January 21, 2017

Word: former KKK leader David Duke

Trump's inaugural lies

 Washington Post

“Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed.”

Among the 25 most populous metropolitan areas, the D.C. metro area has the highest median income in the nation — $93,294 versus a U.S. median of $55,775 — though growth has slowed in recent years, in part because of reductions in defense spending. Indeed, income in the D.C. area has grown essentially at the same rate as the rest of the nation since 2006, including a dip in median income during the Great Recession.

“Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities … and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
In 2015, 13 percent of people lived below poverty level inside metropolitan statistical areas, according to census data. That is on par with the national poverty rate in 2015, which was 13.5 percent. Overall, the poverty rate has remained relatively flat under Obama. .... Violent and property crimes overall have been declining for about two decades, and are far below rates seen one or two decades ago. Homicides have spiked in major cities in 2015 and 2016, but the rates remain far below their peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Trump makes it harder for low income home owners & first time buyers

Independent, UK - One of Donald Trump’s first acts as President was to increase the cost of mortgages for low-income and first-time buyers. The Republican suspended one of the final decisions by former President Barack Obama that would have cut Federal Housing Administration insurance premiums by 0.25 per cent, meaning the average borrower would save around $500 a year. The cut was expected to help a quarter of a million more people afford home loans over the next three years.

January 20, 2017

Primates threatened with extinction

Tree Hugger - A report in the journal Science Advances  – the most comprehensive review of primate populations so far – says that 60 percent of primate species are currently threatened with extinction and some 75 percent have declining populations.

"This truly is the eleventh hour for many of these creatures," says Paul Garber, an anthropology professor from the University of Illinois, who co-led the study with Alejandro Estrada of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

"Several species of lemurs, monkeys and apes – such as the ring-tailed lemur, Udzunga red colobus monkey, Yunnan snub-nosed monkey, white-headed langur and Grauer's gorilla – are down to a population of a few thousand individuals. In the case of the Hainan gibbon, a species of ape in China, there are fewer than 30 animals left."

Trump dumps

A short tour of great moments with Donald Trump

A new  poll  finds 50% supporting Obamcare while only 42% viewing Trump favorably

The rotten business world of Steve Mnuchin

From anal sex, to pooping, and sleeping around — recently uncovered footage of Donald Trump appearing on the Howard Stern show multiple times in the 1990s....And when it came to even the most personal questions about his life, Trump didn’t hesitate to answer them.

A Saturday Night Live moment in the nomination hearings

A collection of Trump lies, misstatements and hyperbole


Huge cost overruns in California high speed rail

Learning from the inefficiencies, lack of adequate service and cost of the DC Metro, the Review has been a long time supporter of more rational transit approaches such as dedicated bus lanes and regularly rather than high speed rail. Here's more evidence:

Reason -  Clifornia's ongoing "high-speed rail" project connecting Los Angeles with San Francisco continues to run up against the same, recurring problem since voters gave the plan initial bond funding in a 2008 statewide initiative. There's a growing chasm between the promises supporters made to the state's taxpayers—and reality.

In the latest bombshell, a confidential federal report points to cost overruns of at least 50 percent on the easiest, mountain-less leg of this complex infrastructure undertaking. The Federal Railroad Administration analysis, obtained by the Los Angeles Times last week, detailed a variety of other problems within the state's rail administration, as well.

For instance, the project already is at least seven years behind schedule in building the first segment, which connects Merced in the northern part of the San Joaquin Valley to Shafter, a small town just north of Bakersfield in the southern part of the valley. That section was supposed to be completed this year, but isn't slated for completion until 2024.

"The federal document outlines far-reaching management problems: significant delays in environmental planning, lags in processing invoices for federal grants and continuing failures to acquire needed property," according to the Times. Rail officials said the numbers are just projections, but the newspaper described the assessment as "a troubling critique by an agency that has been a stalwart supporter and longtime financier of the nation's largest infrastructure project."

There's a two-fold problem here. The project faces increasing cost overruns—and its supporters continue to rely on funding sources that are far from secure. "In its 2012 draft business plan, the Authority identifies the federal government as by far the largest potential funding source for the program, yet the plan provides few details indicating how the authority expects to secure this money," explained the California State Auditor in a 2012 follow-up report.

