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.
Nifty PSU Bank index, the largest gainer among sectoral indices, was up nearly 1 per cent at 2,768 points, as compared to a marginal 0.01 per cent decline in the benchmark Nifty 50 index at 09:20 am.
The highest addition in OI were seen in 10,750 CE (call option) and 10,650 PE (put option) in the weekly options.
India, with its population, massively used infrastructure, mobiles, e-commerce and now smartcities has humongous DATA volumes.
The currency opened at 71.07, up 4 paise against the previous close of 71.11.
Samsung's thrilling, dizzying Galaxy Fold debut makes one thing clear: Phones will never be the same.
Commentary: Forget genuine emotion and thanking your peers -- the perfect Oscars speech is about easily tweetable GIFs.
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 medicinal powers of aspirin, digitalis, and the anti-malarial artemisinin all come from plants. A discovery of a potent neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory chemical in a native California shrub may lead to a treatment for Alzheimer's disease based on a compound found in nature.
A new observation highlights the importance of previously unstudied mutations that arises early in bnAbs, giving the antibodies the flexibility to adapt to changes in the virus's outer envelope protein structure. This flexibility enables the antibody to dock on diverse strains of the virus and more potently neutralize them.
Computers have recently gotten much, much better at a somewhat unsettling skill: generating fake human faces. As in, creating an image of a human who has never existed before. We saw the concept go a bit viral this week with ThisPersonDoesNotExist, a website hooked to a machine that generates a new face every few seconds. […]
Pressed to explain who is using them, and why, 99 percent of cryptocurrencies let out all their air, go flying around the room making a raspberry sound, hit the wall and fall behind the couch forever. The party is over. A few, however, can present a credible use case. “Tokenized securities” could be one of […]
A rare species of giant tortoise not seen in 113 years and feared to be extinct has been found in a remote island in the Galapagos. An adult female Fernandina Giant Tortoise, or […] The post Tortoise Thought to Be Extinct for 100 Years Rediscovered in Galapagos Island appeared first on Geek.com.
Forget the super yacht, the newest way to travel on water is by electric, “flying” boat. French startup SeaBubbles‘ futuristic car-shaped boat, the Bubble Taxi, which was presented at the Miami Boat Show […] The post This $200,000 All-Electric Boat Lets You ‘Fly’ on Water appeared first on Geek.com.
A U.K. delivery driver is in hot water: After lying to officials about a missing pet, an app caught him dropping off an Amazon parcel and stealing a puppy from a customer’s property. […] The post Man Delivering Amazon Package Steals Puppy, Gets Caught By App appeared first on Geek.com.
GARDINER, Mont. (AP) - Two people escaped injury when their truck rolled into the Gardner River in Yellowstone National Park. National Park Service spokeswoman Linda Veress tells The Billings Gazette that the incident occurred about 5:45 p.m. Monday just north of the Boiling River thermal feature in the northern end ...
LIMA, Peru (AP) - A living member of species of tortoise not seen in more than 110 years and feared to be extinct has been found in a remote part of the Galapagos island of Fernandina. An adult female Chelonoidis phantasticus, also known as the Fernandina Giant Tortoise, was spotted ...
Don’t have time to “catch ’em all?” Now, you can: Twitch is hosting a mega Pokemon anime marathon for three months straight. On Wednesday, the Pokemon Company shared Pokemon Day 2019 details online, which […] The post Twitch Is Hosting a Mega Three-Month ‘Pokemon’ Anime Marathon appeared first on Geek.com.
Nate Watson scores 21 points, tying his career high, as Providence tops St. John's, 78-59
Dexter Dennis registers 18 points and eight rebounds as Wichita State easily beats Tulsa, 81-60
Markus Howard scored 28 points and Theo John added 15 points and 11 rebounds as No. 11 Marquette pulled away in the second half for a 79-69 victory over Butler
Luke Maye took full advantage of a freak injury to Zion Williamson, finishing with 30 points and 15 rebounds to lead No. 8 North Carolina past No. 1 Duke 88-72
Derrik Smits scored 11 points off the bench and Valparaiso held on to beat Southern Illinois 55-52
In most years the idea of the NHL trade deadline and the anticipation of what could happen is often more exciting than what actually happens. In a salary cap league, teams are more protective of their young players and draft picks because they are a necessity when it comes to building a long-term Stanley Cup contender. Even though we don't always see the major blockbusters we used to see around the deadline, there will still be a number of trades made in the coming days as the Stanley Cup contenders (or hopefuls) look to solidify their rosters and the rebuilding teams look to stockpile draft picks and young assets for the future. There are a couple of big-name players that could be available, with the Ottawa Senators possibly looking to sell off their pending free agents and the Columbus Blue Jackets trying to figure out what to do with Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin. We take a look at all of those players and more with 10 trades we would like to see before the NHL trade deadline arrives on Monday. 1. J