Former President Barack Obama has preferred to keep a low profile since departing the White House, continuing the (perhaps flawed) bipartisan tradition of past presidents demurring when asked to weigh in on their successors. That's not to say he hasn't been lending himself to Democrats contemplating taking Trump on themselves, however. He has counseled more than a dozen declared or likely candidates on what he believes it will take to beat President Trump, holding private talks with leading contenders like Ms. Harris, Mr. Booker and Senator Elizabeth Warren; underdogs like Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.; and prominent figures who remain undecided on the race, like Eric H. Holder, his former attorney general, and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York. Obama's advice, at least according to the New York Times, has been to avoid intraparty battles and to push back on Trump's «divisive» rhetoric with messages that even rural and other Trump-leaning voters can get behind. This is certainly how Obama himself chose to run and govern, so it makes sense that he would push would-be contenders to follow the same path. What he is not offering, and is not expected to offer, is an endorsement of a particular candidate, instead preferring to let primary voters make that decision. The candidate that might make the most difference to is former Vice President Joe Biden, who might have been hoping for that particular boost-up. Not much can be gleaned from the rest of the Times' report. Obama has words of praise for a number of candidates, including some distant long shots. Some unnamed Democrats appear to be unsatisfied with his reluctance to weigh in on behalf of a specific contender, which we might take as a hint that some fundraisers are still pining for a more «moderate» candidate that will not upset the apple cart as roughly as the Democratic base itself is pushing for. It is impossible to read too much into such reports because, yet again, early campaign coverage of this sort tends to focus excessively on what individual behind-the-scenes strategists and functionaries want to see reported. There is indeed a school of thought inside the Democratic Party that tends to get nervous in the vicinity of big ideas, and downright hostile to big ideas that stand in opposition to the dozen or so of the nation's most generous business interests. That notion was ascendent in the party for decades—and a good number of its “Blue Dog” adherents got their behinds handed to them in the recent political restructurings, which saw the ideological divide between the two parties grow into the current stark partition. It is not clear whether such theories have much remaining sway with the actual voters who will decide these things, no matter how much money is spent to convince them. So what you can read from this is that Barack Obama has been graciously offering advice to any Democratic contender who requests it; that he's not intending to play a large role in the primary process itself or pre-endorse a given candidate; and that a lot of different people have a lot of different ideas on whether that's good or bad or indifferent or whatever. That sounds about right. And if that situation changes, we'll let you know.
Dean Baker at Truthout writes—The Key to Cheap Drugs: Pay Research Costs Upfront: Drugs are almost invariably cheap to manufacture. But, if a drug company has a monopoly on a drug that can save a person from cancer or some other deadly or debilitating disease, it will be able to charge a very high price for it. Patients or their families will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more typically, get an insurance company or the government to pick up most of the bill. While there are instances where companies producing generic drugs can gain monopoly power and jack up their prices, this is a relatively small part of the story of high drug prices. Drugs produced by the brand drug sector account for roughly 75 percent of drug costs, even though they are just 11 percent of sales. This means that generic drugs account for only one-quarter of drug spending despite being almost 90 percent of sales. Even these numbers understate the role of patent and related protections. Some generic drugs also benefit from government-imposed protections, such as a six-month period of exclusivity for the first generic to enter a market. [...] The justification for patent monopolies is that it gives drug companies the incentive to research and develop new drugs. While the drug companies hugely exaggerate the cost of developing drugs, there is no doubt that it is expensive and they would not be able to recover their research costs if their newly developed drugs were sold in a free market without protection. But, we don’t have to rely on patent monopolies to pay for drug research. We could, for example, pay for the research costs upfront. In fact, the government already does this to a substantial extent. It spends close to $40 billion a year financing biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies. There is bipartisan agreement that this is money that is very well spent. However, as it stands, most of this funding is for basic research. It is essentially a gift to the pharmaceutical industry, which does the additional research needed to develop and test drugs and bring them through the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process. There is no reason that federal funding has to be restricted to more basic research, rather than supporting the development and testing of new drugs. If the federal government were to pay for the later stages of drug development and testing, and bring drugs through the FDA approval process, then newly developed drugs could all be sold as generics. This could mean that the next big cancer drug might sell for a few hundred dollars a year rather than a few hundred