British Labor Party leader argues for maximum wage

institute for Policy Studies -In 1942, Franklin Roosevelt advanced what may have been the most politically daring policy proposal of his entire presidency. FDR called for the equivalent of a maximum wage. No individual American after paying taxes, Roosevelt declared, should have an income over $25,000, about $370,000 today.

A half-century later, in 1992, Bernie Sanders — then a relatively new member of the House of Representatives — marked the 50th anniversary of FDR’s maximum wage initiative. Sanders placed a commentary on FDR’s 1942 proposal in the Congressional Record.

Last week, in the 75th anniversary year of Roosevelt’s 1942 proposal, British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gave FDR’s income cap idea a considerably wider public airing. In a series of media interviews, Corbyn called for a ceiling on UK individual income.

“There ought to be a maximum wage,” Corbyn told The Herald, a Scottish newspaper. “The levels of inequality in Britain are getting worse.”

The Labor Party leader repeated that call for “some kind of high-earnings cap” the same day in a radio interview with the BBC.

“We cannot set ourselves as being a sort of grossly unequal bargain basement economy on the shores of Europe,” Corbyn explained. “If we want to live in a more egalitarian society and fund our public services, we cannot go on creating worse levels of inequality.”

Right-wing think tanks chimed in with more vituperation. Corbyn, the Adam Smith Institute charged, had gone “bananas.” The leader of Donald Trump’s favorite UK party, the anti-immigrant UKIP, claimed that Corbyn was practicing the “politics of envy.”

Franklin Roosevelt’s critics made the same sort of hyper-ventilating attacks 75 years ago when FDR proposed his cap on the income of the awesomely affluent. In the end, Roosevelt didn’t get from Congress everything he wanted on the pay-cap front. But the political courage he showed helped pave the way for the much more equal — and average-people friendly — America of the mid-20th century.

Growing interest in food distribution centers

Pew Trust - In New York City, where shoppers and diners can find delicacies from all over the world, there is hefty demand for food grown closer to home.

The taste for products from farms in the Northeast has led South Bronx-based Greenmarket Co., a nonprofit regional food distributor that serves as the middleman between farmers and buyers, to constantly expand the size and scope of its operation over the last half-decade.

The state of New York has taken notice of its role in the regional food supply chain and in August allocated $15 million of the $20 million needed to build Greenmarket’s new 20,000-square-foot distribution center, commonly known as a food hub. The hub’s staff, which is raising the remaining money from other public and private funders, expects to move in by 2019 and eventually sell $18 million worth of produce, grains, eggs, maple syrup and honey a year.

Like New York, other states such as Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Vermont, and the federal government are investing in food hubs as a way to connect small and midsize farmers, who may not have the volume or do not have the capacity to work with large food wholesalers, with businesses and consumers to increase sales.

“It’s not just about buying from local producers but being able to tell the consumer, ‘This is from Farmer Jane, and Farmer Jane has this much acreage, and she grows her food this way,’ ” said James Barham, an agricultural economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Today, there are more than 400 food hubs across the country, about 30 percent of which are nonprofits. Most are not as expansive or expensive as Greenmarket has become and only require a couple hundred thousand dollars to get off the ground.

Paul Ryan on black urban men

”We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with." - Paul Ryan

Where the women's marches are

GOP Know Nothings plan to gut DC home rule

Washington Post - Congressional Republicans are making an aggressive push to gut the District’s progressive policies, introducing bills in recent days to repeal the heavily Democratic city’s gun-control measures, undo its new law allowing physician-assisted suicide and ban the District from using local tax dollars to provide abortions for poor women.

The bills have begun arriving on the eve of President Obama’s departure from the White House, where he has stifled repeated attempts to pass similar measures with a veto threat.

Those decisions will soon be in the hands of President-elect Donald Trump, and conservative House members said they think that Trump will not impede the will of a newly emboldened ­Republican-led Congress.

The District’s status as a federal district makes it uniquely vulnerable to the whims of Congress. Unlike in the 50 states, Congress has supreme authority, including veto power over local laws and voter-approved measures. It can even reach in and dictate how local tax money is spent if the president agrees.

More people live in the nation’s capital than in Vermont or Wyoming, and they pay more in federal taxes than their counterparts in 22 states, but the federal district has no voting member of Congress.

Trump plans to stage military parades in Washington

Washingtonian - In an interview Wednesday with the Washington Post, President-elect Donald Trump was asked just exactly how he plans to make good on his promise to make America great again. One potential he floated to the Post‘s Karen Tumulty: military parades in DC and New York showing off the armed forces’ human and materiel strength.

