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Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig (@ThinkwingRadio), a listener call-in show airing live every Monday night from 3-4 PM (CT) on KPFT-FM 90.1 (Houston). My engineer is Leti. Today’s show is a fundraising show, so, with apologies, we can’t take on-air phone calls,
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For the purposes of this show, I operate on two mottoes:
- You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
- An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.
“Our colleagues aren’t upset because you lied to Congress for the president. They’re upset because you’ve stopped lying to Congress for the president.” ~ Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., (Feb 27 2019, 1:05 pm ET, as per NBCNews.com) opened his allotted time to question Cohen’s response to a Republican line of attack on Cohen that has run throughout the day. (Republicans have repeatedly highlighted Cohen’s past lying to Congress, which he has admitted and pleaded guilty to. Cohen says he lied to help Trump, but Republicans have questioned whether he lied to help himself.)
- Happy TAX DAY!
Make sure you are registered to vote!
- HarrisVotes.com (Election Information Line (713) 755-6965) Dr. Diane Trautman, Harris County Clerk
- You may vote early by-mail if
- you are registered to vote and meet one of the following criteria:
- Away from the county of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period;
- Sick or disabled;
- 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
- Confined in jail, but eligible to vote.
- Make sure you are registered:
- Sample Ballots are now available!HARRIS CTY – IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING: Do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs?
- Fill out a declaration at the polls describing a reasonable impediment to obtaining it, and show a copy or original of one of the following supporting forms of ID:
- A government document that shows your name and an address, including your voter registration certificate
- Current utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- (a) A certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes your identity (which may include a foreign birth document)
- Scheduled to appear on this show, in-studio, next week, on 4/22: Dr. Diane Trautman, Harris County Clerk
- The Notre Dame Cathedral In Paris Is On Fire – The spire collapsed onto the roof. The cause of the fire is currently unclear. By Amber Jamieson BuzzFeed News Reporter and Mary Ann Georgantopoulos BuzzFeed News Reporter Last updated on April 15, 2019, at 2:03 p.m. ET
- Video and photos posted on social media showed flames engulfing the church, before both the ceiling and the spire collapsed. A church spokesman told AP the entire wooden interior, which dates from the 13th century, is burning and likely to be destroyed. …
- Mueller’s report on Russia and Trump to be made public Thursday – The document is expected to contain substantial portions that have been blacked out by the attorney general for various reasons. By Julia Ainsley and Dartunorro Clark | NBCNews.com | April 15, 2019
- Hague Court Abandons Afghanistan War Crimes Inquiry, By Marlise Simons, Rick Gladstone and Carol Rosenberg | COM/ | April 12, 2019
- PARIS — The International Criminal Court abandoned a possible Afghanistan war-crimes investigation on Friday, saying the United States and others in the conflict would not cooperate.
- The court’s chief prosecutor had long sought permission to open a formal inquiry into civilian killings, torture and other abuses in the Afghanistan war, including possible crimes by American forces. But a panel of the court’s judges decided that the difficulties of obtaining evidence and witness testimony outweighed the benefits of a prosecution, with a low prospect of any convictions.
- The decision was welcomed by the Trump administration and came just weeks after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would deny visas to the court’s staff and judges involved in prosecuting or ruling on war crimes involving Americans. Last week the State Department confirmed that the United States visa of the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, had been revoked. …
- … In a clear reference to the black sites, contained in the decision by the judges to abandon the investigation, they wrote that Ms. Bensouda had wanted to look at how C.I.A. agents “mistreated” prisoners “allegedly with a view to forcing confessions, obtaining information or retaliating for” the 9/11 attacks.
- The prosecutor, they wrote, argued there was “a reasonable basis to believe that, since May 2003, members of the U.S. armed forces and the C.I.A. have committed the war crimes of torture and cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape and other forms of sexual violence pursuant to a policy approved by the U.S. authorities.”
- The judges wrote that the prosecutor relied on studies conducted by the Pentagon and Congress, notably by the Senate’s Intelligence Committee, an apparent reference to the public portion of the so-called Senate Torture Report that studied the C.I.A.’s black site program. …
- … “The perception will be that the court cowed to Washington, but the judges are being realistic,” said Alex Whiting, a former American prosecutor at the court who now teaches at Harvard Law School. [Whiting] said that lessons drawn from recent setbacks and failed cases at the court showed it must focus on situations where it can succeed. “The prosecution has already come to that realization and now the judges are too,” he said.
