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Articles on this Page
- 06/21/16--22:09: _GOP Congressman Tri...
- 06/22/16--04:34: _138 Days and a Wake Up
- 06/22/16--05:11: _Homeland Security A...
- 06/22/16--06:20: _Martha Stewart Does...
- 06/22/16--06:40: _Wow, Raising a Chil...
- 06/22/16--08:26: _Fringe Congressiona...
- 06/22/16--08:53: _California Police I...
- 06/22/16--09:25: _You Don't Have the ...
- 06/22/16--09:45: _Marco Rubio Is Real...
- 06/22/16--10:11: _House Democrats Hol...
- 06/22/16--12:15: _The Clintons Have a...
- 06/22/16--11:20: _The Best and Worst ...
- 06/22/16--12:50: _Is Hillary Clinton ...
- 06/22/16--11:34: _A New Size Of Almon...
- 06/22/16--12:30: _My First 100 Days a...
- 06/22/16--13:20: _The Democrats Are B...
- 06/22/16--13:40: _While the median si...
- 06/22/16--15:32: _Independent Analysi...
- 06/22/16--18:05: _"Fuckman-Ass" Judge...
- 06/22/16--19:45: _Democrats Shout in ...
- 06/22/16--04:34: 138 Days and a Wake Up
- 06/22/16--06:20: Martha Stewart Doesn't Live By Society's Rules
- 06/22/16--09:25: You Don't Have the Range
- 06/22/16--09:45: Marco Rubio Is Really Doing This
- 06/22/16--10:11: House Democrats Hold Sit-in to Demand Gun Control Vote
- 06/22/16--12:15: The Clintons Have a For-Profit College Problem Of Their Own
- 06/22/16--11:20: The Best and Worst Encrypted Messaging Apps
- 06/22/16--12:50: Is Hillary Clinton Trying to Kill the Elderly?
- 06/22/16--11:34: A New Size Of Almond Milk--And With It, A New World
- 06/22/16--12:30: My First 100 Days as President
- 06/22/16--13:20: The Democrats Are Boldly Fighting For a Bad, Stupid Bill
After introducing an amendment to block the Treasury Department from putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, congressman, birther
According to Politico, King said that passage of the amendment was crucial, as President Obama is “going to do everything he can think of to upset this society and this civilization,” presumably including putting ladies on money:
The conservative gadfly said it is “racist” and “sexist” to say a woman or person of color should be added to currency. “Here’s what’s really happening: This is liberal activism on the part of the president that’s trying to identify people by categories, and he’s divided us on the lines of groups. ... This is a divisive proposal on the part of the president, and mine’s unifying. It says just don’t change anything.”
Tuesday evening, the Rules Committee blocked the amendment from floor consideration.
Earlier this month, Jonathan Wienke, an analyst in the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, was arrested after carrying a gun, a knife, an infrared camera, pepper spray, and handcuffs into the agency’s headquarters. Now, court filings show, federal prosecutors are investigating whether Wienke was planning an attack on senior DHS officials.
Wienke pleaded not guilty to a gun charge after his initial arrest, NBC Washington reports. However, prosecutors say they have probably cause to believe that the analyst “was conspiring with another to commit workplace violence, and more particularly may have been conspiring or planning to commit violence against the senior DHS officials in the building.”
The senior officials were meeting not far from Wienke’s workspace on the day of his arrest. Wienke, who had top-secret clearance, was aware of the meeting.
In an affidavit for a search warrant to enter Wienke’s house, DHS special agent Eric Mann described what happened the day Wienke was arrested. The Associated Press reports:
At 7.30am on 9 June Wienke entered the building, which has a security level on par with the White House and the Pentagon, according to Mann’s affidavit. Security measures include random screening at the door; Wienke was selected and his backpack was placed in a screening machine.
Security officers found a folding knife with a three-inch blade, two handheld radios, pepper spray, an infrared camera and a set of handcuffs, among other items, the affidavit states. The officers seized the knife and spray.
At 9am Mann and another officer followed up with Wienke at his cubicle, directly across from where senior officials were meeting, the documents say.
He gave them permission to search him and denied he was carrying any additional weapons, the affidavit alleges. Mann wrote that he patted Wienke down and discovered a five-shot revolver loaded with .22-caliber hollow-point rounds in the front pocket of his pants. He wrote that he heard Wienke “utter an audible expletive”.
According to a DHS spokesperson, Wienke has been placed on administrative leave.
Nobody says no to Martha Stewart—not even Hillary Clinton.
On Monday night, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein hosted a fundraiser for the presumptive Democratic nominee at his home in New York City, raising about $1.8 million, according to Deadline. The event was attended by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lopez, and Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.
At Clinton’s behest, guests were banned from posting to social media about the event. “No tweeting, no photos, no anything,” sources told Page Six. Martha, however, appeared to disregard this request. The gossip site reports:
But though “everyone obeyed the no social media rules,” an insider said, “Martha was the only one who didn’t. It was like, ‘No rules for Martha!’ She was up in Hillary’s face — not only with an iPhone, but with like a Canon camera.”
The sources said, “To a person, everyone noticed,” at the dinner for 50, where seats went for $33,000 each.
On the day of the fundraiser, Martha posted an update on her canaries on her blog; however, she hasn’t posted any photos of the fundraising event to any of her platforms. Still, now she has leverage over Clinton, which is the kind of thing you learn “on the inside.”
Leo, meanwhile, was falling over himself to accommodate Clinton. “He was very gallant,” an insider told Page Six. “He even pulled out Hillary’s chair for her” to sit down.
Martha probably would have pulled out Hillary’s chair as she sat down—no rules for Martha!
Why did you have a kid? Love or whatever, right? Okay, good. Because money-wise—terrible decision! Not that that matters.
Your child is unique and precious and that can’t be quantified into crude dollar terms. But, if you were curious, the Wall Street Journal reports that the most recent data available projects that a child born in 2013 will cost $245,340 to raise to age 18. That’s $13,630 a year.
Wow! That’s a lot of dough!