The Post reports:

“Being a great president has to do with a lot of things, but one of them is being a great cheerleader for the country,” Trump said. “And we’re going to show the people as we build up our military, we’re going to display our military.

“That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military,” he added. While Trump says later in the interview that he has other plans for fulfilling his campaign slogan, the suggestion of military parades in DC feels a little, well, foreign. There are plenty of parades in Washington that include military participation, including those on July 4 and Memorial Day, to say nothing of the one on Friday that will follow Trump’s swearing-in.

January 19, 2017

Action links

Action news
What to do now
How to plan your own Moral Monday
Building peace teams
Cellphone guide for protesters
Why we need history
Post empire survival guide
Why cross cultural coalitions are important
Where change really comes from
Running out of change
The Clinton-Obama-Alinsky myth
How minorities change America
Becoming and being an activist
Rebellions contain multitudes
No retirement age for rebellion
The gadfly thing
Ralph Nader
Leading the majority: how minorities change America
How one guy became an activist
On rebellion
Bad times
Getting through the bad times
The hat trick of survival
Why everything's so hard today
Notes on the end of the First American Republic
Getting the counter culture out of the closet
Where is the counterculture when we need it?
Change the culture & politics will follow
Punk & protest
Music and politics
Care and feeding of non-profit boards
New America
Building little republics in a failing empire
America 2.0
What a populist rebellion might look like
Time for a movement
Rebuilding America
Ideas for a better U.S.
A cooperative commonwealth

Recovered history: The Silent Generation

Some things I’ve written about the silent generation

Sam Smith - Places such 47 Mt. Auburn brought Boston's poets, folksingers and the explicitly disenchanted to suggest into a mike or over expresso that the 1950s were not all they had been cracked up to be. It was a gentle message, because it carried little suggestion that there was anything we could or should do about it. We were strong on analysis and abysmal at action. We, the minority who felt something was wrong, were like dinghies come adrift, lacking the power to do more than to rock aimlessly in inchoate discontent. I bought a beret and shades, which went well with my cigarillos and my Balkan Sobrani-filled pipe, but had not the slightest idea what to do with them other than to feel slightly superior, somewhat existential, and probably condemned to a future in which one could expect to achieve little except the maintenance of personal honor and the avoidance of banality.

It was, after all, what we were being taught at the Brattle Theatre. The Brattle, two years before I arrived at Harvard, began running Humphrey Bogart films in repertoire throughout reading period. We gathered faithfully and repeatedly to learn from the master, mimicking such lines as "I stick my neck out for nobody."

Later, in the sixties, when I was over thirty, it was said that people my age couldn't be trusted; It wasn't true, though. We could be trusted. We just couldn't be relied upon. Our cultural heroes didn't man the barricades. They hit the road. Our goal wasn't to overthrow the establishment, someone would say later, but to make it irrelevant. Or, like Miles Davis in concert, to play with your back to it. Some of us made Bogart an anti-hero in part, I think, because we already suspected that America was our own Casablanca, a place of seductive illusions and baroque deceptions, where nothing was as it appeared. Bogart, with skill and cool, knew how to adapt to the chaos and deceit without betraying his own code. It was a model we needed.
We had been taught that if we crawled under our desks, we would be safe from The Bomb. Even our teachers lied to us. Yet it never occurred to us to try to change the world. When change finally did come, we would do what we did best. We adapted. From conventional sex to free sex to frightened sex, we adapted. From mass movements to monomaniacal interest groups, we adapted. From integration to nationalism to political correctness, we adapted. From communes to condos, we adapted. From Beatles to rap, from bongos to cell phones, and from Aquarius to apocalypse, we adapted. And given that these weren't even our revolutions, we did it pretty well.

The one revolution that was truly ours, the civil rights movement, the boomer braggarts would claim for themselves. And, being the silent generation, we let them. Our virtue and our failing was that we would never enjoy the hubris of those older and younger than ourselves. Our virtue because we were modest enough to actually have learned something from what happened; our failing because the footing never seemed solid enough to permit us to do much with what we had learned.
They called my generation the "silent" one, the one America skipped in moving from George Bush to Bill Clinton. Maybe some of us were quiet because we were trying to figure out how to avoid becoming the man in the gray flannel suit or part of the lonely crowd. The struggle, we thought, was about individuality and no one spoke of movements. Our cultural heroes didn't organize anything. They hit the road. Our goal wasn't to overthrow the establishment, someone would say a decade later, but to make it irrelevant. When we were in our 30s, we were told that we already were too old to be trusted. It wasn't really true; in many ways the 60s was just the mass movement of something that had started in the 50s with our coffee houses, music and conscious political apathy. We were the warmup band for the 1960s.