- For John R. Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, who has painted the court as a transnational institution that infringes American sovereignty, the retreat on Friday was a major victory.
- During the George W. Bush administration, Mr. Bolton led the charge for the United States to “un-sign” the Rome Statute, which created the court — an event he later described as his happiest day in government.
- “Today is my second-happiest day in government,” Mr. Bolton said.
- The debate over what Julian Assange’s arrest means for freedom of the press, explained – “This case raises a number of really thorny questions about what it means to be a journalist.” By Emily Stewart | VOX.COM |Apr 12, 2019, 5:20pm EDT
- Is the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange justice against a man who broke the law, or is it a warning shot that journalism is under threat in the United States?
- It’s a difficult question to answer, in part because it brings up a host of other related questions: Do you consider WikiLeaks a journalistic organization or not? Did Assange actively participate in criminal activity to obtain classified intel, as the US government alleges, or did he just disseminate information passed on to him and is therefore protected by the First Amendment? Does it matter that Assange and his organization seem to have developed at the very least an affinity to Russia? And is the single charge he faces in the United States the total of the government’s push for justice — or is it just the opening salvo in what will become a larger war to punish Assange (and anyone else who publishes classified information)? …
- …Groups dedicated to free speech and press have had a different read.
- Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s speech, privacy, and technology project, said in a statement that any prosecution of Assange for WikiLeaks’ publishing operation would be “unprecedented and unconstitutional, and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations.”
- “The potential implications for press freedom of this allegation of conspiracy between publisher and source are deeply troubling,” said Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, in a statement. He added that the US government could “set out broad legal arguments about journalists soliciting information or interacting with sources that could have chilling consequences for investigative reporting and the publication of information of public interest.” …
- … “There is established in the law a pretty bright line,” [David Schulz, senior counsel at Ballard Spahr LLP and director of the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School] said. “You cross it when you become a participant in illegal activity.” …
- … “Is a data dump journalism? That’s an interesting question,” [Columbia University professor Todd Gitlin] said. “In the case of war crimes footage, I feel comfortable saying that by working with Manning on that, Assange was performing an act of journalism. But when you release terabytes of data indiscriminately, I don’t know what to call that, but it’s not self-evidently journalism.” …
- The confidential oil plan that could cost Trump reelection, By ZACK COLMAN and BEN LEFEBVRE | COM | 04/10/2019 05:12 AM EDT
- The Trump administration is considering auctioning off Florida’s coastal waters for oil and gas drilling — and Republicans are warning it could cost the president dearly in Florida in the 2020 election.
- An industry lobbying offensive has put it on the cusp of achieving its holy grail: access to the resource-rich eastern Gulf of Mexico. The idea is so politically toxic in Florida that past presidents haven’t even entertained it. But behind the scenes, oil and gas interests are appealing to Trump’s desire to turbocharge U.S. energy production, including his past openness to drilling off the Florida coast.
- The president and his top advisers haven’t yet weighed in on the plan taking shape inside his Interior Department. But giving it the green light would be tantamount to a declaration of war on his second home state, given the uniform opposition from Florida Republicans, including prominent allies like Sen. Rick Scott, Gov. Ron DeSantis and others.
- “He would have a price to pay for that,” Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), a staunch Trump supporter, told POLITICO. …
- … Both parties in Florida oppose offshore drilling. Memories of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which sent tarballs ashore in Florida, bring fears of a future spill damaging the state’s fisheries and tourism. Many in the state also say drilling would conflict with military exercises in the area.
- Bernhardt has stayed mum about what’s in the offshore leasing proposal, remarking in a March 28 confirmation hearing that the department is at “step one” of the process. Several industry sources disputed that, though, saying the plan is nearly complete.
- “For all intents and purposes, it’s done,” said an industry lobbyist familiar with the plan. …
- Here’s who’s winning under Trump’s tax law – Analysis, by Zachary B. Wolf | COM | Updated 9:02 AM ET, Sat April 13, 2019
- [T]here have already been some surprises for Americans filing their first income tax returns under President Donald Trump’s 2017 law. …
- … While most Americans are paying less in taxes overall, many have been startled to find that their refunds have barely changed or are down — making them feel like they lost, even if they’re still coming out ahead.
- Below are some other ways to look at who is winning and losing under the law. And please take note: It’s possible to both win and lose at the same time.
