At the end of the day, the paper machines changed hands on paper; the lenders that loaned the $31.8 million got their money back; Enhanced and the other broker, Stonehenge Community Development of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pocketed $2 million in fees; and the equity investors – the people or funds that put up the $8.2 million that was not repaid as one-day loans – were promised $16 million in Maine tax credits, which are redeemable over seven years.
In other words, Maine’s taxpayers provided the equity investors, who faced little risk, with a $7.8 million profit. And despite the fact that the mill closed and went bankrupt, there’s no way for the state to wriggle out of its commitment to pay the investors the $16 million.
Handsome, tall, and somewhat gangly, the 41-year-old Congregationalist minister bore more than a passing resemblance to Jimmy Stewart. Addressing the crowd of business leaders, Fifield delivered a passionate defense of the American system of free enterprise and a withering assault on its perceived enemies in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. Decrying the New Deal’s “encroachment upon our American freedoms,” the minister listed a litany of sins committed by the Democratic government, ranging from its devaluation of currency to its disrespect for the Supreme Court. Singling out the regulatory state for condemnation, he denounced “the multitude of federal agencies attached to the executive branch” and warned ominously of “the menace of autocracy approaching through bureaucracy.”
It all sounds familiar enough today, but Fifield’s audience of executives was stunned. Over the preceding decade, as America first descended into and then crawled its way out of the Great Depression, the these titans of industry had been told, time and time again, that they were to blame for the nation’s downfall. Fifield, in contrast, insisted that they were the source of its salvation.
They just needed to do one thing: Get religion.
Fifield told the industrialists that clergymen would be crucial in regaining the upper hand in their war with Roosevelt. As men of God, ministers could voice the same conservative complaints as business leaders, but without any suspicion that they were motivated solely by self-interest. They could push back against claims, made often by Roosevelt and his allies, that business had somehow sinned and the welfare state was doing God’s work. The assembled industrialists gave a rousing amen. “When he had finished,” a journalist noted, “rumors report that the N.A.M. applause could be heard in Hoboken.”
It was a watershed moment—the beginning of a movement that would advance over the 1940s and early 1950s a new blend of conservative religion, economics and politics that one observer aptly anointed “Christian libertarianism.” Fifield and like-minded ministers saw Christianity and capitalism as inextricably intertwined, and argued that spreading the gospel of one required spreading the gospel of the other. The two systems had been linked before, of course, but always in terms of their shared social characteristics. Fifield’s innovation was his insistence that Christianity and capitalism were political soul mates, first and foremost.
Even his best-known pseudonym, Haji Bakr, wasn’t widely known. But that was precisely part of the plan. The former colonel in the intelligence service of Saddam Hussein’s air defense force had been secretly pulling the strings at IS for years. Former members of the group had repeatedly mentioned him as one of its leading figures. Still, it was never clear what exactly his role was.
But when the architect of the Islamic State died, he left something behind that he had intended to keep strictly confidential: the blueprint for this state. It is a folder full of handwritten organizational charts, lists and schedules, which describe how a country can be gradually subjugated. SPIEGEL has gained exclusive access to the 31 pages, some consisting of several pages pasted together. They reveal a multilayered composition and directives for action, some already tested and others newly devised for the anarchical situation in Syria’s rebel-held territories. In a sense, the documents are the source code of the most successful terrorist army in recent history.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday ignored a White House veto threat and passed legislation to repeal the estate tax that hits inherited assets worth $5.4 million or more.
“It’s past time to repeal this unacceptable tax. Every American deserves the ability to pass their life’s savings to their kids,” said Representative Tom Graves, a conservative Republican from Georgia.
Repealing the tax would boost the federal deficit by about $269 billion over 10 years, according to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation.
About 5,400 estates, equal to 0.2 percent of taxpayers, will owe such taxes in 2015, according to the JCT.
So they’re giving 5400 families a total of 269 billion dollars, because “every” American deserves it..
Basically, you go on your app, order weed, it tells you how long it’ll be, then it gets dropped off. Simple, but very effective. Weed delivered in a quarter of an hour. Beats waiting in the cold on a street corner for a divvy in his car to pull up half an hour late, blaring Dr Dre and making it as on top as possible.
Eaze is currently operating in 35 cities, but the huge cash injections mean that it can expand massively.