thousand. On this date in 1939, 22,000 Nazis celebrated their fanaticism at Madison Square Garden. Night at the Garden is a chilling, award-winning, 7-minute film about that get-together. You can watch it and read about it here. TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION «We look at science as something very elite, which only a few people can learn. That's just not true. You just have to start early and give kids a foundation. Kids live up, or down, to expectations.» ~~Mae Jemison, first black woman in space, 1992 TWEET OF THE DAY xmember when the president wa snormal?i memberpic.twitter.com/sW9puze8g5— Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 20, 2019 BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2007—Bloggers at Last Unite Tony Snow and WH Press Corps: Tony Snow and «real journalists» finally agreed on something tonight at a roundtable held for very serious people at the National Press Club: Blogs suck. They’re mean. And ... and ... and ... they actually expect reporters to do their jobs! We’ll skip Tony Snow. Who cares? But via Think Progress, a couple of journalists had some interesting things to say, kind of opening a door into the higher minds that are raised so far above the rest of us. NBC News’ David Gregory bemoaned how political coverage has «become so polarized in this country...because it’s the internet and the blogs that have really used this White House press conferences to somehow support positions out in America, political views.» Can you imagine that? The nerve! People actually use White House press conferences to form and support political views! And then they write about those views! Where anybody can read and see and respond and argue and fact-check them! And they haven’t been seen—not once!—at a cocktail party in DC. Next thing you know, they’ll start thinking regular old ordinary people have a right to opinions or something. LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE
That terrorist watchlist initiated by the Bush administration and robustly continued since, known to be error-ridden and loaded with names of perfectly innocent people, has been shared with more than 1,400 private entities. That's after years of three separate administrations—George W. Bush's, Barack Obama's, and Donald Trump's—insisting that the list is not generally shared outside of law enforcement. Now we know that private entities, including hospitals and universities, are given access to the list—it's still happening—which potentially could be adversely affecting things like university admissions or research grants, job prospects, firing decisions, all manner of activities beyond the well-documented travel difficulties people put on the no-fly list have experienced. We don't know for sure, because the government hasn't said what restrictions it puts on the use of that data in private organizations. «We've always suspected there was private-sector dissemination of the terror watchlist, but we had no idea the breadth of the dissemination would be so large,» Gadeir Abbas, a lawyer with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the AP. Specifically, 1,441 private entities have access to it, and now CAIR is asking a judge to tell the government to clarify specifically which entities are involved and what they're doing with the information. The admission that this is government policy was revealed in documents filed in a class-action lawsuit in a federal court in Virginia brought by a group of Muslims who say «they regularly experience difficulties in travel, financial transactions and interactions with law enforcement because they have been wrongly added to the list.»
The New York Times is looking for trouble among Democrats and has settled on the obvious: healthcare reform, and how the nation is going to expand access to quality, affordable health care for everyone. In its reporting, we learn that the Medicare-for-all single-payer system proposed by Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris and others is «radical.» Which would be news to the rest of the developed world, which is providing care with much better outcomes at much lower costs with such systems. It's also news to the American voter, with whom it's actually pretty popular and certainly an idea that they would consider. Which means not only is it not radical, but it's something Democrats need to be talking about and educating voters on. There isn't deep division among Democratic hopefuls on this issue, but there is a question of vision. Amy Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown, for instance, are approaching this more incrementally. Neither rules out single-payer as a potential and good final position, but they're not ready to go there now. «It could be a possibility in the future,» Klobuchar said in a CNN town hall on Monday night. «I'm just looking at something that will work now.» Brown says, «I want to help people now, and helping people now is building on the Affordable Care Act.» That's absolutely valid, and the promise of protecting people's health care in the immediate term is crucial. But it's also a given with any Democratic nominee. After a decade of assault from the Right on an incremental approach on health care, which the Affordable Care Act most certainly is, there's not much to lose politically by being aspirational on this issue. Running on Medicare for all, embracing the idea, and having an honest discussion about how it works and how we get there is something the American voting public is ready to hear. It's abundantly clear in the age of Trump that trying to moderate on some of these fundamental issues in hopes of wooing away his voters is a fool's errand. Campaigns are the time to be aspirational, the time to set out the grand vision. Americans are ready to hear it, more ready than they've been in a few generations. That's especially true of Democratic primary voters.
