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Monthly Archives: July 2014

I guess all the attendees weren’t on board with the objective of the rally, or something.

A circus parade and rally for nonviolence that drew hundreds of people to the Linwood Shopping Center on Tuesday evening had to be cut short when multiple fights broke out. Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté said the organizers stopped the event. He tweeted that the crowds dispersed and there were no reported injuries. But the fighting marred an event, called “Your Life Counts,” that was intended to celebrate survival in a city plagued by crime.

via Nonviolence rally marred by multiple fights | The Kansas City Star.

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This is an awesome idea. A self-defense system that connects to your phone via Bluetooth. If you activate the mace to defend yourself, The Defender takes a photo of your attacker, and alerts the 24/7 monitoring service of your position, so they can contact the police for you. You can fund the project, and get one for yourself at Indiegogo.

The Defender – The First Smart Personal Protection System from The Defender on Vimeo.

I’m constantly amazed at the economic ignorance of some of our solons in the Congress. Dick Durbin thinks Walgreen’s is unpatriotic, or something, for considering moving the company to Switzerland to reduce their U.S. tax burden. Has Mr. Durbin ever considered that the U.S. corporate tax rate (one of the highest in the world) is maybe too high? Corporations don’t have patriotic obligations to the countries in which they’re founded. They do, however, have an obligation to their shareholders – to maximize the value of the enterprise. Reducing their tax burden is one way to do that. I’m guessing that Walgreen’s customers don’t care one whit about where the company is incorporated; they just want their prescriptions and other sundries to be conveniently located, and purchased at the lowest price possible.  sc-ct-durbin-1209

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin on Tuesday urged Walgreen Co. to reconsider a possible move of its headquarters to Switzerland to lower its U.S. tax bill.In a letter to Walgreen Chief Executive Gregory Wasson, Durbin said the company could face a backlash from its customers. “I believe you will find that your customers are deeply patriotic and will not support Walgreen’s decision to turn its back on the United States,” Durbin wrote.  “Nearly all of your $2.5 billion in profits earned last year were from sales to U.S. taxpaying customers.” The senator ended his letter with a twist on Walgreen’s advertising campaign: “Is ‘the corner of happy and healthy’ somewhere in the Swiss Alps?”

The letter increases political pressure on the company as it contemplates leaving Deerfield, as part of its plan to buy the rest of Alliance Boots, which operates a drugstore chain in the United Kingdom and is based in Switzerland. The controversial move, known as an inversion, could save the company millions of dollars a year in income taxes because Switzerland’s tax rates are lower than U.S. rates. Walgreen paid $1.4 billion in state and federal income taxes in its last fiscal year.In a statement, a Walgreen spokesman said, “We’ve had a long relationship with Sen. Durbin and appreciate his view on this subject. As we’ve said before, we are in the process of evaluating all aspects related to the second step of our strategic partnership with Alliance Boots, and we will do what is in the best long-term interests of our customers, employees and shareholders.”

via Sen. Durbin derides Walgreen for possible tax-driven overseas move – chicagotribune.com.

I posted about a project similar to this about a year ago. The BevTender cupholder is designed to address the same problem: airplanes and other modes of transportation don’t have cup holders. On a plane, you invariably end up putting that expensive cup of coffee between your legs (and squeeze too hard) or in the seat-back pocket (where it gets squashed, and the coffee ends up on your shoes). Karl Moore’s design for a versatile and easy-to-carry cup holder looks like a winner. Back it on Kickstarter. Eventually, one of these things is going to make it, and millions of people will buy them. I know I’ll buy one.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2111074063/bevtender-upgrade-your-seat/widget/video.html

This isn’t in any way funny, but I had to post about it because of how ludicrous it sounds. Seems a prisoner in an English jail protested the “sweltering heat” in his cell by GOUGING HIS OWN EYES OUT. I guess he showed them. Notice the temperature listed in the article. There must be something else, right?

The man in his 50s is said to have self-inflicted the injuries at HMP Nottingham just days before he was due to be released. The incident occurred as inmates were protesting about the sweltering heat inside their cells and general poor conditions of the prison.East Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed they were called to the prison in Sherwood on 21 July to treat a male patient. He was then taken to the Queen’s Medical centre for his injuries. Police were also called to the scene but established that “no crime had taken place”.

A source inside the jail told the Nottingham Post: “Somebody cut their eyes out of their face. He was protesting. “The heat is so high. Prisoners can’t deal with it. They need to let some air in the room. It is only going to get worse.”The incident took place as temperatures hit around 25C (77F) in Nottinghamshire.A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “A prisoner at HMP Nottingham was taken to hospital following an act of self-harm. Staff reacted quickly and paramedics attended. No other prisoners were involved.

That’s right. 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Just last week, we had nighttime lows that were higher than that. He was scheduled to be released in days. He couldn’t hold on for that much longer? Like I said, there has to be something else to this story.

via Prisoner ‘Gouges Out Own Eyes’ in Protest over Hot Nottingham Cell.