A small price to pay for your child’s incredible light and joy. But, not to belabor the point, if you were to invest that same money each year into even conservative investments earning, say, 4% a year, you’d end up with more than $360,000 in the bank. Whereas with your child, of course, you end up negative $245,340. That’s a difference of more than $600,000 in total—which is probably many times more money than you have saved for your own retirement. Oh well, there’s always Social Security! (Which, ironically, will probably be paying out less by the time you start getting it, because kids like yours aren’t able to put in enough money! Life is funny sometimes.)
You can’t put a price on love. If you did, though, that price would be something like $600K per kid. But hey, maybe they’ll grow up to be millionaires! It’s statistically unlikely, though.
Drivers in Polk County, Tennessee, this week have been treated to the above image on a roadside billboard, courtesy of Rick Tyler, a third-party candidate for U.S. Congress. According to the local Kiwanis, Tyler is the owner of a local restaurant, which I can only imagine will be seeing its business suffer in the coming days.
Tyler, whose name will appear on ballots as an Independent in Tennessee’s third district in the fall, is running on a campaign of explicit white nationalism. His website features an image of the White House flying Confederate Flags alongside the text “I Have a Dream,” and links to blog posts with titles like “The Browning of America,” “White Birthright and Non-White Privilege,” and “Martin Luther King...Saint or Sinner?” (The site appears to be down, but you can view a cached version here.)
Tyler has almost no chance of winning—the victor will likely be incumbent Republican congressman Charles Fleischmann or one of his primary challengers—so his candidacy is probably best read as an example of that which Donald Trump hath wrought. The “Make America White Again” slogan is an obvious nod to the Donald’s very expensive baseball cap embroidery, and Tyler cites Trump as an influence on his rhetoric, local ABC affiliate WTVC notes.
Other billboard ideas proposed on Tyler’s campaign site include ““Fight federal tyranny / Stop the Muslim invasion,” and “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be miscegenators.” Catchy!
A minor accident with a bicyclist. A police officer who allegedly lost his memory. Seventeen cars, mostly sports cars including exotics like a couple of Lamborghinis and a Nissan GT-R, impounded for more than 100 days with no explanation given to their owners. It’s a deeply baffling story unfolding in the small town of Orange, California, and so far no one has answers.
In total, City of Orange police seized 17 cars earlier this year for reasons that have yet to be disclosed to owners—even though the cars have been impounded for well over 100 days.
As of now, no official report has been filed regarding the initial incident or the subsequent impounds. Though the cars are impounded, they have been seen driven (allegedly quite spiritedly) on at least one occasion by a car owner, under what Orange police officials say was “testing.” Both police and a local tow yard confirmed the impounds, but the Orange County District Attorney declined to comment on the case.
Perhaps there’s a very valid reason these cars were seized; Uzzi Chowdhry does not think so. Chowdhry is one of the 17 people with an impounded car, and described the series of events that started the day after Christmas last year, with a group of friends going on a drive.
The Drive and the Accident
Chowdhry said he and 16 of his friends, mostly college students, gathered for a drive on December 26 on South Jamboree Boulevard in the City of Orange. Pretty much every car in the group was a performance car of some kind; Chowdhry was in his BMW M3, one of a number of BMWs in the group. There were also Mustangs, a pair of Lamborghinis, at least one Nissan GT-R, and so on. Cars that you’d want to drive whenever you could find a reason to.
Chowdhry described the scene: while driving, the lead car, a Mustang, had a minor incident with a cyclist. The cyclist swerved to avoid a tumbleweed and hit the Mustang at low speed. No injuries were reported, and damage was minor for both bike and the car.
According to Chowdhry, the cyclist was found to be at fault and cited at the scene for the minor accident. No other drivers in the group were cited for any infractions of any kind. (The cyclist declined to comment for this story when reached by phone.)
Chowdhry and his friends say they were not speeding or engaging in any illegal or reckless behavior during the drive.
One driver in the convoy—whom we’ll identify as Robert because his lawyer asked him not to use his real name until legal proceedings take place, and because he feared the repercussions the incident would have on his business—corroborated Chowdhry’s version of events.
He also said none of the drivers attempted to flee the scene. After the incident with the cyclist was over, Robert said they continued driving.
That seemed to be the end of it. Until police started impounding the cars.
Here’s where things start to get weird: according to Chowdhry, in January the drivers of the cars in the convoy received calls from the City of Orange Police Department asking about the bike crash.
Officers told them, Chowdhry said, that the accident report was never actually filed by the officer at the scene, and that officer had recently suffered an accident that caused him to lose his memory—including his memory of the incident with the cyclist and the Mustang on December 26th. On the calls, police were asking the drivers a number of questions relating to the December 26 incident.
Chowdhry told me he found this suspicious since three officers were present, and it’s unlikely they caught amnesia from the cop who had the accident, since, you know, that’s not how amnesia works.
(I contacted Craig Brown, the detective at the City of Orange Police Department in charge of the case and asked him about the officer’s memory loss, but was told he “wouldn’t go into the officer losing his memory.”)
Chowdhry said he spoke with some of the other drivers who received calls that police would show up at their homes or schools if they did not come to the City of Orange police station to answer questions. When those drivers did show up, their cars were impounded.
But on February 11, 2016, nine cars were impounded by City of Orange police. , This is how those impounds happened, according to CarNinja:
Police had shown up to the residences of the individuals. The scene was the same at every house: squad cars out front, police banging on the door, seizing cell phones and laptops, photographing the cars in question with their doors, hood, and trunk open, providing a show for the whole block as neighbors left for work or school.
Those who weren’t home had officers show up at their workplace where they were escorted out in front of coworkers, colleagues, and bosses with hands tied behind their back.
Robert said police showed up at his house on April 6 at 6 A.M. with a seizure warrant for his car. Five officers blocked off his cul-de-sac and took his car, he said.
“I thought it was a joke at first,” he said. “I told them, ‘You mean the minor accident with the bike a few months ago?’, and they said yes.”
According to Chowdhry, the drivers who showed up at the police station told him they were interrogated, and were asked questions about who was driving on December 26. Questions like: “What does the term ‘squad’ mean to you,” “what’s cruising?” “what’s spirited driving?” and “Do you know the speed limit on the street?”