Welcome to Cold War II. Vladimir Putin, also known as the man whom Donald Trump trusts more than his own intelligence services, has ratcheted up the threat of new high-tech missiles, promising new weapons that are faster and more evasive than anything now in service. And now that both the U.S. and Russia have cast off the three-decades-old agreement on the deployment of intermediate-range nuclear weapons, Russia is free to menace Europe with its new low-flying hypersonic missiles that are much more difficult to block with any existing, or contemplated, defense system. To counter the Russian deployment, the United States would need to find places for its next generation of missiles, yet to be constructed, somewhere in Europe. Except there are two problems. First, as the New York Times reported, Mike Pence was just sent home from Europe with a big “No, thank you” to any suggestion that Donald Trump’s America knows anything about its defense. In fact, Trump’s approach to Europe has been so off-putting that it’s gone beyond just threatening the integrity of alliances that have held since World War II. Trump has actually managed to encourage such staunchly Western governments as Germany to “flirt” with Russia. With polls showing that Germans now trust Vladimir Putin more than they doTrump, the danger isn’t just that Trump will wreck NATO; it’s that he’ll flip it. The second problem is what Putin says he will do if the U.S. does try to deploy new missiles to someone willing to take them. As Bloomberg reports, Putin states that he’ll target the host countries and aim additional nukes at the United States, saying, “Russia will be forced to produce and deploy weapons that can be used not only against the territories from which we face this direct threat but also those where the decision is made to use these missiles.” One of the primary reasons that the intermediate-range treaty was created in the first place was because these were felt to be among the classes of weapons most likely to be used. They can strike beyond the range of most conventional forces and be used to target those forces at their bases in preparation for a military advance. After decades in which both the number of nuclear weapons and the threat of their use have decreased, both now seem to be on the rise.
According to a 2017 Louisiana state auditor’s report, the state’s prison system and local jails engage in a practice of routinely keeping people locked up past their release dates—for weeks, months, and, in some cases, even years. Though the official numbers aren’t quite clear, it seems that hundreds of people have been impacted. According to NOLA.com, for every week over the last decade, court records show that prison staff found at least one person who remained incarcerated longer than was required by their sentence. In one extreme example, one state inmate, James Chowns, was kept for an absolutely inexcusable amount of time. Chowns “was imprisoned 960 days, almost three years, past his official release date.” Chowns was sentenced in 2002 for aggravated incest. He received five years in prison with probation of 10 years. Due to a clerical error, it was determined incorrectly that he was to spend 10 years in prison. Overdetention in Louisiana’s criminal justice system is a problem that appears to have an easy fix, according to criminal justice experts. They say that it requires state and local authorities to improve their coordination with each other. Instead, they pass the buck—with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office placing the blame on the Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC), and the DOC claiming it’s the fault of the sheriff’s office. While these two entities duke it out, their lack of coordination is ruining lives and wasting millions of dollars of taxpayer money. It’s an issue that will now get sorted out in court, because civil rights lawyers are suing both of them. They say that this is a problem that was well-known by officials for years, and that they simply failed to address it. “The criminal justice system is based on the idea that if you do a crime you serve your time and then you go free. And that going free part is not being carried out correctly in Louisiana,” said civil rights attorney William Most, who has lawsuits pending against DOC and local sheriff’s offices related to the alleged overdetention of five different clients.
Nine of Jet#39;s planes have been grounded by lessors, versus the four it reported last month, with AerCap Holdings NV and BOC Aviation Ltd among those who have pulled out planes.
