Summer Rain

July 30, 2016

“Summer Rain,” written by Jim Hendricks, recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1967.

“All summer long we spent dancing in the sand
And the jukebox kept on playing
‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band'”

Johnny Rivers website

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Strawberries from Fumigated Farms

July 29, 2016

Americans eat four times as many strawberries as they did 40 years ago. A short animation from The Center for Investigative Reporting explains how and why.

Director, Producer, Animator: Ariane Wu
Illustrator and After Effects: Arthur Jones
Narrator: Roman Mars
Reporters: Kendall Taggart, Bernice Yeung, Andrew Donohue

Read more here.

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If the Hat Fits ….

July 28, 2016

If the Hat Fits ....

“America has changed over the years. But these values my grandparents taught me — they haven’t gone anywhere. They’re as strong as ever; still cherished by people of every party, every race, every faith. They live on in each of us. What makes us American, what makes us patriots, is what’s in here. That’s what matters. And that’s why we can take the food and music and holidays and styles of other countries, and blend it into something uniquely our own. That’s why we can attract strivers and entrepreneurs from around the globe to build new factories and create new industries here. That’s why our military can look the way it does — every shade of humanity, forged into common service. That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.” Barack Obama, July 27, 2016

After President Obama’s speech to the DNC Wednesday night, his press secretary Jody Earnst earnestly maintained that “the President didn’t have one person in mind when he warned off any “domestic demagogue.”  Of course, if that red baseball cap fits ….

More:

“Obama implies Donald Trump is a ‘homegrown demagogue’ at Democratic convention speech,” German Lopez, Vox

“Barack Obama rebukes Trump as ‘homegrown demagogue,’” Simon Carswell, Irish Times

“Obama’s shade on Trump has people looking up ‘demagogue,'” CBC News

Related:

“Michael Bloomberg Calls Donald Trump a ‘Dangerous Demagogue,'” Josh Dawsey, Wall Street Journal

“Former U.S. Attorney Ditches GOP Over ‘Dangerous Demagogue’ Donald Trump,” Jacquie Lee, Huffington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Florida’s Big Business: Medicare Fraud

July 28, 2016

Florida's Big Business: Medicare Fraud

The U.S. Department of Justice nabbed three conspirators and accused them of defrauding taxpayers of $1 billion through nursing services and assisted-living facilities in the Miami-Dade area. “The magnitude of alleged false claims in this scheme is staggering and outrageous, even by South Florida healthcare fraud standards,” said U.S. attorney Wifredo Ferrer, alluding to the Sunshine State’s major industry, Medicare fraud. The three were charged with conspiracy, money laundering and health care fraud, and two were also charged with obstructing justice.

Thank Florida’s governor, Tea Party Republican Rick Scott, for the expansion of the medical fraud industry. The state is so dirty-business-friendly it has attracted foreign investors from Russia and Nigeria.

More:

“Justice Department Charges Three in $1 Billion Medicare Fraud Scheme in Florida,” Kate O’Keeffe, Wall Street Journal

Related:

“Medicare Fraud Is Sweetest Crime in South Florida,” Chris Parker, New Times Broward/Palm Beach

“What’s the matter with Florida? Healthcare fraud flourishes despite enforcement efforts,” Lisa Schencker, Modern Healthcare

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Trump & Gnats

July 27, 2016

Republican strategist Rick Wilson explains how Donald Trump is giving gnats a bad name.

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Shocking News From the Library of Congress

July 27, 2016

Shocking News From the Library of Congress

Before leaving Washington for a seven-week vacation, the U.S. Congress did something unprecedented: It approved the appointment of a professional librarian to run the Library of Congress. What a concept! Dr. Carla Hayden, head of Baltimore’s public library system and former American Library Association president, is the first woman and the first African-American to hold the post, appointed after a six-month delay, of course.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with 162 million items in its collections. Not exactly the U.S. “national library,” it was established in 1800 to help Congress in its deliberations and, even though today those are largely fact-free, the library remains. It also runs the Copyright Office, has 3,200 employees, and an annual budget of $630 million.