The remaining cars of the group of 17 were impounded, with police using a new probable cause search warrant, signed off by the same judge that issued the original search warrant for the first batch of nine cars.
When Chowdhry’s BMW E92 M3 was taken, he told me:
“When they took my car, this smart-ass cop told me ‘Well, we’re taking this, but you have a Ferrari, so go drive that.’ Which shows they know about my social media profiles, and they know I have a widebody 458 Italia.”
But why impound the cars?
“They’re trying label us as an organized street racing gang, and say the race caused the bike accident,” Robert said. “It’s completely crazy.”
Robert even said he had just met one member of the group a week prior, and was on his first-ever cruise with them. “How is that organized?” he said, adding that he didn’t even see the bike wreck—it happened after he arrived.
Chowdhry claims that the driver of the car involved in the initial incident with the cyclist has a copy of the Accident Information Exchange document that was written at the scene.
It should be made clear that this is not the actual accident report, which is still forthcoming. But while Chowdhry and his attorney asked us not to publish the Accident Information Exchange form, I have seen it and can confirm that it exists.
Chowdhry also showed me sections of the initial search warrant that appear to confirm that the cyclist was believed to be at fault for the collision, citing California Vehicle Code 21658(a): Unsafe Lane Change, based on statements from witnesses.
Additionally, Chowdhry said that police seized a GoPro camera at the time of the event, along with a list of contact names and phone numbers of the other drivers.
Again, no citations for speeding were filed at the time of the incident, and Chowdhry claims that there was no racing taking place during the drive. But the City of Orange Police Department maintains that every car was impounded within the bounds of the law.
What Were They Doing On The Street?
All this was already something of a mess, but for these owners, it got worse.
On April 23, Chowdhry got a message via Snapchat that his car and other cars from the group were seen being driven, spiritedly, up and down the street near the impound lot where they were housed, at a business named Archie’s Towing.
Chowdhry went down to the tow yard and found the street in front of the lot closed by police, and many of the cars being driven up and down the street. He described the cars to me as being “raced,” driven hard and aggressively.
He took photos and video of the cars being driven, but in the process was detained (not arrested) by police officers for two hours. Chowdhry said his phone was taken, though he was able to upload some of the photos prior to the phone being confiscated.
Chowdhry said he was told that “taking pictures of police activity on public roads” is illegal, which is absolutely not illegal at all. The phone has still not been returned, though I suppose that seems like nothing compared to a BMW M3.
I spoke with Detective Brown of the City of Orange police department about all these events. Brown said all that the cars were all impounded legally, with a court order from a judge.
As far as why the cars were impounded, when none of the drivers were cited for any infractions at the initial incident, Brown told me he knew the reason why, but could not reveal it.
When I asked Brown about the alleged racing of the impounded cars by the police, he told me that was “untrue.” Brown elaborated that, yes, the cars were driven, but only “for the purposes of inspection” and that they had a supervisor there to inspect the cars.
Brown elaborated on the nature of the inspections, saying that there were three criteria that the cars were being inspected for: an investigator trained in accident reconstruction was conducting steering, braking, and acceleration tests.
This, of course, raises a lot of questions. If 16 out of the 17 cars impounded were not involved in any accident, why were they being tested? Also, testing for steering, braking, and acceleration sure as hell could look like having a great time hooning around in a car. I’ve done lots of dumb things in cars that I could justify by saying I was “testing” the steering, braking, and acceleration.
Brown wouldn’t comment on the purpose of the inspections or what police hoped to learn, but he did say that the exotic nature of the cars was not a factor here. He told me: “That doesn’t mean anything to me. I drive a Kia.”
I asked if driving such cars spiritedly might be appealing to any of the other officers or tow yard employees, and he said, “Nobody will give up their career for a joyride in a Lambo.”
Brown wouldn’t say when he thought the cars would be returned to their owners, or even if they’d be returned. Of the owners, he’d only say that he “doesn’t want to call them suspects,” but beyond that would venture no opinion, saying these decisions were all in the hands of the District Attorney now.
After a number of attempts to reach the Orange County District Attorney’s office, we did get a response, but that response was just to say there would be no official response, and that they can not comment on the case until any charges might be filed. They declined to speculate as to when that would be.
It’s possible prosecutors will have a very compelling reason why these cars were impounded, and why it was important for the police to deprive 17 people of their property. It is possible the cars were seized as part of an investigation that could lead to criminal charges against the drivers, and the cars were tested on the streets by police doing accident reenactments as part of that.
But even that seems like an extreme use of resources by police over a minor traffic wreck that did not even result in any serious injuries, and for which the cars were initially not faulted.
Until these owners hear what the District Attorney has to say, they simply do not know why. Robert said attorneys for the owners forced a hearing before a judge to learn more, and that hearing is set for Friday.
For now there are still 17 cars sitting in an impound lot, and there’s still 17 angry, confused drivers hoping this ends well. Robert is one of them, bumming rides off friends and meeting business clients in rental cars while his car wait.
“I want to make sure this is known,” Robert said. “If (the police) can do this to us, they must think they can get away with it.
Additional reporting from Patrick George
Correction: This story has been updated to correct a detail about the wreck with the cyclist; it involved a Mustang, not a BMW.
Late yesterday morning, a funny thing was published on the Internet. It was a series of posts by whoever has the user account @KingBeyonceStan, built around a recurring motif or punchline:
If no one has already thrust the “She doesn’t have the range” sequence at you, click through on that tweet and go read it where it was meant to be read, on Twitter. It is cleanly threaded and well structured and highly entertaining. It is a vast improvement over the decent comedy sketch that supplied the raw material of its catchphrase.
But you should enjoy it now, because it is doomed. It has already been diagnosed, at length, as being in the process of becoming a “meme.” If the internet does what it’s expected to do, “She doesn’t have the range” will slot in exactly where “o shit whaddup” previously slotted. Hillary Clinton’s Twitter team is almost certainly whiteboarding when the best time to drop it on Donald Trump would be, and debating whether to keep the problematic “she” or just use “he.”