Really? “Uber for weed”? How about Instagram? Tweeder? Facebake? Plantdora?
In 1980, a trio of gentlemen from Wisconsin – Jim Abrahams and brothers David and Jerry Zucker – took a cast of predominantly non-comedic actors, put a parodic spin on the disaster-film genre, and created a film which not only made moviegoers howl with laughter but also earned critical acclaim. Airplane! celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, and if you happen to be in Nashville this weekend, you’ll have a chance to catch the film flying high on the big screen once again: The Wild West Comedy Festival will be holding a screening at The Belcourt on Saturday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m., after which special guests David and Jerry Zucker will participate in a Q&A.
In an effort to increase awareness of the screening as well as apply salve to the wound of those who aren’t able to attend, we spoke with as many people involved in Airplane! as we possibly could—including the Zuckers, Jim Abrahams, and cast members Robert Hays, Frank Ashmore, Al White, Lee Bryant, Ross Harris, Jill Whelan, Maureen McGovern, David Leisure, Gregory Itzin, Marcy Goldman, and Jimmie Walker—and asked them to reflect on their experiences while making the film as well as their astonishment that audiences still love Airplane! Sadly, Otto declined to go on the record with his reminiscences, but those who were willing to open up had quite a story to tell, which you can read straight through or use the section guide on the right to flip around.
It’s an attitude I’ve seen before: “Something must be done. This is something. Therefore, we must do it.” Never mind if the something makes any sense or not.
It’s easy to assume that workers earning less than $15 is a small subset of the workforce. But, in fact, 42% of all workers in the United States fit this bill. Just over half of all African Americans earn less than $15 an hour, and nearly 60% of Latinos make that hourly sum.
This boy was defending his mother’s use of a drug that helps her deal with an awful condition. Because he stuck up for his mother, the state arrested her and ripped him away from her. Even if he is eventually returned to his mother (as he ought to be), the school, the town, and the state of Kansas have already done a lot more damage to this kid than Banda’s use of pot to treat her Crohn’s disease ever could.
For more than a decade after her husband died, Laura Coleman Biggs paid her mortgage to a Bank of America subsidiary. She was never told, even as she was weeks from losing her home, that her husband had actually protected her against foreclosure.
George “Kenny” Mitchell had taken out a special lender-pushed insurance policy to pay off most of his loan if he died.
But when he passed away on April 26, 2003, the subsidiary of Charlotte-based Bank of America did not arrange a payoff of the $100,000 policy and continued to charge his widow an insurance premium every month along with her mortgage payment.
Now Bank of America, Select Portfolio Servicing – a company that collects mortgage payments – and a Florida insurer all face a federal lawsuit in California seeking compensatory and punitive damages, alleging negligence and fraud for their treatment of Biggs.
When I was asked to live blog a Borussia Dortmund press conference I thought it would be a normal task. Then a problem became apparent: I didn’t speak German…
And yet he cuts his hair, shaves his beard, wears clothes of different fabrics and works on Sunday…
But you know what, my gaydar beeps very loudly with this guy…
In the last 5 years, the 200 most politically active companies in the US spent $5.8 billion influencing our government with lobbying and campaign contributions. Those same companies got $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support — earning a return of 750 times their investment. If you can afford to buy access, times have never been better.
Albert and Bernard just met Cheryl. “When’s your birthday?” Albert asked Cheryl.
Cheryl thought a second and said, “I’m not going to tell you, but I’ll give you some clues.” She wrote down a list of 10 dates:
May 15, May 16, May 19
June 17, June 18
July 14, July 16
August 14, August 15, August 17
“My birthday is one of these,” she said.
Then Cheryl whispered in Albert’s ear the month — and only the month — of her birthday. To Bernard, she whispered the day, and only the day.
“Can you figure it out now?” she asked Albert.
Albert: I don’t know when your birthday is, but I know Bernard doesn’t know, either.
Bernard: I didn’t know originally, but now I do.
Albert: Well, now I know, too!
When is Cheryl’s birthday?