Investors will want to see more results out of his steps on the three S - simplification, synergy and scale
The paint shop is in, robots are being unpacked, and production of the companyâs critical new sport utility vehicle is on track to start this year â Brexit deal or no deal.
While the Chairman is taking corrective measures within the walls of JLR, there are other bigger and more challenging issues that threaten to undermine his efforts.
The construction of Russia’s industrial zone in one of the world’s major transportation routes, the Suez Canal area in Egypt, will be finished soon. Read Full Article at RT.com
Gartner’s smartphone marketshare data for the just gone holiday quarter highlights the challenge for device makers going into the world’s biggest mobile trade show which kicks off in Barcelona next week: The analyst’s data shows global smartphone sales stalled in Q4 2018, with growth of just 0.1 per cent over 2017’s holiday quarter, and 408.4 […]
Chinese e-commerce company JD.com is taking its drone delivery system to Japan. Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce giant, just announced a partnership with JD that will see its drones and unmanned vehicles become a part of Rakuten’s own unmanned delivery service efforts. JD has been operating drones in its native China for a number of years, […]
There’s plenty of speculation right now around apparently disgruntled investors in SoftBank’s Vision Fund, but the drum continues to beat and the checks continue to be written. The latest deal for the $100 billion mega-fund is Clutter, an on-demand storage company that pulled in $200 million in new financing for growth. Eagled-eyed viewers will recall that […]
Days after a YouTube creator accused the platform of enabling a “soft-core pedophilia ring,” several companies have suspended advertising on the platform, including Nestle, Epic, and reportedly Disney and McDonald’s. Nestle told CNBC that all of its companies in the U.S. have paused advertising on YouTube, while a spokesperson for Epic, maker of the massively […]
Lalamove, a Hong Kong-based on-demand logistics startup, has closed a $300 million Series D round as it seeks expansion across Asia. In doing so, the company has officially entered the unicorn club. Founded in 2013 by Stanford graduate Shing Chow, Lalamove provides logistics and delivery services in a similar style to ride-hailing apps like Uber […]
The planned Robot Science Museum in Seoul will have a humdinger of a first exhibition: its own robotic construction. It’s very much a publicity stunt, though a fun one — but who knows? Perhaps robots putting buildings together won’t be so uncommon in the next few years, in which case Korea will just be an […]
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - A Dutch safety watchdog says airlines around the world need more and better information to make risk assessments about flying over conflict zones. The Dutch Safety Board issued a report Thursday following up on its publication in 2015 of a probe into the cause of ...
Alessandro Mendini, the renowned Italian architect and designer known for his famous Proust Armchair and the Groninger Museum, has passed away aged 87.Born in Milan in 1931, Mendini played a crucial role in the development of Italian, Postmodern, and Radical design during his career. Early in his career, in the 1970s, Mendini emerged as one of the pioneers of the radical design movement along with Andrea Branzi and Ettore Sottsass. In 1979, he joined Alchimia Studio where he created furniture, paintings, installations, objects, as well as several architectural works. A significant work from this period is the famous Proust Armchair from Alchimia design editions, which has been called the “most iconic and revolutionary chairs of the 20th-century.” The baroque shaped chair features a pointillist surface pattern, with its frame and upholstery covered in hundreds of tiny hand-painted dots.In 1989, he set up his own architectural practice, Atelier Mendini, with his brother Francesco. One of his significant projects from this period is the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, which has a striking presence with its vibrant yellow tower. Other works include Museo di Omegna in northern Italy, and the Teatro della Bicchieraia theater complex in central Italy, the Tower of Paradise in Hiroshima, and the Alessi factories.During his lifetime, Mendini also served as editor of Italian design magazines Casabella, Modo, and Domus. Winner of the two Golden Compasses in 1979 and 1981, Mendini was also awarded an honorary degree from the Politecnico di Milano, the European Prize for Architecture Awards in 2014 and was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in France.The architect, designer, painter, theorist, and journalist had once said: “As far as I am concerned, it is not design that interests me: I use design not as a means to an end, but in order to carry out my natural vital role, which is to produce images.” https://www.blouinartinfo.com/ Founder: Louise Blouin
