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Did Trevor Noah Steal Dave Chappelle’s Joke? Noah’s Bit on the 'Racism Connoisseur' Is Too Close for Comfort

October 15, 2015 in Blogs

By Anna Silman, Salon

The 'Daily Show' host's recent stand-up segment is remarkably similar to one Chappelle delivered back in 1998.


A new piece in The Hollywood Reporter points out remarkable similarities between a joke that Trevor Noah told at L.A.’s Politicon this Saturday and a bit that Dave Chappelle did on HBO in 1998.

While it’s possible that great minds just think alike — or, more likely, that Noah heard the bit long ago and subconsciously internalized it — there are some egregious similarities between the bits, from an identical premise to the use of the unusual phrase “racism connoisseur.” While the observation about the difference between Northern and Southern racism certainly isn’t unique, the structure and wording of the bits are a little too close for comfort, down to the punchline which has both Chappelle and Noah greeted by a man using the n-word.

You can read THR’s full transcripts and watch videos of the segments below:

Noah:

Before I came to America, I thought I knew all kinds of racism. I’ve always considered myself something of a racism connoisseur. I appreciate the finer racism. Not to say I appreciate all racism, but a finer racism. Before I came here, blatant racism was my favorite. Blatant racism, where you know exactly where you stand, often perpetrated by old people, which I have always appreciated. They’ll just tell it to you like it is. ‘This is what I think about you!’ Yeah, you’re going to die soon. … Charming racism in America changed my life. I discovered it in a place called Lexington, Kentucky. Probably one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever been — charming, friendly people. Racism with a smile and a tip of the hat. … I was walking through the streets, a man walked up to me, didn’t know me from a bar of soap, came straight up to me and looked me dead in the eye, and he was like, ‘Good afternoon, n—er.’ ‘Good afternoon.’ I’ve never seen racism with a smile. I didn’t know what to do. He just said it like it was a fact. As if I fought him, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Landlord Offers Vegans and Vegetarians Cheaper Rent

October 15, 2015 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

A Washington homeowner says he's hoping his special offer to non-meat eaters will urge others to follow suit.


There are perks—aside from healthy eating—in being vegan or vegetarian, at least if you live in Bethel, Washington. That’s because Jinesh Varia, the owner of a local luxury townhouse, is offering a special price to those who eat a diet that excludes animal products. Varia says that a vegetarian or vegan tenant at his place —which features a “jacuzzi tub, modern kitchen, fireplace and spacious backyard”—will get $200 knocked off his or her rent.

“I really believe, just like the no-smoking policy that all landlords have today, that we can promote this as a way to spread awareness,” Varia said, in an interview with local NBC affiliate King5. The property owner says he’d like to “see if [he] can create a trend.”

K5 also notes that Varia, who is a member of Vegetarians of Washington, says he’ll take tenants’ word for it, and “won't spy or check trash.”

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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Donald's Remarks on the Bubble and the Fed Are on the Money

October 15, 2015 in Economics

By Joseph T. Salerno

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Donald’s Remarks on the Bubble and the Fed Are on the Money

October 15, 2015

Well at least one of the candidates vying for the Republican or Democratic presidential nomination appears to have a reasonable grasp of current economic reality and the complicity of the Federal Reserve in exacerbating an impending financial disaster. In an interview with The Hill, Donald Trump blasted the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law as a “disaster.” Trump noted that despite Dodd-Frank “we’re in a bubble right now anyway.” He pointed to social media companies that have issued IPOs worth “billions” but “haven’t even made 10 cents.” Trump also showed insight into the political machinations of the Fed, accusing Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen of resisting an increase in interest rates to protect the incumbent administration from leaving office during a recession. In Trump's words:

“She’s keeping the economy going, barely. The reason they’re keeping the interest rate down is Obama doesn’t want to have a recession-slash-depression during his administration.”

Such a plain-spoken indictment of the Fed from a politician is always welcome, regardless of its source.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Awkward: Read a Christian Doomsday Cult's Excuse for Why the World Didn't End as They Predicted

October 15, 2015 in Blogs

By Tana Ganeva, AlterNet

Dialing back the big promise.


Is there a bigger P.R. headache than failing to accurately predict the end of the world?

The E-bible fellowship, which prophesied the end times on October 7th, has issued a helpful FAQ explaining why all of Creation wasn't pulverized into oblivion last Wednesday. 

Dear friends,

For some time now E Bible Fellowship (and myself) have been looking towards October 7th as the likely end of the world. We believed there was a strong likelihood that God would complete His judgment and bring about the world’s destruction on that day. There was much biblical information pointing to this date and we freely shared it with all. Yet, consistently stressing throughout the entire time period that the world ending on that date was a “strong likelihood.” Since it is now October 8th it is now obvious that we were incorrect regarding the world’s ending on the 7th.