Sure, Cantor suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of college professor Dave Brat, but now he’s freed up to make some serious money. Who needs all those rules and restrictions? The inside-the-beltway free market awaits.

The Cantor sweepstakes has become a source of fascination within the backslapping carousel of the capital. “He’s got a lot of private-sector friends he has done favors for,” says Tom Davis, a former Republican congressman from Virginia who now works for Deloitte & Touche. “I think it would be easy for him to become Eric Cantor Inc. and make a few million dollars a year.” After all, Cantor, whose net worth is already listed between $4.4 million and $14.3 million, will soon be 046-0326044732-3-4-Revolving-Doorunburdened by pesky House ethics and disclosures and restrictions. Given his contacts and pedigree, he could one day eclipse the Tauzin Line, which is named for the former Louisiana congressman Billy Tauzin, who made $11.6 million as a pharmaceutical lobbyist in 2010. Even if he follows the more modest route of Dick Gephardt, the former House majority leader, he’ll still do O.K. Gephardt, who played a convincing working-class hero during his two Democratic presidential campaigns, now runs a consulting firm that made $4.8 million in lobbying income alone last year.

There was a time, it’s worth remembering, when outgoing public officials would return to their farms, stores, law firms, medical practices or whatever quaint things the founders envisioned our citizen leaders doing after their public lives ended. In the 1970s, Davis worked for two Nebraska senators, Carl Curtis and Roman Hruska, each of whom wound up living out his days in the Cornhusker State. “You did not have the lobbying class that you have today,” Davis told me. In 1974, according to The Atlantic, 3 percent of retiring members of Congress became lobbyists. Now half of all senators and 42 percent of representatives enter the field. And those numbers don’t include our former leaders who call themselves “policy advisers,” consultants or strategists. (“Unregistered lobbyists” is how they are known, winkingly, around town.) Or the fact that more than half the members of Congress — who tend to be well educated, well raised and well married to begin with — are already millionaires.

What’s notable is how naturally D.C. commentators have accepted the “monetization” of Cantor’s “contribution.” In an article in CQ Roll Call, Julian Ha, a headhunter at Heidrick & Struggles, urged Cantor’s staff members to “call in the chits they’ve been accumulating and cash them in.” In a National Journal article headlined “Eric Cantor’s Loss Could Be the Best Thing That’s Happened to Him,” one former Republican Capitol Hill aide and current lobbyist earnestly wondered, “The question is how rich does Eric Cantor want to be.” Chris Jones, an executive-search specialist, guessed that the answer was very, very rich. He suggested to Time that Cantor would move to New York and join a major investment bank. “I don’t think he’ll be a standard lobbyist at a law firm,” Jones said. “I think he’ll go big. . . . I think he’s a major power player.”

Therein lies the uncomfortable reality of our gilded capital. Cantor’s loss was widely attributed to his growing “out of touch” with his Richmond-area constituents — he had become too steeped in Washington’s machinations, too cuddled up with Wall Street, too beholden to the entrenched insider’s world. An oft-quoted factoid, courtesy of Open Secrets, is that Cantor’s campaign spent more money at Bobby Van’s steakhouses ($124,177) than David Brat, his opponent, did on his entire campaign ($122,792). Yet those qualities are precisely what now make him such a prized recruit in his next career. As Brat presciently noted on the campaign trail, “All the investment banks up in New York and Washington, whatever. . . . Instead of going to jail, where’d they go? They went on to Eric’s Rolodex.”

via LeBron and Melo Have Nothing on Eric Cantor – NYTimes.com.

I understand why some people drink the stuff – they’re lactose intolerant, and it gives them a way to eat their cereal or cream their coffee. I don’t like the stuff, because it strikes me as unnatural. I love almonds, but the idea of grinding them up and making “milk” out of them seems counterproductive. Reading this article about the nutritional value of it makes me like it even less.almonds and almond milk

All that aside, almond milk strikes me as an abuse of a great foodstuff. Plain almonds are a nutritional powerhouse. Let’s compare a standard serving one ounce, about a handful to the 48-ounce bottle of Califia Farms almond milk that a house guest recently left behind in my fridge.

A single ounce 28 grams of almonds—nutrition info here—contains six grams of protein about an egg’s worth, along with three grams of fiber a medium banana and 12 grams of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats half an avocado. According to its label, an eight-ounce serving of Califia almond milk offers just one gram each of protein and fiber, and five grams of fat. A bottle of Califia delivers six eight-ounce servings, meaning that a handful of almonds contains as much protein as the mighty jug of this hot-selling beverage.

What this tells you is that the almond-milk industry is selling you a jug of filtered water clouded by a handful of ground almonds. Which leads us to the question of price and profit. The almonds in the photo above are organic, and sold in bulk at my local HEB supermarket for $11.99 per pound; this one-ounce serving set me back about 66 cents. I could have bought nonorganic California almonds for $6.49 per pound, about 39 cents per ounce. That container of Califia, which contains roughly the same number of nonorganic almonds, retails for $3.99.

via Lay Off the Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters | Mother Jones.