forth by Senators Mark Warner and Roy Blunt, as second would be to repurpose some of the COVID funding that has not been spent in the $1.9 trillion package that was enacted in March. There were restrictions on what the funding could be used for. It could be used for water, sewer and broadband. We would make it more flexible so it could be used for infrastructure projects. And third, there would be a provision for electric vehicles to pay their fair share of using our roads and bridges. Right now, they are literally free riders because they're not paying any gas tax. So those are three of the provisions that we've taken a look at."
"JOHN DICKERSON: One of the objections to taking back some of the money that was in the COVID relief plan is that some of the states have really benefited. They've done- they've done much better than they thought they would. Their tax receipts are up, but that's not true of all states. And so some states are saying you can't take away this money that's helping us recover from covid to then use it for infrastructure.

SEN. COLLINS: Well, I've talked to governors who are enthusiastic about the prospect, and when you have a state like California which has an enormous surplus, and yet we're giving billions of additional dollars to that state, I think we can find room to repurpose some of this money. In addition, if you look at what has been spent, there is literally hundreds of billions of dollars in the pipeline, going back to the initial Cares Act that was passed in March of last year. We have put an enormous amount of money, and rightfully so, into fighting COVID. Last year we had five bipartisan bills, and this year President Biden added another $1.9 trillion dollars. That included a lot of funding that was not directly for fighting COVID

JOHN DICKERSON: If- in this bill, a lot of what's falling out of the president's priorities on child care and on elder care, is that right?

Tom Petty - You Don't Know How It Feels

Tom Petty- It's Good To Be King

Nitrous oxide, or "laughing gas", rapidly relieves severe depression

A Phase 2 clinical trial has found a 60-minute treatment session with the gas nitrous oxide can deliver significant and rapid improvements in patients with treatment-resistant depression, and the research indicates these benefits can last for at least two weeks."
"An early proof of concept trial offered compelling clues the gas could indeed rapidly relieve symptoms of depression. Subsequent preliminary research suggested the gas could also potentially treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcoholism.

This new study set out to investigate whether lower doses of nitrous oxide than previously tested were effective for depression, and whether the benefits from a single treatment last for several weeks. Each of the 24 subjects recruited for the trial completed three treatment sessions, each one hour long, spaced a month apart. Alongside a placebo session breathing only oxygen, the subjects tested 25 percent and 50 percent nitrous oxide concentrations.
The researchers found 85 percent of the subjects showed significant improvements to their depression symptoms after a single nitrous oxide treatment and, most importantly, the lower dose was almost as effective as the higher dose but with substantially fewer negative side effects."
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