Music vs. politics splits Maine Greens

Bangor Daily News -A high school band’s performance at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration has struck the wrong chord with some on Maine’s far left.

Tom MacMillan, a 2015 candidate for Portland mayor, and Seth Baker, who lost a November bid to represent the city in the state Senate, say they’re leaving the Maine Green Independent Party because a party leader will be attending the presidential inauguration.

Instead of sticking with a party that “is unwilling to keep its own leadership in line,” MacMillan said he and Baker would be joining the Socialist Party, which is not currently on the ballot in Maine.

“That was the last straw,” said MacMillan. “It’s really a betrayal of values.”

The thing is, Green Secretary Ben Meiklejohn says he isn’t going for political reasons. He’s a music teacher and director of the Madawaska school band, which was invited to perform in the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Concert” at the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 19. Trump will be sworn in the following day.

“The students are really excited,” said Meiklejohn, who served on the Portland school board from 2001 to 2007. “I think it would be an injustice to deny them the opportunity they would get because of my political views.”

Democrats only fully control four states

Alternet - The incoming Trump administration understandably frightens liberals, but right-wing successes at a state level would have moved forward regardless of who won the election. Only four states currently have a Democratic governor and a Democratic state legislature. What's more, bipartisan support for policies of austerity and neo-liberalism have led to vast social spending cuts across the country regardless of political affiliation.

Here are five proposed budget cuts that should have progressives up in arms.

1. Maine's Tea Party Governor Wants to Kick Thousand of People Off Medicaid and Block a Tax Increase for the State's Richest Citizens

2. Texas Is Cutting Disabled Kids' Therapy Service: Texas' GOP-controlled state legislature recently cut its Medicaid program by $350 million. Critics warn that the cuts could be particularly devastating for disabled children in the state, as it drastically reduces the amount of money paid toward therapists who assist vulnerable kids.

A group of citizens attempted to block the cuts through a lawsuit, but the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Stephanie Rubin, CEO of an advocacy group called Texans Care for Children, sent the Texas Tribune an email about the potential impact of the cuts:

"This is terrible news for Texas kids with disabilities and developmental delays and their families. Kids with autism, speech delays, Down syndrome, and other disabilities and delays rely on these therapies to learn to walk, communicate with their families, get ready for school, and meet other goals."

3. Massachusetts Is Cutting $12 Million in Education

4. Connecticut Is Cutting $50 Million in School and Municipal Funding

5. New Mexico Is Cutting Take-Home Pay For State Workers and Teachers


Sonny Perdue on the Civil War

Trump's agriculture secretary pick on the Civil War during a gubernatorial proclamation: "Among those who served the Confederacy were many African-Americans, both free and slave, who saw action in the Confederate armed forces in many combat roles. According to the Georgia government's website on Confederate History Month, they also participated in the manufacture of products for the war effort, built naval ships, and provided military assistance and relief efforts..."

2016 hottest recorded year

Ecowatch - 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded, smashing records set in 2014 and 2015. This marks the third consecutive year of record-breaking heat, a first in the modern era. 2016 is the hottest year on record by a wide margin, 1.69 F (0.94 C) warmer than the 20th century average.

Trump is only the leader of this disaster

Sam Smith  - It is good to keep in mind that Donald Trump is only the leader of this disaster. What he is leading is the most reactionary and prejudiced party since the days of the Dixiecrats. Consider the times that Jeff Sessions has undermined black progress in his state, or Mike Pence has attacked - in the name of fake Christianity - gays and lesbians, or Paul Ryan has twisted the House towards policies that only aid the most wealthy in the country and it is a reminder that our problem is not just Trump but the Republican Party.

The party now belongs in the category not only of the pre-civil rights southern Democrats but of the mid 19th Century Native American Party - later the American Party and nicknamed the Know Nothings - with its vehemently anti-immigrants policies.

The media in particular needs to avoid giving credence to the new Know Nothing Party in the false name of objectivity, but to recognize it for what it is: a civil war against the bulk of America and its historic and constitutional values.

