IBM warns Louisiana over ‘religious freedom’ bill – Apr. 17, 2015

IBM has sent a letter to the governor of Louisiana warning that a pending religious freedom bill would create a hostile environment for the tech company’s employees.

“A bill that legally protects discrimination based on same-sex marriage status will create a hostile environment for our current and prospective employees, and is antithetical to our company’s values,” IBM vice president James Driesse wrote in a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal.

“IBM will find it much harder to attract talent to Louisiana if this bill is passed and enacted into law,” Driesse said.

The letter asks Jindal to work with the state legislature to “ensure this legislation is not discriminatory.” IBM has made significant investments in Louisiana, including a technology services delivery center in Baton Rouge.

via IBM warns Louisiana over ‘religious freedom’ bill – Apr. 17, 2015.

The Current 2016 GOP Presidential Candidates

The 2016 GOP field so far:

Marco Rubio: https://youtu.be/1QuP7i7FIuE

Rand Paul: https://youtu.be/8jnZNehstTs

Ted Cruz: https://youtu.be/hSu4m4MesXE

via (10) Twitter.

CNN Host Bluntly Asks DNC Chair to Say If She Thinks It’s ‘OK to Kill a 7-Pound Baby’ — Here’s Her Answer | Video | TheBlaze.com

If a Senator can not answer this question straight up, than you are no longer fit to lead.  Sit down.

On Tuesday, CNN host Wolf Blitzer bluntly asked Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee chair, if it’s “OK to kill a 7-pound baby.” He did not get a yes or no answer.

Blitzer’s question was the result of an ongoing spat between Schultz and GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who told the host last week that it sounds like Schultz is “OK with killing a 7-pound baby.” She responded in a statement, saying she supports “letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved.”

Schultz repeated many of the same talking points on Tuesday, again declining to answer the actual question. But she also speculatively asked if Paul would “let a woman die” rather than allow her to get a life-saving abortion.

via CNN Host Bluntly Asks DNC Chair to Say If She Thinks It’s ‘OK to Kill a 7-Pound Baby’ — Here’s Her Answer | Video | TheBlaze.com.

He’s in: Marco Rubio’s presidential challenge – CNN.com

Miami (CNN)Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says he is running for president and is “uniquely qualified” to talk about the future, a Rubio adviser tells CNN.

The adviser said Rubio did a call with donors Monday morning where he said he was running. Rubio is scheduled to publicly announce his bid later tonight to offer a pitch supporters say only he is qualified to give: a promise to restore the American Dream, from a son of Cuban exiles who’s lived it.

Rubio has all the makings of a winning presidential candidate: Youth, a compelling personal narrative and deep roots in a crucial swing state. But as he unveils his presidential campaign, he’s missing one thing: Support.

Rubio consistently polls in the middle of the GOP primary pack, trailing fellow Floridian Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and even more conservative alternatives like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

via He’s in: Marco Rubio’s presidential challenge – CNN.com.

UCLA faculty approves diversity requirement | InsideHigherEd.com

Proposals to require students to take a course related to diversity have been controversial on many campuses. But the University of California at Los Angeles has had one of the longest debates on the topic, with multiple votes (going in different directions), dating to 2004.

But Friday evening, results of an apparently definitive vote of the entire faculty were released. And the 916 to 487 vote clears the way for the requirement to start with the class that enters U.C.L.A.’s main undergraduate college in the fall of 2017….

Under the requirement, students will be required to earn at least a C in a course that “substantially addresses racial, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, religious or other types of diversity.” Currently more than 200 courses, in a range of disciplines, qualify, and more courses are expected to be created over time.

UCLA faculty approves diversity requirement | InsideHigherEd.com.

U.S. Supreme Court reconsiders same-sex marriage

By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of DOMA was unconstitutional and violated the Fifth Amendment by requiring the federal government to treat same-sex marriages differently from heterosexual ones, even though both were authorized or recognized under state law. The majority decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, contained some clear language, “DOMA writes inequality into the entire United States Code,” but did not hold that there was an unqualified right for same-sex couples to marry without regard to individual state law. It is this ambiguity that almost makes it fun to analyze Supreme Court decisions.

via U.S. Supreme Court reconsiders same-sex marriage.

Netflix competes with Apple’s Watch.