The centrally planned Soviet economy was poorly prepared for computerization. Its cumbersome bureaucracy was too slow to implement rapid changes in production and distribution, and it was ruled by industrial ministries which, like separate fiefdoms, did not want to share their information or decision-making power. Each ministry therefore created its own information management system, disconnected from and incompatible with the others. Instead of transforming the top-down economy into a self-regulating system, bureaucrats used their new cybernetic models and computers to protect their power. Expensive and largely useless information management systems were strewn across the country.
The results of top-down computerization were devastating. New computer systems accumulated ever-increasing amounts of raw data and generated terrifying heaps of paperwork. In the early 1970s, roughly 4 billion documents per year circulated through the Soviet economy. By the mid-1980s, after Herculean efforts to computerize the bureaucratic apparatus, this figure rose by a factor of 200 to about 800 billion documents, or 3,000 documents for every Soviet citizen. All this information still had to pass through narrow channels of centralized, hierarchical distribution, squeezed by institutional barriers and secrecy restrictions. Management became totally unwieldy. To get an approval for the production of an ordinary flat iron, for example, a factory manager had to collect more than 60 signatures. Technological innovation became a bureaucratic nightmare.
Big Brother, who wanted to see everything and know everything, became overwhelmed with information that was often distorted by lower-level officials trying to present a rosy picture. Vast clogs of inaccurate information paralyzed the decision-making mechanism, while accurate information was exchanged only locally, like black-market goods or forbidden books in the samizdat. Computers, once vilified and now championed, were constant in one thing: They amplified the virtues and deficits of the system that implemented them. After all, the key idea behind cybernetics was control via feedback. In the hands of self-motivated free agents, it was a powerful economic engine. In the hands of a single controlling agency, it brought stagnation. Or, as computer scientists like to say, “garbage in, garbage out.” Called in to prove the superiority of socialism, information technology eventually proved the ineffectiveness of the Soviet regime.
The irony of the situation was not lost on Soviet humor. As one joke tells it, Brezhnev is gifted with the latest in artificial intelligence, so he asks it “When will we have built communism?” The computer responds, “In 17 miles.” Brezhnev thinks, “There must be something wrong,” and repeats the question. The computer again replies, “In 17 miles.” Angered by the incomprehensible reply, Brezhnev orders a technician to investigate the machine. “Everything is correct,” replies the technician after some time. “You said it yourself: Every five-year plan is one step toward communism.”
The European Commission is said to be planning to charge Google with using its dominant position in online search to favor the company’s own services over others, in what would be one of the biggest antitrust cases here since regulators went after Microsoft.
Europe’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, is expected to make an announcement in Brussels on Wednesday that Google has abused its dominant position, according to two people who spoke Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.
It also expected the authorities to open an investigation into Android, the Google software that runs a majority of the world’s smartphones.
An Arkansas lawyer is seeking sanctions after his computer expert found malware on an external hard drive supplied in response to a discovery request.
Lawyer Matthew Campbell of North Little Rock says he became suspicious when he received the hard drive by Federal Express in June 2014 from a lawyer for the Fort Smith Police Department, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports. Previous evidence in the police whistleblower case had been provided by email or a cloud-based Internet storage service, or had been shipped through the U.S. Postal Service.
“I thought, ‘I’m not plugging that into my computer,’ ” Campbell told the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “Something didn’t add up in the way they approached it, so I sent it to my software guy first.”
The technology expert found four Trojans on the hard drive. “These Trojans were designed to steal passwords, install malicious software and give someone else command and control of the infected computer,” Campbell says in a brief supporting his motion for sanctions (PDF).
After several seconds spent sitting motionless and glaring directly into the camera, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly began Sunday’s video announcing her 2016 presidential bid by warning the nation not to fuck this up for her. “Listen up, assholes, ’cause I’m only saying this once: I’ve worked way too goddamn hard to let you morons blow this thing for me,” said Clinton, repeatedly jabbing her index finger toward the viewers at home while adding that if they thought she was going to simply sit back and watch them dick her over like they did in 2008, they were out of their fucking minds. “Seriously, don’t you dare even think about it. If you shitheads can just get in line, we can breeze through this whole campaign in 19 months and be done with it. Or, if you really want, we can do this the hard way. Because make no mistake, I’m not fucking around. Got it?” Clinton then ended her announcement by vowing to fight for a better future for all working-class families like the one she grew up in.
When Harry met Ron on the Hogwarts Express, Ron told him he had five older brothers and Harry said, “I have one.”