This is a terrible mistake. Since the joke’s being murdered in real time, even now, I’m going to go ahead and explain why it was funny, in the hopes of sparing future good jokes the same grim fate. Here goes:
“She doesn’t have the range” is funny because it is about the assumption of unchallenged, categorial authority. Almost nobody has any idea who @KingBeyonceStan is, but that does not stop @KingBeyonceStan from delivering definitive pronouncements as to which world-famous singers do or do not have the range. The tone is the tone of absolute expertise—now apologetic, now scathing, now pitying, each judgment presented as a product of only the most serious individual consideration of the performer.
The glory of this comic register is that you can’t get in on it. It is the opposite of meme culture, the whole point of which is “Me too!” It is both the fullest realization and the negation of Twitter’s eternal democratic open-mic promise: Anyone can say anything, but now no one else may say this. There is no use trying to expound on what “the range” might mean, and it is pure, embarrassing folly to try to make the gag your own:
Nope. After LeBron James blocked the bejesus out of that shot
Marco Rubio, who swore up and down he was done with the Senate, is now running for reelection, using the excuse that he was called into action by the Orlando Pulse attack. That’s a lie, and it’s a deeply cynical lie.
So why would the man who does not like being a senator and tweeted in May, “I have only said like 10000 times I will be a private citizen in January,” seek re-election? As the National Review points out, the Republican leadership desperately needs him to stay in office to maintain a Senate majority.
Rubio, who said when he announced his presidential bid in April that he would not seek reelection, had a change of heart following an aggressive push led by National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director Ward Baker, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and his allies, and a bevy of Florida politicos. All expressed concern about losing the seat to Democrats in an election year likely to prove difficult for Republicans across the board, one in which they have grown increasingly worried about keeping their Senate majority.
But that’s not what Rubio, who cited the Orlando attacks as part of his decision to run, has been saying.
“Obviously, I take very seriously everything that’s going on—not just Orlando, but in our country,” Rubio said last week. “I enjoy my service here a lot. So I’ll go home later this week, and I’ll have some time with my family, and then if there’s been a change in our status I’ll be sure to let everyone know.”
Rubio certainly wanted it to look like his decision was a noble call to action. To that end, he reportedly spent the last week lobbying other politicians to issue statements urging him to run, “so it’s not just Mitch [McConnell].” Ted Cruz, Washingtonian reports, declined Tuesday because he “didn’t want to be accused of nudging out US Representative Ron DeSantis, the tea-party favorite in the race for Rubio’s seat.”
Aides tell the paper Rubio also approached Utah Senator Mike Lee, who declined for similar reasons.
Still, Cruz endorsed him once he announced.
“Marco is a friend and has been an ally in many battles we have fought together in the Senate,” Cruz said in a statement Wednesday. “I’m glad to support him in his bid for re-election.”
It’s almost like you can’t believe a word any of these men are saying!
Just a week after Senate Democrats
Rep. John Lewis from Georgia started the day with the speech you see above, saying:
We have turned deaf ears to the blood of the innocent and the concern of our nation. We are blind to a crisis. Where is the heart of this body? Where is our soul? Where is our moral leadership? Where is our courage?
We cannot continue to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the reality of mass gun violence in our nation. Deadly mass shootings are becoming more and more frequent.
After which his congressional cohort got up and plopped themselves down on the floor of Congress. And that’s when Speaker Paul Ryan freaked out and pulled C-SPAN’s cameras, much to C-SPAN’s dismay.
Since we’re fresh out of cameras, though, reporters and members of Congress have been more than happy to keep us updated on the goings-on of the sprawled out Democrats.
And the pictures are, if I do say, absolutely incredible. Because while their mission is surely noble, these people look miserable.
They really should have dressed better for this.
And then Representative Scott Peters got his Periscope app going.
Democrats are pushing to expand background checks as well as keep people on terrorist watch lists from being able to buy guns.
We’ll update this post as more information becomes available and/or someone finally falls asleep.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s foray into for-profit education with Trump University, which currently faces two class-action lawsuits in California brought by former students, and one fraud lawsuit in New York, is by now well documented. In marketing materials, Trump compared Trump University to his alma mater, the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; in a deposition in January, he favorably compared its refund policy to the Home Shopping Network’s. Then, when called on the carpet for failing to deliver results for students, Trump said in his own defense that no one should have believed his “marketing BS.”
Ostensibly an educational endeavor, Trump’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, said in a deposition that Trump University was “just one more investment” for Trump—the goal was to “maximize profits.” Trump, who owned 92 percent of the company, had nothing to do with picking instructors and everything to do with marketing, which he starred in, corrected, and signed off on. The instructors, meanwhile, were chosen by his partner, Michael Sexton.
“Given his complete lack of experience and training in real estate and education, the ‘instructors’ [Sexton] hired for TU were primarily high-pressure salesmen,” one court filing reads. “Instead of protecting the people who believed in him, Trump threw them to the wolves.” The whole debacle has been ludicrous, and the Clinton campaign has been lightly critical of Trump for it. But Trump and the Clintons have more in common than either is likely to admit—namely, a shared comfort with profiting from poor people’s attempts to claw their way into the middle class through for-profit educational networks.
Last spring, just as Hillary Clinton began her presidential campaign, Bill Clinton resigned from his post as honorary chancellor of Laureate International Universities, the world’s largest chain of for-profit colleges and universities . He’d held the position for five years, visited 19 of the system’s global campuses, and been paid a $16.5 million for his services. Just weeks before he announced his resignation, Hillary Clinton, on her first swing through Iowa, warned students about the dangers of for-profit schools that “take all this money and put all these young people and their families into debt.” An aide to the former president told the New York Times that his resignation had nothing to do with his wife’s campaign.
Laureate International Universities is owned by Laureate Education, founded in 1989 as Sylvan Learning Systems. Sylvan began as a K-12 tutoring service, went public in 1993, acquired its first college, Universidad Europea de Madrid, in 1999, and changed its name to Laureate Education in 2004. After being bought out by a group of investors led by private equity firm KKR & Co. in 2007, Laureate filed for an initial public offering last fall.
The great majority of the company’s revenue comes from universities abroad, mostly in Latin America, but also in China, Australia, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco. It also owns five colleges in the United States, of which Walden University has the most name recognition. Although nearly one million students are enrolled at Laureate universities around the world, according to the Baltimore Sun, it has lost money every year since 2010, and carries $4.7 billion in debt.