White House complex now has a gender-neutral bathroom – CNN.com

When you have a president who no longer knows the difference between a man or a women, he should no longer be president.

The Obama administration said on Wednesday it had opened a gender-neutral bathroom within the White House complex, a symbolic step for the President in order to protect the rights of members of the LGBT community in the workplace.

The “all-gender restroom” is in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next door to the West Wing, within the White House complex where many employees have meetings and offices.

The White House now allows staff and guests to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity, including in the West Wing.

via White House complex now has a gender-neutral bathroom – CNN.com.

Rand Paul accuses ‘Today’ anchor of editorializing – Apr. 8, 2015

A day into his just-launched presidential campaign, Senator Rand Paul clashed with “Today'”show anchor Savannah Guthrie over what he said was biased questioning.

The interview on Wednesday took a contentious turn when Guthrie began to detail what she said were shifts over the years in the Kentucky senator’s foreign policy views.

“You have had views on foreign policy in the past that are somewhat unorthodox, but you seem to have changed over the years,” Guthrie said. “You once said Iran was not a threat, now you say it is. You once proposed ending foreign aid to Israel, now you support it, at least for the time being. And you once offered to drastically cut –”

Paul, who announced Tuesday that he was seeking the Republican presidential nomination and was speaking by satellite from Nashua, New Hampshire, tried to interject.

“Why don’t you let me explain instead of talking over me, OK?” Paul said. He then advised Guthrie on how to conduct the interview.

Rand Paul accuses ‘Today’ anchor of editorializing – Apr. 8, 2015.

Kansas law bans ‘dismemberment abortion’ – CNN.com

It is just baffling that we are even in this position.  This is a pro-life win of course, but we should have never been in this position in the first place.

A new Kansas law banning a common second-term abortion procedure is the first of its kind in the United States.

The law, signed by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday, bans what it describes as “dismemberment abortion” and defines as “knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus.”

Supporters of the measure described it as a groundbreaking step, while opponents warned it was dangerous and among the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

 

Kansas law bans ‘dismemberment abortion’ – CNN.com.

Election 2016: Rand Paul poised to launch campaign – CNN.com

Election 2016: Rand Paul poised to launch campaign – CNN.com.

Now who’s the moral majority? – CNN.com

Does moral majority makes right?

So who’s the “moral majority” now?

For media-savvy millennials, following that moral imperative means spreading the news about discrimination wherever it occurs and reaching beyond geographic boundaries to mobilize against it. In the first 24 hours after Arkansas passed its version of the “religious freedom” bill, the Twitter hashtag #BoycottArkansas was used 12,000 times. It then snowballed after celebrity blogger Perez Hilton tweeted it to his 5.9 million Twitter followers.

America has crossed a threshold where it is no longer a good business model or political strategy to be intolerant of diversity, whether that pertains to race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

Now who’s the moral majority? – CNN.com.

JURIST – 15 states urge US Supreme Court to uphold same-sex marriage bans

Fifteen states, led by Louisiana, urged[amicus brief, PDF] the US Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday to uphold same-sex marriage bans. The brief asserts that voters should decide for themselves whether to allow same-sex marriages in their respective states. Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah and West Virginia joined the brief, even though courts have struck down same-sex marriage bans in these states. Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas, which have not legalized same-sex marriage, were the other states that took part in the brief. The Supreme Court agreed [JURIST report] in January to rule on same-sex marriage, and oral arguments are scheduled for April 28.

JURIST – 15 states urge US Supreme Court to uphold same-sex marriage bans.

NCAA: It’s not our job to ensure educational quality – CNN.com

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and everyone knows this.

(CNN)After years of making the case that the education of athletes is paramount, the NCAA now says it has no legal responsibility to make sure education is actually delivered.

On its website, the NCAA prominently states, “It’s our commitment — and our responsibility — to give young people opportunities to learn, play and succeed.” And later, it says that “in the collegiate model of sports, the young men and women competing on the field or court are students first, athletes second.”

via NCAA: It’s not our job to ensure educational quality – CNN.com.

How We Pay Taxes, in 14 Charts — The Atlantic

Where do our federal taxes go? Almost entirely to insurance and security. Medical insurance, health spending, Social Security, income security, veterans retirement security, and security security (i.e.: defense) accounts for about 83 percent of government spending [Heritage].

via How We Pay Taxes, in 14 Charts — The Atlantic.