Why was a 73-year-old insurance company executive playing cop?
That’s the simple question many are asking more than a week after an undercover Tulsa police operation went wrong — and a white reserve deputy sheriff shot and killed an unarmed black man, apparently by accident. He has not been charged with a crime.
Challenging long-held views on the origins of divinity, biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, presented findings Thursday that confirm God, the Almighty Creator of the Universe, evolved from an ancient chimpanzee deity.
The recently discovered sacred ancestor, a divine chimp species scientists have named Pan sanctorum, reportedly gave rise over millions of years to the Lord Our God, Maker of Heaven and Earth.
“Although perhaps not obvious at first glance, there are actually overwhelming similarities between the Supreme Being of today and this early primate deity who preceded Him,” said Dr. Richard Kamen, a leading biologist who also heads Berkeley’s paleotheology department. “The holy chimp moved around on all fours, but its descendants eventually began walking upright to expend less energy while foraging across the infinite reaches of the universe. This of course led to the bipedalism of modern-day God.”
El hecho ocurrió esta madrugada en Córdoba, luego de que 3 delincuentes armados ingresaran a la casa. En un descuido, el dueño tomó una katana, de esas que suelen colgar en la pared, y los enfrentó. Los delincuentes fueron detenidos e internados. También fueron atendidos los dueños de la casa que recibieron varios golpes durante el robo.
Picture gallery here.
Like lots of people, I’m paying attention to the Apple Watch buzz, and doing some of my own speculation. Needless to say, I have no special expertise here. But what the heck; I might as well put my own thoughts out there.
So, here’s my pathetic version of a grand insight: wearables like the Apple watch actually serve a very different function — indeed, almost the opposite function — from that served by previous mobile devices. A smartphone is useful mainly because it lets you keep track of things; wearables will be useful mainly because they let things keep track of you.
“On 29 July 2013, the pope created a real enthusiasm in the gay community, who concluded Pope Francis was definitely more “friendly” than his predecessors when, on the plane to Rio, he made the comment, “If a person is gay, and sought the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?”
“France has just discovered the hard way that softening has its limits. It was “a decision by the pope himself,” a source inside the Vatican told Le Journal du Dimanche. The letter from the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, which was presented to the Pope on February 11, which brought together Cardinals asking him to accept the French ambassador has not changed his decision. Jean-Louis Tauran, the Camerlengo of the Holy Church, also interceded on behalf of Stefanini. In vain. The pope told several cardinals he would not yield.”
“Our kids dying should not be a tax deduction.”
That’s the message from Laura Christian, mother of Amber Marie Rose the teen who was killed in July 2005 in an accident while driving a GM (GM) car outfitted with a defective ignition switch .
Christian has written to GM and several senators objecting to a tax deduction the automaker is getting for the $400 million compensation fund it set up to pay victims and their families.
Most fines and settlements that corporations pay to settle cases, including the billions paid by major banks since the financial crisis, are generally tax deductible. Christian said that she’d like to see the U.S. tax code changed so that all these fines and settlements are no longer tax deductible, but that her highest priority is any payments related to an injury or death.
“If GM is taking a deduction for these ignition switch settlements, then taxpayers, including GM victims, are literally paying General Motors for the deaths it caused,” she said in the letter to GM.
As someone who attempts to make experiences with technology better, it makes me sad to think that my work might be making people unhappy. There has been some research to show that rising tech correlates to happiness, but most studies are designed to reinforce the idea that technology seems to erode happiness. If you look at what makes people happy rarely is an app or a website in the mix. Happiness, it seems, is not a screen.
Yet, I’ve seen first-hand that a website can provide moments of joy. I’ve observed people smiling at their smartphones. I’ve listened to stories about how an app changed someone’s life in a positive way. While there has been wise discussion about how design makes us happy or how good design demonstrates some of the principles of positive psychology, there is not a lot of data about it available.
With this in mind, two years ago I began tracking happiness and design in an online study, hoping to understand what makes people happy online. My company created a purpose-built app to capture an event stream, collect data about interactions, create opportunities for describing the experience, and ask questions – about happiness, but also ease of use, engagement, and likelihood to return to or recommend. All of these measures have helped me test my hypothesis that happiness in the short-term might influence behavior in the long-term.