BuzzFeed scraps million-dollar$ Republican ad deal because Trump is a health-hazard

make america hate

Online media outlet BuzzFeed has pulled out of an advertising deal reported to be worth $1.3 million with the Republican National Committee over objections to the party’s presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

In an e-mail to employees on Monday, BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti wrote: “We don’t run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won’t accept Trump ads for the exact same reason.”

“The Trump campaign is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world and in some cases, such as his proposed ban on international travel for Muslims, would make it impossible for our employees to do their jobs,” Peretti wrote in the note, which was posted to BuzzFeed.com.

BuzzFeed feels no further comment is necessary.

The RNC provides national leadership for the Republican Party.

Trump will provide leadership to all this nation’s leftover idjits, bigots and racists with no understanding of constitutional freedoms, modern economics or high school civics.

BTW, for any Recovering Republicans who seek conservative guidance, I suggest this website – as a start.

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz

Colorado on track to have enough marijuana sales in 2016 to exceed tax target of $40 million for school construction

In the first three months of 2016, Colorado pot shops sold more than $270 million in cannabis and related products, according to new figures from the state Department of Revenue…

The licensed stores sold more than $55 million in recreational marijuana and more than $33 million in medical cannabis in March, the latest month for which the department has released tax data for the industry. Totals for retail and medical marijuana dipped slightly in March after a bustling February, which was the state’s fifth most lucrative month for sales since they began in January 2014, according to Cannabist calculations and state data.

March 2016 totals for recreational pot sales are up 30 percent from March 2015, which shows that “marijuana sales remain strong,” said Christian Sederberg, an attorney for the cannabis industry. “As the regulated system continues to work, we’re also on pace to have over $40 million in excise taxes, meaning there could be additional taxes available from the excise tax to be used for something beyond the public school construction fund.”

Among the taxes collected on retail pot sales is the school-funding 15 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana transfers, which amounted to $3.5 million in March. One of the cornerstones of the campaign that successfully ran Colorado’s pot-legalizing Amendment 64 says that the first $40 million raised by that excise tax will go toward school construction projects.

That specific tax totaled $13.3 million in 2014 and $35 million in 2015, and industry analysts — Sederberg included — say they are confident it will top $40 million in 2016.

…a new report estimates that retail marijuana sales in the U.S. will total $4.5 billion in 2016.

Golly, aren’t you glad you live in one of the self-righteous states run by politicians who refuse to legalize personal marijuana consumption? Who would want to be bothered by questions over where to build new schools? Which of your older schools should be prioritized for repairs and upgrades.

And the surplus tax money? What could you ever find to use it for? Because we know that all the upright, breast-beating, pure of heart prohibition states don’t need any more money to fund education, health, infrastructure, care for the needy. TV talking heads and political hacks tell us so. All the time.

OTOH, maybe you don’t live in New Mexico.

Venezuela’s housing mission on track to complete a million new homes by year-end

Venezuela’s housing mission has now constructed nearly 860,000 homes, according to new figures released Thursday.

“This is popular power,” said President Nicolas Maduro during a visit to a newly built housing complex in the state of Miranda…The president said the government is firmly on track to reach its goal of building 1 million homes by the end of the year…

Over 80,000 new homes have been completed in the past month alone, after the government announced plans to accelerate construction…

One of the Venezuelan government’s most popular social initiatives, the housing mission was first launched to provide shelter for people who lost their homes in devastating floods that hit the country in 2010. However, since then the mission has expanded to provide low-cost housing to the wider population, with poor families receiving priority. Units are generally provided fully furnished. The houses are offered either for free or at a low cost, depending on the means of the prospective owners.

In 2011, then-President Hugo Chavez explained that the mission would address the “social debt” left behind by former governments that failed to provide quality housing to all Venezuelans.

The current Maduro administration has vowed to expand the mission, aiming to provide low-cost housing to 40 percent of Venezuelans by the end of the decade.

The Ayn Rand flavor of libertarian conservatives have to harbor a particular hatred for this kind of social contract. Especially if it results in votes for the folks implementing the program.

Singapore jails megachurch founder and five other officials for fraud


Reuters

❝Six senior officials of Singapore’s City Harvest megachurch have been jailed over a $35 million fraud case.

❝The evangelical church’s pastor and founder, Kong Hee, was jailed for eight years – others received between 21 months and six years.

❝The court ruled last month the group had misused church finances to fund the music career of Kong’s wife, Sun Ho…❞

❝State prosecutors said before sentencing it was “the largest amount of charity funds ever misappropriated in Singapore’s legal history”.❞

❝Known for its slick image and wealth-focused brand of Christianity, City Harvest Church (CHC) has some 17,500 members in Singapore and branches around the world.