- Winning: Most US taxpayers – The vast majority of American tax filers — more than 65% — will see their overall tax burden decrease by at least $100, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. See page 7 of this helpful analysis. Slightly less than 30% of filers will see very little change in their tax liability and a small percentage, about 6%, will see an increase. These tax rate cuts for individual filers are not permanent like the corporate tax cuts, but they’ll be in place until 2025. But while most Americans got a tax cut, most people don’t seem to understand they got one. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out this week, only 17% of Americans think they’re getting a tax cut while 28% said they will pay more.
- Winning: Most rich people – The new tax law’s benefits are tilted toward the wealthy, who will generally see greater benefits than other Americans.
- The largest cuts will go to the people who pay the most in tax, according to the Tax Policy Center, a think tank, which suggested that tax filers in the 95th to 99th percentile of income — roughly between $308,000 and $733,000 — would see the largest benefit as a portion of after-tax income. Most people in the bottom 20% income-wise will see little or no change in their tax liability, according to that report.
- Losing: Some rich people, probably in blue states – About 14% of rich people making more than $1 million will see a tax increase. They’re likely to be concentrated in states with high state and local taxes and they possibly have multiple homes. …
- Really winning: Heirs of rich people – The law more than doubled the amount that can pass to family members without triggering the estate tax, from about $5 million to more than $11 million for individuals and $22 million for married couples. That affects a relatively small number of Americans, but it means they’ll be able to keep more of an estate. …
- Still winning: Investors – The rates for capital gains taxes did not change in the tax law and remain lower than the rates for wage income.
- Winning: Trump, maybe, although some other business owners won’t win as much …
- Winning: Red state filers who depend on refunds – According to preliminary data from H&R Block, it is mostly red states, those that voted for Trump in 2016, who are getting the largest bump in tax refunds. …
- Winning forever: Corporations – They got a massive rate cut, from 35% to 21%, starting in 2018 that’s permanently enshrined in the new law.
- Losing: The US Treasury – Because of all these tax cuts — and especially the corporate cuts — budget deficits are expected to skyrocket past $1 trillion per year starting in 2022 and stay there. With the national debt over $22 trillion, that means the US will ultimately have to make some hard choices. So enjoy that tax cut, everyone.
- See article for MORE
- Corbyn told to back new EU referendum or lose millions of supporters – A generation of young people could desert the party, says Richard Corbett, leader of Labour MEPs, Toby Helm, Observer political editor | COM | Sat 13 Apr 2019 First published Sat 13 Apr 2019 17.00 EDT
- Jeremy Corbyn has been warned by Labour’s leader in the European parliament and other grandees that the party will be deserted by millions of anti-Brexit voters if it fails to clearly back a second referendum in its manifesto for next month’s EU elections.
- The message from Richard Corbett, who leads Labour’s 20 MEPs, comes amid growing fears at the top of the party that it could lose a generation of young, pro-EU voters if it does not guarantee another public vote.
9. Theresa May: no-deal preparations will continue despite Brexit delay – UK prime minister writes to civil service to rebuke reports contingency plans were being wound down, by Rajeev Syal | THEGUARDIAN.COM | Mon 15 Apr 2019 08.53 EDT
a. Theresa May has written to civil servants saying no-deal preparations must carry on despite a new October deadline for the UK’s exit from the European Union. …
- A quest to understand how human intelligence evolved raises some ethical questions. by Antonio Regalado | technologyreview.com/ | April 10, 2019
- …[S]cientists in southern China report that they’ve tried to narrow the evolutionary gap, creating several transgenic macaque monkeys with extra copies of a human gene suspected of playing a role in shaping human intelligence.
- “This was the first attempt to understand the evolution of human cognition using a transgenic monkey model,” says Bing Su, the geneticist at the Kunming Institute of Zoology who led the effort.