New spa-like abortion clinic is part of a trend to de-stigmatize the procedure – The Washington Post

With its natural wood floors and plush upholstery, Carafem aims to feel more like a spa than a medical clinic. But the slick ads set to go up in Metro stations across the Washington region leave nothing to doubt: “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.”

The Maryland clinic, opening this week in Montgomery County’s tony Friendship Heights, specializes in the abortion pill. The advertising reflects its unabashed approach — and a new push to de-stigmatize the nation’s most controversial medical procedure by talking about it openly and unapologetically.

New spa-like abortion clinic is part of a trend to de-stigmatize the procedure – The Washington Post.

China jails Christian pastor who fought church demolitions – Telegraph

At least 400 churches were affected by the one-year campaign that saw elderly Christians repeatedly try to defend their places of worship from demolition teams and security guards. Authorities denied Christian churches were being targeted claiming they were taking action against all “illegal structures”. ]

The pastor’s sentencing followed claims from one Chinese bishop that Beijing had ordered an end to the demolitions in Zhejiang.

via China jails Christian pastor who fought church demolitions – Telegraph.

Seattle Magazine | Restaurants | Why Are So Many Seattle Restaurants Closing Lately?

Washington Restaurant Association’s Anton puts it this way: “It’s not a political problem; it’s a math problem.”

He estimates that a common budget breakdown among sustaining Seattle restaurants so far has been the following: 36 percent of funds are devoted to labor, 30 percent to food costs and 30 percent go to everything else (all other operational costs).  The remaining 4 percent has been the profit margin, and as a result, in a $700,000 restaurant, he estimates that the average restauranteur in Seattle has been making $28,000 a year.

With the minimum wage spike, however, he says that if restaurant owners made no changes, the labor cost in quick service restaurants would rise to 42 percent and in full service restaurants to 47 percent.

Seattle Magazine | Restaurants | Why Are So Many Seattle Restaurants Closing Lately?.

Why I am a Climate Change Skeptic | Heartlander Magazine

 

Why I am a Climate Change Skeptic | Heartlander Magazine.

My skepticism begins with the believers’ certainty they can predict the global climate with a computer model. The entire basis for the doomsday climate change scenario is the hypothesis increased atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel emissions will heat the Earth to unlivable temperatures.

In fact, the Earth has been warming very gradually for 300 years, since the Little Ice Age ended, long before heavy use of fossil fuels. Prior to the Little Ice Age, during the Medieval Warm Period, Vikings colonized Greenland and Newfoundland, when it was warmer there than today. And during Roman times, it was warmer, long before fossil fuels revolutionized civilization.

Fed sets stage for rate hike but downgrades outlook

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday set the stage for its first interest rate hike since 2006, signaling its confidence in the U.S. economy.

Yet the Fed slightly downgraded its economic outlook, saying that growth “has moderated somewhat” because of weak export growth and a sluggish housing market, among other factors. It said it will raise its benchmark short-term rate, now near zero, only when the labor market improves further and inflation prospects pick up from the current meager pace.

Fed policymakers “have not decided on the timing of the initial increase” in the rate’s target range, said the Fed’s statement released at 2 p.m. ET following a two-day meeting. The move, however, is expected this year.

Fed sets stage for rate hike but downgrades outlook.

Colorado School of Mines – Public colleges with the best bang for your buck – CNNMoney

Colorado School of Mines – Public colleges with the best bang for your buck – CNNMoney.

$2 gas is gone — prices have climbed for 5 weeks in a row – Mar. 2, 2015

 

$2 gas is gone — prices have climbed for 5 weeks in a row – Mar. 2, 2015.

Forbes List: 10 richest people in the world | Miami Herald Miami Herald

Bill Gates, the founder of technology company Microsoft Corp., topped Forbes’ 2015 list of the world’s top billionaires for the second straight year. In 2013, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu was on top. He ranked second this time.

Forbes said it calculated each person’s net worth based on stock prices and exchange rates on Feb. 13, 2014.

Here’s a list of the Top 10:

via Forbes List: 10 richest people in the world | Miami Herald Miami Herald.