❝In 2002, its launched what it called the Crossover Project – a scheme to evangelise through Ms Ho’s music career.❞

Hey, she’s still on the outside. Let’s see what she can do on her own. Try reality TV in the GOUSA. 🙂

Cancer Doctor gets 45 years in prison for healthcare fraud

A Michigan oncologist who gave $35 million in needless chemotherapy to patients — some of whom didn’t even have cancer — will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

After an emotional week of testimony from 22 of his victims, a federal judge sentenced physician Farid Fata to 45 years in prison, NBC News reported. He’ll also give up $17.6 million in cash, according to The Detroit News. Various sources put his full scam around $35 million.

Fata scammed more than 500 of his patients, according to court papers cited by NBC, either by misdiagnosing them just so he could bill healthcare companies or giving chemo to end-of-life patients who wouldn’t benefit and had to endure the treatment’s nasty side effects during their final days.

“They came to me seeking compassion and care. I failed them,” Fata told US District Judge Paul Borman, during his sentencing…Fata pleaded guilty in September to 16 counts, including fraud and money laundering…

The FBI also alleges that after one patient fell and hit his head in Fata’s office, the doctor told him he should complete chemo before going to the hospital, according to the AP. The patient reportedly died from his head injury.

US Attorney Barbara McQuade described Fata’s behavior as “the most serious fraud case in the history of the country,” while Judge Borman described his crime as “huge” and “horrific,”…

Maybe the most serious individual doctor-perpetrated fraud. We are, after all, a nation awash in fraud. Even fraudulent cases of accusations of fraud – as witness the Republican Party’s policy of preventing seniors, students and minority citizens from voting in the name of fraud prevention where fraud hasn’t been proven to exist.

The rare prosecution of thugs like Bernie Madoff illustrates that serious financial fraud is still profitable enough to be a national industry. Further validated by the lack of prosecution of mortgage fraudsters who kicked off the Great Recession.

Still, it warms the cockles of my heart to see a creep like Fata get what essentially is a death sentence. Let him die in prison instead of falling over from a heart attack at his favorite country club.

NYC settles Eric Garner case for $5.9 Million

New York City reached a settlement with the family of Eric Garner on Monday, agreeing to pay $5.9 million to resolve a wrongful death claim over his killing by the police on Staten Island last July…

The agreement, reached just a few days before the deadline to file suit, headed off one potentially fractious legal battle over Mr. Garner’s death even as a federal inquiry into the killing and several others at the state and local level remain open and could provide a further accounting of how he died.

Still, the settlement was a pivotal moment in a case that has engulfed the city and the Police Department since the afternoon of July 17, 2014, when two officers approached Mr. Garner as he stood unarmed on a sidewalk and accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes.

The death of Mr. Garner, 43, followed by the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August, set off a national debate about policing actions in minority communities and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Mr. Garner’s final words — “I can’t breathe” — repeated 11 times as one officer held him in a chokehold, became a national rallying cry. A Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, fueled weeks of demonstrations…

“The City of New York has agreed to pay $5.9 million to resolve the Garner case,” said Jonathan C. Moore, the lawyer for Mr. Garner’s family…

The resolution is among the biggest reached so far as part of a strategy by the comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, to settle major civil rights claims even before a lawsuit is filed. Mr. Stringer has said the aim is to save taxpayers the expense of a drawn-out trial and to give those bringing the suits and their families a measure of closure.

…The settlement did not provide any greater clarity on the actions of the officers that day or the policing strategies that have come under criticism in the year that has followed…

The city medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, citing the chokehold and the compression of Mr. Garner’s chest by other officers who held him down.

Several inquiries into Mr. Garner’s death were still pending, including investigations by the United States attorney’s office, the Civilian Complaint Review Board and state health officials, who are looking into the actions of emergency medical responders in treating Mr. Garner.

The Police Department has concluded its internal investigation but has yet to say whether any officers would be disciplined.

IMHO, the relationship between most American police departments and the communities they’re supposed to serve is a criminal farce. That criminality is doubled and tripled when victims are non-white and other minorities.

In general, too many coppers behave like they are above the law – they are judge, jury and executioner. And if a confrontation involves a non-white civilian the operative word is executioner.

Yes – there are good cops. I’ve known more than a few including members of my extended family. If they stand up for honest community relations, too often, they get screwed over for doing just that.

K Street is paved with gold

A once-decrepit section of downtown Washington has become a luxury marketplace, feeding off the lavishly paid men and women successfully representing the political agenda of the corporate sector.

In 1993, when Tony Podesta, a top Washington lobbyist, moved his firm to G Street Northwest, the neighborhood was a skanky collection of warehouses, liquor stores and the remains of a red light district.

The money is flowing. Podesta’s own company made $25.1 million in lobbying fees last year, plus another $10 million for its public relations work. From Podesta’s office, it’s just a two-minute walk to the new City Center development and its deluxe retail offerings. Paul Stuart on I street sells a navy chalk stripe Italian suit for $4,984. Around the corner is Louis Vuitton, where the Président Classeur briefcase sells for $9,700. A half-block away is Hermès, manufacturer of the Birkin bag, one of which sold recently at auction in Hong Kong for $221,846.