- According to their findings, the modified monkeys did better on a memory test involving colors and block pictures, and their brains also took longer to develop—as those of human children do. There wasn’t a difference in brain size. …
- Commentary: The 45th president of the U.S. is poisoning his nation, By Michael Orton | Special to The [SALT LAKE CITY] Tribune | APR-14-2019
- Why ‘worthless’ humanities degrees may set you up for life, By Amanda Ruggeri | @BBC_Capital | 2 April 2019
- … Today, a degree is all but a necessity for the job market, one that more than halves your chances of being unemployed. Still, that alone is no guarantee of a job – and yet we’re paying more and more for one. In the US, room, board and tuition at a private university costs an average of $48,510 a year …
- … in the US, for example, a bachelor’s degree holder earns $461 more each week than someone who never attended a university. …
- … our assumptions about the market value of certain degrees – and the “worthlessness” of others – might be off. At best, that could be making some students unnecessarily stressed. At worst? Pushing people onto paths that set them up for less fulfilling lives. It also perpetuates the stereotype of liberal arts graduates, in particular, as an elite caste – something that can discourage underprivileged students, and anyone else who needs an immediate return on their university investment …
- … When [George Anders] was a technology reporter for Forbes from 2012 to 2016, he says Silicon Valley “was consumed with this idea that there was no education but Stem education”.
- But when he talked to hiring managers at the biggest tech companies, he found a different reality. “Uber was picking up psychology majors to deal with unhappy riders and drivers. Opentable was hiring English majors to bring data to restauranteurs to get them excited about what data could do for their restaurants,” he says.
- “I realised that the ability to communicate and get along with people, and understand what’s on other people’s minds, and do full-strength critical thinking – all of these things were valued and appreciated by everyone as important job skills, except the media.” This realisation led him to write his appropriately-titled book You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education.
- … LinkedIn’s research on the most sought-after job skills by employers for 2019 found that the three most-wanted “soft skills” were creativity, persuasion and collaboration, while one of the five top “hard skills” was people management. A full 56% of UK employers surveyed said their staff lacked essential teamwork skills and 46% thought it was a problem that their employees struggled with handling feelings, whether theirs or others’. It’s not just UK employers: one 2017 study found that the fastest-growing jobs in the US in the last 30 years have almost all specifically required a high level of social skills.
- …it goes without saying that you can be an excellent communicator and critical thinker without a liberal arts degree. And any good university education, not just one in English or psychology, should sharpen these abilities further. “Any degree will give you very important generic skills like being able to write, being able to present an argument, research, problem-solve, teamwork, becoming familiar with technology,” says Dublin-based educational consultant and career coach Anne Mangan.
- But few courses of study are quite as heavy on reading, writing, speaking and critical thinking as the liberal arts, in particular the humanities – whether that’s by debating other students in a seminar, writing a thesis paper or analysing poetry.
- “Empathy is usually the biggest skill. That doesn’t just mean feeling sorry for people with problems. It means an ability to understand the needs and wants of a diverse group of people” – [George Anders]
- … humanities graduates go on to a variety of fields. The biggest group of US humanities graduates, 15%, go on to management positions. That’s followed by 14% who are in in office and administrative positions, 13% who are in sales and another 12% who are in education, mostly teaching. Another 10% are in business and finance. …
- … Glassdoor’s 2019 research found that eight of the top 10 best jobs in the UK were managerial positions – people-oriented roles that require communication skills and emotional intelligence. (It defined “best” by combining earning potential, overall job satisfaction rating and number of job openings.) And many of them were outside Stem-based industries. The third best job was marketing manager; fourth, product manager; fifth, sales manager. An engineering role doesn’t appear on the list until the 18th slot – below positions in communications, HR and project management.
- One recent study of 1,700 people from 30 countries, meanwhile, found that the majority of those in leadership positions had either a social sciences or humanities degree. That was especially true of leaders under 45 years of age; leaders over 45 were more likely to have studied Stem. …
- … This isn’t to say that a liberal arts degree is the easy road. “A lot of the people I talked to were five or 10 years into their career, and there was a sense that the first year was bumpy, and it took a while to find their footing,” Anders says. “But as things played out, it did tend to work.”
- For some graduates, the initial challenge was not knowing what they wanted to do with their lives. For others, it was not having acquired as many technical skills with their degree as, say, their IT trainee peers and having to play catch-up after. …
- Do what you love: This is a big part of why there is one major takeaway, says Mangan. Whatever a student pursues in university, it must be something that they aren’t just good at, but they really enjoy.
- “In most areas that I can see, the employer just wants to know that you’ve been to college and you’ve done well. That’s why I think doing something that really interests you is essential – because that’s when you’re going to do well,” she says.
- No matter what, making a degree or career path decision based on average salaries isn’t a good move. “Financial success is not a good reason. It tends to be a very poor reason,” Mangan says. “Be successful at something and money will follow, as opposed to the other way around. Focus on doing the stuff that you love that you’ll be so enthusiastic about, people will want to give you a job. Then go and develop within that job.” …