Trump dumps

Only 22 percent of Americans want to see the Obamacare repealed. 47 percent of them want the law to be repealed immediately, while half – 50 percent- think it should be repealed only after Congress has agreed on a new health care law to replace it.

Some reasons you don't want Perry as Energy Secretary

How school voucher program worked out in Pence's Indiana:  Five years after the program was established, more than half of the state’s voucher recipients have never attended Indiana public schools, meaning that taxpayers are now covering private and religious school tuition for children whose parents had previously footed that bill.

Ryan out to kill Medicare

Huffington Post - House Speaker Paul Ryan is working hard to destroy Medicare and force seniors and people with disabilities into the arms of private, for-profit health insurers. Ryan wants to end Medicare as we know it and, instead, simply give seniors and people with disabilities fixed cash stipends to fend for themselves, unprotected, on the private market.

Ironically, Ryan is proposing to convert Medicare into the very system he is rushing to repeal — the Affordable Care Act  — but without its protections, such as the requirement that private insurers cover those with pre-existing conditions.

Trump may dump public broadcasting and arts/humanities endowments

The Hill - Donald Trump is ready to take an ax to government spending.

Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned.

The changes they propose are dramatic.

The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.

The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition

How cooperatives can help economic recovery

Nathan Schneide, Yes Magazine - At the start of the Great Depression, much of the U.S. countryside had no electricity, even after most cities and towns had been electrified for decades. Power companies refused to make the investment, which would furnish lower profits than urban projects; some even claimed, astonishingly, that rural communities were better off in the dark. I don’t think that my grandfather, who grew up on northern Colorado beet farms without electricity, would have agreed.

Rural Americans took the matter into their own hands. Well before the Great Depression, they started forming electric cooperatives—utilities built, owned, and governed by customers themselves. These efforts added to a long legacy of rural cooperation as a means of economic inclusion, including 19th-century organizations like the Grange and the Farmers’ Alliance, whose purchasing and marketing cooperatives enabled farmers to compete in markets increasingly controlled by urban capital. Electric co-ops started taking advantage of hydroelectric dams built under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to distribute cheap, renewable power, and the federal government finally recognized their success enough to invest in it. In 1936, the Rural Electrification Act provided low-interest loans and technical support; by the end of World War II, around half of U.S. farms had electricity, up from around 10 percent a decade earlier. It turned out that, without investors clamoring for profits, powering the countryside was a perfectly sensible business proposition.

Today, nearly a thousand local cooperatives provide electricity to the inhabitants of around three-quarters of the landmass of the United States. They have formed larger co-ops in order to build and manage their own power plants. They’ve formed cooperative banks to finance new projects, lessening the need for public loans. Together with the rural phone co-ops that emerged in the same period, some electric co-ops are now bringing broadband internet service to underserved areas. Some have also become leaders in transitioning to renewable energy sources.


Joblessness at four decade record low

Portland Press Herald  - 234,000 Americans sought jobless aid, a drop of 15,000 from the previous week and lowest since November 1973. The four-week average, which is less volatile, fell by 10,250 to 246,750, also the lowest since November 1973. The total number of people receiving unemployment benefits was 2.05 million, down 7.7 percent from a year earlier.

January 18, 2017

Just a reminder

It is not normal for Congress to repeal and replace laws. The more sane approach is to amend them. It just doesn't sound as exciting.

100 CEOs' retirement plans equal entire savings of 41% of U.S. families

Daily Kos - Institute for Policy Studies demonstrates how inequality follows us into right into our golden years, or as the subtitle states: “As Working Families Face Rising Retirement Insecurity, CEOs Enjoy Platinum Pensions.” Co-authors Sarah Anderson and Scott Klinger point to some startling statistics. 
Just 100 CEOs have company retirement funds worth $4.7 billion — a sum equal to the entire retirement savings of the 41 percent of U.S. families with the smallest nest eggs.

This $4.7 billion total is also equal to the entire retirement savings of the bottom:
  • 59 percent of African-American families
  • 75 percent of Latino families
  • 55 percent of female-headed households
  • 44 percent of white working class households 

On average, the top 100 CEO nest eggs are large enough to generate for each of these executives a $253,088 monthly retirement check for the rest of their lives.
  • Among ordinary workers, those lucky enough to have 401(k) plans had a median balance at the end of 2013 of $18,433, enough for a monthly retirement check of just $101.
  • Of workers 56-61 years old, 39 percent have no employer-sponsored retirement plan whatsoever and will likely depend entirely on Social Security, which pays an average benefit of $1,239 per month.