Most lobbying compensation packages are closed to public view, but some – especially of top officials working for tax-exempt trade associations – are not. In 2012, National Journal identified 12 trade association executives making over $2 million a year.

Among the top earners in that select group were Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute, $6,428,872; Thomas J. Donohue, United States Chamber of Commerce, $4,761,900; and Thomas R. Kuhn, Edison Electric Institute, $4,006,893…

In 2014, Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at New America, conducted a study for the Sunlight Foundation that revealed that there were 799 registered Washington lobbyists whose fees for at least one year between 1998 and 2012 exceeded $1 million…

In the 2014 elections, 31,976 donors — equal to roughly one percent of one percent of the total population of the United States — accounted for an astounding $1.18 billion in disclosed political contributions at the federal level…

Former members of the do-nothing, know-nothing club called Congress can easily double or triple his or her government salary when they leave office. Often unearned in the first place.

Campaign reform, taking the money out of politics is supposed to originate with this crowd.

Don’t hold your breath waiting.

Feds OK $73 million settlement in New Mexico radiation leak


Visitors to Carlsbad, NM, in appropriate attire

In a landmark settlement, the Department of Energy has agreed to fund infrastructure projects in New Mexico worth $73.25 million to resolve fines connected with last year’s radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

The New Mexico Environment Department levied the largest-ever fines against the federal government in December – $54 million – over permit violations at the WIPP nuclear waste repository and Los Alamos National Laboratory after a drum of Los Alamos waste ruptured in February 2014 at WIPP, near Carlsbad. That released radiation into the environment and contaminated nearly two dozen workers.

The higher-dollar settlement resolves all violations linked to the radiation accident – both the initial fines levied last year and the threat of additional fines to come, said state Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn.

It’s the largest settlement ever reached between the state and DOE, he said…

The settlement will fund road, water and emergency management projects around the state, but most of the resources will be focused on the Los Alamos and Carlsbad areas…

Flynn also underscored that the settlement money “is not contingent on a future appropriation.”

“It’s not being diverted from cleanup budgets or the operational budgets of WIPP or Los Alamos,” he said. “It’s going to supplement the money we currently receive.”…

DOE’s own investigations into the radiation leak found dozens of deficiencies in safety, emergency response, training and communications at WIPP, the nation’s only deep underground repository for certain types of Cold War-era nuclear waste.

WIPP has been closed to shipments, leaving waste piled up at sites around the country, including Los Alamos.

Your tax dollars at work.

Snuggies — as seen on TV — came with hidden charges and fraud

A marketing company known for its Snuggie infomercials settled state and federal claims that it stuck consumers with hidden charges that almost doubled the cost of the product, a blanket with sleeves…

The company lured consumers with attractive “buy one, get one free” offers but didn’t adequately disclose that additional fees and handling charges almost erased the promise of the “free” item, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. Through confusing ordering processes, consumers sometimes were sold additional items which they didn’t intend to buy, Schneiderman said…

Hawthorne, New York-based Allstar Marketing Group LLC, which also sells the Perfect Brownie Pan and Magic Mesh screen, agreed to pay $8 million to settle Federal Trade Commission and New York state probes, Schneiderman said. The company also agreed to change the ordering process and make it clearer…

There was no finding that the company broke any laws, Allstar said in a statement. The company said it will provide “multiple opportunities for customers to confirm their orders before placing them” and will “clarify ordering and return procedures…”

Marketers must clearly disclose all costs, including processing and handling fees, said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

IMHO, what these scumbags are guilty of is behavior pretty the norm for a lot of the crap I see being sold to folks as “exclusive” and “seen only on TV”. When you’re not being hustled by hidden charges, you often run the risk of outright lies and myths worthy of a SuperPAC campaign commercial.

Operator of failing nuclear dump gets $1.9 million bonus — and $54 million fine! UPDATED


Visitors to Carlsbad, New Mexico, in proper summer attire

The contractor that operates the federal government’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico received a $1.9 million bonus just five days after an underground truck fire closed the facility.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday that the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Nuclear Waste Partnership the funds based on an “excellent” job performance in maintaining the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

Some observers say last February’s fire and the radiation leak that followed nine days later show the contractor failed at its job.

Initial probes by federal regulators into both incidents identified a host of management and safety shortcomings.

The Department of Energy says it is not considering revising or terminating its contract with Nuclear Waste Partnership.

The company has a contract to operate the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant through 2017.

Consistency is the leading mental illness in our government. Time in office, time on the job is considered praiseworthy and a sign of qualification by the Senators and Congress-critters that dole out taxpayer dollars like so many blue ribbons at a hog-calling contest. Quality of work is meaningless.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Project was run badly enough that the chief executive at the site was fired as a result of the equipment fire and, separately, the radiation leak.

There are nations with an honorable civil service, competent, dedicated bureaucrats. The United States just doesn’t happen to be one of them.

Thanks, Mike

UPDATE: $54 milliion fine from the state of New Mexico for crap safety.

Thanks, Mike, again