While, according to the Times, Laureate is “not considered among the worst offenders in the for-profit college industry,” it has nevertheless been subject to domestic and international complaints. Critics allege that, in expanding its operations overseas, Laureate has unfairly profited by skirting regulations imposed by the Obama administration aimed at targeting recruiting abuses. According to a 2012 report, issued by the U.S. Senate Committee on Heath, Education, Labor, and Pensions, for-profit colleges “devote tremendous amounts of resources to non-education related spending.” As a whole, the committee found, the sector spent far more on publicity and profit-sharing than actual education and instruction. This overemphasis on marketing led to the the for-profit college and university (FPCU) bubble of the late aughts which drew the Obama administration’s subsequent regulatory ire. As a presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric on FPCUs has echoed the Obama administration’s policies
Through March of this year, Laureate International Universities has given the Clinton Foundation between $1 million and $5 million, according to the foundation’s donor disclosures. The Clinton Global Initiative, in turn, has partnered with Laureate “on a number of initiatives since 2008.” Despite the network’s failings, in an August 2009 email, Secretary Clinton asked that Laureate, “the fastest growing college network in the world...started by Doug Becker who Bill likes a lot,” be included in a higher-education policy dinner. “It’s a for-profit model that should be represented,” she wrote. A senior vice president from Laureate was added to the guest list, along with faculty from UC-Davis, Yale, Bryn Mawr, NYU, and Cornell. Internal State Department emails show that about a year later, Bill Clinton began negotiating a consulting contract with Laureate. In fiscal year 2012—two years into Bill Clinton’s tenure as honorary chancellor at Laureate—budgetary records show that the International Youth Foundation, a well-regarded charity, received $1.2 million in grants from the Hillary Clinton’s Department of State. Doug Becker, “who Bill likes a lot,” was (and is) IYF’s chairman of the board.
The Clinton campaign did not respond to requests for comment. A Laureate spokesperson directed Gawker’s attention to this recently-published article on Forbes.com.
That the Clintons should embrace FPCUs is hardly surprising, given their longstanding support for corporate education reform. “It is now clearer than ever that the Clintons’ relationship is a partnership built on the foundation of a unified ideology that serves as moral code for both Bill and Hillary. It is impossible to talk about the political strategy—or, to use today’s individualist parlance, the ‘vision’ and ‘achievements’—of one Clinton without talking about the other,” Jacobin’s Megan Erickson argues in “Waging War on Teachers,” her essay for False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton. “This is particularly true when it comes to matters they care deeply about—and education is unlucky enough to be one of those.”
“If there’s one thing these institutions lack, it’s credibility,” Dr. A.J. Angulo, author of Diploma Mills: How For-Profit Colleges Stiffed Students, Taxpayers, and the American Dream, told Gawker. Retaining someone like, say, a former president as honorary chancellor goes a long way towards lending credibility, if not necessarily accreditation. “There is a hunger to come off as established, because they don’t have a history of serving the public very well,” Angulo continued. “To fill that void, they can have stellar programs—but that would take too long. And so they end up serving the shareholders rather than the students.”
Laureate’s IPO filing reflects this anxiety, noting particular concern over how students discuss the Laureate brand on social media and how allegations against FCPUs more generally reflect upon Laureate in particular. (Hello!) “Adverse media coverage regarding other for-profit or private educational institutions or regarding us directly could damage our reputation, reduce student demand for our programs, materially adversely affect our revenues and operating profit or result in increased regulatory scrutiny,” the filing notes. A Laureate spokesperson could not say how many of the network’s institutions were accredited before being acquired.
In a recent blog post, legal scholar Jonathan Turley drew the parallel between Trump University and the Clintons’ involvement with Laureate, specifically noting recent litigation against Walden University. “I am not suggesting that Laureate as a whole is fraudulent. It clearly is a large for-profit educational company that has far more to show for its work than Trump University,” Turley wrote.
However, the money given to the Clintons, the involvement of the State Department, and the claims of fraud make this an obviously significant story in my view. The ridiculous amount of money given to Clinton alone raises legitimate questions. This is a company that was expanding exponentially in foreign countries. The association with Clinton was obviously greatly desired by the company. The question is whether the association with the Clintons resulted in any favorable treatment for the company or its affiliates.
“Walden University is a part of the Laureate International University Network,” Walden president Jonathan Kaplan wrote in reply to Turley. “We are proud of our association with President Clinton and his role as honorary chancellor at Laureate from 2010 to 2015. It is unfortunate that this association has now drawn us into a political debate.”
As it happens, Walden—an online-only university mostly for graduate students, acquired by Laureate Education in 2002—was one of the FPCUs examined by the Senate committee in 2012. Despite spending less than all but one of the 30 for-profit colleges investigated on instruction per student, the committee deemed it “perhaps the best of any company examined.”
In his book, Angulo argues that FPCUs have embraced the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of draconian arbitration clauses, which allows them to silence whistleblowers and block class-action lawsuits. In January, a class-action lawsuit filed against Walden, in Maryland, was resolved out of court, and the students are back in class. A Laureate spokesperson told Gawker that none of its U.S. institutions require students to enter into arbitration agreements. (Lawyers for the students did not respond to a request for comment. Walden settled another class-action suit, in Texas, in April.)
The Maryland filing alleges that Walden did not adequately shepherd its graduate students through the dissertation process. “Once the faculty members agree to serve in the roles of dissertation or thesis supervisory committee chair and member, they frequently quit, are fired, or stop responding to the student. Retention of committee chairs and committee members is a systemic, institutional issue that is not regulated whatsoever by Walden University,” the complaint reads. When that happens, the student “essentially starts over from scratch.”
In 2009, the Maryland filing states, Walden spent just $1,574 per student on instruction, compared to $2,230 per student on marketing. According to Angulo, at most non-profit colleges and universities those numbers are nearly inverted, spending approximately 70-80 percent of their budgets on personnel and instruction. “Every dollar that goes towards advertising is a dollar that’s absent in the classroom. This is something nonprofits spend comparatively little on,” Angulo wrote in a follow-up email. “And, given historical spending patterns, this puts for-profits at a tremendous competitive disadvantage when it comes to quality instruction.”
