Saturday Evening Open Thread

I picked a bad week to quit drinking.

Posted in Uncategorized | 40 Comments

A Huge Nothing-Pirogi

Because “nothing-pirogi” sounds nicer than “steaming pile of bovine feces”.

Russian elite invested nearly $100 million in Trump buildings

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump downplayed his business ties with Russia. And since taking office as president, he has been even more emphatic.

“I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia,” President Trump said at a news conference last month. “I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.”

But in the United States, members of the Russian elite have invested in Trump buildings. A Reuters review has found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida, according to public documents, interviews and corporate records.

The buyers include politically connected businessmen, such as a former executive in a Moscow-based state-run construction firm that works on military and intelligence facilities, the founder of a St. Petersburg investment bank and the co-founder of a conglomerate with interests in banking, property and electronics.

People from the second and third tiers of Russian power have invested in the Trump buildings as well. One recently posted a photo of himself with the leader of a Russian motorcycle gang that was sanctioned by the United States for its alleged role in Moscow’s seizure of Crimea.

ZOMG! Trump is a commie spy!

But wait! There’s more!

The Reuters review of investors from Russia in Trump’s Florida condominium buildings found no suggestion of wrongdoing by President Trump or his real estate organization. And none of the buyers appear to be from Putin’s inner circle.

Trump is in the real estate business. Some of the people who bought property from his companies over the years are Russians or Russian-Americans. These transactions go back decades. The article doesn’t even show that Trump was personally involved in any of the sales or even met any of the buyers.

Like I said, a big steaming pile of bullshit.

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OverNight Open Thread and St.Paddy’s Day: Michael Flately Edition

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Friday Follies

From the Department of You Can’t Make This Shit Up:

Saudi Arabia launches its first Girls Council – with only men on stage

How Trump’s Enemies Fell For A Billion-Dollar Hoax

Heroic Artist Gets ‘Make America Great Again’ Tattooed Around His Anus (NSFW)

‘MasterChef Junior’ contestants not happy with Michelle Obama veggie challenge

Share your underwhelming St Patrick’s Day photos

Opening in theaters today:

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Piss On The NEA

“Piss Christ”

I told you so. I said weeks ago that just as soon as Trump and the GOP started trying to reduce the size of government and cut spending that suddenly we would be told that each and every government employee was vital and deserving of lifetime employment, and that each and every government program was essential and that people were gonna die if we cut even one fucking dollar from the federal budget.

The Atlantic:

The Real Cost of Abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts

On Thursday morning, President Trump’s proposal for the federal budget confirmed a fact long suspected: the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Together, the four groups receive less than a billion dollars a year, with the NEA and the NEH costing taxpayers $148 million a year each—approximately 0.004 percent of the federal budget individually. Their elimination would be largely symbolic, signaling the Trump administration’s intent to slash spending it sees as “wasteful” while potentially spending 146 times as much as the NEA’s annual allotment on a border wall whose efficacy even Republican lawmakers have disputed.

But eliminating the NEA would also have a very real cost. Its grants are bestowed to all 50 states in the nation, in all congressional districts. Forty percent of the NEA’s budget goes directly to states to spend for themselves, with the proviso that they match the funds dollar for dollar via their own arts agencies—encouraging a further investment in the arts at the state level. Just as significantly, 65 percent of the NEA’s direct grants go to small and medium-sized arts groups, keeping the arts alive in rural and underserved communities. It’s here where the agency’s elimination would be most keenly felt, at organizations largely ignored by private donors, but which bring the arts to audiences including veterans and schoolchildren, often in impoverished neighborhoods.

Blah, blah, blah. There is more if you want to read it.

In rebuttal let me make three simple points:

1. There is plenty of art out there that doesn’t depend on government support. It is all around us.

2. If you think the NEA is important, dig into your own pocket to support it.

3. Piss Christ

Immersion (Piss Christ) is a 1987 photograph by the American artist and photographer Andres Serrano. It depicts a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of the artist’s urine. The piece was a winner of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art’s “Awards in the Visual Arts” competition,[1] which was sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a United States Government agency that offers support and funding for artistic projects.

Piss on the NEA.

Government sponsored “art”

Posted in Uncategorized | 136 Comments

S.H.I.T. Open Thread

Daylight Savings Time has me all out of whack. It’s still officially winter and I’m already behind on my spring cleaning.

I want to go back to bed but there is a cat laying right in the middle of it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 162 Comments

I Didn’t Want To Live Forever Anyway

We’re all gonna die!

Yoga pants are destroying the Earth

Comfortable clothes are emerging as a source of plastic that’s increasingly ending up in the oceans and potentially contaminating seafood, according to Gulf Coast researchers launching a two-year study of microscopic plastics in the waters from south Texas to the Florida Keys.

The project, led by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, will rely partly on volunteers participating in coastal cleanup events. It also will expand a year’s worth of data collected around the state of Florida that predominantly found microfibers — shreds of plastic even smaller than microbeads flowing down bathroom sinks and shower drains.

Yoga pants, Patagonia’s cozy jackets, sweat-wicking athletic wear and other garments made from synthetic materials shed microscopic plastic fibers — called “microfibers” — when they’re laundered. Wastewater systems flush the microfibers into natural waterways, eventually reaching the sea.

“Anything that’s nylon or polyester, like the fleece-type jackets,” University of Florida researcher Maia McGuire said.

I would be really upset if they outlawed yoga pants. I think Chip Wilson (founder of Lululemon) deserves a Nobel Prize. But they really need to be restricted to real women of a certain size and age range.

As for the “microbead crisis” that’s a bunch of hooey. We will be buried in disposable diapers long before microbeads are a problem.

This is an open thread.

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