Google Confirms Plan to Offer Wireless Service – WSJ

Google Inc. confirmed plans to launch a U.S. wireless service, raising a new risk of tension between the Internet firm and the wireless carriers that support its Android mobile-

via Google Confirms Plan to Offer Wireless Service – WSJ.

DC legalizes pot, ignoring House Republicans – CNN.com

Washington (CNN)Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser defied congressional Republicans and implemented D.C.’s new local law allowing its residents to smoke marijuana.

In implementing the new pot laws that went into effect Thursday, Bowser rebuffed two influential House Republicans who’d warned her that she’d be breaking federal law — and risking retribution.

DC legalizes pot, ignoring House Republicans – CNN.com.

Wesleyan Now Offering LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM Housing (Not a Typo)

Weslyan University in Connecticut is now offering “LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM” housing, because apparently “LGBT” — or even “LGBTTQQ” — wouldn’t have been inclusive enough.

For the culturally ignorant among us, “LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM” stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, flexual, asexual, genderf**k, polyamorous, bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism.”

via Wesleyan Now Offering LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM Housing (Not a Typo).

Walker leads in early Iowa poll – CNN.com

(CNN)Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is capping off more than a week of bad headlines with some good news out of the first-in-the nation caucus state.

Walker is leading a crowded field of potential presidential candidates in Iowa with 25% of likely Republican caucus-goers throwing their support to Walker in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. The Iowa caucus will be the first test for presidential hopefuls and while the last two GOP winners didn’t get far in the primary process, the caucus is a crucial test of conservative credentials and can help signal some candidates off the campaign trail.

Libertarian favorite Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky came in second in the poll with 13% of support while former Gov. Mike Huckabee, the 2008 caucus winner, and Tea Party darling Ben Carson closely followed with 11% each.

Walker leads in early Iowa poll – CNN.com.

More lawsuits in UNC academic scandal; whistleblower settles with university – CNN.com

(CNN)Three more athletes who say they were scammed out of an education at the University of North Carolina are now suing over academic fraud, and the whistleblower who exposed the fake-class system has now settled her lawsuit with the university.

Former basketball player Kenya McBee has joined former football player Mike McAdoo’s federal class-action lawsuit, claiming the university denied him and thousands of other athletes education when advisers forced him to take classes that never met.

via More lawsuits in UNC academic scandal; whistleblower settles with university – CNN.com.

Surprise: Poorest Obamacare Enrollees Face $530 IRS Tax Bill | Americans for Tax Reform

The majority (52 percent) of Obamacare enrollees receiving an advance premium tax credit to purchase Obamacare insurance is facing the prospect of paying back $530 of that tax credit to the IRS, according to a new study from H&R Block.  This clawback is reducing the refunds for these taxpayers by 17 percent this filing season.

Under Obamacare, taxpayers earning between 133 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible to receive a tax credit to help purchase insurance on Obamacare exchanges.  This tax credit is calculated using old tax data of the recipients.  The credit is advanced ahead of time to the taxpayer’s insurance company.  The taxpayer must reconcile at tax time the advance credit received with the actual credit she is eligible for.

Families of four earning less than $97,000 are eligible for a credit.  So is a single mother with two children earning less than $80,000 and an unmarried/childless taxpayer earning less than about $12,000.  By definition, these are the lowest income recipients of Obamacare health insurance outside the Medicaid-eligible population.  Higher income taxpayers received no tax subsidy and aren’t facing this tax season surprise.

According to the study, a majority of credit recipients–52 percent–have had to pay back the IRS an average of $530, reducing their refunds by an average of 17 percent.

Surprise: Poorest Obamacare Enrollees Face $530 IRS Tax Bill | Americans for Tax Reform.

Caracas mayor, linked by Venezuelan President to alleged coup plot, arrested – CNN.com

(CNN)Political chaos roiled oil-rich Venezuela Friday after intelligence agents in the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro arrested the mayor of Caracas. The arrest came just days after Maduro accused the mayor of involvement in a plot to overthrow the government.

Agents arrested Mayor Antonio Ledezma — a well-known opposition politician — on Thursday in a raid that sparked a fierce outcry from the president’s political opponents.President Nicolas Maduro said the mayor will be prosecuted “so that he answers for all of the crimes committed against the peace, security and constitution of our country.”

Caracas mayor, linked by Venezuelan President to alleged coup plot, arrested – CNN.com.

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