Republican Bigots Pretend a Gay Prime Minister Didn’t Bring His Husband to the G7 Summit


Click to enlargeFirst Spouses

❝ The White House Facebook page failed to acknowledge First Gentleman of Luxembourg Gauthier Destenay, married to Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, in a post featuring the spouses of world leaders attending this week’s G7 summit in Sicily. The photo caption included the names of every other spouse, all of them wives, beginning with: “First Lady Melania Trump poses with Belgium’s Queen Mathilde, center, and other spouses of NATO leaders.”

❝ The omission of Destenay’s name in the official White House post remained for at least six hours on Saturday before Daily Beast editor Scott Bixby shared a screenshot on Twitter, writing: “Is there a reason the White House didn’t include the First Gentleman of Luxembourg in this photo caption? Like, a non-homophobic one?”

The Republican Party – regardless of Trump’s occasional hypocritical denial – plays a significant role in the international Axis of Bigotry. Putin’s United Russia Party, the Saudi Arabian Royal Family and their Wahabi jihadists are a perfect match for today’s Republican Party. Under the thumb of Tea Party nutballs – whether through cowardice or ideological unity – the last-named bastion of bigotry serves only the worst characteristics of American political history.

Trump’s Likely Pick for USDA Chief Scientist Ain’t A Scientist, Of Course

❝ The USDA’s research section studies everything from climate change to nutrition. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, its leader is supposed to serve as the agency’s “chief scientist” and be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”

But Sam Clovis — who, according to sources with knowledge of the appointment and members of the agriculture trade press, is President Trump’s pick to oversee the section — appears to have no such credentials.

Clovis has never taken a graduate course in science and is openly skeptical of climate change. While he has a doctorate in public administration and was a tenured professor of business and public policy at Morningside College for 10 years, he has published almost no academic work.

❝ Clovis is better known for hosting a conservative talk radio show in his native Iowa and, after mounting an unsuccessful run for Senate in 2014, becoming a fiery pro-Trump advocate on television.

Being a conservative Christian mouthpiece for Agribusiness and reactionary corporate interests in general is good enough for our so-called president. Evidence-based scientific findings mean nothing to Trump, the chumps who voted for him, the political party which rolls over and sticks all four feet into the air when challenged to support pretty much anything on any issuie which would aid the lives of Americans who work for a living.

Ain’t any Trump Bump in tourism!

TRUMP Tower, in midtown Manhattan, has become a modern-day Mount Vernon. Tourists have long visited George Washington’s homestead. Now they venture through Trump Tower’s brass doors to ogle the decor—“it’s so gold,” said a German teenager standing near the lobby’s waterfall on a recent afternoon—or buy souvenirs. The Choi family, visiting from South Korea, wandered the marble expanse with their new “Make America Great” hats (three for $50).

The question for America’s hoteliers and airlines is whether such visitors are just anomalies. A strong dollar is one reason for foreigners to avoid visiting America. Donald Trump may prove another, suggests a growing collection of data. Yet measuring the precise impact of Mr Trump’s presidency on travel is difficult. In addition to the currency effect, many trips currently being taken to America were booked before his election. Marriott, a big hotel company, reported an overall increase, compared with a year earlier, in foreign bookings in America in February.

But Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s boss, has voiced concern about a potential slump in tourism. In February, ForwardKeys, a travel-data firm, reported that in the week after Mr Trump first tried to ban travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, international bookings dropped by 6.5% against the same period in 2016. Hopper, a travel app, found that average daily searches for flights to America have declined in 99 countries since Mr Trump tried to issue his travel ban, compared with the last weeks of Barack Obama’s term. Russia is one of the few places where demand has risen…Tourism Economics, a forecaster, expects 2m fewer foreign visits to America this year, a 1% drop from 2016. Without Mr Trump it had expected a 3% jump…

America’s main tourism lobby group is now urging Mr Trump, who presumably has some sympathy with other hoteliers, to emphasise that the country continues to welcome foreign visitors despite all the new security measures. The tourism agency for New York city, NYC & Company, is trying to counteract negative rhetoric from Washington, DC with advertisements in Britain, Germany, Mexico and Spain.

A bit more detail in the article. I wouldn’t expect any of this to be unexpected. George W gave us a similar present. And he was less boorish, less of an Ugly American.

Latest air pollution finding shouldn’t surprise anyone…


Click to enlargeKieran Doherty/Reuters

A smoggy day in London town…

The hearts of people who live in polluted areas are weaker than those who regularly breathe cleaner air, according to a new study which adds to the growing volume of evidence that fossil fuels are killing us.

The researchers said they found evidence of harmful effects even when levels of pollution associated with diesel vehicles were less than half the safety limit set by the European Union…

According to a UK government estimate, about 40,000 people die prematurely because of the air they breathe…

The process by which air pollution harms the body has been poorly understood. Until recently it was not known if fine particles could pass through the lungs into the bloodstream.

However, a study in which volunteers inhaled gold nanoparticles showed it was possible for this to happen with gold showing up in their blood and urine 15 minutes after they had breathed it in. The particles were still there up to three months later.

…Shouldn’t surprise anyone, that is, except heartless conservatives!

Electric Supercar sets fastest production car lap record at Nurburgring

You’re probably tired of hearing about the Nurburgring Nordschleife at the moment. Hot hatches have been battling relentlessly for the front-drive lap record, and Mercedes now owns the rear-wheel drive record. One intrepid soul even did a lap on two wheels. But these records all pale in comparison to the time laid down by Chinese newcomer NIO. The company has claimed a blistering new lap record at the Nordschleife with its EP9 supercar.

All the records mentioned in the intro are class-specific. The Honda Civic Type-R is the fastest front-wheel drive car to lap the North Loop, and the AMG GT R is the quickest rear-driver. But the NIO EP9 clocked a 6:45.900 lap, topping the Radical SR8LM by 2.1 seconds and Lamborghini’s Huracan Performante by 6 seconds to become the outright fastest production car around the Nurburgring.

Here’s the rest of the article from newatlas.com. But, here’s the home site for NIO – which features gorgeous photography of the EP9 and even their soon-to-be-on-the-roads of China 7 passenger SUV.

The EP9 is definitely the more expensive of the two. $1.48 million. 1300+ DC electric horsepower.

Fun with math: What Ten Million Simulations Tell Us about Trump’s Chances of Achieving 3-Percent Economic Growth

President Donald Trump’s budget is premised on the projection that the United States will be able to raise its long-run economic growth rate to 3 percent a year. This rate allows the budget to assume large tax cuts and still project a balanced budget after ten years. This long-run forecast represents the largest divergence between an administration forecast and that of either the consensus forecast of the Blue Chip survey of private forecasters (2.0 percent) or that of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO, 1.9 percent) in many decades…

To assess how likely the United States is to experience 3-percent growth over the next decade, I estimated the likely range of future potential GDP growth by taking random draws from the history of productivity growth rates, changes in the labor force participation rate, and changes in average hours worked… In running 10,000,000 simulations, the estimated median annual growth rate over the next decade was 1.8 percent, while the 90-percent confidence interval ran from 0.7 percent to 3.0 percent… The odds of the growth rate being at or above 3 percent are only 4 percent — essentially requiring the economy to repeat some of the fastest productivity growth it has seen over the past seven decades.

Not that our so-called president or most of his so-called advisors are likely to consider any of these scenarios in their ideology. Even those few individuals accustomed to this level of arithmetic will challenge the boss on facts. He doesn’t want facts. He wants answers which fit his 6th grade-level semantics, economics understanding and a demographic base even more ignorant.

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz