March 8, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 6:26 PM


Ontario's basic income was working amazingly well before it got canceled  (EILLIE ANZILOTTI, 3/05/19, Fast Company)

Last year, shortly after conservative Doug Ford was elected to lead the Canadian province of Ontario, the government canceled the revolutionary basic income pilot it had been running since 2017. [...]

To put some data to those signposts of success, BICN found that the extra money enabled people to take charge of their lives in new ways: Around 32% of recipients went back to school or received new job training to start a different career, and 9% started a new business or expanded an existing one. One-third of respondents were able to stop relying on food banks for meals, and around 75% said they were able to make healthier food choices.

Around 46% of respondents paid off outstanding debts, and almost all reported feeling more financially stable and prepared for emergencies-significant, given that around 40% of people in the U.S. would not be able to cover a $400 emergency. One recipient described how the extra money allowed him to pay off debt to the city and avoid foreclosure on his home. Around 60% of the participants were able to improve their housing, either by completing outstanding repairs or relocating to a better place.

Non-financial benefits also proliferated. Rates of people volunteering in their communities went up. Some respondents said the extra money helped them start exercising and focusing on their health, and many said they were able to spend more quality time with their families and friends. Around 88% of people saw their stress levels decline, and rates of depression dropped 73%.

Posted by orrinj at 5:57 PM


Erik Prince acknowledges 2016 Trump Tower meeting for first time (Al Jazeera, 3/08/19)

Erik Prince, founder of the private American security company Blackwater, has admitted to meeting with members of the Trump campaign in August 2016 after, according to a public transcript, apparently failing to disclose the gathering during his testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee last year. [...]

According to the New York Times, that meeting was attended by Prince, Donald Trump Jr, George Nader, a former Blackwater employee and emissary for the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Stephen Miller, then a top aide to the Trump campaign and currently a senior policy adviser to the president and Joel Zamel, whose company, Psy-Group, employed former Israeli intelligence operatives and specialised in social media manipulation, and was reportedly contacted by Rick Gates, a top Trump campaign official, for proposals for social media manipulation to help Trump win the election. 

A natural alliance.
Posted by orrinj at 9:55 AM


More bad news for President Donald Trump in latest Michigan poll (Todd Spangler, 3/08/19, Detroit Free Press)

Nearly half, 49 percent, of respondents in Michigan say they will definitely vote to replace Trump and another 16 percent say they will consider voting for someone else. Only 31 percent said they will definitely vote to re-elect Trump.

Self-described independent voters are driving down Trump's numbers. Among independents, 44 percent say they will definitely vote for someone else and 27 percent say they will consider backing another candidate, while only 18 percent say they would definitely vote to re-elect.

Meanwhile, 57 percent of women say they will vote for someone else and 17 percent say they will consider another candidate, compared to 41 percent of men who say they will vote for someone else and 14 percent who say they will consider someone else.

And while 67 percent of Republican voters said they would vote to re-elect Trump, that is well below the 80 percent of Republicans who believe he is doing a good or excellent job as president. Seventy-four percent of Republican men say they will definitely vote to re-elect Trump, but only 59 percent of Republican women agree.

Posted by orrinj at 9:51 AM


Trump cheered Kraft's team to Super Bowl victory with founder of spa where he was busted (SARAH BLASKEY, NICHOLAS NEHAMAS, AND CAITLIN OSTROFF, MARCH 08, 2019, Miami Herald)

Seated at a round table littered with party favors and the paper-cutout footballs that have become tradition at his annual Super Bowl Watch Party, President Donald Trump cheered the New England Patriots and his longtime friend, team owner Robert Kraft, to victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Feb. 3.

Sometime during the party at Trump's West Palm Beach country club, the president turned in his chair to look over his right shoulder, smiling for a photo with two women at a table behind him.

The woman who snapped the blurry Super Bowl selfie with the president was Li Yang, 45, a self-made entrepreneur from China who started a chain of Asian day spas in South Florida. Over the years, these establishments -- many of which operate under the name Tokyo Day Spas -- have gained a reputation for offering sexual services.

It'll be fun to hear evangelical leaders explain why Donald should be hanging out with procurers.
Posted by orrinj at 9:48 AM


Latest Poll Results Say Trust In Putin Down To Historic Low (RFE/RL, 3/08/19)

A poll by Russia's Public Opinion Research Center, or VTsIOM, released on March 7 found that trust in Russian President Putin has fallen to 32 percent, its lowest level since 2006.