In case you thought God spared your loved ones from violent, gruesome deaths due to their inherent goodness, WRONG. 

The world today is populated by a generation of people that has outdone all past generations for wickedness. It tends to view a “passed date” for its end as some sort of victory and celebrates it as though it means it will now never end. And yet, the truth is that the world is in its death throes. A date of destruction given to the world (like October 7th, 2015) is like a man with a terminal disease that was given a short time to live his Dr. The man passes the 6 months (or year) he was told. Yet the prognosis hasn’t changed. He’s still terminally ill. It’s still certain he will die from his disease. It’s just a matter of when that remains in question.

What's next for the group?

Plan B (what will E Bible Fellowship do next?)

Some times people ask: what’s your back up plan? What are you going to do now that the world did not end on October 7th?

Our answer has always been: we intend to keep reading and studying the Bible! Going back to the Word of God seeking truth …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Right-Wing London Mayor Runs into 10-Year Old Boy in Rugby Match (VIDEO)

October 15, 2015 in Blogs

By Adam Johnson, AlterNet

Why politics and youth sports should never mix.


London Tory Mayor Boris Johnson leveled a Japanese 10-year-old and it's hilarious. During a rugby match with youths in Japan, the perpetually goofy London mayor got a bit worked up and laid into Toki Sekiguchi, knocking him on the ground and causing much internet mockery.

Johnson was in Japan to promote a trade deal. The youth rugby event was part of a broader proportion of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. 

“I felt a little pain but it's okay,” Johnson's victim told Sky News.

This marks the second time Mayor Johnson has harmed a poor, defenseless child, having sweep-kicked 9-year-old soccer player last year in a similar media event. 

Lesson: keep your child athletes away from British mayors with unhealthy competitive streaks. 

Watch the scene below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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Matt Taibbi: Hillary Clinton Must Think We're Ignorant About How Awful the Big Banks Are

October 15, 2015 in Blogs

By VL Baker, DailyKos

It's the bankers who are pulling the strings.


Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone writes that Hillary is “counting on America's ignorance about the 2008 crash”.

At the Democratic Debate, Anderson Cooper asked a question about how to curb the excesses of Wall St. Here is what Hillary said:

“Well, my plan is more comprehensive. And, frankly, it's tougher because of course we have to deal with the problem that the banks are still too big to fail. We can never let the American taxpayer and middle-class families ever have to bail out the kind of speculative behavior that we saw. But we also have to worry about some of the other players: AIG, a big insurance company; Lehman Brothers, an investment bank. There's this whole area called 'shadow banking.' That's where the experts tell me the next potential problem could come from.”

Here Hillary tries to get the banks off the hook and make you look at that shiny object out in the distance. It's clear she has no intention of reinstating Glass-Steagall or of trying to curb the financial sector's abuses.

Hillary, like her close advisor Barney Frank, has been pushing an idea that banks aren't at the root of any financial instability problem. Last night, she pointed a finger instead at “shadow banking,” non-bank actors like AIG, and a dead investment bank in Lehman Brothers. (Interesting she didn't mention a still-viable investment bank like Goldman, Sachs, which has hosted her expensive speaking engagements.)

This squeamishness about criticizing banks is laughable to people in the industry. But of course, that's probably the point – that the average voter won't know how absurd and desperate it is to point to faceless “shadow” financiers as villains when the real bad guys are famed mega-firms that are right out in the open, with their names plastered all over every second city block.

Of course, Barney Frank after being a part of regulating banks in congress, now is working for the banks, making tons of money and daring congress to do anything about it.

The root of the 2008 crisis lay in a broad criminal …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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True Money Supply: August Money Supply Growth Remains Way Down from 2012 Levels

October 15, 2015 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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True Money Supply: August Money Supply Growth Remains Way Down from 2012 Levels

October 15, 2015

We see that the growth rates in recent months have stabilized after a period of significant decline. During 2014, several commentators noted the decline in TMS growth and suggested that economic slowing may be on the horizon, as economic downturns often correspond to declines in TMS growth. Since 2014, however, TMS growth has stabilized, and this suggests that an obvious economic bust is still not likely in the short term.

Since 2009, the TMS has been growing faster than M2, and during August M2 grew 5.8 percent (a five-month high) compared to 8.5 percent for TMS. Both M2 and TMS growth rates have been flat since early 2014.

If we look more closely at the components of the TMS and M2 we can guess some reasons for this divergence.

One of the reasons that M2 growth is being held down, for example, is because M2 includes small time deposits while TMS excludes it. Small time deposits in August declined YOY by 16.4 percent, which was the largest drop since July of 2013:

The overall effect of including small time deposits in M2 right now is that it brings down the growth rate in M2.