“If balance sheets are any guide,” he said, “Walden is a marketing and profit-making machine, rather than an educational institution.” Revenues are bolstered too by federal funding: nearly three-quarters of Walden’s revenues in the fiscal year ending in December 2014 were derived from federal financial aid funds. If any of Walden’s US institutions were to lose access to such Title IV programs, the IPO filing admits, it would crater. (Meanwhile, Laureate Education as a whole had accumulated a deficit of “$1,512.7 million” at the end of March.)
The $35 billion FPCU industry has its share of defenders. “My gut feeling on diploma mills is the whole idea of having to regulate this is the denial of intelligence of consumer and marketplace,” David Salisbury, director of the libertarian Cato Institute’s Center for Education Freedom, said following Senate hearings in 2004. “If people want to waste their money in buying a diploma from a diploma mill, let them do so.” This might be a more persuasive argument if the industry didn’t spend so much money on marketing and publicity.
In any case, the financial establishment appeared to agree with Salisbury: Several major investors joined $95 billion equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company in the $3.8 billion buyout of Laureate in 2007, including Citigroup Private Equity, billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros, hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen (formerly of SAC Capital), and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. A few months after Secretary Clinton left office, she conducted an hour-long Q&A with KKR founder Henry Kravis, for which she was compensated $225,000. (Also, in 2012, KKR hired the woman who was Clinton’s press secretary when she was a senator.)
And while the amount of capital involved was remarkable, this kind of buyout had by 2007 become an established business strategy. As the American economy became increasingly dependent on “risky financial instruments” towards the end of the last century, Angulo argues in Diploma Mills, the relationship between the financial sector and for-profit education flourished creating institutions “driven by the same aggressive, predatory practices scholars now identify with systemic financial risk.”
“Trump University was the Comic Sans version of all this,” Angulo told Gawker. “The link is in how much money all for-profits spend on marketing, advertising, and publicity, rather than on instruction.”
It is perhaps unsurprising that both a real estate developer and a retired politician would come to be involved in an industry obsessed with cultivating a perception of authenticity that might better enable its predation and fraud: The difference between Trump slapping his name across a comically fake university, targeting people who don’t understand that reality television isn’t real, and a consortium of hedge-fund billionaires trotting President Bill Clinton out at campuses across the world to deliver liberal platitudes is, at bottom, one of degree, not kind.
There’s never been a better time to start encrypting your texts and phone calls. Hackers are breaking into more personal devices than ever before, and massive government surveillance dragnets are indiscriminately sweeping up people’s digital communications. Encryption can protect you.
By encrypting your messages, you can make sure only you and the intended recipient are able to read any messages you send. More specifically, end-to-end encryption uses complex mathematical algorithms to scramble your data so only your intended recipient can unscramble your message. Your service provider can’t access them, and the developer of the app you’re using can’t see them. This prevents would-be hackers or government surveillance tools from collecting your communications. So, with that in mind, here are the best mobile apps for sending encrypted messages.
Signal is pretty much the holy grail of encrypted messaging apps. It’s free, easy to use, and most importantly, it’s design and encryption protocol make it the most secure messaging app on the market. The app syncs with your address book and allows you to instantly call or message anyone else who also has the Signal app. The creator of Signal, a cryptographer named Moxie Marlinspike, developed the Signal encryption protocol which has received universal praise from computer security experts.
WhatsApp recently rolled out automatic end-to-end encryption for all users using the Signal protocol. You may already use the app (a billion other people do), so its a great solution if you want to communicate with friends and family who don’t want to go out of their way to download a specialized encrypted messaging app. The only thing to consider if you’re a die-hard privacy fanatic is that Facebook, a company that makes its money by selling user’s personal information to advertisers, recently dropped $16 billion
Another solid option: iMessage - iOS only
Apple’s default messaging app is also encrypted, but it needs to be replaced, encryption expert and professor at John Hopkins university Matthew Green told Gizmodo. The encryption that iMessage uses is one Apple cooked up themselves, and it doesn’t follow all of the best practices. In fact, a team of researchers led by Green recently found an exploit that would allow a sophisticated attacker to decrypt photos and videos sent over the service. While it’s not the absolute best, its still pretty good, Green said. He predicts Apple will move to change their protocol to something like Signal, but with over a billion devices using iMessage, that’s easier said than done. The best part about iMessage is that its preinstalled on every iPhone, meaning sending encrypted messages is just as easy as sending a regular text message.
Avoid at all costs: Telegram - iOS and Android
Stay far, far away from Telegram. The app is often portrayed as a safe and secure encrypted messaging app, but its default settings store your messages on Telegram’s unencrypted servers. This is pretty much one of the worst things you could imagine when trying to send secure messages. The app allows you to switch into a ‘secret’ mode, but even then, the encryption used by Telegram is weak and faulty. Seriously, avoid this app at all costs if you’re looking to communicate securely.
At this point, it’s impossible to say for sure whether or not presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton is, in fact, attempting to “off” our nation’s elderly population. But judging by footage from the event, we can say that is almost certainly incredibly warm at Clinton’s rally in Raleigh.
Please note the many shiny foreheads, indicating a heat-induced, heavy sweat.
If you have any information at all regarding Hillary Clinton’s intentions with our more senior voters, please do let us know.
A child is born with no state of mind. Innocent to the ways of the world. What sort of world will you be presenting to your child when they open their eyes for the first time? Will it be a world of almond milk? It does appear so. Quite.
Yes, quite so. Every so often there are tectonic shifts in our culture that are only later perceived—that are too subtle for those in the contemporary world to discern. Who, for example, would have imagined that the introduction of aerosol hairspray would destroy our ozone layer? Who would have guessed that the young man shooting “sky hooks” on the shores of Mauna Loa would one day become Barack Hussein Obama? Few, if any.
A cultural shift of similar import is upon us. Like most pivotal moments in history, this one will be scoffed at by the masses, its gravity appreciated only by later generations of historians and intellectuals. Come with me now on a journey—a journey to the heart of understanding “what’s happening” in our society today and in potentially millions of days to come.