At least he still has Donald's loyalty.

Posted by orrinj at 9:46 AM

Baked Potato Soup Recipe ( ELISE BAUER, March 8, 2019, Simply Recipes)

4 pounds russet potatoes (about 7 medium potatoes)
1/4 pound thick sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices (lardons)
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
1/8 teaspoon of ground white or black pepper
2 to 4 Tbsp heavy cream (optional)


Grated sharp cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Minced chives
Crumbled bacon (from step 2 in method)

1 Bake the potatoes: Scrub the potatoes clean and poke them all over with the tines of a fork or paring knife (this is so they don't explode from internal pressure building up as they cook). Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 1 hour, or until easily cut through with a knife.

Remove and let cool enough to handle. (To speed up cooling, slice them in half lengthwise.)

2 Cook the bacon: Place bacon lardons in a large, thick bottomed Dutch oven (about 5 to 6 quart pot). Heat on medium high until the bacon starts to brown then lower the heat to medium.

Cook until the bacon has rendered most of its fat and the lardons are browned and crispy. Remove the cooked bacon and set aside.

Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan. (Do not discard bacon fat in your sink, it will clog the drain. Pour the fat into a jar and let it cool and solidify. Then either scoop it out and discard it or use it for another purpose.)

3 Cook onion and celery in the bacon fat: Add the chopped onion and celery to the remaining bacon fat in the pot. Cook for 2 minutes on medium high, then lower the heat to low, and cover the pot. Let cook slowly on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

4 Scoop out baked potatoes, add it and chicken stock to pot: When potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the insides to a bowl. Then add it to the cooked onion and celery mixture along with 6 cups chicken stock. Add a teaspoon of kosher salt.

Bring the soup to a simmer and reduce the heat to low.

Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes into the stock.

5 Purée some or all of the soup: Cook the potato soup for about 5 minutes, then use an immersion blender to purée about half of the soup if you want a slightly chunky soup, or purée all of it if you want a smoother soup.

6 Add cream: Stir 2 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream into the soup if you want a creamier soup. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

7 Top with grated cheddar, sour cream, chives, bacon: Pour into bowls and top with grated cheddar, sour cream, chives, and crumbled crispy bacon.

Posted by orrinj at 9:43 AM


Divided We Stand: American Jews & Israeli Democracy (Jonah Hassenfeld, March 4, 2019, The Forward)

More than 12 million people live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Roughly half are Jews and half are Arabs. Arabs who live in Israel and who hold Israeli citizenship can vote in Israeli elections. The millions of Arabs who live in the territories Israel conquered in 1967 cannot. Jewish citizens of Israel vote in Israeli elections no matter where they live.

These facts lead some observers to question Israel's commitment to democracy. Some go so far as to attribute declining American-Jewish support for Israel to Israel's treatment of Palestinians. But the changing relationship of American Jews to Israel goes beyond the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It stems from American Jews' growing recognition that democracy means something very different to Americans and Israelis. American Jews see liberalism, the idea that an individual's civil rights must be protected from the government, as a necessary foundation of any democratic society. Israeli democracy doesn't place the same emphasis on individual rights.

From the earliest years of the state, Israeli leaders cared more about establishing a strong government than about protecting the rights of individuals. Israel's founders -- including its first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion -- expressed reservations about liberal values. So today, Israel has no separation of church and state or acceptance of pluralistic religious expression (for example, the state rabbinic authority recognizes conversions only by Orthodox rabbis). Other policies challenge free expression, such as Minister Miri Regev's proposed Cultural Loyalty Law, which defunds cultural institutions and programs that memorialize Naqba Day (the Palestinian name for Israeli Independence Day).

The WoT bought Israel some time--after the Cold War--but it's running out.

Posted by orrinj at 9:39 AM


Scoop: White House leak to House Dems on Jared and Ivanka's clearances (Alexi McCammond, 3/08/19, Axios)

From a White House source, the House Oversight Committee has obtained documents related to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump's security clearances that the Trump administration refused to provide, according to a senior Democratic aide involved in handling the documents.

The Trump administration's problems with leaks will now benefit Congress, making it harder for the White House to withhold information from Democratic investigators.