Solar now major energy employer

Eco Watch  - U.S. solar employs more workers than any other energy industry, including coal, oil and natural gas combined, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's second annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

6.4 million Americans now work in the traditional energy and the energy efficiency sector, which added more than 300,000 net new jobs in 2016, or 14 percent of the nation's job growth.

Trump dumps

Trump referred to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. as the "Winter White House."

President-elect Donald Trump’s newest White House adviser - Reed Cordish - runs a real-estate company that’s being sued by black patrons who accuse it of racial discrimination and hiring white men to physically attack and eject them.

The terrible record of Betsy DeVos

Pruitt's EPA lawsuits are really bad

Erik Prince, America’s most notorious mercenary, is lurking in the shadows of the incoming Trump administration. A former senior U.S. official who has advised the Trump transition told The Intercept that Prince has been advising the team on matters related to intelligence and defense, including weighing in on candidates for the defense and state departments.

Donald Trump's choice to head the Interior Department on Tuesday rejected the president-elect's claim that climate change is a hoax, saying it is indisputable that environmental changes are affecting the world's temperature and human activity is a major reason. "I don't believe it's a hoax," Rep. Ryan Zinke told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee at his confirmation hearing... An admirer of President Theodore Roosevelt, Zinke said management of federal lands should be done under a "multiple-use" model set forth by Gifford Pinchot, a longtime Roosevelt associate and the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service.

D.C. residents are planning to stage a pre-inauguration queer dance party outside the home of Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, complete with biodegradable glitter, glow sticks, rainbow suspenders and “bomb music,”

Woman files defamation suit against Trump over alleged sexual assaults

Alternet  - Summer Zervos, a former contestant on "The Apprentice," announced at today’s press conference that she has filed a defamation suit against Donald Trump for using “his national and international bully pulpit to make false factual statements to denigrate and verbally attack Ms. Zervos and the other women who publicly reported his sexual assaults in October 2016.” The lawsuit, which was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday, can be viewed online.

According to those court papers, Zervos “was ambushed by Mr. Trump on more than one occasion” over the course of filming the television show in 2007. The lawsuit alleges:
Mr. Trump suddenly, and without her consent, kissed her on her mouth repeatedly; he touched her breast; and he pressed his genitals up against her. Ms. Zervos never consented to any of this disgusting touching. Instead, she repeatedly expressed that he should stop his inappropriate sexual behavior, including by shoving him away from her forcefully, and telling him to “get real.” Mr. Trump did not care, he kept touching her anyway.
The suit also charges that Trump “attacked [Zervos] in a hotel room on a later occasion.” Attorney Gloria Allred told assembled press that Zervos volunteered to take, and passed, a polygraph test.

Physician aid in dying gains support

NY Times = Last June, aid-in-dying legislation took effect in California, the most populous state. In November, Colorado voters approved a ballot measure by nearly a two-thirds majority. The District of Columbia Council has passed a similar law, and the mayor quietly signed it last month.

Aid in dying was already legal in Washington, Vermont, Montana and Oregon. So even if the District of Columbia’s law is blocked, as a prominent Republican representative has threatened to do, the country has arrived at a remarkable moment: Close to 20 percent of Americans live in jurisdictions where adults can legally end their lives if they are terminally ill and meet eligibility requirements.

The laws, all based on the Death With Dignity Act Oregon adopted in 1997, allow physicians to write prescriptions for lethal drugs when patients qualify. The somewhat complicated procedure involves two oral requests and a written one, extensive discussions, and approval by two physicians. Patients must have the mental capacity to make medical decisions.

Professors offer course on bullshit

improbable Research - Professors Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin West from University of Washington have developed a new interdisciplinary course with the compelling title of Calling Bullshit.

As they write: “We’re sick of it. It’s time to do something, and as educators, one constructive thing we know how to do is to teach people. So, the aim of this course is to help students navigate the bullshit-rich modern environment by identifying bullshit, seeing through it, and combatting it with effective analysis and argument.”

Naturally, if people learn how to detect subtle bullshit that might otherwise go under their radar, that also can make them better at producing bullshit. Bergstrom and West recognize this possibility: “As with biological weapons, there is no such thing as purely defensive bullshit research.”