First, some historical background: after the evolution of the cow, man invented milk. Countless generations of mothers raised their children on milk from cows, perhaps inspired by the similar, but less popular, milky substance produced by female humans. Now, fast forward to modern times. We live in an age of breathtaking connectivity and the answer to all of the world’s questions available at the tip of your fingers (where your smart phone is). One of the world’s questions has long been: “Are cows happy?” No, they’re not, because we take all their milk!!
Predictably, the very children who we feed the milk to are the ones who start getting sassy about how sad cows are once they become old enough to grasp the nuances of philosophy. The answer? Enlightened parents feed their kids almond milk instead. Almond milk is good.
So what accounts for the persistence of regular milk? Well the biggest thing is when you go to buy almond milk most kinds have only been available in half gallon sizes, which are too small to fill the needs of a busy family until the next trip to the grocery store.
Until now. [Pause to let this sink in.]
Now, I just noticed recently, you can buy a whole gallon of almond milk at the store. A big plastic jug with the handle. (Technically it is “96 ounces,” which scientists generally agree is close to the size of a gallon.) This means that hardworking families can now affordably purchase almond milk as the family’s #1 milk source on a regular basis, without being forced to go back to the store all the time after the kids drank all the milk. That jug is gonna last you. I expect that we will now see an entire generation of children being raised on almond milk alone, leading to happier cows and more almondy people. We may in fact live to see a future in which children would no more contemplate sucking milk out of the engorged teat of a cow than they would consider not sucking (almond) milk out of the engorged teat (container opening) of a gallon-sized almond milk jug.
As our dairy choices change, so too will our popular culture, our nutrition, our ethics, and perhaps our politics. It is indeed too early to say what the future may hold. No one can predict what will happen ten, twenty, thirty, or even thirty-seven years from now. Nor can we predict what will happen thirty-nine years from now. But with careful scrutiny to cultural trends such as this, we can predict that one day in the future, you will be able to say, “I was there”—in reference to the historical period when America’s taste for almond milk was enabled to go mainstream thanks to the availability of almond milk in full gallon sizes. The rest is up to you.
The time that you would have spent going to to store to pick up another half-gallon of almond milk you can now spend bettering yourself, at last.
On Wednesday, Donald Trump gave a speech that included an outline of actions he’ll take on his first 100 days as President of the United States. Here, an imagined recreation of his early musings on the subject.
A lot of Important, Amazing people have asked me what I would do on my first 100 days as President of this terrible country, and I always say “We’re gonna win” or something and find someone else to talk to, but Ivanka and all those losers from the RNC say I have to make a list, kind of like those vision boards Melania is always hiding from me, except I found one once and it just had like a million magazine cutouts of the word “RUN” and I made her sleep in the bathtub for a week. I’m tough, I’m the toughest husband, everybody says it.
On my first day as President, I will sit on every bed in the White House to see which is the best bed, with the most tremendous bounce. Whatever bed is best will be my bed, and you can count on it. Then I will call ISIS, and I’ll make my voice real low, like I do in my toughest deals, and I’ll tell them they’re over, they’re gone, that’s it. Then I’ll tell everyone to get out of my house except for Paul Ryan, he can stay, and I’ll have him fight the strongest secret service guy, and if Paul wins he gets to stay in charge of the thing and if he loses then forget it, back to Wyoming, Paul, and I’ll put Jared in charge or something.
I’ll meet with China, and tell China to his face that he has absolutely No respect for us and that things are about to change, big time. When China starts getting mad, I’ll pull back the Oval Office curtain and—boom! Putin’s here in the window, everybody. You wanna go, China? I don’t know if you do, looks like Vladimir’s probably got a sniper on you! I’m not sure what happens next, but I’ll win, and later we’ll all have some wine from Eric’s vineyard and then I’ll watch an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and retweet some Nazis.
Time for the trial of Barack Hussein Obama and Crooked Hillary, facing charges of Grand Overreach and Benghazi! They go to jail forever, along with the staff of the Washington Post and everyone who ever wrote a bad word on Trump University, which by now is going to be the only University—we have to do it, there’s no choice, we have to get rid of the universities. Then I’ll ask Hope to show me the nuclear codes, and then I’ll have Mitch McConnell give me a private Massage while he explains to me how a bill becomes a law.
I’ll go to Scotland to check on my golf course. Everyone there will love me, and I will be greeted with a red carpet covered in American Flags and tiny bottles of Scottish Whiskey. Then I’ll go to some other countries, and they’ll love me too.
I guess I’ll let Chris Christie out of the White House dungeon (???), MAYBE, if I feel like it. Then I’ll make Little Marco bring me Chipotle for lunch. Then I’ll abolish the Supreme Court, or put Sarah Palin on the Supreme Court, I haven’t decided.
Obamacare is officially repealed, and my subjects (not sure if right word?) are grateful because it was ruining their lives and only disgusting people need health care. I’ll make it into a holiday, called Trump Repeals Obamacare and Saves the World day, incredible. Then I’ll have SeaWorld install a park in the White House backyard, because it’s a disaster that no U.S. president has ever owned a whale. NEVER. Crazy. I’ll hire the most beautiful women in America as trainers, so I can watch them and the whales at the same time.
At this point I guess everyone will realize that the wall isn’t going to work, so I’ll give a speech saying it’s because it’s only on one border, and then I’ll suggest a wall around the entire country, like a Fortress only Stronger, and then I’ll make R.E.M. come perform after my speech or else they’re going in the SeaWorld tank. Steak dinner with Kim Jong Un.
On day 100, the entire world will know that I am a very special man and president. By now, I’ll have: made the Economy really Strong; sent a bunch of loser scientists to the north pole where it’s so cold that they’ll finally see how “global warming” is a Hoax but joke’s on them, they aren’t coming back; deported everyone who isn’t white; beaten China, Mexico, Canada, and Germany in a war; and convinced Melania to have relations with me in the Lincoln bedroom.
I can’t wait.
Image via Getty, animation by Bobby Finger.