Another difference between TMS and M2 is that Treasury deposits with the Fed are included in TMS but not in M2. Treasury deposits increased 165 percent during August 2015, which was the second-largest YOY increase since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009. Overall, in recent months, Treasury deposit growth is at the highest we've seen in years:

So, in part, TMS is growing more quickly than M2 because TMS excludes the shrinking supply of small time deposits while including the soaring growth in Treasury deposits.

If we look at the money supply measures themselves (as opposed to YOY growth rates) we can see that M2 has only grown 1 percent over the past six months. TMS has grown …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Earned Income Tax Credit: Small Benefits, Large Costs

October 15, 2015 in Economics

With America’s sluggish economy and stagnant wages, federal policymakers are looking for ways to help the working poor. One idea that has gained some bipartisan support is expanding the earned income tax credit (EITC). In a new bulletin, Cato scholars Chris Edwards and Veronique de Rugy conclude that the costs of the EITC are likely higher than the benefits, and argue the program should be cut, not expanded.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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The Pitfalls of the Federal Reserve's Zero Interest Rate Policy

October 15, 2015 in Economics

By James A. Dorn

James A. Dorn

The Federal Reserve has kept its target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 0.25 percent since December 2008. This is often referred to as the Fed’s “zero interest rate policy,” or ZIRP. The purpose of near-zero overnight rates — and forward guidance to convince markets that those rates will be maintained — has been to affect the entire rate structure: keeping all rates lower than they would have been in a free capital market.

The idea was to lower rates in order to encourage moving into riskier assets with higher yields, including stocks, junk bonds, real estate and commodities. Lower rates, the Fed argued, would encourage greater leverage, i.e., borrowing to invest, and boost asset prices. This “wealth effect” would then stimulate consumption and economic growth.

Those were the expected benefits of the Fed’s unconventional monetary policy, which included both ZIRP and three rounds of quantitative easing (QE), that is, the large-scale purchases of longer-term securities such as government bonds, mortgage-backed securities and agency debt.

The substantial rebounding of the U.S. stock markets since the 2008 financial crisis, along with the return to near full employment while maintaining low inflation, appear to point to the Fed’s success with unconventional monetary policy. Ben Bernanke’s just published memoir, The Courage to Act, supports the bullish view that the Fed’s actions saved the U.S. economy from disaster. Yet, the former Fed chairman recognizes that “monetary policy is no panacea.”

The highest cost of the Fed’s unconventional monetary policy is the uncertainty it has generated.”

The problem is that Fed officials have mostly pointed to the benefits of unconventional policy while downplaying the costs. Some of those costs, oddly, are also the claimed benefits — namely, increased risk taking and surging asset prices. The role of a central bank should not be to promote risk taking or to inflate asset prices.

By holding rates near zero for almost seven years, the Fed has driven up the price of risky assets, increased leverage and created a pseudo wealth effect, which will be reversed once rates return to normal. Asset prices cannot continuously outpace real economic growth. When the bubbles in the stock and bond markets burst, as interest rates begin to rise toward their natural, long-term equilibrium, the Fed’s unconventional wisdom will be called into question.

Central banks throughout history have been used to finance government debt, and the Fed is no …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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If Recycling Doesn't Actually Help the Planet, Then What Should We Do?

October 15, 2015 in Blogs

By Reynard Loki, AlterNet

The debate over recycling obscures a bigger problem: We consume way too much to begin with.


In 1996, New York Times writer John Tierney wrote a long, meticulously researched article about the state of recycling in America that didn't win him any friends in environmental circles. In it, he concluded that recycling may be “the most wasteful activity in modern America: a waste of time and money, a waste of human and natural resources.”

Almost 20 years later, Tierney has revisited the recycling issue in a followup piece and come to a similarly gloomy conclusion. ”Despite decades of exhortations and mandates, it’s still typically more expensive for municipalities to recycle household waste than to send it to a landfill,” he writes. “When it comes to the bottom line, both economically and environmentally, not much has changed at all.”

The issue is more complex than that, as some of Tierney's myriad critics have pointed out. For one thing, it depends on what you recycle. “The value of recycling depends on the material in question,” writes David Biello, an associate editor at Scientific American who has long covered environmental issues. “And whether all hidden costs and benefits go into the analysis.”

But the ongoing debate over recycling misses a much more critical issue: We consume too much to begin with. Instead of asking ourselves what to do with all our crap once we're done using it, we should be asking whether we really need all this crap in the first place.

Is recycling really a waste?

Could the recycling rhetoric be drowning out the recycling reality? Perhaps, at least in some cases. Glass, for example, is costly to recycle and is made from a readily available material: sand. Steve Shannon, an ecologist and municipal services manager at Balcones Resources, a recycling firm based in Austin, Texas, said it costs up to $90 to process a ton of glass, which only fetches $10 per ton on the market. “What makes recyclables valuable is their rarity,” Shannon said. “Trees are scarcer than sand.”

Tierney goes after glass recycling in a big way. “For every ton of glass …read more

Source: ALTERNET