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paul beard
Lifelong learner and teacher
Lifelong learner and teacher

paul's posts

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In case you missed it, last December the FDA gave Del Monte Fresh Produce permission to sell genetically modified pineapples in the United States. But up until recently, most people hadn't had the chance to feast their eyes on the pink pineapple. Now, thanks to Instagram, we get a sneak preview of what these pineapples – which are sweeter than the yellow variety – look like.

Who needed a sweeter pineapple? Is this just using GMO to create a solution to a non-existent problem? 

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Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

OK, how far is this going to go?

Kushner’s apparent interest in establishing a secret channel with Moscow, rather than relying on U.S. government systems, has added to the intrigue surrounding the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia.

What does he have to communicate with Russia that requires him to visit a Russian embassy and use their communications channels?

The discussion of a secret channel adds to a broader pattern of efforts by Trump’s closest advisers to obscure their contacts with Russian counterparts. Trump’s first national security adviser, Flynn, was forced to resign after a series of false statements about his conversations with Kislyak. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from matters related to the Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had failed to disclose his own meetings with Kislyak when asked during congressional testimony about any contact with Russians.

This is all a bit surreal to anyone who lived through the Cold War.

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I remember when Bernie Sanders' admiration for the Sandinistas and Castro was considered an oppo researcher's wet dream. What to make of this?
Michael Flynn. Kushner. Now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. They all met with Russian officials at some point, and CNN and the New York Times, respectively, have reported that Sessions and Kushner did not disclose their meetings with Russians on their security-clearance forms. A security clearance is required before a person can be privy to the nation's top secrets. Other members of Trump's campaign already had deep ties to Russia, among them former campaign manager Paul Manafort and adviser Carter Page.

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Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spent decades of his career helping Microsoft rise to dominance. He knows a thing or two about the conditions that are favorable for business.

Like what?

“Dumb luck is a big part of it,” Ballmer told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “I’m a big believer that dumb luck is part of a lot of things. I got a lot of dumb luck in addition to a lot of hard work. Microsoft requires some intelligence, some hard work and some dumb luck.”

Yeah, getting Bill Gates as your college roommate would catapult from successful salesman (where he would likely have ended up) to one of the richest men in the world ($22 billion net worth).

“All of a sudden somebody who thinks they are getting paid more than somebody who makes the equivalent dollars in California – because California has a 14-percent income tax – sure, it would drive up wages here and cause people to think about moving jobs elsewhere,” Ballmer said. “That will certainly happen.”

What ol' Steve-O doesn't get is that high wages are what is driving the housing crisis here. Sellers and landlords alike are sucking up all those high wages for properties that they could only have charged a fraction of the current price for 10 or 20 years ago. People come here from the high-priced areas to escape those costs and find that the costs will go up to meet their ability to pay.

“I’m not saying it’s a mistake, it’s something that voters need to think about in aggregate, not just one man’s opinion,” he said. “But the analysis is right. There will be fewer jobs here with an income tax than there would without an income tax.”

Yeah, we have heard a lot of that top-drawer reasoning around the highest minimum wage. Funny how it never seems to work like they say. Higher wages — up to a point — will drive opportunity, across the board. 

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[C]onsider these four monuments from the perspective of an African American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of our beautiful city. Can you do it?

Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too?

One of the big lessons for me as I followed +Ta-Nehisi Coates's Golden Horde was that in a slave society, everyone is in chains. The slave owners' lives are limited, just as the slaves are, they just don't realize it. 

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Get back to me when it's made of sapient pearwood. 

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One for the folks at home:

• I know New Yorker profiles are not endorsements, quite, but I could barely get through the one about Tony Blair. I mean get a load:
"Over the weekend, focus groups carried out by HuffPost U.K. brought back news of a “Tony Blair-shaped hole” in the political landscape."
It's called a cloaca.

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We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.

He's your guy, Brooks. You and the rest of the commentariat, whose reflexive support of anyone who isn't a Dem put him in the race, own this.


And flashback to this (circa 2004):
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

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This guy gets it. The words have the same root, fercryingoutloud… eco from the Greek for "house." 

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Skeptics of Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, have spent the better part of the past two decades second-guessing and vilifying him: He has been described as “a monopolist,” “literary enemy No. 1,” “a notorious international tax dodger,” impossible, a ruthless boss and — more than once — “Lex Luthor.” His company used to routinely be described as Amazon.con.

The article doesn't back up the headline. If nothing else, it supports the argument that Amazon is the Walmart of the internet, for whatever you take that to mean.
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