After Democrats in the Senate staged a filibuster
The Democratic proposal has been catch-phrased and hashtagged as “no fly, no buy,” because it would prevent people who end up on government terrorism watchlists, including the “no fly list,” from purchasing firearms. This would do little to reduce gun violence, but it would add an additional layer of surveillance and government scrutiny to a particular class of people.
That certainly sounds like a solid principle on which to take a stand—terrorists shouldn’t have AR-15s! Meanwhile, most gun deaths in the United States are not caused by suspected terrorists armed with military-style semi-automatic rifles. The vast majority of gun deaths—suicides as well as homicides—are caused by handguns, and the majority of people firing those guns are not suspected terrorists (which invariably refers, in contemporary discourse, to Muslims, and no other groups or individuals dedicated to political violence).
The no-fly list is a civil rights disaster by every conceivable standard. It is secret, it disproportionately affects Arab-Americans, it is error-prone, there is no due process or effective recourse for people placed on the list, and it constantly and relentlessly expands. As of 2014, the government had a master watchlist of 680,000 people, forty percent of whom had “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” This is both an absurdly large number of people to arbitrarily target in gun control legislation, and far, far too few to have any meaningful effect on actual gun ownership, let alone gun violence.
Perhaps such a bill makes political sense as a sort of desperate attempt to get something through a conservative-dominated Congress. But if it is, as it appears to be, more of an effort to highlight the unpopular extremism of Republicans on gun issues, it is a stupid and counterproductive hill to theatrically die on. Almost any popular and previously debated gun control measure would have made a better symbolic lost cause. Democrats could be staging a sit-in in support of universal background checks* and waiting periods, nationally standard gun licensing and training requirements, and tougher restrictions on where and how guns are sold. All of those, or even any one of those, would have been more defensible both politically and morally. Instead House Democrats are going to the mat for a shitty, racist, useless bill.
Since the San Bernardino shootings (or even before), an easy, cynical predication has been that the only form of gun control with a realistic shot of being enacted in the near future would be measures that would ban only Muslims from purchasing guns. As is too often the case, Democrats seem determined to prove cynics right.
[Correction: Expanded background checks are indeed a measure Democrats are currently demanding a vote on.]
While the median size of new U.S. homes has risen to an all-time high, a study says the average size of new apartments has fallen by 8% in the past decade. You can have a tiny apartment in a cool place, a huge house in a boring place, or, more likely, the backseat of a 1982 VW Rabbit in the Walmart parking lot.
Today, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the NYPD released a new report on the department’s use of so-called “quality-of-life” arrests and summons, also known as broken windows policing. You can read the whole thing here. The key sentence comes on page 3 of 85:
OIG-NYPD’s analysis has found no empirical evidence demonstrating a clear and direct link between an increase in summons and misdemeanor arrest activity and a related drop in felony crime.
In other words: broken windows policing doesn’t seem to work.
The premise behind broken windows, a theory of law enforcement popularized by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton during his first stint atop the department in the 1990s, is that aggressively arresting people for minor crimes like drinking or urinating in public will lead to a decline in major crimes like rape and murder. The idea is that these “quality-of-life” crimes normalize lawbreaking, make it seem commonplace and not that bad, and that this normalization leads to an increase in lawbreaking of all kinds. If there are lots of broken windows in a neighborhood, vandals will continue to break windows; if the neighborhood is clean and friendly, people will be too. Under this worldview, the people who are rounded up and sent to jail for panhandling or jumping the turnstile because they can’t afford the fare are seen as necessary casualties for the cause of making the neighborhood safer.
Except it turns out that rounding up poor people and sending them to jail may not make the neighborhoods safer after all. The Office of the Inspector General—an independent police monitor that was created, it should be noted, in response to criticism over stop-and-frisk, another NYPD policy that criminalized the poor and did little to improve life for the rest of the city—found that between 2010 and 2015, the NYPD’s use of these quality-of-life arrests and summons decreased dramatically, but that there was no corresponding rise in felony crime, as broken windows adherents would expect. In most cases, felonies actually decreased along with the use of broken windows.
The good news is that the city has already started scaling back aggressive enforcement of certain quality of life laws. According to a statement published by Gothamist, the NYPD dispute’s the report’s findings, which should come as no surprise from a department that has shown itself to be historically invested in making sure broken windows is here to stay
Laurel and Hardy. Aykroyd and Belushi. Nixon and Haldeman. Soon these names will be joined by “Fuckman and Donkey Dick,” better known as Judge Bryant Durham and alleged killer Denver Allen, whose performance in a Georgia courtroom last week easily ranks them among America’s most legendary comedy teams.
Allen, accused of committing a deadly jailhouse beatdown last year, appeared in court on Friday seeking to represent himself, claiming his public defender said he would only do “a good job” if he was allowed to give Allen oral sex. Judge Durham advised him against it. Things quickly went downhill from there.
According to a court transcript shared by law blogger Keith Lee, what followed was a lengthy exchange in which Allen bragged about his “big old donkey dick” and his fondness for “white boys with big butts” while repeatedly commanding Judge Durham to suck said donkey dick.
In return, an alternately smiling and red-faced Judge Durham said Allen “looked like a queer” and speculated that “everybody [must enjoy] sucking your cock” but insisted his mouth was likely too small to accommodate the suspected killer’s penis.
During one particularly surreal moment, Allen asked the court reporter if she was getting everything down after Judge Durham repeatedly challenged him to follow through on his threat to “jack” on the judge.
Oh, and at one point Allen also threatened to kill the judge’s entire family with a hammer. According to the Rome-News Tribune, Allen now faces additional charges of contempt of court and making terroristic threats.
While painfully homophobic at times and incredibly vulgar throughout, Fuckman and Donkey Dick’s entire comedy routine deserves a read. Check it out here.
As Democrats continued their congressional sit-in demanding new gun control measures, Speaker Paul Ryan took the chair and tried to conduct unrelated House business Wednesday night, finding himself nearly drowned out by chants of “No Bill, No Break!”
The chaotic scene was captured by House cameras and streamed live over C-SPAN after congressional Republicans shut them off for much of the day, forcing the network to rely on Periscope feeds provided by Democrats on the floor. According to The Chicago Tribune, congresswoman and Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth even secreted her smartphone inside her prosthetic leg to prevent it from being taken away.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.