More:

“Senate Approves Carla Hayden As New Librarian Of Congress,” Camila Domonoske, NPR

“Can Carla Hayden Reinvent the Library of Congress?” Alex Duner, U.S. News & World Report

“The Library of Last Resort,” Kyle Chayka, N+1 Online

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President Trump: The Brand

July 26, 2016

 

President Trump: The Brand

Last Thursday, Donald Trump’s acceptance speech in Cleveland was supposed to finally outline the policies and particulars he would implement if elected. It didn’t.

So how would President Trump govern? We found out recently when the New York Times reported that, back in May, Donnie Trump Jr. approached a Kasich senior staffer about making the Ohio governor The Donald’s running mate and “the most powerful vice president in history.”

“When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

‘Making America great again’ was the casual reply.”

That’s in keeping with the current Trump business model. He doesn’t build anything; people pay him to put his name on things they build. The candidate even told us he saw image-building as the president’s chief role last September:

“Our country needs to be glamorized. The branding of our country is at an all-time low. Now, ‘branding’ might not be the most beautiful word to use, but the fact is the country has been labeled so badly.”

‘The thing about branding,” Bill Clinton reminds us, “is … you can be fact-free.”

So if the Republican ticket wins in November, President Trump will subcontract the real work of governing to VP Mike Pence, who should have spoken to all the subcontractors Donald Trump has screwed  before signing up.

More:

“Report: Trump Plans to License His Name to His Administration, Not to Run It,” Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

Related:

“Trump’s Brand Bonanza,” Jennifer Rooney, Forbes

“Brand Trump: How the developer-cum-TV star-cum-presidential candidate became a living product,” Robert Klara, Adweek [2011!]

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

NBA Flushes North Carolina’s All-Star Game Down the Toilet

July 25, 2016

NBA Flushes North Carolina's All-Star Game Down the Toilet
The 2017 NBA All-Star game will be moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to another location because of the Tarheel State’s bathroom legislation, the Association announced last Thursday.  The “Bathroom Law,” aka HB2, requires people to use gender-separated bathrooms and changing rooms according to the sex on their birth certificates, which denies transgender people access to public facilities.The All Star Game isn’t just a single pro hoops contest; it’s a 3-day weekend series of events for basketball fans, supported by the NBA, league sponsors, and local businesses, and the cancellation will cost state businesses an estimated $100 million.

ARRGHHH!!! responded North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, or words to that effect. The NBA’s Charlotte Hornets issued a perfunctory statement accepting the situation and urging Carolinians to get it together or lose any chance at the 2019 All Star Game.

Other businesses and events have also cancelled plans for activities in North Carolina. Over 200 CEOs of major companies (including the state’s largest employers) have signed an open letter urging the law’s repeal. Scores of state, county, and city governments have forbidden government-related travel to North Carolina due to the law.The bathroom law is flushing billions of dollars in business activity and tax revenue down the toilet.

More:

“The NBA Has Moved The All-Star Game From North Carolina Because Of Anti-LGBT Law,” Kevin Draper, Deadspin

“NBA pulls 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over HB2 law,” Sports Illustrated

“NBA will move 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over HB2 law,” Tim Bontemps, Washington Post

Related:

“House Bill 2 could cost N.C. $5 billion a year, report says,” Katherine Peralta, Charlotte Observer 

“Police officers have no idea how to enforce North Carolina’s new ‘bathroom law,” Mark Abadi, Business Insider

“North Carolina’s ‘bathroom’ law is about more than who’s in the next stall,” Paul Woolverton, Fayetteville Observer

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Where is the Love

July 24, 2016

“Where is the Love,” written by Ralph MacDonald and William Salter, recorded by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway in 1972.

Roberta Flack website

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Gasoline and Matches

July 24, 2016

Buddy Miller performs his song “Gasoline and Matches” with Americana All-Stars Don Heffington, Don Was, Jim Lauderdale, and Greg Leisz at the 2012 AMA Americana Music Festival Honors & Awards Nomination Announcement Ceremony. May 31st, 2012 in Los Angeles.

Buddy Miller webside

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