While everyone is eagerly awaiting the return of “Game of Thrones” in April, Diageo launches Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection. It has officially hit stores in some European countries, as per the Diageo website.To mark the eighth and final season of the popular TV series, “Game of Thrones,” Diageo and HBO together have unveiled this limited-edition collection of Whisky. The collection comprises eight scotch whiskies, each one has been paired with the iconic House of Westeros and the Night’s Watch, providing an authentic taste of the Seven Kingdoms and much more.“Diageo’s unparalleled diverse range of distilleries in Scotland, much like in Westeros, each has its own unique characteristics and produce a distinctive whisky representative of its local terroir. These similarities were the inspiration behind the collection, drawing an authentic storyline between each House and single malt pairing,” says the Diageo website.The website has quoted Pedro Mendonca, Global Reserve Marketing & Malts Director, as saying: “We’re excited that the Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection will be hitting shelves in more countries around the world. We are always trying to find fun and interesting ways to introduce our scotch portfolio and what better way than partnering with ‘Game of Thrones,’ one of the most successful TV series ever created. We are thrilled to be celebrating the final season of the show by toasting with whiskies that authentically pay homage to some of the greatest characters and houses.”The website quotes Jeff Peters, Vice President, Licensing & Retail at HBO: “‘Game of Thrones’ is one of the most popular TV shows around the globe, so we’re thrilled to be able to give fans in so many countries the chance to celebrate the final season with these fantastic whiskies. Whether they’re choosing allegiance to a House or collecting the whole range, there’s a wonderful diversity of the utmost quality thanks to Diageo’s unparalleled Scotch distilleries.”The Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection features:· Game of Thrones House Stark – Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost· Game of Thrones House Tully – Singleton of Glendullan Select· Game of Thrones House Targaryen – Cardhu Gold Reserve· Game of Thrones House Lannister – Lagavulin 9 Year Old· Game of Thrones The Night’s Watch – Oban Bay Reserve· Game of Thrones House Greyjoy – Talisker Select Reserve· Game of Thrones House Baratheon – Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old· Game of Thrones House Tyrell – Clynelish Reserve Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the whisky collection. https://www.blouinartinfo.com/ Founder: Louise Blouin
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii transportation officials say traffic on the Pali Highway bound for Honolulu will be diverted into the Kailua-bound lanes after large debris and concrete fell onto the highway during a landslide. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports state Department of Transportation officials say the road will be affected for ...
RENO, Nev. (AP) - The Nevada Highway Patrol is cracking down on drivers who fail to move over to the far lane when passing roadside emergency response vehicles. The patrol says it plans increased enforcement of the «Move Over» law statewide, beginning with a special emphasis in Reno this weekend. ...
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Thousands of protests have been lodged with U.S. land managers in opposition of next month's oil and natural gas lease sale despite a decision to remove from the offering several parcels near a national park in northwestern New Mexico. Environmentalists say they turned in 33,000 protests ...
Williams's new car, the FW42, only started running at Barcelona on Wednesday afternoon, with George Russell limited to 23 laps as the team effectively completed a public shakedown.Renault almost missed its own shakedown deadline before testing began, and asked if it was easy to have sympathy for Williams, chassis technical director Chester said: «Oh yeah, absolutely.»It is really hard ...Keep reading
IAAF allows 21 more Russians to compete as neutrals
Ticktum's campaign in the off-season AWS was intended to get him over the FIA superlicence points threshold required to enter F1.Although he took two poles in the opening Buriram round, he’s only made one podium appearance and, combined with the decision not to start a race last time out at Sepang, is eighth in the standings.His lack of results has not denied him the chance to race in ...Keep reading
Organizers of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan say the number of foreign visitors expected at the tournament this year has far exceeded expectations
USOC Reboot: Hirshland draws up new plan in attempt to help athletes off the field